Teach Tip Tuesday: Save on stationery this term. 

Hi guys and welcome back to Teach Tip Tuesday. Today’s post is addresses the large amount of money that teachers spend on stationery.

I know that I have an addiction to stationery, as do many of my colleagues. I have a storage box, draw and an enviro bag full this year and constantly have to resist the urge to buy more. I’m sure many of you can relate to that.

Half of Australian teachers spend more than $500 per year on stationery and other items for their classes, and one in 10 spending upwards of $2000 per year. (Published on sky news.com.au 2/4/17)

Why do we have this urge to buy stationery?

  • Students don’t bring anything
  • School doesn’t provide any
  • School doesn’t provide the nice stuff
  • Students borrow and don’t return

And the reasons continue.

Tips to save on stationery!!!

1. Have a lending register. 

  • This helps to track the student borrowing equipment and ensure it’s returned.

2. Colour code your pens and pencils

  • I use washi tape around the end of mine so that they are easily identifiable.

Washi tape.jpeg

3. Use the pen gifting method 

  • This method gets a student donate their own pencil to a student that needs to borrow one. The student that donates gets a new one from you and the borrowing student gets to keep the pencil for the rest of the day.
  • This method rewards the student that has the correct equipment and also means the student who did not have equipment for the day will now be prepared for the remainder of the lessons.

4. Have a stationery borrowing station

5. Buy the best whiteboard markers you can afford

  • While buying expensive markers at $3 a pen may seem counter-intuitive, they tend to last much longer than the cheaper ones and are much nicer to write with.

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6. Find out what the school provides and use it. 

  • Most schools provide a selection of stationery for both staff and students, don’t buy what the school already provides. Things like colour paper, pens, pencils, erasers, staplers, rulers, calculators, etc.
  • discuss with you head of faculty about class sets of equipment

7. Keep your receipts

  • Teachers can claim stationery purchases that are directly related to their job as a tax deduction. Keeping your receipt could increase your tax refund thus saving you money. receipt

What strategies do you use to save money on your school supplies? Please comment below or post on our facebook page.

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Plan to have a break this school holidays.

Here in South East Queensland due to a severe weather system some may say that we are lucky to be beginning our holidays two days early.

Starting holidays two days early has significantly disrupted my plans to ensure that all my marking and reporting was completed by the end of Friday before we went on holidays.

With littlies at home due to school closures marking is a bit of a pipe dream and therefore will now have to be completed in the holidays instead. After a long term I am mindful though that I need a break.

If your like me and have a list as long as you are tall then just like me you probably need a plan of attack. If I don’t take some time to plan when I will get my work done either it won’t happen or I will be thinking about it all holidays and therefore never really taking a break from work.

The holidays is a time for us to refresh and refocus by taking time away from school and for ourselves. If we don’t use this time to fill our buckets we will burn ourselves out through the next term.

This holidays I will be making time for self care, doing the things I don’t have time for during the school term like hair cuts, pedicures and eyebrow waxes.

After 10 weeks of teaching we all need that break from school. So here are 8 tips to ensure that you have a break this holidays.

Take a Break

1. Determine the work that must be completed before you return to school. Make a list

2. Determine the things that you would like to do for yourself.

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Teach Tip Tuesday: You’re not to blame! Probably.

It’s marking season. As countless teachers wade their way through the piles of assessment many of them begin to attack themselves.

Go digital to streamline your marking and save time.

What did I do wrong? What could I have done better? I didn’t work hard enough! I failed them!

These are common thoughts that swirl through the minds of teachers as they mark at least 125 pieces of assessment in one week.

Marking students assessment after finalising a unit with the final piece of assessment can be both demoralising and exhilarating.

More often than not this year I am hearing more stories of being disappointed with student results then I am about how thrilled they are with them.

As teachers we can be exceptionally hard on ourselves and take a great deal of responsibility for the results students achieve. We need to stop!

Meme: If you didn't get the grade you wanted it's highly possible I didn't get the work I wanted. Go digital to streamline your marking and save time.

Our students are between 5 and 19 years of age and their are many other factors that influence how they perform on their assessment. Many students contend with their own issues and this can be the sole reason that they didn’t perform. There are only so many things that teachers can control and many of the things that impact students results cannot be controlled by teachers.

Before you beat yourself up over your classes results use the checklist below to determine your level of blame.

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Why do I Blog?

I created my blog in 2015 after attending FlipCon and presenting. I was keen to share what I was doing in my flipped classroom with others so that they would be able to learn from me.

I wrote one blog and then couldn’t find the motivation to continue writing each week. Last year I restarted with the best intentions of blogging once a week with the intention of sharing my tech insights. For whatever reason I still found it hard to make sure I got to a blog each week and instead would maybe write once a month.

Blogging is lonely. If you are like me you think that you will find a heap of people that are interested in what you have to say and comment so that you can comment and a conversation starts. It is not like that. Most weeks less than 20 people view each of my blog articles. I think this lack of interaction was one of the reasons that I initially found it so hard to commit to writing a blog.

This year I decided I really wanted to give it a crack. I have a lot to share that people don’t know or have forgotten and I like to share. I talked to a friend of mine that runs a successful blogging business and she suggested making a companion facebook page.

Having this page has helped to keep me accountable and has many friends, family and colleagues that follow my work. My sister also advised that my pictures are too boring after seeing them in the facebook feed. Feedback is still feedback positive or negative.

Anyway, back to why I actually choose to blog. I blog because it is therapeutic. I am not a person that writes in a diary each day so blogging has become my personal reflection for me of what I do. Remember when you were studying to be a teacher and you had to write all those reflections? I finally understand their purpose, not only do we learn valuable lessons from them but they also cleanse us of the bad days and allow us to celebrate the great days.

Blogging has helped me this year to maintain my motivation, refresh and refocus and fill my bucket. I have always enjoyed writing and the idea that what I write to help me reflect and focus can help others to do the same and improve their practice or their everyday balance.

The last few weeks I have reiterated how important it is to find something to focus in on for yourself. Blogging is one of my outlets as weird as that might sound.

To help me maintain the consistency of my blog this year (Week 11 going strong) I created two categories a week which helps me find things to write about. Teach Tip Tuesday inspired by Tech Tip Tuesday @Joelsperanza and Free blogging Thursday. Having categories and assigned days has really worked for me.

Next week we celebrate 12 Weeks of blogs. Maybe we can reach 100 Facebook likes and 250 followers. We shall see!!

Out of all the fish inthe sea....png

Do you blog? Is it a secret? Share in the comments below or post on our facebook page.

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Teach Tip Tuesday: Refresh and Refocus

Last week in Teach Tip Tuesday I suggested that you should make some lists to help keep you sane as we approach the end of term. Keep doing this. I will definitely help maintain your sanity.

I don’t know about you but in the last few days I am already feeling tired by 10.30am trying to muster enough energy to complete at least 3 items from my lists seems almost impossible. If you are feeling this way you are not alone.

This week my tip is short and sweet.

Take 30 minutes to refresh and refocus. Do something that makes you happy and has nothing to do with school. Take a walk on the beach, go to yoga, read a book, listen to a pod cast, what ever it is that helps you. It is so important to fill your bucket.

I think that we all need this time most weeks but it is especially important when we are dedicating even more hours in the next couple of weeks just to get things done.

If you can refresh once a day that’s great, but just taking that time once a week for yourself could be just what the doctor ordered.

Keep Healthy and Sane Guys.

2 Weeks to go

If you would like to share how you refresh and refocus please comment below or leave a post on our facebook page.


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Changes to NAPLAN numeracy testing in high school

Depending on how thoroughly you read your updates from ACARA or QCAA you may not be aware that this year the numeracy test for years 7 and 9 is changing.

In the last 10 years since the beginning of NAPLAN in 2008 the numeracy component of the year 7 and 9 NAPLAN test has been divided into two tests. Each test is 40 minutes long, sat in consecutive sessions. There has traditionally been a calculator test and a non-calculator test.

On the 21st of February ACARA announced via their website that the year 7 and 9 numeracy tests would now be sat as one exam but still divided into 2 parts. The calculator section will be part A and will go for 50 minutes; students will then have their calculators removed and begin the non-calculator section which has an allocated 10 minutes to complete. The corresponding statement made by ACARA can be found here

According to the statements made by ACARA these changes to the paper version of the numeracy test are to bring it into line with the online version of the NAPLAN test with a total of 48 questions instead of 68.

In information provided by ACARA they detail that the removal of 20 questions from the numeracy tests previously conducted will have minimal impact on students results.

With NAPLAN being one of the two publicised high stakes data in education why was an announcement only made in February of the year that testing is to be conducted? This I think is a question that we should all be asking.

While ACARA is claiming the data will still be comparable, I still remain a skeptic about the sets of data comparability.

As well as these changes, schools are in for a roller coaster ride with the implementation of  NAPLAN online to be compulsory in 2019. This year ACARA expects that up to 10 % of students that currently sit NAPLAN will sit it online in 2017 and schools have the option to opt in until it’s compulsory in 2019. Once schools opt into NAPLAN online students will receive a tailored NAPLAN test which adjusts the level of questions depending on your previous responses.

The NAPLAN online format will have the benefits of a faster data turn around and also more in depth information about students. While these benefits have the possibility of being helpful to both students and teachers there is a need to ensure students have the appropriate skills to take an online test. There is a study here that looks at the comparability of students that take an online test vs the paper version, the results vary depending on the study however all study’s agree that there is a variation in results skewed towards the paper mode of testing. ACARA has also conducted research into the effects on online testing and tailored level tests, find the link here.

Teachers can now get an idea of the format that NAPLAN online will take through the Public Demonstration here.

The key skills that need to be addressed for students across the different tests include:

  • Typing speed and accuracy
  • Reading on screen for comprehension.
  • Working between paper and screen for Numeracy
  • Using an on screen calculator
  • Spelling correctly when typing (most students use auto correct and predictive text)

These 5 skills are only the surface aspects that schools will need to address. With the move to BYOD in QLD being able to regularly train students to be competent in these skills will be difficult with less than 10% of students in some schools bringing their own device.

What do you think about the current and coming changes to NAPLAN? How is your school planning for and addressing these? Comment below or on our facebook page.


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Teach Tip Tuesday: Write a List

Are you feeling the pressure of the end of term starting to weigh down on you?

Are you anxiously trying to mentally sort through that massive to do list in your head? Prioritising on the fly to make sure you don’t miss an important deadline?

I can tell you that I definitely am. My to do list is never ending. Trying to prioritise is a nightmare and I could definitely do with a week of no students just trying to complete my list.

Let’s solve the mental anguish by WRITING A LIST!

6 Tips to write a list that helps not hinders. 

1. Write a list of everything that you need to do by the end of the term. 

  • This list will likely be very long but we are going to break it down.

2. Make up three lists: by end of week, end of term, beginning term 2. Add each of the items on the previous list to one of the three lists. 

  • If an item doesn’t make it to one of the three lists, it probably doesn’t need to be completed at the moment.
  • Make a new weekly list at the beginning of the week.

3. Prioritise each list. Use a column on the lists that you have already created to prioritise when tasks must be completed. Template here (coming soon). 

4. Calendar your major tasks for end of term. It is essential to know which tasks need to be completed prior to others. Example: 

5. Each new job that you get add it to the appropriate list.

  • This helps to re-prioritise your tasks as you receive new ones.

6. Pick at least 2 end of week jobs for each day and complete part of a end of term one. 

Are you using lists to help manage your end of term? Do they help to manage your anxiety? Please share below in the comments or post to our facebook page.

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Make a video in less than 10 minutes

I started flipping my class  a few years ago now and one of the biggest complaints I hear is that I just don’t have enough time to make videos.Whether you are wanting to make a video for your class, parents or colleagues all you really need is 10 minutes.

The big thing to keep in mind when you are making your video is that you are not a movie production studio and your students don’t expect you to be. Keep to the point and make sure it’s no longer than 5 minutes. If you feel like it needs to be longer than you need more than one video.

giphy (1)

What do I need?

  1. Your notes, presentation or a blank on screen notepad (like OneNote)

  2. Screencasting software.

  3. A mic if you want better sound quality (just a headset or cheap usb one is fine).

Now you’re ready to go.

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Teach Tip Tuesday: Plan a Strategy now to Conquer your Marking 

It’s week 7 in QLD and we are approaching the pointy end of the term.

For many of you, the mountain of marking may have already started to grow. This mountain can easily start to become overwhelming, and you feel the need to start working day and night to clear it.

Go digital to streamline your marking and save time.

While I dedicate part of every school holidays to planning and general school work this term I want to avoid marking in the holidays if possible. I want to be able to focus on developing videos and resources for my flipped classroom instead of the dreaded marking.

This year as part of addressing my work-life balance I’m heading into week 8 with a plan to manage my marking,  reporting and end of term management jobs. Read my post on work-life balance here. See below for my 5 Tips to plan to conquer your marking and an example of my planning.

Plan to fail.png

5 steps to a planned marking and reporting period.

1. Identify when each piece of assessment marking is coming in and any moderation deadlines and reporting deadlines that you must meet. 

2. Determine what time you can reasonably allocate outside of 9 to 3. Exclude days with extra curricula activities. Keep some of the weekend free. 

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Maintaining a Positive Outlook

As we pass the hump point of the term and look forward to the holidays, it can be hard on some days to continue to maintain a positive outlook about the rest of the term.

Right about now our students are settled in our classes; rules and routines have been established and maybe the drudge of daily school life is starting to settle in. Now is the time that some students to start to raise their heads, maybe make a lesson a nightmare or  with all the pending assessment they  just act out over their stress.

Stay positive.jpeg

I know that some days I find it hard to remember the positive parts of my day and I’m pretty sure everyday has some and that’s what this weeks post is about. Keeping your outlook positive even when it seems hard to remember those positive events in your day or week. This week we have 5 suggestions of ways to keep the positive things that are happening at work front and centre.

5 Ideas to Keep the Positives Front and Centre

1. Every time you have a positive thought or experience through the day record it and bottle it. This way when you are feeling down and having difficulty remembering why you do this job pull out one or two of your positive thoughts. 


Making a memory jar by lalaleelou.com Continue reading

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