Learning Design Part 5

Click to enlarge image.

Step 3 in the Learning Design process is ‘What could the intended learning look like at this level?’ This statement relates directly to the Australian Curriculum content. Whether we have vertically grouped classes or not, we need to ensure that we look at the scope and sequence of our subject areas to see how the learning looks across the year levels. To download the scope and sequence charts for subjects click here. This link will take you to the Australian Curriculum website page that enables you to download the Scope and Sequence documents for all AC subject areas.

Below are some questions we can ask ourselves in relation to ‘What could the intended learning look like at this level?’

  • What examples have we seen of high quality learning at this level?
  • How will students know what is high quality learning?
  • What does ‘at this level’ mean?
  • What intended learning is not evident in the achievement standard?

We are yet to work through some of these questions fully as teachers. There have already been some discussions around ‘moderation’ and looking at samples of work but we are yet to see samples of ‘high quality’ learning as part of this process (although they are supposed to be coming). The discussion around applying grades has also generated discussion and the term ‘at this level’ has teachers asking “How do I know the A I’m giving at this level is the same as the A being given by another teacher in another school?


There are two key points to remember that relate to ‘What could the intended learning look like at this level?’

1.Letting our kids in on the secret of what high quality learning is (make it clear by showing examples and explaining what demonstrates high level learning) AND

2. Not all of the intended learning is evident in the Achievement Standards in the Australian Curriculum (so don’t just rely on these to set your tasks for students).



TfEL – What do my students think of my teaching?










During Wednesday’s staff meeting myself, Justin, Dave, Rob and Tim used Survey Monkey to produce surveys for our students using all or part of the 48 questions (there is a set of questions for younger students)  found in the TfEL Review Tools Handbook. These 48 questions are evenly spread across Domain 2, 3 and 4. Once feedback is recieved staff can see areas for improvement as they relate to the TfEL Domains.

Setting up the survey was fairly time consuming, between 1 and 1.5 hours (which included a quick 5-10mins on how to use Survey Monkey) however now they are set up and can be reused with classes over and over again.

Dave is planning to use his survey with his secondary students before the end of the semester. Rob, Tim and myself will be looking at using them during term 3.

Justin surveyed his 7/8 class on Thursday. Feedback from Justin about using Survey Monkey was how easy it was to implement with the students. Students merely click on a link provided by Justin in a Word document and they have instant access to the survey, complete it and click submit. The data is back in Justin’s account instantly collated and ready for him to use.

Justin thought quite deeply about preparing his students for the survey and how he intends to use the results. Prior to giving the survey Justin produced a Power Point explaining to the students the purpose of the survey, setting the scene for its importance to Justin and ultimately the students. Justin intends to give his results to his line manager to look at then use this as a starting point for working with his line manager to improve aspects of his teaching through the rest of the year. A great process and well done to Justin who is well on his way with this.

If other staff have any questions regarding Survey Monkey and setting up a TfEL survey I am more than happy to organise a time to work with you in term 3. As we are all time poor the easy response to this is “I don’t have time”. If you genuinely would like feedback from your students maybe you could aim to work with me to set up the survey by the end of term 3 (10 weeks to set up a survey seems reasonable) and then look at implementing in term 4 as a basis for improving your teaching in 2013.

Australian Curriculum/TfEL Staff Meeting Week 9 Term 2

We have a staff meeting scheduled for Wednesday week 9. Below are some suggestions as to how this might look however considering our district T & D day on Friday week 7 staff may want to discuss issues that arose from this day.


R-6 Staff ideas for discussion (meet in Kim’s room):

  • District T & D day on the Australian Curriculum
  • Sharing experience with or use of Learning Design (I know Ang is keen on this and may be able to share).
  • Paul could share his ideas for assessing his students against the Australian Curriculum using Excel.
  • How are staff feeling about programming, assessing and reporting to maths and science in semester 2?
  • During these meetings in term 3 will primary teachers start investigating the English Australian Curriculum (leaving the history AC until term 4)?


8-10 Maths Ed, Tanya and Allan

Ed and Allen will have sat through 1.5 hours of talking about the Australian Curriculum with Allen Campbell and leadership prior to this so what happens in this group may depend on energy levels.

  • Continue discussion around the maths curriculum using the tools Ed had brought to the last meeting.
  • Incorporate the audit tools supplied by Allen Campbell, show Tanya, maybe even begin the audit process?


TfEL Group Nick, Justin (unless he wants to contiunue with History AC), Dave, Tim, Liz, Rob

  • Where are staff at with identifying elements that could become the focus of improvement?
  • Using the DVD to help ‘kick start’ the investigation and research into the particular element chosen.
  • Planning for term 3 – How will we collect data from students about our teaching? Appendix 8, 9 and 10 in Review Tools Handbook will help with this.


Term 3 (proposed) Plan

R-7: Focus on programing, assessing and reporting to Australian Curriculum. Plus looking at the English curriculum during meeting times.

8-10: Focus on English. Tanya and Justin working together.

TfEL: Includes Liz, Tim, Rob, Dave and Nick looking at students feedback on our teaching. Ed and Caddy can slot into this OR may whish to continue focusing on the Maths/Science AC in preparation for next year i.e. looking at programing and assessing.

Learning Design Part 4

The information below is taken from the Leaders Resource – Getting Started developed by the Teaching and Learning Services team DECD.

In the last post I talked briefly about finding out about student’s current knowledge of content (part 2 ‘What do they bring’). It is important however to remind ourselves that there is so much more that impacts on student learning than just students content knowledge. As teachers we must try to find out as much useful information out about our students as we can to assist us with teaching and designing new learning (making connections with students and not just teaching isolated ideas or concepts). Things that students bring to the classroom that impact on how they will learn include:

  • There personal view of themselves as a learner – is it from a fixed view of intelligence? i.e. I will not get any smarter, I will always be dumb or I enjoy learning new things, I know I can get smarter (see the two videos below).
  • What is going at home can impact on the learning that happens in the classroom.
  • Cultural experiences and perspectives.
  • Do they have the foundation they need to proceed? What is needed for them to proceed? i.e. appropriate research skills, debating skills, skills required for using technology software, time management skills, communication skills etc…..
  • Student’s perception of the teacher.
  • Learning styles and preferences.
  • Students bring different motivations? What challenges and motivates each student? Do they see challenges as opportunities to learn or do they shy away in fear of looking wrong?

Teachers have always understood that there are a wide range of things that impact on students learning. It is critical that we try to understand all knowledge/attitudes and misconceptions that students bring to the classroom. We should ask ourselves:

•What are the common patterns we have seen that learners bring?
• What are their existing understandings?
• What dispositions, experiences, questions do they have?
• What strategies capture and enable this?

Video 1: Carol Dweck talks about how some students are motivated by learning and not worried about how others perceive them. What are the things that these students bring to the classroom that give them this attitude towards learning?

Video 2: Dr Martin Westwall talks about Learner Self Theories (this video was taken from the TfEL DVD produced by DECD) . Does how a learner percieve themselves impact on their learning?


Video 1

Carol Dweck – Stamford University

Video 2 This video was taken from the Teaching for Effective Learning DVD produced by the Department of Education and Child Development.

Australian Curriculum & the General Capabilities

On Friday at the Australian Curriculum day in Kadina I attended the General Capabilities session at the end of the day and thought I would share some of the information that was delivered. There is nothing mind blowing in this information but I do think it is important to have a look at the capabilities and understand their connection to the content.

The General Capabilities are (click here to view):

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical behaviour
  • Intercultural understanding

Below are some key points that I got from this session:

  • The General Capabilities are embedded within the Australian Curriculum and only need to be covered so far as they appear in the curriculum content.
  • Even though the capabilities are embedded into the curriculum teachers should be aware of where they are in the content and their importance within the curriculum. This can be done by selecting the appropriate box on the website that shows the General Capability icons within the content.
  • Although teachers know that the General Capabilities are embedded within the curriculum there is nothing to stop teachers from taking advantage of opportunities that arise to focus on a capability within a topic.
  • There was some discussion around some of the General Capabilities(Personal and Social and Ethical Behaviour) being used in pastoral care.

What are important teacher qualities?

Jordi, Kienan, Lori, Daniel and Nathan have each provided a top ten list of what they thought were important qualities for a teacher to have. I have collated their thoughts and grouped similiar qualities with the students explanations under each set of qualities. You will notice there are some repetitions, this represents the number of times this quality was mentioned.

Organised, Organised, Organised

Organisation is important because a teacher needs to be prepared for lessons and plan assignments and due dates in advance.

If a teacher is unorganised it makes it hard for a student to know where they should be with their class work and when assignments need to be completed.

All teachers should be organised and have a structured lesson plan otherwise their students are going to run a muck.

Being organised for the lessons so that they don’t have to go out of the class and leave the students alone.

This is important because the teacher needs to know what he/she is doing.

Helpful, Helpful, Helpful, Helpful

Needs to actually help the students when they need help.

They need to be always going around helping and giving hints on how we can improve.

If a student needs a lot of help you need to help them and use patience.

Don’t be neglectful and leave them to figure it out themselves.

I think that the best teacher is a helpful teacher.

When a teacher is prepared to help students it can allow them to achieve higher grades and be more successful throughout their schooling.

When a teacher is helpful it gives the student more respect for that teacher and more motivation to get the task completed.


Approachable, Getting along

It is extremely beneficial for students if they are comfortable with approaching their teacher and feel that they are able to talk to them about their school work
and gain feedback.

To make sure that the students listen to you by making sure that they don’t hate you.

Students don’t listen to someone that they don’t like, they listen to the teachers that they like and respect. Not someone that they don’t like and disrespect.


Respectful, Kind, Friendly, Encouraging

Respect is important for both teachers and students as it is important to feel respected by others around you.

No student likes a mean grumpy teacher that is the teacher students give the most grief to.

Always telling us what we are doing well and keeping us on task.

Always have a smile and ask you how you’re going.


Provides good feedback, Provides good feedback

Providing good feedback to students is a great quality as it help them to better their work and be more successful on assessment tasks.

Telling us how we are going and telling us which areas we can improve on.



Reflecting on lessons and how topics have gone throughout a class can help a teacher make improvements either about the task set or the way that a
topic was approached to make it more beneficial or interesting for students.


Understanding, Understanding, Fair, Spend time with all students, Patient, Patient

When a teacher understands it relieves pressure from students if they are unable to get something completed on a specific date due to illness or other extra-curricular activities.

Teachers should be fair to all students they should never have a bias towards anyone.

When you have lots of students there are some that get left out. I think teachers should plan lessons so that all students get time to ask questions and get help with their work when they need it. Sometimes you need just that little bit more help than what the teacher gives and it’s important.

If a student is taking a long time to understand something don’t get frustrated with them. Take the time to make sure that they
are understanding and if they are taking a while sit there with them and explain it in a simple way so that they know what they are meant to be doing.

They need to understand how we learn best and what levels we are all at.

Teachers need to be patient and calm otherwise they will find themselves going off at students too frequently.


High expectations

It is good when a teacher has a high expectations of work that is submitted as it shows that they want you to do well and further our education.

If a teacher has high expectations of a student they are more likely to push the student to succeed the best of their potential.


Passionate, Passionate

If a teacher is not passionate about their work then they shouldn’t be there as they will not enjoy what they do and it will then make it difficult for students.

When a teacher is passionate in a subject it is a lot easier to relate and get an understanding of the concept where as if it was something that they didn’t care about or didn’t know much about it makes it a lot harder as a student to become engaged and interested in that specific topic.


Approachable, Likable

If the students don’t feel they can come and talk to you or don’t feel comfortable around you or are intimidated by you they aren’t going to enjoy your

They need to be likeable so they get along with the students.

Needs to be easy going and not too strict.


Authorative, Confidence, Smart

Can’t be shy.

This is important becuase they need to be smart and trained in the field they are teaching.

When you’re speaking to a class you need to have confidence, if you do not the students won’t listen because they know that you don’t have confidence in speaking or yourself and they can sense it and will push.

Whilst teachers need to be approachable they also need to have a sense of authority, otherwise the students are going to walk all over them.


Humour, Humour, Humour

A teacher has to be able to joke around a bit.

Students like a teacher that can make a joke once in a while. It is good when you don’t have to be serious all the time and be working 24/7. When you laugh it helps you do work because for the time you are laughing it lets your brain have a rest from working.

Students always get along well with teachers that they can laugh with.

It is important to have a sense of humour and not be so serious all the time.


Flexible, Open to change

Teachers need to be flexible as all students are going to be different and teachers need to adapt accordingly.

If something is not working or technology has been updated you need to be able to change with it. If the way you have planned your lessons aren’t working with the students you need to revise it and change it so that you can spend time with all the students so that they can get their work done.



You need to have persistence because if there is a troubled student or someone that takes longer in understanding you can’t get frustrated or angry because the student will know. You need to work and just take the time to help people out.


Communication, Communication

Speaking to us about our work and not just giving us a sheet and telling to complete it.

Needs to be able to communicate and explain things.

Explaining ‘New Contexts’ at a C level

A few things about the Australian Curriculum have generated healthy discussion but certainly non more so (at PBAS at least) than the wording around students achieving a C grade. If you are not sure of the terminology you are supposed to use to determine grades then here it is:


High level capacity to apply knowledge, skills and understandings in new contexts. Deep understanding of concepts and key ideas and connections between them outstanding development of skills. Comprehensive knowledge of content.


Strong capacity to apply knowledge, skills and understandings in new contexts. Some depth of understanding of concepts and key ideas high level development of skills. Thorough knowledge of content.


Capacity to apply knowledge, skills and understandings in new contexts. Sound understanding of concepts and key ideas sound development of skills. Adequate knowledge of content.


Capacity to apply knowledge, skills and understandings in familiar contexts. Some understanding of concepts and key ideas some development of skills. Basic knowledge of content.


Beginning capacity to apply knowledge, skills and understandings in a familiar context. Beginning understanding of concepts and key ideas. Initial development of skills limited knowledge of content.

The term ‘new context’ has been used at a C level. This wording has not been a part of our grading structure before and has prompted some people to make blanket emotional statements like, ‘no child in South Australia will achieve above a D grade because they cannot apply their learning in a new context’. As a teacher I don’t understand why this would be the case. As part of good teaching we often get students to apply knowledge at a different time to when it was originally learnt and in a different context. It happens all the time in Physical Education. For example students develop the fundamental motor skill throwing and then apply that skill to bowling in cricket or pitching in softball. Both are very different contexts and therefore require the student to demonstrate the capacity to apply knowledge, skills and understandings in new contexts. Transference of skills happens all the time in our classrooms. We just have to recognise when this happens as part of our assessment of students.

The flyer passed on to us by Denise (email 7.6.12 ‘Explaining ‘new contexts’ at ‘C’ level in the DECD Reporting Resource’) gives some examples of what ‘new context’ means. Here are two of those examples:

In Year 5 science, for instance, students are asked to classify substances according to their observable properties and behaviours. If the original learning occurred in relation to natural substances, the ability to apply classification processes to manufactured substances would constitute applying this learning ‘in new contexts’.

‘In Year 1 mathematics, students are asked to continue simple patterns involving numbers and objects. If the original learning occurred in the mathematics classroom with manipulatives, the ability to apply patterning processes in music will constitute applying learning in a new context.’

I would be interested to hear from staff whether or not these examples help with the question can I give a ‘D’ or a ‘C’ for the students understanding of a particular concept.


Socrative – Find out what your students know

This tool is excellent and I  will be using it in the next week or two with my stage 1 PE students. This Web tool/app allows for exactly the same type of feedback that the Activote devices provide with the IWB’s. Socrative allows you to preprepare quizzes or make up questions on the spot to find out instantly where your students are with a particular topic and use as another way of formatively assessing your students. Questions can be asked in the following formats – true/false, multiple choice and short answer questions.

To use this tool you need a wireless network, laptop or other device such as a smart phone, iPad, iPod that can connect to the wireless system you are using. For the year 11 and 12 students who always have access to laptops or certainly more so than other year levels this tool would be excellent. The teacher requires a device and so does each student participating (although I think multiple students can access one device if you don’t mind students taking it in turns). Another plus for this tool is that it does not require students to set up an account and therefore have to remember a username and password. Students connect with the teacher through a number that represents that teachers classroom (teacher provides the number to the students). Although Socrative requires students to have a device of some description it is a much easier process than the Activote devices provided by Promethean IWB’s.

Socrative also has apps for the iPhone and iPad (teacher app and student app both free). I could see this web tool working brilliantly in any class from year 1/2 up with iPads due to their ease of use.

I realise not everyone has access to laptops on a regular basis but you could use Socrative to run a quick test of your students knowledge in a computing suite or borrow 6-8 laptops and have them set up in your classroom permanently for a day so that you could get different students to do short assessment tasks for you during the day.

Check out the video below to see how Socrative works.