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Have a great school year!

30 January 2018

With kids from several states back at school today, we all think of the new ones. The preppies. In my household, there was such a build up that school couldn't possibly deliver. After his first day at school, which finished at midday, my son's comment was "is that all?"

Having just read an article about preparing your child for school here, I was reminded of the surprising advice given to me by my sister-in-law ( a Prep teacher, now a Principal). I expected her to say to say to make sure he knows the alphabet and numbers or some such.

She said " Make sure he can tie his shoe laces, can recognise his school bag and can unwrap cling wrap."

So practical. How can you function with independence if you don't have basic skills? Shoe laces are easier now!

Best wishes to all, teachers, kids and parents!

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Make the lunchbox safe

29 January 2018

Kids go back to school in most states this week. What do we do about packing lunchboxes when it's going to be hot? Bacteria in food multiplies alarmingly when not kept at the right temperature. It's not just in meat, but even on vegetables.

Before your child eats lunch, get them to wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds.

When making their lunch, here are some tips for you:

1) Wash your hands thoroughly before handling food. Use clean utensils and cutting boards

2) Use separate cutting boards for fresh produce and raw meat or poultry to reduce the risk of Salmonella

3) Cook food to the right temperature using a food thermometer

4) Chill perishable foods such as meats, eggs, cheese or yoghurt with at least two cold sources, such as freezer packs, to keep harmful bacteria from multiplying rapidly. Frozen juice poppers can also be used as freezer packs and by lunchtime should be thawed and ready to drink.

More on food safety here.

Have a great first week back!

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Take care as Southern and North West Australia boils!

28 January 2018

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Australia Day Honours - Go Eddie!

27 January 2018

Whether Australia Day should be on January 26, January 1st or another date, the Australia Day honouring of so many eminent Australian women and, for teaching, in particular, the fabulous maths teacher, Eddie Woo, acknowledged as Local Hero of the Year. It's well worth watching the video on this link.

He highlights the commitment so many teachers have as well as the perception that is a lower status profession. Eddie might help turn that around.

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Have a great long weekend!

26 January 2018

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Last week of hols except for Queensland and Tassie!

25 January 2018

Enjoy those last sleep ins. Queensland is leading the way and already back at school. Tassie goes back a week later...

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23 January 2018

Carclew have teamed up with Insite Arts to present several great events for families at a new pop-up fringe precinct, at Victoria Square, for the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Lots of food, music and fun, too.

From Feb 16 - Feb 25.

Called Grounded. Details here

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Get to Brisbane Powerhouse in February!

20 January 2018

Brisbane Powerhouse starts the year off with a bang with four very different events. Check them out here.

Image: Backbone, Gravity & other Myths

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Milkshake Duck- our new word of the year.

18 January 2018

Coined as a joke, on Twitter, in 2016, by Australian cartoonist Ben Ward, to describe an unknown person who rises quickly to fame through the internet then falls because of something unsavoury in their past, Macquarie Dictionary has named milkshake duck the Australian word of the year.

It's also in the American Dialect Society's top new words for 2017, but their winner was fake news. Interestingly, this expression was Macquarie Dictionary's top for 2016. 

It makes sense there be new words coined to describe something to do with the internet and of course, there are words in every language that don't have equivalents in other languages. Is the idea limited by the language or is it that that culture has no use for this concept?

English is forever changing with meanings often changing over time and welcoming new words and expressions. 

Read more about the word of the year here

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Teachers, stay, we need you!

15 January 2018

Only a couple of weeks until school resumes. Theoretically teachers are on leave, but no doubt many are deep in planning for the year but many who taught last year aren't returning. Why?

Teachers who feel supported and appreciated are more likely to stay in the profession. The rate of teachers leaving is concerning and damning of schools and training.

An average of 40% of teachers, in their first five years of teaching, leave.

How concerning is this when numbers of students are increasing while the majority of teachers are older? ( eg in SA, about half the teachers in government schools are over 50). We are already seeing shortages of secondary teachers, particularly in WA. 

The problems are obvious, as are solutions -  better salary, higher status, higher entry scores for teaching, mentoring of young teachers, time for flexibility and innovation, less administrative load, more autonomony... but perhaps a rethink of the entire purpose of education is due.

Interesting that Pasi Sahlberg (pictured above), former Director General of Finnish Education, one of the most praised systems in the world, says politicians have placed too much emphasis on competition between schools and students. In Finland, students start school at age seven, because there is a great belief in the importance of play in students' development. In Australia, our children start school earlier and spend longer in the classroom than most OECD countries. 

Mr Sahlberg is joining the Gonski Institute this year. Great appointment. We look forward to his contribution.

Meanwhile a big thank you to all you returning teachers for the great job you do. Often mentions of teachers in the media are negative, in contrast, when a recently retired teacher, Bruce Fairfax, was lost in Tasmanian bush, the outpouring of grief and appreciation for his contribution from so many people, reminds us that teachers have a huge impact.

Read more on Pasi Sahlberg's comments in The Guardian

Read more on Teachers Leaving and Teachers staying in The Conversation

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Don't teachers ever take a break?

10 January 2018

Every day since schools broke up, teachers have made booking enquiries with us for shows in 2018.

What an amazing group of dedicated people. 

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Ferking Forthward for 2018

9 January 2018

It's sad when expressions lose currency, so to speak. This great verb, to ferk, is Old English. It means direction, action and purpose. How much better is ferking forthward rather than moving forward? You can even say ferking up/out/off as well as forthward to mean the same thing.

Also why don't we bring back the lovely word, trumpery meaning empty, insincere talk, weeds or rubbish of any sort. How perfect for today!!

Read some more old expressions here

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