Developing fluency in maths

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Thinking about the working mathematically components of the NSW K-6 Mathematics Syllabus, I am challenged by the notion of fluency and the ways teachers can support the development of fluency in their students. At a recent Teacher Professional Learning TRIO shared some card games for building mathematical fluency.  Name that number, in particular, interested the teachers who were present. This game develops fluency through applying different numerical operations. So, at their request, we have added our version of this card game for maths. This game and variations of it are suitable for students in stages two and three. Click here to find the instructions for this game.


Starting School

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 1.04.33 PMAs we work with teachers we are often asked about the start of Kindergarten. Teaching Kindergarten at the start of the year can be challenging. Students come expecting to learn to read. They are excited but also unsure in a new environment. We have put together our thoughts for starting the Kindergarten year well and produced a unit of about two weeks in length which addresses first reading and writing steps, starting with student’s reading and writing their names, sharing stories and learning school routines. This unit contains assessment tasks, writing worksheets and a template for individual alphabet books. Trio hopes it helps teachers as they begin teaching their Kindergarten class. The texts we have chosen can be exchanged for books you may have in your collection but we have included some old favourites as well as some recently published books. If you are interested in this unit click starting school.

New Resources for 2014

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I know it is still holidays but TRIO never sleeps. Every conversation seems to lead to another good teaching idea. It is sad but true -curriculum excites us, even in our spare time! The logical next step is to share our lesson plans with you. Today we launch the first of our new range of teaching notes. To cover the time invested to write, and teach these lessons and units ,we have decided to charge a minimal cost for this range of resources. The first to be available is two maths lessons students in grade two and above. These lessons come with templates to use with the lessons. We hope you find this range of resources useful in your classroom. Watch this space for more exciting resources.

Talking with an EAL (English as an Additional Language) teacher


Over a cup of tea and moon cakes we talked to a fabulous EAL teacher who works in NSW schools. It is exciting to work with someone who is passionate about their work and about supporting teachers to up-skill their understanding of cultural perspectives. We are thrilled that Justine, is sharing her expertise and extensive experience as an EAL teacher with TRIO. The Chinese Mid Autumn festival is coming up on 19th September. She has prepared a lesson sequence to explore one aspect of this celebration, the giving and eating of moon cakes. See our resources  page for a free download of lessons to celebrate this event which is the second biggest event on the Chinese calendar. Incorporating a cultural perspective into lessons is easier than you think!

Let’s get to know Justine…

What is your role at school?

I support the needs of LBOTE (Language Background Other  Than English) students, families and their support networks. I work collaboratively with office staff, executive and teachers to support the academic and social needs of each student. It is important to identify and recognise each cultural group within a school and value their cultural similarities and differences. The collection of data is an essential part of the role as it informs school and region and impacts on the types of programs implemented. I plan and team teach with classroom teachers, as well as organising individual programs for first phase students.

What do you like best about  your work?

I love educating staff, students and community about nuances of cultural groups. I particularly enjoy recognising  and celebrating the cultural backgrounds of people because it is part of who we are and helps us to understand each other. Celebrating different cultures facilitates communication  and  is great fun.

If you could tell teachers one important message what would it be?

Don’t make assumptions about students.

What are you reading?

I am reading Jane Austen in Baghdad by Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit which provides a fascinating insight into daily life during and after the Saddam regime.

What is your favourite cuisine?

Definitely middle eastern food because I love the spices and the texture. I find it fascinating to discover regional differences in dishes. In saying this, I love to try anything!