Monthly Archives: September 2013

Interview techniques for teachers…

AND then there’s the interview.

Cheers Nina

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The teacher who loves to ski needs to wrap up the season that was…

The teacher who loves to ski needs to wrap up the season that was… The snow came, went, came, went and that sums up the season. However, I had a great season despite a little lack of snow problem at times!

Last term I had two weeks of long service leave. I took each week separately and it worked. My students had a wonderful teacher while I was away, experienced change and the program continued. I was back before I was even missed!

Skiing Buller for a few weekends this year was a little disappointing because I love this mountain and being so close to Melbourne for my international readers means I can leave the beach and be at the ‘top of the world’ on a Friday night.

Each year my family have a week at Hotham with other families. It is tradition! The children are now independent (some instructors) which means we ‘the collective’ older members of the group can pace our week how we wish. Yes, we are up earlier and back later.

Hotham provided the experience of the season! My first helicopter ride and it was special. Not only did I experience something new I was able to have an incredible day skiing Falls Creek. I learnt to ski at Falls and hadn’t been back for many years. We are so lucky in Australia to have these resorts and I am fascinated by each mountain’s history. AND I did make a little video. 🙂

The other week I spent at Thredbo. What an incredible mountain! While at Thredbo we ‘snuck in’ a couple of other close by resorts Perisher, Guthega and Blue Cow and used the snow train as our transport. A little bit of Europe in Australia.

Cheers Nina

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Persuasive Texts: 6,7 and 8 year olds… a snippet! What are paragraphs?

Post 1: I intend to post detailed samples as my students explore this genre further.

My students are learning to write a Persuasive Text (Exposition / Discussion). I’m starting simple and incorporating teaching paragraphing into our sessions. PM Exemplars are being used to support the learning of genre structure and to develop success criteria with the children.

Persuasive Text structure vocabulary learnt by my students thus far is title, opinion, argument, introduction, body, position, statement …

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Cheers Nina


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Community Engagement: Parent Focus Sessions

Engaging our community is important! Three questions underpin our curriculum and were weaved into three Parent Focus Sessions facilitated by Kim and myself.

What do we want to learn?

How do we learn best?

How will we know what we have learned?

School Newsletter

The session was titled ‘Past V Present’ and was presented by Nina Davis and myself. The aim was to present some major differences in the way we learnt in the past as compared to the present and why there are differences, the skills that we focus on developing at our school and to engage our parents in their learning!

We began the session by asking parents to take a stance on a range of topics. Some included:

  • Teachers are responsible for all learning
  • Homework is an essential part of learning
  • Learning can be measured by a letter or number
  • Teachers know all the answers
  • Worksheets support learning

Parents moved around the room to show their stance on these topics and in the process demonstrated physical involvement in learning and the use of thinking skills to make decisions. This was just the warm up!!! Nina and I were exhausted from just watching!

We used a Sir Ken Robinson TED Talk as a provocation titled “Schools are killing Creativity”…..we would recommend it for any parent who is interested in learning more about education. Please follow the link below.

Individually, and in groups, parents completed a Harvard University Project Zero Thinking Routine ‘Connect Extend Challenge’ to analyse and discuss the clip. The clip highlighted the need to provide students with opportunities to learn in a variety of ways, to develop individual interests and needs and to promote creativity to the same level as literacy and numeracy.

Some parent questions included:

‘How do you keep all students engaged when students are working in groups?’

‘How do you know what talents your children may have?’

Our focus then moved to the skills that research is suggesting are vital for learning in living in the 21st Century- COLLABORATION and ICT COMMUNICATION. Parents listed the skills they felt were essential for living in the 21st Century as a comparison…….Another Thinking Routine was completed ‘Think Pair Share’ where parents recorded their thinking. Some of their thoughts included ‘Organisation, Self-management, Communication, Literacy and Creativity’

Nina and I then presented the Transdisciplinary skills that our school teaches on a daily basis. These 5 skill sets include THINKING SKILLS, RESEARCH SKILLS, COMMUNICATION SKILLS, SELF MANAGEMENT SKILLS and SOCIAL SKILLS.

It was pointed out that reading, writing and mathematics are still taught explicitly in classrooms but other skills are also recognised and developed.

We concluded the session by highlighting the school’s mission statement and the school’s teaching philosophy (as Nina pointed out…not many school’s actually have either!) We aim to develop students’ gifts and talents through developing their Learner Profile and attitudes. We do this at a ground level by developing the skills they are going to need to be successful in any area they choose. Inquiry style teaching that our school believes in allows creativity and provides a format to teach reading, writing and mathematics in a real and interesting way.

We had a live chat room on for the session and parents were encouraged to leave questions, comments and ideas during and after the session. Some of the posts included: ‘How are these skills assessed in the classroom?’ ‘How can I help to develop these skills at home?’ ‘Thanks for an informative session ….

Cheers Nina


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Poetry & Success Criteria for 6,7&8 year old students…

Poems, rhymes, raps, finger plays and chants are important in all classrooms, but crucial to young children learning to read. Rhymes allow students to make predictions. I find that the children, who have difficulty predicting a text, have a ‘tougher’ journey learning to read. The resurrection of poetry, rhymes and chants in classrooms supports the important role they have in developing the language skills of young children.

Introducing my students to a wide variety of poetry types has been enjoyable for all. Success Criteria is essential for students to structure different forms of poetry. I found Kenn Nesbitt’s site Poetry 4 kids particularly helpful for providing my students with Success Criteria. The children have written Acrostic, Haiku, Diamante, Limericks, I Am poems, Fathers Day poems and a Dinosaur Ditty.

Our unit of Inquiry was ‘How we express ourselves’ and poetry fitted beautifully.

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Here are our Fathers Day cards… Dad is laminated and is a fridge magnet.

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Cheers Nina

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