Category Archives: youtube

To Dewey or not to Dewey – that is the question…..


after an absence of a few months, it is time for me to start blogging again and in the process, reflecting on what I am mulling over. This week, as we finish our last big hurrah for the year – Book fair – my mind turns to collection management. Di, my library technician, ran off data showing which collection gets borrowed most and I was surprised to see it is the non-fiction this year. And with the Australian curriculum coming in in full force, integrated units are being tweaked and our library collection needs to reflect that. Plus I was contacted by Michelle, from another P-12 independent school about their idea to get rid of Dewey all together in their primary school library. So you can see, all paths are converging in the non-fiction at this time. Michelle is visiting next week so we can share our approach here to the way non-fiction is organised for a primary school audience, for people ages 4-12. My over-riding consideration is how will the students find what they are looking for most easily? and I reckon it is by putting the sorts of things we know they enjoy borrowing together under 1 DDC number. So yes, we do use Dewey, but our simplified version of it. Don’t think this is rocket science or anything new, but it seems to be working here, and maybe the increased borrowing from the non-fiction is partly a reflection of that. will have to see the stats to infer …..Also, I think as we are a P-12 school and share our catalogue not only with 2 secondary campuses, but with another primary campus, doing away with Dewey would not be a feasible option – too much mucking up of a shared system, (and some people are rather precious about ‘their’ catalogue!!!) So, for example, animals is an area heavily borrowed by children. So we have grouped them sort of by the groups we already had – endangered animals is now all 591.68, Australian animals – 591.994, Minibeasts(insects) – 595.7, ocean animals – 597, mammals – 599 and reptiles and amphibians – 597.9. So all the books about reptiles and amphibians are on the same shelf with a label underneath, making it easier for kids to find. Plus if they are obsessed with sharks, they know which shelf to go to to find books about sharks – with the ocean animals.

To finish off with, the above thinking and pondering I find very interesting, but if you are not a library person, I have been starting my year 1 library classes with a youtube about an ocean animal, as they are studying sea creatures in class. A great reminder I get regularly is posts from ‘The Kid Should See This’ blog, which I have mentioned before. Here is an amazing one about the biggest school of manta rays on the planet + one showing the 2nd biggest aquarium in the world.
I’m putting out there that my goal for the rest of this school year (5 more weeks) is to get back into posting once a week…..

Science videos for use in schools


It is National Science week this week as well as Children’s Book Week. Following the Science theme, Lindy Hathaway from Dickosn College in the ACT posted some interesting links on the OZTLnet list I belong to.

Here are just a few of the amazing resources out there to support the science curriculum

Science 360

Breaking science videos and news from around the world, ready to embed in websites etc. Hosted by the US National Science Foundation. Search for videos by topic or series.



Thousands of videos and lectures; explore by topics.


10 science YouTube channels you can’t miss Includes Minute Physics; The Science Channel; SciShow; The Periodic Table of Videos, AsapSCIENCE and the excellent Vsauce.


125 great science videos

Astronomy, physics, psychology, biology, ecology, technology….


John Hattie – nuggets of wisdom from ‘8 Mind Frames’


This morning I read an interview  with internationally acclaimed educator and researcher Dr. John Hattie, whose influential book
Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement has been recognized as a landmark in educational research.

In Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning, Hattie presents eight ‘mind frames’ or ways of thinking that together must underpin every action and decision in schools and systems. He argues that teachers who develop these mind frames will have major impacts on student learning.

As I read the article, a few bits stood out to me, perhaps because of where I am on the continuum of learning about learning. teaching, feedback, assessment.  I want to share those with you. They are all from the article found at In Conversation with John Hattie

The purpose of schools is to help students exceed their potential and do more than they thought they could do.

This challenges my thinking of encouraging students to be the best they can be. Dr Hattie says if we do this, it is not enough. We should be encouraging students to be better than they think they can be!


Authors  City, Elmore, Fiarman, and Teitel (2009) in Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning  and Roberts in  Instructional Rounds in Action,  (2012) have favorite questions to ask the students to find out where they are up to in terms of understanding. I have printed these out to remind myself of them.

• What are you learning? What are you working on?
• What do you do if you don’t know the answer or you’re stuck?
• How will you know when you’re finished?
• How will you know if what you’ve done is good quality?


Lastly, because we are doing what is called Formative practice at school that involves us in teams of 3 or 4 observing each other’s classes once a term, the following rang a bell. I have, up till now, focused on the teacher and observing and commenting on what they did, rather than asking the students where they were up to, what were they learning.

Another example that comes to mind is what usually happens when we observe other teachers in their classrooms – the focus is on the teacher. Then what follows more often than not is that we give them feedback about what they did well and what they could have done differently. What we should do instead is spend our time observing two or three students in the classroom and find out what they’re learning and what they’re responding to. The conversation with the teacher afterwards will be dramatically different.


Here is a youtube that explains, succinctly, what the 8 mind frames of Hattie are.




Principals Know: School Librarians are at the Heart of the School


Following in the vein from my last post……what evidence is there that libraries and teacher-librarians make a difference, a colleague Scooped this from Lyn Hay, a well known teacher-librarian expert.

The youtube is called

‘Principals Know: School Librarians are the heart of the school’

Lyn has to say….This video presents evidence of how the school library contributes to teacher practice and student learning. What is so special about this video is that the evidence is provided by school principals. Many thanks to Dr. Judi Moreillon and Dr. Teresa Starrett from Texas Woman’s University for producing this video.

I enjoyed hearing from people in leadership positions, endorsing the importance of the librarian.

Yesterday in a meeting of specialist teachers, we were talking about something we would like to see done better at our school – acknowledgement by management that we are contributing, our efforts and recognized and valued.  I’m sure this is not just at our school but something that could be done better in lots of teams of people.

Some of the group felt that a student in their class said’ that was the best Science class ever’ or posted a comment on their shared photostream was the acknowledgement that meant the most to them…..and this is an individual thing of where you value your acknowledgement coming from. But I think most people need the occasional pat on the back.

Maybe that is why I am struggling a bit with this blog…no pats on the back from anyone…just posting into the void. Maybe it needs to become more of a reflective tool, not just a vehicle for sharing.

Using Google images to find and use labelled for non commercial use


I was teaching the year 5’s on Monday about how to search and find images that the owners have modified their copyright on to enable others to use them without asking for permission. Being honest, up till now I have just googled for an image and used whatever I found. But I feel it is a bit rich to teach others about the better way to do things and then not do it myself.

Here is the process…. choose Google Images. Put in your search term and enter. Then as the pages of results come up, look under the search bar to an option called Search Tools. Click on this and then choose the tab that says ‘Usage rights’. You can look up what these different right exactly entail, but for my primary students, a very basic knowledge is all that is required. My aim is to use these select images in everything I create, to walk the walk.




How to Change the World – Kid President


I finished Mindful in May last week and this was one of the last things Elise, the organizer shared with us all. I have just sent the link of this to one of the year 4 classes, who after studying a unit on Indigenous Australians, are writing a letter to the prime minister Tony Abbott to say he should apologies to the Indigenous Australians for white people taking their land away from them. They are fired up about the injustice of what went on and wanted to do something about it. Just like the Kid President points out in his video – Ways to Change the World’

Using PhotoStream to help build a community of readers


In a previous post (14/April – The Book Whisperer), I shared how I had read a book by Donalyn Miller, called Reading in the Wild.

She lists 5 things that lifelong readers (or wild readers, as she calls them) do.
One of these is to be part of a reading community, where you can share what books you have read – to inspire others  – and hear about what others in that community are reading – to be inspired  – and to add to another of Miller’s lifelong readers’ behaviours – add to your reading plan, which is the list of books you want to read.

As I no longer have the year 5 and 6 classes for a stand alone library session, one of the things that I feel they are missing out on is this ‘reading community’. So how to achieve it when I am not seeing the classes regularly in the library to talk about books I have read and give the students a safe forum to share their reading as well.

Miller uses GoodReads, an online reading community, to connect her middle school students to a wider reading community. With primary age children, this open access to the www could be a problem in terms of keeping an eye on what they are accessing.

So, one of my colleagues came up with the idea of using PhotoStream. As all the year 5 and 6’s have their own iPads, this is a great way to use it.

I set up a photo stream, 5J Reading, and individually invited each class member, by email, to join the stream. So only people who are invited can access it.



I took a photo of a Tashi book I had just read to my year 1 classes and wrote a few words about why it was such a good story and posted it. This is so easy to do. Then the other members of the 5J PhotoStream can get on and ‘like’ my comments or comment themselves back so it is possible to get some to and fro happening between members.

I only set this up on Thursday of last week, so I’m not sure how successful it will be. Will the year 5’s post and will they comment? Of course, they can do these things whenever it suits them, ie. at school or at home, which is a positive, I think.

The Science teacher at school has just started using Photostream to give feedback to the year 5’s on their work. When they complete their science work, she asks them to take a picture of it and post it on the PhotoStream, with comments and she can reply back with – yes you are on the right track, or ahhh, what does this mean? is this what we talked about in class? – more immediate feedback and she likes it, because she doesn’t have to lug 27 bits of paper from school to home and back. It is all there on her iPad and easily worked on at home.

I have told the other year 5 and 6 classroom teachers about it so hopefully, they will want to get on board with this as well and we can create 4 ‘reading communities’ – to inspire and be inspired by reading and books.

Re-posting: Using #HatBack to Teach Point of View from Colby Sharp


I’m not sure how to re-blog a post from email, so when I saw this in my inbox, I wasn’t sure of the etiquette and even method of adding it. So I have copied the URL to share with you.

This particular topic, of encouraging young students to be able to think from different points of view, was a skill that the year 2’s are going to tackle in the coming weeks. I was talking with the year 2 teachers and their idea was to use fractured fairytales, because these stories are often the fairytale, but from another point of view, eg. the wolf in the 3 Little Pigs, the bad fairy in Sleeping Beauty …you get the idea.
This afternoon, I got this email fresh off Colby Sharp’s blog, who is a 3rd grade classroom teacher.
He has used the picture book ‘I Want My Hat back’ and also ‘This is Not my Hat’ (which is quite a funny and quirky story), both by Jon Klassen, to develop his students understanding of point of view and then using this knowledge  to create their own story. Click on the image for the link to his excellent blog post which lays out how he went about this in his classroom.


Inspiring quotes about meditation and what actually is it?


Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet.

It’s a way of entering into the quiet that is already there

buried under the 50,000 thoughts

the average person thinks every day.

Deepak Chopra


Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat any time and be yourself.

Herman Hesse


Research has recently supported the fact that even 2 weeks of regular meditation can produce measurable changes in the brain.

Richie Davidson (world leading researcher into meditation and the brain)


Lastly, Jon Kabat Zinn, one of the leaders of the mindfulness movement, explains what meditation really is.



By the way, Dr. Elise Bialylew is the founder of Mindful in May.