Posts byHenrietta Miller

When life gives you lemons

There are moments in everyones life when the world seems to tip on its axis and life as one knows it changes for ever. This week has proved to be one of those times with the diagnosis that my gorgeous, bright, funny twenty year old son has bone cancer. Ewing’s Sarcoma to be precise, in
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Ban Boring homework – Passion Projects

I am presenting at TeachMeet Macquarie later this afternoon. Here is a copy of the slides I will be sharing for anyone interested in exploring Passion projects with their students. Passion Projects help to make homework meaningful. They are also enjoyable, engaging, enriching and empowering for all students. They meet NSW English curriculum outcomes and they allow
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Adobe Slate

There is a new app in the Adobe suite of iPad apps, called Slate. It allows users to quickly and easily create stylish and simple presentations. Teachers could use it to present course information and students to present any digital story. Adobe claim that anyone can make a beautiful visual document in minutes. To learn more
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Developing International Mindedness and Global Citizens though the use of technology

Last week I was lucky enough to visit Macau to attend and present at the 2015 International Baccalaureate Asia Pacific Conference. I met many interesting people, listened to inspiring keynotes and enjoyed several good sessions. Whilst there my colleague Abi and I presented to a packed room our own session ‘Developing International Mindedness and Global
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Student Bloggers take flight

Picture this, its 3:05 pm on Friday afternoon and our school week has just finished. Yet our classrooms are still full of students. “Its time to pack up” “Go home” “you’ll miss the bus”, we tell them, yet they are reluctant to leave. Why? Because they are blogging. This afternoon we have been having a lesson
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Preparing global citizens in Year 6

Year 6 have just completed their first unit of inquiry for the term. Using the transdisciplinary theme of ‘How We Express Oursleves’ and the Central Idea ‘people express themselves using technology’ they have been exploring ways technology has enriched our lives, from art, to communication to careers. They have surveyed family and friends to discover
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Welcome back – Week 1

All over Australia parents and students are coming to the gradual realisation that the long summer holidays are nearly over. Sand is being shaken from cossies and lunch boxes dug from the back of the cupboard. The queues are forming at school shoe shops and all the supermarkets have specials on stationary. I’ve been back
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New Zealand school visits

I’m in New Zealand, spending the final part of my NGS teacher’s scholarship money. I’m visiting eight schools altogether, a mix of state and private. Although my interest is in primary schools, many of them have been on campuses that also include intermediate and high schools. Each school has had it charms, its differences, its
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Mathematical Party Planning

In year 6 we are trying to make Maths real this term. Year 6 are planning parties. A year 6 farewell party to be precise. Each student is going to plan their perfect farewell party, menu, timetable, table settings and more. It’s amazing once we started to think parties, just how much Mathematics we found.
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Gobstoppers in year 6

What do gobstoppers have to so with inquiry? We welcomed Year 6 back to school with an inquiry provocation this week. Each student was given a gobstopper and asked to think. Why were we using gobstoppers? What might we be inquiring into? How could a gobstopper relate to this term’s inquiry unit? Before they were
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ACEC2014 – Now it’s personal

I’m back from ACEC2014 and today as I dealt with the ten loads of washing my teenagers accumulated while i was away, I have been reflecting on the conference. There were many fabulous aspects to ACEC2014 that have left my brain tired but also energised. I listened to some great keynotes, I took many informative workshops and I met
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Reflective Students

Teaching students to be reflective practitioners and to take responsibility for their own learning is I think, a vital skill. This term my students have been writing choose your own adventure stories and blogging them to the world. I can see no point in setting them this homework task unless they grow as writers as a
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Year 6 visit Canberra

I have just returned from our Year 6 annual trip to Canberra. A two night, three day trip that many stage three students take in Australia. Certainly all those within driving distance. As we returned late Friday night my co-buddy and I mused on the trip. What was good, what was ordinary and what really
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TeachMeet Manly Q Station

Are you a teacher in Sydney? Then come to TeachMeet Manly Q Station on Saturday September 6 at 10:30 am. Free tours given by the Quarantine Station education department are also available before and after the TeachMeet. So you can learn more about how you can meet your students learning needs with an excursion to
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Provocations to start inquiry

I’m so lucky that in my role as PYP Coordinator I get to visit all the other classrooms at my school and assist other teachers with their inquiry units. This week was a week of provocations. Provocations are such an informative and rich way of starting a new unit. They give so much valuable information about
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Ban Boring Homework – Use blogging instead

Last week I attended the fabulous TeachMeet 5 Squared hosted by @simon_harper3. I gave the following presentation. Ban Boring Homework – Use blogging instead. In this five minute presentation I gave a glimpse into the way we use blogging to engage our year 6 students in reading, writing, presenting and reflecting on their learning, using Edublogs student
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TeachMeet Strategy Meeting

I spent Saturday in Sydney City at a TeachMeet strategy meeting, working with an amazing group of educators to reflect, plan and strategise on the phenomenon that is TeachMeet. Matt Esterman has already written a fabulous post which clearly describes what we did and how it worked which you can read here. So I won’t
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Passion Projects and Student Blogging

My school’s homework policy is designed to ensure students only complete tasks that are meaningful, for the purposes of reinforcing classroom learning and building connections with home. This term Year 6 are once again completing Passion Projects. These projects are designed to be completed during the term, thus introducing them to tasks that take time.
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Collaborative meetings

At the PYP course I took last week, I heard much about the need to develop collaborative teams of teachers. As the PYP coordinator I facilitate planning meetings between teachers. The question I am grappling with this week is how can I ensure they are collaborative? And what is a collaborative meeting and why does
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Who owns your classroom?

Who owns the space allocated to 6MW? Is it mine or my co-teachers? The students? A combination? These questions are ones that I have been pondering over, ever since I was challenged to think about its ownership, during a recent PYP course I took. It has long bothered me that as a general rule my
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No Hands Up

Back in 2012 I wrote a post about the value of ‘wait time’ when asking questions of my students. Since that time I have endeavoured to use ‘wait time’ with mixed success. I have tried really hard to find other ways of encouraging student participation besides ‘hands up’ including a pack of cards with students
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Formative Assessment

I have just returned from two days of brilliant professional development on the essential topic of assessment for learning, more commonly called formative assessment given by Dylan Wiliam. This was the kind of professional development I love. Even though it involved sitting and listening for two days solid, I did not lose focus. My notability
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A year of change ahead

Shiny shoes, Crisp new uniforms, Bulging backpacks, Brand new lunch boxes, Untouched exercise books Yes Australia Day is over and it’s back to school time here in Australia. Week one has come and gone and the term feels like it is up and running at full steam. My Labradoodle Monte may not agree but I
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A new beginning

My summer is over. I am in Adelaide on a PYP course and slowly my school brain cells are coming to life. As usual part of my awakening is a few moments of panic as I reflect on all the school tasks I did not complete over the holidays and the knowledge of what lies
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Switching Off

It is the holidays here in Australia. Six glorious weeks of sun, summer and Christmas makes for a very relaxing time. As the term wound down last week I went to meet several of the teachers who have this year, been involved in the Sydney TeachMeet movement, for two TeachMeetEatUps! A chance to unwind, chat,
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