Gold Standard

The Gold Standard- this is what we should be aiming to achieve for all our projects. After this PLT I am more aware of what we have that is of Gold Standard and what we need to do to improve our projects.

Giving the students more of a voice is as aspect that I would like to pursue. I am not sure exactly how this would work. I look at some of the projects and I can see great things , but they don’t always resonate with students.

I am also concerned about trying to achieve a Gold Standard Project, but miss the deeper learning and achieving outcomes. I have been part of projects that have been excellent and engaging, but am not sure what the students learnt. Trying to achieve the balance is a challenge.

I am looking forward to the challenge of improving projects and aiming for the Gold Standard to ensure the best learning experience for our students.


The Literacy Continuum

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Literacy is a part of learning. Without literacy all tasks and learning is difficult. In a subject such as science, there is also scientific literacy. If we want our students to succeed, we need them to be literate. Literacy is everyones responsibility.

To know where our students fit on the literacy continuum gives us a starting point for how and what we teach. This can help with differentiating lessons and tasks. It also helps us understand the reason behind some of the behaviour of students.

The process itself was difficult. The writing tasks only looked at a small area of the continuum. This made it difficult when trying to fit students into a cluster. The continuum was also difficult to follow. The items don’t match across and there are different markers in each cluster that don’t seem to match.

The process may not be perfect, but it is a starting point and raises questions. It starts a conversation. This can only be of benefit as we can then base our strategies on data and target those that will benefit. This will improve our teaching and more importantly the learning of our students.

Superhero Science Stars

An interesting idea

Old Fashioned Cutting and Pasting

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Technology has added new meaning to cut and paste, but the old fashioned cut and paste has a place in the modern classroom. Studying cycles in nature requires students to be able to see relationships between the biotic and abiotic factors. There are lost of beautiful diagrams and inter actives available, but students find it difficult to understand the relationships.

Good old fashioned cutting and pasting allows them to physically manipulate pieces of paper and see relationships. This is also a great group activity as it allows discussion, team work and justification of ideas.

The class took a little while to warm to the activity. I gave very little instruction. They had a sheet with parts of the Carbon Cycle written on it. They had to draw pictures to represent the description.Some groups had one person drawing all the pictures, other groups divided them amongst the group.  The next step was to put them on the butchers paper. This is where some groups got down on the floor and spread them out, allowing them a big picture view. Some groups went to the internet to research the Carbon Cycle ti help them with the order.

There was much discussion of what went where and which ways the arrows should go. Students had to justify their ideas and look at the position in relation to the whole cycle.

From this activity they gained a better understanding of Cycles and a lot of that had to do with the physical aspect of cutting, pasting and moving parts on paper. There is room for these older types learning strategies to complement technology.

This activity was based on a Science By Doing activity.

Science By Doing



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The not so common, Common Grade Scale

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With the new Curriculum assessments have changed. The ARC had samples for work that showed the various Grade Scales and allowed us to compare our Grades with similar tasks. Each school is different and the tasks are different, so whilst it was useful to a certain extent, there were limitations with the samples.PBL is different again as the tasks cannot readily be compared to the samples.

Creating our own bank of samples is a great way to go back to the Grade Scales and track the performance of both the students and the task. I feel that we sometimes get caught up in the day to day teaching, creating of projects, marking of work and forget to come back to this very useful tool – Grade Scales.

To keep a long term record will help see the strengths and weaknesses of students as well as the durability of the assessment. I look forward to analysing the assessments. This will also see how they relate to the rubrics. As the rubrics only have three levels, we then need to try and put these tasks into 5 Grades.

This activity is a good way to refocus on the common grade scale and observe the way we make and the relationship between task, mark, rubric and grade scale.

Study Smarter

The PBL Process so far….

Last Friday I was given the opportunity to participate in PBL training. This was a chance to ask questions and learn more about the process. It followed the PBL process and we looked at a problem and worked as a group to solve the problem working through the same way as students would.

Myself and another staff member who is also new to PBL worked through Knows and NTKs. This answered a lot of questions and clarified terminology. This gave me more confidence with the process and the implementation  of projects.

Professional learning is valued here and that makes a difference to the staff and the ability to work with PBL, making it a more successful process.

Why the Pope’s embrace of science matters

Pope Francis’ recent Encyclical has been widely praised for supporting the science on climate change. As Johan Rockström, who’s been involved in high level discussions between scientists and the Vatican explains, the story of how the Pope has integrated science and religion represents an important shift.

On June 18, Pope Francis issued the encyclical Laudato Si: On care for our common home. The letter has been widely praised for supporting the science on climate change. But it goes much further than many expected in documenting the phenomenal changes that our planet is undergoing, beyond climate. And the story of how the Pope has integrated science and religion (not always the easiest of companions, let’s face it) indicates, to me at least, a profound shift in world view.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has been bringing together climate scientists, economists and scholars pretty much since Francis’ papacy began in March 2013. My…

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How to teach a young introvert

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What should we do with the quiet kids? A conversation with Susan Cain on the future of classroom education.

Susan Cain sticks up for the introverts of the world. In the U.S., where one third to one half the population identifies as introverts, that means sticking up for a lot of people. Some of them might be data engineers overwhelmed by the noise of an open-floor-plan office. Others might be lawyers turning 30, whose friends shame them for not wanting a big birthday bash. But Cain particularly feels for one group of introverts: the quiet kids in a classroom.

Cain remembers a childhood full of moments when she was urged by teachers and peers to be more outgoing and social — when that simply wasn’t in her nature. Our most important institutions, like schools and workplaces, are designed for extroverts, says Cain in her TED Talk. [Watch: The power of…

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