Ramsey Musallam: 3 rules to spark learning


It took a life-threatening condition to jolt chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam out of ten years of “pseudo-teaching” to understand the true role of the educator: to cultivate curiosity. In a fun and personal talk, Musallam gives 3 rules to spark imagination and learning, and get students excited about how the world works.





What do you think?
How do you spark learning in your classroom?
How do you share your learning in your school?



Image by Jonathon Potts


Tech tools I like to use


I have been reflecting on my blog journey and my learning journey with regards to incorporating technology and web tools into my teaching. Incorporating technology has proven to be engaging for my students and myself, whilst also practicing a safe online presence. Having returned back to a Foundation grade after teaching Grade Six for several years, I needed to brush up on the web tools I regularly used when I taught a Grade One class in 2010. You can see this post by clicking on this link Web tools I like to use


Soon the schools iPAD’s will be ready for our Foundation students to use. I am quickly compiling a list and a short review of recommended apps to share with staff and parents.

What apps do you use in the classroom?

What numeracy apps do you recommend?

What literacy apps do you recommend?

What handwriting apps would you recommend?

Online Etiquette and Digital Citizenship


Online Etiquette and Digital Citizenship

How you act online is so important. Everything you write, say or comment on can be stored, backed up and available to anyone with access to the internet. Your online reputation is the same as your off line one.

There are so many ways to communicate today. Email, Social Media, Twitter and Blogs, to name a few. It is so important to be aware of online etiquette and your responsibility when communicating online. It is also important to be aware that some forms of communicating are illegal and could get the author into BIG trouble.

When it comes to Blogs, the owner is the administrator and is responsible for approving any comments before they can be published. This means that if any negative or inappropriate comments are posted, the administrator WILL NOT publish these comments. In fact the exercise of writing such comments becomes a little fruitless, as no such comments will see the light of the internet.

What is also very important to remember when writing comments online, anything that is inappropriate or offensive can be forwarded onto the POLICE for further investigation. It is also important to note that passing yourself off as some else, by creating an email account in another persons name, is a CRIME. It is called IDENTITY THEFT.

So remember to think about what you write online. Keep it positive, polite, friendly and respectful and you would offline.

Never use language that could be found offensive. Never attack others personally and don’t act in a way that could constitute harassment, bullying or discrimination.

So remember to think about what you write online. Keep it positive, polite, friendly and respectful

Have a look at the website Edudemic that outlines Microsofts new free curriculum that is all about Digital Citizenship


Image courtesy of

Using data to drive achievement not to compare schools


How can we measure what makes a school system work? Andreas Schleicher walks us through the PISA test, a global measurement that ranks countries against one another — then uses that same data to help schools improve. Watch to find out where your country stacks up, and learn the single factor that makes some systems outperform others.

What makes a great school system? To find out, Andreas Schleicher administers a test to compare student performance around the world.

Script and video Courtesy of Ted Talks



Homework…To set or not to.

I recently had a parent ask me about Homework and when it was going to be set for my Grade six class.

I am been teaching now for 18 years and I am also new to this year group. I have to say I should have done this sooner. I am really enjoying the conversations and level of discussion I am having with the students in their last year of primary school. However I am digressing.


I have always found that it takes a lot of time to set tasks and then more time to check it has all come back and mark and feedback. Times are busy and this in the past has always eaten into my time for planning and reflection.

Last year when I had a grade two class I set open ended projects around current events for the students to complete. They choose when they wanted to complete a project and everyone must have completed one project per term. The results where fantastic. Well presented projects with headings, layout, images with correct attribution and information. We had projects and posters ranging from The Royal Wedding to football to crocodiles to pet dogs.

I want to do something similar in terms of its open ended element. However I am thinking that one project a term will not be as regular and in-depth as I would want from a grade six student. I started to think about the Reading Response quilt and the Free Choice Friday quilt that has a range of open ended activities for the students to complete. I also had a read of Mel Cashen’s Blog and discovered her brilliant homework grid.

Just what our class are looking for. A range of open ended tasks for students to use throughout the term and an expectation that one activity is chosen a week.

I will adapt Mel’s Grid with some Ultranet and Blogging task to get the conversation going outside school hours. I am encouraging learning outside of school hours and beyond the 4 walls of the classroom.


Image: ‘The Joys Of Homework’ 
The Joys Of Homework

What do you think about homework?

Do you like the idea of Mel’s’ Homework grid?

How do you manage homework?

How do you incorporate the use of ICT?

Careers Education


Passion and Pathways.

I am lucky to be involved in a pilot project in Bendigo that involves kids from Lightning Reef and Eaglehawk Primary. It aims to get kids thinking about jobs and careers when they are in Grade Six and expose them to the many opportunities that are available right here in Bendigo. I’m learning that there is much creativity and innovation happening behind the scenes and it has been great to learn about this with the kids.


What are your thoughts?

Image courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Skype in the classroom


Skype in the classroom

Having family overseas I am not new to using Skype to connect and stay in touch.

However I am new to using Skype in the classroom and what a great tool it is to collaborate and connect with others outside the classroom.

Some of the benefits are:

Learning takes place outside the four walls of the classroom

The preparation and planning in the build up to a Skype interview.

The roles allocated to students such as transcript recorders, welcoming the guest, asking the questions and photographers to name just a few roles.












Skype is such a great tool to use and now there is Skype in Education. Skype in the classroom is a great way to connect with other classes around the world.

Simply create a class profile and search the directory for classes to connect with.

I love this blog by Rob Sbaglia. Have a look at how his class use Skype to connect with experts.

Also have a look at Kathleen Morris’ post on Skyping in the classroom

Have you used Skype in the classroom?

How do you use Skype in the classroom?

Reflections so far


PLP Connect U

I am about half way through the PLPConnectU project. This project is funded by the Victorian Education Department DEECD and aims to bring together a network of educators to design a unit around project/passion based learning.

It is a fantastic opportunity to work with some innovative educators on long term professional development that incorporates 21st century.

I am thrilled to be Creativity group and working with some amazing educators. This includes Kirsten Stewart and Kynan Robinson from North Fitzroy Primary. Mel Cashen from Lightning Reef and Michelle from Yawarra Primary School.

The first part of the journey was to discuss and read theory around the question “What is creativity?” I guess I originally thought that this might mean something to do with the arts or producing a piece of artwork. However after a few team Ellunimate sessions and some recommended readings and discussions in the NING, I have moved my thinking of creativity from being purely in terms of producing or creating a piece of art as to being more about the actual thought process and journey.

I can compare this thinking journey to the Masters Degree I am currently studying. One of the key things I have learnt from this is that the idea you start out with will completely change by the time you finish reading, reflecting, discussing and teasing out what you really believe. I feel this journey is one to be encouraged in the classroom and is key to ‘What is  creativity?”  Going in the direction of your passion and keeping it within a robust framework that encourages reflection, discussion and articulating what it is about your ideas that have developed and changed along the way.

Some highlights so far as I reflect on the ‘What makes a good animation” unit

Seeing some children who were reluctant and despondent at the start, become positive, motivated and engaged. Eager to reflect on their learning, working in teams and articulating what they have learnt to others.

Kids wanting to work on projects at lunch and coming to school excited because they had worked on their animations at home.

The discussions the students had early on around what makes a creative environment

The discussions around what is creativity

The creation of some pretty impressive films.

The opportunity to work with Mel and with kids from the Junior levels. (a first for me!)

The Learning for Life group worked very hard to create some amazing animations and films.

Check out the Creativity Animation Blog below.

Learning For Life

Here are some questions I am still pondering

Do I give enough opportunities for self directed learning in the class?

Do I set the tone for an environment that encourages creative thinking?

How do you encourage creative thinking at school?