Australian Curriculum Lessons – Website

Here is a resource for teachers that provides lessons that are specifically designed around the Australian Curriculum. The subject areas covered by this site include English, maths, science, history and the arts. Year levels range from Foundation (Reception) to Year 10. I am assuming the web site has only been around since last year so not every subject area in every year level has lesson plans in it. English and maths have the most lessons while lessons are being added regularly (I noticed one uploaded on the 26th January 2013).

Lessons are split up into sections which include Summary, Australian Curriculum Links, Lesson, Assessment and Resources. I have had enough of a look through this site to highly recommend that you should look through it and add this site to your favourites list for future reference.

The home page shows the latest lessons uploaded across all subject areas and you can go back through all the lessons in this way or you can click on the subject area and year level at the top of the web page. The home page also shows links to popular lessons, lesson tags i.e. maths games and a search bar. You can also follow Australian Curriculum Lessons on Twitter at @AusLessons.

I would like to mention one specific lesson called Reciprocal Reading Groups Lesson. The reason is that reciprocal teaching was ranked number 9 out of 138 on John Hattie’s list of influences on student learning. Click here to view post on John Hattie. The lesson provides two great resources, one of which is a Power Point that outlines how reciprocal reading works. So for staff at PBAS who may have wondered how reciprocal teaching worked here is a great explanation applied to a reading lesson (series of lessons). Click here to view this lesson.

To go to the website home page click here.

John Hattie – What really works?

As a follow up to what was presented on Thursday for staff I have decided to put the video we watched into a post plus expand on some of the things that are in Hattie’s list. The video I showed was a slightly edited version I created in iMovie of the two videos below, in total they are about 3 minutes longer.

Part 1

Part 2


The information below is taken from “Visible Learning by John Hattie (2009) summary by Gerry Miller (North Tyneside EAZ Consultant). Click here to visit a site that has this summary in the form of a link at the bottom of the web page.

The first one that I am going to mention is homework. Homework is not in Hattie’s top 30 and has an overall effect size of .29 and listed at number 88 out of 138. The reason I am putting it in is because of the variance Hattie found between primary school and high school. In primary school the effect size is.15 while at secondary school the effect size is .64 placing it inside the top 20. In the video Hattie mentions that surface level homework is more effective than deep level homework and that homework of more than one hour is less effective.

Another not inside the top 30 but ranked at number 42 with an effect size of .52 is classroom management. I mention this one because there are areas within classroom management that rank exceptionally high by themselves, they include:

  • Teachers ability to identify and act quickly on potential problems. Effect size 1.42
  • Effective disciplinary interventions. Effect size .91
  • Teacher retains emotional objectivity. Effect size .71

Number 1 – Self-reported grades (effect size 1.44)

This influence on learning comes from the student. It is not something teachers have direct control over, but we could influence it. Self-reported grades is when a student predicts their performance based on past achievement. If the student prediction is set to low then it is highly likely their achievement will reflect this. On the flip side if the classroom environment involves the student in goal setting with achievable short term and medium targets to achieve the goal(s) then their predictions are likely to be higher.

Number 4 – Micro Teaching (effect size .88)

Micro teaching is when analysis and reflective teaching occurs often through video taped lessons. It requires peer involvement in the process and discussion with peers about what occurred during the lessons.

Number 8 Teacher clarity (effect size .75)

Communicating clearly the intentions and what success means within a lesson contributed to significant student learning. Organization, explanation, examples, guided practice and clarity of speech from the teacher where prerequisites for teacher clarity.

Number 9 Reciprocal teaching (effect size .74)

This is an instructional process designed to teach students cognitive strategies that could lead to improved learning. Teaching strategies that involve summarising, questioning, clarifying and predicting supported by dialogue between teacher and student. Students take it in turns being the ‘teacher’, with the teacher and student taking it in turns leading discussion so that students are exposed to repeated modelling by the teacher.

Number 10 Feedback (effect size .73)

This is one of the most powerful influences on learning for both teacher and student. Understanding what is quality feedback is important for it to be successful. Feedback is only really effective if it follows up effective instruction. Feedback that focuses on the personal i.e. “You are a great student” is rarely effective in increasing achievement. Task orientated feedback is more powerful.

Number 11 – Teacher student relationship (effect size .72)

The ability for the teacher to develop trust within the classroom between teacher and student and student to student is key to students feeling comfortable in making mistakes. The highest effect sizes within teacher student relationship came from empathy, warmth and encouraging higher order thinking.

Number 19 – Professional development (effect size .62)

The four most effective methods of improving teacher knowledge and behaviour were:

  • Observation
  • Micro teaching (see above)
  • Video/audio feedback
  • Practice

Key to these being successful were – learning over an extended time (not one off), using external experts, challenging teachers, teachers talking to teachers about teaching, opportunities provided to process new information.

Number 26 Direct instruction (effect size .59)

Direct instruction involves having clear learning intentions for the lesson, , ‘hooking’ students into the lesson, modelling, checking for understanding, providing opportunity for students to practice, teacher time to review and clarify and an opportunity for independent practice.

Number 29 Mastery Learning (effect size .58)

This means students learn effectively when provided with:

  • Clear expectations of what it means to master the material.
  • High levels of collaboration (i.e. not competitive).
  • High levels of teacher feedback.
  • The ability to independently self correct.
  • Seeing mistakes as a learning experience.

Number 30 Worked Examples (effect size .57)

Worked examples that demonstrate to students what success looks like are very powerful for assisting student learning. With problem solving, worked examples can be used to reduce stress over what the completed product/task looks like allowing students to focus on the processes that lead to the answer.


These are only a selected few of Hattie’s 138 influences on learning. If you would like to view all 138 and their effect sizes click here.

I hope that after Thursday’s presentation and then having the opportunity to review again through this post that we begin to deeply consider the methods that we use in the classroom. Hopefully something has sparked your interest. Is there something that you could focus on improving during this year with the help of your peers?



Educational Apps Part 12 – Visual Arts

I have always enjoyed art and drawing in particular. The iPad has provided the ability for artists of all ages to practice and create art works using a wide variety of mediums without the expense of have to purchase art supplies. Don’t get me wrong, there is no iPad app out there that can replace using the real thing whether that be a lead pencil, oil paints or water colours. And while I don’t think that an iPad should replace traditional materials I do think there is a place for using an iPad in art. My reasons are:

1. There are times when we do not have time to get out messy materials which we have to clean and pack up.

2. There are times when we do not have the space to spread out art materials for a whole class.

3. If we can do more art, because the iPad affords us more time i.e. less mess and setting /packing up then all the better for our students.

4. Students can use the iPads to plan out a piece of artwork that can then be done with traditional materials.

5. Use apps that are instructional (like ‘How to Draw’). Sit the iPad alongside the pencil and paper and use video to help students learn drawing techniques.

A final recommendation would be that while all art works in these apps can be produced with fingers controlling  the brush, pencil etc it is much more effective to use a stylus allowing for a more traditional feel of having a brush or pencil in the hand.


Brushes (free)





This is a great free app. You can upgrade the app for $2.99 which allows you to produce layers allowing for more control and detailed art work. I have used this app without the layers function and found it excellent. The app allows for colour selection, undo, redo, erase, adjust brush width as well as a huge range of brush techniques that can all be individually adjusted. Adjustments that can be made to the type of brush stroke include density and intensity among others. The art work can be enlarged so that fine details can be painted.  Another great feature once an art work is completed is being able to play back a video of the art work as it was created step by step. Below is a painting that I created using the free version of brushes while below that is a video demonstrating how the app plays back the step by step creation of a painting.











Art Set ($0.99)





This app also allows students to create detailed art works. Unlike brushes which is purely a painting app Art Set has a range of mediums including crayon, oil paints, coloured pencil, oil pastel and texta. Art Set also allows the artist to enlarge the image to create detailed drawings. There are some limitations to this app which include only a certain number of undos and brush strokes are limited to one size.


Draw Free (free!)





This is more of a fun app than a serious drawing app like Brushes or Art Set. It has a large number of backgrounds including holiday themes, famous people, colour selections, styles plus you can add your own photos. Backgrounds can be coloured and drawn over and then removed leaving the drawing and colouring done by the student. Students can also draw freely in the app using a brush, pencil or crayon. The app allows for the widths of these to be adjusted and there is a rubber function. Students can also apply stickers to their art works from the 40 available within the app.

The image below is of the ‘Elvis’ background which I painted using the Fill (bucket) function.










How to Draw

How to Draw is a free app that has a collection of You Tube videos in it teaching students how to draw using pencil. Videos cover shading techniques, cartoon faces, eyes, perspective, faces and more. If this app cost money I would not recommend it but as it is free it is a starting point for using video to assist students to draw. There are a huge range of how to draw videos on You tube and there is nothing to stop you from getting students to find their own how to videos. The ones in this app are just a small selection.

Another History Resource

I was listening to the radio the other night and they were interviewing a lady from the National Library of Australia. She was focussing in the interview on Genealogy; but remarked how amazing the NLA site was.

Anyway, I have been on for a look and what a recource it appears to be. Contains SO much rich Australian history and real-world documents which trace all things Australian and much, much more (I sound like an NLA employee!).


Anyway, it looks fantastic and can be seen at:


Check it out!


Educational Apps Part 11 – History & Geography

Here are some useful apps for history and geography. I have found a lot of great looking free apps which require in app purchases to access vital content. I have left these out for now as in app purchasing (at our school) will be something we need to discuss as part of our iPad use policy further down the track.

Important – Apple has an ‘Apple in Education’ page on its website which has a fairly broad selection of apps under the following headings: English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, History & Geography, Language Development, Art/Music & Creativity, Reference/Productivity & Creativity, Accessability (special needs). Click here to visit this page.

Barefoot World Atlas  ($5.49)






Of all the apps mentioned in this post this is probably the nicest design and has great user appeal.  It is an interactive 3D world that has a huge range of information for students to investigate. The app encourages students to rotate the 3D world which is covered with all sorts of animals, buildings, people etc. When a student clicks on an object the app names the object and offers an audio recording explaining the object in more detail. Countries flags are displayed and when a student taps on a country general information is displayed including population, land mass etc. An option to compare countries in a variety of areas also exsists. If you wanted to take your students on a trip around the world so they could discover new things then this app would be perfect.



Earth 101 ($1.99)






Very similiar to Barefoot World Atlas but not quite as detailed. It does however have some good features including lots of man made strutures from the Colosseum to modern buildings like the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai (worlds tallest building). The app also allows for temperatures to be added for all major cities which is a nice function when comparing weather conditions around the globe. The weather feature also shows day/night/snow/cloud/sun/rain etc. A good app to use in conjunction with the Barefoot World Atlas as together they provide a broader range of information about our world.


Kid’s World Maps (free)






A ‘flat’ view of the world the same as a traditional atlas. The app allows for 6 different views: political, cities, physical, deserts, mountains and rivers. When the map is enlarged more detail appear including borders, cities and water ways.


Globe for iPad (free)






A simple easy to use 3D globe. Great for younger students. Simple information shown including borders and country names. When students tap on a country they are taken to information about that country including flag, coat of arms, recognised languages, ethnic groups, history, geography, politics, demographics, culture and much more.


World Atlas National Geographic ($1.99)





A great app that provides exceptional detail when zooming in. To the point where I was able to zoom in from a picture of the 3D globe to a  the city streets of Adelaides CBD including street names (internet connection and speed is important when doing this). The app allows for a quick search of all nations and territories and provides basic information about them.


Google Earth (free)






Not as powerful as the PC version but none the less an excellent resource on the iPad.


Stack Countries ($1.99)






A game to help students learn about countries. The game can be made to be quite hard or easier. The player has the option to deselect capitals, continents, languages, border countries, cities, landmarks, flags and country shapes which impacts on the types of questions the game asks. Students can also focus on the whole world or a particular continent.


iLearn Continents and Oceans (free)






This app has 3 sections: Learn, Game and Test. A fairly simple app that develops student knowledge about the continents and oceans.


205 National Anthems, Maps, Flags, Facts ($1.99)






Educational interactive global map marked with each countries flag. Quizzes about anthems and flags as well as the world factbook offering lots of information about each country.


Cracking World (free)






View data on earthquake activity for up to the last 30 days. What is an earthquake? Plus 6 useful videos on earthquakes.


World War 2 Interactive ($5.49)






A comprehensive resource on WW2. The app includes video, images and speeches from WW2 as well as comprehensive written information. You can get a free version to see what you think of it before upgrading to the full version.


Timeline Eons ($9.99)






An expensive app that serves only a single purpose but does it quite well. A timeline of the entire worlds history. You even have the option to add in events to the timeline which is a quality function. Students could add in their birth dates, important local, state and national dates that are not included on the original timeline. This allows students to see what major world events coincided with the events they have entered. Each image on the timeline is also linked to the Internet so that further information can be obtained. You can get a free version to trial before committing to the paid version.


Pyramids 3D ($14.99)






Explore the pyramids and tombs of ancient Egypt. Enter and wander the tombs and passage ways. Examine wall paintings and interact with a variety of objects. There is also an accompanying interactive book.


Virtual History – Roma ($9.49)






3D exploration of ancient Rome. Visit the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus, Hadrians Mausoleum and many other places of significant importance in ancient Rome. This app has many innovative and interactive functions and all you could wish to know about this ancient civilisation.