Ideas for Book of the Year Awards Short List 2015

The Children’s book council of Australia have published the Book of the Year Awards Short List 2015

There are many great books on that list and I am sure you have read many in your classrooms (and the other places you like to read)!

This list provides a great opportunity to have your say and share what you think makes each book special (or maybe not so special in your eyes). There is no better place to do this than the State Library of Victoria’s site – Inside a dog.  

Insideadog has always primarily been a website for young people to share their love of books and reading. From the earliest days, however, it has found a place in school libraries and classrooms as well. There are teacher notes, designed to help teachers integrate Insideadog into their classroom and your school.  Here are some quick ideas.

Insideadog is open to anyone and is an ideal activity to undertake with a Sister School or even a cluster of schools.

Students would need to be signed up to the site and teachers should check they have parental consent before signing their students up to any site.

Book reviews 

The main focus of insideadog is user-generated book reviews. Students can log on and write about books they have read, and then share their reviews with the site. Each user has a profile page which can be accessed to see what they have reviewed and any comments they have made.

Book clubs 

Book clubs allow readers to join groups based around specific books, series or themes. There they can share reviews, news, fan art they have created, other books they have enjoyed, and more. These clubs can become the basis for a rang eof classroom activities.

Literature Circles 

Literature circles are an approach to reading and responding to books that takes into account student interests and abilities. Insideadog’s book clubs feature can be integrated with literature circles to enhance the in-class experience, or to take part or all of it online.

Posted in Challenge, Class Activities, Curriculum, Digital Learning, Digital Literacy, Literacy, Online Projects

Make a class maths dictionary using a wiki

Mark Warner suggested the following idea on the site  Teaching Ideas Its a great idea but I am going to suggest to do it using the global2 wiki tool to add to and deepen the learning.

Why use the wiki when it is so much easier to do on paper?

It enables students to collaborate, make connections about their learning, not to mention teaching  skills around the protocols and safe practices of using online tools.

Students collaborate to create the dictionary, connect associated terms and concepts using hyperlinks.

The activity becomes less teacher directed (Maybe after the students become familiar with the way the wiki works) and allows students to make connections difficult to capture with a paper book. It also introduces students to writing for a broad audience, online etiquette in particular in relation to shared content creation (collaboration and using wikis)

How to set up the wiki in Global2

Creating a class blog with the wiki feature enabled allows you to add and use a wiki on your blog. Once added to your blog, users, you have given permission, can easily edit everything on the page.

The wiki feature lets you make as many wiki pages on your blog as you’d like!

The idea:

There are a number of Maths dictionaries that you can buy in the shops.

However, why not get your class to make their own one? They are more likely to remember the meanings of the terms if they have made the pages for themselves. The class (along with your help) can also choose vocabulary which is appropriate for their age range. Once it is made, the dictionary can be kept in the classroom (and now online for home use) as a valuable reference tool, which the children can refer to anywhere anytime. .

The starting words:

2 D
3 D
Bigger than
Decimal Point
Smaller than


Posted in Class Activities, Digital Learning, Digital Technologies, Mathematics, Online Projects, Wikis

Open street maps – Mapping wiki

OpenStreetMap is built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, cafes, railway stations, and much more, all over the world.

OpenStreetMap is a free, editable map of the world that anyone can add to, sometimes described as the Wikipedia of maps.

The community of people online ranges from professional cartographers to anyone that wants to help.Openstreetmaps

Those mapping, who co-ordinate and help each other, break the imagery into “tiles” and literally trace roads, buildings and highways onto the map.

The work of new mappers is validated by more experienced mappers to ensure accuracy. Just like a wiki.

Here is the resource

Saira Asher  from the BBC has written on how How ‘crisis mapping’ is helping relief efforts in Nepal using OpenStreetMap.

Geography teachers check the tool and the other resources provided by  Seth Dixon who curates

Posted in Uncategorized

What does good teaching look like? Check out this flipped classroom

What does good teaching look like?

AITSL has identified this as a “highly accomplished” example of a teacher who

  • Knows content and how to teach it
  • Knows students and how they learn

Peter Smyth is the teacher. Gungahlin College, Canberra is the school. Rumour has it that Peter was a first year teacher here. (I could be wrong it has happened before)

There is much talk about a “Flipped Classroom” particularly in conversations around using digital technologies.Peter Smyth. png

This post is in response to some of the simplified or misconceived interpretations around flipped classroom – A simple idea whereby you get your kids to do the stuff they do at home (homework) and swap it with the stuff they do at school. The conversation often then jumps to the various technologies to enable the flip…..


This is an outstanding example of what can be achieved by using a flipped classroom approach  – It is hosted on the AITSL site and I would suggest poorly tagged as “Maths on YouTube”.

It is way more than that, with concepts around about student voice and self managed leaning and I would suggest anyone ever wanting to see TPACK and SAMR working watch this.

Use this film to start conversations at your staff meeting. It is particularly relevant  for schools considering a flipped classroom approach, going 1-to-1 or just looking at buying quality learning time with students.

What is so compelling is his, and his students capacity to talk about their “flipped classroom” approach in terms of teaching and learning.

Snaps also to Peter Maggs who shot and cut the film and asked the questions about teaching and learning.


Posted in Uncategorized

Professional Learning for Teachers and School Leaders – Digital Technologies and Resources

DET Digital Learning Branch has announced a series of Professional Learning sessions for School Leaders and classroom teachers, to be delivered in Term 2.

There will be two different sessions focusing on Digital Technologies and Resources: one hour ‘taster’ sessions for School Leaders and three hour ‘digging deeper’ sessions for classroom teachers.

The one hour sessions will provide a taster for School Leaders (including ICT leaders, Leading Teachers & Principal class) through exploring digital content, blogging, and tools for connecting and collaborating through FUSE, Global2, DigiPubs, and virtual conferencing to support student learning.

PL_jbTuesday 28th May, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, Mt Erin Secondary College, Frankston

Tuesday 2nd June, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, Laburnum Primary School, Blackburn

Tuesday 9th June, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, Bimbadeen Heights PS, Mooroolbark

Bring? BYO laptop or tablet

Cost? No cost



The three hour sessions for classroom teachers dig deeper, harnessing blogging, digital content in FUSE, interactive web 2.0 tools, coding and programming and more to support student learning.

Thursday 4th June, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, Knox Park Primary School

Tuesday 9th June, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, CASES Training Centre, Dandenong

Bring? BYO laptop or tablet

Cost? No cost



Posted in Uncategorized

Student email addresses – Non identifiable

Cybersafety – Student Privacy

Whiles this advice comes from the Department of Education and Training’s website it is sound advice for all when setting up student email accounts.

The eduSTAR.ISP service provides student email accounts. These are generally required to allow students to join and manage many online tools and environments. An email address should provide no personal details about the student’s identity (as the school is already identified) . For example:

Ensure that the naming conventions that you use do not identify students personally.

In Government schools, schools can use the eduSTAR.ISP service commonly known as (Netspace or more accurately iinet),  run their own domain servers or  may be setting up Google Apps for Education sites etc to create student email accounts.

It is often the case that the school is identified  eg  when they are created at the school.

Every Victorian Government schools has student email options and they are becoming increasingly important as the way to sign up and manage online tools and services -including Global2!

By adding a student’s full name to that email domain you have put too many pieces of personal information together on the web about your students.

You have told the world exactly where that child is each day during your school hours. Once that student creates a blog and adds an image the information is unquestionably identifiable.

This is a cybersafety issue and also one that you need to be educating your students and even some of the organisations they belong to like sports teams etc…

We have included more information in a previous blog. Full details



Posted in Cybersafety, Digital Learning, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

TeachThought’s list of must have apps for android devices

The editors at TeachThought have complied and presented this collection of 50 educational apps for android devices. Particularly handy for schools getting started with such devices. The list includes learning siAndroid appsmulations to organizing tools for project-based learning. You will see that the suggestions have been presented on a tool called Listly by Terry Heick Check it out 



Posted in Uncategorized

Cybersafety Webinars for Grades 4 ,5 & 6 time change

Students’ Making Good Choices  & Great Online Communication Webinars

To register for one or both of these sessions go to


We invite you and your students to attend two web conferences targeted at Years 4, 5 and 6 students. We previously advertised these sessions starting at 10am but the request from schools was to start them at 9:30am. So we have made the change. Gameon-texting-ollie

Each will be hosted by the Department of Education and Training (DET) and presented by the Cybersmart Outreach team.

These sessions are available for all Schools. Schools may choose to attend either or both sessions.


Session A – Making good choices online

Thurs 28 May –  9:30 -10.10am (Teachers can login at 8am)
The presentation will assist students to:

* help students think before spreading content that may upset others
* include scenarios where students consider the best choice of action
* introduce the TEC – Think, Evaluate, Choose tool to achieve the best outcome for everyone
* encourage students to discuss choices with a trusted adult

With the help of classroom teachers, the presentation will feature polling and interactive questions.
Students will also be able to use back channelling technology to share ideas and opinions on their own devices

Session B – Great Online Communication Weds 10 June – 9:30 -10.10am (Teachers can set up at 8am)
The presentation will assist students to:

* Understand why online messages can be easily misunderstood
* Recognise that messages can be hurtful even when this may not be the intent
* Understand that non-verbal behaviours help us receive messages more than volume, pitch or words
* Consider when teasing crosses the line and becomes harmful and hurtful
* Identify appropriate responses to someone communicating inappropriately

Please note that the class teacher is required to organise 2 student volunteers prior to the presentation.

During the Virtual Classroom, the trainer will instruct the students to speak to their class (only) for 30 seconds about their best holiday.

With the help of classroom teachers, the presentation will feature interactive questions and discussions.

To get ready for the session go to the Game On resources 

Information of how to access the event via Blackboard Collaborate, including the link will be emailed to teachers at the email address they include in their registration.

We will run a drop in session for teachers, the night before the event 3:30 – 5pm to test their technology set up. Victorian Government teachers wanting support with any of their web conferencing tools including Blackboard Collaborate, Polycom, Lync and or Skype are encouraged to contact the DET Web conferencing coaches

**For teachers or parents wondering about the age of their student and the relevance of sexting in these sessions I refer you to the research contained within the Victorian Law Reform’s Inquiry into sexting (Page 30) featuring data on children as young as 12.


To register for one or both of these sessions go to

Posted in Challenge, Cybersafety, Cybersmart

My Story My Content short film competition

My Story My Content Short Film Competition is an initiative of IP Awareness and Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM).

It provides primary and secondary school students with the opportunity to make a 60-second short film or animation celebrating local screen creativity, and win fantastic prizes in the process.

My Story My Content calls for aspiring student filmmakers to focus on the value of creativity and the need to respect the work of creators and filmmakers in Australia and New Zealand for details

There are some teaching resources available

The My Story My Content Short Film Competition is your opportunity to tell a unique story about YOU, your creativity and why it is worth protecting.


Click here to watch last years winner


Australia has a world-class film and television industry and you’re closer to it than you think. Around 900,000 Australians owe their jobs – directly or indirectly – to creative industries. Tens of thousands of Australian small businesses – from dry cleaners to caterers, who proudly quote the movie business as one of their clients – support film and television production.

Last year alone, film and television industries in Australia contributed over $5 billion to the Australian economy and generated around 49,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

When you purchase legitimate content you help support a thriving movie and television industry, which means more jobs, a stronger economy, and a greater array of entertainment choices for everyone.

Posted in Challenge, Class Activities, Digital Learning, Digital Literacy, Digital Technologies, Video

iPads PD for teachers

It is not too late to join the web conference PD, iPads for Learning : online professional learning programipad ibook

The Victorian Department of Education and Training is presenting 8 online sessions held between April and June 2015

Session 1 : introduction to your iPad
Session 2 : start creating with your iPad
Session 3 : exploring content on your iPad
Session 4 : iPad tips and tricks
Session 5 : assessment and workflow – part 1
Session 6 : assessment and workflow – part 2
Session 7 : MacBook essentials
Session 8 : digital portfolios

Each session is facilitated through Polycom and MS Lync 

Participants can select any number of sessions to attend.

Further information, including an outline of the short courses and registration links can be located here.

Dont worry if you have missed the early sessions.

Recordings of sessions, are available here

The companion iBook is available for download View Item

It will introduce participants to the basics including how to:

  • navigate your iPad
  • organise your Apps
  • download content, and
  • set up your iPad in the Settings area.

Setting up Mail and Calendars will also be demonstrated along with other tips and tricks to ensure you are on the way to using your iPad effectively.


Posted in Digital Technologies, iPads, Professional Learning

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