Student Differentiation and Wellbeing

studentsupportWhen I came to Payne Road State School in an attempt to outline the current levels of intervention and to determine who did what I developed this upside down triangle to outline the different levels of “differentiation” or “intervention” that students received.  In reviewing this and from ongoing conversations since the full school review it is becoming more obvious that this diagram does not quite outline procedures or give you all an idea of what level of support there is available or when you access that support for the students in your class.  Now I know that no diagram is going to make that suddenly fall into place but I am hoping that it can at least point you in the right direction.  So in the interest of looking at this I have begun drafting a new procedural diagram (is that even a thing?) with some feedback already from support staff and using a model based on Simon Sinek’s work outlined in a previous post.  This model starts with the “WHY”…because we have to ask the question why do we look for these interventions or differentiate our curriculum…in my model I have added a simple statement here:

“Supporting all students with diverse needs to succeed”

This might not be our overall reason for doing what we do and I would appreciate your feedback.  The important word for me in this statement is “succeed”.  My intention for this is to remind us that success for different students is different…The rest of the model will include (when completed) would include the “HOW”, as in how this is achieved. and the “WHAT”, as in what resources and processes will support that in your classroom…this will provide more collaboration to get this right. At this point it does not have details but I would like it to include elements of literacy and numeracy intervention, SEP intervention and the connections to our planning and data collection processes.


Your feedback is most welcome…

Benefits of Flexible Learning Spaces #1 Teaching in Teams

Zac-1gy3s83-1024x768Flexible or open learning spaces are hard work. It is a challenge for teachers to adapt their practices, it is a challenge for students to adapt their behaviour. The benefits are unparalleled though, and can be translated back into any learning space.

Teachers working in teams is a significant benefit that arises from teaching in an open learning space. Teachers have the opportunity to learn from others in the following ways:

  • simply by observing excellent practice
  • being motivated by a great idea
  • if one or two teachers have developed a unit which is online, all aspects of a great lesson can be online and available not only to students, but also to teachers.
  • behavioural expectations can be set up for an entire group of students, teachers with different abilities to manage student relationships (behaviour) are supported by the development of a culture that is greater than the individual class culture they could have produced.
  • The notion of the classroom teacher becomes quite fluid – any teacher can take any class and still produce positive learning outcomes.
  • Experts and Special Needs teachers can enter the learning space and not be a distraction to students.
  • Special needs teachers can work with groups of students from a few classes and increase their influence
  • Special Needs teachers can work not only with students, but also with teachers. Teachers who typically remain content experts can transform into facilitators as they learn to communicate in ways that are developmentally appropriate.

Teachers working in teams provide a richness of experience for students and for each other.

From Nick Hornby – About A Boy “Suddenly I realized – two people isn’t enough. You need backup. If you’re only two people, and someone drops off the edge, then you’re on your own. Two isn’t a large enough number. You need three at least”

Further Readings

Plain Old Good Teaching

Good-Teaching-Clock-Web-1024x512 From an article by Shaun Killian on the Australian Society of Evidence Based Teaching website:

There are a lot of elaborate theories and vogue words that try to describe what good teaching entails. Sadly, some of them have little, if any grounding in evidence at all. Others do, but they are difficult to carry out and their effects are small.

A teacher has limited time, and this makes your time a valuable commodity. When you choose to spend your time on one thing, there will be other things you end up not doing. Therefore, it is essential that you know what teaching strategies have the most impact on student learning. Collectively, I call these strategies the foundations of good teaching.

MyRead: Strategies for teaching reading in the middle years



MyRead is based on the beliefs that:

Nothing new in this website but thought I would put it out there as it will probably be a hot topic of conversation after our full school review…

3 Reasons Why All Learning is Personal

Personalized learning is something that educators have talked about for a long time, but I am really struggling with the term.  I have talked about the idea and differences between “individualized and personalized” learning before, but really, all learning is personal.

Think about this scenario…

I recently spoke to approximately 200 school leaders (at all levels) over a three day period.  Each group had people in similar positions, but from different schools, programs, etc.. After about 35-40 minutes of talking to each group using the same slides and ideas, I asked them to reflect in a google form about what they wanted to learn and their takeaways.  Although the talk was the same over the three days, their responses were so different from one another. We have to realize that this is the norm, not the exception, but why is it the norm?

Here are three reasons that struck me upon reflection of this experience.


Doesn’t this to apply to all teaching and learning whether it is from the curriculum, delivered in a workshop, or watching it on a YouTube video?

We should focus less on all people learning the same thing, and more on all people learning forward. There is a difference.

From the Innovator’s Mindset blog: