Saturday, 31 August 2013

One Year

It's been one year since I created this blog and I am overwhelmed with all the support and encouragement I've received in the last 365 days. I've posted over 100 times... an average of 1 post per 3 to 4 days which I'm quite proud of. I've also had over 26, 000 page views which is so much more than I ever expected. 

Thank you so much for a wonderful year and I look forward to another amazing year of posting on new secondary school ideas!!! :)

Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Truman Show - Film Analysis

Our Year 8 English classes are studying "The Truman Show" for their film analysis unit. I actually love this movie which makes it even more exciting to teach. I think that film analysis units are great as students are exposed to a different form of expression. Students are often more engaged with films as it appeals to different types of learners also. 

Now, to "The Truman Show". Since this is a short unit, I am only spending one session on themes and one session on characters. This will hopefully lead into our assessment task quite well, as I am hoping to really scaffold that so the students can achieve success with it. Our unit starts with students viewing the film and then completing a series of comprehension questions while viewing to deepen their understanding. Although a lot of the themes and concepts in the film are quite easy for me to grasp as an adult, I feel that some of them need to be explained for the students to actually understand what is happening. Sometimes the little gestures or comments have deep meaning and thus need to be discussed. 

For our character session, we are going to do a character analysis in a jigsaw activity and then students will use that information to create a Facebook profile for one of the main characters of the film (this will be in another post once we complete this task). Students will work in groups to complete a character analysis for one character and then we will present and share to complete our character analysis chart. I hope this activity runs well and will post about it afterwards too.

New Fonts :)

I started to create some activities for my students this week and realised that all my fancy fonts had disappeared when my computer was reloaded. So I took some time this morning findings some cool fonts because they make worksheets all that much better looking and awesome! Who wants to do work on a boring looking worksheet... right? RIGHT!

It takes no time at all to download new fonts and a lot of them are free. Seriously, all you have to do is press "install". So here are some wonderful links to free and fancy fonts that are great :) :

Those are just a few links but I am sure there are many more!!!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

G.R.I.N - Getting Ready in Numeracy

One of my tasks over the past few weeks has been to design a new literacy and numeracy support program for my school. I have done heaps of research on programs currently being used in Victorian schools and actually got the opportunity to go and see some of these programs in action.

Today I want to talk about GRIN, also known as Getting Ready in Numeracy, a program designed by Peter Sullivan and Sue Gunningham. The GRIN model seems to have some positive successes in the different schools I have been in contact with. The model follows a format in which students are withdrawn for 15 minute sessions prior to their numeracy lesson. The focus of these sessions is on the language of mathematics. Students work on reviewing what they have learnt in their maths classes and then the GRIN tutor quickly addresses some of the concepts the students will be learning that day in their math classes. This in turn gives students greater confidence in their maths classes as they will already have heard some of the terms and understand the concepts the teacher is teaching. 

More information on the GRIN program can be found here:

I would love to hear some feedback on what other schools are doing for their literacy and numeracy support programs! This is just one of many that are out there achieving success. Essentially, my goal is to make sure that these students become more confident in their classes and are able to come out with the basic fundamentals that will help them achieve success. 

Friday, 2 August 2013

"My Place" for Teaching Year 9 Humanities

It is time for me to start sharing some wonderful activities I have run during the past few weeks. In the last three weeks, I have taught Year 9 Humanities, Year 8 Maths, Year 8 English and Year 7 English. It has been a learning curve but also a great way for me to use some old activities and strategies and refine them for a different age group. 

Last week, I ran an activity with my Year 9 Humanities class based upon the book "My Place" by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins. I have used this book before at the primary level when teaching history and was so glad that I was able to use it again. This book, if you haven't read it, is absolutely wonderful and can be used for practically teaching anything! It focuses on a house and tracks the owners of the house on a ten year basis. It starts in 1988 and each new page is ten years prior and is written by a person living in that house. It goes all the way back to 1788 (the year that Australia was settled). 

The Year 9 Humanities class I was teaching is working on a unit called "Sunbury vs. City" where students look at the community they live in and how they can make a difference. This is a cross between history, geography and civics and citizenship. For this activity, we looked at the skills of creating a timeline as well as investigating family history and what changes and remains constant over time. Students worked in pairs and were given one time period to investigate from the book. They needed to identify who lived in the house during that time period, what significant events were occuring to both the family living there and in the time period, and what locations were significant for the person living in the house (each time period has a map of the local community). Students then shared their findings with the class and we created a massive timeline across the room with the information. We were then able to identify when families moved out of the house, what stayed the same with the house, what stayed the same and changed with the neighbourhood. 

It was such an enriching and amazing activity as you could really see students making so many connections; between the time periods and the families, with the time period and historical events (e.g. WWI, Vietnam, Great Depression, immigration). I highly recommend that all teachers get themselves a copy of this book. It is full of colour and imagination and can be used to for all sorts of activities and to teach and lead some wonderful discussions. It is exciting to find such a fantastic book that can be used across the academic levels!