Monday, 26 August 2013

The Sacrament Of Confirmation-Implications and Applications For Everyday Life.

The Sacrament Of Confirmation-Implications and Applications For Everyday Life.


The Year 6 students are spending term three preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation, and developing projects within their Confirmation unit. This unit of work has been designed to give the students a strong understanding of what the Sacrament of Confirmation is really all about, and how this knowledge and understanding can be applied to everyday life.
The students needed to answer this essential question:

How can individuals develop the inner strength needed to always make the right choices, and to do good things, in order to contribute to the creation of a harmonious society?

The first project involved an examination of what the human soul is, and how it gives strength. After discussion and examples, the students were asked to create a short presentation expressing their own personal interpretations of the meaning of ‘soul’, using iMovie and GarageBand.

The story of Pentecost was then presented to the students, using scripture, and YouTube. As a second project, the students were then asked to create a movie trailer of this story, incorporating the main points, and the message within.

The students are now working on the third project, using BookCreator, to create an eBook which a) incorporates a biography of their chosen Saint or Blessed, b)information about present day people, famous or otherwise, who reflect similar values demonstrated by this Saint or Blessed, and c) a video of the student engaging in verbal self -reflection and explanation of what they have learned.

The three projects are designed to help the children answer the essential question.

With this knowledge and understanding, the students will then move into the fourth project. Using EdCanvas, the students will plan, design and prepare for development a fundraising event which will raise awareness of the needs of others and assist our Partnership School, Saint Marys Shanti Sadan School in Central India.

This section of this Project Based Learning will involve following the model of Fluency 21's Solution Frequency. We will work through the six D’s, Define, Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver and Debrief. I was introduced to this model  back in March at a Professional Development day with Lee Crockett.

This style of Project Based Learning is just fantastic. In this unit, many learning areas-Religious Education, English, The Arts and S&E, are integrated.  It is truly an engaging , inspiring and energising method for teaching and learning.

Anna Sheehy

Year Six Teacher
Sacred Heart, Highgate

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Preparing Kids for Learning through Flipped Learning

Flipped learning approaches are the buzz at the moment, especially in classes and schools using 21st Century approaches. As with all educational strategies and approaches, ensuring they are meaningful and clearly assist in student progress and learning is key.

After viewing an inspiring TED video by James Nottingham, I decided to direct my use of flipped learning into preparing students for the next day's learning.
Our Year 4 class focus is Narrative writing. Over the last few weeks I have been trialling the success rate of creating instructional videos on my You Tube channel and adding them to my class Edmodo page.

As Nottingham suggests in his TED talk, Prep-Work as opposed to Homework can be very effective.
As part of their "Prep-work" I asked my students each evening to view (with an adult) the relevant video that explained the next day's learning. The idea was not to complete the task but to develop ideas and understandings through a short discussion with their parents or another adult.

The "visible learning" and progress in writing skills and strategies has been tremendous. The students have commented that they feel "ready" for the activity after having more time to think about and prepare some ideas and gain understanding for the task. It has been clear to them that having the time to prepare gave them a chance to enhance and progress the writing skill at hand.

James Nottingham's suggests that in preparing students for learning we can develop their sense of making progress in their learning. This approach has certainly given more students in my class an opportunity to succeed and to clearly see the progress they are making on a daily basis.
This approach is now being incorporated in our Year 5 classroom with early indications showing similar success. The teacher's blog is linked here for more reading.

Thank you James Nottingham!
Watch the TED talk below.

Adrian Torrese
Year 4 Teacher
Assistant Principal 2014

Monday, 1 July 2013

Project Based Learning in year 5 - "My Country Assignment"

The Year Five students have spent the last eight weeks focusing on their ‘My Country’ assignment. This assignment was designed to encourage students to explore their own knowledge and answer a question that could not be answered by simply looking it up on Google. They needed to create an online resource as their final product.


The students needed to answer these questions;


Where does my family come from?


 Why is this country a fantastic place?


In order to do this they needed to research their country, specifically focusing on the geographical and cultural information. They also needed to interview a family member about this country. Majority of the students were able to complete their interview in person but some completed an international Skype call and filmed the conversation using Screenr.


The next section of their assignment was to create a 10-day holiday to this country. Students needed to include flight details and costs, other travel costs (cars, taxis, etc), accommodation, sight seeing and attractions, food expenses and spending money. The created a budget for their holiday as well as an itinerary.


The final section was to persuade their audience (Year Four and Year Six students) to go on their holiday. They needed to create a range of resources to assist them with this. They also had to focus on the language they were using and how this could persuade someone to agree with them.

Due to this being such a long process, the students followed the model of Solution Fluency. They worked through the Six D’s. Define, Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver and Debrief. This is a model I was introduced to earlier in the year at a development day with Lee Crocket. The below link explores the Six D’s in more detail.


This essential 21st Century Fluency is actually the foundation upon which the other Fluencies are built. Recently, two longitudinal studies found that teaching a structured problem-solving process to a student will instantly increase their IQ by 10% and that this increase is sustained throughout their lives. Let’s make sure our students benefit from this. Everyone identifies problem solving as essential, but without a process like Solution Fluency, it’s just an ideal that never gets implemented.

- Lee Crocket.

There are so many great student achievements that come out of setting an assignment like this. Not only are the subjects being integrated together (English, S&E and Mathematics), but they also have the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. The rubric they are assessed on has multiple levels of success and students can therefore set a reachable goal. Students were taught about SMART Goals (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). They referred back to this throughout the assignment to make sure they were pushing themselves to do their best work and, also, not setting unachievable goals.

I found that majority of my students challenged themselves and achieved what they had set out to do. I was extremely proud of all the work they completed and the constant reflection they did throughout this task.


The Year Five classroom will be open to visitors on Wednesday 3rd July from 2.30-4pm if you would like to come and observe their works. All families and friends are welcome.

I am very much looking forward to running the next 21st Century Fluency task in our classroom. Stay tuned for more.


Gabrielle Trinca.

Year Five Teacher.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

New Tools.....New Learning Opportunities.......

Our 1:1 programs in year 4 and 5 have provided some wonderful opportunities for the integration of new web-based tools. Here is a description of the tools used and examples of how they are being implemented.

 Edcanvas provides a great platform for teacher presentations or the accumulation of resources for a project. The tool is also great for student presentations to show their learning. However limitations or challenges may exist as students require a password to form an account. The teacher also has the ability to create a class (bit like Edmodo) where students can place their work/ideas. Great to use as a "blog-like"class resource.
The new features of adding a quiz add to teacher functionality or students creating quizzes for each other.
Edcanvas has been essential in Project Based Learning approaches at SHPSH. The ability to bring together all aspects of a project, including website links (which mostly appear within the Edcanvas frame) project information as text, rubrics, Youtube video and images/files in one place is sensational.
An example of its use at SHPSH include a "project style' weekly spelling unit
A recent Maths Challenge project which involved students to use 3 different sites to plan and purchase equipment for a family camping trip.

Using images in learning has long been a rich and powerful strategy. Thinglink enables the user to attach links, information to the image and retain the photo as an interactive image.
The possibilites for this in education are endless.
Here are samples from SHPSH using Thinglink as tool for delivering information.

Digital License

Be a Geography Teacher

The flipped classroom can certainly be enriched with this tool. Audioboo allows the creation of 3 minute audio files that can be shared very easily to Edmodo. A great way to give further explanation or allow students to at times use oral responses as opposed to written. Each audioboo can have an image attached to it which appears during playback.

Looking beyond.....

Some technical difficulties have created hurdles but our wonderful technician has made some adjustments to filters and upgrades.
As these tools and others develop further,  engaging and exciting possibilies exist. 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Digital Driver's License - A Work in Progress

Following our round table discussions with our school community members, that included parents, teachers, students and our Parish, the processes for developing an authentic Sacred Heart Highgate Digital Drivers License are in place.

The students in year 4 and 5 are currently using a  Project Based Learning approach to develop understandings of Digital Citizenship in an authentic way. Examples of student work will be available soon.

The use of Government and other resources are being used to assist the students with inquiry and investigation.

Along with relevant literature, the round table discussion have provided valuable ideas and perspectives that will enhance the meaningful embedding of Digital Citizenship at SHPSH.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Contemporary Learning Space - Years 4 and 5 2013

The new furniture and classroom space in Years 4 and 5 is proving to be very successful. The feedback from teachers and students is extremely positive and we are seeing the students use the space effectively. The learning can be described as a natural and creative process.

There is certainly more involved than just simply changing the furniture! Teachers have commented on the shift in the way they frame their teaching and learning approaches. The new spaces also allows for enhancement of teaching repertoires. However good planning and providing engaging learning experiences is central to the students thriving. As it is in any classroom.
Flexibility to encourage collaborative as well as individual work in a meaningful way has been well received by teachers and students.

It is not just about the digital devices! While the technology in the room (1:1 MacBook Air) is a positive element to each of the classrooms, our new learning environments can thrive with or without the use of devices. The engagement levels have lifted because of careful planning but also because of an environment conducive to learning and creativity that respects and views each student as a learner. Teacher perspective and mind-set are an important ingredient.

The notion that the classroom is a "Third Teacher" (Reggio approach) and is a "learning ecology" is really exciting.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Digitally Responsible Citizens and their Well being

As part of SHPSH Digital Driver's license in our laptop classes, Dr Sonia Ranelli (PhD) a physiotherapist and lecturer from The School of Physiotherapy at Curtin University, last week conducted presentations to the Year 4 and 5 students.

Dr Ranelli explained the importance of posture and demonstrated correct seating and standing positions for using a digital device in the classroom.

The Year 4 and 5 students will use this new founded knowledge to demonstrate competence and understanding in the Well Being aspect of the Sacred Heart's Digital Driver's license.
Teachers in these classes are explicitly teaching and are aware of student posture when they are working with or without a digital device.

The school intends to continue this focus throughout the whole school.