Author: Joan Hofmann


Students in upper primary work on developing an understanding about the power of language. They learn how language does not just give information, but creates expectation, emotional responses, establishes cultural and temporal expectations and boundaries and can position the reader to favour a particular point of view.This learning occurs in a gradual way.

At Level 4 students learn about the features of language and compare and contrast the effect these have. At Level 5, they use text to infer the cultural, temporal or philosophical background of the author. At Level 6, they focus on recognising how authors have used elements of many different text types and strategies to create the effects they want to influence readers.The shift in topic material is also engineered to increase in complexity.

At level 4 students work on more sophisticated decoding strategies and deeper understanding of texts about topics for which they have some experience. They learn to infer information that is not explicitly stated. They continue to work on these skills for less and less familiar topics over the course of upper primary.

Are you interested in finding out more?
Join Joan's workshop on this topic: Supporting reading in upper primary classrooms on
2 May from 5:30-6:30pm.
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It’s morning. You’ve just received a phone call for a day’s work across town. You race to get to work on time and end up forgetting to take your lunch.

This makes you reliant on the school’s canteen. Some schools have healthy canteens, but sometimes you’re left to pick up whatever hasn’t been eaten by the students.

The recent CSIRO study surveyed 145 000 adults found on 24% of women and 15% of men were eating enough fruit and vegetables every day. You can read an ABC article on the survey here.

As a CRT, I struggled with a good diet issue. One solution I eventually found was to keep a bowl of fruit at the front door so that I could grab two pieces just as I left for work. As for veges, I would spend Sunday night cutting carrots and celery up into neat portions for the next three days into containers I could grab from the fridge on the run. In the car, I stashed a bag of almonds for emergency hunger pain situations.

The problem is that school staff rooms are havens of cakes. Somehow there always seems to be cakes around, cooked by teachers for other teachers and bypassing the healthy school rules! On the days when I’d forgotten to pack lunch, I was even more susceptible to the temptation of cake (sitting there, all gorgeous and iced, ready for immediate enjoyment… but I digress).

Okay, it’s your turn to share. What healthy eating practices do you follow and what tips have you got for ignoring the lure of staff room cakes? Write your thoughts below!

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This is a fun blog post. The aim is to get people to share self-deprecating stories about missteps they made in their first days of teaching and what they did to recover.

My first day of teaching (way back when) was a mess. I wore black because I’d been told by a uni lecturer that would make me instantly the most fearsome thing on campus. During recess that day I was told off by another teacher in front of my students – told to report to the principal for being out of uniform and wearing makeup and asked: ‘And why isn’t your hair tied up, young lady?’.

In the fourth period, a student stapled a piece of paper to her thumb. As the blood spread across the white page I said numbly (and incorrectly), ‘I became a teacher because I hate blood’. The student burst into tears and I found the strength from within myself to pull the staple out and apply a tissue. The student lived.

With the end of the day in sight, I thought the last period would be fine. That is, until I turned on the ceiling fan causing a cascade of chalk dust to fly in every direction across the room. As the class erupted into laughter at the sight of my new black clothes covered in a coating of white, the only solution was to laugh as well.

The step from being a supervised uni student into fully fledged responsibility for students was large and scary. I started as a CRT, and although I was fortunate to find a mentor at one of my schools. That was due to his generosity of spirit, not a formal mentoring process. Eventually the whole faculty took me under their collective wing, and I reached out to my professional subject association as a volunteer and found even more cheerful willingness there. I got involved with my union. The wider I set my gaze, the more possibilities arose, and the more mentors I found.

So now that I’ve shared with you my rocky start as a teacher (and believe me, there are many more stories to be told), share yours below.
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Poor quality sleep or a lack of sleep impacts your ability to function dramatically. Adults typically need between seven to eight hours of sleep a day, and anything less than this means you are experiencing sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is serious. It can result in reduced motor dexterity but also impairment of judgement, both intellectual and emotional. You can probably easily spot the signs of it in your students, but acknowledging it in yourself is harder – after all, by the time you are in a cycle of sleep deprivation, you might not be making good assessments of your own capacity and strength.

For a CRT, sleep is critically important. If you are in a new work environment regularly, you need to be functioning at your best. The first couple of weeks in a new work environment are tiring; working out how a school functions let alone the politics of the workplace is tiring enough. Add to that teaching students and you’re in a situation where you are physically and mentally exhausted.

Sleeping in on the weekend doesn’t help either – you’re probably just giving yourself jetlag. By skimping on sleep during the week, you’re not allowing your body’s immune system to repair itself (this happens in REM). If you’re not sleeping long enough, or the quality of your sleep is poor, you might not be having enough REM cycles per night to achieve wellness.

Below are a few links to interesting articles on the topic. The views expressed in the articles are those of the authors and not necessarily right for you. This blog is for the purposes of prompting introspective thought and a stepping off point for your personal research into the topic.




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