pedagogy of responsiveness…!

The Instructional Model that we use is deliberately underpinned by the phrase ‘and check for MISunderstanding.’

If you are looking to build your understanding there are some excellent resources. Each of these require a time commitment from you, so start by choosing one!

Professional Practice Note 6 is Formative Assessment, and is published by the Department of Education and Training, Victoria.

Harry Fletcher-Wood recently appeared on Mr Barton Maths Podcast. The link takes you to an overview of the podcast, and the podcast itself, that is just over two hours of listening.

From the Bastow Literacy Masterclass Suite is Masterclass 1 – Formative Assessment. Again a little over two hours.

Finally, Dylan Wiliam and a presentation delivered at Oxford University that lasts for fifty minutes.

the importance of the beginning…

I cannot overstate how important the first few weeks of the school year are. A focus on the deliberate planning and time for building relationships, behaviour and routine expectations can set you up for a great year.

Below are 5 links that can get you thinking about how to approach the Positive Start Program we use here.

Ms Fintelman Teaches is a new blog I have been reading and I would suggest you read Why I Hate Classroom Themes before How to Let Your Students Set Up Their Own Classroom.

Cult of Pedagogy is a favourite of mine. Two posts that have some great links to the ideas of Michael Linsin are When Students Won’t Stop Talking and Classroom Management 4 Keys To Starting The Year Off Right.

The last link is from Vicki Davis and her The Cool Cat Teacher Blog, it is a podcast with Linda Kardamis about the Five Mistakes Teachers Make The First Week Of School.

Make the most of your first few weeks this year!

the place of feedback…

Finding efficient and effective workflow habits and tools to give feedback to students, and receive feedback from them can be an elusive goal.

Mindshift is a favourite professional reading blog I like to use. Recently Katrina Schwartz posted thoughts about feedback that are worthwhile reading and thinking about. There is a link to a very short video where John Hattie again talks about success criteria being more important than a learning intention.

I still think the time spent thinking about and designing both learning intentions and success criteria provide you with a reference to focus your feedback.

some PDP resources…

This year we will complete the goal setting for our PDP online. You create your document from inside the Performance and Development section once you log in to your Self Service inside edupay.

I like to have a document to use first and then I will cut and paste. Here is a template with our school Strategic Plan goals added.

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers are on the aitsl website, or you can find the Standards by career stage in these links for Lead, Highly Accomplished and Proficient teachers.

It is worth looking at the Performance and Development Guidelines for the teacher class and a Goal Setting Guide before starting, and this verb list for when writing goals.


The video below, featuring John Hattie, broadly touches upon a number of themes that support our instructional and planning models, as well as the ‘Let’s look at Learning Intentions and Success Criteria’ overview.

It reinforces the message of variability within schools and champions the value of collaborative observation and using artefacts of student work to monitor learning.

In short, it talks about all the good stuff!


As a teacher in a classroom with 1:1 devices you have the responsibility to provide and manage access to collaboration within your school, and outside of your school environment.

Two of the best ways I know to support students to connect globally, are the Student Blogging Challenge, which begins in March, and the Global Read Aloud that is currently looking for book nominations.


(digital) learning portfolios…

Let me start by asking you to look at the video below, about 5 minutes worth. I had this put aside to use for some professional learning early next year, so you might see it again at some point! Do your best predicting, looking for foreshadowing, use any prior knowledge you might have, you will have some questions (probably, what the hell is Tim on about?), you might think aloud and hope to see a summary…no matter what you do, you will have to watch it all to work out how it fits in with what follows.

If you are not prepared to watch this, read the email and follow the links, then you shouldn’t really have an opinion about the topic! I am giving you 10 years worth of thinking and reflecting on pedagogy and practice with portfolios in a considerably shorter time! I want you to base any decision on some authentic background and depth of knowledge. If you think this paragraph a little strange the video should help.

Now that you have watched the video, let me begin by saying if you think this is about the (free) Global2 platform and the (paid) Seesaw app then again, you shouldn’t really have an opinion about this!

The issue here is about the importance of students developing a portfolio that represents their learning. If you don’t understand the depth and complexity around learning portfolios then both Global2 and Seesaw will be a failure, yes both. So you can pay for mediocrity or produce it for free.

This next link takes you to a blog post with a picture that is close to the best I have ever found that explains what I think of when I talk about learning portfolio…read ‘blogging’ in the image as portfolio, to me for the purposes of reading this blog post they are synonymous.

Silvia Tosilano @ her langwitches blog…awesome!

Still with me? Then you now need to read this slightly more complex text from the InsightAssess website, by the way if this is the first time you have seen this website bookmark, and explore in more detail at a later date.

Insight Assess Portal

Hopefully those synapses are firing. The next blog post, to my mind, starts to make some of the depth of thinking required to develop great portfolios, as opposed to mediocre ones.

from the Intrepid Teacher blog

Nearly there, the next link can be read in its entirety, or you can just look at pages 2 and 3. My bias towards inquiry and IB are known, read ICT though as digital learning in the article.

the role of ICT in PYP

No doubt many of you are relating this to some of the Hattie influences, and the fact that the strongest instructional models have a component where sharing and reflection are involved.

One of the platforms allows for individual student blogs, the other doesn’t. One looks easy to use, the other requires some commitment and effort to use effectively. One offers the opportunity for authentic global collaboration and communication, the other doesn’t. One opens the door to creating a true digital footprint and developing real digital citizenship behaviour, the other doesn’t. One demands parental effort to be involved, the other doesn’t.

I think there is a place for both platforms in the educational journey at our school. One for F-3, and one for 4-6.

There is no place for either, however, if as a teacher you can’t develop your own class blog, ask students to reflect with some depth and effort, teach students how to set SMART goals,  provide the time to communicate with peers, or be involved in opportunities such as Global Read Aloud, Quadblogging, Student and Teacher blogging challenges, the Nifty Fifty STEM program or Mystery Skype.

Time to reflect on learning, and creating the evidence has to be planned for students so that they have the opportunity to do it properly. For students to reflect and organise their learning so that it is visible takes a great deal of effort from students and teachers. If you are not prepared to put in the effort, deliberately plan for students developing a learning portfolio, model how to communicate and persist with parents in the later years of primary school, then you shouldn’t be using either platform.

If you are here, have followed and thought about the links then you are probably ready to have a discussion with colleagues. As the first video indicated, I have a distinct bias. It is a bias based on years of thinking and doing however.

thinking about why…

One of the benefits that planning together can provide is the opportunity to ask each other… ‘why are we doing this?’.

The balance of making every lesson count (see my previous post) and where building relationships and having fun is important and valid is perfectly illustrated in the post ‘Is Your Lesson a Grecian Urn?’. These are the thoughts of Jennifer Gonzalez from her blog, Cult of Pedagogy.

Make her blog one of your regular must reads by subscribing. Start by looking at her About page, it has a link that explains the purpose of the blog and guides you to some suggestions of what to listen, view and read if it is your first time visiting her blog.

Cult of Pedagogy will provide more than enough reading and thinking, as well as opportunities for sharing and planning to last you for a whole PDP cycle!

...this links to the post!
…this links to the post!


tight but loose…

The idea of ‘tight but loose’ was something I was able to revisit while reading the Class Teaching blog through the year. Shaun Allison, one of the three authors of this blog, has also produced a book called Making Every Lesson Count.

I think the concept of making every lesson count is important for the mindset of planning and teacher talk. You can link to the post on the image below, where the authors explain how having a structure for a school can complement the idea that teachers thrive on being creative.

Making every lesson count - how it came about...from the Class Teaching blog.
Making every lesson count – how it came about…from the Class Teaching blog.


PL reading…

Below are links to the sources for the documents I recommended for reading.

The Main Idea, which provides education book summaries, is the source for Visible Learning for Teachers and Teach Like a Champion.

The insightAssess website is where you will find the information about feedback. This link provides an overview of that information.

insightAssess also provides the link to the Assessment for Learning website, developed by the Curriculum Corporation. This is the link to the information about learning intentions.

the power of a teacher…

Along the lines of my previous post about professional reading, I would like to mention John Spencer’s blog. A recent post of his is titled The Future Belongs to the Makers, and is worth reading as it has a number of layers of thought.

His personal story, about the influence of one of his teachers, and the message about digital devices and designing for students to consume or create, or both, is worth spending time thinking about.




digital technologies curriculum…

By the end of next year you will be reporting on the new Digital Technologies curriculum that is part of the Victorian Curriculum. Before then you will be working in your team to design learning opportunities.

DigiPubs have an excellent teaching and learning resources page that links to year level home pages. For each strand in a year level there is a content description, lesson ideas, units of work and resources.

Click on the image below to find what you are looking for.


multiplicative thinking…

A bit of professional knowledge can go a long way, particularly when beginning to think about multiplicative thinking. I have seen a little of what has been coming from the photocopier, so I am guessing it is part of planning for a number of Year level teams.

While I go to Clarke and Sullivan for fractions, Dianne Siemon is the person to deepen your practical knowledge for multiplicative thinking…along with a dose of Booker. (Do the other authors of the book get peeved with such casual reference to one of the four authors?)

Not unusually our own Department website has links to help you as well.

Below are the links to help you on your way!

Dianne Siemon first, you have probably seen these but you really should start with these two resources that complement each other.

image         image

Of course it helps to design some useful pre testing, the Department has a link to tools to use to identify common misunderstandings.


This text link takes you to further links for other Levels.

Here are the individual links for the Level 3 tools: Countable Units tool, Additive Strategies tool, Sharing tool, Array and Regions tool, Cartesian Product tool and Proportional Reasoning tool.

Finally here is The Learning and Assessment Framework for Multiplicative Thinking. This document describes key characteristics that link to teaching implications and a vast array of resources.