Professional Reading from Facebook and Twitter Part 10

Reading number 1

Blog: Teacher Solutions

Blog post: What’s teacher resistance all about?

Posted on Facebook (TfEL Teachers Companion group) by Karen Cornelius

Reading number 2

Blog: Practical theory: A view from the school house

Blog post: Professional development a collective wisdom

Posted on Twitter by @chrislehmann 

Reading number 3

Blog: Edutopia

Blog post: Student-Led Conferences: Empowerment and Ownership

Posted on Twitter by @gregwhitby


“Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference.”

Listen to the following two podcasts which discuss Mindset (from MindshiftKQED). The first is how teachers at Arroyo High, California are using Mindset as a way to improve their student learning. The second is a student’s experience with Mindset and how this affected her outlook.

Understanding spelling

Spelling is a hard concept to learn for many children, with 42 basic phonetic sounds and 44 in total and over 250 ways to spell these sounds it is a hard skill to master.

Spelling is considered a much harder skill than reading to develop for the following reasons. Firstly because we spend more time reading than we do spelling, secondly it is easier to recognise a word than it is to reproduce it and thirdly there are more possible spellings for most words than there are possible ways to read them.

“Think about this for a minute: If you can spell a word you can read it, but being able to read a word does not guarantee you can spell it.” KELLI SANDMAN-HURLEY, Sep 29, 2015

So if spelling is a difficult skill to master how can we improve our ability to teach it? The following two posts discuss the concepts of:

  • Swapping the letter wall for a phoneme wall
  • Teaching the story of the word (etymology) 
  • Making spelling lists out of related words 

Dyslexia and Spelling: The Chicken or the Egg?

Making sense of words that don’t

Video – Making sense of spelling

Gallipoli – the first day


The iPad app Gallipoli – the first day is a great resource with some excellent interactive features including video, audio, interviews and information about the units that served in the campaign and the weapons they used. Through the use of dioramas, animation and narration, you can see the first day of the Gallipoli landing and all its major events (about 15-20mins). You can also go deeper into each event and understand what it was like for the soldiers involved.

There is also an online version which can be accessed here. The online version has the same information, but the quality of the animation is not quite as good as the iPad app – still a great resource for students.

One of the engaging aspects of the iPad app is that it allows students to create an account by entering their name which tracks their progress through the app. As students complete different aspects of the app they achieve various medals and military ranks.

I came across this resource (produced by the ABC) while looking for information on the Australian Curriculum Lessons website to use with my Year 9/10 history class this coming term. I would highly recommend this website if you are looking for lesson ideas linked to the Australian Curriculum.

For teachers at PBAS this app has been put onto the class set of iPads.


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Shifting pedagogy

The following video is from the Teaching and Learning in South Australia You Tube Channel. The video is a presentation by Val Westwall from the Teaching for Effective Learning team, DECD.

The presentation explores traditional pedagogy and the shift required to change the way our students think about the content required by the Australian Curriculum. While the example that is presented in the video is a maths one the concept of shifting pedagogy is easily transferable to any curriculum area.

The screenshot below shows four ways in which pedagogy can be shifted to improve student learning. The two that are circled are addressed in the video.

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“The way that we get students thinking about the content makes a difference”. Val Westwall.

Teacher-instructed: students are passive – no thinking required. We tell students what it is we are about to teach, we explain why it is important and we show them how. We then ask students to regurgitate that information in some form.

Student constructed: open-ended questioning causing students to think. Develop transferable skills while still teaching the core content. Develop skills outside of the core content i.e. collaboration, developing opinion, justifying opinion, convincing others their opinion is the right one, proving/disproving, transfer.

Where are you as a teacher? Are your students passive in their learning? Are your students actively engaged in their learning? Do you cause your students to think?

“There is some information I just need to tell them because you can’t reason it, but there is a whole heap of the maths curriculum that actually if we ask the right questions our students can reason and construct their knowledge for themselves”. Val Westwall

The video is 24 minutes long but is worth watching and will make you think deeply about how you teach. How will you approach that first lesson of a new topic in week 1 of term 4?