Why is the French Revolution still relevant today, 230 years after the fall of the Bastille? The Living Revolution symposium will explore this question. The symposium program can be found here: https://arts.unimelb.edu.au/e/living-the-french-revolution
I read some research about measuring the efficacy of Feedback. I enjoyed reading it because it made me think more deeply about my own “Assessment Literacy.” a. This reading was part of the #edureading group on Twitter. b Each month a new article is chosen and readers either record their responses on FlipGrid or they just participate in the Sunday night Twitter chat. I have missed a few articles but I am back on deck with this one.
The title of the article is: “Feedback: all that effort, but what is the effect?” c. You would have noticed the click-batey question, so, what is the answer? I’ll come back to that later. d
The main objectives of feedback is to: Continue reading
In order to make classroom visits a bit easier, I started the ‘open classroom days’ this year. Sometime in week 3 of each term, for two days, teachers are asked to either leave their door open or put a ‘welcome’ post-it note on their door. Colleagues are then allowed to pop in for a few minutes to observe the class. The rules for our latest iteration were:
We have been using Ron Ritchhart ‘Eight cultural forces that define our classrooms’ when we were involved in the ‘cultures of thinking’ program. These 8 categories are also very suitable as lenses for classroom observation. Continue reading
I have been researching what a positive and good learning environment looks like. There are two aspects that affect the learning environment in a classroom:
- The environment created by the teacher
- The physical environment
Environment created by the teacher
Let me start with a great notion by Dr Ginott, who eloquently expresses how important the role of the teacher is in setting the “climate in the classroom”:
Peter Goss and Julie Sonneman from the Grattan Institute have written a report called “Engaging students: creating classrooms that improve learning” They identify the following key aspects of a successful and engaging classroom:
- High expectations
- Strong teacher-student relationships
- Clarity and structure in instruction
- Active learning
- Encouragement and constructive praise
- Consistent corrections and consequences
This week we were fortunate enough to have two student-free days to come together as a College to collaborate, develop our curriculum and learn from each other. We also had a small TeachMeet where I presented on using social media for professional development. The presentation can be found here.
I have been using Twitter and Facebook as a source of PD for so long that it’s easy to forget not everyone does that. While social media for PD may not be for everybody, Facebook groups provide a great low-threshold opportunity for self-directed professional development. Twitter may be harder to get into, but I believe the return on investment is absolutely worth it. After the presentation, a few of my colleagues told me that they had never thought of Social Media as a source of professional learning, so I’ll take that as a small win. I hope that I have been able to broaden people’s views of where to find sources for professional learning.
Sometimes (often), preparing lessons is playing around and being creative. I could have been doing more useful things I’m sure, but making this Tarsia puzzle was just a bit of fun.
I really liked the look of this puzzle and then I learnt from another Maths teacher (shout out to Mr Pearson) that these puzzles are called Tarsia or Tarzia puzzles. It has clearly been around for a very long time, and I’m late to this game, but excited none the less to discover something that is new to ME. Continue reading
Here is a checklist and a reminder for teaching ‘concept-based’: Continue reading
I have recently spent quite a bit of time thinking about History textbooks and how they are written. My thinking hasn’t fully crystallised yet but I want to share the articles that I have read so far. As I continue my journey in the textbook world, I will write more here.
- History textbooks still imply that Australians are white: https://theconversation.com/history-textbooks-still-imply-that-australians-are-white-72796 “Despite improvements to their content over time, secondary school history textbooks still imply that Australians are white. Textbook depictions of Australianness are not only relevant to experiences of national belonging or exclusion. Research has shown that students who aren’t represented in textbooks perform worse academically.”
- Are US History Textbooks Obsolete? https://www.voanews.com/a/is-it-time-to-throw-us-history-textbooks-away-/4671653.html This article quotes Sam Wineberg who says that civil skills and the ability of looking at history through different lenses is invaluable. History textbooks need to do more to emphasise this skill.
- An article from Hong Kong and the wording used in textbooks to describe the ‘handover’: “Whatever words are used, it is important that students are given the full historical context so that they can better understand the meanings and the differences.” https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2143869/changes-history-textbooks-offer-lessons-must-be-learned
Over the last few weeks I read ‘Why don’t students like school’ by Daniel Willingham. It was a very popular book when it was published in 2009. While I enjoyed the read and got some good ideas and notions out of it, this book has not made a big impact on my understanding of teaching. I found the suggestions quite common sense and straight forward and found the style a bit too narrative at times.
I realise that Willingham is a professor of Psychology with a specialisation in neuroscience; something I am clearly not. But as an experienced teacher I have seen first hand the many things that he points out in his book.
While reading I like to make visual booksnaps using Piccollage. This strategy allows the information to rattle around in my working memory a bit longer; I DO something with the info which means that it will (hopefully) be stored better in my long term memory. Willingham explains this in Chapter 1, page 10, “How thinking works”.
I print the booksnaps off and will refer to them occasionally to remind myself of what I have read. You can download all of them here in one PDF.
Here are my booksnap notes: Continue reading
Over the long weekend, I read Dylan Wiliam’s “Leadership for Teacher Learning. In order to remember what I read and formulate my thoughts, I make #booksnaps, using piccollage or snapchat. This post contains my key take-aways.
I also recommend that you listen to Ollie Lovell’s podcast in which he interviews Wiliam himself, it is a fantastic listen and it’s great to hear so many of the things that stood out for me while reading reflected back in the interview. Another good one to read is a post I wrote back in 2015, when Dylan Wiliam visited our school. I took detailed notes, there are photos of the slides and I made a simple resolution for myself which I have since party fulfilled (before class, prepare thoughtful and critical questions to ask students).