Mrs A's Blog

My Rambling Thoughts on Teaching and Learning

What does It Look Like in Your Classroom? (Part 2)

ICT Capability is one of the general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum.  One element is “Investigating with ICT”.  This element involves students developing an ability to

  • Define and plan information searches
  • Locate, generate and access data and information
  • Select and evaluate data and information.


So, what does this look like in your classroom?

  • Using the library catalogue to locate information
  • Using a search engine to locate information
  • Use of mind maps to plan
  • Develop questions to guide research
  • Use of OneNote to take notes
  • Verifying the validity of the information provided
  • Explain the usefulness of the located information
  • In evaluating information creating explicit and implicit criteria
  • Use a range of digital resources including databases, newspapers, digital books, websites etc
  • Use simple search functions like key words
  • Use advanced search tools like selected country, time frame, file type, language, domain, etc
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What does It Look Like in Your Classroom? (Part 1)

ICT Capability is one of the general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. One element is “Applying social and ethical protocols and practices when using ICT”. This element involves students developing an ability to

  • Recognise intellectual property
  • Apply digital information security practices
  • Apply personal security protocols
  • Identify the impacts of ICT in Society

So, what does this look like in your classroom?

  • Conversations about ownership of resources
  • Acknowledging sources when researching
  • Correct referencing conventions
  • Conversations about ethical dilemmas such as downloading of video content
  • Conversations about protecting digital information i.e. personal information
  • Use of passwords (including the sharing of passwords)
  • Updating notebooks (computers) when requested
  • Conversations about the sharing of personal information in online environments i.e. on social media
  • Conversations around socially acceptable protocols when using ICT to collaborate with online communities i.e. discussion boards
  • Conversations about how ICT is used at home and at school
  • Conversations around the value and role of ICT at home, at school and in the community
  • Identify with students the positive and negative impacts of ICT on their lives


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Game On! The Use of Gamification in the Classroom

Gamification  is an interesting concept that if implemented well can chanage the way your classroom works.  Below is the resources I have put together for my presentation at QSITE.

At a time when we are all trying to provide individualised and differentiated courses for our students, finding ways to engage and give our students choices about their learning can be difficult. Gamification is a great way to offer choices. This session will focus on the who, what, when, where and how of Gamification in the classroom. It will set context, work through examples and start you on your own design process for how you could implement gamification in your classroom, past just gamifying classroom management.



Game On

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6 Level 7



School is a Game… So What are the Rules? (Part 1 Research)

School is a Game… And the Rules have Changed… (Part 2 Action)

Gamified World (Part 3 Research)

Coursera Gamification Course

Class Dojo

Image Maps

Dreamweaver CS5


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Leading Ambitious Teaching and Learning (LeadEd501x)

Earlier this year I started a course on edX titled “Leading Ambitious Teaching and Learning”.  The title intrigued me.  I want to be considered an ambitious teacher.  So I started the course.

Module 1A looked at Ambitious Instruction in Elementary Literacy…

It covered ideas like higher order discussion and project based Literacy Learning.  My takeaways included that I needed to include Popcorn questioning into my teaching and that I already have included project based learning so perhaps I am an ambitious teacher.

Module 1B looked at Ambitious Instruction in Mathematics…

It covered the idea that students needed to have opportunities to investigate errors and have time and space to talk through their solutions.  My takeaways included that I needed to integrate error fixing into my teaching and that I already use visual thinking strategies so perhaps I am an ambitious teacher.

Module 2 looked at Ambitious Learning with Digital Technology Tools…

It covered a road map for learning with technology from the selection of the technology through to how it can be used for differentiating learning to how school leaders can support technology in learning.  My takeaway was the Triple E framework as a tool to aid the selection of technology tools for the classroom and that I already ensure that my use of technology is with purpose so perhaps I am an ambitious teacher.

Module 3 was about Systems Thinking and Improving at Scale…

It was an introduction to systems thinking as a way of thinking about how all the components of a school can work together to achieve a common goal.  My takeaway was that it requires leaders to develop new ways to seeing the components of a school and supporting staff to see these new ways of thinking, kind of like a well-oiled machine.  Each of the cogs have a role to play if they are not working together than the organisation isn’t working.  Each of us has to attend to our own cog and we might even have to assist other cogs in order to work well together.  I already work with staff within my role to improve their teaching so perhaps I am an ambitious teacher.

Module 4 was about Leading Transformative Change…

It was an introduction to leading others and empowering teachers to want to be ambitious teachers and giving them the tools to make it a reality, one of the tools was an Organisational Culture Assessment Instrument for Classrooms.  My takeaway was that the gap between where I am now on the OCAI-C and where I want to be is not that far so perhaps I am an ambitious teacher.

So for now I am going to be that ambitious teacher and hope to change the world one student at a time.


If you want to check out the course it is archived however you can review the course content.

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Tick Tok Tick Tok


Tick tok tick tok…

As educators we seem to always complain that we don’t have enough of it.  Between marking, planning, teaching, administrative work, tutorials, duty, parent meetings, co-curricular, phone calls, meetings, email, observations, professional development…

Times 6 (or the number of academic classes you have!)

Tick tok tick tok…

I often hear the excuse but you only have one academic class those of us with full loads don’t have time to do what you do.  I wonder if they realise that I too don’t have “time”.

Tick tok tick tok…

My days are often filled with back to back meetings which involve several items being added to my to do list for each meeting.  I would sit in my office to attack this to do list for less time in a timetable cycle than a teacher with a full load.  My role includes research, resource development, product testing, student workshops, staff workshops, professional development.  And yet I still manage to find the time to complete the things I need to complete for my academic class including the list above.  Usually in my own time after hours.  My work day is for doing my “day” job, my elf role.  Not my classroom teacher role.

Tick tok tick tok…

Part of my job is about finding better ways to teach, better ways to use technology.  Why is it when I find a way to make a teachers life easier most don’t want to know.  I do understand that to begin with it might be a bit harder there is always a learning curve. However ultimately the job will become easier.

Tick tok tick tok…

Ultimately time is relative.  We all have 24 hours in a day and how we choose to spend it is up to each individual.  With technology changing the landscape we will always find something else to fill the “free” time.

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#FutureSchools Day 3

After 3 days of conference, my brain reached capacity today!  It was day two of the Future Schools Future Leaders Conference.  (If you want to read, my ramblings from day 1 click HERE)

There were a number of ideas that I connected with…

  • Pedagogy before technology – always!
  • Fitness coach instead of a HPE class
  • Teachers provide feedback on mastery
  • TtDESC and ISDCN Project are important – keep sharing the love
  • Positive Education is going in the right direction at our school
  • Wellbeing is like the weather
  • The need to inspire staff
  • Clean the fish tank don’t just treat the sick fish

The following extended my thinking…

  • Fixed time vs flexible time vs independent time
  • Gant charts for the students to manage their time
  • Go back to the rational of the DigiTech curriculum documents – remember the purpose don’t just be a check list of yes we have done this
  • Realise the potential and the ideas behind the DigiTech curriculum
  • Introduce more brain breaks – Thumbs – if same clap if different continue
  • To move forward we all need purpose – why am I doing this?

Lastly, I am being challenged by the following – perhaps it just needs more research…

  • Use icons to indicate the type of task – visual aid to assist students
  • Need to contact Melbourne Girls Grammar to find out more about their flexible time and independent time
  • Being prepared enough for students to select their own due dates
  • Read Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  • How can we connect more projects to cover the content areas and give more time to go in depth into the curriculum instead of just the surface
  • Time to Audit and Reflect the use of STEM
  • My own negative bias
  • Me TV/the school show
  • Disrupt the model of education
  • Need to contact Templestowe College to find out more about their flexible learning programmes

Would love to hear your feedback.

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#FutureSchools Day 2

I often walk away from conferences exhausted.  My brain is full, ideas are slowly forming, and I usually have a long list of things I want to try or at least research a bit further.  I wonder if this is how kids feel at the end of the school day.  Exhausted, brain full and a long list of homework…

Today has been no different.  I attended the first day of the Future Schools Future Leaders Conference.  (If you want to read, my ramblings from the masterclass click HERE)

There were a number of ideas that I connected with…

  • The learning Eco system and needing to remember it is extensive (school, home, work, uni, church, library, maker spaces, nature, museums, etc)
  • Change the mindset students will lead a life of learning rather than be a lifelong learner
  • Creating learning communities instead of just having cells and bells.
  • Needing to build from the imagination instead of from the known
  • Having permission to innovate
  • The reminder that “Together we Grow”
  • Personal Based assessment when the student is ready

The following extended my thinking…

  • The 6 edges of innovations (youth, Co-teaching/co-learning, time/place, technology, curriculum/assessment and thinking)
  • The idea of Place-Based Learning
  • Implementing Ipsative (personally based) assessment in the curriculum
  • Innovative Thinking Skills

Lastly, I am being challenged by the following – perhaps it just needs more research…

  • Where do I learn best…  Not at work…  I learn best at 3am in the dark by myself and online
  • Perhaps school is not the place to learn anymore and we need to be adaptive to this as educators
  • The need to do a SAMR Analysis of our teaching staff
  • Complete a Digital Distractions Census
  • Minecraft possibilities
  • Why can’t we have a Genius bar in the back of our classroom?
  • Contact

Would love to hear your feedback.

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#FutureSchools Day 1

Today was a whole day master class in Teaching Kids to Code.  I have dabbled in code in the past.  Tried scratch, tried Bits Box, tried various iPad apps, learn to code sites and it just never seemed to make sense.  I find drag and drop programming frustrating partly I think because I lose track of where I am up to in the process and struggle to debug the issue, as I can’t always find the logic. (Perhaps it isn’t logical!)

Today something was said that made it make so much more sense…  In an explanation of how programming works for an Arduino board, the presenter said two things…

1.       If you open the door you must close the door

2.       When you write in English you finish the sentence with a full stop when you write in code remember your full stop (;)

3.       English has millions of words coding only has a thousand

Three strange statements if you just read them as they stand, however when you look at the conversations around these they start to make so much more sense.

The idea of opening and closing a function in coding is not new to me I’ve always understood when using html code that if I start with <> I have to end with </>.  If you open the door, you must close the door.  So why did I not ever understand this with C programming or python programming?

The second statement was like a duh tip.  I think that I have always seen code as a list not as prose.  Remembering that if I’m going to write lines I have to remember to end with a full stop or at least the equivalent.  The idea of it being its own language makes it make sense.  English language needs full stops so coding language needs full stops.

The last statement I think was more about taking the impossible out of it.  I always feel stuck when coding that I don’t know the language.  What do we do when we don’t know a word in English?  We grab the dictionary and look it up.

With that, I’m off to find the dictionary!

Happy coding!


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Personalised Pathways Take 1

2016 was a difficult year.

It was one where I have questioned myself on a number of levels including professionally.  I have doubted my abilities, and even my career path.  I have wondered if after 12 years in the classroom that perhaps it was time to leave.  The pressure and the stress got to me.

During 2016 I had a full time academic class for the first time in 6 years.  And while I had missed the student relationships I had built up in the past by having my own academic class (rather than team teaching in multiple academics classes) the one thing I didn’t miss was parents.

I am not your traditional chalk and talk teacher, I don’t do death by PowerPoint, I don’t give worksheets, I don’t allocate homework (students set their own by answering “What am I going to do before the next lesson to ensure that I retain what I have learnt this lesson and further my learning in preparation for the next lesson?)

In fact at times I can have 28 students doing 28 different things.  At our school there is only one supply teacher who will cover my class as the instructions left are “numerous”. (Sample lesson plan below)  I plan the course and then help students work their way through it at their own pace.  Adding additional support materials as a student needs it.  I aim to individualise.

Every parent’s dream right their kid gets a personalised path through the course.  Nope apparently not…  I had more parent complaints than I thought even possible.

  • Why don’t you teach?
  • My child is missing out on vital information if you don’t explain in a PowerPoint.
  • Why do students get to opt in and out of your lessons?
  • You better make my child opt in to every mini lesson.

2017 is a new year.  I’m going to try this individualise the course thing again and see if the parents react the same way.

At some point education has to change.  I’m trying one class of parents at a time…





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It’s Time to be Cyber Savvy Citizens…


I am often asked how does one keep up with the pace of the online world and make sure that I really am safe online.  Reality is – no one can.  Every other day we hear a story in the news about another cyber issue we need to keep ourselves and our kids safe from.  What we can do is teach ourselves and our kids to be Cyber Savvy Citizens.  Being a Cyber Savvy Citizen involves remembering to follow six simple principles:

  1. Remember to protect private information for yourself and others.
  2. Use your heart and respect yourself and others online.
  3. Stay safe online by listening to your gut feelings.
  4. Stand up to cyberbullying when you see it happening.
  5. Balance the time spent using digital devices with other activities.
  6. If in doubt seek help from a trusted adult.

As students get older they do tend to need a reminder about what this really means, especially as they get caught up with the excitement of social media and keeping up with their peers.  How as parents or teachers can we help our kids be safe online?  Here are a number of suggestions:

  • Ask the child to show you what they have set their privacy settings to
  • Ask the child to help you set your own privacy settings and use it as a conversation starter about what are the good choices to make
  • Talk as a family or class about the importance of your online digital footprint
  • Google yourself and ask the children to Google themselves and talk about the results which come up (ask them if they are embarrassed that Mum or Dad saw the photos they had posted or what if the teacher saw it or even the principal)
  • Remind them to think before they post, as once it’s online it’s always online and you never know who is going to save, copy, forward or post your photos, videos or even words
  • Use articles in the newspaper or news to start conversations about current cyber safety issues

In 2016, digital citizenship is not a once off check-in to say: yes, I’m a Cyber Savvy Citizen.  It is a mentality that I’m a Cyber Savvy Citizen 24/7, 365 days a year.

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