Minecraft Design: Real Life Application

In 2015, Linden Park Primary students won the Craft Your Perfect National Park Minecraft competition and it has finally been built! Craft Your Perfect National Park, was part of the community engagement project for the South Australian State Government’s election commitment to spend $10.4 million on infrastructure upgrades, to encourage people to visit metropolitan parks.  Students were invited to design a national park using Minecraft. You can view the Linden Park student’s winner entry […]

War on waste!

Australia is ranked 5th highest for generating the most municipal waste in the world. So what can we do about it? ‘War on Waste‘ , a three part ABC documentary, hosted by Craig Reucassel was produced to see if we, as a nation, can all do a little better.  In episode one, Craig explores how much waste we produce as a nation and what we can do about it. He […]

STEM Challenges for Reception (K) to Year 6

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM),  is based on the philosophy of teaching the four disciplines using an integrated approach, a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications, rather than as separate discrete subjects.  Why integrate subjects? Well I think, integration is needed in order to guide students’ way of thinking about our our current and future environmental and social issues. We need to reach beyond the idea of students […]

Scratch Junior: Lesson plans for Reception(K) to Year 2

Scratch Junior  is a developmentally appropriate programming language for children ages five through seven. It is available through the App Store and Google Play for free. Furthermore, if you don’t have an iPad or Android based tablet, you can emulate a full Android OS for mobile applications using the Andy Android Emulator for PC and Mac. It’s a fully functional, independent Android operating system that runs as an application in Windows or […]

The Design Process: Student example and assessment rubric

Part of the Design Technologies curriculum for primary students is very similar to that of the SACSA (South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability)  Framework, for those who can remember using this, in that it generally has a ‘design, make and appraise’ approach with the addition of ‘critically examine’ before the design process. I’ve created a list of design steps and an assessment rubric which can be modified easily to cater […]

Strategies for teaching public speaking skills

Speaking in public to an audience can be challenging, not only for students but adults alike. I remember giving my first lecture at university. As an invited speaker, I found myself standing at the front of the lecture theatre, the same lecture theatre which I attended as a university student for my very first lecture. I had a microphone pinned to my shirt and my presentation was displayed behind me. […]

How to write a Design Technologies assessment rubric

A rubric for assessment, usually in the form of a matrix or grid, is a tool used to interpret and grade students’ work against criteria and standards. With the Australian curriculum, we have the Achievement Standard and the Content Descriptors which provide teachers with the criteria and standards of which to assess. So where do you begin? I like to begin with my student learning outcome and work my way backwards. That is, […]

Strategies for teaching history and using Microsoft Class One Note

This term I had to teach an inquiry unit on colonisation and the gold rushes during  1800’s for Year 5.  Throughout the unit I used a range of different teaching strategies. I have kept the teaching strategies in this blog  broad, so that you can apply them to a range of different history topics and for different year levels. Flat Chat This task is great to determine what students already […]

Primary English: Teaching explanation texts

There are always particular genres which primary teachers love to teach and those which they don’t. I love teaching narrative, poetry and persuasive texts, but until recently, I never really liked teaching explanation texts. I’ve just finished teaching a unit on explanation texts  and I loved it. I came up with a new strategy which worked really well, and the texts my students produced were really good. After deconstructing  various […]

Strategies to get kids to start thinking

There are 3 main points to this blog post: (1) Failure is OK, (2) Think outside the square and (3) Persist. These are then followed by some practical teaching ideas. We need to teach our students how to think and this can be achieved. One of the first concepts I think teachers need to teach students is that failure is OK. They need to understand that failure is part of […]