Monthly Archives: March 2010

Are we ready for Generation Alpha? You can’t be my teacher…

Babies born from 2010 are Generation Alpha and many will be commencing formal schooling in 2015. That’s not long…Are we ready or are you ready?  These children will come from smaller families, will have been exposed to many forms of entertainment and will already be used to and using many forms of technology. As a generation, they will work longer than any other generation and will have a number of careers.

I’m writing this in response to a video shared with me. Something about this video made me stop and think. I’m already seeing a change in our young students. They are not frightened of technology, expecting to be taught and come to school with many expectations about what they will do and learn.

Do we have the skills to teach and engage these children? How can we skill ourselves to meet their needs? How comfortable do you feel about your practice?

Hmm! Now that’s confronting.

Cheers Nina


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Leadership Lessons From Dancing Guy! Building Momentum…

Love this explanation of leadership and think all educators should view it. What does  ‘we’re all leaders’ mean? How does a leader bring about change?

This gives us all something to think about. What do you think?

Cheers Nina


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34 Days of Formal Education for these ‘Aussie’ 4 to (just turned) 6 Year Olds. We’re writers & readers.

I was asked by a regular visitor to my blog if I would post weekly writing samples and it’s amazing how a student’s writing can show growth in one week. That’s one of the exciting rewards of teaching very young students.

Another week has passed and the end of the first term for my Preps has arrived. I spent last week reviewing their writing and listening to reading. These young readers and writers are great ‘risk takers’. They need to be ‘risk takers’ with their learning and also need to know that this is  a valued behaviour. Listening to Sir Ken Robinson has once again stressed how important this is.  Visit our Teacher Professional Leave  ‘ning’ – we’ve uploaded some great videos, join the ‘ning’ and share with us or just learn what we are learning. 

Next term, I intend to post more about reading and the different strategies that I’m going to trial and build upon. I’ve been able to access some new ideas and have had some great resources shared with me. I’m a learner here and a ‘risk taker’.

I’ve included samples displaying the range of growth in my class. This is independent writing.  Student Led Interactive Writing, Journal Writing and Inquiry Reflections are planned weekly. Guided Writing and Teacher Led Interactive Writing will be introduced early next term. We also have free writing time. My students  love making little books and are trying to write stories. It’s  a natural process for these children. Their understanding of ‘book language’ is developing and they are using this knowledge to support their writing. My tips- I read to my students everyday, we read our Language Experience Wall, we write everyday, we share reading big books and we share our learning.

Cheers Nina

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First Term- So, what have my Preps (4-6 Year Old children) learnt & one way we have shared our learning with our parents!

Today my Preps brainstormed what they have learnt in their first eight weeks of their first year at school. They wanted to share their journey with their parents. Our parents meet to collect their children outside the classroom, so we decided to put our poster where their parents meet.  The children’s responses were scribed as said. These are their thoughts. They also wanted a sign to tell their parents that this is why they are tired at the end of the day. I observed parents reading and talking to each other. Here is the list brainstormed by the children:

 how to eat all our lunch

we’ve been listening to teachers and each other

that we do a lot in the classroom

we agreed to do our agreements and to always be up at class when the bell goes

if someone is hurt we care about them

we’ve been learning how to read

listening to the teacher

learning about the ‘a’ family

we’ve been learning sentences

we’ve been learning how to count

we’ve been learning how to do maths

we’ve been listening to WALT –Walter tell us what we are learning to

play games

hold the pencil right

play on the oval

learning  how to do our journal writing

we do good drawings

we’ve learnt to play football and be brave when I am hurt

we’ve been learning how to write letters

I’ve been learning not to play with rocks and sticks

Inquiry- how we learn about things

we learn to write

I’ve learnt to concentrate

we’ve been learning how to read words

we’ve been learning how to trace

we’ve been learning how to do Interactive Writing

we’ve been making

we’ve been learning how to do our handwriting

we have been standing up the front and reading Big Books

I’ve been learning maths on the computer

we’ve been learning about clocks

we’ve been learning how to listen and not be silly

we’ve been learning how to listen and look interested


stretching words

we’ve been learning how to measure things

we’ve been learning how to put the texta lids on

we’ve been learning to write sentences

These 4, 5 and now a few 6 year old children were very proud of what they have ‘been learning to…’ at school. Like most schools in Victoria, Australia, new buildings are to be built. Our portable classrooms will be removed when the new buildings are finished. Tomorrow is the last day of Term 1, 2010. I can’t believe how quickly this year is going.

Cheers Nina

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Instructional Rounds-Best Teacher Practice-The e5 Instructional Model PLN – Ning: Take a look, join and discover with us what all this looks like in practice.

The ‘ning’ is up! Jenni and I spent a day of our Teacher Professional Leave (TPL) creating this ‘ning’. Teacher Professional Leave (TPL) through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in Victoria, Australia has given us the opportunity to explore best practice.

To record, share and work collaboratively with other educators we have started a ‘ning’. Today was ‘full on’ as we explored this platform. Working a ‘ning’ is new to us both, but we’ve done it and I would have to say we used our problem solving skills admirably. Lots still to learn, like how to edit a comment when you have a spelling (typo) staring you in the face – and sent to someone significant. I must say that our learning has been in an authentic arena and yes, I can spell arena.

We’ll be chatting to Jenny Luca to sort out a few issues, however, I’m posting this because we are excited and would like others to join. You can contribute or sit back and watch. Here is the link: Instructional Rounds- Best Teacher Practice- The e5 Instructional Model PLN ning. 

Support us here and join our ‘ning’. Be part of our journey and see what we can do together!

Cheers Nina

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7 Weeks of Formal Education in Australia- 4, 5 & 6 Year Old’s Writing Development Snapshot!

This week was the Prep’s first full week at school in their first formal year of education. Every now and again, I’ve got to ‘step back’ and remember their age. I have very high expectations and need to let them ‘smell the flowers’ sometimes. Today they spent part of the day just doing that. They are really creative little people and love drawing, making and decorating paper planes, using the construction materials and dancing. I love seeing the children play families with the doll’s house and listening to their conversations. They need more of this… I sometimes need to slow down and let them give their ‘brains a rest’. When a child tells you ‘their head is full’, you need to change plans.

I’ve decided to post a weekly snapshot of writing in response to a request, which displays the range of writing and development for both Interactive Writing and Independent Writing. The first samples are pieces of writing from their new Inquiry Reflection Journals. We’ve just finished our first inquiry and have been discussing what we have discovered. I’ve explained to them that they need to draw a border each time they record their reflections in this journal. The notion of a border was introduced to our staff by Lane Clark. She explained that when children design and write within a border they have a greater chance of remembering what they have written. The children now have a Journal and an Inquiry Reflection Journal. Our first inquiry is outlined below:


Central Idea: Personal awareness and perspective of others helps develop self-identity

The children have discovered that we’re all different, our families are different, we look different and we like different things. We have been celebrating the fact that we are all different because as one child said, ‘it would be a very boring if we were the same’. The children recorded some of the things they like and we’ll be sharing these next week.

Inquiry Journal – Week 7


Interactive Writing – Week 7

The sentences these children are brainstorming as a class are challenging and this has been a bit tricky. All groups are composing the same class sentence at present which is related to shared experience.  Some of the words they are trying to spell are difficult, however, I’m always impressed by their attempts. Their sentence is, ‘When people are hurt we go to a teacher.’


Next week is the last week of term 1. I can’t believe that it’s holidays already, but I won’t complain!

Cheers Nina


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436 visits to my blog TODAY- What brought you here?

436 visits is a big day for any blog – quite amazing really! Glad people are visiting, but would love to know what brought them here. I might never know! I guess that’s what blogging is about – it’s a bit of a mystery.

Cheers Nina


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24 Days of Formal Education in Australia: Writing Development – 4 & 5 Year Olds.

I had a few teachers visit this week and as I tend to plan Student Led Interactive Writing on a Thursday, I thought it would be great for our visitors to see this teaching strategy in action. The children came up with the sentence – When the bell goes don’t be late. Quite an ambitious sentence to compose, but it was their sentence and that’s important. They have a number of strategies to help them with their writing now, but it is the collaborative nature of this strategy which makes it powerful. They are learning to prompt each other at present. When the children are confidently leading this strategy, I will start taking a group for Teacher Led Interactive Writing while the other groups are writing. The teacher led group will target students with similar learning needs.

As we only have two weeks of this term left,  I’m hoping to be able to start this next term. We have four terms in Australia and I can’t believe term one is nearly over. This group of children have been at school for 38 days. I’m very pleased with their progress.

On Friday the children wrote journal entries for their independent writing. I’m always  looking for the transfer of teaching and learning into their independent writing. All my students are moving forward with their reading and writing. Language Experience is the approach of choice – ‘give it a go’ if you’re not already using this approach.

Photo 1 Text: I love doing puzzles at school.

Photo 2 Text: You do school work on a DS.

Photo 3 Text: My friend came to my house.

 Just a quick post! This week our Preps will attend school for 5 days. It will be their first full week at school.

Cheers Nina  ‘Whoops’ – only 24 days!


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20 000 visits: Amazing…Thanks for the visits, comments and emails!

I originally started this blog as part of my ‘Professional Development Plan’ for 2009. Learning about Web 2.0 was important to me and I wanted my learning to be authentic. I also felt that if I wanted to teach in this century, I needed to start understanding social networking tools and their place in education. I’d been listening to Jenny Luca talk about what she was doing and I was slowly being introduced to a whole new langauge. I asked Jenny to mentor me… and I’m sure many of you know Jenny’s work and can understand that this was a great opportunity. Thanks Jenny!

Initially, I was unsure whether anybody would visit, comment, challenge or share with me. I have found that I regularly receive all. I love it when other educators challenge my ideas, respond or ask me to elaborate. I’ve had many strange looks when someone says, ‘Nina has a blog’. I’ve got past that… I write to reflect and reflect to write. I support teachers and I’ve had some great mail from teachers who are excited and  most importantly have shared their ideas with me. There are some fantastic educators ‘out there’ who are passionate about engaging students, improving learning outcomes and sharing what they do.

My outlook now is ‘global’. I regularly share with educators from many countries and have found that we’re all trying to do the same thing – provide the best opportunities for our students. My confidence in using social media has grown exponentially.

Yesterday, I attended Day 2 of  TPL-Teacher Professional Leave. My colleague and I are immersing ourselves in the e5 Instructional Model, Instructional Rounds and What is Best Practice in Literacy & Numeracy? We’ll  be starting a ‘ning‘ which I’ll be posting about soon and I hope you join. We’ve also been included in an Instructional Rounds Professional Development – 20 or so principals from our region, my colleague and me. ‘Ah, yeah’, we’re the classroom teachers…. should be fantastic. We’re so pleased to be included in this group. What an opportunity! This post is really a thank you to those educators ‘out there’ who take the time to encourage others and often go under the radar.

Here’s a photo from our day in the city. That’s me in the middle. Thanks Kaye & Catherine from the Australian Centre for Effective Partnerships (ACEP) for a great day!

Cheers Nina


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The Classroom – Fitting in two floor learning areas. Take a look!

In response to an email this is what my classroom looks like now. Space is tight, but I’ve managed to fit the two floor learning spaces in. When I move to a different learning area the children now move with me.  Where I sit they sit. As I’ve said before this gives these young children a chance to move and really does help them to refocus on our next learning experience. If you can, try to create different learning areas. It works!

Cheers Nina


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