Search it! What do you do, what can you do?

Search it! This post is the third in a series of lessons to teach online search skills. When I last taught the lesson the grade were investigating Geography: A Diverse and Connected World so the search task was based on the major export items from Australia to a selection of countries. We looked at a chart from the Oxford Australian Curriculum Atlas Years 5-6 Professional Support that outlined the major countries Australia exports to, the students were then paired and provided with a country to focus on and a search task to find the top 3 export items from Australia to the given country.

Lesson One: What do you do? Continue reading


Leading the way with Internet search skills

Over the years I have provided online search skill lessons to students in upper primary, there have been numerous resources reviewed, professional learning, experimenting with search techniques and tailoring lessons to share with students basic to extensive search techniques and applications. The series of lessons fit into the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability – Investigating with ICT and are a key aspect of digital literacy. What I have gained from designing and teaching the lessons is that one should not assume that students know about online search skills, anyone can search and find something about a topic – Google has made searching easy, but we need to be mindful about the what sources we use. Another thing I found is that teachers who join the the class take note and have even joined in with the activities to extend their online search skills.
This post focuses on an introduction to a series of lessons that aim to assist students with ‘Investigating with ICT‘ planning searches, locating and accessing online information, and evaluating information.

Continue reading


The URL Game

Year 5 and I had fun with the URL Game, a simple challenge created to help students understand what a URL is and how to read them – a useful skill linked to evaluating websites. The URL Game is part of a series of lessons that I have been working on related to Online Search Skills.

Color signs with internet domain names isolated on white background

Lesson steps

  1. As a lead into the lesson we watched How Search Works.                The short video explains what happens when you do a web search. Students respond well to this, a simple question ‘what did you learn?’ allows for great discussion after watching.

Continue reading


Year 2 – Book Week Shortlist Story Elements

Early Childhood Books

Early Childhood Shortlist 2016

Over the past weeks, Year 2 has been exploring the Early Childhood Shortlist Picture Books during their Library lesson.
It has been wonderful reading the six shortlist books to Year 2, in fact I read so many books in one week (23 classes a week K-5) that my voice stopped working. Lucky for me and the children we were able to enjoy Mr Huff by Anna Walker on Story Box Library.

Using the first book Perfect by Danny Parker, the children reflected as a whole class to the following questions and their responses were recorded.

Story Element Questions:

  • Who is the main character? Are they human, an animal or an imagined character?
  • Are there supporting characters? Are they human, an animal or imagined characters?
  • Where is the story set? Is the setting realistic, magical, set in the past, present time or future?
  • The message or a lesson from the story is…
  • A symbol (object, action, or expression) in the story is…
  • The story made me think about…

For the additional shortlist books, once the story had been shared the children worked in small groups, each group being allocated one question. The responses were shared and then complied onto one page for later use. What became evident was that as the children revised the routine and became familiar with the questions they were able to reflect and reposed more thoroughly.

Samples of work for the Early Childhood Shortlist Picture Books:

Perferct Yr 2 sample

Perfect by Danny Parker Year 2 whole class responses

Mr Huff by Anna Walker Small group responses to questions.

Mr Huff by Anna Walker
Small group responses to questions.

Once the six books were read each student voted for their favourite book by placing a star on the Years K-2 2016 Book Week voting chart.

In the coming lessons the students will work in small groups to create dioramas of the shortlist books. I am really looking forward to the creative designs and displaying the story dioramas in the Library.

Continue reading


Learning Across the Curriculum – English

Learning Across the CurriculumThe AISNSW ‘Learning Across the Curriculum – English’ PL day allowed for time to read and pull apart the cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities. The summary pages within the English Syllabus were helpful and provided guidance to embedding each priority in teaching and learning planning – what currently is being covered with our own programs was considered and new opportunities were promoted. What was evident is that the Syllabus is vast, there are amazing learning opportunities and time is required to fully absorb the new curriculum.

A summary of the PL day was created to share with teaching staff at school. Learning Across the Curriculum – English

For more information go to the summary:

LATC English


Feedback PL summary

The Feedback Essentials PL course run by the AIS NSW provided an awareness of learning intent and expectations to assist with feedback.  The course provided practical strategies to use in planning such as WALT, WILF and TIB. We explored different feedback strategies. Attached is a summary presentation created for teachers of the Feed Back Essential course.

Feedback Essentials Summary KMeet 2014


Digital Technologies – Binary Basics

Over the past few weeks I have been involved in an online course ‘Digital Technologies: Implementing the Australian Curriculum Learning Area’ run by the Computer Science Education Research at the University of Adelaide. This week we explored different ways data can be encoded, and how computers represent data. The activity was to share our understanding of the topic and create a video, poster, slide show. I opted for a topic new to me – Binary and decided to give the free trial of Sparkol VideoScibe a go. The process was time consuming, however it helped me organise my thoughts and present a summary of my understanding in a fun and creative way.




Verbal and visual elements and imagery in literature

The night we Made the FlagDuring Grade 5’s unit on the Australian Gold Rush last year the book The Night we made the Flag by Carole Wilkinson allowed the students to explore and gather details of life in the gold fields. Working in small groups the  students gathered information from the book of both verbal and visual details, they extracted information about women, housing, food, clothing, entertainment, health, demographic right, crime, police, gold licences and immigration. The findings were organised onto a worksheet.
Continue reading


Relationship between literary elements and verbal/visual details in picturebooks

A Literature Companion for Teachers by Lorraine McDonald released in 2013 by PETAA  has been one of the best teacher resource books providing practical  insights and ready to use ideas linked to the Australian The Red BridgeCurriculum English. Part 1 of Chapter 12 ‘Reading and viewing picture books’ provided a clear explanation and functional ideas that were easily incorporated into two lessons for Grade 3. The book The Red Bridge by Kylie Dunstan allowed for perfect exploration and fitted well into the Grade unit on China. Continue reading


Exploring Characterisation

At the end of 2013, Grade 3 students were introduced to strategies to help gain an understanding of ‘how authors Charactersmake stories exciting, how writing is moving and absorbing and holds a readers’ interest’ (ACELT1605). In order to do this in a series of 3 to 4 lessons the focus was on ‘close looking’ at techniques in character development in a sample piece of writing and then for students to explore these techniques from a book of their choice. Continue reading