Terrific Teaching Tool – Spiderscribe

Spiderscribe is an online brainstorming and mind mapping tool that students can use to record their ideas and engage in a number of higher order thinking activities.  There are a number of advantages to using Spiderscribe in the classroom: It is very straightforward to use Students have their own login so all mind maps are…

Terrific Teaching Tool – Gapminder World

Gapminder is an interactive data-based resource that enables students to explore the world’s most important statistical trends.  Data is available for hundreds of variables, from population to health to wealth to CO2 emissions! Go to the gapminder website for a general sticky beak or simply Gapminder World straight away.  It can take a minute to load but…

Doing History: Exploring evidence with artefacts

“The process of writing history using primary sources involves a three-way interplay among the inquiry questions that propel the study, the close analysis of available sources, and knowledge of the context of the sources.” (Sexias & Morton, 2013, p.42).  Accordingly, historical evidence from primary sources is central to this process. An often neglected category of…

Rubrics– articulating clear learning goals

One strategy to help students understand the learning goals for a task is to provide a simple rubric.  The rubric should break down any jargon found within the success criteria so that students can understand the learning goal (and establish a link between their own work and their likely grade).   I distinguish between what I…

The paradox of bright girls

The paradox of bright girls, as outlined by Dweck (2000) is simply this: bright girls achieve highly in primary school (higher than boys and higher in all subjects); however, they are not necessarily high achievers in high school.  Dweck found that this group is particularly vulnerable to adopting helpless responses to new and challenging tasks…

To praise or not to praise?

The ‘commonly advocated practice of praising students for their intelligence’ has been under review for some time; however, a number of educators are now getting serious about shifting the way they praise in order to enable students to develop a Growth Mindset.  Research conducted by Carol Dweck (2000) suggests that praising students for their intelligence…

Declarative and Procedural Knowledge checklists – articulate clear learning goals

The first step to a good formative assessment strategy is articulating clear learning goals.  One effective way to do this is to use a Declarative and Procedural Knowledge Checklist.   Cognitive psychologists classify knowledge into two categories: declarative knowledge (which the learner knows or understands) and procedural knowledge (which the learner is able to do).  In…

My professional growth goals

According to AITSL (2012), teacher growth and development is the central factor in establishing a performance and development culture in education.  As part of my ongoing professional development, I have set some professional growth goals based on the following broad categories: Formative assessment Student motivation Religious Education content, curriculum and pedagogy “Reflective teachers systematically set…

Teachers as persuaders

Daniel Pink raises some interesting issues during an interview about his new book (conducted by Larry Ferlazzo).  Pink shows how teachers must take the role of the ‘seller’ when implementing strategies to foster intrinsic motivation in students.  If we want our students to be autonomous and self-driven learners, we need to convince students to part…

Body image: function over form

Bree Abbott of Murdoch University raises some interesting and insightful advice in her article for The Conversation, Teaching girls to prioritise function over form for better body image.  Essentially, Abbott hypothesises that one potential cause for the increase in body dissatisfaction among adolescent girls is that girls stop focusing on what their bodies can do…

QLD misses out on national standards certification

As reported this week: Under the new National Professional Standards for Teachers, there was to be an opportunity for teachers who achieved certification as ‘Highly Accomplished’ and ‘Lead’ to receive one-off bonus payments of $7,500 and $10,000, respectively.  The Queensland government has knocked back the opportunity because it has refused to fund the certification process…

Consolidating student learning: lesson closures and plenaries

At the beginning of this teaching year I set myself the professional goal of improving my lesson closures/plenaries.  Students need the opportunity to consolidate their learning by reflecting on new material, making important links and recapping on newly learned facts and concepts. This year I have tried and tested a number of different lesson closure…

Beginnings

Welcome to my blog about all things teaching. The purpose of this blog is twofold.  Firstly, I wanted to create an online portfolio for the purpose of moving to full registration with the Queensland College of Teachers.  Secondly, I wanted to have a record of my own teaching practice (and critical reflections on practice) and the ideas and…