Thursday, 30 March 2017

Exploring ANZAC Day in Early Primary

Discussing ANZAC Day (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps Day) can be difficult with young students due to its possibly distressing content of war and death. However, it's essential that young students understand the importance of this commemoration on the 25th April every year for both Australia and New Zealand. In this blog post you will find some suggestions for introducing the big concepts around ANZAC Day into your early years classroom in a sensitive and appropriate manner. As I am an Australian teacher I have only covered the ANZAC Day concepts from the Australian perspective. However, feel free to leave some links to resources for New Zealand teachers in the comments section below.

Gallipoli was a long way to travel.
This is a difficult concepts for very young students to grasp but it is an important one to cover. Young men were sent a long way away from their families to a place they had never been to. Some never came home - this is why we remember them. 

The example below is from the ANZAC Day Activity Pack where students can locate Gallipoli on the map and consider its distance from Australia. 

What does ANZAC Day mean to you?
A good writing activity after your lesson on the ANZACs, is to have students write a response about what ANZAC Day means to them. Try this craft (pictured below) from the ANZAC Day Activity Pack where students can place their writing for a wall display in the classroom.

ANZAC Day is a commemoration not a celebration.
Do your students understand the difference between a commemoration and a celebration? This is a big concept to cover when discussing ANZAC Day but another important one. How we behave during a celebration is different to a commemoration, however, there are some similarities. This is a great activity to use when discussing the ways in which ANZAC Day is commemorated and is covered in detail in the HASS Year 3 History Unit (seen below). 

Bake some ANZAC Day biscuits.
Discussing life in the trenches is hard but this book by Phil Cummings and Owen Swan called ANZAC Biscuits is a lovely tale of a little girl and her father's life in the trenches. She bakes some cookies for him and her life in the warmth of the home is compared to the life her father is having at the same time in the trenches. 

You can also bring in or bake some ANZAC biscuits and this can form the basis of your study of method or sequencing. A method recount and recipe can be found in the ANZAC Day Activity Pack.

Discuss the concept of bravery.
What does it mean to be brave? What does bravery look like? Explore the concept of bravery with this lovely book by Jane Barclay called Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion. It is a very touching book where animals display the qualities service men display either in battle or after war. It's also a great book for exploring what it means to be proud, both key concepts when discussing ANZAC Day.

Read a book with an ANZAC theme
Listed below are some of my students' favourite books on ANZAC Day and World War 1.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

4 easy ways to celebrate Harmony Day in the classroom

“Everyone belongs” is a great message of inclusivity in the classroom. It’s also the message for Harmony Day, a fantastic celebration for the whole community recognising diversity as a positive aspect of children’s lives. In fact, with the current state of the world, Harmony Day is a very powerful message to send to students young and old that all races, colours and beliefs can live in harmony. 

What is Harmony Day?
Harmony Day is a nationally recognised day for acknowledging the diversity in our society and celebrating it. 

When is Harmony Day held?
21st March each year.

What is the aim of Harmony Day?
To celebrate diversity and promote inclusion in society. Everyone belongs – is the message used to promote Harmony Day.

When did Harmony Day begin?
The very first Harmony Day began in 1999 and coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

How is Harmony Day celebrated?
Schools often hold a whole school assembly with significant people from the community as representatives. Other community organisations hold morning teas or lunches to celebrate. The colour orange is used with Harmony Day to show support for the day through the wearing of orange t-shirts, ribbons or other decorations. 

How can I bring this celebration into my classroom?

1. The Harmony Day Activity Pack is full of colour posters, map activities, worksheets and display materials to help you discuss this special day in your classroom.

2. You might like to create some art work that shows the diversity within your classroom.

3. You could read a book about diversity.

4. Finally, it’s always fun to bring some lovely treats into the classroom (it is a celebration after all) – don’t forget the orange theme!

However you choose to celebrate – have a great Harmony Day!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

What is HASS? 7 Questions and Answers about the changes to the Australian Curriculum

What is HASS? 
I've heard people ask this question a lot lately, so I thought I would create a blog post about it.

In the Australian curriculum version 7.5 the subjects of History, Geography, Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business were individual subjects. 

However, in the newly updated Australian curriculum version 8.3 these subjects have been combined into one learning area called Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS). 

1. What does this mean for teachers?
A significant reduction in the amount of content descriptors we need to wade through when trying to teaching these subjects.

2. Is the content different for History or Geography in Foundation - Year 3?
No. The concepts covered are the same but the level of detail the Australian Curriculum provides on these has been reduced to make it easy to combine these subjects into HASS.

3. What is humanities?
In the past, History was the study of past events and Geography was a the study of maps. However, this has changed over the last 10 years and History and Geography is more a humanities subject in primary school with an exploration of cultural, social and economic forces that shape people and areas. 

4. Is HASS still inquiry based?
Yes. Critical thinking is the bedrock of all subjects as is problem solving. Thinking and responding to inquiry questions helps students to explore key historic and geographic skills required when responding. 

5. What are some of the key ideas covered by HASS in Foundation to Year 6?
The subject sub-strands explore the knowledge and understanding students need to have when studying HASS. The key ideas are:

  • Who we are, who came before us, and traditions and values that have shaped societies. 
  • How societies and economies operate and how they are changing over time.
  • The ways people, places, ideas and events are perceived and connected.
  • How people exercise their responsibilities, participate in society and make informed decisions
To find out more click here to go to the Australian Curriculum website.

6. Will I have to teach Civics and Citizenship in early primary?
No. All years need to teach History and Geography. Civics does not start until Year 3 and Economics and Business does not begin until Year 5. However, these curricula are still being rolled out so if you have any doubts talk to your Head of Curriculum within your school.

7. Where can I find resources that are aligned to the Australian curriculum?
TechTeacherPto3 provides History and Geography resources that are aligned to the Australian curriculum and neatly address each of the Knowledge and Understanding required for Foundation to Year 3 (see image below). 

To view TechTeacherPto3's full range of Australian aligned History and Geography resources