Report Writing Software

Writing student reports can be very time consuming. Many teachers develop a bank of comments that they use as the basis of their report writing. A few years ago I stumbled upon a software program that helped me use the comments I already had in a much more effective way. The software is called Teachers Report Assistant and can be found at www.rayslearning.com/report.htm .

This software is one of those things I simply could not live without as a teacher. It enables you to customise your comments to suit your needs and above all else it is free! While it does take a little time to set up your comments and learn to use the program, once it is set up it saves hours of work. There are comment banks available from the website and these are freely donated by other teachers. This software is a must have during report time.

BrainPOP – Teaching Using Online Videos

There are many ways to engage children and foster their love of learning. A wonderful online resource that not only engages children but encourages them to explorer a variety of topics is BrainPOP www.brainpop.com. Brainpop is an innovative website that uses animation to teach children about a vast array of topics. Two animated characters, Tim and Moby, explain many topics through humorous and informative animations.
brainpop
The children I teach really enjoy watching these videos and retain a lot of what they see. BrainPOP is available on a subscribtion basis in a variety of options. There is a free 14 day trial you can subscribe to and review the site. BrainPOP EspaƱol and BrainPOP Jr. are also available.

BrainPOP also offer teacher resources that help implement BrainPOP into your classroom. www.brainpop.com/support


Remove Text Formatting

During my ten years as a teacher I have spent many hours reformatting lesson plans, assessments, reports and countless other documents. The re-formatting of text can not only be time consuming but also frustrating as occasionally fonts seem to have a life of their own and will not do as they are asked. I have used the “Paste Special” function in Microsoft Word numerous times and it has been effective, however, I have found a fantastic software that I now can’t live without.

The software is PureText 2.0 and it can be found at www.stevemiller.net/puretext/ . Instead of using Ctrl+V to paste I now use Windows+V and PureText removes a large amount of formatting which makes creating and modifying documents much easier. I needed to tweak the settings to suit my preferences which was time well spent.

Online Spelling Resource

Many primary school teachers do some sort of spelling program each week. I have always used a textbook for the basis of my program, however, I constantly trawl books and the internet looking for additional words.

A fantastic resource I found lately is www.morewords.com . Morewords enables you to search thousands of words that begin with, end in or contain certain letter combinations. For example, if you were looking for words that contained ough you would simple type in *ough* into the search function and morewords will give you all the words in its database that contains ough. This resource saves a lot of time when planning your spelling units. I imagine it would be very useful for playing Scrabble!

NSW Mathematics Syllabus 1989

This syllabus is simply a classic. Although the document is nearly twenty years old it has an array of wonderful maths activities that are still as relevant today as they were when they were published. I find this pdf version of the syllabus priceless when I am programming.

NSW Mathematics Syllabus 1989.pdf

(To download file: right click and choose “Save Target As”)

Educational Leadership

How much time to principals spend on administration? According to Robinson, cited in Devai (2007), New Zealand principals spend fifty percent of their time on administration tasks such as bus schedules and filling out paper work. It could be argued that fifty percent of time spend on administration is conservative for many modern principals. With the move to school-based management many principals seem swamped by the amount of paper work and administrative duties they must conduct.

As a result of her research Robinson outlined the activities of principals that impact on student outcomes, these include.

  • establishing goals and expectations
  • participating in planning, co-ordination and curriculum
  • participating in teacher learning
  • ensuring orderly and caring environment
  • strategic resourcing
  • fostering a learning and caring environment

These activities often seem to be the first that are put on hold to deal with the day to day running of a school. I think Robinson’s findings help both principals and other educators focus on the core principles of education.

Devai, V. (2007) What makes a good leader? Education Review, 17 (2), p. 13.

Atomic Learning

atomiclearningAtomic Learning is simply an amazing educational resource. The Atomic Learning website states, “Atomic Learning provides web-based software training and curriculum resources for more than 100 applications learners and educators use every day.” Basically Atomic Learning contains thousands of screencasts (screen recordings) that help staff and students master different software packages. The layout of the AL website is very easy to use and the tutorials are short and concise. Our school subscribes to the AL website and we use it as the foundation of our staff IT training. I am currently using AL’s Blogging Workshop to help me put this blog together. It also has many lesson accelerators that teachers can use in their classrooms as student projects. I believe that access to AL is a must have for all educators who are looking to develop both their own IT skills and the IT skills of their students.

You can learn more about Atomic Learning by visiting their website at http://www.atomiclearning.com/.

Four Square Handball Rules for Australian Schools

HandballHandball was one of the things I most loved to do when I was at school in NSW Australia. My friends and I would play for hours. There were unwritten rules that we all followed. New people to the school would have rule variations, some of these we would adopt but others we ignored.

When I started teaching at my current school five years ago I noticed that there were a lot of disagreements about handball rules. As a result, with the help of the students, we created a list of rules. I imagine that disagreements over handball rules are common at other schools so I thought the following rules may be useful. Please modify them and use them. We’ve photocopied them on A3 paper and laminated them and put them up around the school. We have also given copies to new children. The rules have helped eliminate a large number of disagreements.

Handball Rules.doc
Handball Rules.pdf