By Nigel Paull

Title: Boys and Literacy Professional Development Units and Teaching Units
Publisher: Curriculum Corporation, Carlton Victoria, 1997
RRP: $59.95
ISBN: 1 86366 419 X or Teaching Units only $39.95
ISBN:1 86366 4211

Description: Professional Development Units and Teaching Units

Review: 'Are boys less literate than girls? Are certain groups of boys inevitably less literate than others? Boys and Literacy tackles the complex interweaving of gender, masculinity, culture, schooling and literacy. The 'Professional Development Units' are designed for pre and inservice teacher use with full details and guidelines, overhead transparency proformas, discussion guides and question sheets. The 'Teaching Units' present K-12 classroom strategies which have been extensively trialled. Both books have been developed in consultation with literacy and equity consultants in several states. Boys and Literacy provides stimulating and practical resources to confront a common problem area.'

This pair of companion books provide an invaluable resource for teachers and educators seeking to address from an informed perspective concerns about the literacy achievements of boys in schools. The first book is designed for use by groups wishing to undertake professional development on this widely misunderstood issue, while the second provides classroom teachers with practical units suitable for use from the earliest years of primary school to the final years of secondary schooling.

Reviewed by Barney Devlin, Executive Officer. Literacy, ACT

This product is available from:
Curriculum Corporation
Tel: (03) 9207 9600
Fax: (03) 9639 1616

Title: Different Dreams
Publisher: Curriculum Corporation
RRP: $34.95
SCIS Order Number: 925727
ISBN: 1 86366 426 2

Description: Teacher resource

Review: This is the fourth book in a series of integrated units of work for teachers in Australian schools. The series to date covers the K-8 range with many of the units crossing over the traditional class/year splits. They are a must for any multi-age classroom.

Different Dreams contains twelve units which are a useful model for staff to use when developing their own units for their own specific contexts and purposes. The units are grouped according to the connecting threads which are used to organise the learning in the other books in the series -co-operation and participation, humans construct, imagine and invent, culture and community, our world and beyond, everything's a story.

The sixth connecting thread myself and others found in the earlier collections is not represented. This is most likely due only to constraints of time and space, as this aspect is an important issue in the lives of year 7 and 8 students, the target audience for Different Dreams.

Different Dreams is based on the principles of authentic integrated curriculum, where a unit of work:

  • Allows for genuine connections to be made between similar ideas;
  • Draws on the conceptual integrity of each learning area, treating the knowledge and skills of each learning area with respect;
  • Links topics into a sequence of learning that builds students' understanding about significant ideas that are worth studying, using a range of learning processes;
  • Makes natural rather than forced connections, usually having a strong 'host' learning area, bringing in other disciplines only when there is a strong conceptual connection and/or bringing in other processes helps to deepen understanding;
  • Has specific teaching purposes and intentions and can be quite precise about outcomes for students.

Such a resource as this is timesaving and easily adaptable to any state framework. It is certainly a case of work smarter, not harder in these days of overloaded curriculum and timetables. It would be an invaluable resource for any teacher in a middle school who is trying to come to terms with block scheduling and integrated curriculum.

Reviewed by Helyn Strokowsky, Teacher, ACT

This product is available from:
Curriculum Corporation
Tel: (03) 9207 9600
Fax: (03) 9639 1616

Grant, V. 'Information skills and their impact on learning: a New Zealand study.' Scan. 17(2), May, 1998, 50-55.
After the introduction of information skills into New Zealand's National curriculum in 1993 as one of eight 'essential skills', it became mandatory for schools to develop these skills in students. The author undertook a research project to try and determine if following an information skills approach enhanced the learning outcomes of students. The findings, although carried out in one school, indicated that the development of information skills assisted students in their ability to manipulate information, present information, as well as inspire confidence with their learning

Kentwell, R. 'A good idea at the time'. FYI. 2(2), Autumn, 1998, 4-6.
Rosalind Kentwell, Teacher Librarian at Melbourne High School, has a self-confessed passion for information literacy. She wanted to ensure that teaching information literacy remained in context, yet harnessed the technology that is available in schools today. By embarking on a plan that incorporated writing HTML and using Netscape, students and teachers were able to incorporate transferable skills into several projects. Both the positive and negative aspects of the undertaking are documented.

McKenzie, J. 'Libraries of the future'. Access. 12(2), May, 1998, 14-16.
Teacher Librarians who did not have the opportunity to hear Jamie McKenzie during his recent visit to Australia should seek out this thought provoking article. It discusses the way school libraries may develop over the next decade and the accompanying role of Teacher Librarians. McKenzie states that the best case scenario would see Teacher Librarians as 'pilots' demonstrating to students and teachers how to navigate through the glut of information available, and acting as information mediators assisting users to assess the quality of information. He also outlines the merit for being proficient in information technology and in taking a greater role in curating, while maintaining the more traditional roles involving promoting literature and matching books to readers.

Ridge, M. 'Get a free e-mail account!'. August, 1998, 64-65.
By having email stored on a Web provider's server, users are able to access the email from any Web connected computer. This is particularly relevant if users have no computer access at home, share a computer system at work without personal email, or travel frequently. This article explains how free email works, lists the top providers and outlines the steps necessary to set up your own free email accounts.

Nigel Paull

Nigel Paull