Thursday, November 5, 2015

A learning process at St Bernies in Lalor Park!

The staff (including myself) learnt a lot last Term when using the iPads to enhance learning. We discovered the amount of work that needed to go into allowing the students to authentically create using the SAMR model. Here is a look at what the SAMR model is all about:
We were given the task to create an image that needed to be framed by the end of the term to be sold individually at the Fete. The image had to capture the theme of "light".
At the beginning of the term, we discussed how we wanted the image to be created with our year 5 and year 6 students. We decided that we wanted to focus on photography in visual arts, and on inspirational quote writing in English (with a strong link to our Growth Mindset focus that we have been doing throughout the year).
The students begun the term by looking at photography techniques, and then practicing the specific technique. For example, students looked at distance (zooming) and how this impacts the image. Students discussed how the response to an image can be changed due to how far away certain objects are.  Mrs Nicole Sprainger also aided with teaching students some photography techniques which aided the students learning immensely.
The students begun their process by understanding what the end task needed to look like. We showed students examples of images linked with inspirational quotes. Students analysed what the quote meant and why the background image was chosen. Students began to understand how important it was to have the image link with the quote.
Students then began writing their own inspirational quotes and how to write short and sharp texts. This process took many weeks and students began to critically analyse their own work. They chose the one quote they liked the most. After this, they started to capture images from around the school that they believed linked to their quote. They were taught how to edit their image using many apps on the iPad. Students were able to choose the app they thought best suited their piece of work. This also took many weeks to teach. Students needed to play around with the app in order for the real learning to occur.
After this, students choose their final edited image and began the process of adding the text to their image. Students needed to understand how to add text successfully. This meant looking at the font style, the colour of the font and the size of the font.
Once students completed this, it was all over! We printed each students photo and framed them.
Here are some of the finished products:

I am sorry for the red boxes, I wanted to get rid of the students names. Myself and the other Stage 3 teachers were so proud of what the students had created! Even students of our lowest ability were able to achieve success due to the amount of time we spent on each little element of this project. The second image I have uploaded was created by one of our most vulnerable students.
If you would like to know more please don't hesitate to email me on

Tanya Janssen

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ilearn at St Joseph's

This term Ilearn continues to be an exciting project at St Joseph’s Schofields. Ipads continue to enhance the learning in a variety of ways within Stage 3, supporting students (and teachers!) as they communicate, collaborate, create and become more critical thinkers. 

During this term, the students have particularly loved the opportunity to utilise the ipads within engaging investigations during Mathematics. Whilst the teachers have been able to deepen the learning thanks to enriching professional learning and mentoring support from the Ilearn team.

This term in Mathematics, the teaching team planned and implemented investigations in Time and Volume and Capacity.

The Time investigation gave students the opportunity to use a range of ipad features and apps as they explored 24-hour time, duration, timezones and much more.

The Volume and Capacity investigation required students to contribute to mathematical conversations within Google slides and docs as they investigated buildings and then created their own. As students created their own towers, they recorded and shared their thinking as they developed an understanding of cubic centimetres and metres.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sacred Heart Westmead Ilearn in Mathematics

Our Stage 3 students have been busy working with their ipads on Data and creating graphs. 
Students engaged in a rich open ended task that had them working as a 'Mars Confectionary Executive' where they were asked to work in teams and create an M&M bag. Students had to think about how many M&Ms were in each bag, What colour break up there was, how could the M&M bag be represented mathematically, how could the data be collected and what is the probability of selecting a specific colour?
Students were also encouraged to prove their thinking.
Here is an example of a team's collaborative work using Book Creator.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Implementing Rich Tasks in Mathematics - St Michael's Primary, Blacktown South

After our great PL day learning all about how to implement rich tasks in mathematics, our Year 5 team took the opportunity to put our ideas into action! During the PL day our team created lessons associated with the topic '3D objects in our World.' We created a slideshow that featured a range of buildings and landmarks from around the world. We then sent the slideshow to our students via Google Drive.
Our task for the students was to find a range of 3D objects in the pictures and identify them on their iPads. To do this, they took a screen shot of the various pictures and put them into Educreations or Explain Everything. They then identified the 3D objects in the picture by drawing around them.
To follow on from this, the students then transferred drawings of the 3D objects into their maths books. They labelled the properties and then throughout the week added to this by putting in the nets and different view points of the various objects.
During our reflection time, students showed their work to their peers and we used this time to discuss the 3D objects that students had identified. We explored the terminology associated with the topic, and did some explicit teaching around properties of the objects, for example clarifying that objects such as cylinders and spheres have curved and flat surfaces rather than faces.
To extend this task, students were also given the opportunity to explore the school environment and take pictures on their iPads of various buildings and equipment within the school. They identified the 3D objects in the pictures and then also worked on finding various angles within the pictures, which tied in with our next topic.
Feedback from the students was that they enjoyed the task and learning a little bit about different landmarks in the world, as well as finding the maths within the natural and built environment.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Digital Discourse in Mathematics using the iPad

One of the aims of the new Australian Curriculum is to ensure that students :
“are confident, creative users and communicators of mathematics, able to investigate, represent and interpret situations in their personal lives".

Digital tools like the iPad can provide a medium for powerful discourse in mathematics to:

  • make student's thinking visible
  • develop their reasoning abilities
  • express maths ideas verbally
Teachers need to push hard to get the students to think about their maths: they need to provide rich tasks, ask good questions, encourage students to think how they can their answer in other ways, invite them to capture their answers with digital tools that allow them to discuss, share and receive feedback on their answers in a variety of modes.
The multimedia features of the iPad and Apps like Explain Everything and Book Creator can help develop these substantive conversations:
  • to communicate thinking - 
photos, videos, digital drawings, voice recording, screen casting 
  • use ‘discourse moves’ such as  re-stating, questioning, sequencing ideas, explaining, elaborating, justifying thinking & critiquing mathematical ideas
capture understanding for assessment & feedback (self reflection ; teacher and peer feedback) 
Teachers at our recent numeracy professional learning workshop reflected on this by creating some digital headlines synthesising points from an article "What Are Some Strategies For Facilitating Productive Classroom Discussions? (M, Cirillo., National Council of Teachers of Mathematics 23/3/2013).

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Our goal at OLA last year was to implement a blog within the classroom. This would allow for students to have constant access with their peers and teachers. Entering the new year and as a stage, we decided they were now old enough and responsible enough to have a blog implemented within the stage. Finding a website that was child friendly and easy to use led us to Wordpress. The previous Stage Three teachers had used it in the past and believed it would benefit the stage. Through the use of our blog, we are able to set homework tasks and minimise paper. Children and parents are able to communicate with us through comments and with this the children have learnt about the digital footprint they have which has made them mindful of the comments they post. In term 2 with NAPLAN, we were able to incorporate previous papers for students to complete. Overall the children have really enjoyed their time using the blog.

This term as our school does PBL for HSIE and Science and Technology, we are teaching the children how to create their own blogs to show off the information they will have gathered on Antarctica. They are all very excited about this process and we as the teachers are looking forward to seeing the end result.  

Friday, July 31, 2015

LOOK SKYWARDS : LEGO TOWERS - Rich Mathematics Tasks for iLearn Classroom Teachers

Recently a group of Stage 3 teachers from our iLearn schools spent a day exploring how to develop rich mathematical tasks using problem based photographs for their students.

In preparing for the day I was inspired by a trip to a Lego exhibition of Skyscrapers in Sydney with my son for his birthday ;) It was obvious from the moment we spied the splendid models that there was so much mathematics underpinning their creation. I took lots of photos and gathered some fascinating statistics about the skyscrapers and their scale Lego models I then sourced another intriguing Creative Commons image of Ryan McNaughton the Brickman who had been the designer and lead builder of the model towers.

To get us started we engaged the teachers in a collaborative brainstorm using Google Slides on the iPad to identify interesting maths questions which would  lead to opportunities for maths investigations.

Some of the tasks we explored can be accessed via the Lego Towers Look Skywards padlet.

As they worked the teachers also learnt how to create Maths Journals in Book Creator App. We also uploaded their Maths Journals to Google Drive so that they could give and receive feedback to one another using the audio feature in Book Creator. We look forward to seeing some of the other rich maths tasks which teachers will develop and use on their return to school.