I found the following information adapted from an article by Burke (2008) on a great guide for preparing for lessons.  As prac teachers, we are essentially the substitute teacher for 3 weeks.

Ensure you have all the essential classroom information, including:

  • Class roster
  • Attendance sheet
  • Up-to-date seating chart
  • Daily instruction schedule/school schedule
  • Names of helpful students and/or a job chart
  • Classroom rules
  • Classroom routines and procedures
  • Overview of your behaviour management system
  • Passes and other official forms a substitute may need

Upon completion of the second week of prac I want to take the opportunity to reflect on my teaching experience so far.  I have had some great feedback and support from my two mentors while also having the freedom to make lessons my own.  This is the first prac that I have felt organised and confident enough to start trying out and build up my ‘teacher toolkit’ of strategies and not just survive in the classroom.

thinking face

Lessons learnt and goals for next week:

Reflection 1

Inconsistent student behaviour- some days the class are great and behave really well, they apply themselves to their work and finish all the tasks set; other days they refuse to follow simple instructions and basic classroom rules.  Today, there were some external factors that could not be helped that caused disruption to the classroom but on the whole, this behaviour can only be a reflection on me and my inconsistency with following up challenging behaviours.  It’s tricky to keep the flow of the lesson while attending to student dramas that happened over lunch break and haven’t been resolved. This is something I need to work on. Our school works within the parameters of the 4 C’s as a whole school approach for behaviour management- Courtsey, Common Sense, Commitment, Cooperation.   I thought I was doing a decent job with BM until my 2 last lessons today.

Reflection 2

Positively redirect students more as this method is more effective.  It seems to be an innate reflex of mine to try to redirect the disruptive students rather than use positive reinforcement which I need to be more conscious of.

Reflection 3

Challenge students more.  With a diverse range of student capabilities, it is a juggling act to encourage student confidence in learning activities while also challenging them to learn new things that won’t be dismissed as ‘too hard’.  I need to adjust my pedagogy and how I deliver the information to my students.  In reference to Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of the Zone of Proximal Development (as cited in Wass & Golding, 2014, p. 671), teaching is more effective if learning activities are slightly too hard for students to do on their own but simple enough for them to do with assistance.  This strategy for guided learning should not compromise student motivation to complete tasks independently.  I will aim to provide clearer instructions to students by using more visual and verbal prompts and more effective lesson sequencing.


Something I have learnt to put into practice (thank you EDC3100 templates/teaching staff and mentors), a Learning Goal should be what a student is learning not doing.  What a student is doing is a Learning Activity.  Sounds simple doesn’t it but is easy to get into the trap of writing a LG for the lesson as ‘finish your assessment task’.  Also, don’t rely on the ICT resource to engage students!  What I thought was an engaging and informative video that would act as a great discussion starter was only warmly received by the students. I then had to turn to a reliable tactile activity to transform their learning experience and keep students engaged.

Thanks for reading 🙂


Burke, J. (2008). Creating Easy ‘Emergency Plans’ for Substitutes.  Retrieved June 1, 2017,  from

Wass, R., & Golding, C. (2014). Sharpening a tool for teaching: The zone of proximal development. Teaching in Higher Education, 19(6), 671-684. doi:10.1080/13562517.2014.901958

Trouble shooting ICTs

computer room

While not quite the ideal digital learning environment academics have been preaching, this scene is far from obsolete.  Nussbaum, Alcoholado and Büchi (2015) highlight that interactive learning environments are more important that having individual devices. If these old computers enable students how to access research, collaborate online and communicate ideas effectively and efficiently then they have achieved their purpose and the rest is up to the teacher and how they teach.

Reflecting on week one of Prac and the most valuable lesson I have learnt is the importance of flexibility so that the flow of the class is not disrupted.  So far my attempts at integrating ICTs into my lessons have been limited due to the unreliability of the class sets of laptops (it took one laptop 15 mins to log in) and the restricted access to them.  With only 2x class sets of laptops for the whole English and Humanities department  teachers need to book them well in advance, and the classes who have assessments due are prioritized.  The other option is a session in the library using desktop computers (approx. 30 computers available), which we attempted on Wednesday with mixed success, as some of the computers were missing, being moved or the software updated. Out of a class of 18, there are 4 students with BYOD, with 2 students claiming not having any computer access at home.  I also observed that students were all at different levels using ICTs, for example some students still needed to be guided in printing out their assessment task sheet using word processor or saving their assessments on G drive.  To try ensure equality I have had to adjust most of my lessons into group work and use peer mentoring, which I found effective in keeping most students on task.  Kahoot quizzes have been successful with the students so I have been using the interactive quiz as a reward for getting through ‘chunks’ of content before moving onto the next topic.  So far I have guided learning using ICTs for video clips and graphic organizers as prompts for activities and will attempt to further extend ICT usage next week with Google docs and spelling bee activities using where it is set up as a game and students accumulate points for the number of attempts not just right answers.  This is aligned with Carol Dweck’s (2015) growth mindset approach that requires not just effort but a repertoire of approaches to problem solving to learn and improve.  I would be interested in finding out if anyone else is having similar difficulties and what strategies they are using to address the issue of equal access.


Dweck, C. S. (2015). Growth. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(2), 242-245. doi:10.1111/bjep.12072

Nussbaum, M., Alcoholado, C., & Büchi, T. (2015). A comparative analysis of interactive arithmetic learning in the classroom and computer lab. Computers in Human Behavior, 43(1), 183-188. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.10.031

The night before Prac…

10.30pm and I am too excited to sleep!  I was fortunate enough to be able to meet my mentors and two Year 7 English classes last Tuesday so I have a good understanding of classroom expectations, my timetable consisting of 5 different classes consisting of Years 7, 11 & 12, fifteen 70-minute lessons and four spares a week,  I also have my trusty folder, whiteboard markers, teacher hat (with a serious looking wide brim to it) and laptop connections for the projector.  As there is no IWB available except for the ICT classes at the school I am going to they do have BYOD and class sets of laptops options available for any ICT activities.  I have so many lesson ideas that I am trying to organise into effective teaching so that the students will have relevant and purposeful learning experiences. The Year 7 classes are very different in skill levels so I know planning for differentiation will be a challenge with approx. 26 students in the each class.  My observation on Tuesday is that one of the Year 7 classes is high achieving and responds well to positive reinforcement for behaviour, while the other Year 7 class is the complete opposite and lacks confidence in their abilities and appear disengaged although their teacher has set a flexible and fun assessment task.  As I am trying to focus on different teaching strategies I plan to use Demand Writing where you use images, articles, stories, social issues, current events on any topic you are learning about and ask students to respond in writing on the spot.  I have chosen this strategy as I will be expected to teach the students’ how to write journal entries from the point of view of the person they wrote their biography on. As the students are required to write 3 entries I plan to transform student learning by utilising an online blog site like

The Year 7 classes are very different in skill levels so I know planning for differentiation will be a challenge with approx. 26 students in the each class.  My observation on Tuesday is that one of the Year 7 classes is high achieving and responds well to positive reinforcement for behaviour, while the other Year 7 class is the complete opposite and lacks confidence in their abilities and appear disengaged although their teacher has set a flexible and fun assessment task.  As I am trying to focus on different teaching strategies I plan to use Demand Writing where you use images, articles, stories, social issues, current events on any topic you are learning about and ask students to respond in writing on the spot.  I have chosen this strategy as I will be expected to teach the students’ how to write journal entries from the point of view of the person they wrote their biography on. As the students are required to write 3 entries I plan to transform student learning by utilising an online blog site like Weebly or WordPress to make the task more interactive and engaging for the students.

I have included some templates that I constantly use during prac in relation to lesson planning, reflecting and feedback so please help yourself.  From previous pracs my mentors have liked the mentor feedback form as its quick and easy to use while they are observing the lesson.

Generic Learning Lesson Plan Template

Weekly feedback Form

Lesson Reflection Template

mentor feedback

Practical Experience & Interim Report

Ideas for lesson planning

LessonPlan source:


Using the TIP Model to plan ICT enriched lessons and understand its purpose was made more explicit with these diagrams.  I am sure while practising to incorporate ICTs in the classroom that there will be times when you reflect back on the lesson and come up with better ways to strengthen student learning.

If you are like me and worry about having a variety of resources to experiment with while on Prac, I would highly recommend using Pinterest.  I have found many great ideas and you can too by clicking here to access some free resources on offer from my Pinterest page. A resource from Pinterest is pictured below which I used as a starter in a vocabulary building lesson for a Year 7 English class during my last prac.  As the students in the class were quite competitive I used a point system as part of the learning activity to make it a bit fun while also challenging them to add new words to their vocabulary. It was no surprise that these students also loved Kahoot quizzes. This learning objective was further strengthened using so students could expand their glossaries. Overall the lesson was fun and collaborative which had the students engaged for the entire lesson.

A few other suggestions for free resources I got from Miss Hughes and Tayla Black are for primary teachers and Teachers Pay Teachers for both primary and secondary teaching resources.  With so many resources available you can be as creative as you like and maintain a record of all these findings with your blog.  While collecting these digital resources may only be amplifying knowledge, it is what you do with them that will lead to students transforming this knowledge.



Kelly, M. (2017). Write Lesson Plans. Retrieved 7 May 2017, from

Lovegrove, B. (2013). 6 Helpful Tips for the 1 iPad Classroom. Retrieved 7 May 2017, from

Milkova, S. (2016). Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning. Retrieved 7 May 2017, from 

Murray, B.P. (2002). The New Teacher’s Complete Sourcebook: Grades K-4. Retrieved 7 May 2017, from

Ullman, E. (2011). How To Plan Effective Lessons. Private Eyes, 53(10), n.p. Retrieved 7 May 2017, from

Wheadon, M. (2001). The Technology Planning Integration Model. Retrieved 8 May 2017, from

Capabilities of ICTs

While creating my website and reflecting on the potential of ICTs and how we are incorporating ICTs into the classrooms to strengthen learning, I came across the new Tom Hanks movie ‘The Circle’.  If any of you have read Cory Doctorow’s short story ‘Little Brother’  it shares and expands on the theme of the capability that ICTs have to take over our daily lives through the interconnectedness of the internet.  The Circle is Facebook, Uber, Google, Amazon, Apple all rolled into one company, so basically they own everything and know everything about everyone.  So not unlike a totalitarian dystopia it has the potential to be terrifying. When discussing the appropriate use of ICTs in and out of the classroom this PG-rated movie may be a good resource to use to educate students on how to behave responsibly online and also meet the teaching standard APST 4.5- Use ICTs safely, responsibly and ethically.  It may also be a good resource to use when discussing cyberbullying.  ICTs have so many advantages, but if not used appropriately it can be quite harmful and students need to be aware of this.  As teachers, we need to ensure that students are using ICTs successfully, productively and safely.

Learning from other Teachers

Thank you, Jenny I loved these video’s so much and wanted to rewatch them so hope you don’t mind me sharing it around!

In addition, another fellow EDC3100 student Rachel kindly shared with me an SBS On Demand documentary Testing Teachers which is about 6 first year teachers that are followed around for their first year teaching, no pressure at all right?  Best of all its free to view and perfectly timed to help us prepare for prac! All you have to do is create a login and enjoy!

EDC3100 - McGregor

I watched Insight on SBS last night.  The topic was A Teacher Changed My Life.   In the course of the program previous disengaged students were interviewed and described their behaviours before and after a teacher had connected with them and helped them re-engage and changed their life.  The teachers were then interviewed.

The dedication of these teachers was absolutely remarkable.  They all in their own way honoured diversity in their students, got to know their students and connected with them.  The full program is not up on Youtube yet but I will attach the excerpts which are.   Oh to follow their examples.

In this program we were also introduced to Mister Woo a passionate Maths teacher in New South Wales.  He has a number of videos on Youtube – channel misterwootube.    His energy and passion is breathtaking.  I hope I can bring that amount of enthusiasm to…

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Prac Bound


It’s full steam ahead towards Prac and completing Assignment 3!  Where has this semester gone?  Thank you, Kaitlyn Hughes for your trusty checklist,  I just love checklists!

So let’s talk about what is on everyone’s minds Transforming knowledge: what students will do with their understanding of concepts, facts and procedures that have been taught (skills and processes).

Easier said than done?  Perhaps.  So if you haven’t already, take a look at the UQ Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation. This website helped me to distinguish between the Amplification and Transformation of ICT in the classroom as it explains the what and the why and has some excellent information and resources relevant to Assignment 3.  The website also provides you with ideas that are supported by research on how to engage students.  For example, at the start of every lesson, I would bring up a visual cue and quote that was relevant to the content I was teaching to elicit discussion with the students, it could be inspirational or informative but the idea was to get the students thinking and prevent them from zoning out.  This is called Starter-plenary, I had initially developed the idea to break the ice with the students, who knew I was using pedagogy!  If you are also specialising in Modern History you can find a range of lesson starter activities at Another effective method you could incorporate is a short clip at the start of the lesson, just ensure that it has a purpose to inspire or inform students.

I hope you all have a great time during Prac!

Knowledge is Power


Happy Easter! Keep your head up fellow students we have 5 weeks till our prac! What I thought started as an egocentric exercise is actually turning out to be quite fun. Warning: do not use blogging as a procrastination tool to avoid assessments.  Thank you andypblogedc3100 for sharing your article on procrastination and how to stay retain your focus, something I struggle with constantly.

It is that time of the semester that I continue my frenzy of completing assignments (boy do they seem never ending right now).  Not sure if anyone else is still utilising Diigo but I have been finding some valuable information for this course from Mr B  In particular I found the Mindtools for Learning resource that focuses on the method of locating information to provide students with more effective research skills useful for A2. There are also various links to digital story telling and concept maps which helped improve my understanding of transforming learning using ICTs in learning activities.  If I look at ICT as a tool to assist in teaching and learning it does not seem like an impossible task to embed ICTs in the classroom.  It is when I expect myself to know everything about the ICTs in use that my head goes into a spin.  So to keep it simple I try to recognise the usefulness of ICT and what I want to achieve by using it, while ensuring I am competent in using it and explaining how to use it.  This generally keeps me on track and helps me to refocus rather than freak out about what I don’t know.

Also a big thank you to @ttayl5 for keeping me updated on twitter with awesome resources linked to your blog.  I liked your active use versus passive use post because this is something I try to be really conscious of.  Active use being coding, immersive simulation, media production, interaction with experts, global connections, design, peer collaboration opposed to the consumption of media and replacing paper worksheets with a digital copy.  Otherwise, ICT would be doing the thinking for the students and they wouldn’t really be learning anything.  This became apparent to me when during my last prac when Year 7 students were submitting drafts with multiple spelling and grammar errors even thought they were using a word processor program that is able to to pick these up for them.  So it became obvious to us that we had to teach the students how to proof read thoroughly and also use these programs more effectively. To do this we introduced the students to Grammarly and the speak function on Microsoft Word while emphasising that these programs are a tool and will not do all the work for them.  After reflecting on this lesson I questioned if the students were rushing their drafts because of the instantaneous method they are accustomed to in receiving information.  Is this generation more impatient with their expectations to receive and obtain information and feedback instantly?  Does this affect their every day lives and relationships?  I am sure many of you have seen Simon Sinek TED Talks and YouTube videos that went viral over social media a few months back, if not click here to view a 15 minute interview with Sinek outlining the main challenges faced by millennials, in other words anyone born after 1984.  Sinek is a motivational speaker, author and consultant who raises some valid points in relation to the role technology plays in everyday life, making concerns for the digital consumer culture even more relevant.

Having only come back from 1 week holiday I am experiencing major information overload right now but looking forward to getting stuck back into it.

Teacher or Philosopher? 


Something that makes me smile when life feels chaotic- Terry my Peruvian Llama (will get the real thing one day).

I could really identify with andypblogedc3100‘s claim of getting lost in an ‘information wormhole’ after I found an interesting online resource on the  Digital Technologies Hub website last week and not knowing how I found it.  You know the feeling when you click link, after link, after link then can’t find your way back?  Now like I said I am not sure how I came across this resource, was it a Learning Path link?

Then I found myself asking does it matter how I got it as long as I know where I got it from and the information is credible and relevant to what I am looking for?  Is this the drawback from accessing too much information too quickly?  Ironically, for my EDC3100 Assessment, one of my selected standard elaborations is ‘maintaining a record of research’…

As I am now questioning if I crossing over from an aspiring teacher to philosopher I would love some input to this conundrum so please feel free to comment.

Be Inspiring!


Something that I found on the Forbes blog about personal traits that inspire others by  Cathy Caprino:

  1. Strength, perseverance, commitment
  2. Being ‘other-focused’ by spending time helping other people grow and flourish
  3. Riveting storytellers

I agree with Caprino that everyone should have that person in your life that inspire, enliven, empower and uplift us. So don’t give up as these personal traits are incredibly relevant for good teachers. But even teachers need positive role models to keep the momentum going for positive change.

Anyway, my other find of the week was an article by Rebecca Vivian What’s The Difference Between ICT Capabilities & the Digital Technologies Learning Area?  This article really helped to clarify these differences for me.  Click here if you are a visual learner and would prefer the colourful PDF version of images.  Hot tip: will be useful for Assessment 2!

So in a nutshell:

  • ICT capabilities: being able to use ICTs effectively and know which ICTs to select for specific tasks. It also involves learning about safe use and practice.
  • Digital Technologies: Understanding how those ICTs actually work, learning a literacy in coding which underpins being able to create technology and learning about digital systems: hardware and software. It also emphasises a way of thinking that is important to creating solutions (like certain skills and processes we develop in mathematics and literacy).



Caprino, C. (2012). What It Really Takes To Be Inspiring. Retrieved 26 March 2017 from

Vivian, R. (2014). What’s the difference between ICT Capabilities and the Digital Technologies learning area? Retrieved 24 March 2017 from–bytes-blog/whats-the-difference-between-ict-capabilities-digital-technologies-learning-area