Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Foundation Year HASS - the updates!

As a teacher author, feedback is vitally important to me. Not only does feedback give you Teachers Pay Teachers credits, it lets me know if you are happy with my teaching product or if you'd like more or less of something. 

I read every piece of feedback and, as a teacher myself, I consider what I need to teach that particular subject. I like to go back every so often and update an older product to make sure it's aligned with the current Australian curriculum (ACARA). 

These last few weeks I have run a critical eye over two of my most popular products, to see how they align with the updated ACARA Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) version 8.3 for Foundation Year. 

I'm excited to announce both the Foundation Year History and Foundation Year Geography packs have both been updated to reflect the new curriculum and I'd like to quickly walk you through the improvements.

At the front of each pack is a table showing you how every activity, slide, poster or worksheet aligns with each of the ACARA elaborations. This makes it super easy for you to plan your unit of work and ensures you cover every aspect of the ACARA expectations. 

A great way to engage young students is through colourful posters. Dedicate a wall to HASS and rotate posters as you focus on different concepts. 

New vocabulary cards have been added to both packs. Each with a child-friendly definition of each concept. 

This is my favourite aspect of the two new updates - getting some real-world photographs in these packs! Cartoons are great for colouring in or to decorate a colourful poster, but nothing beats images of real people and places to explain HASS concepts to young students. I use these photographs as a whole class discussion prompt to unpack the concept further. Often I use inquiry questions such as "Who is in this picture?", "What is this picture telling us about...?"or "Why do you think they do...?" which works to scaffold their thinking before we move towards written work. Studying photographs in this way, can also help students develop their visual literacy skills.

I have had many requests to make images more diverse with single parent families, same sex couples and different races included. I've listened and made the changes. Posters and photographs include different family structures and are more representative of your student's backgrounds so they can relate better to the concepts being discussed.

Both the History and the Geography packs contain some new QR code activities which link to videos they can watch in pairs or on their own. The worksheets have been designed to allow students to explain their understanding of the concepts shown in the videos and demonstrate their learning.

I'm very proud to have been given permission from the Torres Strait Islander community to use their flag in my materials and inside this pack, I'm pleased to say, I have provided a more equal focus on both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The new updates include, as part of the new ACARA version 8.3 HASS requirements, a greater focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practices and culture. In addition, I have included some teacher instruction sheets and a link to useful videos you can watch to help you integrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture into your everyday classroom practices.


If you already own any of these products - you can just click the link below and download the update for free! If you would like to purchase one, please follow the links below.

HASS Bundle Foundation Year Geography Unit and History Unit aligned to ACARA
HASS Geography Unit Foundation Year special places, features, mapping activities
HASS History Unit Foundation Year Family Histories and Commemorations
HASS Mega Bundle Geography and History Foundation, 1, 2 & 3 aligned ACARA

If you purchase the Foundation Year HASS Bundle you'll also get the History and Geography matching Brag Tags as a bonus!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Halloween Paper Bag Puppet Freebie

Halloween is a time to really let go and have some fun in the classroom with some fantastic craft activities. I've also realised the importance of dramatic play as a means to help students to come to grips with difficult concepts. 

Batty Bat

This freebie is the perfect way to practice a retell or tell a story for young students. In addition, the activity gives students the opportunity to practice their cutting skills! 

Monster Mash

I love it when a craftivity covers multiple disciplines! 

Oscar Owl

You'll also find these fabulous Halloween products useful...

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Bringing History to life with digital technologies

I love teaching History and I love using digital technologies (ICTs) to teach History concepts. However, for some teachers, the thought of trying to integrate digital technologies into their curriculum subjects can become overwhelming. In this post I'll show you where to start and outline the benefits of using ICTs to bring history to life in your classroom!

With the introduction of more 1:1 iPad and laptop classrooms, it's easier than ever to obtain access to ICTs in the classroom setting. Teachers who work in 1:1 classrooms know there are huge benefits to using digital technology for learning within the primary classroom. In fact, an independent case study of 6 Australian primary schools using 1:1 laptops, noted that students that used ICTs were more engaged, on task and better differentiated for than non ICT classrooms (Fluck, 2011). Using laptops is fine for upper primary students, who can type and undertake independent research, however, how do you integrate ICTs into lower primary?

Marrying ICTs with a subject such as History is easy, as long as you keep your references and materials focused around the Inquiry questions. Focused historical questions lead students to learn to find evidence to support a statement and this is where QR codes work perfectly with young students.

This is a new product from TechTeacherPto3 and you can see how the QR codes have been used with a scavenger hunt game to keep engagement high. The essential historical element of this activity, is the use of real photographs. Each QR code sends students to a photograph of a real historical item with notes on how each item was used. The recording sheets pose questions that get students to think more deeply, moving them towards higher order thinking, allowing them to create a response based on historical knowledge and understanding rather than guess work.

Try the QR code out below now to see how it works!

Here is another example of using QR codes from the Then and Now Interactive Notebook (also a fantastic way to engage students). The QR code links to a video on how telephones work, which allows students to see how items were actually used, thus allowing them to again think more deeply about how historical items have been replaced or remodelled since then.