Four hours Saturday morning, four hours Sunday morning, all unpaid work…

I know there are bigger things going on in our incredibly fucked up world right now,  but sometimes we have to focus on our immediate personal experiences and try to make some tiny difference… or at least raise our voices.

My issue, if you couldn’t tell from my post title, is how much additional unpaid work we do as teachers. Today I spent four hours giving feedback on year 12 essays. It is Saturday. Tomorrow I plan to do the same because if I don’t I can’t possibly get the feedback all completed before it is due on Friday. When I told Lee this morning that I had four hours of work ahead of me he asked me if there was a better system than writing essays to demonstrate knowledge, to which I replied ‘No, not in the context of the HSC. The kids have to write essays for their exams, and since the exam drives everything, it’s what we need to work on.’ He suggested that system needs to change, and I agreed… but in a feeble way because I’m pretty impotent against NESA, right? Lee also suggested that perhaps I should just stop taking senior classes if it’s affecting my home life so much (which it is, like it does to all teachers, but we normalise it as ‘part of the job’). Of course, it sounds great not having the marking, but you also don’t have the joy of teaching content you love to the same group of young people over two years and building a beautiful connection with them at an important time in their lives – something you rarely get when only teaching juniors.

So, perhaps it’s the feedback process that’s the problem? I mean, lots of people share great alternatives to written feedback – 1-1 meetings, filming feedback, peer-feedback only – and I’ve tried all of these, but find the most success I get with student progress is through the process of making written suggestions throughout a complete essay AFTER having given feedback on a thesis, topic sentences and evidence selection. Essay-writing in the HSC English format is unnatural and hard (yeah, I know that the new HSC is valiantly trying to change this, but let’s be honest, even writing a discursive or persuasive piece requires revision – it’s even written in the bloody rubric for Module C!) so students need support throughout the process. So, no, I don’t think it’s the process at all.

I have actually tried to fit this giving of feedback into my timetable, you know, during my free periods built into the hours that I’m actually paid to work. I think I can hear my teacher friends laughing to themselves as they read that sentence. Why? Because it’s a joke. It’s not possible to get your marking completed during your working hours – whether that marking is giving feedback (we Aussie teachers typically use the verb ‘marking’ for everything whether it is formative or summative) or marking assessment tasks. In my free periods I am doing one of these things: in a meeting, writing programs (haha, rarely, TBH mostly this is done at home too), creating resources, doing mindless administrivia, helping my colleagues or my students, responding to or writing emails, or photocopying. A lot of that happens during my lunch, recess and before or after school as well.

I love my students, and I want them to achieve their very best, so I regularly give up my free time for them. Sometimes though, I think that the system – the education system – takes advantage of this generosity of teachers, and allows us to work ourselves into the ground. I’m not trying to make any profound or novel point about teacher workloads with this post – Gabbie Stroud started that with her Guardian article – I just needed to share where I’m at right now. I’m looking forward to a time when I’m not forced to choose between cleaning my house, hanging out with my sons and husband or helping my students. It’s a horrible choice that just foments resentment.

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The Personal Essay Project

This year we are embarking on transdisciplinary learning for the first time. What is transdisciplinary learning, you ask? Well, it feels like what we sometimes call cross-curricula or multi-disciplinary learning, but it’s different in its purpose. I take the term from the work happening at UTS Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, after my two DPs heard the Dean of the school, Professor Louise McWhinnie, speak at a conference. You can read more about their vision here. Below is their description of what transdisciplinary learning is, and is not:

  • Multi-disciplinarity occurs when the solution to a problem makes it necessary to “obtain information from two or more sciences or sectors of knowledge without the disciplines drawn on thereby being changed or enriched” (Piaget, 1972). An example is when an engineer, designer, marketeer, and UX expert come together to develop a product, using the perspectives and knowledge of each of these practices. The individual practitioners do not change or become enriched by this collaboration.
  • Cross-disciplinarity is what happens when the goals and concepts of one discipline are imposed on another discipline (Jantsch, 1972). Cross-disciplinary design thinking is what happens when design is ‘imposed’ on business. Design methods such as personas, storyboarding and prototyping are used for business purposes, without adjusting these methods to the business context. Business might be enriched through this interaction (or just confused), but design does not change.
  • Inter-disciplinarity is where “cooperation among various disciplines or heterogeneous sectors in the same science lead to actual interactions, to a certain reciprocity of exchanges resulting in mutual enrichment” (Piaget, 1972). For example, methods and concepts from biology, chemistry and psychology are integrated in medicine. Biology and chemistry, and psychology ‘enrich’ each other for the shared purpose of medicine. Similarly, design and computer science have enriched each other in the interdisciplinary field of interaction design.
  • Transdisciplinarity takes this integration of disciplines a step further. It is a holistic approach. It is not just about interactions between specialised fields, but about placing these interactions in a total system with a social purpose. (The italics and red added by me.)

What I really like about this type of approach to learning is the ‘social purpose’ which is reinforced in the Faculty’s further observation regarding some of the pressing issues we are facing, and how working together towards solutions to these is becoming an imperative: In this rapidly changing, hyper-connected world, we are facing increasingly complex and dynamic problems. To name just a few, we are facing mass-migration, youth radicalisation, mental health problems caused by social media pressure and increasing work pressure, and climate change is getting so out of hand that we have started to enter the anthropocene.

OK, so back to the small way in which I am trying to introduce more transdisciplinary learning experiences for the gifted and talented learners at my school. This year we have introduced Praxis into year 8 – just for term one. Instead of it being what I call ‘curriculum complementary’ like year 7 Praxis (no syllabus outcomes assessed, just ‘soft skills’), it is what I call ‘curriculum aligned’ – that means that syllabus outcomes are assessed as the projects are embedded into the scope and sequences of participating subjects. This year we have designed a Geography + English project (which is the focus of this post) and a Mathematics + Science project (which I can write about later if anyone is interested). In terms of logistics, we have played around with the timetable a tiny bit to ensure that once per fortnight (we are an A and B week timetable) we have a double period that is Geo then English, or Science then Maths. We call this our Praxis session where two classes of 30 work with their teachers (plus me, the Praxis teacher) in a purposefully designed space (thanks P&C!). During this time students actively apply their learning through project work – the old campfire, waterhole, cave set-up is being used to structure this double period. All work that happens in the classroom during ‘traditional’ lessons is directly related to the project, which means when we get to the Praxis sessions students are raring to go!

So, the current English + Geography (Geolish, lulz) project can be seen on the project outline below:

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So, as you can see, the social problem that students are addressing is Australia’s relationship with water, specifically with freshwater. Students are learning all about  the management of catchments in NSW in Geography, and they are demonstrating this through the form of a personal essay (which they are learning all about in English!). In my English class (yes, I get to be the English teacher AND the Praxis teacher for this project), we have been studying the wonderful writing of Tim Winton – looking mostly at his non-fiction, but also some fiction in the form of extracts from novels and short stories. Winton is SUCH a great mentor for young writers, and the fact that he always writes about water is an added bonus! From Winton students have learnt about how to create an engaging piece of writing that is persuasive, emotive, imaginative and informative. They have also considered how he uses the essay form to represent the different relationships that Australians have with water – economic, aesthetic, cultural and spiritual.

Last we we turned our attention specifically to the personal essay form, and who better to be my students’ guide than my favourite author, George Orwell? I ran a session on the personal essay for with the two year 8 classes currently doing the project. We started with me delivering a presentation on the language features and structure of the personal essay. (Click Personal Essays to download a PDF of the presentation.)

Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 7.27.14 pmFollowing this, we allocated each project team one of four essays written by Orwell – Some Thoughts on the Common Toad, In Defence of British Cookery, Good Bad Books, and the first part of The Lion and the Unicorn. Students complete these tasks as shown below… and you can see their ‘Tips from Orwell’ underneath the task – they did really well, and told me the were very confident with the form now. Many also enjoyed Orwell’s voice, and indicated that they wanted to read more of his writing – winning!

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After this single period lesson, we had out Praxis double period. I started off the double explaining to them the importance of planning their essay, and gave them a template to use as a planner. I had collaborated with my Geography colleague (who also has my class) via Google docs to create the planner, making sure that it included by Geography and English elements. I absolutely love how this document turned out, and the students’ responses to it has shown me that it is not just another ‘thing’ I’ve made them do, they are actually filling it in really thoughtfully and have commented on how it makes the final product much more achievable. Here is an example of two students using it for their essays – I just love that they are both clearly thinking about their purpose before they writes, so powerful for young writers to know they have the capacity to affect their readers through the language features they use!

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Anyway, I haven’t seen my class since last Friday (I was off sick the last two days), so it has been nice to see via Google docs that they are using the planners.  After they have completed the planner, they will fill in their personal medals and missions at the bottom… see below:

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Once this is done, they will seek feedback from their two team-members, fix up suggestions, and then it will come to me for feedback. Students must read through their feedback and identify three goals to work on as they write their personal essay. This process seems long-winded, but it is essential in ensuring they become self-directed learners who have the capacity to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses in order to improve. I’m really looking forward to reading their final responses, which is pretty weird, but they will all be so unique and given I have seen where they have started as writers, I’m eager to see where they end up! At this point, I can say that all the hard work and planning to get this first transdisciplinary project off the ground has absolutely been worth it.

What the heck is a ‘discursive text’?

So, we all sort of went ‘what the?’ when the (not a) sample HSC English paper released by NESA asked students to compose a ‘discursive piece’ for Mod C – Craft of Writing. They gave a definition of the form, which is delightfully vague:

discursive texts
Texts whose primary focus is to explore an idea or variety of topics. These texts involve the discussion of an idea(s) or opinion(s) without the direct intention of persuading the reader, listener or viewer to adopt any single point of view. Discursive texts can be humorous or serious in tone and can have a formal or informal register. (NESA)

The vagueness of this definition has now become a concern for the teachers and students who are beginning to explore the Craft of Writing module. I am one of those teachers. Initially I did what everyone does in 2018, I googled it, and found (like everyone else) the BBC Bitesize page that goes over the discursive form for students. It’s the BBC, should we take it as definitive? It is tempting! Of course, it reads a bit like a discussion essay, and it tells us that language must be formal, but the NESA definition says it can be informal. The BBC site tells us that the form is primarily informative, and balanced (makes one assume objective) but then NESA says it can have an opinion, and it can be humorous. Hmmm… Recently I have done another google, and found a new site has popped up declaring itself as having the definitive guide to discursive texts (search it and you will know the one I mean, I’m not linking to it here) – it’s a site that’s basically a tutoring business, and being the punk I am, I just don’t 100% trust sites that make money off presenting themselves as being authoritative. Also, I disagree with what it says about traditional analytical essays for English being persuasive, that is just plain confusing for students. So, when I am confused and seeking clarity and wisdom, what do I do? I message Darcy, of course! Below is a copy of my message… I won’t past Darcy’s reply as I am hoping he will write his own post on this topic, as I know he has a bit to say.

You know how HSC English now requires students to write discursive essays as well as persuasive and imaginative… would you say Orwell writes discursive essays? I’ve always referred to them as personal essays, but looking at the NESA definition of discursive, I think that’s what he does. He obviously has an agenda or position on his focus topic, and he is quite persuasive, but he also does a great job outlining arguments for and against and then settles on his own position, which he makes clear by the end. I think there is such confusion around the term… I’m teaching PATEL now and we’ve set students a discursive essay task in response, and I am going to get them to use Orwell’s style as their model… what do you think? Sorry for the billion messages. This should be a blog post TBH but just would love your advice as you’re my most knowledgeable Orwell friend. Thanks.

Darcy’s concern is similar to mine, the NESA definition could pretty much include any text ever – my students and I had a laugh about this actually. TBH, my laugh was hearty, and theirs a bit nervous – it’s stressful for them feeling uncertain. As a lover of language and literature, I’m stoked to finally have some freedom and flexibility in the English Stage 6 Syllabus, the kids, I am discovering, are less stoked.

Anyway, I had been messaging Darcy early in the morning, so when I got to school I, of course, continued the subject with my English colleagues – they too are feeling a bit confused and stressed about this new form. We ended up having about a 40 minute conversation, putting forward many ideas, with me looking through things I’ve written about persuasive texts for textbooks and about personal essays trying to see if I knew what I was on about. Ultimately, we came to an agreement that the form is super flexible, but there are some elements that students can use to guide them. One of my colleagues asked me to write up our conversation because we covered so much, and I did this as best as I could. I thought I’d share those note with you, but please know, I am not posting this to claim any authority at all over a definition of this form, just that this is where we are at, and I’m happy to move forward on this writing journey with my students now that I’ve talked it all out. Here are my notes:

– discursive texts are not discussion essays, although they have some commonalities including: considering different perspectives on a topic, writing strong paragraphs on each perspective with supporting evidence, selecting a preferred position and articulating reasons for choice but not in a forceful way. It is unlike a discussion essay in that it does not need to be formal or objective in tone, however, it can have formal and objective aspects.
– discursive texts are a offer and not a demand. In other words, they offer a range of insights into a particular topic, but don’t demand that the reader accept only one of these positions as definitive
– a discursive texts is like a dialogue about a topic, allowing the writer to put forward different positions in an engaging, sometimes provocative way
– these essays are typically written in the active voice, but might have some sentences in the passive voice
– this form is both informative and engaging, allowing the writer to show off their mastery of language through the use of anecdotes, analogies, and figurative language
– structurally, discursive texts include an introduction which aims to engage the reader in the topic – the introduction is an invitation to the reader to continue reading
– discursive texts have some features in common with persuasive essays – rhetorical devices, personal voice – but they differ in purpose, as the persuasive text puts forward arguments to support a predetermined position/opinion, whereas a discursive piece considers other opinions also, even if the writer might not agree with that opinion
– lines of argument about the chosen topic are supported with evidence, this may be personal experience/anecdotes, statistics, quotes from experts, reference to shared human experiences, descriptions of events etc
– Orwell’s essays are called personal essays because they put forward his personal opinion on a chosen topic, have a strong personal voice, and often have the purpose of ‘exposing some lie’, therefore are more persuasive than a discursive essay. However, the personal essay has a lot in common with a discursive text in that it is a discussion/dialogue on a topic of interest, presents a range of arguments about the topic, support arguments/points with evidence, is designed to engage the reader as well as inform them about the topic, the personal essay, like the discursive form, appeals to the heart, mind and imagination of the reader (well, I think so anyway! Haha!)
– finally, I would say that discursive texts can be pretty much anything, haha. They are a lot like feature articles in tone and purpose, but they don’t require direct quotations from interviews/original research  which is what feature articles often do, they also have a different structure (not heading, sub-headings etc.)
– variety of sentence types are often used (simple, compound, complex)
– there is no ideal structure for a discursive texts except for intro, body paragraphs, conclusion
– students can find examples of discursive writing in quality magazines, journals, online at sites like The Conversation
– if we take on board what Orwell says in PATEL, we just need to ensure that our students use this form to communicate meaning about their chosen topic, and not use language to obfuscate meaning.
– I’m just going to use the mantra ‘discursive texts are an offer and not a demand’ for this form… and let the kids do with it what they will because it gives them freedom to experiment and that’s what is at the heart of the Craft of Writing anyway
So that is pretty much my rambling style of writing, haha, and one of my colleagues (the amazing Kate Munro) who is WAY more orderly in her thinking (bless her), took the content and put it into a table. See screen shots below (note, even though it might not be authoritative/definitive/barely correct, please credit the source if you use this):
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In terms of example discursive pieces, we think it’s best for students to read high quality published work rather than students’ work. I am a big fan of The Conversation, as a lot of their pieces are quite balanced in their approach to the focus topics, and yet they both engage and inform their readers. Another colleague (the brilliant Madeleine Koo) shared a great article from the New Yorker which we are all showing our students. Another great source is the annual collection of the Best Australian Essays which sadly stopped being published last year, but which I am sure you can still get from Black Inc Books.
If you have other resources or ideas or concerns, feel free to share below in the comments because, as exciting as it is to get to teach a new form, it can also be overwhelming at the beginning, but, if we work together we can help our students to become masters of the (what the heck is it) discursive form!

A process for analytical writing…

I have just set a fairly boring, traditional, but important activity for my year 12 class. They have all selected a related text for Texts and Human Experiences (I was very chuffed with their mature, thoughtful choices – I made them present them to the class in a 60 second share and had them compete for the most interesting and persuasive pitch, haha!) and now it is time to analyse them. Yay! Since I have just finished writing the latest HSC Standard Study Guide for Excel which required me to analyse about 30 extended texts and 20 shorter texts, I decided to share my process with my class. I figured since I wrote it out for my class, I might as well share it here. Who knows, it might help one kid struggling to work out how to go about textual analysis. It’s actually not very exciting, but it worked for me all year and soon I will have a lovely big book as proof!

Bianca’s (uncomplicated) textual analysis process:

1. Read the text carefully and highlight the bits that I think are really interesting and evocative (make me imagine people, places, situations or think about big ideas).
2. Under each human experience rubric heading (see table given in class) write one or two things that I found in the text. These become sub-headings under the main rubric headings.
3. I then number each thing I’ve found (e.g. ‘1. Striving for authenticity’) and then go through my highlighted bits in the text and put the relevant number beside it. (i.e. the quote(s) I highlighted that best evidences ‘striving for authenticity’).
4. I type up the quotes under the headings/sub-headings in a new document. For each quote I try to identify what device is being used by the composer to communicate the idea and add this beside it. This isn’t always something you can put your finger on in the example, like a metaphor or simile, but could be something broader like characterisation, structure, perspective or narrative voice that the example shows.
5. For each piece of evidence, I think about why the identified device is effective at making the reader think about the identified idea in the subheading, and why the composer would want me to think about that idea, or feel a particular emotion, or imagine a particular situation etc. This is about the purpose and the effect of the device used to create meaning.
6. Once I have all of this information, I start to write. Usually I write in IDEA sentences (it is natural for me now and allows me to say more in less words) but not always, so don’t confine yourself to a formula.

ANYWAY…my class were given a table to guide them through the process. I usually just did it on scrap paper, on post-its, or in the back of the book… and then I would type it into a document (or pay my sons to do it if I was really time poor!). Basically, this pre-planning analysis process was super important to do before I started writing, as it meant that I never really started with a blank page and a blinking cursor… I always had something to start writing about. This is how I could smash out about 5000 words a day when the deadline was getting terrifyingly close!

PS: Here is a screen-shot of the table I mention… it was created by one of my colleagues at Manly Campus.

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Texts and Human Experiences… it’s a little dry.

This term I have a new Year 12 class, and a new HSC syllabus to teach, all heading towards a new HSC exam. Fun times, hey? TBH, when the new English syllabus came out I was pretty excited. I love new things, and I love change… I thought for sure that this term I would be loving teaching Year 12. Unfortunately, that’s not (so far) been my experience. I can’t decide what the reason is… I guess there are a few: I’ve just come back to work after an epic family trip to Japan (so my head maybe isn’t in ‘the game’), I’m teaching a program that I didn’t write (so I don’t have that buzz of implementing something I’ve created), the start of the module is sort of boring because it’s too general and not connected to a text (we don’t start 1984 until week 4, so mostly it’s just reading tasks which are awful to teach), and the new module is just a bit ‘meh’. I don’t know… it’s so broad, it just feels uninspiring. They may as well have called it ‘write about stuff’… or maybe I’m just being boring? I’ve tried to make it more interesting (for me at least), by introducing students to existentialism and suggesting that a better title for the module would be ‘human existence’ because then we can start to get into interesting stuff like living authentically, contemplating the absurdity of life, and accepting personal responsibility for life’s meaning. Even still, we have to bring it way back down again when looking at the sample HSC reading task, which is just plain bleurgh.

I worry for my students because of all the changes, and how, as teachers, we need to make sure they feel confident and not daunted by the fact that they don’t have the safety net of their older peers. It’s not easy for them knowing they are the ‘guinea pigs’. I’ve tried to focus on organisation – giving them all plastic document folders to keep in class with all of their notes and booklets. I’ve tried to make things fun by getting them to choose a song about a human experience (answer = literally any song in the world) to add to a class Spotify playlist. I’ve tried to make the module focused on exploring new literature by bringing in a huge bag of books for them to pick short texts out of for their related texts. I’m trying to convince myself that there is continuity between the awesome learning we did together in Year 11 (for which I think the syllabus was quite lovely) with what seems to me is going to be a pretty dull (but also anxious) HSC year.

I’m sure things will pick up as we get into studying 1984 together, given that Orwell is one of my literary idols, and the novel is one of my very favourites. Well, that is until we get to essay-writing which will be dull because they are essays written just for an HSC exam. Urgh, it’s so hard to teach a novel for the HSC because it just gets reduced to 12 quotes and some conceptual statements. Sigh. Anyway, this was not a very exciting blog post, and apologies to those two or three of you who have taken the time to read it. I just needed to write out this ‘meh’ feeling… I’m sure by the beginning of Week 4 it’ll be gone, replaced by my joy at meeting my old mate Winston Smith again.

Is there a better year group to teach than year 8?

Look, I’m sure many of you reading this will have your own preferred year group to teach, but as a high school teacher I really have always loved teaching year 8. I think it’s because they are more confident than year 7 students, but still have the innocence and enthusiasm of the younger years. Last year I didn’t have a great year. In fact, I’d say that apart from my incredible year 12 class (the Bandits) and the introduction of Praxis, the year at school pretty much sucked. At the end of last year Lee told me that what I needed was a junior class that I could just have fun with, so I asked for one and got year 8 English. Bloody genius, my husband is!

So far this year I have run three projects with my year 8 class (who are just THE most fun, clever, creative young people you could ever have the pleasure of teaching). These projects include a Shakespeare project (we made a magazine for the library), a Belonging project (we made a blind date with a book display for parent/teacher night) and a Poetry project (students wrote poems and created a vlog or podcast for a display at the local library). Every project has helped us bond even more as a class. I’ve gotten to know my students strengths and weaknesses across the three projects, as well as their unique personalities and interests. Every day when I have year 8 I get excited – it’s so silly, but I just go into class smiling and leave smiling. They are just that joyous to be with.

Our current project is our most ambitious, and I am excited that the teachers of the three other year 8 classes will be doing the project with us! Below is a copy of our project  outline:PRAXIS 2018

To launch this project my students did some role-playing, pretending to be David Attenborough, and narrating the behaviours of made-up animals! This was riotous, we laughed so hard we nearly peed ourselves, legit!

The second lesson saw students identifying what they know and need to know, and we recorded a big list of their ‘need to know’ questions which will guide them through the project – they had to generate at least 5 each and then add them to a class Google Doc.

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We also created a project calendar which came entirely from the students ideas about how long they need to spend on each stage of the project. This will keep them focused, organised and able to manage the project. (I had two students type it up – this is a photo of me scribing their ideas on the whiteboard first.)

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The second-half of this lesson was spent outside. Students were given their teams (teams of three for this project as I have a class of 30 which means we will have 10 x 60 second docos made) and each team had to allocate a director, camera person and talent wrangler. I gave each the choice of one of 10 little toys (I have so many in my office because I am a child) and they had to use their phones to get examples of a range of shots, camera angles and camera movement techniques. They then uploaded these to their team Google Drive folder – some uses my hotspot and some airdropped their images to me.

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The following lesson I gave them a Google Slides template to showcase their knowledge of the definitions and purposes of each film device, and to add their examples taken the last lesson. This took a full period. The beginning of the next lesson I picked one team at random and had them present their slides. As a class we critiqued their definitions, purpose statements and examples – this was really such a great activity, all students were engaged, and it reinforced their knowledge of film devices and how they are used to create meaning. Following this I gave them a handout (old skool!) on documentary modes and then had them identify which mode ‘spoke’ to them at this stage, which they highlighted. The class was almost over, and the asked to watch some 60 second docos, which we did – they chose really weird ones about animals, and we laughed a lot, but also could identify how the documentary makers were using film devices and different modes to communicate their ‘truth’ about the subject of the doco. Pretty rad! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYsWPPZMhfI9EddYpPe6CYw

As part of the project we will be watching two celebrated documentaries, the first is He Named Me Malala. I gave the students a worksheet (gasp, old skool again!) which had a table with ‘what’ and ‘how’ columns – what = ideas the documentary communicates, and how = the features of the documentary form uses to communicate those ideas. We watch the film in 10-20 minute bursts, and then stop it so the teams can share what their observations with each other and add them to a collaborative doc in their Google Drive folders. Yesterday I asked them ‘Why are we doing this?’ and they could all tell me that this process was going to help them make a better documentary as they can learn from the work of celebrated documentary film makers… winning!

Anyway, this morning I was SOOO exhausted, having just worked two 12 hour days (running our ILP Expo which sees 70 students each night display their projects to family and friends, nuts) and yet despite this exhaustion, I was disappointed when I looked at my timetable to find I didn’t have year 8 today. I guess that just affirms how much I love that class, and the absolute joy it is to facilitate their learning. Year 8 rock!

22 PROJECTS TO CHALLENGE, INSPIRE & ENGAGE YOUR STUDENTS #AUSSIEPBL

Last week I was looking through my Canva account, trying to find a project outline that someone on the Australian PBL Network asked me about. Whilst I was looking, I realised that I had quite a lot of project outlines that I have created just sitting around currently not being used. So… I shared them all via the Australian PBL Network!!  The response was great, so I have decided to share them here on my blog as well, because maybe you’re not a FB type, or maybe you might stumble across these through some other means.

If you haven’t tried out Canva, you totally should! It’s this great online tool that allows you to make your documents look really pretty, even if you’re not that good at design. I use it to make all of my project outlines now – it’s so easy!

These project outlines are all based on my PBL model, which is explained in my two books Are Humans Wild At Heart? and Why Do We Tell Stories? Both of these are published through Hawker Brownlow Education and are full of projects for English teachers to run with their students.

Please, please if you use these projects OR if you use my model of PBL (discover, create, share), it would mean SOOO much to me if you credited my work. Many of the Praxis projects below were co-created with my very creative colleagues James Blanch and Kate Munro. Please respect our hard work by being thoughtful in your acknowledgement of your sources. 🙂

YEAR 10 INDEPENDENT LEARNING PROJECT:

ART PROJECTSRESEARCH PROJECTSSUBJECT-SPECIFIC PROJECTSENTREPRENEURIALDESIGN PROJECTS

INTRODUCTION TO PROJECT BASED LEARNING:

Can we build a strong and attractive 1m bridge from basic materials_

YEAR 7 PRAXIS PROJECTS

How can video games nurture empathy, and transform society for the better_NEWS SIM (2)Revolutions - PraxisWhy should Northern Beaches' teens care about equality_11234

ENGLISH PROJECTS

Yr 8 ShakespeareYEAR 11 OTHELLO CRITICALThe UniverseDiscover...Cheertryouts

seven

PDHPE PROJECT

How can we make MSC a sun safe school_