Short and Curly

SHORT & CURLY ABC Radio Podcasts is a fast-paced fun-filled ethics podcast for kids , with questions and ideas to really get them thinking. It asks curly questions about animals, technology, school, pop culture and the future.

These podcasts are a great way to get your students to discuss questions that have no easy answers. There are 16 different topics including:

  • Should we ban lollies?
  • Should celebrities keep it real?
  • Do you have to love your sibling?
  • Is Dumbledore as great as he seems?
  • Should you move to Mars?
  • Children under the microscope: the ethics of science
  • Is it ever ok to fight back against a bully?

Go to the Short & Curly podcast site to see all the topics.

Is Pokemon Go playing you?

Who gets saved first in a fire?

Is it ever ok to lie?

PBAS Stem 2 – Redeveloping the use of IT spaces

The previous STEM post (12th September) discussed what STEM was and how it could look at a classroom level. You can read this post here. In this STEM post I want to discuss the IT spaces in our school.

A range of discussions have occurred during this year specifically about redefining the spaces we have dedicated to IT. This has mostly occurred at leadership and within the Teaching and Learning SIP group. What is needed now is the input of all staff who have a stake in using these spaces and ideas about how they could service the learning needs of our students more effectivley.

The ideas in this post are just that, ideas. Nothing is final and everything is up for discussion. Including the obvious one (as you will see below) – do we need a canteen?

Below is a plan that shows the current Year 12 room, Computer Suite 1 and the canteen. The plan includes the following redevelopments:

Computer Suite 1

  1. The wall between computer suite 1 and the canteen is removed creating better use of the hallway (dead space). This would allow for two robotics tables to be included in the work space (one 3×1.6m and one 3x1m)
  2. Storage can be created below the robotics tables to keep robotics equipment. This equipment is currently kept in tubs on the floor of the tech room.
  3. Two LED screens (strategically placed) that show what is on the main teaching screen. This supports students who are the furthest away from the main screen allowing them to clearly see what is being discussed or shown to the class.
  4. Whiteboard walls. To the right of the main screen create a whiteboard wall that is a 3.5m long for use by the teacher or groups of students as a planning space to share ideas.

Year 12 Room

  1. The year 12 room becomes computer suite 2. This helps to centralise our computing facilities while providing an extra space (storeroom attached) for the storage of IT equipment including printer cartridges, materials for 3D printers and decal machines, paper, maker space materials and computing components used for building and designing and Bee Bots. This storage room while not in a brilliant position alleviates the need to have storage taking up space in the IT teaching areas.
  2. The wall between the two suites would have a 3-5m window installed allowing students and teachers to be visible (mostly) regardless of which room they were in. It would also provide a feeling of a more open space. This window may also have the ability to be opened (sliding panels).
  3. A new entrance door for this room would mean that classes would not need to enter the new suite 2 via suite 1.


  1. Remove all internal walls and relocate the switchboard (currently on one of the centre walls in the canteen). This would create an 8x5m classroom space.
  2. A classroom that has a flexible furniture arrangement. The tables shown in the image have 4 height adjustments so potentially all year levels could access the room, the tables can also be manipulated to change the seating configurations depending on group sizes and task requirements (each table has 2 castors for easy movement). One or two flip tables may also be considered as a way of creating more floor space when not needed but available to be used if a bigger class needed the space.
  3. This classroom could be a Maker Space. Like the current primary wet area is used for students to build and create this maker space could be a place where students can come together to use, and learn to use materials as well as develop creative projects. The important idea is that it is a place that can be used for a range of activities with changing and flexible educational goals and creative purposes. Typically the space will; 1. Foster play, exploration and group learning, 2. Encourage collaborative learning where educators and students pool their skills and knowledge and share in the tasks of teaching and learning, 3. Develop a culture of creating as opposed to consuming. Two immediate examples of learning that come to mind are the school’s Bee Bots and PicoBoards (used with Scratch programming software). Many great kits and resources are available now to help schools develop effective maker spaces.
  4. Whiteboard walls. Depending on what was most suitable creating whiteboard walls would allow for student planning, explaining and discussion of ideas.
  5. Green screen technologies on the MacBooks and iPads provide students with opportunities to produce great videos. Paint a wall in this room green (floor to ceiling). Create a moveable green floor panel that could be stored elsewhere but brought in when students required it.
  6. This classroom could potentially be home to some new technologies the school is considering. These technologies include 3D printers , a decal printer and laser cutter. There is an alcove in the bottom right of the canteen space which could house the decal printer and 3D printers. Depending on our technologies and the space available it is possible that the 3D printers could be placed in suite 1.



The x’s on the plan indicate a computer.

It would be great to have staff voice their opinion in the comments section to help generate discussion which will help this process move forward. A chance to discuss this in a staff meeting will also occur.

PBAS STEM 1 – What is STEM and what does it look like?

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) is a focus for DECD, see DECD STEM Works and the Federal Government, see Restoring the focus on STEM in schools initiative and Federal government unveils boost for maths and science in schools. It is an area we need to be prepared to develop and inspire our students in.

This is the first in a series of posts that will help us to have discussions about STEM and how we can develop this area at Port Broughton Area School. By the end of 2016 I hope every teacher involved in STEM based subjects R-10 can not only answer the following question but feels confident and supported to implement their answer.

In 2017 what STEM project will I undertake with my students?

So what is STEM?

  • The STEM approach to teaching and learning gives students the opportunity to work on challenging problems and projects.
  • It makes students aware of the connections between science, technology, engineering and maths and the importance of each to successfully solving problems in the real world.
  • It’s about a range of staff collaborating to show students the connections, for example a Year 5/6 STEM project could involve Paul contributing perspectives from maths and science while Tim provides expertise to support students with design and digital technologies.
  • Students experiment, use old and new technologies, test ideas and make and create innovative solutions to real and complex problems.
  • Real depth is given to STEM projects when partnerships are formed with local industries within the community.
  • STEM will look different across every class at every school.
  • Students identify needs and opportunities, visualise and generate ideas, plan and develop solutions and evaluate products and processes.

Information about what STEM is was provided by Jim Goodall, Maitland Area School.

What can STEM look like in the classroom?

Year 2 STEM Project

2015 ACARA STEM Connections Merici College, Canberra

Kings School Student Project

Bee Bot Art Project – This is an adult project but it does not take much imagination to see how this could be applied to a Year 1/2, 3/4 or 5/6 class. Design a piece of art created by Bee Bots!

Professional reading from Facebook and Twitter Part 13

Reading number 1

Source: You Tube

You Tube Video: How you can be good at math, and other surprising facts about learning | Jo Boaler

Posted on Twitter by  @TurraNick

Reading number 2

Blog: Teacher Solutions

Blog post: To Mark or not to Mark, that is the question

Posted on Facebook by  Karen Cornelius in the group Share Network for the Australian Curriculum, SA – SNAC SA

Reading number 3

Blog: Global Digital Citizen Foundation

Blog post: Giving Student Feedback: 7 Best Practices for Success

Posted on Facebook by  Brenton Wilson in the group TfEL Teachers’ Companion

Human Rights – Civics and Citizenship

Teaching the topic ‘Human Rights’? Then here are two great resources that provide stand alone units or will supplement programs you may already run. Click on the blue title to be taken to the website.

Youth For Human Rights

This website has a whole section for educators and provides hard copies of programs as well as digital options including an iPad app.

“The Youth for Human Rights Education Package is designed for elementary, middle and high school students. It may be used as a full course or as a supplemental resource within another curriculum.”

Youth For Human Rights Website

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Youth For Human Rights iPad App



Civics and Citizenship Education

A complete program which provides PDF handouts and links to online resources.

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Australian Curriculum Human Rights Links 7-10

Year 7 Civics and Citizenship Australian Curriculum:

  • How Australia’s legal system aims to provide justice, including through the rule of law, presumption of innocence, burden of proof, right to a fair trial and right to legal representation (ACHCK050)
  • How values, including freedom, respect, inclusion, civility, responsibility, compassion, equality and a ‘fair go’, can promote cohesion within Australian society (ACHCK052)

Year 8 Civics and Citizenship Australian Curriculum:

  • The freedoms that enable active participation in Australia’s democracy within the bounds of law, including freedom of speech, association, assembly, religion and movement (ACHCK061)

Year 9 Civics and Citizenship Australian Curriculum:

  • The key principles of Australia’s justice system, including equality before the law, independent judiciary, and right of appeal (ACHCK078)

Year 10 Civics and Citizenship Australian Curriculum:

  • The Australian Government’s role and responsibilities at a global level, for example provision of foreign aid, peacekeeping, participation in international organisations and the United Nations (ACHCK091)
  • How Australia’s international legal obligations shape Australian law and government policies, including in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ACHCK093)
  • The challenges to and ways of sustaining a resilient democracy and cohesive society (ACHCK094)