Working with Images

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NAPLAN and EALD Language and Literacy Levels

NAPLAN writing assessment is a tool to assess student writing in either persuasive or narrative texts. The assessment uses a rubric in a number of specific areas to determine a score.

In both text types the following aspects are analysed:

  • Audience
  • Text structure
  • Cohesion
  • Sentence structure
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling

Additionally when analysing narratives Language devices are assessed, and when persuasive writing is analysed persuasive devices are also monitored.

Comparatively the EALD Language and Literacy Levels divide the analysis of writing into the following areas:

  • Composing learning area texts
  • Text Knowledge
    • Organisational structures
    • Text cohesion- Foregrounding
      • Text and paragraph openers
      • Sentence openers including using passive voice to change what is foregrounded
      • Reference: pronouns, determiners and substitution
  • Grammar Knowledge
    • Sentence structure
      • Simple
      • Compound
      • Complex
    • Punctuation
      • Sentence level
      • Basic punctuation
      • Beyond basic
    • Words and word groups
      • Verbs and verb groups
      • Adverbs, adverb groups/ phrases and prepositional phrases
      • Noun groups/ phrases, including plurals, articles and nominalisation
    • Expressing opinion and point of view
      • Evaluative language
      • Modality
      • Expressing opinion directly
  • Word Knowledge
    • Understanding/ using learning area vocabulary
    • Spelling

NAPLAN is a measurement tool, providing information about where students are in relation to the aspects measured – a summative assessment.
The EALD Language and Literacy Levels are a description of how language skills develop. Therefore they provide much more information to the teacher about where to next – a great teaching and assessment tool; formative and summative assessment.

Although specifically designed to support the development of language and literacy of high needs students, the Levels are a teaching tool to support teachers with all learners. They provide a framework for “high expectations and high support (Mariani 1997)”, enabling a closing of the gap between a student’s language resources and those required for their year level.

Underpinned by a systematic and explicit pedagogy based in:

  • Teaching in advance of language development
  • Stretching students’ knowledge and imagination beyond what they can readily do independently
  • Encouraging the use of strategies such as self-correction and trial and error
  • Customising support for individual learners, including modifying the level of support and the timing of its withdrawal as students move to independence

Implications on practice

Gradual release of responsibility
Zone of proximal development
Explicit teaching – unpacking the demands of the curriculum – How language works, why language choices are made, what the effects of certain choices are and how to use language in powerful ways.
The teaching and learning cycle – 4 key stages
1. Setting the context
2. Modelling and text deconstruction
3. Joint construction
4. Independent construction

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Text Dependent Questions – Grades 6-12

“Classroom discussions allow for the co construction of knowledge. Discussion elevates the act of reading deeply from a private one to a public one.”
Necessary features of discussion:
* sustained dialogue! not just short questioning cycles
* Uptake, such that the teacher poses new questions derived from the comments of students
* Authentic questions that do not always have a single correct answer

“Questions focused on the literal level of meaning of a text will not accomplish the kind of critical thinking we seek from our students. But they are the start of the journey.”

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Maths – What Works?

Maths – FarkotaThesis

Time – Mike Chartres

Corrine Campbell’s Blog

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Planning Leaning Sequences – Kath Murdoch

Ask questions such as:
What are the ways of exploring the concept or concepts that are engaging and relevant to my students?
What understandings, dispositions and skills will students be learning?
What experiences will be used to ensure that students learn?
What evidence will be gathered to inform learning and understanding?
What is a current, real-life issue for this particular cohort of students?

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A New Year, A New School, A New Beginning

Wow, what a difference I have noticed this year.
Eager, appreciative students who want to learn.
Professional teachers, who are used to collaborating and have systems established to help their work.
Welcoming parents.
A calm atmosphere.
High expectations from leadership in a supportive and appreciative environment.
I am looking forward to the next few years.

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Education and Technology – How to Focus on Maximising the Teaching Opportunities

Technology can provide many benefits, including: a wide audience for student work, collaborative opportunities with people all over the world, access to experts, use of tools to deliver a message effectively, and tools to systematise complex processes.

Unfortunately we haven’t got to the stage where technology is available without hiccups yet. Often schools are hindered by lack of access to technology (not having one on one devices), frequent cuts to internet connectivity, popular and useful sites blocked by systems, and lack of skills – teachers and students.

I am committed to finding ways to utilise technology to enhance my teaching practices, not just look for gimmicks that fix a short term issue. To this end I will aim to make use of the following technologies:

  • Blogs – to provide a central storage point for access to links and resources, to provide information to staff, students and parents, to share work, to encourage people to respond to student work, engage a wider audience in conversations
  • Wikis – to provide opportunities  for students  to co-create, collaborate
  • Voki – to engage the audience, direct a specific message in an entertaining way
  • Powtoon – utilise an animation tool to communicate learning powerfully, engage audience (transform learning)
  • Scratch – to teach students coding language
  • Vimeo – to communicate using video
  • Animoto – to encourage students to use visual and auditory elements to communicate a strong message
  • Voice Thread – to use the power of visual, auditory and written messages, combined with people from various parts of the world
  • Diigo – to curate important articles, reference pieces
  • Edmodo – to communicate with students around the world
  • iPads – in the junior primary years – My Story, Explain Everything, Book Creator, Tellagami, QR Reader, Show Me, Skitch, Puppet Pals
  • Twitter – to encourage traffic to blogs, pose questions of my educational Personal Learning Network, access current information and diversity of opinions
  • Skype – to connect with others
  • Fuse – to connect synchronously with teachers in various parts of the world
  • Thinglink?? – gimmicky? or purposeful?

What else would you add to this list?


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Revision Decisions – Talking Through Sentences and Beyond Jeff Anderson and Deborah Dean


D – Delete unnecessary and repeated words

R – Rearrange sentence parts/ chunks

A – Add connectors

F – Form new verb endings

T – Talk it out

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Hard Choices – Hillary Clinton

“No matter who you are or where you are from, if you work hard and play by the rules, you should have the opportunity to builds good life for yourself and your family.”

“…had to know both how to find common ground and how to stand our ground.”

“…a healthy society = a three legged stool, supported by a responsible government, an open economy, and a vibrant civil society.”

“It is true that clamping down on political expression and maintaining a tight grip on what people read or say or see can create the illusion of security, but illusions fade, while people’s yearning for liberty does not.”

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Assessment for Teaching

Great – finally a forward focused view of planning and programming is recommended, rather than the backwards design process!

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