Well, I am sharing this as I am shocked and I don’t know who else has ever experienced this but I have never failed an assignment. I have maintained a B grade or higher throughout my uni studies. So, you see I am absolutely gutted. It means I have completely misunderstood the whole of the learning path. Or is it that the learning path was not clear enough? Or was it that I didn’t ask the right qualifying questions to know I was doing the right thing. Then, of course there’s the whole rushed feeling to this course and where does one find the time to go over the work again? My lesson plan did not have sufficient ICT in it but my understanding was that it only had to have ‘some’. Problem one. And a big problem because it has caused a snowball effect.  The next problem is that for all the work I have put in understanding objectives, standards, elaborations, etc. was not to be included because the lesson plan itself was not detailed enough. I wasn’t aware that it had to be a full-blown, detailed lesson plan like I’d create for use in a classroom.

Well there you go. Assignment two is all ready to go and now I fear that that’s not up to par either. Self doubt has come to visit. Meanwhile, the other subject I am doing, that I thought I didn’t quite understand, I blitzed. I will be away, taking a bath in self-pity, soaking in the negativity, and shrivelling up.

I just had an image in my head I had to share.

While reading Creative Lessons with Fake Texts, Tweets, Facebook pages and More, after already incorporating Fake Texts in my recent assignment, this thought occurred to me: Imagine students researching historic characters then pretending that character did indeed have a mobile phone and the character updates their friends on current goings-on. I laughed to myself that Ned Kelly might tweet  “Gotta go, the po-po are here”.  I think that’s authentic learning right there.

You’re welcome. 😀Ned

It’s not what you have, it’s how you use it.

This expression has never been truer than when a fellow blogger reminded me how the humble Skype can be applied to learning, through connecting with schools in other countries. Wow. The possibilities. Mystery Skype has so much potential across the curriculum. When I was looking at it I was thinking “how could this be applied to English lessons instead of geography?”. Simples.

The very nature of a guessing game requires questions, so students are already using language and literacy, and to pursue the inquiry about another country they will utilise literature. There are so many opportunities to address General Capabilities as well as the Cross-curriculum Priority of Sustainability. Students can make investigate different perspectives and methods of addressing sustainability by different countries and share ideas. Mmm… I love the idea of connecting with others around the world.

A quick reflection.

Having had to learn a few new technologies for this subject I now find that I have developed one of them as a go-to tool: Diigo

Over the years I have saved sites to my ‘favourites’ in the tool bar, however after changing browsers or having to replace my computer I no longer had access to them. I have created various word documents titled “resources” etc. but I definitely needed one place for everything and this is it. Accessible from any device or browser, brilliant! I can add different tags so I can locate them but this is something I still need to refine as I haven’t had time to learn all the ins and outs of this valuable tool, yet.

I also saw another blogger shared this helpful suggestion to create a reading log where you can then search using Control F to find key words. It’s probably too late for me now but I certainly would recommend anyone starting out to consider doing this with all their reading.


Done, but not quite dusted.

Assignment two is now complete and ready for submission in two weeks. I have never been so ahead with assignments but it’s a prerequisite in this course as the third assignment due date falls right on the last day of prac, plus there is a two week holiday immediately before that! So, you can see the need to work to a different schedule as the course work from this week on is directed towards assignment three and prac itself. Why not make the due date now then? Because we are waiting for feedback from assignment one so we can make any necessary adjustments before submission.

Speaking of prac, I shared a link in the previous blog about being prepared for prac or relief teaching alike and here is another site I found with some tips for light reading. Note: I don’t recommend you print out the list for use at school as you may find yourself sitting outside the principle’s office!


Tap, tap, tapping…

It seems to be a very random process, this prac placement. Some people have already been placed in a school and others, myself among them, are still waiting to hear.


waiting by emdot, on Flickr
waiting” (CC BY 2.0) by  emdot 
It seems that whether you were well prepared and submitted your application months ago or ring the office to follow up, there seems to be no pattern. My last placement was a year ago and I didn’t find out about that until a few days prior. As for being prepared, there are some things you can do to be ready regardless of where you are going.  I may have shared a link in a previous blog about essentials to bring when relief teaching and I think it would be useful on prac to have a ‘grab-bag’.  As with a suggested first-aid kit, the inclusions may be altered according to needs.  Let’s face it, most of us are likely to be relief-teaching initially when we’ve got our degree so let’s be like the Scouts. *salutes*

Too many choices…


In trying to decide what ICT I should include in a unit means looking at so many different options to begin with which takes me to a different link, then a suggestion of more, and so on and so on.

Then, after matching it to the objectives I will still end up culling some when assessing it against the RAT model. Still too many choices for me to even get started on this. 😦

I’ll get there in the end.

My creativity keeps me awake at night…

Having had a full-on day yesterday and trying to squeeze in some study in the morning, I went to bed exhausted then spent the next three hours thinking about this assignment. 2 A.M. passed before I finally finished the run-through, in my head, of an imaginary lesson on the evolution of the English language! Oh, but it was fun, dynamic, and successful. Mmmm…

Fortunately, the epiphany I had has made me re-examine the objectives that I selected and how to write Stage 1 – Desired Results, so it all ties in together. Obviously, this may have to be adjusted later once I get to the assessment part.

At the beginning of the unit students will know how the English language evolved by exploring historical factors such as foreign settlement in the British Isles, the growth of national identity and unity through a common tongue, and Britain’s expansion into other countries.  Students will practice compiling reasons for changes through questioning the what?, how?, why?, and so what? of these events, and identifying the influence of the working class, convicts, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures on the English language in Australia. Students will read texts from different eras, practise researching context and applying the same questioning techniques, to identify purpose and effects.  Students will examine the ways in which spelling, sentence structure and vocabulary contribute to the reading of texts such as the mood, character, and dialect.  Students will practice using ICTs to explore, research, collate, and share information.


By the end of the unit students should be able to explain how and why Australian English evolved and is still evolving, providing justification for their response. They will be able to demonstrate the use of spelling and text structures in creative ways to present a personal viewpoint.  They will employ ICTs to produce an informative, engaging, and innovative response to the task that results in raising a question or provides a hypothesis.

Remembering Backwards Design, now I know what parts of the curriculum are going to inform the learning, I now need to decide what evidence I need in order to be able to assess the learning.


Developing learning experiences.

I feel that I am constantly ‘catching up’ and hopefully will finish this week’s learning today before having to catch up on next week’s (bouncing between two subjects). The Seek, Sense, Share framework does seem to help with the process, as demonstrated by Sarah’s blog post.

I spent a little bit of time this morning seeing what I can find in the way of resources and tagged them for sharing with a group, too. Others may be focusing on a different subject or different year but most things are adaptable and may lead to other ideas.

I’m focusing on the first learning objective at this point:

  • Language variation and change :

The  Standard Australian English is a living language within which the creation and loss of words and the evolution of usage is ongoing (ACELA1550)

Of course you can’t explore the evolution of Australian English without looking at what the Australian Government has to offer by way of a professional resource. There is  opportunity for students to refresh or add to their vocabulary, with words like ‘idiom’ and ‘vernacular’ used in the text, there are further resources to pursue, and this resource could also be used for Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Arts.

It’s interesting how one link leads to another.  This is one about conditions on convict ships I came across on another site and, although not relevant to my objectives at present, it is certainly one that could be used for collaborating across subjects. Addressing English, Humanities and Social Sciences, Mathematics, Science, and the Arts has possibilities.

This is one of the first I came across about Australian English: The influence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and while it is interesting I haven’t yet confirmed it as a reliable source. But it could still be used as a starting point and provides opportunity to run through the process with students on checking the validity and accuracy of information located on the internet – an ICT element.

This next link provides some amusing and phonetic examples – again, unverified but it is a good starting point for further research.

These resources are good for information and understanding, however they do not address the need to include ICT to amplify or transform learning. The software suggested in this lesson plan allows students to record themselves reading aloud, and provides opportunity for reflection and adjustments. It has possibilities but I haven’t quite figured that out yet, beyond practising a presentation. It could be fun to find more phonetics and have students record different pronunciations throughout history, but I’ll need more than that.


A vague idea…

Here’s what I have so far for a unit plan, some of which has been mentioned previously:

Year 9 English

Context: Small, rural, private, co-ed, Queensland school.

Mobile phones are not allowed at school, iPods are allowed at student’s own risk, but require permission to use in class, and all classrooms have internet facilities and interactive whiteboard. All students and teachers have a laptop/tablet and use a range of programmes across all subjects.

Learning objectives:

Constructing knowledge:

  • Language variation and change :

The  Standard Australian English is a living language within which the creation and loss of words and the evolution of usage is ongoing (ACELA1550)

Criteria:Understanding and skills dimensions / Receptive modes / Language features.

  • Text structure and organisation :

Understand that authors innovate with text structures and language for specific purposes and effects (ACELA1553)

Criteria:Understanding and skills dimensions / Receptive modes / Text structures

Transforming knowledge:

  • Expressing and developing ideas :

Analyse and explain the use of symbols, icons and myth in still and moving images and how these augment meaning (ACELA1560)

Criteria:Understanding and skills dimensions / Productive modes / Text structures

Unit Topic: I love, luv, luurve, language – the evolution of English (tentatively named)

As this unit must include ICT that amplifies or transforms learning, I am thinking about students reading extracts from Jane Austen’s novel “Pride and Prejudice”, visiting a local theatre production (modern version similar to the 2003 film) and/or watching “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies“. Students will translate text from historical to modern, vice versa, create an avatar and will communicate with each other using various forms of English.

I need to investigate other ICT sources where students can interact in other ways. I imagine am Artificial Reality world where they can play a game, in character, and have to translate, locate vocabulary and correctly use it to progress,  not quite what happened in ‘Jane Austin World’ in Red Dwarf, though (I’m a long time Red Dwarf fan).