I have recently been reading Kath Murdoch’s new book, The Power of Inquiry, and have gathered some different questioning techniques that I will be using this term with classes. Feel free to use what is useful to you.


Chinese Moon Lantern Festival

The Moon Lantern Festival will be celebrated in Adelaide on Sunday September 18th.

We are planning to celebrate on Thursday 22nd September by involving several classes in making paper lanterns. Parents have been invited to help classes and Chinese students have been learning some of the stories that go with this Autumn- Harvest festival. (It will provide an opportunity to talk about opposite seasons in northern and southern hemispheres.)

At this stage we have had indications from Rooms 1, 2, 3, 5 and 9 to be involved. A variety of different types on lanterns will be on offer depending on the age and abilities of students.

If you would like to involve your class here are some ideas to get you started. (I have included ideas for different ability levels so scroll through to find suitable resources.) Your Chinese speaking students will also be a great resource again. If you are having trouble with accessing the links from the internet, look for them on T share: Teach Info: Moon Lantern Festival.

Stories associated with the festival

Options for Paper Lantern making:

Paper lanterns

Staff Meetings Terms 3 and 4

Term 3

 Week  Topic  Notes
 1  Stanford Uni Maths
 2  Stanford Uni Maths
 3  Stanford Uni Maths  Discuss Modules 1
 4  Stanford Uni Maths
 5  Stanford Uni Maths
 6  PLC
 7  Partnership Meeting
 9  PLC
10 Celebrations


Term 4

 Week  Topic
 1  Stanford Uni Maths
 2  Stanford Uni Maths
 3  Stanford Uni Maths
 4  Stanford Uni Maths
 5  PLC
 9  Celebrations



National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee

Shared Read Aloud this week:

Enora and the Black Crane by Raymond Meeks
This is a traditional story, based on Arone Raymond Meeks’ knowledge of the bush, the spirits who lived there and their laws as taught to him by his grandfather, a member of the Kokoimudgji group in Queensland.

Jandamarra’s Story
An important story belonging to the Kimberley people which focuses on one man’s resistance to colonisation.

The Burnt Stick by Anthony Hill
A poignant story from a young boy’s perspective of his removal from his mother and their group. A great insight for students into the trauma caused by the removal of children from their family and traditions.
A great companion read would be The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan.

Hope you get a chance to share some of these stories with your classes during NAIDOC Week.
Feel free to add comments to this blog post in response to your class’s discussion/ ideas.

Resources from Results Plus

Martin Westwell (@martinwestwell)

We need to provide students with:
* opportunities for dialogue
* authentic problem solving
* applied problem solving
* role playing methods

Easier to do in Science as a Human Endeavour, Maths proficiencies, and play based learning.
Toolkit available at

How do we design learning to stretch all students?

The rule of three – Maria Droujkova –

Provide three different ways – students to draw core idea out
– synthesise – pattern – generalisation

Di Siemen – Big Ideas in Mathematics – Victorian Education Department

Website to explore:

Adding it up – Helping Children Learn Mathematics – research that has informed Australian Curriculum

Results Through the Plus!


The Big 6

  1. Oral Language
  2. Phonological Knowledge
  3. Letter-Sound Knowledge
  4. Vocabulary
  5. Fluency
  6. Comprehension

90/10 Principle – 90% about the enactment/ pedagogy and 10% the program

Implementation trumps impact

Holding the line – Conferencing


Passive Active
Low Challenge High Challenge
teacher select books/ texts Learners select books/ texts
Teachers manage learners progress Learners monitor their progress
Teachers control the tasks and choices Learners negotiate tasks and choices

Conferencing with individual students about their reading comprehension allows:

the learner to direct the conversation, by referring to their notes

mirroring of student thinking

modelling of think-aloud

making notes for intentional teaching (catering for student needs)

activating learning goals

formative assessment



Effective conferences motivate learners to make connections, find relationships and justify their thinking.


“…it’s how they think.” – Assumptions make an impact

Top 9 aspects that make a difference to student learning:

  1. student expectations (self reported grades)
  2. response to intervention
  3. formative teacher evaluation
  4. feedback
  5. metacognitive strategies
  6. direct instruction
  7. peer tutoring
  8. classroom management
  9. parental involvement

What will you hold the line on?

How will you hold the line?

Mathematical Mindsets – Jo Boaler (text)

Most Likely to Succeed – movie

The First 20 Hours – TED Talk

Val Westwell – Maths

Multiple representations and multiple pathways  – to develop number sense

Low achievers

  • don’t use numbers flexibly
  • use harder methods

Adding it Up

  1. Ideas and methods are valued
  2. Students have autonomy in choosing and sharing their methods of solving problems
  3. There is an appreciation of the value of mistakes as a sign of learning

Dr Amie Albrecht


Important skills looked for in Careers which use Maths

  • Active learning (on the job)
  • Critical thinking
  • Complex problem solving
  • Creative problem solving
  • Interpersonal skills – oral and written communication


Operations Research in Practice follows these steps

  1. Define the problem
  2. Construct a mathematical model
  3. Solve the problem
  4. Validate the model
  5. Implement the recommendations


Maths Photo Challenge



EALD Levelling – How is it going?

Have you come up with any scaffolds to help you with the process? Would you like to share any tips or tricks?

I have adapted the original EALD notes for assigning a level to help me gather information. Feel free to use and give feedback. I think this will be useful to set clearer goals for students.

EALD-Notes-for-Assigning-a-level -added tablesv2

For example:
Student 1 could improve by building more interesting noun groups, as only pointers, describers and classifiers have been used. (Challenge: Include a range of expanded noun groups in your writing to suit the audience and purpose.


Which? How many? What like? What type? Who or what? More information
I felt like throttling those two scruffy alley cats on the roof that were yowling all night.
 MEANING Pointer Quantifier Describer Classifier Thing Qualifier
 FORM Determiner Numeral Adjective Noun Noun Prepositional phrase and/ or embedded clause

Student 2 could work on using a range of complex sentence structures, including a wider range of (binding) conjunctions and including non-finite sentences. (Challenge: try to switch sentence around during editing process)
Student 3  could also work on developing sentence structures by perhaps focusing on expanding circumstances (Challenge: Add more detail? Where? When? How? Why?)

Student 4  could be working on the punctuating of sentences, especially using commas for effect between describers and after text connectives.

Model of a Descriptive Report (basic Information Report)


Title Red-bellied piranha

General statement

Entity classification

The red-bellied piranha is a type of fish that lives in the Amazon River.



It has an orange belly, grey back, and very sharp teeth set in strong jaws. It grows up to 33 centimetres in length.



The red-bellied piranha hunts in shoals of 20-30 fish. They feed on a diet of fish, insects, snails, plants, and river animals. They hide in vegetation in order to ambush prey, and they also chase prey and scavenge for food. The younger, smaller fish hunt by day, and the older, bigger fish hunt at dawn and dusk.
Reproduction The female lays a clutch of up to 1 000 eggs.
Life expectancy Piranhas can live for about 100 years.



Teaching Language in Context, Beverly Derewianka and Pauline Jones, Oxford, 2013

The Australian Goldrushes: A Historical Report

Stages and Phases

Title The Australian Goldrushes

General statement




The Australian goldrushes are significant in Australian nineteenth-century history. The first verified discovery of gold was around Bathurst, New South Wales, in 1851. Goldfields were then established in areas around the nation. People came from all over the world with the intention of striking it rich. Between 1845 and 1896 Australia’s population more than doubled, going from 400 000 to 1 000 000 people.




At first, goldfields were established in rough environments longside rivers. As the claims of success and wealth grew, the sites became busy. The surrounding ridges became huge campsites housing prospectors and their families as well as tradespeople attracted by other work prospects. People lived in tents at first; later, huts made from wood, canvas, and bark were common. Over time the goldfields became towns and cities. At the start of a goldrush site, there were very few roads, meaning that everything had to be carried in from the surrounding townships. As the site developed, people travelled on horseback or wheeled their possessions in barrows.


Employment opportunities

Nutrition and health

While it was the opportunity of striking it rich that attracted many, other people stayed for the other job opportunities. Mostly, the people who flourished at teh goldfields were the tradespeople selling food and equipment and the landowners, selling land to people for homes. The diigings also provided employment in services such as laundry, inns, and boarding houses, and even hospitals.

Health and hygiene became an issue on the diggings. People lived on a basic diet of damper, tea, and mutton, which didn’t provide the necessary nutrition and variety. Sewage was not correctly disposed of and, as a result, clean drinking and washing water became contaminated. In addition to this, diseases and epidemics were brought to the diggings by the people arriving from overseas by ship. While there were doctors and nurses, they could not deal with the numbers so many people died from illnesses such as dysentry and typhoid.

Historical significance of the goldrushes The goldrushes played an important role in building the Australian nation. They were responsible for diversifying an economy formerly based on wheat and sheep. The influx of immigrants contributed to a multicultural society. The heritage of the goldrush era is still apparent in many of the public buildings in cities such as Bathurst and Ballarat.

Teaching Language in Context, Beverly Derewianka and Pauline Jones, Oxford, 2013

The Acoustic Guitar: A Compositional Report

Stages and Phases

Title The Acoustic Guitar

General statement

Entity identification



The acoustic guitar consists of multiple parts that work together to create sound. It has a hollow body that amplifies the tone created by the vibration of the strings when strummed or plucked. The important parts are the body, the fretboard, the sound hole, the captan, the tuning pegs, the strings, and the bridge.

The body of the acoustic guitar is considered to be very important as it provides the resonance that shapes the tone of the guitar as well as the volume.

The fretboard is commonly made from rosewood and has a number of metal frets embedded in it (20-24). Strings are pressed down behind the fret to change the note that the open string will produce. Most fretboards have marker inlays on the third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and twelfth frets; they function as q quick recognition indicator.

The sound hole is where the soundwaves made by the strings via the bridge saddle (see diagram) exit the body leading to what is ultimately heard.

The headstock, which is attached to the end of the guitar’s neck, houses the tuning pegs. It can also be where the guitar identification, i.e. brand, is.

The tuning pegs are attached to the capstan, which allows the strings to be lowered or raised in pitch. The capstan has the string tied through it.

The bridge is found between the hole and the bottom of the body. Its function is to allow the strings to pass over it and sit at a certain height, which is called the action.

Teaching Language in Context, Beverly Derewianka and Pauline Jones, Oxford, 2013

Acoustic guitar2