Category Archives: Reading approaches

When will we EVER learn?

Could it be that the apparent decline in educational standards in Literacy and Numeracy here in Australia is just a temporary aberration?

Could it that a few simple decisions — applied within just weeks — could bring about a genuine lift in student (and teacher) outcomes in these two vital curriculum areas?

And, could it be that significant improvement, not only in academic performance, but also in developing all-important positive attitudes to learning in primary schools, could come at NO additional financial cost? Just better stewardship of the funding that’s already there?

Could it be that today’s “Holy Educational Grail” — technology — is actually getting in the way of real, effective learning in real time?”

Well, the answers are “Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes”.


Students want it, teachers want it, Principals want it, parents want it, and the community would relish it!

So, let’s support curriculum innovation that makes the very BEST use of the skills, enthusiasm and commitment of today’s teachers, by providing them with curricula that actually allows time for the “Big C” — consolidation — to take place in the classroom.

Time to allow students to DIGEST what is being taught, to ponder it, to get a real feel for it — a “Vibe” — that will help them build on their present knowledge, and challenge them to strive to learn more! Or, as perhaps Telstra would say, to “Thrive On!”

Let’s encourage everyone to move from the known to the unknown, and by giving them the time and tools to help new learning “mature” in their minds.

Not difficult! Not expensive! Just SOUND pedagogical practice.

Term 1 ends . . . or Term 2 Begins! But Maths goes on forever!

WOW! Primary Teachers . . . A new school week!
Be it the LAST week of Term 1, or approaching the FIRST week of Term 2, here’s an opportunity to WOW your class with some FUN Maths Worded Worksheets.

Written FRESHLY this week.

Questions about the new ANGRY BIRDS movie, the new 2016 Aussie Olympic Games uniforms, and heaps more!

Share these with your teacher friends!

Become a hero at your school! Delivered IMMEDIATELY!

For your FREE 3-WEEK TRIAL, go to


Primary Teachers, Shane Warne, Baked Beans & Maths. REALLY??

Who would have thought that Shane Warne’s baked beans habits would make a great Maths question for primary students?

But they did!

And they do!

Here it is . . . the BIG QUESTION . . .

“Aussie cricketer Shane Warne had 1,900 tins of baked beans flown in and addressed to him personally in India in 1998. (But they weren’t ALL just for him!) If each tin cost 80 cents, what was the total value of all those cans of baked beans?”

And there are HEAPS MORE topical, FUN maths questions where that one came from.

For an OBLIGATION-FREE 3-WEEK TRIAL SUBS., go to and ENJOY the fun, and the maths success, that we bring to that all-important subject — maths!

Go on, give it a go.

Sometimes Primary-age students just need something to make them LOVE maths . . . and here it is!

Yep! Some kids HATE maths.

No surprise there!

Every primary teacher has seen it! THAT LOOK that covers the face when it’s Maths Time!

(There should be an EMOTICON for that look!)

Anyway, the time has come to replace THAT look with a look of POSITIVE INTEREST and OPTIMISM and ENTHUSIASM in maths lessons.

And  . . . here’s one way. Just one! But it works! FRESHLY EVERY SCHOOL WEEK!

It’s not JUST maths, either! It involves reading comprehension, usually a little discussion with a classmate or teacher, and an interest-packed Maths exercise that’s FUN, topical, full of interest, and teaches HEAPS about how useful Maths is in everyday life.

AND . . . you can try it out for 3 weeks — totally free of cost or obligation.

Go on, give it a go. Chat about it at school with your teacher friends, your Principal, the students in your class.

Try it out as a lesson-starter. Or as ready-made HOMEWORK SHEETS.

MANY teachers have visited! As have many schools! And they’re ecstatic!

Oh, yes, of what am I speaking? (I almost forgot to mention it!)

Visit to find out. Go right NOW, and we’ll respond within the hour!


Hey! Primary Teacher! What’s Your Best Maths Material Ever?

Yes, EVERY primary teacher has a VERY FAVOURITE maths resource that they rely on, that their students love, that makes maths teaching thoroughly enjoyable.

Maybe it only lasts one lesson!

Or, maybe it lasts a week.

Or a month.

But, whatever,03-success IT WORKS!

What is YOUR very favourite lesson topic, approach, gimmick?

Tell us about it so we can share it with others.

Meanwhile, if your looking for a totally NEW, up-to-date approach to maths, you should look no further than our EdShop maths worded problem worksheets. They’re Aussie, they’re fun, and the students LOVE them. Visit our website at for a freebie of two!

Oh, but don’t forget to tell us about your fantastic maths idea! We’ll ALL benefit!

When Maths Skills and Reading Skills Collide

Robin Pic

What a shame!

Too many of our students are perfectly capable of “doing” maths.

But they can’t!


Because they can’t read the worded problems.

It’s a READING skill they lack, not a maths skill!

So, what are we teachers meant to do about THAT?

Practise. Practise. Practise!

Develop a “maths reading vocab” that will stand them in good stead.

AND, have them solving maths problems THAT CHILDREN HAVE A NATURAL INTEREST IN!

AND, have them solving maths problems at a level appropriate to their reading and maths skill levels.

EVERYONE likes to succeed!

So, let’s give our students the very tools that will help them succeed RIGHT NOW, as well as build a solid foundation for the future.

Such materials DO exist!

Take THIS WEEK’S Worksheets, for example! They include problems on the Winter Solstice in Australia (June 21st), runner Ron Clarke’s record-breaking run, the new children’s holiday movie “Inside out,” and loads more.

Some of them are RIGHT HERE — all you need to do is ASK!


NAPLAN — and why parents should LOVE it!

Yes, the controversy rages on!

But, the TRUE (but often-hidden) values of NAPLAN are often ignored.

Value 1: NAPLAN gives at least SOME structure to a curriculum that, at the very least, leaves much to be desired. It actually suggests standards at which students at Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 should, or could, or maybe are within arms reach of, attaining in the areas of Maths, English, spelling, grammar and written expression. Yes, admittedly it’s only a “suggestion”, a “hint” if you like. But at least it’s SOMETHING!

Value 2: NAPLAN gives a simple, straight-forward, one-page report. Big on graphics, small on text. Not that 15-page mumbo-jumbo, copy and pasted school report that numbs the imagination and provides little in the way of factual reporting on student progress. Now, no-one should be mislead into believing everything showing on the NAPLAN student report sheet. But, by golly, it’s a good start for parents to check it out, and then ask some truly meaningful questions of teachers and school.

Value 3: School comparisons. Some of us are not too sure of the value of the ranking of schools in accordance with NAPLAN results. So many variables, so many value-related implications!

So, there it is. A defence, sort of, of the TRUE VALUE of NAPLAN testing, from one who sits on the edge of the world of schools and observes parents, teachers and students as they prepare for the 2015 week of NAPLAN.

Have a good one!

Who said we can’t make Maths Teaching Aussie, Interesting and FUN?

With all this stuff happening around Australia and the world — the International Cricket, the NSW Elections, the sacking of the Top Gear host, the death of Malcolm Fraser, the cyclones, the winning of over $1 million on the TV quiz — and heaps more, the opportunities for INTERESTING, RELEVANT, REAL maths problems have never been better.

Not to mention the latest iwatch thingo, and the promise of new iphones coming out in the next few months.

In this technological age, school children across Australia are tuned in to technology, sport and entertainment like never before.

And it’s the wise teacher, the clever teacher, the perceptive teacher that literally GRABS that natural interest and builds upon it.

No, maths doesn’t need to be boring and predictable.

Maths can be — in fact NEEDS TO BE — interest-filled, topical, relevant.

Oh, yes, and fun!

So why not — I say WHY NOT — combine reading comprehension skills, maths skills, current affairs and pop idols with our maths teaching to create a MEANINGFUL maths — not an irrelevant one.

Just a thought!

“Wot? Me worry?”

Alfred E Neuman’s (MAD Magazine!) famous slogan seems totally appropriate.

This morning’s “The Age” newspaper (26/4) carried an article titled “Asia holds maths key”.

There has, over the past couple of months, been a succession of articles and opinion pieces in the Australian media, all bemoaning the fact that standards of maths and literacy in Australian schools isn’t what it should be.

Here’s yet another indication that something’s wrong.

And, as noted in a previous blog, the answer doesn’t seem to have a strong correlation to “money spent” on education. No, far more important are curriculum-related matters, and teacher training and support.

SURELY the time has come to admit past failures, and to at least BEGIN the path back to sensible, planned curriculum reform. And surely, the place to start is to dialogue with the very teachers who are at the moment attempting the impossible. An impossible curriculum, impossible expectations of educational administrators, the authorities (whom-ever they are!), Principals, NAPLAN test results, parents and the general community.

So, according to the quoted article, “Asia holds the maths key”. Does it just?

We in Australia have the capability to be streets ahead. All we have to do is put our funding where the teachers in our schools need it to be spent — on a curriculum (in maths and literacy) that will “deliver the goods”, and on teacher salaries. They deserve better!.

Wot? Me worry? You bet!

Are our students REALLY that bad?

In his regular (excellent) column in The Age on Saturday, 19th April, veteran advertising guru Harold Mitchell made the following incisive comments:

“Australian high school students are now up to three years behind Asian students in maths, despite increased funding.

“25 per cent of year 9 students cannot read well enough for further learning.

“25 per cent of young people have mental health issues.

“Unemployment for young people is 21 per cent in some areas.

“(Australia) can’t win with figures like that.”

Money, it seems, is not the answer. There has been heaps of money thrown into the education pot over decades. But for what?

Harold Mitchell makes the point that “David Gonski had all the answers in his Gonski report on education …, but we’re not paying attention to him.”

Sad. Very sad.

Whether or not you agree with Gonski and his recommendations, there’s one thing we can ALL agree on, and that’s the importance of learning the basics, the fundamentals. Doing so makes progress — personal and national — possible. Without those fundamentals, we’ve had it!

In the same week, an article in the Herald Sun under the heading “Teacher Training the Top Priority” had the following intro paras . . . “Aspiring teachers face beefed-up training to raise the performance of Australian schoolchildren. Explicit training in the teaching of literacy and numeracy has been flagged for consideration.”

Has it REALLY come to this? Do we, ‘The Lucky Country’, have to eat humble pie, and actually ADMIT that our educational standards aren’t what they should be? I think so!

It’s hard to believe that a country with so much going for it, so many very clever and influential professionals working in the education space, simply aren’t “delivering the goods”.

Well, perhaps that’s unfair. Gonski certainly made a valuable contribution. But it seems that politicians have stepped in.

Now we have an enquiry or two. Doubtless that will set us back yet again.

And yet — teachers everywhere know what needs to be done. They’re just not allowed to do it!

When I was at school (in the late 1940s, no less), we chanted tables every morning for10 minutes. 10 minutes. Every morning, no less. AND we had to learn spelling words, and grammar. AND we had our Grade 5 Reader, packed full with worthwhile literature, classics. No full-colour, highly-attractive illustrations for us — just boring print. AND we had mental arithmetic. And we had to learn to calculate in pounds, shillings and pence — none of that decimal currency convenience for us!. But most of us — the vast majority — learnt to read, write and calculate quickly and accurately.

What’s gone wrong?

Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Or is it?

We’re all part of the problem. And we CAN be part of the solution.

Those of us who are teachers are in a prime position to influence those decision-makers to start making RIGHT decisions for a change.

Decisions that will HELP TEACHERS TEACH.

Decisions that will have a positive effect of lifting educational standards in this country, not in 10 years, not in 5 years, but within a year or two.

It’s becoming increasingly urgent.

To ignore the signs is to ignore the potentially horrific consequences.

Let’s do it! Now!