Tag Archives: pd

HTAV Conference, Keynote speech: Richard Broome on Aboriginal History

Richard Broome, keynote speaker


Below are my notes taken during Richard Broome’s keynote. I picked up some interesting things, it was interesting to learn about the “history of Aboriginal history”. He referred to Guns, Germs and Steel, which is always good. I must say that Richard Broome’s style of delivery was a tad old-school, a long stream of interesting but rapidly delivered information; typical history professor! I think ‘learned’ people like this need to transfer their considerable knowledge in a more lively, engaging manner, this is taking me back to my uni days!

Notes: Continue reading

#Histedchat 08/05/13: Teaching 20th Century Wars

Hi all, thanks again for the great conversation. I tried to make a Storify but it again did not work for me, so I just pasted all the tweets from http://tweetchat.com/room/histedchat# below. It’s probably easier to read this way anyway. Look forward to our next chat!

vanweringh Anyone can moderate a #histedchat, pick a topic or set up a poll. Post the archive on our wiki: http://t.co/4LwlQw5Zww -9:31 PM May 8th, 2013

HistoryNeedsYou RT @CatherineRHart: @HistoryNeedsYou in Aus – borrow a memorial box – gr8 artifacts 
http://t.co/nLJnDvphr8 #histedchat -9:31 PM May 8th, 2013

bilbolewis @vanweringh @CatherineRHart and everyone – Thanks for tonight’s #histedchat. Now need to finish dishes 
& school lunches! -9:31 PM May 8th, 2013

historyboy77 RT @vanweringh: Here are all my Diigo links on WW2: http://t.co/HItLDzF4XI and WW1: 
http://t.co/xUju2oRovz #histedchat -9:30 PM May 8th, 2013
Continue reading

#Histedchat: Critical Thinking

Below are all the tweets in the 06/02/13 chat.

Edmodo code: 73gc5n Please join and share your links and resources there

sallyluane Thanks for the #histedchat chat. -9:35 PM Feb 6th, 2013

MattJJSchultz RT @BakEsteR1984: #histedchat What a buzz, I love being a part of this community. So many amazing ideas. Thanks again everyone, awesome chat tonight. -9:34 PM Feb 6th, 2013

MattJJSchultz @BakEsteR1984 Could’t agree more. #HistEdChat moves @ lightning speed, with some many brilliant ideas from quality history educators. -9:34 PM Feb 6th, 2013

BartramGiles #histedchat yes thanks everyone, always a privilege to hear what this community thinks -9:34 PM Feb 6th, 2013

vanweringh #histedchat You are all clearly critical thinkers! Gotta go now, Attend to my family and myself. Thanks again for the stimulating discussion -9:34 PM Feb 6th, 2013 Continue reading

#Histedchat: Critical Thinking in the History Classroom

Tonight’s #Histedchat is about Critical Thinking in the History Classroom.

Edmodo code: 73gc5n Please join and share your links and resources there. 

Three questions to guide our discussion:

  1. How do you define CT?
  2. How do you foster CT in your classroom? (share resources, tips, links?)
  3. Are essays the only way to assess CT in the History classroom?

This site: http://www.criticalthinking.org/ contains amazing resources, articles and ideas.

Critical Thinking

Excellent introduction to critical thinking in History by the Wisconsin Historical Society, Library‐Archives Division, 2005. Click here for original PDF. Continue reading

Making change happen, workshop with Michael Fullan.

Today I attended a full day workshop with Michael Fullan, expert on Change Leadership in education. We were provided with an informative booklet full of articles and ideas. There was in fact so much information that I reached saturation point at the end of the day. Below are some of my thoughts and pick-ups.

What works (in Change Leadership):

  • Focus
  • Capacity building
  • Consistency of practice
  • Learning from each other
  • Leadership that obsesses with points 1 – 4.

Teaching like a pro means:

  • Continuously inquiring into and improving one’s own teaching.
  • Planning teaching, improving teaching and often doing teaching as part of a high performing team. Continue reading

Notes from an MYP Humanities Workshop

I attended a three day MYP Humanities (Category 2) workshop in Melbourne, 24 – 26 Sept 2012. Below are my personal notes. I am sure there are many more elements that I missed or should have written down, but these are just my take-aways. As usual, I met some wonderful people. Special thanks to Jessica, Lana and Alexia; my ‘table mates’, such a privilege to work with them.

Monday 24th of September 2012
Day 1

Session 1

New Criterion: difference between KNOWLEDGE and Knowing and Understanding.
Going from a noun to a verb. Continue reading

How to move your lessons from good to outstanding | Teacher Network Blog | Guardian Professional

An “Assessment for Learning” questioning technique to help teachers move from  good-to-outstanding. It also helps address differentiation in the classroom and  encourages teachers to take risks. Time to Pose, Pause, Bounce and Pounce!

How does it work? Continue reading

Using Google Docs Forms to make report writing just a little easier…

My school has changed its report writing structure, so we now write our reports earlier inreport the year. This year I have streamlined my report writing by using Google Docs forms in a more efficient manner.

(Updated and extended PD version of this post here: http://thinkedu.net/blog/web2/reports/)

All students complete a Google Docs survey before I write the reports. The survey contains questions which relate to the subject, their performance and their experiences of the subject. Here are two examples: Continue reading

Twitter, my favourite PD

I have been on Twitter since April 2010.  Before that time, I was like many other people: “Twitter, another outlet for vain people to let the world know they’ve bought a pair of shoes on sale…”

But now, after following many educators and tweeting about 5 or 6 messages a month, I have joined the other camp and now I can say: “Twitter has provided me with the best professional development ever” and “Twitter is the most important part of my #PLN (Personal Learning Network)”my first two tweets Continue reading

‘What makes a great teacher?’

I stumbled upon a great article in The Atlantic Magazine about “What makes a great teacher”. The article describes how the ‘Teach for America‘ program hunts for highly successful teacher candidates, by using the results of a four year long research project to predict which people will become successful educators. The article is about three pages long and very well written.

Below I have distilled the main aspects – based upon academic research – of what makes a great teacher:

  • Great teachers tended to set big goals for their students.
  • Great teachers constantly reevaluate what they are doing.
  • … they avidly recruited students and their families into the process
  • … they maintained focus, ensuring that everything they did contributed to student learning
  • … they planned exhaustively and purposefully—for the next day or the year ahead—by working backward from the desired outcome
  • … they worked relentlessly, refusing to surrender to the combined menaces of poverty, bureaucracy, and budgetary shortfalls.
  • For example, one way that great teachers ensure that kids are learning is to frequently check for understanding: Are the kids—all of the kids—following what you are saying? Asking “Does anyone have any questions?” does not work, and it’s a classic rookie mistake.
  • “Strong teachers insist that effective teaching is neither mysterious nor magical. It is neither a function of dynamic personality nor dramatic performance,”
  • He follows a very basic lesson plan often referred to by educators as “I do, we do, you do.” He does a problem on the board. Then the whole class does another one the same way. Then all the kids do a problem on their own.
  • The activities come in brisk sequence, following a routine the kids know by heart, so no time is lost in transition.
  • … But ineffective teachers are almost never dismissed. Principals almost never give teachers poor performance evaluations—even when they know the teachers are failing.
  • … great teachers tended to reflect on their performance and adapt accordingly. So people who tend to be self-aware might be a good bet.
  • What did predict success, interestingly, was a history of perseverance—not just an attitude, but a track record.
  • Those who initially scored high for “grit”—defined as perseverance and a passion for long-term goals, and measured using a short multiple-choice test—were 31 percent more likely than their less gritty peers to spur academic growth in their students. Gritty people, the theory goes, work harder and stay committed to their goals longer.

But another trait seemed to matter even more. Teachers who scored high in “life satisfaction”—reporting that they were very content with their lives—were 43 percent more likely to perform well in the classroom than their less satisfied colleagues. These teachers “may be more adept at engaging their pupils, and their zest and enthusiasm may spread to their students,” the study suggested.

In general, though, Teach for America’s staffers have discovered that past performance—especially the kind you can measure—is the best predictor of future performance. Recruits who have achieved big, measurable goals in college tend to do so as teachers.

Meanwhile, a master’s degree in education seems to have no impact on classroom effectiveness.

Female applicants are more likely to bring props, which is not a bad thing. In fact, women are more likely to be effective in Teach for America, Duckworth found.

Please read the original article here:


As a teacher, I found it so inspirational to read the article. It reminds me that teaching is a craft, and you improve your skills every day, no matter how long you’ve been in front of a class. Teaching is dynamic, if you don’t constantly change and improve, you move backward.

Below is another list with attributes of a great teacher, put together by Dorai at http://dorai.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/attributes-of-a-great-teacher/.

This list is based on conversations with students and teachers:

  • Dedicated
  • Motivating
  • Engaging
  • Some times entertaining
  • Good story teller
  • Has knowledge of subject matter
  • Conversation starter
  • Inspires students
  • Challenges students to think
  • Can demystify hard subjects
  • Egoless
  • Innovates in teaching methods
  • Life-long learner
  • Has infinite patience
  • Not judgemental
  • Understands student’s difficulties,
  • Understands student’s learning styles
  • Takes pride in students’ achievements

I want to add one little element to this conversation of what makes a great teacher. I do it half in jest, but it is still a serious contribution:

I once overheard a group of Year 9 girls discussing a teacher whom I knew to be a very knowledgeable, interesting and experienced educator. The girls, however, were saying how much they disliked him,…… because he ‘smelled’. And because he ‘always wears the same thing’. Teenagers can be tough on each other, but also on their teachers. So to the list of attributes of a great teacher, I would add ‘impeccable personal hygiene’ and ‘professional dress’. Yes, it may be frivolous, but no matter how great a teacher you are, if you ‘smell’, kids will turn off!

What is a professional portfolio?

    Source: http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/teaching-guides/reflecting/teaching-portfolios/
  • Portfolios provide documented evidence of teaching from a variety of sources—not just student ratings—and provide context for that evidence.
  • The process of selecting and organizing material for a portfolio can help one reflect on and improve one’s teaching.
  • Portfolios are a step toward a more public, professional view of teaching as a scholarly activity.
  • Portfolios can offer a look at development over time, helping one see teaching as on ongoing process of inquiry, experimentation, and reflection.
  • Teaching portfolios capture evidence of one’s entire teaching career, in contrast to what are called course portfolios that capture evidence related to a single course. For more on course portfolios, see the Peer Review of Teaching Projects’s page on course portfolios.