Stage 2 Geography Earth’s Environment – Sustainability

The lessons I create for library sessions focus on literacy, information and digital literacy, and on the agenda digital technologies. More recently I have been focusing on tightening the focus of the teaching and learning experiences by thinking critically about my learning intentions. Other influences in my planning have been visible thinking routines and aspects of inquiry learning. I suppose I should just say I am changing the way I think, plan and create to adjust to the changes in education and scope of the Australian Curriculum.

Living Earth

My most recent unit aligns with Stage 2 Geography – Earth’s Environment – Sustainability. I wanted to create a series of lessons that would be helpful for students to gain skills in note-taking, summarising and synthesising information using a range of sources. I decided to focus mainly on organising information into a Mind Map, students are introduced to creating a Mind Map and are given opportunities to practice the technique.

The unit (lesson series plan and workbook) is available via my TES Resources page.

The series of lessons takes approximately 5 hours, this plan is for 5 x 30-minute sessions.

Provocation: How can people use places and environments more sustainably?

Series of seven activities based on:

  • Introduction using The Tomorrow Book by Jackie French
  • Food wastage
  • Climate change
  • Alternative energy
  • Indigenous Australian sustainable practices
  • Reflection/Evaluation

Key skills include gathering information from differing sources, note-taking, synthesising information, and creating Mind Maps. Students use a unit booklet which includes all the activities, one online Mind Map tool is used for the final task. Students reflect on their learning at the conclusion of the unit.

Key planning sources:
• NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum – Geography – The Earth’s Environment Stage 2 
• The series of lessons follow aspects of the Inquiry Journey Framework adapted from The Power of Inquiry by Kath Murdoch 2015, Chapter 5.
Learning intentions focus on knowledge, skills and understanding summary
Thinking Routines based on ideas from
Mind Mapping background information

Image from https://openclipart.org/detail/188287/living-earth


What can we learn about history through pictures – take a look at the $20 note!

This term Year 2 were investigating The Past in the Present (NSW Syllabus). During the library lessons we undertook an inquiry into How can we use nonfiction to be better researchers? The series of lessons which investigated informative books will be summarised in a separate post as I would like to share the final lessons which were most amazing – we took a good look at the Australian $20 note. 

The investigation links in with History: The Past in the Present HT1-2 where students identify and describe significant people, events, places and sites in the local community over time.  Continue reading


Read, Step Inside, Create

Step Inside ‘Flight’ by Nadia Wheatley

In this post I would like to share how Year 4 explored the Children’s Book Council of Australia shortlist Picture books. Each book was read and responded to using the Step Inside Visible Thinking Routine, for our purpose we stepped inside the main character. The Step Inside routine focuses on ‘getting inside viewpoints’ using three core questions to guide students:

  1. What can the person or thing perceive?
  2. What might the person or thing know about or believe?
  3. What might the person or thing care about?

Source: Visible Thinking Step Inside: Perceive, Know about, Care about

Sharing each picture with the class promoted Children’s Book Week and provided the students with the opportunity to compare and review a superb selection of sophisticated picture books. As some of the books were available though Story Box Library it was wonderful to have the story read to us and view the illustrations on the IWB.

By repetitively using the routine for the six picture books it became evident that students were able to provide deeper responses. Once we had reviewed each book students selected one of the books to respond to in more depth using illustration, written response and technology. Continue reading


Step Inside the Character – exploring the Shortlist using Thinking Routines

At the start of Term 3, Year 1 were introduced to the Children’s Book Week shortlist. Over the next few weeks we read, discussed and responded to the Early Childhood shortlist picture books.

Read, discuss the main character and record ideas 


Year 1 Step Inside the Character sample

The books were housed is an old suitcase which created anticipation each lesson on which book would be the focus. The aim was to gather information about the main character following the ‘Step Inside’ Visible Thinking Routine what the main character Perceives, Knows about, Cares about. The questions after each book were as follows, as the children shared their responses, the ideas were recorded. 

  • Who is the main character? Are they human, an animal or an imagined character? 
  • What can the character see?
  • What might the character think?
  • What might the character care about?

I was inspired by A Culture of Thinking as they have clear definitions and examples of different ages for using Thinking Routines.

Continue reading