April 18, 2017

Anzac Day Lessons

Although ANZAC Day often falls during the school holidays, as it does this year, I believe it's important to integrate meaningful discussions and lessons about Anzac day into the first week back at school. 

One of the easiest, and often most meaningful, ways to do this is through picture books. 

Here are my top 3 picture books for primary-aged children:

1. Anzac Ted - Belinda Landsberry

Anzac Ted is the powerful, poignant story of a little boy's teddy bear that was passed down to him from his grandfather. Battered, torn, missing an eye and an ear, he might look scary but he’s got an important story to tell.  Anzac Ted went to war, keeping soldiers company and giving them comfort. While he never won a medal, and now doesn’t even attract a single vote at the classroom 'Toy Show', if only everyone looked a little deeper:

‘They’d see a hero, plain as day
Who sits upon my bed.
A hero, who saved me and you.
His name … is Anzac Ted.’ 

2. Lest We Forget - Kerry Brown
'My granddad says there are two types of days: those you want to remember and those you want to forget ...'

Lest We Forget shows a parallel story of a young boy and his grandfather. When visiting his grandfather the boy thinks about the important days in his life: his first day of school, playing soccer with his team, the day his baby sister was born. Yet through the illustrations the reader sees a parallel story of the grandfather's experiences at war: wearing his brand-new soldier's uniform, with his fellow diggers in the field, looking at a photo of the baby he's never met. 

3. Anzac Biscuits - Phil Cummings

Rachel is in the kitchen, warm and safe. Her father is in the trenches, cold and afraid. When Rachel makes biscuits for her father, she adds the love, warmth and hope that he needs. 

This is a touching story of a family torn apart by war but brought together through the powerful simplicity of Anzac biscuits. Anzac Biscuits delicately entwines the desolation of life on the front line with the tenderness of life on the home front.

Another beautiful way to commemorate Anzac Day is through Art. While there are numerous artworks you can do, this is by far my favourite - due to its simplicity and symbolism. 

Using their thumbprints, students create the centre and petals of their poppies.  

Students then create the stems of their poppies by dipping cardboard pieces into green paint. 


This works beautifully as an individual artwork or as a whole class piece, where every student completes one poppy. 


Depending on your ability to access cooking equipment another lovely way to commemorate Anzac Day is to bake Anzac biscuits. Especially after reading the picture book 'Anzac Biscuits' students love being able to recreate the iconic treats. 

This can also be a great way to incorporate writing, as the students could make the biscuits (from verbal instructions), then write a recipe to take home to their families. 

Here is a quick and easy recipe by Monique Bowley:

I hope these ideas help you teach your students about Anzac Day 

April 02, 2017

What is a "Bump It Up" wall and why should you use it?

If you follow my Facebook page or Instagram, you will have no doubt seen my "Bump It Up" Walls. After a number of queries about these products, I really wanted to share how I, and other teachers around Australia, incorporate Bump It Up Walls into our daily teaching practices. 

A Bump It Up Wall is a visual display which provides explicit and levelled benchmarks for students and teachers to refer to and track learning. The Bump It Up displays I have created are based on the Literacy Continuum and each level corresponds to continuum clusters. 

(Miss_f44 has both my Reading and Writing posters Displayed)

My initial reason for creating a Bump It Up Wall was to foster student self-assessment and allow students to track and move learning forward. As a NSW teacher, I was also required to track students on PLAN, the DET's online literacy continuum program. With the need to track students across the continuum and desire to make learning accessible and visible to students, the Bump It Up wall was born!

After many hours of professional readings and trial and error across a number of school settings, I've developed a product that has dramatically transformed my teaching practices. Through this process, I've also discovered 3 fantastic reasons for all teachers to use the Bump It Up system!

According to leading educational researcher, Dylan Wiliam, there are five key strategies for the effective implementation of formative assessment, or assessment for learning, and the Bump It Up Wall addresses these perfectly!


As an assessment tool, the Bump It Up wall is perfect for sharing explicit learning expectationsEach level details the success criteria for the accompanying literacy cluster and while all students begin and progress through the levels at a different rate, the use of clearly defined benchmarks provides each student with a personal learning goal that is both explicit and challenging. Additionally, teachers are already assessing students against these very descriptors, so it seems only fair that teachers share these expectations with their students. 

With the use of clear learning intentions and success criteria teachers are able to effectively question students about their learning. With this, develops a shared language about learning where teachers can provide explicit and meaningful feedbackProviding feedback is made especially easy as I have included feedback slips in both my reading and writing packs.

The remaining two strategies self assessment and peer assessment are also fostered through the use of the Bump it Up system. With a clear understanding of learning intentions and success criteria and the immediate feedback students receive from using this resource, students quickly develop the higher order thinking strategies required to self and peer assess, and what's more - they love it!

As you may have already noticed, this resource similarly aligns with the Quality Teaching Framework and AITSL Professional Standards for Teachers.

Of course being based off the Literacy Continuum, the Bump It Up Wall is curriculum aligned. 


Therefore utilising the Bump It Up wall and its accompanying resources will allow you to effectively teach and track students across the curriculum and continuum. Not only will this data influence how you teach and plan your lessons, it will provide the perfect snapshot of student progress when it comes to report time!

Within both the reading and writing packs there is absolutely everything you will need to carry out high-impact teaching and learning. 

Let's take a closer look inside!




Wishing you all the best on your Bump It Up journey,