Friday, 31 October 2014

Mouse-Maker bottles

Very typical Ballarat spring day today. Bright sunshine one minute and pouring rain the next. You wouldn't think it was 30 degrees and humid yesterday for International Teachers Day....yeah that slipped by. No parades, TV specials, congratulatory emails from relevant Ministers. Oh well!
Today up at school I finished off my Danny the Champion of the World material and I've just started a unit on The 39 Steps.I still have to finish reading The Riddle of the Sands before I start on that. ( That can be an afternoon job)
The grade 4s are away on camp for the week ( I'll miss them) so our work on The Witches is on hold.   ( Below is an image of their Mouse-Maker bottles) 
Thank you to Emily for doing some weeding in our garden ( below)
I'll need to ring the Shire to come and replace our place name sign which the local hillbillies keep knocking over or shooting up.

Curriculum Day conference

Equity and Access in Australian Education Conference 2014
(Presented by the Faculty of Education Monash University 31/10/14)

Conference Preamble
Education in Australia currently faces big challenges, one of which is equity of access to quality teaching and learning for all students.
This conference will examine some challenges in enabling equity and access and will examine contentious issues in the current education context.( The Monash Education Faculty is currently celebrating 50 years.) This is the second of these forums and will feature keynotes and responses.

Professor John Loughran- MC

Introduction from Scott Ryan ( Senator Victoria- Secretary assisting the Education Minister)
Opening address- The senator talked about the Menzie's education legacy and about the history of the Monash University Education Faculty since 1964. ( His history of education ended there and picked up again with the election of his government which is a staggering insult to all those teachers, principals and academics who have progressed Australian education for 4 decades) He also engaged in a defence of the Commonwealth's Gonski backdown. ( He didn't use the word backdown) He talked about how the commonwealth were not the sole provider of funding for education but failed to mention how every conservative state has slashed public education funding. Did we really need to hear about this at this conference?
He spent most of his speech talking about how much money they are spending on education while also saying that continual spending increases won't make improvements to quality. He also discussed the following points:
Teacher quality- Teacher training programs are being reviewed by a ministerial advisory group.
Strengthening curriculum- Report on this was released in October and will be reviewed by the States this year. ( Issues to be considered curriculum overcrowding, parent involvement, accessibility, re- balancing curriculum, reviewing ACARA)
Parental engagement- Targeted research undertaken to help parents to better involve themselves with their child's learning. 
He talked nonsense about children being born nowadays to older parents.( He thinks there is a disconnect between parents and jargon driven schools) I think schools have never been more accessible to parents. all I can say is...he had his speech and he delivered it!

Ms Treopia Washington ( Director Special Initiatives Bowie State University in Arkansas US)
Treopia shared her experiences with education pursuing access and opportunity.
She grew up in a family of teachers and they all believed that learning never stops.
(Her name comes from Greek mythology.)
Arkansas is a southern state that enforced segregation but it didn't stop her from learning. Her mother sued for equal pay in the 1940s ( black teachers were paid less than white teachers) In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court declared state laws that established separate segregated schools were unconstitutional. Southern states slowly began de- segregate in the 1960s. In 1957 the Little Rock Nine attended a 'white school' and faced violent threats and rioting.The US Army escorted them into school. (One of Treopia's brothers was one of those first brave students. Martin Luther King attended his graduation at Central High School in Little Rock. Perseverance has its rewards.) 
Treopia talked about her long journey in education. Bowie University began in the 1860s to train black students to educate freed slaves who had been denied an education. She would like to help establish a partnership between Bowie and Monash. 

Dr Peter Anderson ( Paid respect to the Kulin Nation)
Lecturer in Indigenous Education Monash University
The first indigenous university graduate was not until 1965. 
Dr Anderson discussed challenges for indigenous teachers.
1.2 % of teachers are indigenous ( 3700 teachers and 78 principals with a high attrition rate- 5 years of service before burn-out) and only 20 university faculty members. Indigenous education aims to have students contribute to society and the economy. No indigenous pedagogy in education. Dr Anderson said: 'It is our goal to shift the approach in the profession from a deficit approach to a rights based approach'. He is a strong advocate for a UN endorsed indigenous rights based approach.(UN Article 14) 
Dr Anderson discussed the Australian policy context and wants his student teachers to meet the standards and share their knowledge once they start working. He discussed Noel Pearson's approach to education in northern Queensland and how the approaches there work for those children but there might be issues with engagement when those children go to year 7.( direct instruction ) He feels that the 'Jury is still out ' on this approach.
He paid tribute to Gough Whitlam and his contribution to indigenous education.

Professor Neil Selwyn 
Lecturer in ICT Monash University
Neil spoke about access and equity in the digital age.
Education is not fair and equitable. There are no quick fixes.
Everyone in education needs to be realistic and open.He is pleased by the optimism in his field but doesn't necessarily share it.
Digital education can address access and equality but is it sustained change? This is an ideological driven area when it comes to determining success or failure.
Big picture in digital education- He thinks it sits within an unfair education system and an entrenched unfair society.( Wealthy are wealthier and the poor are poorer. 57 million children still miss out on a primary education) Where one goes to school in Australia does matter.There still is a digital divide ( access and usage) President Clinton talked about computers in schools being 'the great equaliser' Obama and the Gates Foundation and others have followed his lead.There are significant hopes attached to the success of digital technology.
Some great practice exists: MITs one laptop per child ( rugged laptops and tablets distributed to millions of children) Hole in the Wall ( PCs concreted in the walls of slums in Asia where children learnt how to use these PCs by playing with them) LA School District giving 3.5 million students their own devices. Online charter schools and cyber schools in the US. One million students in the US doing online learning. MOOC ( online courses) free from universities. Wikipeadia a fantastic resource.It also enables us to contribute to knowledge.  
However at best there is little evidence of sustained change. Independent evaluation on one lap top per child shows little change. Hole in Wall not very effective. One to one programs show the children who benefit are those mostly from high socio-economic background. Virtual schools in the US showed only 25 % of academic success. 
80% of MOOC participants are from the wealthiest background in the US. MOOCs only have 10% completion rate. Wikepedia is edited a written by elite male users.
His conclusion in that digital education is not as equitable as you would think.
Digital learning reflects our society. Equal access ( meritocratic- getting a fair go) does not mean equality. Ideology drives the success in digital education. What level of inequality are we prepared to put up with. 
What do we do? 
Neil is realistic. He believes technology education is not critical enough on itself and its perceived achievements. He believes we suffer from 3 kinds of hope when it comes to digital education: 
false hope- that the world will have to get better, mythical hope when we celebrate individuals or hope deferred when we think things will get better in the future. 
What can we be doing better? Can technology users be genuine collaborators and contributors? (There is inequality when it comes to creation/ collaborating, it is not accessed by everyone.) How can others ( not in education) make a difference? he discussed 'open access' mismatch between free -cost and freedom. he believes that we need bottom up development of technology. 
The challenge is there.

Katrina Reynen
Optus Industry Manager Education
What do we do with technology? Too much of it is focussed on technology that doesn't make a difference. She is concerned about poor teaching combined with technology. She says the corporates are very interested in education. The big question is how do we use technology to help children learn? How do we engage children? Learning is a social construct not learning alone watching podcasts.
Equity issues about devices is mute. She feels even the poorest students have access to devices. How it is used is more critical.
Investment in technology through businesses is mostly philanthropic.There is a role for business to play.We are very far behind what they are doing in Asia regarding business input into education.( She talked about 3 D Printers and 'game theory')
Technology when it connects people brings people together and makes a difference. Web 1.0 is a consumption model and Web 2.0 is about collaboration. 
That is the 'step change' in technology education. 
Sharing ideas is more important and has the power to connect people. Open access means access to stuff but access to each other is more important. It is not a magic bullet. But technology needs to be there in the first place. 

Associate Professor Deb Corrigan
Science technology (Moving science education into the future)
Scientists say science is about looking for patterns, provide explanations and models and come to conclusions or understandings and act upon them.
In schools we reverse the process.Is that a viable approach.
How do we prepare children for the jobs that don't yet exist? What technology has yet to be developed? We discussed some provocative statements in science and what understandings do we have of values in science? Focusing on values  provides a reflective framework for teachers  and students to collaborate.( Refer the Monash Science continuum and the UNESCO 4 Pillars of learning )Knowledge needs to be reshape for teaching science. Science teaching in high schools is not working.( Lack of engagement)
( Refer Hype cycle of emerging technologies on Google.)

Ross Piling ( Director of BASF- a chemical company with a strong focus on R&D)
Ross talked about the demands coming from future population growth ( 9 billion people in 20 years) and he believes chemistry is an enabler for solving the issues of the future.
He discussed future trends and opportunities that Australia might have.We need to innovate. But we have declining numbers in the STEM* subjects. 
Great decline in studying maths and science especially from girls. Business can do more to make science more relevant and engaging.Co-ordinated national approach required. There is a sense of urgency overseas but not in Australia. 
Australia does not have a science strategy. ( Nor does it have a science minister)
We are falling behind. We are at risk of squandering our future generation.They need to be ready for the jobs of the future. 

*Science,Technology, Engineering and Maths

Q and A Panel including ( Kathryn Greiner, Kevin Donnelly, Fran Cosgrove, Meredith Peace and Leonie Walsh)

A variety of questions were asked. I asked the following:
The Auditor General released a report in April this year entitled ‘Access to Education for Rural Students.’ In his report he stated ‘Students in rural areas have for a long time not performed as well as their metropolitan peers. They face barriers to accessing education and that DEECD has not managed to overcome, and there is no sign that the gap in performance is likely to narrow. Indeed, in some areas of performance the gap is getting wider.’ He also said ‘Unless DEECD adopts a cohesive and targeted strategy, it is unlikely that outcomes will improve.’ 
What would the panel do to rectify this situation?  
Meredith Peace responded but didn't answer the question other than to talk about Gonski.
Responses to questions were varied and vague with few answers.
Kevin Donnelly was patronising and couldn't help reminding us that he 'writes in the newspapers'
Kathryn Greiner talked about equity and the Gonski review and made some excellent points. 'Schools need the financial capacity to acquire the resources that their students need.'

The conference ended at 4:30. I didn't stay for drinks, I had a train to catch.
It was an interesting conference. it was 'different' mixing with doctors and professors. 
I got to Melbourne early this morning so I had a coffee and took a few photos of Parliament House ( Spring Street) before walking to the Hyatt.
Parliament House Mellbourne

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Girl Guides

Teachers at Guides Night - 2014

On Thursday night, October 30th, the Delacombe Junior Girl Guides celebrated World Teachers’ Day by inviting their school teachers to join them at a special Girl Guide activity.  The girls acknowledged the fantastic work performed by teachers and the massive commitment involved in running a classroom. It takes a dedicated teacher to spend time with their students at an after-school activity.

The Guides and their teachers worked together to make and fly kites, decorate owl biscuits, play frisbee golf and make a uniform sash for their teachers to wear.  The girls presented their teachers with a badge, certificate and survival kit.

I was invited to an 'invite your teacher'night at the girl guides by one of my students who is a guide and had a great time. She made  a present for me for World Teachers Day tomorrow. Photo above.

Today DEECD released ( to the press) their Working 'Aspiring Learners, Thriving Communities' see:Aspiring Learners, Thriving Communities – a long-term approach to improving rural and regional learning outcomes
This document was dumped on us less than a week before the official election campaign begins. In April The Auditor General released a report  entitled ‘Access to Education for Rural Students.’ In his report he stated ‘Students in rural areas have for a long time not performed as well as their metropolitan peers. They face barriers to accessing education and that DEECD has not managed to overcome, and there is no sign that the gap in performance is likely to narrow. Indeed, in some areas of performance the gap is getting wider.’ He also said ‘Unless DEECD adopts a cohesive and targeted strategy, it is unlikely that outcomes will improve.’ DEECD was apparently developing a 'plan' to address this scandalous situation but the Auditor General said it was ' no game changer'. the plan was not released until now.
The document itself is short on specifics and details. It starts off with a lie by saying that 'Aspiring Learners, Thriving Communities is Victoria’s first consolidated effort to improve outcomes for learners of all ages in rural and regional areas.'( The previous Government released its Rural Education Framework in 2010 which the current government immediately scrapped)
 There is no budget and no time line ( except that they say it is a 'long-term' strategy) and more importantly no one is identified as leading it. ( No name- no accountability) It is full of vacuous motherhood statements peppered with a bit of self-congratulation.( For what? Gutting TAFE, downsizing experienced staff, cutting important programs like reading recovery and merging regions into huge unworkable districts that cannot be properly serviced. This has had a particularly drastic impact on rural and remote schools.)
There is a lot of emphasis on video conferencing ( pity some schools, many like Glen Park that could use it have not been given it)
Releasing this document now is a disgrace.An incoming government should use it as a template for doing it properly and thoroughly. The Opposition's plans for new look Technical schools, direct support for disadvantaged students and their promise to re-establish the regions will help but they need to also confront this issue and make a commitment to act fast .( not wait 4 years) I have no doubt that this has simply been dumped out on the community so they can say to voters in their marginal rural seats that they are doing something when in reality doing nothing!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Spring blooms

Half way through Stig of the Dump and we have been making 'cave paintings' using stencils of ancient animals inspired by pictures found in French and Spanish caves from 20000 years ago. We used charcoal and watered down paint applied with sponges. ( We chose not to blow paint through a straw onto the stencils.)

Monday, 27 October 2014

Starting new units

FToday we starting literature work for 3 books ( Stig of the Dump, Holes and Murder on the Orient Express) Displays below. I have just started developing a one week theme based on World War origins and spy's for the 39 Steps and Riddle of the Sands. I should have that finished on the weekend.
Stig of the Dump display.

Murder on the Orient Express.

Cross benchers dump Pyne's University changes
from ABC Online:

Clive Palmer has declared "bye bye" to the Federal Government's university overhaul, saying his party will vote against the measures.

In the May budget, the Government announced it would cut funding for courses by 20 per cent and allow universities to charge their own fees.

The legislation is set for debate in the Senate tomorrow, but Mr Palmer, whose Palmer United Party holds three balance of power seats, said his senators would be voting against it.

"It's bye bye for the education retrospective refit that they're trying to do," he said, while inviting students to write to the Education Minister and "tell him he's a mongrel".( Yes that's what he said!)

Link below to the ALP advertisement attacking fee increases in higher education

King Solomon's Mine Literature Unit

Click HERE to access my King Solomon's Mines literature unit on TPT.

Adventure Journals

Spring blooms
These grade 6 kids finished their adventure  journals today and they did a great job with them. The grade 4s are working on creating a new character for the giant peach. I suggested an unattractive mini east like an earwig or dung beetle. I look forward to reading their finished rough drafts tomorrow.
3D printers
The Napthine Government has promised secondary schools $3000 each to buy 3D printers.( They apparently cost $10000)

Saturday, 25 October 2014

ALP Policy Launch

I attended the ALP election launch today in Geelong. It ran late as these things tend to do but there were many education specific promises made ( in fact it seemed to be all about education)
They promised $510 million to rebuild schools and to make them safe ( references to some recent troubling episodes with asbestos in schools)
Kevin Andrews also promised a $320 million rescue fund for our critically injured TAFE program ( many references to how Gough started TAFE) He promised not only to restore it but make it better. He offered $50 million to upgrade kindergartens across the state.
Labor will reintroduce technical schools ( $125 million to build 10 facilities across the state) 
These schools will also enable kids to participate in traditional secondary school at the same time. There will be a strong partnership with industry, universities and TAFE
Andrews admitted that schools were doing their best and teachers and support staff were trying hard but schools and vulnerable children attending school needed more government support. He promised  $13 million to help State Schools Relief to provided more uniforms to vulnerable children  and an additional $15 for eye tests and free glasses.He also promised $13 million to feed hungry kids at school.The biggest surprise was a $150 million fund to support schools to ensure all children have access to camps, excursion and sport.He said these initiatives would start on day one and he has committed to ensure that every child gets every chance.  

Kevin Andrews was funny and touching and his speech was short and to the point ( a good speech) Bill Shorten spoke well but I like my politicians with a bit of mongrel in them. He'd do well to look at some old Keating and Whitlam speeches. All 4 ex premiers were there; Brumby, Bracks ( Joan Kirner looked frail) and John Cain looked as fit as a fiddle.


Campbell's Creek fights to keep its secular welfare officer

Parents at Campbells Creek Primary School, near Castlemaine, have gathered 1,600 signatures in support of their student welfare officer Prue Robertson.

Ms Robertson has held the position for almost two years, assisting the school's 150 students, as well as providing support for the teachers and giving parents advice.

"I love this work, I love this job and everyday when I leave the school I feel like I've made a difference to the kids who attend this school," Ms Robertson said. By the end of the school term, funding for her position will disappear, after the Federal Government changed its policy on school welfare officers

Clare Baker, a parent at Campbells Creek Primary School, said the students, staff and parents all appreciated Ms Robertson and her knowledge of the region.

"We've made this progress and, for some change in policy, why should we have to find somebody else with the same skill set? And I'm not sure we will be able to find that," Ms Baker said.

"We're in regional Victoria. We don't have an enormously large number of people applying for the job."

Read more on the ABC online site:

Friday, 24 October 2014

Book buying trip

Went to Daylesford today to visit some of their book shops for work. I was looking for an original if possible, copy of The 39 Steps and The Riddle in the Sands for a short origins of World War One unit for around Remembrance Day. Unfortunately and despite a long search I couldn't find any. I did buy a few other books though.

The Paradise Book Shop in Dayesford

I found some books for Dickens unit I have planned for this year, one to help with Stig of the Dump, another Margaret Clarke horror book ( We read the Curse of the Mummy earlier this year) and a copy of The Min Min which will be a great 'Australian children's literature' novel to read at the start of next year.

We went to The Grange in Hepburn for afternoon tea before we went home.

New York pictures

The grade four kids made chalk silhouette pictures of New York.( Yes that is a Ginger Fudge bar in the picture)

The grade 1 and 2 kids finished work on The Six Swans or The Wild Swans and created these pictures this week.

The grade 4s also had these newsprint pictures of New York as well. We have finished James and the Giant Peach and we're starting work on The Witches. ( I love doing the Grand High Witches accent when I'm reading it allowed.) Next week I start reading Stig of the Dump as a serial.

Back flip of sorts from Pynne

This week, Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced he would drop his proposed interest rates hikes on student loans — but only if the Senate agrees to deregulate university fees. And he told the media he was "making great progress" in his negotiations with the Senate crossbench and "getting closer to an outcome".
With or without higher interest rates, deregulation will lead to doubling of degree costs, $100,000 degrees and a lifetime of debt. 
This is an embarrassing back flip which given the bizarre antics of the cross benches might just work for him.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Born Free

We are about to finish up reading Born Free. I read that this week after finishing King Solomon's Mines.
It is an interesting read but a bit repetitive. There are several interesting documentaries about Elsa and the Adamsons. One features an amazingly young David Attenborough.
Below are some Beechworth Bakery delivery vans parked out the front of their store this morning.

Tomorrow the grade 4s will be making 'newspaper skyscraper' pictures. 
Most of the grade 6 kids have been working on their adventure journals today and should finish tomorrow. I have a lot of work on our 3 literature units ( 4 if you include The Witches) to do on the weekend.

Is anyone Surprised?

Report from ABC online:

The gap between student performance at Australia's richest and poorest schools has widened in the three years since the Gonski report into education was delivered, a new report has found.

The report, written by members of the Need to Succeed Alliance, which champions public education, found the gap widened from 32 to 37 per cent between 2010 and the end of 2013 – with the wealthiest schools performing better and the poorest schools performing markedly worse.

The study was based on an analysis of every Australian school's NAPLAN test results published on the Federal Government's MySchool website.

The study found that on the whole, all student performance was stagnating or worsening, and secondary students' results were worse than those in primary schools.

That came as no surprise to Karen Money, principal at William Ruthven Secondary College in Reservoir, in Melbourne's north.

Seventy-five per cent of Ms Money's students come from non-English speaking backgrounds, and the school has a higher than average number of low-income families.

"If you have students that don't have help from mum and dad at home because they can't speak English ... then those students do need more intensive English support and help at school. And that takes time and money," Ms Money said.

"So from that perspective, you can see why, if that resourcing for those students isn't there, why the gap starts to get wider."

The Gonski report recommended a $5 billion funding boost across all schools, with extra loadings for disadvantaged kids.

But Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has said the Government will only fund the first four of the recommended six years of Gonski money.

The states are also yet to sign up to all of the reforms.

Phantom the Opera FREE

One of my grade 4 students is studying The Phantom of the Opera.
I have added a free (for my US readers for Halloween and anyone else interested) unit for the book on TPT. Click HERE to go to TPT and download this unit.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Character analysis for the Peach occupants

Today the grade 4s completed their character matrix for the Peach occupants. tomorrow we'll have our ice cream and peaches. ( There were fresh ones in Coles today but they were a bit dear) We had a birthday cake at recess time today.
One of the grade 4s who is reading the Treasure Trackers books  created a PowerPoint today about the sooty tern ( a bird found on Easter Island) and he inserted not only a video but also a sound file into it and presented it to the early years students who were an appreciative audience.
The grade 6 kids also completed their detailed character analysis ( In this case Gagool and Allan Quartermain)
Some kindergarten teachers went on strike today for wage parity with primary teachers. Well done comrades and good luck!

More 'hocus Pocus' with the curriculum review

The subject experts appointed to the Abbott government's national curriculum review included several figures with close Coalition links who were chosen without any scrutiny from education officials.

University of Sydney poetry professor Barry Spurr, one of the specialist reviewers of the English curriculum, has been suspended from  academic duties after leaked emails showed him referring to "abos", "mussies" and "chinky-poos".  

Professor Spurr argued in his subject review that the impact of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature in Australia had been "minimal" and that there should be a greater focus on western civilisation in the curriculum.( surprise surprise)

The leaked emails have sparked accusations from Labor and the Greens that the appointment process for the subject experts – many of whom have close links to the Abbott government or right-wing think tanks.

Read more in this story from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Apparently Enid Blyton's Far Away Tree series is to be made into a movie. Read a story about it in the Guardian:

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Grass fire

We seemed to have a grass fire this afternoon ( or a burn off we weren't told about?) at the back of the school. Photos below.

The grade 6 kids finished their story maps and Y Charts for King Solomon's Mines and one of them has finished her rough draft for her journal. I'll proof-read that tomorrow so she can get started on her final draft tomorrow.
The grade 4 kids completed their paper mâché peaches and they look terrific. I'll give them a surprise treat of peaches and ice-cream for recess tomorrow.( After they cleanup their mess!)

We had our third gym session this afternoon.
Swinging around and some peer tutoring on the tramp.

Today Prime Minister Gough Whitlam died aged 98. Gough was a giant among puny men and a statesman of international standing. He transformed Australia from a backward looking vassal of old England into a modern forward thinking robust nation. Gough's reforms and initiatives changed Australia for the better. They impacted directly on my life and many of them ( universal health care and affordable higher education) are under attack  from reactionaries today. Gough is revered today and his stature will only grow.

Some of Gough's many achievements in his short 3 year tenure as Prime Minister include:
1. ending Conscription,
2. withdrew Australian troops from Vietnam,
3. implemented Equal Pay for Women,
4. launched an Inquiry into Education and the Funding of Government and Non-government Schools on a Needs Basis,
5. established a separate ministry responsible for Aboriginal Affairs,
6. established the single Department of Defence,
7. withdrew support for apartheid–South Africa,
8. granted independence to Papua New Guinea,
9. abolished Tertiary Education Fees,
10. established the Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme (TEAS),
11. increased pensions,
12. established Medibank,
13. established controls on Foreign Ownership of Australian resources,
14. passed the Family Law Act establishing No-Fault Divorce,
15. passed a series of laws banning Racial and Sexual Discrimination,
16. extended Maternity Leave and Benefits for Single Mothers,
17. introduced One-Vote-One-Value to democratize the electoral system,
18. implemented wide-ranging reforms of the ALP’s organization,
19. initiated Australia’s first Federal Legislation on Human Rights, the Environment and Heritage,
20. established the Legal Aid Office,
21. established the National Film and Television School,
22. launched construction of National Gallery of Australia,
23. established the Australian Development Assistance Agency,
24. reopened the Australian Embassy in Peking after 24 years,
25. established the Prices Justification Tribunal,
26. revalued the Australian Dollar,
27. cut tariffs across the board,
28. established the Trade Practices Commission,
29. established the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service,
30. established the Law Reform Commission,
31. established the Australian Film Commission,
32. established the Australia Council,
33. established the Australian Heritage Commission,
34. established the Consumer Affairs Commission,
35. established the Technical and Further Education Commission,
36. implemented a national employment and training program,
37. created Telecom and Australia Post to replace the Postmaster-General’s Department,
38. devised the Order of Australia Honors System to replace the British Honors system,
39. abolished appeals to the Privy Council,
40. changed the National Anthem to ‘Advance Australia Fair’,
41. instituted Aboriginal Land Rights, and
42. sewered most of Sydney.
And more
List from-

Monday, 20 October 2014

Busy Monday

We had a windy morning today and I had to drag some branches off the road before I got to school.

Ultranet skullduggery 
Today we received this email from the Secretary of the Department of Education:

Many of you would have seen today’s report in The Age that the Independent Broad-based

Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is conducting an investigation into activities by former and current staff in our Department.

 As the investigation is ongoing I cannot provide you with further information at this stage. I can however assure you that the Department is cooperating fully and proactively with IBAC. 

According to the story in The Age ( click on the link to read it in full) some past and present DEECD employees have allegedly received free-travel , some nice little perks and jobs once they'd left DEECD from the company that won the $180 million Ultranet contract.

Mmmmm stay tuned.

The grade 4s have nearly finished their peaches.

The grade 6s completed Y Charts for King Solomon's Mines. Tomorrow we'll complete story maps and then get to work seriously on our adventure journals.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Saturday Morning

Lovely spring morning today. Sturt Street is covered in blossom which is falling from trees with the breeze like snow.( Photos don't do it justice.)

This morning I spent some time updating my anecdotal records, writing the newsletter and attending to other jobs I can't do during the week. I'm preparing our next units at the moment. Today I spent time developing learning tasks for The Witches and also hunting out my unit plan for Stig of the Dump and Dinotopia. Currently I'm finishing off work on Murder on the Orient Express ( still waiting for the graphic novel version of it I've ordered ) and Holes. ( Holes was one of the books I developed a unit plan for about 10 years ago for my first book for User Friendly Resources. I need to hunt up my manuscript. I might have to buy a copy of the book! One way to boost the royalties I suppose. I bought a cup of coffee with them last year)
Below are photos of work the grade 6 kids have completed for King Solomons Mines.  I watched the movie today at work while I was creating a split pin grasshopper for James and the Giant Peach. I'd forgotten what a good old movie it was- full of misogyny,( 'Take a woman on safari, you must be mad sir!') racism ( the White mans burden type) ,'stiff upper lipness' and general daring-do. We'll find time to watch it during the week.

Yes I know she spelt connection wrong.

Has Victoria got enough schools for the future? apparently not. according to this report in The Age we will need hundreds more over the next 20 years.

This could happen to us ( Story from Huffington Post)

An education group that represents more than 90,000 local school board membershas decided to end its fledgling partnership with a major tobacco company after hearing from tobacco's critics.

On Tuesday, the National School Boards Association announced it would be severing ties with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which makes Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes. The NSBA had intended to help promote the company’s “Right Decisions, Right Now” education program, which is designed to discourage kids from smoking.

Tom Gentzel, executive director of the NSBA, told The Huffington Post that the partnership had been in the works for months, but it only gained attention earlier this month when R.J. Reynolds announced it in a press release. Much of that attention was negative.

YES a school organisation representing 90000 local school board members was going to use curriculum materials developed by the makers of Camel cigarettes to discourage young people from smoking! “Using the message that kids need to wait until they are adults to use tobacco products in effect dares or invites them to begin smoking now,”  said a Democrat Congressmen earlier this week,  “Big tobacco’s goal in this deal is to promote smoking, not prevent it.”The deal also had a financial component to it.

Water color art ideas from Buzz Feed of all places. I like the Geometric art painting.