Test preparation or curriculum implementation: Persuasive writing to value student voice

As the new school year begins and teachers are faced with NAPLAN occurring earlier than in previous years, we start to play the guessing game of what type of text students will be required to write. The bets on persuasive or imaginative writing have already started!

Carter (2017) discusses how ‘attention is effectively diverted from curriculum implementation’ through the emphasis on systemic testing. If your bets are on a particular type of writing, it is easy to succumb to the pressure, however, it is also a chance to embrace and use the situation to not only prepare for the test but more importantly focus on rich, engaging curriculum implementation by embedding your writing focus into not only English but also other subject area units.

As with any focus on writing, the most important aspect when planning is to consider the context for writing. The more authentic and meaningful, the better for engaging students. Who would want to write a persuasive text if there is no...

Read more ...

Selecting and using picture books for Anzac Day

How can we use picture books connected to Anzac Day?

Anzac Day is a uniquely Australian (and New Zealand) commemoration of those who lost their lives in military and peacekeeping operations in which Australia has been involved. We have a rich range of literature to assist children with understanding its origins, significance and evolution over time. Great literature on the topic ranges from novels for older students to an incredible range of picture books written by some of Australia’s greatest authors and illustrators with a child audience in mind.

A topic like war can be seen as confronting for children but literature is an effective way to introduce and discuss aspects and events which, unfortunately, are evident not only part of our history but current context. Picture books are commonly shared around the time of Anzac Day each year, but there is much potential to work with these rich texts beyond just shared reading.

Many well-known Anzac Day picture books can be...

Read more ...

Motivating students to write poetry: Magnetic Poetry

Need ideas for engaging students to compose poetry? 

Do you remember when magnetic poetry was the craze? You’d visit a friend or relative and they would have magnetic words all over their refrigerator door which would be carefully arranged into poetry based on their feelings across the day or week. I wonder what happened to all those magnetic words?

Thankfully, you can still buy magnetic letter kits or alternatively make your own as well as a range of other options which I’ll outline below. The key consideration should be how we can use such resources in pedagogically sound ways to get students excited about writing poetry whilst also providing appropriate support. The benefit of using magnetic poetry is that it supports students to not only compose their own poetry but also provides the vocabulary which can sometimes be a stumbling block for getting started.

Dave Kapell, created Magnetic Poetry in the 1990s, when experiencing writer's block while trying to...

Read more ...

Top 7 Ways to Pamper with Poetry

Sharing to Pamper with Poetry

As all students and teachers will have returned to classrooms in New South Wales today, poetry can be an option for ensuring both students and teachers are pampered as they re-engage in classrooms and with each other. In fact, poetry can be used to pamper anyone at any time, particularly in times of uncertainty and even trauma.

Across the week, multiple poems can be shared for sheer joy and reflection. I have put together my Top 7 collections and individual poems for sharing as students embrace the school environment, reflect on remote learning and share their hopes for the future. All poems are available online and can be shared with a range of age groups. As with any text, it is important to read the poems several times to ensure they are appropriate for your school and context before sharing with students.

1. Round and Round by John Kitching is a joyful poem to celebrate the joy of interacting in the school setting particularly...

Read more ...

Anzac Day Picture Books and Resources

Looking for books and ideas for Anzac Day?

Every year schools and communities commemorate Anzac Day on 25 April. One way to commemorate Anzac Day is through engaging with a range of literature. Before interacting with students, read books several times to decide if they are appropriate for their age and experiences. Consider how you might select a group of books and the sequence to read them in as some will provide background knowledge for other books. A carefully chosen selection may present different reactions to similar experiences or diversity of groups or individuals.

Take a look at this extensive list of picture books related to Anzac Day. Search your own collection or pass the list on to your librarian. I'm sure your librarian will locate available books. Alternatively, book shops currently have a range of these books at the moment, particularly those more recent publications.

Once you have selected a set of books to share with your students, explore these tips and...

Read more ...

50% Complete

Two Step

Subscribe to my website and I'll send you a monthly newsletter and updates sharing ideas, resources and upcoming professional learning opportunities.

We take your privacy seriously. No spam.