teacher resources

Hi Skwirkers! Coming up on the 26th of January is Australia Day. Skwirk explores Australia Day to help develop students’ understanding of its history and customs.

Jump on to the Skwirk Facebook page to tell us about your favourite Australia Day classroom activities.

History

Australia day commemorates the landing of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove on the 26th January, 1788. The First Fleet arrived on 11 ships, with about 1000 people on board. The fleet was sent to Australia to start a colony. This colony was made up primarily of prisoners. These prisoners committed mostly petty crimes such as stealing a loaf of bread or fraud.

The first ‘official’ Australia Day was held in 1801 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to mark 30 years of European settlement.

How do people celebrate?

Australia Day is a nationwide public holiday. It is celebrated across the country with official and unofficial events and firework displays. Some people host barbeques, others play a round of cricket and others go to the beach. A lot of people also like to dress up on Australia Day with clothes that have the Australian flag on them.

Australia Day or Invasion Day?

When Captain Cook landed in Australia he declared the land ‘Terra Nullius’, which means land belonging to no one. Cook decided that because of the way the Aboriginal people lived it was not their land. The Aboriginal people did not show their ownership with fences or markers, like people in Europe. Cook decided that the British could colonise. This decision led to Australia’s Indigenous people losing all their rights to the land. The fight for land rights is still going on today. This is why some Aboriginal people chose not to celebrate Australia day as it was the day the Europeans took their land. A lot of them see the say as ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survival Day’.

Useful teaching and learning resources

Free downloadable resources

Simply click on the links below to access the free resources we have created on our TeachersPayTeachers account.

Skwirk resources

Log into Skwirk to get access to online resources (don’t have an account? Subscribe now or start a free trial). Once you have logged in, click on the links below to access each chapter.

Great Australia Day books

Check your local library or book shop to find the following books, hand-picked by Skwirk teachers.

  • An Aussie Year: Twelve Months in the life of Australian Kids – Tania McCartney
  • A is for Australia – Frane Lessac
  • Why I Love Australia – Bronwyn Bancroft
  • Are We There Yet? – Alison Lester
  • My Place – Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlin
  • Meet Captain Cook – Rae Murdie
  • Ernie Dances to the Didgeridoo – Alison Lester
  • Wombat Stew – Marcia Vaughan
  • Possum Magic – Mem Fox and Julie Vivas
  • Waltzing Matilda – A.B (Banjo) Paterson
  • The Rainbow Serpent – Dick Roughsey
  • My Country – Dorothea Mackellar
  • Where the Forest Meets the Sea – Jeanie Baker

Engaging Videos

Students love watching videos! The following videos on Australia Day are engaging and educational.

A lot is changing in education – there are radical ideas (abolishing homework) through to the more subtle (replacing chairs with bouncy balls). So why pay attention to the “flipped classroom” movement? The idea of a “flipped classroom” might sound foreign and even a little silly, but as you delve into the paradigm you will find, just as I did, that it has the most drastic effect on learning.

The idea is simple – set the learning work for homework and the traditional homework as classwork. The first reaction you will think of (and get from your students) is: They call it homework for a reason, Sir!” But the reality of it is that the traditional homework, where students reinforce their learning and most of the times complete higher order thinking activities is being done at home, without teacher help or supervision. A flipped classroom seeks to fix this. Rather than spending your time in class on lower order thinking skills (remembering, understanding, etc) and teaching content or concepts, asks your students to read an article or watch a video. Arm them with the knowledge so that when they get to class, you can get to what matters – the activities that target the higher order thinking skills. So how does this theory apply in the real life classroom?

I implemented this over a six month trial in a Year 9 Mathematics class. These kids had, for the most part, given up on learning maths. Marks were on the low and unhelpful behaviour was on the rise… Here was a typical lesson:

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When I analysed the activities that my class consisted of, I found that I spent most of my class time on teaching a concept, for example how to find the missing sides of a compound shape. This was a low order skill when classifying it according to Bloom’s Taxonomy. The higher order skills (applying, creating) were set for homework (which was either not complete or copied from the answers).

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So I decided to make the change – from the first day of Term 3, I told students what the plan was: their homework was to watch a video before each lesson. The students were confused and even a little fearful, but the effects were immediate. I was not spending any class time on low order skills – the students were instructed to sit down and start the activity on the board (or the worksheet handed out). There was a few flow on effects from this style of teaching:

  1. The “lessons” were differentiated by default – students could take their own time to watch the video and learn the concept. They could stop, start and replay it at will, and if it took them an extra 20 minutes to do it they weren’t slowing anyone else down!
  2. Behaviour issues were down – students didn’t get upset, embarrassed or confused because they understood the content before the class started and their friends were all at the same starting point walking into the room (regardless of how many times they watched the video!)
  3. Students could revise the lessons before exams (or when they felt like they had to revisit an earlier concept)

In my flipped classroom, this is what my lessons looked like now:

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And this was the new way that Bloom’s Taxonomy was being prioritised:

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It wasn’t all rosy, though:

  • I custom made the videos, which took about 1 hour per lesson – I could use them next year, but the initial investment was high. Had I known about Skwirk at the time I could have used their content instead!
  • Some students still came to class without preparation – once students realised that they weren’t ready for class and the others were contributing freely, the students picked up the slack and watched the videos they missed.

In all, the flipped classroom was a success. I unfortunately was taken off the class at the end of the year, but students actually begged me to make more videos for them!

I highly enjoyed my flipped classroom experience and I hope that you decide to take the leap.

If you would like to know more about my journey or how you can flip your classroom, feel free to contact us to get an online presentation.

Skwirk provides over 18,000 resources that can form the basis of an engaging and meaningful flipped classroom lesson. Take a trial here and see how Skwirk can help your classroom. Keep in touch – we’d love to hear your experiences with flipped lessons!

The reason why Skwirk has become one of the most popular and well-respected education companies in Australia is that it combines fun and inspiration with real learning. In addition to providing teachers, home educators and students with more than 18,000 educational resources, Skwirk has also developed an array of powerful reporting and assessment tools for all levels. These tools support student-led learning and a flexible classroom, while making sure that concrete progress is being made.

Where inspiration meets progress

It’s no secret that Skwirk works hard to inspire students. That’s why over 25% of schools in New South Wales benefit from a subscription.

However, the expert Skwirk team knows that all the inspiration in the world doesn’t equate to progress, without accountability. It’s easy enough to see if a student is enjoying their lessons. You can tell, just by watching them and talking to them. But it’s not so easy to see from the outside if they’re really absorbing what they’re learning. That’s where reporting and assessment are absolutely crucial.

Reporting and assessment – up to the minute

Skwirk’s thousands of resources, all developed to meet the Australian curriculum, are impeccably organised according to year level, learning outcomes and topic areas. So, even if a student is using resources independently, and is engaged in student-led learning, the teacher or parent can tell exactly what level they’re working at and how their learning fits into the curriculum. There’s never any need to be stabbing about in the dark.

Skwirk’s up to the minute assessment tools provide you with this kind of specific information, so you can direct student-led learning and organise your flexible classroom accordingly. Without accurate assessment and reporting, you risk repeating content unnecessarily, which can lead to student boredom. After all, who wants to revise an area in which they already feel confident? The focus should be on teaching students new skills and knowledge, so they are constantly developing, growing and maintaining their enthusiasm for learning.

Questions?

Would you like to know more about Skwirk’s up to the minute learning and assessment tools? Are you wondering if a Skwirk subscription is right for your school or home? Our friendly, passionate, expert team would love to talk to you at a time that suits you. Why not get in touch with us today? Take a free trial, click here.

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

It’s no secret that Australian public schools are under-funded and under-resourced. Hard working teachers and principals all over the country work to bring a high-quality education to millions of students, despite the lack of support. What’s more, teachers are coming under increasing pressure to meet a diverse range of learning needs and styles, deliver innovative lessons and prepare students for complex jobs. Even the most hard-working, talented, experienced teachers can find themselves under extreme stress.

Why reinvent the wheel?

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Teachers are using Skwirk across multiple platforms.

That’s where Skwirk comes in. We know that, between delivering lessons, marking, assessments and keeping parents happy, teachers and principals have their work cut out for them. So we thought we might help. We’ve developed a truly enormous range of online education tools and teacher resources, in order to help Australia’s educators save both money and time. Our site contains more than 18,000 classroom-ready resources – from iPad resources to interactive whiteboard resources to education videos. Literally years and years of educational expertise and experience have gone into their development.

Teaching the Australian curriculum

All the main subject areas of the Australian curriculum are covered – from the English curriculum and the history curriculum to the maths curriculum and the science curriculum. Students of all ages – from kindergarten level to Year 10 – are taken care of.

Thousands of resources in one location

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Boomerang Maths – One of over 1000 interactive games.

Whether you’re a secondary principal who wants to help teachers across a range of faculties or a primary teacher who needs to address numerous subject areas every day, Skwirk can come in really handy. Rather than having to subscribe to several different sites, you only need one account, and you’ll find everything you need at your fingertips.

All resources are well organised, not only according to subject areas, but according to topics, too. Whether teachers need to explain the intricate details of the Australian federal parliament or how to categorise the country’s native flora and fauna, there are complete unit plans available. Lessons are supplemented with rigorous assessment and reporting tools, so teachers can keep a close eye on students’ progress and provide supplementary lessons whenever necessary.

Meeting a range of teaching and learning strategies

We know that students learn in a variety of ways. And that’s why Skwirk has resources covering a range of strategies – whether pupils learn best visually or kinaesthetically, there are plenty of options for them, from amazing animations to interactive games. Teachers can mix and match a range of activity styles to best meet the needs of their classes.

Get a Skwirk trial today: Click here

Alternatively get a quote for your school. Email us: teachers@skwirk.com.au

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.