IN BRIEF

Post peace and joy

The Birds from Yuendumu card

Send some peace, spirit and solidarity this Christmas with Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA cards for $12 for a pack of 10 cards and envelopes. There’s a peace dove, the ever-popular First Dog on the Moon — this time, with a penalty rates punchline — and two gorgeous Aboriginal designs, Seed Dreaming and Birds from Yuendumu. They can be ordered in straight packs or mixed, and for $9 each you can order a mixed selection of Aboriginal designs or best-selling other designs from previous years. Postage for up to two packs is $5 and for three or more is $10. Order now, as delivery takes seven to 10 days, from here and support the work of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA in Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East and Africa in delivering training in vocational skills, health and workers’ rights. Call (02) 9264 9343 for help.

Insights from year 1 mass writing study

An analysis of 500 texts created by 250 year 1 students in NSW and Victoria provides valuable insights for teachers and is available here for a short time from The Australian Education Researcher. Writing receives less research attention than reading despite its impact on students’ learning and this study attempts to address this deficiency, say the study’s authors, Dr Noella Mackenzie (Charles Sturt University), Dr Janet Scull (Monash University) and Dr Terry Bowles (University of Melbourne). It is critical for educators to develop a better understanding of aspects of writing that mark a child’s development, they said.

The study, “Writing over time: An analysis of texts created by Year One students”, states that the research results “show levels of attainment and changes in students’ writing in the areas of text structure, sentence structure, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and handwriting, and also highlight relationships between these dimensions as students develop increasing control over writing. Socio-educational advantage, gender differences, and findings specific to children who learn English as an additional language are also reported. The findings have implications for practice in the early years of schooling.”

Museum art from 36 public schools

One of the artworks on show

Artworks created by students from 36 Sydney public schools are on show at the Australian National Maritime Museum until January 31, on the theme, “We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate”. The free exhibition, Koori Arts Expressions 2015, is “a real credit to all our students, staff and school leaders involved in this fantastic opportunity”, Murat Dizdar, Executive Director, Public Schools NSW said. Students were asked to reflect on the spiritual and cultural connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people share with the land and sea.

Libraries called into cyberbullying battle

Libraries will become places where young people can confidently seek help with effacing online bullying under a scheme being trialled in ACT libraries prior to nationwide use. Libraries are an important hub in the community, especially for youth, Children’s eSafety Commissioner Alastair MacGibbon said, launching the pilot last month. Public library staff will help those who need to complete the online cyberbullying complaint form and in ways to assist children dealing with cyberbullying. Councils provide a network of 1500 public libraries across the country with more than 112 million customer visits each year. To report cyberbullying or get practical advice on dealing with it, click here.

Glebe Aboriginal garden grows

Glebe PS students with Elders

The Nura Nanga Mai garden at Glebe Public School, an Aboriginal gathering place for the past 12 years, is to blossom into a bigger community project that will reach out and teach in more ways with artworks and new plantings of bush medicine and other seedlings. Local Elders will help the school, the Be Centre charity, Glebe Treehouse community centre and other groups with funding from Sydney City Council. “Community groups have come together to make a special place for local children to learn about Aboriginal culture, art, food and medicine,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. “The Eora people are the first inhabitants of our area so it’s important that the next generation of Australians learn about their enduring culture.” It was important for children of all backgrounds and nationalities to understand the traditional practices and customs of the area and this country, said Be Centre, a children’s mental health charity.

Convict class

The Voyage learning game

It is 1830. You are a convict ship’s Surgeon Superintendent sailing from London to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). Your job is to look after the convicts on the long journey, making sure they stay healthy – how would you do it? These and other challenges are posed by a new online educational game from the Australian National Maritime Museum. The Voyage, aimed at students in years 5 and 6, uses mobile and online technologies to teach what life would have been like for the first migrants and convicts as they travelled to Australia. Students select a ship and captain, buy supplies, select convicts and even hunt rats while sailing the ship. The imaginary journey they take is based on extensive research by the University of Tasmania. The Voyage feeds into a number of cross-curriculum subjects including Stage 3 history (The Australian Colonies) and Stage 5 history (Making of the Modern World). Students can play The Voyage at the museum, in class via the website or, indeed, play with other children anywhere in the world via the internet.

Jailed Bahraini teachers union head ill

Bahraini Teachers’ Association head Mahdi Abu Dheeb is ill in prison after being gaoled for five years in 2011 on unwarranted charges. He has been denied medical help and his condition is deteriorating. He suffered a slipped disk and back injuries from torture experienced during some two months of solitary confinement after his arrest, and now finds it difficult to walk.

Belvoir's help for teachers

Professional education for NSW high school teachers provided by the celebrated Belvoir Theatre will be given a boost by the decision of the Actors College of Theatre and Television to become the theatre’s new Youth and Education supporter. The Belvoir and the actors college run the Youth Express program, which aims to engage young people at risk through drama in order to develop their communication skills, self-esteem and social awareness. This forum empowers these students with the ability to explore, express and reflect on their own stories and see the possibility for change.

Camp offers support for questioning teens

Spread the word about CampOut, held annually each April for LGBTIQA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and asexual), curious and questioning teens and their allies aged 13-17 years.

CampOut offers a safe, supportive, inclusive and fun environment with a range of educational workshops. Campers can be themselves, be respected, learn from each other, be creative, active, and hang out with other LGBTIQA people.

If you are interested in volunteering or learning more visit the CampOut website.

Big business must foster tech study

Blake Garrett with his award

Business and industry have a “significant responsibility” to foster student engagement in science and technology, a top banking executive said while announcing that Chatswood HS student and four others received national awards encouraging innovation and creativity in technology.

Chatswood High year 11-12 student Blake Garrett won the Young ICT Explorers competition in his age group for a “School Bytes e-Learning Platform — an online platform that allows schools to register and use a secure online environment to share resources, upload assessments and take quizzes”. Competition sponsor SAP’s Vice President Greg Miller, said, “We’ve seen more entries this year than any other year in the history of the competition, which really highlights the hunger and passion of students across the nation for technology.”