3P Love Learning Conference: Sydney August 4th and 5th


Just a reminder that Maryanne will be presenting at the 3P Love Learning Conference in Sydney on August 4th and 5th. The organisers have a fantastic program so check it out @

There are very few places left.

3P Learning brings you Reading Eggs and Mathletics so you know it will be great!






By |July 21st, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on 3P Love Learning Conference: Sydney August 4th and 5th|

Terms 2 and 3 Writing Workshops

My granddaughter started school this year and loves Reading Eggs so I’m very pleased to be associated with 3P Learning and their series of Australia wide teacher workshops.

Powerful Writing Strategies

Practical and Simple Ideas to Engage, Build Stamina and Maximise Student Writers

June 15th Canberra

August 25th Adelaide

This one day workshop develops teachers’ capacity to scaffold and engage students in the writing process, to engage all learners, to build stamina, and to maximise their performance as writers. We will include word work and vocabulary learning as a cornerstone of academic writing development for expository and other non-fiction text types. Student writing samples will be shared and discussed.

This is a hands-on workshop with activities, techniques and frameworks to show teachers how practical and simple it is to explicitly teach a number of powerful writing strategies that address the writing demands found in the Australian curriculum.  Suitable for mid primary to mid secondary level educators.

Go to for more information and registration details.


Sydney 3P Love Learning Conference Term 3

This is a series of 4 workshops covering the English Australian standards and research based pedagogies that improve learning and engagement.

2016 Love Learning Conference

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.  William Butler Yeats


By |April 6th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Terms 2 and 3 Writing Workshops|

Designing Quality Tasks

How might a teacher develop critical thinking in their students? It’s useful to have a definition of what critical thinking means.

Paul and Elder provide  a useful starting pint.

“Critical thinking is a process by which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skilfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them. Critical thinking is, in short, self directed, self disciplined, self monitored, and self corrective thinking.”

(my emphasis from The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, 2004, pg 1)

I know I sometimes struggled with designing quality tasks that  aimed to develop students’ critical thinking skills and which would engage them in more powerful ways and without resort to a ladder of questions. Designing a great task is part of professional experience, knowing your learners on that thinking continuum and extending them into their Zone of Proximal Development. It is a crucial part of our toolbox that we bring to planning.

Examples of thinking processes
Decision making, problem solving, inventing, investigating, inquiring
Examples of thinking skills
Comparing, classifying, observing, inferring

This quick summary from Dr. Douglas Fisher is helpful in sorting out what is merely difficult as opposed to what is complex. Difficult tasks can be very unmotivating for many learners. Complex tasks require a mental effort to work through the task and each learner is on a developmental continuum in these different processes and skills.


A measure of effort required to complete a task
In assessment, a function of how many people can complete the task correctly

A measure of the thinking, action, or knowledge that is needed to complete the task
In assessment, how many different ways can the task be accomplished

By |February 3rd, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Designing Quality Tasks|

Creating a Thinking Culture

It is very important to start the year as you mean to progress. It is almost impossible to change attitudes, expectations and behaviours once they have been established in term 1.

Aim to create  a warm, inclusive thinking culture. My mantra: never work harder than your students!

Here is a link to Ron Ritchhart’s recent keynote in Melbourne, Australia about establishing cultures of  thinking.

He outlines 8 ways to be mindful in this powerful learning model:



Happy planning!




By |January 31st, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Creating a Thinking Culture|

New Academic Year

In my experience teachers are always excited about the start of a new academic year. Students arrive with a mixture of excitement, anxiety and trepidation. Will they like the teachers? Will their teachers like them? Will they be able to do the work? Will they make new friends?

Every teacher must work to create a community of learners and a culture of respect.  The research on factors that make a difference shows that the classroom culture has an impact on learners and learning.

Get to Know You (GTK) Icebreakers

The aim is for every student to know the name of their classmates by the end of the first week.  Have prizes for the first three people who can name everyone in the class.

How else can you have meaningful discussions and share thinking if you don’t know people’s names? And have some fun!

Heads Up! With a partner.  Write your first name using only your head to spell out the letters. Partner has to guess the first name. Follow conventions of capital letter then lower case. Guess,  then swap. Use your middle names if they know your first name. Expect loads of laughter with this GTK.
Student Bingo. Make up a grid of 6 to 9 squares. In each grid, have a a statement like:                                           Find someone who was born in the same month as you. Find someone who was born overseas. Find someone who barracks for the same football team. Find someone who likes your favourite band/artist. Find someone who has two brothers. Students walk around classroom and fill in a name in each square. When they have filled in all squares they [...]

By |January 19th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on New Academic Year|

Latrobe University Masters of Teaching Graduates

 Teaching Graduates

Have a look around the site and download what you think might be useful.

You are entering schools at a critical and exciting time.
The OECD’s education director, Andreas Schleicher said this about Singapoer’s education system “What is it that our children need to be successful … (in) tomorrow’s economy? One thing that’s been clear to them is that the world economy no longer rewards people just for what they know. Google knows everything. The world economy rewards people for what they can do with what they know. The emphasis on the application, the creative use of knowledge is very, very strong in Singapore and other Asian countries.”

By |October 7th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Latrobe University Masters of Teaching Graduates|

Technology and Plan B

I may be talking into the blogosphere here because this site has been non-operational for most of this year. We came under attack from internet delinquents.

But all the best laid plans often come unstuck if we don’t have a Plan B.

You should plan for  technology in your lessons and have thinking tools and actions on standby which do not require internet access. In this plan , students know they are still engaged in learning and it is progressing the work.


Happy Learning!


By |September 23rd, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Technology and Plan B|

Curated Sites for Learning

Do you know Gooru?  I first came across it at the 2014 IRA* conference in New Orleans. The presenter was one of the developers so I had an excellent introduction to its functions.  It is a relative newcomer to the search engine field, and it was still in development last year.

So what does it do for you?

Think about your current practice.

1. What role does the internet play in providing content material for your classes?

2. What challenges do you, or your students, face when searching and organising Internet-based texts?

Gooru is a completely safe tool because it is solely curated content drawing from a wide range of texts suitable for 21st Century learners. There is no advertising nor inappropriate content you need to worry about when you are searching for content and compiling a unit of work. But it is so much more than a research tool. It  also has a student data function which allows teachers to set tasks, analyse individual completion dates and times, time on task, task accuracy, and… I could go on.

Many teachers have uploaded resources under particular subjects and topics so you can narrow your search down by grade level and topic/subject. It is an American hosted site (thank you) but Australian educators will still find it a very useful tool to bookmark to their favourites list.

Keep coming back here for more tips and sites that I think are worthy of your time.


* The International Reading Association (IRA) is now known as the International Literacy Association (ILA)


A Framework for Understanding How to Use Technology

It is officially the end of the academic year for schools in Australia. I was reflecting on the year in general, and I have decided that the focus for my work in 2015 will be understanding and using technology in classrooms.  Many years ago, when I was studying to be a teacher, it was just the start of the computer age. There was a square little Mac in the Education faculty. Who amongst us knew then what changes were in store for us as we embarked on our teaching careers? I do recall one faculty lecturer informing us that technology would free up our leisure time. That hasn’t happened! Quite the contrary, we seem to be busier than ever. The same lecturer also said that schools are generally ten years behind society when it comes to technology applications. I agree with that statement. It seems to me that many schools have good, if not great access, but they are not making the most of the technology itself to really harness the learning and revolutionise their classrooms. It is this use of technology tools that  needs to be a year long focus.

Many teachers are just too busy to keep in the loop with the plethora of  information “out there”. How do you know what is worthwhile and what will waste your precious time? This research is really a consultant’s  role – to bring the research and the resources to the classroom. Before you think about activities, and digital content, you  first need a framework for selecting technology applications.

Room21 consultants provide teachers with  frameworks to think about, and plan for excellence in teaching and learning.

The SAMR model is a [...]

Motivating learners – the latest research

Fixed Intelligence versus Getting Smart 

Do you struggle to  motivate some of your students? It might be simpler than you think!

Carol Dweck, a leading US researcher in the psychology field, has some terrific insights garnered from studies about fixed intelligence and the notion that learning makes us smarter. Apparently, providing older students with some reading on intelligence actually moves their thinking, hence their application to studies often improves, along with persistence and resilience . It might be very timely reading for Australian secondary students who have  examinations just around the corner. If they are intending on taking up university studies in 2015, then this latest research might just be the catalyst to help them tackle their studies.

All learners benefit from strategic feedback that aims to praise effort, not intelligence. That strategy will support a change, over time, in their beliefs.  If they believe that intelligence is fixed at birth and not developed through learning then it is too easy to give up when the learning gets difficult, or to not even try.

Do you have any of those learners in your class?

Do you know teachers who believe in fixed intelligence?

What do you believe about intelligence? Are you born smart or do you get smart? Take the quiz and find out.

Check out this short summary of the research.

Motivating learners

Research links

The following NY Times articles are worth a read to understand and apply this research. Enjoy!     Who Gets to Graduate, by Paul Tough, May 15th, 2014      The Secret of Effective Motivation, by Amy Wrzesniewski and Barry Schwartz , July 4th, 2014

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

Mark Twain