World Teachers’ Day – Perth

I have already added a post about World Teachers’ Day (http://wateacherslounge.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/world-teachers-day-29-oct-2010/) so you can check out the WACOT site for some great competitions by following the link above. Today I stumbled upon an ongoing initiative for the public school sector in Western Australia to acknowledge their staff.

Click on the picture for comprehensive details on how to ‘”Thank a Public School teacher” – I LOVE it!

You can read some of the entries to date by CLICKING HERE.

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Australian Curriculum Coalition Paper (Summary)

For those following movements in the Australian Curriculum here is an important development; “The Australian Curriculum Coalition (ACC) represents a forum of Presidents, Executive Officers and Executive Directors of National Education Organisations. The Organisations represent members who are teachers, principals, school leaders, academics and education researchers.”

Today they released the following ‘open letter’; http://www.acsa.edu.au/pages/images/Australian%20Curriculum%20Coalition%20common%20view%20on%20the%20Australian%20Curriculum4.pdf

The report extends support for a national curriculum but requests the following;

  • Revision of timeline for development and implementation
  • ‘Build stakeholder ownership’ (teachers/principals/associations, etc.)
  • Inform debate by making drafts and consultation ‘public’
  • Pages 4 & 5 discuss a rigorous need for these initiatives to be world-class and framed by clear curriculum rationale
  • Reduction of ‘over crowding’ in curriculum documents (This will sting as it was a primary objective for ACARA to keep the statements ‘open’ – ironically it is the consultation process that has been the source of the ‘fattening’)
  • Whole or Core Curriculum – Clarification for ‘local’ content (This is quite problematic for the History implementation but I think they are drawing a long bow on this one – your thoughts?)
  • Cross-curricula Developments – (YAY!!)
  • Reporting and Achievement Standards (YAY!!)
  • Funding for PD/PL

Wish they had mentioned a few more (e.g. consideration for special needs, resources, etc.)

Would love you know what you think of these suggestions? http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/WA-Teachers-Lounge/154210691257798

Primary Software Developments

This has been reproduced from my personal blog – apologies to those who have already read it! As an aside – I am happy to report that our school have gone ahead with this program in Primary – now how do I get my refund since my children can access via school for free? LOL.

Although this software is aimed at the K-5 market, I am not endorsing the use of these platforms to the youngest end of the intended market. This is a slippery slope and research would suggest careful consideration of too-early an implementation of “screens” – there are some great readings in this arena but this is just to identify some of the popular platforms emerging in our market.

I have a stack of 14 different PC Educational Games on my desk right now that we have purchased this year for Chayse and Kaiden’s ”at home” learning. We haven’t been impressed with ANY of them, including some of the expensive top name brands. The fourteen titles (not including the many in the kid’s cupboard) have simply not been anything more than a passing fancy – offering a small range of ‘literacy/numeracy games’ most of which are freely available via the internet.

My earlier post has made reference to a subscription service that we were referred to by a family friend (Thanks G); ABC Reading Eggs. After a two-week trial run I have been impressed by the level of engagement, reporting to parents (vocabulary lists, blend lists, letter recognition results, etc) and the phonics based approach to child learning. We are still actively involved in an integrated approach with our kids, daily reading, story making, flash cards, rewards, etc… but the computer is able to deliver an independence to learning, motivation and sustained engagement that we have not been able to duplicate easily! Both kids ASK to go “on the eggs”.

Australia is clearly ‘streaks ahead’ in educational software development aimed at K-5 and my limited research has uncovered a myriad of similar literacy learning sites. Most are available for individual subscription or a bulk school order – with most in the ‘under $1,000 per year’ for the whole school to have access and access at home. In my humble opinion, numeracy is very well covered by the (then 2011) freely available MATHLETICS program.

I have noticed a significant change in both of my children’s reading engagement over the past 2-3 weeks. Please consider trailing one of the following services if you have young children – all offer a free trial.

I should add that I have nothing to gain from this promotion and there is no ‘kick back’ to me or my family. In addition to the subscribed services, I have listed a couple of FANTASTIC FREE resources I have found but they do not ‘save student progress’ or offer a reporting statement to parents. I will be using these sites to add some variety outside of our existing home based computer offerings. Hope there is something of use here. Also, if you have been using a site that works for you – let me know!