Year 7/8 Promotional Videos for Health

The students brief was to select a health based organisation, visit its website, research that organisation (core values, purpose, service to community, research etc) and then plan how they could portray that organisation in a short 1 minute iMovie Trailer.

Organisations included the Cancer Council, Heart Foundation, Beyond Blue, Sun Smart, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) among others.

Students used the following planning tool (the example pictured is the first page only). To access downloadable PDF versions of all the planning tools for iMovie trailers go to the blog Learning in Hand by Tony Vincent. Students can even type into these documents.

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My students had to work in pairs to achieve this task and provide me with a completed planning document before they could move on and create their trailer. Students had to demonstrate the following before creating their trailer:

  • A clear message was required that represented the organisation they had chosen. It had to be simple and easy to understand.
  • The images needed to be high quality. We discussed how to use the Search Filter in Google images to search by Large Image for better quality pictures.
  • Images need to match the text and support the message being conveyed by the students.
  • Spelling and grammar needed to be correct.

One of the major aims of the videos was to promote the health organisation to the community. To complete this aim the videos will be playing in the community library to promote those organisations to a wider audience.

I have included two student Trailers and was impressed by the efforts of all my students to meet the criteria for this task.

The Shadow Game

The concept of making something move using a motion path in a Power Point is fairly simple. The concept of projecting it up on a wall and having students interact with it physically, problem solve and share their solutions helps develop basic movement skills and promotes collaboration.

Here is a game given to me by @matulisj who created the Power Point you will see projected on the wall in my video. The second video shows two of his students in October this year using a computer and motion capture technology to create their own game. Pretty cool stuff!

#910DA Health Class

My Year 9/10 health class are continuing to use Twitter to share and discuss their term 4 topic drugs and alcohol. We have been focusing on the legalisation of medical marijuana over the last few weeks.

For those interested in reading what my students have been tweeting I have embedded the #910DA Twitter feed into the blog (scroll down its on the left hand side).

Students are on a steep learning curve about how to tweet effectively and not all tweets have been accurate! One student account misread an article and their tweet reflected this. They had also not supplied the link to the study they were quoting. When asked they did provide the link and I was able to help them understand what the article actually said. I’ve inserted the conversation below.

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It is this type of conversation that has led to face to face conversations in the classroom about being accurate with what we post. For example some of the statements in the image below are flat out lies that falsely promoted a positive view of marijuana i.e. marijuana cures cancer. As a class we were able to view the graphic and talk about what we thought was accurate and what we thought was inaccurate and why. We also discussed how posting something in this way says we agree with the content and if the content is inaccurate it reflects on us.

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A benefit to using this method of communication was realised when I was absent from school and missed my weekly 9/10 health class. The lesson I set for the relief teacher involved students responding to links I had sent them via Twitter. I was able to sit at home and see who was engaging in the activity and respond to student tweets, all in real time. I was there without physically being there. Below are some examples of my interactions during this lesson.

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Student Free Day Week 6 Term 4 2014

On Monday 17th November part of our student free day (9:30 – 11:00) will be allocated to the Australian Curriculum and specifically the Phase 2 subjects HPE, The Arts, Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business, Design Technologies and Digital Technologies.

Those staff not directly involved in the implementation of Phase two subjects will be using this time to work on mapping and resourcing their curriculum areas. Tanya and Justin will be working with the English curriculum on work they began earlier in the year while Joelene and Allan will be working together on the science curriculum. All other teaching staff will be able to focus on the Phase 2 subject of their choice. All AC materials will be provided but it would be useful for teachers to bring current programs in the area they wish to investigate.

Teachers will be investigating and answering the following questions in relation to their chosen subject area:

  1. What do I currently do or have done that is required by the Australian Curriculum at this year level?
  2. What do I currently teach or have taught that is not required by the Australian Curriculum at this year level?
  3. What is new to me that I have never taught at this year level?
  4. Do the assessment tasks I currently do allow my students to achieve the Performance Standard and content descriptors to a high level?

While no doubt staff have begun to look at their Phase 2 subject(s) this session will provide some time to go deeper into the content. For primary staff it will allow time to engage with an area they may not have had time to consider or look at in any depth. Work will need to continue beyond this day in staff meetings and into next year with regards to Phase two subjects.

John Hattie’s Visible Learning Errors

I am not a statistician and so have very little understanding of the statistical maths used by Professor John Hattie to produce his book Visible Learning. I do however understand that some of Hattie’s work has been called into question regarding his use of statistical concepts.

It has been pointed out that Hattie’s use of the Common Language Effect Size (CLE) is incorrectly used. Some of the sources below also question Hattie’s use of effect sizes.

I have included a comment found in one of the links below which I think sums up the issues found with Hattie’s work. It resinated with me as a non maths /science person.

“Sometimes scientific critique is like a cannonball shooting a hole in a sail. The ship can continue sailing but has some repairs to do. At other times the critique hits below the waterline and the ship sinks (like Titanic). How does Topphols critique hit Visible learning? Do the main conclusions sail on or do they sink?” Jan Pålsgård

Based on the evidence that I have read so far I believe “Hattie’s ship can continue sailing but has some repairs to do”. This criticism of Hattie’s work is not recent (2012/2013) so if his work didn’t hold up due to statistical errors we would probably have heard more about it. Just because their are some errors in a particular aspect of Hattie’s work does not mean the work is to be dismissed.

My motivation for posting this information is to make people aware that if we are going to use educational research, particularly to the level that Hattie’s work has been, we should know as much as possible about how that research came to be.

I have provided a variety of sources to read in relation to the issues found with Hattie’s work. Be warned most of this is not light reading and involves, predictably, a lot of mathematical language around statistics.

Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

Source 4

Source 5

Source 6


Passionate Woodville High students try to help friends

This documentary, Disappeared, goes for 40 minutes but is worth the time if you can spare it.

Two young refugee boys who are on community detention and attend Woodville High School were taken from their home without notice by Immigration authorities. The school community was deeply upset by what happened and some passionate students supported by their Principal have forced the topic into the public eye.

“Disappeared, The Official Documentary for TwoTooMany. Released on the 26th of October, it marks 4 months since the 2 Woodville High School boys where taken.”


Professional Learning Communities

In recent times we have not had formal PLC’s within our school. We have had variations on the theme including this blog and at one point primary staff were traveling to Kadina to meet with other primary teachers from a variety of schools. We have teachers communicating with colleagues in other schools around their subject areas and the use of social media by some to broaden educational knowledge and understanding. What I feel we are missing is a time where R-12 PBAS staff get to more regularly discuss their professional responsibilities including programming, assessment, reporting and pedagogy.

My Proposal

The spark for this idea came from our student free day in week 8 term 3. Our morning session centred around our reporting proforma but also included some sharing about how teachers kept records of student learning and how we use this evidence to support our reporting to parents. When I initially organised this (which was Joelene’s great idea) I had asked for some staff to share how they went about this process. I thought that this session might go for 20 minutes or so but the discussion went for about an hour with some great sharing of practice.

My suggestion is that we continue this type of sharing and discussion into 2015 on a more formal basis. The idea being that twice a term we set aside time to discuss predetermined topics. A general invite would be put out to staff a week or two in advance to share with the aim that we have 3-4 staff organised to share practice. This will then hopefully lead to others sharing, as it did on the student free day or encourage discussion by the wider group on what had been shared.

Topics might include:

  • Using IT in the classroom
  • Behaviour management
  • Assessment
  • Making the classroom an inviting space
  • Using higher order thinking
  • Homework – Expectations, Value, How do you use it? Do you use it?
  • Connecting concepts to the real world
  • Providing different entry points to a topic or task
  • Connecting with parents
  • Different ways students present learning

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A number of responses to the Teaching and Learning Coordinator survey recently completed by staff said that this idea of sharing is powerful and should be something that is developed.

Some of the responses included:

More sharing of good practice (this has occurred at student free days/staff meetings). I believe this can be very powerful.

I find the times during staff meeting where we work on professional development collaboratively to be useful as I can compare what I’m doing with others.

I would like to have more sessions where staff can provide details of tasks, pedagogies, best practice. Being in the secondary department I often feel very removed from the other sections of the school and have really got a lot out of sessions like this. An example was the sharing of how staff keep records of student achievements and work samples.

As this process would involve a commitment from all PBAS staff I am asking for a response to this post firstly giving your opinion of the types topics you might like discussed and secondly would you support sharing your practice with others if approached?


Using Twitter with my 9/10 Health Class

I have been using Twitter professionally for 3 years and acknowledge it as a major cornerstone of my professional development and a source for the majority of information shared on this blog.

So having seen its benefits professionally I wondered how it would transfer into my 9/10 health class which is doing a drugs and alcohol unit this term. I am always conscious of not using technology because it’s all the rage or it’s what everyone else is doing until I have convinced myself of how it will improve student learning. Having said this sometimes it is hard to tell if the benefits will be realised without trialling it first. This is were I am at with using Twitter in my classroom.

My goals for Twitter in this class are:

  1. It will expose students to a broader range of opinion on the topic of drugs and alcohol.
  2. It will allow students to share quality information about the responsible use of drugs and alcohol including personal opinion and the latest data and facts.
  3. It will expose students to a new way of viewing social media. As a tool that can be used to develop professional and educational networks.
  4. It will be an opportunity to discuss responsible use of social media and how what you post represents you as a person. How do you want to be viewed?

Rather than discuss all aspects of how this task will work I have linked the following for you to view if interested:

1. Drugs and alcohol program (overview) linked to the Australian Curriculum

2. Twitter task explanation

3. Twitter task – parent letter

As part of setting up their accounts students had to follow each other and follow 16 organisations (selected by me) whose sole purpose was focused on the topic of drugs and alcohol, for example @DrinkWiseAust @ActiononAlcohol. We also created a class hashtag to allow us a way of seeing all of our tweets in one place, #910DA.

It will be interesting at the end of this unit to see if Twitter met my expectations in the classroom and what the students thought of it as a way of learning.

Below are screen shots from student accounts from our first lesson using Twitter.

The first image shows 6 student accounts. Most students created their accounts in pairs using the first name of one student and the last name of the other. All accounts required a “bio” explaining the purpose of their account.

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I retweeted all student tweets to my followers asking if they could follow, retweet or favourite some of my students tweets to help show them how Twitter works. I also thought it would give the students a buzz knowing that others were instantly viewing and sharing what they posted. The tweet below was from Brandon and contained a graphic which can be seen a bit further down. Brandon’s tweet was retweeted by myself and two others sending it out to over 1500 people.

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One of our focuses is medical marijuana and its legalisation in Australia. Both Connor and Maddy found that our Prime Minister Tony Abbot is in favour of legalising medical marijuana! It will be interesting to see what the students think after viewing the SBS program INSIGHT around this topic.

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Follow Up: Week 1 Term 4 Classroom Observations & Student Feedback Reflection

I hope that teachers found last weeks staff meeting time useful to reflect on their practice around classroom observations and student feedback. Thank you to teaching staff who emailed their reflections and goal for term 4 back to their line managers. Line managers will email a response back offering suggestions and support to help you to achieve your term 4 goal. Some teachers also took the time to comment on the post Got feedback Used Feedback which helped initiate the reflection that we did. At the time of writing there were 10 comments linked to this post from 5 staff sharing their thoughts and actions in the area of classroom observations and student feedback. If you would like to read or join that conversation click here.

The purpose of this post is to reinforce the importance of this area of our professional development by sharing a video put out by AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership).

The video is an interview between former AITSL Chair Tony Mackay and Ben Jensen (Program Director, School of Education, Gratton Institute) discussing teacher appraisal and sources of feedback that can inform teacher development. I think this helps to reinforce the path we are on in relation to classroom observations and student feedback.

What is AITSL?

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) provides national leadership for the Australian, State and Territory Governments in promoting excellence in the profession of teaching and school leadership.