Primary Maths Association Training and Development Term 1 and 2 2012

The PMA offers good training and development for staff directly linked to the Australian Curriculum. A large range of options to choose from for term 1 and 2 are now available. If you see something you like you may need to ring the PMA as I noticed some locations were missing for workshops. Go to the link below to access the PDF flyer from the PMA. I haven’t checked yet but if we have any PMSS funding left the school may (I say may) be able to assist with cost.

Please note as this is a Google Docs link it will not work at school. Sorry, tried to unblock Google Docs but it would not work.

PMA Training Term 1 and 2 2012

Why is Finland’s education system No.1 in the world?

If you can spare 20 minutes to watch this  TED Talk by Alan Lishness he will share with you some insight into how a great educational system runs. It takes about 8-9 minutes to get into the guts of the talk but it is interesting to hear him talk about how the Finnish system compares to the U.S. which ranks number 26 in the world compared with Finland at number 1.

What are the 5 key things that seperate the Finnish system to the American (Australian) system? You will admire (and like) these 5 things.

Other links:

Finland’s formula for success

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success”.

The Finnish approach to education reform.


Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher is a Cameron Diaz movie released last year about a terrible teacher. The Knox Professional Learning Blog has deconstructed a scene from the movie explaining all the poor methodology used by the main character Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz). Have a watch and see if it helps you reflect on your teaching. Are there some things that she (the teacher) does that we do on a smaller scale? Maybe when we are in a bad mood, stressed, unhappy, or our focus is elsewhere?

Lesson obs Demo Deconstruction REAP from Knox Grammar School on Vimeo.

Australian Curriculum & TfEL Staff Meeting Wed Week 1

Our first scheduled staff meeting for the AC and TfEL is Wednesday 1/2. Below is an outline of how this meeting time and future AC/TfEL meeting times will run. As teaching staff are involved in a range of activities from AC science R-7, AC science 8-10, AC history 8-10 and TfEL we will not meet as a whole group. I’m suggesting that each group meets in their own area and gets straight into it. Below is an outline of how this might look – if you would like/need to change this you will need to catch the staff you are working with and arrange any changes with them.

Australian Curriculum Term 1

R-7 science familiarisation – All R-7 teaching staff. This group is up to looking at the Achievement Standards. Each teacher will get a copy of these and associated questions in pigeon holes to provide some structure to the discussion. Kim/Paul work together and JP teachers work together? Work in primary classrooms.

8-10 science familiarisation – Tanya and Allan. Will get the Year 8-10 curriculum in pigeon holes to bring to the meeting. Work in science lab.

8-10 History – Justin, Rosalie and Nick. Will get Year 8-10 curriculum in pigeon holes to bring to the meeting. Work in Justin’s room.


I will meet quickly with all staff to quickly chat about this process and help to answer any questions teachers may have.


All teaching staff not involved in the Australian Curriculum process.



What will I need?

SA TfEL Framework Guide

SA TfEL Review Tools Handbook


What will I be doing during the semester?

  1. Read page 8 which shows the overview of the entire TfEL review process.
  2. Read pages 9-13 which outlines working independently – you may want to be in a room with someone else to bounce thoughts, questions, and ideas off them.
  3. Undertake the ‘Personal Reflection’ process outlined on page 10. This is an individual activity but you may wish to work in a room with someone else in case you wish to clarify something.
  4. Undertake the ‘Reviewing Your Practice’ process outlined on page 11. This is an individual activity but you may wish to work in a room with someone else in case you wish to clarify something.
  5. Once this process is completed you will need to make some decisions about what Domains – Elements of TfEL you feel are areas for improvement. You may wish to prioritise these so that you can then select the most pressing/interesting/needed area for improvement.
  6. At this point you will need to undertake some research into the area you have chosen. Start with the DVD but also look for your own resources. This is where communication between staff will become important. If others know what you are doing they may be able to offer resources or help.

Remember that you will be required to include something relating to TfEL in your Performance Plan and also eventually share with staff in the middle of term 2 and at the end of term 3.

The above will require staff to lead their own learning with the support of colleagues. I hope the process is a useful one.

Process for investigating the Australian Curriculum

Process for Investigating the Australian Curriculum

What will you need?

  • The Australian Curriculum website
  • A hard copy of your subject content on A3 paper with space to write notes (Nick will provide this).
  • Some work samples from your own students

What is the

  • What does  your (or the schools) program in this subject area currently look like? Describe how it looks in your classroom including structures, topics, assessment, reporting etc.. This would be a broad overview in note form.
  • Australian Curriculum: Investigate the AC subject content (requires time to investigate the Australian Curriculum and compare it with your current program).

IMPORTANT to do this
properly you will need to go on the website and open the ELABORATIONS.

    • What do I currently teach that is not required?
    • What do I do that is required?
    • What is new that I have never taught before?


  • How will I (can I) make the Australian Curriculum work in a composite classroom? At present there is no magic bullet to make this work. It is up to the teacher and school to make it work as best we can in our context.


  • Achievement Standards/Work Samples
    • Have a look at the Work Sample Portfolio for your subject/year level. This will have multiple samples within it. Each sample is supposed to represent a satisfactory result.
    • Will the assessment tasks I currently use allow my students to meet the Achievement Standard?
    • Will the assessment tasks I currently use allow my students to meet the Achievement Standard to a high
    • Compare the work sample portfolios from the AC website with our own student samples. Have some
      discussion around this.

      • Do we consider them above or below the standard our students would be expected to achieve at a particular
        year level (the portfolio samples are at a satisfactory standard)?
      • How do we assess and provide an A-E or word equivalent result based on the Achievement Standard? What tells us
        an ‘A’ or ‘Excellent’ is justified for a piece of work?

        • Using current work samples and discussing our expectations as a group to arrive at some common understandings about what makes an ‘Excellent’ piece of work. Similar to a moderation process used at Years 11/12. Have a go at marking work using the Achievement Standards and discuss within your group.
        • Have a go at creating some assessment tasks using the Achievement Standards. Select an assessable element
          from the content and create a task that uses the Achievement Standards to assess this.

What is so great about schools in Finland?

Lately I have read a few different articles on Finland and its Education system. Described as a model of a thriving, innovative education system that focuses on students the Finish system is being held up as one of the leading education systems in the world. Interestingly it does not match closely with the UK, US or dare I say it Australia’s system which seems focused on places like the UK and US. We have NAPLAN, the My Schools Website and in the near future (2014) our first performance paid teachers. Some of the key features of the Finish system are:

  • No private schools
  • High level administrators have worked as teachers
  • They don’t focus on tests
  • Teaching is revered
  • They trust teachers

From the final paragraph

“You know, one big difference in thinking about education and the whole discourse is that in the U.S. it’s based on a belief of competition,” Sahlberg said. “In my country, we are in education because we believe in cooperation and sharing. Cooperation is a core starting point for growth.”

Does our system encourage sharing and cooperation or competition?

Read the full article by Tina Barseghian here.

How do you handle change?

Education is going through some significant changes at the moment. A new curriculum and a more intense focus on pedagogy and teacher performance. The Federal Government (rightly or wrongly) wants to reward high performing teachers, they want to rate teachers on a yearly basis using the newly formed Professional Standards for Teachers that focus on our pedagogy. As well as these “system” based changes there are those changes that are occurring because they are part of our and our students daily lives. Web 2.0, iPhones, iPads, Android Tablets, educational apps, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Cloud technology, online gaming ……. it can be all a bit overwhelming.

So considering all of the rapid changes occurring in education at the moment how do you see the next 5 years in education? How will you handle all the change?

I like the following quote about change, I think it sums up nicely that fear we have when we are between the comfortable and the new.

It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear… It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to. ~ Marilyn Ferguson

Here is an interesting blog post by Canadian teacher Joe Bower on change. The lizard brain, ninjas and pedagogy

Australian Curriculum Work Sample Portfolios

ACARA has returned the work samples to the Australian Curriculum website. Some improvement has been made with a portfolio of work samples available instead of just one as was originaly provided. The samples provided show achievement to a satisfactory level. As the Australian Curriculum is used throughout schools in 2012 these samples will be updated and improved on as samples are collected from teachers teaching the AC.

“These initial work sample portfolios do not constitute a complete set of work samples – they provide evidence of most (but not necessarily all) aspects of the achievement standard”. ACARA

Just a quick glance shows that the number of samples varies depending on the subject and year level, for example there are 4 samples in the Year 1 science portfolio, 8 samples in the Year 10 science portfolio and 6 samples in the Year 1 English portfolio.

These samples will be important in the familiarisation process and hopefully provide some insight into how to assess against the Achievement Standards.

If you are interested I have provided some links to a few portfolios so you can quickly check them out.

Year 1 English portfolio

Year 5 English portfolio

Year 9 English portfolio

Reception science portfolio

Year 3 science portfolio

Year 10 science portfolio

Year 2 maths portfolio

Year 4 maths portfolio

Year 7 maths portfolio

PBAS Programing 2012

In 2011 PBAS developed a common programing proforma. This process involved:

  • Discussion as to why this was needed and how the proforma would look as an R-12 workable document.
  • Discussion time was given late term 2 during R-5 and 6-12 meetings to discuss proforma.
  • Term 3 was used as a ‘trial’ for staff to try out the proforma. Some staff programs were placed in the staffroom so teachers could see how others had used them.
  • At the end of term 3 discussion occured at a whole staff meeting about positives and negatives of the process.
  • Leadership made the decision to use the proformas in 2012.

Process for Programing 2012

Step 1

Access planning proforma and complete programs by week 2 of each term. Programs can be completed as term or semester programs. Access the programing proforma on this site through the link on the side bar – this will take you to Google Docs. When it opens click on FILE – DOWNLOAD AS – WORD – OPEN then save to your own files.

Step 2

Save program to the CURRICULUM folder in the admin drive. Save in the appropriate subject and year level folder using the following format to save your document YearTermSubjectYearLevel.

Step 3

Print and place in the leaver arch folder situated in the staffroom under the correct subject area.


A double sided A4 document will be in pigeon holes to remind staff of this process as well as why the process is important.