Mindmap – Human Development & Learning

Last year I did a course on Human Development and Learning. It was my first advanced taste of a lot of these concepts and I must confess I was confused by the apparent mixing of terminology or the use of some terms as synonyms in some papers while they were referred to as very separate and specific concepts in other papers.

To help me, I created this mindmap (Image & pdf). I haven’t done any updates since then but it might be helpful to others.

If anyone is interested I created this in Coggle.


A young man was walking along the beach at dawn. Ahead of him he saw an old man picking up starfish and tossing them into the waves. At last the young man caught up and asked him, “ Why are you doing that?” The old man explained that when the sun came up, the starfish abandoned on the sands would die. “But the beach goes on for thousands of miles and there are millions of starfish on the beach. How can your efforts make a difference, old man?” The old man looked at the little starfish in his hand. As he tossed it to the waves, he replied: “It makes a difference to this one”.

Classroom Routines – Morning Routine

I just finished up a practical placement in a grade 1/2 class in a Primary school. This was my first placement that included a ‘block’ of days and allowed me to observe some strong morning routines in the classroom environment. As I develop my teaching philosophy through training (I’m doing a Bachelor of Primary Education at the University of Canberra), I’m slowly starting to pick up on those things I might want to do when I begin teaching.

The Morning Routine

The morning routine for the class I had for practical placement consisted of the following:

  • Students hang their bags on hooks outside the classroom and line up sitting down outside;
  • Teacher opens the door and greats the students. Students are reminded to bring in water bottles, hats, lunchboxes, notes. On this, water bottles are placed on students desks; hats and lunchboxes are placed in tot trays at the back of the room and notes are given to the teacher;
  • Students sit on floor at front of the room;
  • Role is marked. The process used is ‘Good Morning [Student First Name]’, with the student replying ‘Good Morning Mr/Mrs [Teacher Last Name]’;
  • After the roll is marked, students who have the job of taking down lunch notes to canteen do this;
  • Teacher takes class through the day and date, students are given the opportunity to find the relevant day or date from the laminated options.
  • Start of first lesson…

So, I naturally got thinking about how I might change this up a bit to suite my style of teaching, luckily I got a chance to try some of these out during my placement. My thoughts were:

  • Have a bit of fun marking the role (I actually got this ideas from my 8 year old daughter whose teacher does some of these). Some things I tried:
    • Call names out in different ‘orders’ (e.g., bottom-to-top or all girls then all boys). Ask student’s to try and figure out what order you used;
    • Call names quickly – time with stopwatch and see if you can beat the record over the week; and
    • Change the ‘call-answer’ process. Examples are:
      • Call students by surnames (Master X or Miss Y); or
      • Ask a question that requires a short answer and have students call out the answer rather then ‘here’ (e.g., What is your favourite Pokemon? then Teacher: Billy, Billy: Pikachu).
  • Take the students through the schedule for the day, this was placed on the board in the classroom and but was referenced by the teacher. I think this would help with students feeling they have a more structured day.

That’s all I have for now, do you have any other suggestions for a morning routine?

Fantastic Plastic Workshops

I recently ran a serious of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) workshops for a local primary school. They focused on the Engineering Process (As outlined by this Crash Course Kids video) and the problem of finding a solution to how to sort plastic for recycling. The overall objective was to be aspirational and to challenge students to think about jobs in STEM in the future.

The Engineering Process

The Engineering Process, as outlined for these workshops, is:

  1. Define the problem;
  2. Do your research;
  3. Develop a possible solution;
  4. Design your solution;
  5. Build a prototype;
  6. Test it; and
  7. Evaluate your solutions.

The workshops covered the engineering process upto ‘Design your solution’.

The Workshop Sequence

There were four workshops all up, of 50 minutes each, structured as follows:

  • Workshop #1: Introduce Plastic and investigate it’s material properties and understand student concepts on density. Explore density;
  • Workshop #2: Explore density and one way to determine the density of objects (Density tower). Build the density tower;
  • Workshop #3Explore density and one way to determine the density of objects (Density tower). Determine density of different plastics. Determine density of random objects in the classroom. Density handout for this workshop is also required; and
  • Workshop #4: Design a solution to sorting plastic for recycling.

The sequence could easily be developed into a unit that covered the concept of density (Australian Curriculum key learning area of Science), plastic recycling (Australian Curriculum Cross Curriculum: Sustainability) and engineering (Australian Curriculum key learning area Technology).

Where Do Bananas Come From? by Arielle ‘Dani’ Lebovitz

I’m a little addicted to Kickstarter and at the moment I’m finding some very good books that I think would be good to read to kids. One that I’ve backed is Where Do Bananas Come From? by Arielle ‘Dani’ Lebovitz. A book that has 52 different fruits, one for each week of the year, and outlines facts about each fruit. The graphics look good and I like how you could easily integrate this once a week, even bringing in the actual fruit for tasting.

I look forward to reading this one. I’ve backed the digital edition for 20 USD. If you’re interested get in quick as there is only 5 days left.


The Little Particle That Could by Jason Rodriguez

Beautifully illustrated story that has been made to help children’s understanding of fundamental particles, in this case photons and gravitons. Read with my kids and they loved it.

I purchased this book through it’s Kickstarter campaign, my pledge was for the digital edition (5 USD) and I have already received it. I like the digital versions of picture books as they don’t take up space and help with the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability General Capability in the Australian Curriculum.