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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Computer Science Unplugged

Want to teach digital technologies to your class but not sure were to start? Maybe this website can help you. Computer Technologies Unplugged is a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around. It requires no access to computers!

The website is suitable for lower primary aged students through to senior students and provides a downloadable book, activities and a wide range of videos to support the teacher in the classroom.

Below is a video example of an activity that supports students learning about Finite-State Automata (a Finite-State Automata follows a set of instructions to see if the computer will recognise the word or string of symbols). Sounds complicated but once you view the video it becomes clear. Click here to see the PDF of the activity that goes with this video (for ages 9 and up).

Thanks to Graham Cox who alerted me to this great resource.

Australian Curriculum Lesson Plans


I have talked about this website in the past and thought it was timely to put it out there again for teachers who are planning for the second half of the year. The website covers:

English – Foundation to Year 10

Maths – Foundation to Year 10

Science – Foundation to Year 10

History – Foundation to Year 10

Arts – Foundation to Year 10

Note: Some year levels/subjects have limited units of work available.

What made me come back to this resource was a personal need to find resources and information about the Year 9 History unit I am teaching this semester. I have already found a brilliant Gallipoli resource I will definitely be using it with my 9/10 class when we do our depth study on WW1. Below are screen shots of my Year 9 History search on the website.

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All units on the site are directly linked to the Australian Curriculum and provide downloadable lesson plans and links to resources. Even if a lesson plan doesn’t suit your specific needs you may find new resources that you can use with your existing programs.







Teaching Spelling


Teaching spelling is certainly not my area of expertise. Having said this and putting all jokes about PE teachers aside I would like to present the following information to get those of you who explicitly teach spelling to think about how you go about teaching spelling and what strategies you use.

Current research literature outlines some instructional approaches that are recommended as being effective for developing students’ spelling, including the integration of multiple spelling strategies and word sort activities (Bear, Templeton, Invernizzi & Johnston, 2008; Fellowes & Oakley, 2010; Kelman & Apel, 2004). These approaches encourage the incorporation of four types of spelling knowledge that can form the base for children becoming competent spellers. These types of knowledge include phonological, visual, morphemic and etymological knowledge (Fellowes & Oakley, 2010). However, as stated, this information is often largely unknown by many teachers. University of Tasmania, Learning to Spell: An Examination of Year 4 Teachers’ Beliefs, Knowledge and Practices for the Teaching of Spelling. Caitlin E. Kennedy (Honours, Bachelor of Education), 2014

Research from The University of Tasmania shows gaps exists between the recommended teaching pedagogies within the research literature and the practices implemented by teachers within the classroom, particularly in the middle primary years.

Read the research paper here: Learning to Spell: An Examination of Year 4 Teachers’ Beliefs, Knowledge and Practices for the Teaching of Spelling

  • Phonological Knowledge: Refers to “how words sound”. This involves the awareness of words in oral language and the unit of sound that they are formed with, including syllables, onsets and rimes, and phonemes. For example, recognising the separate sounds of /c/, /a/ and /t/ in the word ‘cat’.
  • Visual Knowledge: Refers to “how words look”. This involves an understanding of the written language, including concepts of print, the alphabet, spelling patterns, and the relationship between letters and sounds.
  • Morphemic Knowledge: Refers to “how words change form”. This concerns the structure of words, and how morphemes can be composed together to create a word. It requires understanding of morphemes, root words, prefixes and suffixes, compound words, and spelling rules.
  • Etymological Knowledge: Refers to “where words come from”. It involves an understanding of the origin of words, including those that are derived from other languages.

View the following videos from the Teaching the Australian Curriculum English website. The videos explain aspects of the four types of knowledge that research suggests is required to be a competent speller.

The teachers and students in the videos are very well drilled. Once you get passed the staged nature of some of the videos there is some good information about the explicit teaching of spelling.

View Visual spelling knowledge – Year 2

View Phonological spelling knowledge – Year 2

View Morphemic spelling knowledge – Year 4

View Etymological spelling knowledge – Year 5

View Morphemic spelling – Nominalisation – Year 8

View Etymological spelling knowledge – Year 10


Student Free Day Week 6 Term 4 2014

On Monday 17th November part of our student free day (9:30 – 11:00) will be allocated to the Australian Curriculum and specifically the Phase 2 subjects HPE, The Arts, Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business, Design Technologies and Digital Technologies.

Those staff not directly involved in the implementation of Phase two subjects will be using this time to work on mapping and resourcing their curriculum areas. Tanya and Justin will be working with the English curriculum on work they began earlier in the year while Joelene and Allan will be working together on the science curriculum. All other teaching staff will be able to focus on the Phase 2 subject of their choice. All AC materials will be provided but it would be useful for teachers to bring current programs in the area they wish to investigate.

Teachers will be investigating and answering the following questions in relation to their chosen subject area:

  1. What do I currently do or have done that is required by the Australian Curriculum at this year level?
  2. What do I currently teach or have taught that is not required by the Australian Curriculum at this year level?
  3. What is new to me that I have never taught at this year level?
  4. Do the assessment tasks I currently do allow my students to achieve the Performance Standard and content descriptors to a high level?

While no doubt staff have begun to look at their Phase 2 subject(s) this session will provide some time to go deeper into the content. For primary staff it will allow time to engage with an area they may not have had time to consider or look at in any depth. Work will need to continue beyond this day in staff meetings and into next year with regards to Phase two subjects.

The Review of the Australian Curriculum – Government Response

Professor Ken Wiltshire and Dr. Kevin Donnelly were appointed by the Federal Government to conduct an independent review of the Australian Curriculum. This review has been completed and its findings have been released this month. Read the full report here. You can view the initial response by the Australian Government here. The information below is a summary of this document.

The Australian Government’s initial response to this Review encompasses five themes: (i) resolving the overcrowded curriculum, (ii) improving parental engagement around the curriculum, (iii) improving accessibility for all students (iv) rebalancing the curriculum and (v) reviewing the governance of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

1) The Overcrowded Curriculum – The Australian Government supports the Review recommendations relating to overcrowding in the curriculum. We must deal with the overcrowding of the curriculum as a matter of priority. Overcrowding means that teachers are finding it difficult to implement the Australian Curriculum and cover all the content in each subject. There are 4 recommendations listed to reduce overcrowding of the curriculum on page 7 (view here).

2. Improving Parental Engagement Around The Curriculum – Improved parent engagement means that parents have a better understanding of the teacher’s job and school curriculum. When parents are aware of what their children are learning, they are more likely to engage with their children’s learning activities at home. There is one recommendation listed to improve parental engagement on page 8 (view here).

3. Improving Accessibility For All Students – The Review heard evidence that the linear progression of the Australian Curriculum makes it difficult for children operating at below Foundation level and as a result the curriculum is not accessible for the students with additional needs. Parents of the students with additional needs are saying this was not what was promised and that the Australian Curriculum has lost credibility with them. Schools have a clear responsibility to address the learning needs of every one of their students. To better support schools in this endeavour, the Australian Curriculum needs more work to cater for student diversity. There is one recommendation listed to improve accessibility for all students on page 9 (view here).

4. Rebalancing The Curriculum – The Review highlighted that, to varying degrees, learning areas placed a strong focus on some content whilst sometimes completely neglecting other content. The Review’s Final Report has also listed recommendations for changes in the content for each subject area – these are covered in Chapter 7 of the Final Report and cover English, mathematics, history, science, geography, civics and citizenship, technologies, economics and business and lastly, health and physical education. There are two recommendations listed to improve rebalancing the curriculum on page 10 (view here).

5. Reviewing The Governance Of ACARA – Some of the recommendations of this Review go to the role, function and governance of ACARA. The Review identified concerns from some stakeholders that ACARA played the role of both developer and evaluator of the Australian Curriculum. There are two recommendations listed to improve rebalancing the curriculum on page 11 & 12 (view here).

What did I find interesting? The information below is taken from the report itself and not the Government’s response to the review.

  • Recommended that ACARA reduce content and narrow the “core” particularly in primary years.
  • Foundation to year 2 should have a stronger focus on literacy and numeracy.
  • Embed Cross Curriculum Priorities (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia, and sustainability) into areas only where educationally relevant.
  • General Capabilities (Literacy, Numeracy & ICT) remain embedded across all curriculum areas while all other Capabilities only appear in relevant areas of the curriculum.
  • ACARA develop a smaller, parent-friendly version of the Australian Curriculum which clearly explains the intended curriculum a child will be learning in each year they are at school.
  • ACARA make it more clear what is considered mandatory and what is optional in the curriculum.
  • Recommendation to revise the AC to better include emphasis on morals, values & spirituality and better recognise contribution of Western civilisation and our Judeo-Christian heritage.

So there you have it. I wonder how much the current curriculum will change based on this review? Will it be significant or will it end up being just a tinker around the edges?

Connecting students to the community

Graham Cox (Secondary AC officer) passed on the following resource. A site that allows you to connect your students to the community. Take your students outside the school, go on an excursion, broaden your students understanding of topics by using this site to plan a trip to Adelaide.

Outreach Education – Connecting with the community

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Outreach Education is a team of Department for Education and Child Development specialist teachers based in a number of public organisations.

We create quality learning experiences for early to senior years educators and students by bringing together curriculum requirements, effective teaching and learning techniques and the unique resources available at these sites:

  • Adelaide Botanic Garden
  • Adelaide Festival Centre
  • Adelaide Zoo
  • Art Gallery of South Australia
  • CSIRO Education
  • Law Courts
  • Migration Museum
  • Monarto Zoo
  • Parliament House
  • SA Water
  • South Australian Maritime Museum
  • South Australian Museum
  • Windmill Theatre”

All programs provided by this initiative are run by DECD specialist teachers who can assist classroom teachers on how their program fits with the Australian Curriculum and TfEL.

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At PBAS this term Jackie and Paul have introduced Coding into their classrooms challenging their students to think creatively, problem solve and work collaboratively. The resources they have available to them are the iPad apps Hopscotch, Kodable and Daisy the Dinosaur. The school also has a set of Bee Bots which allow simple directional coding.

Paul recently shared an article with me that he had read in the latest edition of Australian Educator (Spring 2014, issue 83) called Code Commanders. One of the resources in the article lead me to a site called Code. After having a quick play with the website I found it engaging and easy to use. As a resource for teaching coding I think it would be excellent. There is a student and teacher sign up process which allows the teacher to track progress over time. The site can be used without an account but any learning cannot be saved.

Below are screen shots from the site which explain what type of courses are available.

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Tutorials range from an hour in length (the beginner tutorials above) to courses 15-25 hours in length.

The new Digital Technologies Australian Curriculum requires aspects of coding to be taught and is an area of the curriculum that for a lot of teachers will be new. The Code site would be a great starting point for any teacher keen to develop their own knowledge about coding. It is also a great resource to form the basis of a coding program to deliver to students.

Curriculum Resources – Australian Curriculum

Below are websites that provide units of work, or resources for planning units of work linked to the Australian Curriculum.

English and the Australian Curriculum – English for the Australian Curriculum

This resource is a national initiative to support the teaching and learning of English and literacy from Foundation to Year 10, produced in partnership with Education Services Australia and the joint associations of the Australian Association for the Teaching of English, the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association and the Primary English Teaching Association Australia, representing more than 10,000 teachers of English.

Maths and the Australian Curriculum – Top drawer teachers

Big ideas The big ideas that underpin the mathematics are explored and explained.
Misunderstandings Some common misunderstandings and their causes are described and analysed. There is teaching advice, and activities, designed to avoid or correct these misunderstandings.
Good teaching Key content is explained thoroughly. There are suggested teaching approaches and many suitable activities. You will find videos, slide presentations, worksheets, digital learning objects and more.
Assessment Aspects of assessment are discussed.
Activities Student activities that appear in other parts of the drawer have been collected here. However, many of the pages contain further suggestions and ideas for other activities.
Downloads All downloadable files, such as student worksheets, teacher notes, activity templates and video transcripts, are available here.

Science and the Australian Curriculum – Science Web Australia

The Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) in partnership with Education Services Australia (ESA) has prepared 15 units of work to support teachers in the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: Science as part of the Supporting the Australian Curriculum Online (SACOL). The units are designed for students in years F–10.

These units have been written by experienced teachers using resources that are available online. Each unit consists of an overview, five lesson plans, and additional links and resources.

Information for teachers on developing programs in Science for gifted and talented students is provided by Australian Science Innovations. This is supported by the inclusion of extension activities for gifted and talented secondary students for the units in years 7–10.

History and the Australian Curriculum – AC History Units

AC History Units presents 8 units developed by the History Teachers’ Association of Australia to support teachers in the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: History.

Geography and the Australian Curriculum – GeogSpace

GeogSpace offers quality primary and secondary geography resource materials for all teachers of geography, including those that are very experienced and those just commencing their involvement. The materials will support teachers to develop their knowledge, skills and pedagogical capacity to teach geography of the highest quality.

Arts and the Australian Curriculum 1 – Arts Pop

There are five art forms specified in the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts. They are DanceDramaMedia ArtsMusic, and Visual Arts. Arts-POP shows how each art form makes a distinct contribution to cognition by drawing on each child’s senses and imagination. Each art form is valued equally within the generic learning area of the arts.

Arts and the Australian Curriculum 2 – The Arts Live

This interactive web application to facilitate collaboration and innovation across all five art forms in your classroom. Regardless of your existing skills and knowledge, ARTS:LIVE provides extensive cross-curricular content, with sequential instructions to bring the arts alive.

Digital Technologies and the Australian Curriculum – CSER Digital Technologies

This course will explain the fundamentals of digital technology and computational thinking specifically addressing learning objectives of the Australian Digital Technologies curriculum (Foundation-6). Come learn about how digital technology can be integrated into your classroom, exploring example lesson plans, and helping form a community designed to share resources and support.

Australian Curriculum Lessons – English, Maths, Science, History and The Arts all covered

Australian Curriculum Lessons is a site designed for educators in Australia. A user-submitted site who depend on teachers to post their great lessons so that other teachers can get ideas and lessons to use in the classroom.

The aim is to create one of the largest curriculum-linked lesson sites that values innovation and excellence in the teaching profession. A site that also allows teachers to show off their skills in planning lessons and creating wonderful learning experiences for students in Australia and the rest of the world.

More Resources

For a wider range of resources for all subject areas (some linked to the AC and some not) go to the top of the blog and click on the curriculum area page you would like to see resources for.

PBAS Student Free Day Term 2 2014 – Compass Tool and AC

As there where a number of staff not at PBAS for the student free day for a range of reasons I thought I would share the Power Point presentation that we went through in the morning session.

Our discussion centred around the TFEL Compass tool to provide student feedback to teachers and using the Achievement Standards and Content Descriptors to plan units and assessment tasks for term 3. After our morning discussion the day was spent focusing on these things. Teachers then met at the end of the day to share what they had been able to achieve during the day.

As part of the presentation we also revisited the DECD policy regarding A-E grading. I will be printing a copy of this to put in trays in the coming days. A copy is also in the presentation below.

It would also be great for the JP teachers to share any useful resources that they found during their time at Moonta/Kadina looking at moderation and Learning Design. Ange has already approached me with what looked like a great resource for keeping track of the Australian Curriculum developed by Adele Kehler.