Implementing Change in Teaching and Learning


There are many different versions of the above chart. When this, or a similar chart was introduced to me it gave me clarity around the issues needed to promote, implement and sustain change. The change could be minor or major, it doesn’t matter because the elements for any change need to be in place.

Simply, if one of the key drivers of ‘change’ isn’t in place, the outcome is detrimental to the overall success of a program etc.


When investigating something new e.g. a new program I need to think about these questions.

What do I know?

What do I want to know?

How will I find out?

What have I learned?

What action will I take?

What further questions do I have?

Once these questions are investigated and whatever is being changed is seen as valuable, then the implementing change chart is a fantastic reference point. Are the following key components of change in place?





Action Plan

During my years of teaching, particularly in my earlier days, I’ve seen a number of very worthwhile curriculum initiatives not get off the ground or disappear because one or more of the key drivers wasn’t in place. What could have and should have led to improved teaching and learning for students fell by the wayside.

Anyone impacted by change needs to share the vision, be mentored or professionally developed with the skills needed to implement the change/program, know the purpose/incentives i.e. improved learning for students, have the resources required, and a detailed plan to add to the resources overtime built into an action plan which directly addresses all key drivers.

The impact of not getting things right is detrimental to the sustainability and overall success of a program. It doesn’t mean that a program won’t happen, it will just not be as effective as it could be. I’ve experienced the false starts and frustration which happens when you know a program or resource is fantastic and you haven’t got it.

Quality resources are essential and can be addressed in an action plan, whole school planning, school budget and future planning. This year I’m presenting some resources for Cengage Learning  and I’m delighted to be able to do this. It’s a casual role which I’ve taken on because I love their resources and have been using and writing about them by choice for a number of years, and now I am able to show and explain them to teachers.

The new PM Benchmark Reading Assessment Resource RAR system is fantastic. This morning I’ve been playing with the online assessment tools. To complete the reading assessment and  have at the moment, point of need data for teachers and students to set their future learning goals is just going to save so much time and provide greater accuracy.

Student data, class data and school data can be accessed and exported for classroom and whole school planning. Most importantly the assessment goals can be unpacked by teachers in planning teams for Foundation to upper primary students. This is just one example of Cengage’s resources. Cengage are  publishers so they can respond to the needs of teachers.

Cheers Nina

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Come and meet me: Presentations-Cengage May Dates for Victoria

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A lot of young people take a GAP year after secondary school in Australia to try different things. Well, I’m having mine now!  I’m using this time to try new things in education, so I’m a CRT, a writer and now I’m presenting for Cengage. I also live closer to the city of Melbourne which is fantastic.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I’ve always used PM resources in my program. The new Benchmark RAR software is brilliant. This program identifies each student’s point of need learning goals immediately, easy to use and cost friendly! If you can’t make one of these sessions follow this link – RAR and contact Cengage in Melbourne.

The dates and venues on the above flyer are for Victoria. If you do attend, bring your questions and if they don’t get answered then and there, I’ll respond here.

Context within teaching and learning is crucial! This presentation will cover the above with links to planning.

I’ll post the NSW flyer when the dates are confirmed!

Cheers Nina


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If The World Were 100 People …

Video- Good Magazine

What an amazing video showing what the world statistics would be if you shrunk the world to 100 people. So what percentage speak English? Great to use in a classroom when exploring data or percentage.

Cheers Nina

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My PM Benchmark RAR Software Review…

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Today I viewed the PM Benchmark online assessment and its brilliant. Anyone who reads my blog knows that I’m always on the hunt for something that will make a teacher’s life easier and for me that means anything that will replace photocopying reams of sheets and endless filing.

I also believe there will be less teacher error when a student is reading at pace. I’m sure we’ve all had to ask a student to stop while we annotate. It happens! This program is very easy to use.  Error rates are calculated straight away and assessing errors is quick. The reporting features would enable class and cohort data to be quickly attained.

The PM Benchmark RAR Software is an annual, site licence subscription (365 days from date of purchase). Subscriptions are $200 for unlimited teacher access for an unlimited number of students.

Features include automation of assessment:

  • retelling
  • reading record
  • comprehension
  • miscue analysis
  • reading behaviors

The summary succinctly presents all facets of the assessment along with recommendations and a copy of the reading record.

Reporting features include:

  • individual progress graphs
  • customisable group reports and graphs
  • ability to export to Excel

Nelson Cengage Learning Website

Cheers Nina

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Western New York Education Associates: My Fellowship Project: Improved student writing leads to improved reading. (Part 1)

I’m probably undertaking the longest fellowship research project known to Angela Stockman. Deciding what to research when I have so many ideas has been the hardest thing. Nailing down something that I felt could make a difference and reaffirm something I have believed for some time has been the key to my moving forward.


Is there a positive impact on reading standards when students understand there are different writing genres and each genre has its own structure?

My answer is yes, but it’s not as simple as just saying that!

What I know!  When young children come to school many start writing and can read back their writing at the time of writing. However, many of these very young learners struggle to read back what they have written when presented with their writing at a later time.

What I know!  When is the shift ? Once students have learnt basic reading strategies and can read simple books (PM Level 5 or Fountas & Pinnell Level D) we have  shift. When combined with a core sight word list comprising of 30 words learners start moving rapidly.  Further vocabulary is learnt during the reading and writing process (context). These young learners are now learning about writing genres and how a text is written. They are connecting writing to reading and reading to writing…. and when they start seeing themselves as authors and sharing their writing with others they have purpose which means shift.

What I know! Focussing on teaching genres has an impact on a student’s understanding of how authors follow a set genre plan when writing. Once young learners are writing they are  initially  introduced to a Recount structure with the Narrative genre following soon after.

When young learners understand  genre structure  and start using  structures when composing their reading comprehension soars.

Example: Students who know there is a problem and solution in a narrative will look for the problem and solution when reading a text. Students who are learning the 6 Traits of Writing (Ideas and Content, Organization, Sentence Fluency, Voice an Word Choice) will be making connections to these when reading.

When young learners make the following connections – reading to writing and writing to reading their comprehension improves rapidly.

Young learners need to connect writing to reading and reading to writing and understand how each is reliant on the other. Reading skills need to be explicitly taught but not taught in isolation. Reading and writing sessions need to link prior learning to new learning including reading and writing small group teaching and assessment strategies.

Recently Angela Stockman sent me a link to The Writing Revolution.  This article was reaffirmed the learning trends I have been recording.

For years, nothing seemed capable of turning around New Dorp High School’s dismal performance—not firing bad teachers, not flashy education technology, not after-school programs. So, faced with closure, the school’s principal went all-in on a very specific curriculum reform, placing an overwhelming focus on teaching the basics of analytic writing, every day, in virtually every class. What followed was an extraordinary blossoming of student potential, across nearly every subject—one that has made New Dorp a model for educational reform. (The Writing Revolution)

Next post: Show me the data!

Cheers Nina

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The IB-PYP: Futures Planning & Learning

World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum 2014 -Skills needed in the 21st Century The World Economic Forum 2014 Skills needed in the 21st Century Video 1: What will learning look like in 2028?

video 2: How do we plan for 10, 20 or 30 years time?

These videos are worth viewing. As a trained IB teacher having extensive experience working in an IB-PYP school, I believe the IB program provides the education our students need now and will need in the future.

Video 1: Why 2028? Students at my previous school are already partaking in many of these initiatives now!

The World Economic Forum 2014 -Skills needed in the 21st Century – developed this diagram outlining the skills students will need for future employment.

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Link: World Economic Forum

What do you think?

Tomorrow is the first day of school for students in Victoria, Australia. Some young learners will be starting school as will many new teachers. Having taught all primary levels and later specialising in younger learners I have a few comments to make.

From the moment young learners walk through the school gates they are making judgements about others and themselves as learners. Its natural for students to compare themselves with each other. We’d like to think they don’t but they do.

This is where we teachers and parents can have an enormous influence. It may seem too early but it’s essential to get the message across to our students that we all have different learning needs.

The Learner Cycle used at my previous school by all teachers and learners is personalised in classrooms to include:

What do I want/need to learn?

How  best will we/I learn?

How will I/ we know what we have learned?


Personalising learning for each student is one way of avoiding learners comparing themselves. Planning learning goals is crucial and I’ll expand on this in another post.

The last point I would like to make is: 

The young learners starting their Foundation year already know a lot about learning. Our role as teachers is to help our learners make connections from what they already know to new learning. I’ve posted Piaget on Piaget and its worth looking at!

Cheers Nina


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Remembrance Day 2015: Weary Dunlop and the IB Learner Profile and attitudes.

Firstly, 2015 was a busy year so my posting was not as frequent as I would have liked. This didn’t stop me writing and recording my learning and my students’ learning. Many of my posts will be uploaded over the following weeks and cover a number of topics. My learners are 6,7 and 8 year’s old.

I’ve also taken a huge step and am no longer working in the Victorian state school system. Moving to inner Melbourne, Victoria in 2015 has meant the transit time to my previous school was unworkable long term. I will state that I was incredibly fortunate to work in an amazing school. However, I am equally excited to embrace new challenges in 2016, whatever they end up being!

Remembrance Day 2015 published on Australia Day 2016 to recognise a great Australian.

Each year our program includes the recognition of Remembrance Day. I start hunting for special picture story books appropriate to my students that will be used as launches for written responses. The books or poems chosen need to be displayed in the classroom for at least two weeks prior to being planned into the classroom program and read often. This enables young learners to develop a familiarity with the text, ask questions at home and collect further information if they choose.


Providing an opportunity for young children to express themselves in many ways is crucial. My students were asked to create a portrait of Weary after listening to the text. We decided to limit the colors to show our feelings about this time of Weary’s life and use the illustrator’s front cover for inspiration.


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When reading their writing I was looking for links to the IB – Learner profile, attitudes and the traits of successful people. Although, I had not asked my students to make these links; I was hoping that they would. The Learner Profile and attitudes are naturally embedded into our daily discussions.

I’ve selected some random examples of my students work. Some learners have added their own elaborations to Weary’s experiences. You will notice that many of my students are using paragraphs without prompting. They also underline their spelling errors as they write and will make corrections after writing. My students know about paragraphs through an inquiry. They looked at paragraphs in books and developed their own criteria to assist them and others to use paragraphs. Some students are still experimenting with their use but are able to discuss where they could use them during a writing conference.

These young learners were also asked to think of a different heading for their response.

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Cheers Nina

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