No: 221

VT's FREE Newsletter for Educators - Insight, Inspiration and Ideas that Work!


Hello Everyone,
After an exciting and productive year working in Malta, I am returning to Sydney in Mid November of this year.

It has been an amazing and rewarding 12 months for me, living and working in Malta. I've had the opportunity to observe and help develop various professional curriculum initiatives and implement programs in conjunction with the Maltese Education Department.

I firstly had the opportunity to develop the
Educational Program and Training, incorporating the New Learning Outcomes Malteses Curriculum, for Apple Computers 'iPad's for Schools' Tender.
This BOLD initiative will see the rollout of iPad's in conjunction with teacher training to all year 4 students in the system. Over the years to come, the program extended to encompass all Maltese students on a 1:1 basis. This was Seymour Papert's ideal solution in 2004, and finally it is starting to be embraced by schools Internationally.
It was a rewarding experience to be part of an initiative that sees the of implementation technologies that will will benefit both students and teachers alike. Very exciting.

I also worked for the Maltese President's Foundation developing and rolling out iMovie tutorials with staff, volunteers and children. It was exciting to see the enthusiasm with which staff, volunteers and children embraced the use of iPads to unlock their creativity.

In addition to all the development work I had an opportunity to work in several Independent Maltese schools as a classroom teacher providing proof of concept iPad lessons for both teachers and students.

The main programs were iPad - Getting Started, iMovie, Showbie & Kahoots with a smattering of Explain Everything, Book Creator, Scratch and several other App smashing sessions.

It was great to have the opportunity to work in these areas. I was told
thesessions were SO easy and engaging, making things look simple
with fabulous results. I thought about how far we've come, considering my first training sessions for kids was back in 1984 with IBM who provided an early introduction to computers with their 'Star Wars'
Holiday Computer Camp, I guess it has taken
30 years experience
"to make it look easy".

I believe that if technology isn't intuitive, if the interface needs explanation if it is hard work to figure it out - it's bad technology. Technology should provide access to creative output simply.

As tech gets more complex, the best tech stays simple.

I am excited to return to Sydney and look forward to providing training opportunities using technology.
TweetSo if you would like session on making it easy with technology at your school, drop me a line and we can set up a date. Not sure if this would be classified as online dating or not.

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Praise these things.

-------- T i M E L I N E --------
Timeline is a fabulous App that enables students to create a graphical representation of an event or process by displaying items sequentially along a line EASILY. Timelines can be organized by time of day, date, or event, and the tool allows users to create a label with short or long descriptive textand add an image.
Some students may need additional scaffolding - Start with a timeline template - just download a template from Tim's Printables

What can you use a timeline for
You can use them for so many things. Timelines for History, Science, Literacy - Explanations, Story Sequences, seqeuntial events of any kind. Timelins are great fun and great infographics and fit right in with curriculum initiatives for visual literacy. Your students will love doing them and start to use them as tools for many content areas. You will love them because students will be totally engaged in their learning.
Here are some of the curriculum outcomes they meet.
Australian Professional Teaching Standards (6.2.2)
EN1-8B, HT2-3, HT2-4, HT2-5, HTLS-13;
ST1-10LW, ST2-10LW, ST3-10LW

All sorts of beautiful things can happen in the classroom if individualised mastery learning is attainable.
Would you choose to build a house on top of an unfinished foundation? Of course not. Why, then, do we rush students through education when they haven't always grasped the basics? Yes, it's complicated, but Sal shares his plan to turn struggling students into scholars by helping them master concepts at their own pace. Watch this great video by Sal Khan.

Why I'll NEVER Tell my Son He's Smart.
“Dad, aren’t you glad how I struggled with that word? I think I could feel my brain growing.” I smiled: my son was now verbalizing the tell­-tale signs of a “growth­ mindset.” This is a great video and text about praising the right things.
Also check out Sals other videos on success and effort. By praising GENUINE effort the message is clear - you can learn anything if you make an effort.

Raising Kids With GRIT: You're Probably Doing It Wrong
To foster real GRIT, the right approach is to foster "a growth mindset," or a belief that our mental capabilities aren't fixed and can grow with effort. In short, you want don't want to tell your kids that they're smart. You want to tell them they can get smarter if they try hard.
Overall, if you want to raise resilient kids, the key is "teaching kids that their brains are like muscles that can be strengthened through hard work and persistence. So rather than saying 'Not everybody is a good at math. Just do your best,' a teacher or parent should say 'When you learn how to do a new math problem, it grows your brain.' from an article by

GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Angela Lee Duckworth
As a teacher, Angela quickly realized that IQ wasn't the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success. A Great Video to Watch
Do the GRIT Scale Questonaire There is a GRIT Scale Questionaire for kids - a downloadable pdf.

This is a fabulous series of videos and lessons on understanding visual literacy(upper primary). You will love them, Creative, Informative, engaging to watch videos and interactive. If you start the kids off this this series they will probably finsih them all at home. Log them into Kahn Academy for free and watch their progress.

It all starts with an idea..
Story and Art
Sets and Cameras
Wrap it Up
Go on just do it. This is a great post exam activity for the run up to Christmas.

I do answer all emails so send them along with your questions ideas and great sites.

Hi Cathy,

I'm Sarah from Caring4OurKids We are a group of parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a few comorbid diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. We've come together and are creating a site of original and curated resources to help other like us. I was working on our next piece and came across your site. I thought maybe your site might also benefit from some of these resources (maybe here).

Thanks for all you do.

Sesame Street Autism Resources for Parents
Reduce the Noise: Help Loved Ones with Sensory Overload Enjoy Shopping
Resources for Military Families
Academic Accommodation Resources
Estate Planning for Parents of Special Needs Kids


Sarah Brian

Hi Sarah,
Thanks for this I will include them. I have worked with a few Autistic children and found the computer and iPad great tools.
Here a few sites with some lists
Drama Therapy and Autistic Spectrum Disorder Interesting article. You can watch the video as well.
I have also found neurolinguistic programming NLP very informative.
Have a great day.

That’s wonderful, Cathy!

I’m thrilled to know that you found the resources helpful and that you plan to share them with your readers. Can’t wait to see them live on your site.

I will check out the links you sent over.

Thank you!

Sarah B.

This Newsletter is not free, despite the misleading advertising above. The Fee is now due. Each week you must help one colleague on the Internet who has less knowledge than you.Help that person even if you have to visit their classroom or do a little research and get back to them. Trust me, this will help a lot of people get their computer classrooms running better. OK I'm trusting you!!!
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The opinions expressed here are purely those of the editor, Cathy Brown. All other small print clauses apply. Such as: Use at your own risk. Nothing in life is guaranteed. If it doesn't work for you send an email or tweet me.
Editor: Cathy Brown

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