Learning and Teaching at Gilson College

Learning for living, Character for life, Hope for the Future

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Prep D Boys – Their city investigation!

Led by their teacher Tanja Dennis, Prep D boys at Heritage College have been using their investigations time over the past couple of weeks to plan and build a city. Follow the link in the Blogroll on this page to see the Prep D blog and follow what the class is doing.

I have reblogged Tanja’s post here to show what our teachers could post on the linked ASV Teacher blogs.

Principals, Deputies, Learning and Teaching Coordinators, please encourage your teachers to let me know by email or comment on the blogs if they wish to be invited to contribute to one or both of our teachers’ blogs.

Prep DH

Some of the Prep D boys have been busy over the last couple of weeks working on a project during Investigation time. They built an amazing city using so many literacy & numeracy skills as well as creative, collaborative & planning skills!  They have used their observations of the world to create a realistic city with connecting roads, essential businesses, towers, bridges, signs, and traffic control in great detail. Prep D boys present – Prep City!


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Balancing Reading Level systems like PM and Lexiles with Self-selection of books… ‘Guess My Lexile’ By Donalyn Miller

While we must carefully consider the readability of texts when teaching children to read we must also challenge our students and provide for their reading interests. Our goal for teaching reading should be to provide as wide a variety of texts as possible within the bounds the school’s resources. If class and literacy budgets are tight, supplement the books available to your students by using the school’s and local libraries, have students raid ‘…grandmas’ bookshe[lves]..’, visit second-hand book stores; find appropriate texts wherever you can. Provide many opportunities for students to learn ‘…how to self-select books.’

Following are extracts from an interesting article ‘The Book Whisperer’:

Education Week, Teacher Blog: The Book Whisperer published on July 25, 2012

Overreliance on reading level systems hinders children from learning how to self-select books. Bookstores, libraries, and Grandma’s bookshelf aren’t leveled. Beyond students’ and books’ reading levels, we must consider content and interests when selecting materials and recommending books for independent reading. Slavish devotion to numbers doesn’t benefit readers…


‘While identifying readability can be useful when evaluating textbooks, guided reading texts, or other teaching materials, selecting books for classroom instruction and recommending books for independent reading are two different processes. Avid readers do not always read at the edge of their competence, traveling through increasingly more difficult texts as leveling systems proscribe (Carter, 2000). Given free choice, readers select reading material according to their interests, preferences, background knowledge, purposes for reading, and personal motivation…

[Donalyn Miller] found several informative videos and researched-based responses on MetaMetric’s website, which reinforce that Lexile measures do not tell us everything we need to know about texts or students. With Lexile measures touted as a key indicator of text complexity…we must critically consider what Lexile bands offer teachers and students, and what they don’t…’

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25 Ways Teachers Can Connect More With Their Colleagues | Edudemic

Are our teachers, or indeed leaders, isolationists or collaborative? Are most conversations in our educational workplaces professional or personal?

25 Ways Teachers Can Connect More With Their Colleagues | Edudemic.

In response to an article on this issue published in April in the USA (in The Atlantic), Edudemic.com  suggests a number of ideas that could assist leaders as well as teachers to enhance their connections with colleagues as they seek to pursue a more collaborative future in their schools and systems.

I’m sure a number of the ideas listed in the Edudemic post are already in place in your particular school or educational setting? Nevertheless, I’m sure you will find other ideas in the list to spark further interest in your continuing quest to develop your professional learning communities (PLCs) as well as to promote more professional conversations?

The following is a quote from the Edudemic post:

A growing criticism of the American education system is that teachers spend too much of their time distanced from their colleagues (a recent survey found that teachers spend just 3% of their school day collaborating with other teachers), encouraging competition rather than collaboration, and making it difficult for teachers to work together to solve educational and institutional issues.

Things don’t have to be that way, however, as there are many ways that teachers can reach out and connect with their colleagues and build a more collaborative atmosphere in their schools…[Edudemic has] come up with just a few here, but feel free to share your own experiences and ideas that can help other educators to connect and ultimately improve the quality of instruction they can offer students…

One idea – another PLC:

9. CREATE A PERSONAL LEARNING COMMUNITY. One of the most common ways that teachers these days are battling feeling isolated from their peers is by building a personal learning network or community. This can be composed of teachers at your school or from around the world. No matter who you choose to include, spend time sharing, talking, and collaborating on educational projects and ideas… Read more

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Jesus Christ – Master Teacher: What ideas might resonate with a Christian teacher?

Jesus Christ – Master Teacher

The Journal of Adventist Education, December 2010/January 2011

In his article, author John Wesley Taylor V challenges us as Christian teachers to consider the teaching strategies Christ used when interacting with his disciples, and with small groups and large crowds. As we consider John’s point of view, what might be the implications for us as Christian teachers in our Christian schools as we interact day by day with our students and our colleagues?

The following quote from the article is the introduction to John’s thinking. Follow the link above or at the end of the quote to read the full article.

‘While Jesus was clearly an effective preacher and sought-after healer, He was also a master teacher. Throughout the Gospels readers encounter a variety of teaching episodes—learning experiences created specifically for His 12 disciples, as well as for groups of thousands or a single individual.2 His Sermon on the Mount, for example, was actually an outdoor teaching session in which both the disciples and a large group participated.

Jesus oriented His teaching to actively engage His students in the learning experience. To do this, He focused on thinking, knowing, understanding, being, and doing

Thinking.When teaching, Jesus would often ask His students, “What do you think?” In introducing the story of the good shepherd, for example, He extended an invitation to consider carefully the meaning of the story…’ Read more

Leaders, you might want to use this article and a thinking routine such as ‘Think Puzzle Explore’ (outlined below) to engage your staff in exploring the themes and ideas that this article raises.

This thinking routine is one that sets the stage for deeper inquiry into a topic by connecting the reader ‘to prior knowledge, stimulating curiosity and laying the groundwork for independent inquiry’. Visible Thinking Routines

Think Puzzle Explore

  1. What do you think you know about this topic?
  2. What questions or puzzles do you have?
  3. How can you explore this topic?

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Thinking and Writing Ideas in ASV’s Tumblr – London 1908

I just published this visual thinking prompt in ASV’s Thinking and Writing Ideas Tumblr.
In our Tumblr blog you can find more London 2012 Olympic-themed visual prompts that teachers could use with their students during the next 2 weeks of the olympic games to develop students’ looking, thinking and responding skills – whether that’s by writing, speaking, using ICT, art etc.
Images are reblogged from other Tumblr blogs, with thinking prompts courtesy of Tom March and Visible Thinking. Check the others out here. (Scroll down.)



Former Guardian journalist Emil Voigt, a wiry vegetarian from Manchester, stunned his rivals at the London Games of 1908 by storming to victory in the five mile race and becoming the first – and only – Briton to win a long-distance individual gold medal. Photograph: Emil Voigt Collection

Voigt, who reported from Europe for the Guardian between 1905 and 1906 before returning to Manchester to write on sport, was on the verge of retiring from competitive athletics in 1908 when he made a last-ditch decision to take part just six weeks before the opening ceremony.

Then – London Olympics – 1908:

This image shows the 1908 London Olympics athletics track, an athlete, probably some officials and in the background the ‘stadium’.

Now – London Olympics – 2012:

Over the next 2 weeks TV cameras, newspaper photographers and people like us using the Internet will publish images of the 2012 London Olympic venues for all the world to see.

Compare and Contrast

Search for images of the 2012 venues, especially the athletics stadium, track and athletes and compare and contrast the 2012 image to this 1908 photo. Also Compare and contrast the text attached to this and your image collection.

  1. What differences and similarities do you see between the venues shown in the images?
  2. What differences do you discover from the text?
  3. Use a Venn diagram to record your discoveries.

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Using TED to Teach Presentation Skills – Kate Petty


On her blog ‘The Tech Classroom – 21st Century English Classroom’ Kate Petty writes:

What is TED? TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) is a non-profit organization devoted to sharing “Ideas Worth Spreading.” The first TED conference was in Monterrey, CA in 1984 and the ideas have not stopped flowing.
Why is TED so popular? Many educators and professionals find the 3-20 minute speeches authentic and high-interest with diverse speakers who have various presentation styles.
What can TED do for your classroom? TED speeches are available through its website on Ted.com, YouTube, and an app for all devices, including iOS. Teachers can use TED to teach and develop dynamic presentation skills using the videos it offers.

Kate offers some resources there also and some suggestions for speeches if TED access is not available at your school.

Leaders, you might want to pass this URL on to your English teachers.

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ISV TechExpress Podcasts – Episode 1


Podcasting on the use of ICT in the classroom

Lynda Cutting and Craig Dunstan, are Senior Advisors for Independent Schools Victoria‘s Smart Schools National Partnerships program and have been working with leaders and teachers in the areas of literacy and numeracy in Victorian independent schools, including some of our schools.

They recently began to podcast about how teachers can use ICT in their classrooms. These series is titled Techexpress.

I want to share these Techexpress podcasts with our teachers in the ASV Teachers ICT showcase blog, but thought I’d share this first episode here also so that principals, deputies and heads of school can know about this initiative too.

Surveys, copyright-free images, Angry Birds apps in education; each of these is spoken about in this first episode.

Lynda and Craig have a related blog as well, to which they refer in the podcast. (See link below)

In their blog you will find links to the resources they talk about in the podcasts. Readers can also comment of course, and in doing that may also refer to related tools that they have found useful in their classrooms.

Lynda and Craig have asked (by email) their first podcast listeners to submit have any ideas that they could podcast on in the future. If you do have a suggestion, please visit their blog and add a comment to their post.

Episode 1-Our very first episode.