Archives For Education

I love deal websites. Sure, 99% of the emails that I receive from these websites are spam to me. But the other 1% can sometimes be gold. This was one of those times.

Vistaprint [affiliate link] recently had a deal for $75 worth of stuff for $15. I’ve always thought that printing some business cards would be kinda fun, so I latched onto the deal. I didn’t know who I would give business cards out to, but I thought that it would at least be a bit of fun.

When I went to their website to figure out what I’d get, I also noticed that they had tons of other cool stuff like custom stamps! So my mind changed from business cards to custom stamps (for when I’m a teacher). So I got my creative juices flowing and started designing a stamp. I was happy with my finalised design, and I had more of my $75 dollars left than I had expected, so I designed some business cards as well (When I placed my order, Vistaprint had a sale. So in addition to using the voucher, I also had a number of other discounts applied to my such as free uploaded designs. This meant I got tons of stuff for my $15!).

A very exciting end to this story is that I received the shipment today (11 days early) and I really wanted to show off the cool stuff that I got. To begin with, here is the stamp that I created.

Mr Henderson says FANTASTIC! Stamp

I was so happy with my first order that when Vistaprint did the same promotion last week, I spent another $15 to get $75 dollars worth of stuff. But I’m waiting for that order to arrive.

If you’re a teacher then I’d definitely recommend them to make a custom stamp for you (you need to design the stamp, they just print it)! And if you’re not a teacher, well, I guess you can have a stamp too if you want. Or you could get any number of different things from them. Below the break I’ve put a few pictures of the other things that I ordered as well as some brief explanations about them.

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Recently I’ve been completing my teaching internship (the final step in my education degree!), and the teacher whose class I’m in has introduced me to a great website, Storyline Online. Storyline Online is an initiative by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, hoping to give children easy access to quality literature.

Storyline Online

On the website you are able to watch any of the videos for free, and view resources that can be used to plan lessons around the videos. There are 24 stories available which add to a total of 3.5 hours of videos! And these are quality stories, including The Rainbow Fish, Stellaluna and The Polar Express. All read by (somewhat) well know actors including Elijah Wood, Hector Elizondo and Hayley Duff.

All of the stories are read expressively and clearly, and accompanied not only by animated pictures from the books, but also by text so that you can read along as you watch them.

As a teacher, I can say that this website has been a great way to constantly and easily expose my students to the quality reading of quality literature. And I’m sure that it would be great for parents, as it is yet another source of educational entertainment.

Definitely worth checking out.

Below is an example of one of the videos. Hope you find the site to be a helpful resource!


Have you ever heard of Tom Lehrer?

Up until a few weeks ago I had never heard of him. But in my Maths tute we were shown a video that a teacher made to go along with one of his classes about Maths (that video is after the break). I thought it was a cool resource, and it’s the type of resource that I think would be fun to make with a class. The video that is right below here is all about New Math, the idea that it is important to actually understand formulas and what was happening as opposed to just getting the right answer at the end, this song is from the 1960s. Hope you enjoy!

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Reading out loud is not something that is easy to do. In fact, out of all forms of reading, it is actually the hardest to do.

This is because when you are reading out loud, not only to you have to try and make meaning from the text, but you also have to communicate that meaning to your audience.

Bible Reading

Before we can communicate the meaning of a text to our audience, we must first understand the meaning of the text ourselves.

I think that most people fail to realise just how hard reading out loud is, and that is because they don’t read out loud very well. What they do is just read as if they were reading to themselves, this of course would be fine if you were just reading to yourself, but if you’re reading out loud, then chances are that you’re reading to an audience. This is because when you are reading to yourself, your mind communicates the meaning to yourself, but when you are reading to an audience, you have to communicate the meaning to them.

Our short term memory can hold around 7 pieces of information, and when reading aloud we read about 3-4 seconds ahead of what our mouth is saying, and try to make meaning of those words before we say them. In that time between when our mind reads the word and the time when our mouth communicates the word, our minds are working to tell our mouths exactly how we should say that word. Can you see why reading out loud is actually so hard!?

This is what I learnt in a lecture today on oral reading, and here are a few of my thoughts on how this can be applied to reading the Bible out loud.

So what can we do to improve our reading out loud?

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It’s a Book

February 28, 2011 — Leave a comment

In my English lecture today, we were shown a trailer for a great book, and I just had to share it.

I think the trailer a supurb commentary on our society (and the book is pretty awesome as well).

As a (preservice) teacher, it’s always great to find new resources, especially ones that are free!

Recently Google has upgraded their maps service to allow users to view certain areas of the world in 3D. Watch the video below that explains this.

I’ve had a quick look around this and I can see awesome opportunities to use this to teach students about different areas of the world. Great for HSIE lessons. And, it’s really easy to use! And, it would look amazing on a smartboard, and students could interact with it. It’s amazing how real we can make different parts of the world look.

Below are some screenshots that I have taken while playing around.

Eiffel Tower

Sydney HarbourVatican City

FamilyParents are the people that will see the students in your class more than you will, and they will have a much greater influence over you students then you ever will.

Recently in the Public vs Private series, I have done two posts on parents. One on parents who care too much, and one on parents that don’t care enough. This is the final post on parents, and will cover why they matter in deciding where you will be teaching.

As a teacher, you will be interacting directly with your class for up to 4.5 hours a day, or 22.5 hours a week. These interactions will be mostly in the classroom and in a formal setting, and you will be expecting a certain level of interaction from your students. That is that you will be expecting them to show up to class, and to do homework, and to have the materials available for them to do these things.

Parents will be interacting with your students for significantly longer than you will be. If the parents of students don’t care about education, then it is highly likely that the students won’t care about education. And therefore your interactions with your students will be scared by this.

Parents matter in deciding where to teach, before deciding to teach at a school. Try to gauge what the parents will be like, and take this factor into consideration.

Parents will have the greatest influence on your students, so you need to consider them.

Read more posts in this series at Public vs Private | Main Page.

Public vs Private | Main Page

February 24, 2010 — 6 Comments

I am a Christian studying to be a primary school teacher. Once I am done with studying, I am hoping to get a job as a teacher, and so I want to think through the decisions when deciding where to teach. Specifically with reference to either a public school or a private school.

Public Vs Private Boxers

Over the past months, I have been writing a series of posts thinking through these issues, and for convenience, I am going to have them all archived on this page, and each time I write a new one, I will add it to this list. I will also add drafts that I am planning to write.

All of these posts are from a Christian point of view in deciding to teach in either a public or private primary school in NSW, Australia.

Here are the posts.

At some stage, I am also planning on putting these into a resource for those who are going through a similar decision making process, if you would like to be involved in proofing this type of a document, please let me know.

Teddy with Photo FrameParents matter in deciding where you want to teach.

Recently I wrote a post about parents at schools that care too much about their child’s education (here). This is the opposing post, about those parents who don’t care enough. Here are some characteristics of parents that don’t care enough.

Parents who don’t care enough

  • Students may not value education as their parents don’t.
  • This may lead to students not showing up to class very often, and as their is no support for education from home, there is no easy solution.
  • Discipline is a challenge as students don’t fear the consequences and are not reprimanded by parents.
  • Parents don’t give any support to students or to teachers, and so teachers can feel alone in situations.
  • Parents don’t keep teachers accountable, and so teachers may be tempted to be lazy.
  • Students may not have proper resources such as pens and pencils with which to work, and so learning may be compromised.

These are some characteristics of parents who don’t care. I don’t know of any private school where teachers don’t care (if you pay that much then you care). But unfortunately there is a minority of (not all) public schools in which there are some parents like this.

Stay tuned for one final post on parents, about why parents matter in making the decision on where to teach.

You can read the rest of the posts in this series at Public vs Private | Main Page.

    My School is a tool that was launched (on 28/1/2010) by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), and is designed to be an “information service” for parents.

    The site allows you to type in a schools name, and then a profile for that school will appear showing statistics about enrolment, socio-educational status and academic results. The main purpose is to compare schools academically, below is a screenshot of the site.

    My School Academic Comparisons

    This school is above the national average, and statistically comparable with similar schools

    The issue with the academic results is that they are based of singular nation wide tests called the NAPLAN tests.

    Parents are being encouraged to use the “My School” website to compare their school to similar schools, and they are also being encouraged to talk to teachers about their schools results. The website states that it aims to introduce “a new level of transparency and accountability to the Australian school system.”

    If parents are encouraged to judge schools based off this one test, then this test will start to take over teaching. Instead of teachers teaching students what they need to know over the course of a year, teachers are going to be forced to teach students what they need to know to do well in the NAPLAN test.

    Teaching for a test is not good for learning.

    I doubt that the “My School” website will benefit education in Australia.

    What do you think?