iPad Posters and Resources

The following documents have helped support the use of iPads at our school:

File Downloads Function
iPad Apps to Support Bloom’s Taxonomy
(JPG – 2.2Mb)

(PSD – 11.7Mb)

An A1-sized poster located in our staffroom. We have icons of all apps found on our iPads sorted into the relevant Bloom’s Taxonomies to assist teachers in choosing an app to meet a learning need.
Apps in Use at Goollelal Posters
(PDF – 27Mb)
Posters which highlight some of the apps on the Goollelal iPads. These were some of the first apps we purchased for our devices.
iPad App Evaluation Purchase Request
(DOCX – <1Mb)
This documents assists teachers in evaluating paid apps to ensure they are able to offer students a powerful technological tool.
Apps Found on the Goollelal iPads
(PDF – 1.2Mb)
This is a regularly-updated list of all apps found on the iPads, offering teachers a quick, easy yet detailed list. It is located alongside our Bloom’s Taxonomy poster.

Australian Curriculum content elaboration posters

I recently developed these posters, based on the Year 7 Australian Curriculum English, Mathematics, History and Science curricula (version 4.2).  Each set of posters include the relevant outcomes and elaborations.

I created these wall displays so that my students could keep track of what outcomes we had covered during the year, and help develop the essential metalanguage that allows me to have clear discussions with my class when talking about learning intentions and goals-setting. Each set ranges from 4 to 6 A4 pages in length.

Click each image below to download the individual PDFs, or alternatively, click the link to download the 19MB zip file containing all four PDFs.  These were created using Pages (Mac software).  Contact me if you want the Pages versions to edit or use yourself.
Download all as zip file (19Mb)

How to Address the Australian Curriculum in Composite Classes?

With our school moving across to the Australian Curriculum next year in terms of formal reporting, the question arose about how to tackle composite classes and the year-level specific content – mainly in the Science and History areas.

There seems to be little in the way of guidelines from the WA Education Department (and a conversation between our Principal and head office didn’t clear up too much apart from some very general, sweeping statements about “making it work”), so it seems it really is up to individual schools to plan effectively. With the old Schedule A policy, schools were required to formally report on each outcome at least once every two years. This meant a rotation of Science topics over a two-year period – 2010 could have been Earth & Beyond and Energy & Change, and 2011 Life & Living and Natural and Processed Materials. The Australian Curriculum requires all four content areas to be reported on each year – effectively one each term instead of one each semester. The first question asked was, “If we have a Year 4/5 class, do we teach all of the Year 4 and all of the Year 5 content?”

A/B Rotation

Suggestion 1 was to work off an A/B rotation – in even years (i.e. 2012, 2014, 2016 etc), all classes work towards the even year-level content (Yr 2, Yr 4, Yr 6), and in odd years the odd year-level content.  On the face of it, this seems a good solution… until you start digging in and providing scenarios.  There is every likelihood that Jimmy, a Year 2 student in a Year 2/3 class, will learn the Year 3 curriculum on 2013, having learned the Year 1 outcomes on 2012.  In 2014, as Jimmy enters Year 3, and is placed in a Year 3/4 class, he now focusses on the Year 4 content… missing the Year 2 content all together.  End of the world? Maybe not, but certainly not the clean solution that some suggest. Another scenario sees young Alice enter a straight Year 1 class in 2014 and learn the Year 2 content.  In a straight Year 2 class in 2015, she learns to Year 1 content she missed the previous year. Come 2016, Alice is placed into a Year 2/3 class as a Year 3… and learns the Year 2 content she covered in Year 1! All of this A/B concept works perfectly if students remain in the same classes, streamed through primary school.  However, the reality is that composite classes are usually formed out of numerical necessity, and throwing another constraint into class structuring would be a logistical nightmare for administration.

History Key Ideas

Having had discussions at a school level, and reading documentation from other states’ education departments (such as South Australia’s), we decided to take the approach in History of creating composite-class guidelines by focussing on the key ideas of the Historical Knowledge and Understandings. Linking key ideas from (for example) Year 4 and Year 5 allows for a guideline for a Year 4/5 teacher to follow.  History outcomes are still broad enough to allow teachers to choose their own topics and directions to take in delivering content, and the document we have produced will hopefully help us to see the connections that are to be made between year level outcomes. This should ensure that the key concepts are still covered, regardless of whether students are in a straight class or a composite class.  All other skills strands and aspects of the History learning area can still be used as a way of differentiating expectations between different students, and links therefore do not need to be made.

Download a PDF of our draft planning document

Our History document is still in draft form at the moment, and composite statements are yet to be fully discussed and ratified by our staff for 2013, but I feel it is a good start for teachers of our composite classes to begin planning around how to best deliver and cater for both year levels. We’re still discussing Science as a staff – the outcome statements appear to be a little more independent of each other as compared to History, and require more thought.

feature image source: dakardus @ deviantART

Academic Profile Assessment Tool

A key focus of my student records is trying to make the process as seamless as possible from assessment to reporting to parents. Over the last few years, I’ve developed my assessment process, and this year, adapted it to the Australian Curriculum.

I start each year with the student reports from the year before.  The WA Department of Education guidelines stipulate that a “C” grade is awarded when a student achieves all outcomes for their year level.  A “B” grade is awarded when a student also shows evidence of achieving outcomes from the year level above. An “A” grade is awarded when a student achieves all outcomes from the the year level above.  Based on this feedback, I am able to make a start on filling in a student’s academic profile.

Downloads

Science Academic Profile
English Academic Profile
History Academic Profile

Through the course of the year, each time a student demonstrates an outcome, I place a tick in the box, and when I have seen enough evidence, stamp the outcome “Completed”.

As I prepare for semester and end-of-year reports, a quick glance at the stamps and ticks allows me to make a quick assessment of a student’s grade.  I also use the academic profiles during student-teacher conferences when discussing with students the outcomes they have achieved, and areas that require more evidence.

Microsoft Word DOCX versions (with Mailmerge XLS file with class list to print a class set of profiles), and OSX Numbers electronic versions are available on request.

feature image source: DaveCrosby @ flickr

Australian Curriculum Musings

The Australian Curriculum is beginning to be implemented in schools across Australia.  At the start of 2011, I made the decision to dive straight in and begin unpacking the curriculum to use in my classroom with my students.  For the first semester, I used the English, Mathematics, Science outcomes, and fortunately, the History outcomes (as our school’s Schedule A had Time, Continuity and Change from the older WA Outcomes and Standards Framework (WA OSF) as the main focus).

As the year progresses, more and more resources are coming out – both from the various education departments around Australia, and from educational publishing houses – that are directly referencing these outcomes. My first impressions of the Australian Curriculum are that they are easier to understand than the existing WA OSF and K-10 Syllabus, with clearer, specific outcomes, and that the students also are having less trouble understanding the “teacher-speak” in them.  The greatest benefit is that publishing houses and education departments around the country will be able to focus all of their attention and resources into one set of standards, meaning a greater, deeper range of learning experiences that can be shared with students.

In the spirit of sharing, I’ll be posting all of the resources I’ve adapted to meet the Australian Curriculum.  Initially, I did a lot of re-writing of the curricula in order to get my head around it, and experiment with different ways my programming could be mapped out.  My programming and assessment paperwork has been an ongoing evolution for ten years now, and I can’t see myself settling until I find the “perfect” way!