4 Skills to Teach Students in the First 5 Days of School



Another article I read today is called “Four Skills to Teach Students in the First Five Days of School”. It lists 4 things we should teach our students in the first week of school to set them up for the year and for their lives in the future. This list is by Alan November and he has some interesting ideas!


1. Power Researching

November says that students do not know how to research properly and how to use Google well. I don’t think I even know how to use Google well! But he has a good point. We need to teach our kids to be able to research properly so that they can use the internet to its potential. 


2. Meaningful Contributions

Everyone, no matter how old they are or what they know, can make a difference. As November says, “A global audience can be more motivating than a teacher in the classroom.” And this is so true! When you have a global audience, or at least an audience bigger than your classroom, students will be more motivated and put in much more effort to impress their audience. I think it is a great way to encourage motivation and make a project as close to real life as possible. 


3. Ask Them About Their Passions

Novembers example is a big project he allows his students to do. There is no rubric and no real criteria of what it must be, just something they want to do and that they are passionate about. This allows students to use their creativity. Yes it may be hard for students to create something with no teacher input but it is a great way to see their passions and let them be intrinsically motivated to complete their work to the best of their ability. 


4. Build a Learning Ecology

November says that teachers should show their students how they learn. Show them the blogs they follow or the articles they read or the way they collate it all online (through Diigo for example). It is a great way to prove that learning is a lifelong thing and that it can be fun and also very beneficial to learn. I think this can also mean making global connections to other classrooms around the world. This could be through a class blog or even a Twitter account. If students are able to meet other students from around the world who are learning the same types of things and help each other, it can really motivate and encourage students to learn. 


I thought this article was really great and I would recommend it to anyone wanting some new and different ideas on how to go about their first week of school ever!


Digital Reading


, ,

I read this article this morning called “Can Students “Go Deeper” with Digital Reading?” and it was very interesting. It’s talking about the advantages and disadvantages of using digital copies of books on iPads or Chromebooks. The author Holly Korbey, talks about how it is spatially easier for students to read print books and turn the pages back and forth. It is also easier to write notes, either in the book or on sticky notes. She discussed how the iPad and Chromebook programs are much ore difficult for users to write notes and annotations on the pages. 

I definitely agree that print books can be better, however, I think that in the next few years as iPads and Chromebooks become more popular and the progress are improved to allow for better use, they could definitely take over as the new book. It would definitely save paper if we use iPads and all our notes would be in the one place. I think it’s just something we have to wait and see about. I personally prefer to use paper ad pen, and write all over my textbooks 🙂 

What do you guys think of this? Do you prefer print books or iPads? What do you think will happen in the future? Let me know!

Lesson Resources


, ,

Well hey there! I know I’m behind but I’ve just been working through the Week 5 work and came across the Australian Curriculum Lessons that David put up. I’ve only had a quick look but it looks super great! I love that it is all specific Australian lesson plans for the Australian Curriculum. In searching on Google, so many lesson plans and unit ideas are American and while they often have some good ideas, it’s just not quite as helpful. This website, however, is full of Aussie lesson plans for our curriculum. It’s all sorted into subjects and grade levels. I think it will be very helpful!

Talking about lesson plan ideas and resources… one of my friends introduced me to this great website a few years ago called Teachers Pay Teachers. It’s a site where teachers can sell their lesson or unit plans for free or a set price. I have found it very useful when I’m teaching to just go on there and search for the topic I’m doing just to have a look at what they are doing. I have only ever downloaded free resources or looked at the priced ones for the ideas. But it is really handy! It is very American based though, so not necessarily what is relevant to me, but still good! 

Another place where I get many different ideas and resource is Pinterest!! If you search for the right things and follow the right boards people come up with some wonderful things! I really love Pinterest and I love searching for classroom ideas and resources for my lessons. It’s a great way to get a quick idea of what you could do for a topic. Very helpful!!! 

Assignment 2 Planning

For our second assignment we have to create a technology-rich unit plan. I have decided to do my unit plan for Grade 4 because I recently spent time in a Grade 4 classroom. My unit will go for 5 weeks and will be on time in Maths. The Australian Curriculum says that students need to “use am and pm notation and solve simple time problems”. The elaborations are…

  • calculating the time spent at school during a normal school day
  • calculating the time required to travel between two locations
  • determining arrival time given departure time

Below are some of the criteria I will be using in this unit plan. (The grades did not copy across but it goes from A to E from left to right of each table) 

Connection and description of mathematical concepts and relationships in a range of situations, including some that are complex unfamiliar Connection and description of mathematical concepts and relationships in complex familiar or simple unfamiliar situations Recognition and identification of mathematical concepts and relationships in simple familiar situations Some identification of simple mathematical concepts Statements about obvious mathematical concepts

Recall and use of facts, definitions, technologies and procedures to find solutions in a range of situations including some that are complex unfamiliar 

Recall and use of facts, definitions, technologies and procedures to find solutions in complex familiar or simple unfamiliar situations 

Recall and use of facts, definitions, technologies and procedures to find solutions in simple familiar situations 

Some recall and use of facts, definitions, technologies and simple procedures 

Partial recall of facts, definitions and use of simple procedures 

Systematic application of relevant problem-solving approaches to investigate a range of situations, including some that are complex unfamiliar 

Application of relevant problem-solving approaches to investigate complex familiar or simple unfamiliar situations 

Application of problem-solving approaches to investigate simple familiar situations 

Some selection and application of problem-solving approaches in simple familiar situations 

Partial selection of problem-solving approaches 

I chose to do time in this unit plan because I have had some experience teaching in Grade 4 and I think that I can incorporate some great technology-rich lessons into Maths and this specific topic. 


Book Making

Now I know I’m majorly behind, but I just read the article from Week 5 about the Canadian teacher who incorporated ICTs in a very meaningful and relevant way. I love how the teacher used a skill and a dream her students had and turned it into something so big. Especially for kids with special needs, it is so important to find something that they are good at and focus on that. It can make their whole school experience so much more enjoyable if they are allowed to spend time doing the things they love. For these students, they loved writing and illustrating so the teacher found a way for them to write and illustrate a book. 

I really love how the teacher then got everyone involved and made it a whole school thing. It really helped all the students to feel involved in creating books across all grade levels. And creating books is something that everyone can do. Whether they are in lower primary and can write simple words and draw pictures, or in the higher grades where they can create bigger works of writing and illustrate. 

My dad is a teacher and he has done something similar to this in a Grade 8 English class. They were looking at poetry and particularly at the Psalms in the Bible. So individually and in groups the students rewrote some Psalms in a modern Australian context. Once they had completed and edited their Psalms, my dad published them in a class book using PhotoBookShop.com. Many of the kids bought a copy and they have one in the school library now too. It was such a great project because the students had a real reason to create their Psalms and then share them with others as a proper published book. So cool! 

ABC Splash

I just found this blog post by Kathryn Yarrow talking about ABC Splash and it looks really good! ABC Splash is a website where teachers can find great resources for all grade levels. There is videos, audios and digibooks available in every grade level as well as every subject area (English, Maths, Science, History, Geography). 

I really like the look of the website. It has so many resources and is focused on the Australian Curriculum for each grade and subject so will be very useful in the classroom. I can definitely see how this could be helpful when I get on prac! It could make finding resources so much easier when I just have to say what subject an grade level I’m teaching. Thanks Kathryn for sharing!!

Maths Worksheets

While looking for something to help teach times, I came cross this really cool website which creates worksheets on a topic! It creates them as a pdf so you can’t edit them at all, but every time you create a worksheet on that subject, it will come out differently. I really like it because it creates worksheets very easily for practice or assessment in a particular area. I haven;t explored it too much, so I don’t know what areas it covers in each grade level. But the Grade 4 ones I have looked at are really good. (But American… can be a problem with miles not kilometres) I would recommend looking at this if you need to create a worksheet. There are many other websites that create worksheets too. They certainly can make the teachers job a little easier! 

Abcya Animate

So the other day I was talking about this new website I heard about called abcya.com/animate. Yesterday we used the website in Grade 4 and it was so much fun! Once we had watched the tutorial video, it was really easy to use and the kids picked it up well. They had a great time playing on the website and creating short animations. 

I really liked this website because it was easy to use and the kids could draw their own pictures, use pictures and backgrounds from the site, add text and create up to 100 frames. The only thing I don’t like is that you can’t save the animation and come back to it later. To save the animation, it is exported and can’t be edited anymore. It’s saved as a .gif and can then be opened through the internet where it will play in one of 3 different sizes. 

Other than the saving problem, I really liked this website for kids and would recommend it to anyone wanting to create simple and easy animations with kids. 

abcya animate

Classroom Technology

I’ve been in a classroom this week and the teacher has done a whole bunch of different ICT things during her lessons. Today we were learning about parables that Jesus told and she showed the class 4 different video versions of the Parable of the Lost Sheep. The students had to discuss which one they liked best and why. Their task now is to create their own video explaining a parable. Tomorrow we will start looking at Movie Maker (Windows) and iMovie (iPad), as well as another movie making program on abcya.com. I have played games on abcya.com before but haven’t ever seen this animation program. So I’m really looking forward to learning how it works and how the kids find it. I’ll let you all know what I discover!! 

Assignment 1

For our first assignment I created a Wix website. I really enjoyed the process of using Wix and learning to add links and images and my information. I wrote it from the perspective of me as a teacher to my students parents. Have a look and let me know what you think! I feel like this is something I now want to do when I become a teacher and have a proper class!!! Such a great idea to keep in contact with parents and let them know a bit about me as a teacher 🙂

Click here to view my assignment 1 for EDC3100