Australian curriclum

Roughly I would spend about 60 hours per week preparing lessons for my year 4 students. I spend anywhere between $40-$60 a fortnight on downloadable resources from particular websites, as well as 3 different subscriptions to a Math, English and science platform. The 3 subscriptions would roughly add up to $350 a year alone. All of which are helping me to plan and develop lessons for my students. To keep up with the 21st century learning that has become more and more apparent as I develop as a teacher I find that having some technology based resources has changed the way that I plan for each lesson. I use a program called OneNote to develop lesson ideas and then bring them into the Note Book platform so that there is some interactive application within each lesson. I also have ACARA and BOSTES open on a daily basis as the curriculum is key when planning lessons. These sites can be a little tough to navigate but I am slowly getting the hang of it. When I graduated the new curriculum was only in the planning stage, I became an expert in the old curriculum which is slowly becoming non-existent.

Planning one 40 minute lesson probably takes a good hour and a half… there are a minimum of 6 lessons a day not including the other school based activities which teachers face every day such as assemblies, sport lessons, language lessons and so on! There is a lot that goes in to one lesson… Making sure that it:

  • fits the curriculum
  • engages the students
  • uses different modes of technology
  • differentiated to fit all ability levels within the classroom
  • fun for the students
  • interactive
  • relevant

When I first started teaching this is everything that would go into planning a lesson for my students. Now in my second year of teaching I have discovered an online platform, that not only allows you to create your own lesson but gives you all the resources that are needed to fulfil everything you need to have the perfect lesson ready to go. Skwirk is an online resource that has been around for many years and is continually developing to keep up with today’s technology, curriculum and 21st Century needs. I cannot believe the amount of time that I used to spend planning is almost halved. I now only spend about half an hour gathering resources and about 20 minutes putting it together. The curriculum codes are all linked throughout Skwirk so I don’t need to navigate the tricky sites. During our planning days we decide what points we are going to cover then I just have to put those codes into Skwirk and I find all the resources. They have been able to link chapters, videos, animations, games and worksheets to specific curriculum points making it so much easier to find relevant information.

One thing I know I have saved on is money. I have a yearly subscription to one place that covers all subject areas. Instead of 3 which I don’t always find relevant as a lot of their content is American or English. Skwirk is 100% Australian!

In saving time and money I have found that I can start to enjoy the little things again like a reading a book or going on an afternoon walk, things that a year ago I would have never done. I have been able to manage my time better with Skwirk, I am able to enjoy teaching so much more and be in the moment with my student as they light up with the fun interactive games and videos that they have to offer. Since I have started using Skwirk I have been able to see all the lessons that I have prepared on my account and shared them with other teachers at the school to save them time too!

Save 40% on an Individual Teacher subscription with the discount code ‘textbook’. Join today, click here.

Ashleigh Graham

Bachelor of Education Primary

Get a Skwirk classroom trial today, click here

The iPad was introduced in 2010, providing a compact and highly portable, yet accessible, medium through which to reach the internet, as well as a number of other functions. User numbers have grown significantly in recent years, with iPads being employed not only for work and entertainment, but also as an educational tool. This latter application has provoked considerable controversy, with some experts suggesting that screen use is detrimental to academic success, whilst others feel there are significant benefits to e-learning. Take a look at the benefits an iPad can bring to your child’s education, as well as the advantages of ensuring high quality textbooks are readily available as a learning resource.

Fast, portable and convenient

Unfortunately, textbooks can be heavy and cumbersome to transport. Even using a textbook can be time consuming and frustrating, as finding the information you need is frequently a challenge. In comparison, an iPad is light enough for smaller children to carry easily, can be used anywhere and most learners can find the information they need in a few minutes, making it ideal for flexible learning. A single device is all that’s needed to access comprehensive information on a wide range of subjects. Sites such as Skwirk, for example, contain over 16,000 learning resources, covering curriculum material for four to 14 year-olds.

Range of learning mediums

Textbooks contain writing, diagrams and photographs, but little else. This can make learning a dry process and can often deter children from wanting to find out more about a topic. One of the major advantages of e-learning is that in addition to these methods of conveying information, children can also enjoy video clips and animation, adding interest to the learning experience. Different presentations of the same information allow children to find a method which suits them best, enhancing retention and engagement.

Interactive

Textbooks contain plenty of useful facts and figures, but do not present opportunities for interaction. Conversely an iPad can provide numerous tests, quizzes, assessments and puzzles which encourage learners to remain attentive and retain the information they need. For children who have trouble concentrating, an iPad can work wonderfully well as an aid to study.

Appealing

Those of us who remember the pre-digital age will frequently favour textbooks, as they are familiar – a tried and tested method of obtaining high-calibre information when you need it. Whilst this is still the case, it’s important to recognise that premium, interactive content is frequently a more appealing way of learning for young people. The use of iPads doesn’t negate textbook use; rather it offers a route for accessing information which better suits many young people today, complementing more traditional methods.

Textbooks continue to play a major part in many educational experiences, particularly for advanced learners who need to access niche subject matter. For school aged children, an iPad which gives them access to high quality educational material can be of real benefit in enriching their learning experience in a wide range of subjects.

Skwirk is one of Australia’s biggest providers of online education resources. Following detailed study of the National Australian Curriculum, we have developed more than 18,000 useful tools, including education videos, iPad resources and interactive whiteboard resources. We cover English, mathematics, science, history, geography and commerce, from kindergarten level through to year 10.

Everything you need in one convenient location

For Australian principals looking to provide their students with outstanding resources, but without breaking the bank, Skwirk can save both money and time. For a start, Skwirk’s easy-to-navigate site means that all resources are found in one, convenient location. Even when accessing teacher resources across a range of subject areas, principals can take care of the job in one fell swoop. There’s no need to waste time trawling through hundreds of different sites, trying to work out which you can and can’t trust. Skwirk’s resources are all designed to meet the Australian curriculum – from the English curriculum to the science curriculum.

Resources for every learner

We’re well aware that students have various learning needs. While some are visual learners, others benefit from kinaesthetic learning. We also believe that students learn best when they’re inspired and interested in their lessons, rather than feeling like they’re a chore.

So we’ve worked hard to develop resources to suit every educational context – and every individual student – from animations that bring the history curriculum to life to sports-themed arithmetic games that ensure your students are learning the maths curriculum without even realising it. Not only does Skwirk make education much more affordable, it also makes it much more relevant, fun and inspiring.

Tools to assess, track progress and report

As much as we believe education should be fun, we’re also serious about it. It’s important for students to have a great time while they’re learning, but it’s equally important for them to make solid progress. So, to accompany our thousands of learning resources, we provide you with efficient, accurate tools for assessment. Once students have completed units, you can use Skwirk to find out exactly what they’ve learnt – and what they need to revise. For schools and principals, this means even further savings; there’s no need to spend extra money on assessment resources created by independent bodies. You’ll have everything you need at your fingertips, once you’ve signed up to Skwirk.

Questions?

Would you like to know more about Skwirk? Are you wondering what we can do for your school? Please feel free to contact us at a time that suits you. We look forward to bringing high-quality, affordable teacher resources to you.

Get a quote for your school, email: teachers@redapple.com.au

Or get a free school trial, click here.

A homeschool mum discusses how she uses Skwirk’s history content.

During the lead up to ANZAC Day we spent the week exploring the topic further.

I also had the kids jump on to Skwirk and work their way through the appropriate levels for each of them that covered Australian History, looking in particular at the ANZAC topic.

I have children in three different levels of the Skwirk program so I thought I would give you a glimpse inside each of them and how they cover Australian History via screen shots from within the Skwirk program.

**As you all know our family have been given a subscription to Skwirk to be able to give you a peek inside. All opinions expressed from here on in are those of my kids and myself.**

My eldest is currently in the Grade 7/8 Level. 

At this level in the Australian Curriculum, history is mostly world history, but it does contain a full unit on ANZAC day, exactly what we were looking for.

Within each chapter there are reading passages, various images, animations and short video clips.

Each chapter begins with a reading passage.

This is just one of the many images that can be found within the ANZAC Unit.

Several short video clips, are included. Animations are also included within the unit, again a brief view of the conditions in the trenches.

If you like to give your children tests they are also included here.

My middle child is using the Grades 3/4 Level

Skwirk is completely curriculum aligned and in this level Australian History has a focus on Exploration and Communities.

Here you can see the topics covered within the units of work.

This is the next level up from the K – 2nd, which primarily uses animated content for young children. At the 3/4 level it is similar to the upper levels with reading passages such as the one seen here.

Whilst they are shorter and more simple in nature when compared to the 7/8 level I would personally still like to see this level supplemented with animations and many more videos for the children of this age group to watch.

I feel this is the trickiest level when it comes to readers, most kids by this age are reading at some level or another, but whether they want to be reading often remains to be seen.

If there was a way they could still access all of the information but in a video format I think this would make a big difference to this particular level of the program. At least I know it would in our house.

Once again, there are several images all related to the content for the children to view.

Find A Words seem to be the go to game for this particular unit of work. My daughter really enjoys these at the moment so they are a nice bonus.

In some of the units there are also animated activities.

Whilst there are no exams at this level, most of the topics within this unit have worksheets that can be printed. Each worksheet shows the appropriate codes required for outcomes.

My youngest is currently in the K to 2nd Level

Here, as it does with the Australian Curriculum, history has a focus on the family, the child and exploring what history actually is.

The topics for the younger years are primarily animated video concepts, which are relatively engaging for the child to watch.

They generally always have a short game at the end of each video and the information presented is also included in the unit in written form as a read aloud option.

Whilst Skwirk is not our primary resource, I do really like knowing that I always have a curriculum linked product, that is quick and simple to use when we want to supplement what we are currently working on.

WOULD YOU LIKE A HALF PRICE SKWIRK SUBSCRIPTION?

Skwirk have very kindly offered all of you 50% Off a 12 month subscription, simply by using the code – worldwide – on sign up.

This code is only valid until May 31st though so you need to be quick!

Jump over to Skwirk and register now.

Happy Homeschooling,
Kylie

This month, we discuss the value of using graphic organisers or mind-maps to enhance and improve learning. its use for learning and teaching is limitless. Mind-mapping has the following important uses:

Consolidate learning: At the end of a chapter or topic of learning, recall all the information you have gathered and present it in a mind-map. You will surprised how the process of mind-mapping will help you remember your learning better.

Brainstorm: Stuck for ideas? Got a big project but not sure where to start? Well, mind-mapping allows you to develop ideas quickly and in a logical way. It allows you to change, link, delink ideas as you gather your thoughts and analyse the task on hand.

Keep adding: With a mind-map there is no limit to how much information you can add. The more you read and come across, the more you can add to your mind-map as relevant. Encouraging growth of knowledge, its something you can can keep returning to!

Note-taking: Can’t keep up with your teacher? Mind-mapping offer a quick and easy short hand for developing ideas as your teacher discusses them.

Exam frenzy: Exam jitters outside the exam hall, pull out a piece of paper and create a mind-map of ideas, topics, issues you need to know for the exam. It’s a handy tool for revision and enables visual ease of remembering content!

Don’t forget, find out more about Skwirk, click here.

As a teacher, I know too well just how expensive it can be to purchase quality, relevant resources for my students. If you are fortunate enough to be allocated an allowance by your school for purchasing teaching resources, this budget is usually minimal at best and is often a rare luxury. For most teachers, quality teaching and learning resources are an expensive but necessary part of their occupation, more often than not requiring them to dig into their own pockets to pay for them. For this reason, teachers have many important criteria that they adhere to when selecting quality resources to supplement their teaching practices. This will include but is not limited to: resources that are Australian and curriculum oriented, comprehensive and value for money, easy to read and follow, fast and simple to access, engaging and appealing to students, differentiated and suitable for a range of learning styles and abilities. This is where Skwirk, the online interactive learning platform, is a teacher’s best friend and a highly valuable all-in-one learning tool. So how does Skwirk save teachers and schools money? Here are just a few ways:image2

  • Skwirk’s resources are national curriculum aligned and created by experienced educators

Skwirk currently encompasses over 18000 educational resources across subjects such as Mathematics, English, Science, Geography, History and Commerce. These resources include over 2000 animated ebooks, 1000 educational videos, 1000 interactive activities and thousands of podcasts, images, pop quizzes, exams and printable worksheets. Furthermore, these teaching and learning resources are created by experienced teachers and link to the new Australian curriculum codes. With this comprehensive collection of quality, diversified resources all located in one secure location, it is very cost-effective and saves teachers and schools money by decreasing the need for multiple resources.

  • Skwirk’s resources are accessible across different technologies

10502536_620336494730231_7737354430165643814_nThe Skwirk teaching and learning resources can be accessed anytime from home or in the classroom. They can also be utilized across different technologies, including tablets, laptops, projectors and interactive whiteboards. Being able to incorporate Skwirk’s resources into a variety of lessons at any time is not only really convenient but reduces the cost associated with providing individual print material to each student to support the learning program.

  • Skwirk’s resources can be customized according to student or classroom needs

Teachers have a responsibility to ensure that all students are catered for in their classroom. This involves implementing differentiated content and teaching methods to suit the various learning styles and abilities. Skwirk’s resources are suitable for students from foundation/ kindergarten to year 10 and enable the teacher to select content, games, assessments and other resources from either their class’s own year group or differing year groups to accommodate the diverse learning abilities in a classroom. Teachers can also assign individual students specific work without the student/s realizing that the work is from another year group. In addition, the range of relevant and interactive resources available on Skwirk caters for differing learning styles including the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learner. This means that teachers and schools do not need to purchase additional resources to meet the varying student needs. Skwirk provides a positive, differentiated learning experience for every student.

  • Skwirk listens to feedback to provide quality and comprehensive resources

Not only does Skwirk continually encourage feedback from teachers, parents and students, they use this input to ensure their resources are relevant, up-to-date and in line with educational standards. This means that teachers and schools do not need to continually up date and replace their teaching resources which is often a costly and time-consuming exercise.

Once you spend money on resources covering different subjects and different materials, it can end up costing hundreds of dollars per student. Skwirk offers all subjects and resources at $6 per student! That’s $6 for a student to access Curriclum relevant Maths, English, Science, History and Geography material, all in one place! I can’t think of many better deals then that. For these reasons alone it is evident why Skwirk is one of the leading educational websites and provides great value for money. Grab a free teacher and school trial by clicking here.

Written by Rachael Ingram, primary school teacher K-6

Alternatively email us asking for a quote, teachers@redapple.com.au

 

Early literacy learning in the modern classroom has been redefined with emerging digital technologies and the ease at which information can be accessed. The increasing use of technology in our everyday lives impacts greatly on literacy instruction and the role of the teacher.

Skwirk, the online learning portal which provides educational resources for foundation (kindergarten) to year 10, supports children in developing fundamental early literacy skills in the current digital age. Early literacy skills do not only entail the development of traditional fundamental knowledge and skills of the past print media world, including reading, comprehension, writing, phonemic awareness and spelling. In today’s society, it is critical that children from an early age are taught computer and technology basics to become confident, informed and safe users of technology. Skwirk not only provides opportunity for the development and consolidation of literacy skills with curriculum aligned resources but at the same time, young children are learning important online skills including how to navigate through a site, use a keyboard, mouse and touch screen technology. Skwirk promotes the interrelatedness of literacy learning and is therefore a valuable learning tool for early learners.

There are a number of ways that Skwirk supports the development of early literacy skills.

  1. Skwirk provides a multi-sensory learning experience

The resources in Skwirk for stage 1 (K-2) provide a highly interactive learning experience for young children. There are over 300 dynamic and engaging animations and games in Stage 1 that teach key concepts such as spelling techniques including sounding words out, breaking words down into smaller parts or blending sounds. In the Skwirk English section for stage 1, there are 9 units of essential early literacy concepts covering more 55 topics. In each topic, the animations and games encourage active participation with the use of questioning techniques, simple instructions, rich, meaningful language, engaging graphics, and interactive games, requiring student participation. In addition to the animations and games, there are also ‘read alongs’ which provide the written text or script for each animation. Students, particularly younger ones, enjoy the variety of multi-sensory games Skwirk offers. Skwirk’s resources encourage enjoyment for learning and when a child is engaged, it is well-documented that they are more likely to retain information and grasp a clear understanding.

 

  1. Skwirk supports a range of learning styles

Skwirk caters for a wide range of learning styles by encompassing a variety of methods to suit different learners. Younger students are more visual learners requiring colourful, eye-catching images and entertaining sound. Skwirk recognises this and uses bright, quirky characters and funny sound effects to engage their young audience. These multi-sensory educational games/ activities stimulate learning by engaging students on many levels, helping them to learn by using more than one sense. Unlike traditional teacher instruction which typically only engages two senses: sight (visual) and hearing (auditory), Skwirk accommodates the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic (touch) learning styles. With the kinaesthetic learner, they prefer to ‘move and do’ in order to learn. They perform best in a learning environment where they can interact. Skwirk’s incorporation of interactive technology such as flash animations, interactive buttons, and drag and drop technology appeals to the kinaesthetic learner. For example, stage 1 students can develop their literacy skills by using the mouse or their finger to hover over a word to hear it read, click on a noun or verb, drag sentences to place them in order, clicking on the initial or end sounds in a word. Early learning of essential literacy skills is more effective when all three learning styles are engaged.

 

  1. Skwirk encourages a self-directed and self-paced

Skwirk allows children to complete games and move through the resources at their own pace and according to their individual needs. Within a classroom, there is a vast range of abilities and needs in literacy learning , particularly in the early school years when children enter formal education with such substantial variation of prior knowledge and skills in reading, phonemic awareness and writing. With Skwirk resources, the learning is individualised. Students are able to select literacy concepts or topics they would like further practice in and attempt these until they have master them. By allowing students to select games and work at their own pace, Skwirk encourages children to have ownership and can take responsibility for their learning.

With the multi-sensory learning experience, the range of learning styles and individual needs Skwirk caters for and the curriculum aligned interactive resources, Skwirk is a powerful online learning tool that can foster the development of early literacy skills and provide a positive learning experience for young children.

Teachers you can get 20% off Individual Teacher access until the end of March with the discount code ‘literacy’. Click Here to get started!  

Teachers/schools/parents, get a free trial to Skwirk by clicking here. 

Written by Rachael Ingram, primary school teacher K-6