Minecraft. Yes, Minecraft.

Earlier today the year 7 students joined the year 6 students in a Da Vinci Decathalon Challenge that was set the children in SA last week. The collaborating between the year levels was excellent and some great discussions and action was taking place.

In our 1:1 iPad scheme we have now pushed out Minecraft to all students and will be using it in different ways during the year. This has been something we have been toying with for a while, thanks to @paulhuebl on http://paulhuebl.com/2014/06/06/minecraft-playing-to-learn/

Some children, believe it or not, are not familiar with how the sandbox style game works. To that end we instructed the year level to build in Minecraft their structures from earlier. The creativity the children are showing is mind boggling and inspiring.


Good things are happening.



Follow me cards

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I used follow me/loop cards a lot when I was teaching in England. Recently we have started to decide upon individual goals through conferencing with our students once a week. This lead me to use them again for those children who wanted to focus on their times tables.

The picture below shows the class working through them. It took a while the first time, but they were a little quicker and more accurate. It also is a chance for all to try and work out the answers in their heads, which is preferred rather than simply calling out when there is a delay.

photo 1

Unfortunately the session was cut short, but tomorrow we will make our own follow me cards. This will give an opportunity for differentiation and extension for both wizards or muggles.


Thanks to all contributors on primary resources.

once bitten…twice smile!

Last year when the school decided the team I would be working in would be trialling iPads on the classroom I was delighted to be on the ground and involved.

However somewhere along the line towards the end of Term 1, my enthusiasm wained, maybe we tried to do too much too soon? My teaching style, beliefs and approach didn’t change, but other factors did.

One can only rise above factors out of our control and deal positively with our outlook, but sometimes that is hard to do. When children in my class are affected by others I encourage them to control themselves and how they deal with others, rather than try and control how others act.

My maths lesson today was one where the class warmed up using IXL on their iPads, taking a screenshot of their progress for future reference and sharing.

We worked through a method via my iPad and AppleTV of converting fractions into percentages. The class submitted their understanding by using ExplainEverything on their iPads to show me via an assignment submission on Edmodo. Again making it available 24/7 for reference and sharing.

There was great energy.

It was a good lesson.

Maths Friday 4 April


I have a motivated and hard working maths group. Today we were working on prime numbers, square and cubed numbers, along with prime factorisation. After successfully demonstrating and scaffolding how the children needed to work we moved on.


I asked them to organise themselves in such a way that they could as a class work out the prime number factorisation of all numbers from 11 – 100. One lad took control and gave each child a set of numbers. I moved around the classroom and helped those that needed clarification.

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I had set up a Padlet on Edmodo giving them further instruction through demonstrating what I needed them to do and asked the children to share their calculations for each of their numbers, enabling me to see how much understanding they had.

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It was another good lesson.

Digital marking for a maths assignment

Shifting from traditional methods of marking to a digital format is, like other change, sometimes hard to implement and action. For me I have questioned whether it is the best method to do so.

However I have found that I am more closely looking at work and finding commonality in end products. Not all the work I am marking is identical, but certain features of it require the same comment. Subsequently I am able to add more feedback to each individual’s piece of work.

I begin with setting may stall out early on, an old English football commentating cliché (meaning establishing what I want to achieve from the outset), but it is one that works for me. The assignment cover sheet and the rubric/s need to be tinkered with to make them accessible for me to mark.

Initially I began with a word doc including the assignment front page and two rubrics, then duplicated it 16 times for my class. I renamed each one with the first name of each student from my class.

smarties folder

It started well. However it dawned on me that I wanted to give the children the rubric back as a pdf to add to their digital portfolio. A word doc would have sufficed except it would mean that I would have to resave each file as a word doc then a pdf.

The process had become too elongated. So I created a pdf first, added text boxes to record the students name, date, comment and grade sections. I then copied that file 16 times so each student would have their highlighted sections of the rubric exclusively to them.

The first few assignments I marked began to show a similarity in sentence comment, so I created a word document to save statements about areas such as neatness, graphs, labels, headings, answer details etc. This pooling of statements meant I could pick relevant, specific comments for the children’s work.

assign sheet

Where are the individualised comments though? Well that’s added too. Plus, of course, as it is a summative piece they receive personailsed formative feedback as they have been working through the assignment.

As the work is on paper I also mark each piece to document that it has been received. I add the grade to a googledocs file.

The last part of the process is returning the work to the students. They receive back the work and I drop the rubric assessment into the personal eLockers drop folder.

My two colleagues and I are still working through the best ways to mark and collate work from the children. Nothing is set in stone and we plan to discuss our ideas as we go. It is a very organic way to work.

The answers will arrive.

Problem Solving


Certainly one of the issues with any digital program is when work needs to be pushed out to students and how they will submit. Today the students in my class finally solved an issue that had some of us stumped for a few days. The child that solved the issue then shared with the class. Problem solved. But wait, there’s more. Another student added an extra layer to it all. It was a good day in class.

We currently use edmodo as a platform so I set an assignment. The class did the work on their iPads in pages shared it via edmodo and turned it in to me. Success. Still waiting on 3, but we are moving in the right direction.


initial thoughts

This bold step for the school started excitedly began for the students on Wednesday 29 January 2014. The iPad steering committee began planning the roll out early 2013. Many of the predicted stumbling blocks were talked through and strategies put in place to ensure as smooth a run as possible. It would be foolhardy to assume that due to these meetings the whole process would run without issue, but for the best part we are achieving what we hoped for.

Part of the prior planning saw the committee visit another school who had also rolled the program out, Stirling East. Although the system there is a school supplied 1:1 program we took a lot of advice from the way they began and developed their program.

My thoughts and approach

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The standards have been introduced to ensure that teachers across Australia are clearly heading in the same direction in terms of professionalism. It’s a good thing.

These pages will build up with evidence as the year progresses and my aim is to target standards each week in my planning for the following week.