Smart Goals

Goal setting is an important strategy to aim towards success – both for teachers to set goals for their class and for students to set individual positive goals which are achievable. Goals need to be specific, identifiable, reasonable, relevant and the outcome observed. In other words, they are:

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant, Rigorous, Realistic, and Results Focused
T = Timely and Trackable

= SMART Goals

They take a bit of practice to get it right.

Specify a date, what will be achieved and what the benefit will be:

By (date) …

I will (what you wish to achieve) …

so that (why this is of benefit to self or your organisation

Here is an example of a SMART goal a teacher sets for a student:

Topic: Increasing sight vocabulary


Michael will increase the number of ‘tricky words’ that he reads from flash cards to 30 by week 6 term 4 with 100% accuracy on every occasion. (Leading to being able to read these words in texts)

For such a goal to be achievable, it would be necessary to apply intervention for example:


  • Daily practice and revision of target words on flash cards.
  • Present some of the target words in a text daily. (All words covered by end of each week)
  • Play a game with the target words like bingo/memory/go fish daily.
  • Provide parents with a copy of the words to practice at home.

SMART Goals can also be written to assist students in following procedures and managing behaviour. For example,

Peter will comply by following verbal instructions given one to one by the teacher during form class.


  • Whole class is given visual prompt for following instructions.
  • Positive, explicit instructions are given to Peter and what is to be done
  • Allow time for Peter to process the information
  • Check understanding by repeating instruction

More information on writing SMARTer goals can be found here.

Using movies to inspire writing

I have posted before about one of my favourite literacy sites The Literacy Shed which has lots of ideas for using movies to inspire writing.  I recently came across Video Writing Prompts at the Teacher Hub which has an excellent collection of videos which can be used as lesson warm-ups or to promote writing in many ways such as essay writing, reflecting, critical thinking, comparing and questioning – there are many ways to use the videos! Ideas for different writing tasks are given for different year levels.  Videos are undoubtedly a valuable tool to add to engage and motivate young writers.

Literacy Resources for early readers/struggling readers

Fabulous resources are worth sharing!  To help readers with the skills needed to be successful readers Literactive is a fantastic resource for building the basics necessary for good reading skills. Although registration is required, resources are free.  K-grade 1 resources.

Starfall: ABC’s, learning to read, It’s fun to read, I’m reading. A reasonable amount of resources free. Access to full bank of resources is US$70 for teachers or classroom access $150 a year. PreK-Grade 2.

First Steps: Australian Based Literacy Program, made up of four interwoven strands of literacy: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Viewing, which symbolise the interrelatedness of literacy learning. All strands are threaded with practical, accessible, classroom-tested teaching procedures and activities. Creative Commons versions are available to download as long as resources are acknowledged, now altered and not used commercially.

Inferencing skills

Inferencing skills are an important foundational skill and a prerequisite for higher-order thinking (Marzano 2010).    The understanding that  information is not stated literally but is implied improves skills in drawing conclusions. However,  many students struggle with this concept and using Question-Answer-Relationship (QAR) will assist their understanding.

Using a text, four types of questions can be asked:

1. Answer is right there: Answers are in the text using the same words as in the question

2. Think and search: Answers are in different parts of the text and put together to identify meaning .

3. Author and You: Information is provided in the text and the reader draws on their own experience to provide a response.

4. On Your Own: Prior knowledge is used to answer a question.

How to use QAR is described in more detail here.

Some excellent inferential worksheets are available here.



Apps for Developing Literacy Skills

Although there appear to be a plethora of apps for literacy, I had difficulty finding suitable age appropriate ones for low level literacy learners in high school.  Most of the apps I came across were aimed towards much younger learners.   I was hoping that as more apps came on the market, someone, somewhere would develop something which would excite me.

Well it has happened!  On one one of my favourite literacy  blogs, Mr P’s ICT, (thanks Mr P, I’ve used lots of your ideas), I came across mention of Alan Peat’s literacy resources.  On further investigation of references to Alan Peat’s resources, I discovered Alan Peat pocket app of exciting sentences (great teacher resource) as well as an app for interactive student use  Exciting Sentences Pupil Edition.  These apps are well worth the few dollars they cost.

To find out all about Alan Peat’s Exciting Sentences, google it and you’ll get a pdf of what they are about.

Other great apps from Alan Peat include:

The Alan Peat Pocket Punctuation App, a great teacher resources which has very clear teaching strategies and resources including tasks can be viewed on an interactive whiteboard for student participation.  Again, cost is only a few dollars. Amazing value for the content it provides.

Alan also has a series of story machine apps for story planning, including, The Science Fiction Story Machine,  Writing Gruesome Ghost Stories and The Fairytales Story Machine.  You can read more about them here.

Digital learning is so much fun!

Positive Behaviour Interventions

PBIS  is a fantastic interactive educator resource for positive behavior interventions and support.  Educators are able to  identify behaviours being exhibited by a student and then choose from a selection of interventions.  Data tracking forms are included.  If the intervention is unsuccessful the educator is guided to another tier of interventions.  Functional assessment checklists are included and parent questionnaires.  A one-stop shop for behaviour issues!

PBIS image

Ipads in the Classroom – One Second Every Day

I am always inspired by Mr P’s ICT Blog and his use of ipads in the classroom. The latest app I will be trying out when we return to school is One Second Every Day which is a fantastic way to share events over a period of time.  It can be used both at home and in the classroom for capturing every day events which when put together create a video showing changes over a period of time. What a great way to capture those developmental stages of childhood as well as a synopsis of a school year or other special events.

Ipads in the classroom

One of my favourite blogs to read on ipads in the classroom is Mr P’s ICT Blog – ipads in the classroom.  I am always inspired as to how he makes learning fun with the use of ipads and I follow the apps he is using rather than trailing through the thousands of apps that are now available.  In his recent post, he gives these 12  ipad lessons for Christmas – all of which can be used across the curriculum, adapting them to suit learner needs and ages.

One suggestion is to use the emoji keyboard on the ipad  to write a story or song, a fun engaging activity for all ages.  How to set your keyboard to use emoji and ideas for use in the classroom.