IN BRIEF

Close the Gap Day

Help your students learn about the gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians with a free education pack from www.oxfam.org.au/ctgschools for Close the Gap Day on March 19. The resources show students how to create and participate in student-led action.

Attentiveness pays

If little children are taught to focus on tasks and work on them they do better in maths and literacy by the age of six-seven. The results come from a study published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development from research carried out by the University of Adelaide using data from more than 3400 children who participated in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children when they were aged 2-3, then 4-5, and again at 6-7 years.

Koala and joey SOS

Help koalas with paws burned in bushfires.

Burned koalas and orphaned joeys can be helped through the healing process with simple mittens and carry-pouches. Would your students like to make some for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to use when caring for animals harmed in bushfires? The mittens protect koalas’ burned paws while the pouches make the little orphaned joeys feel warm and comfy, the closest to being with their mother. Download the simple patterns and instructions at IFAW’s Facebook site and send the mittens and pouches to IFAW at 6 Belmore Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010 to be distributed to vets, vet nurses and wildlife carers. Koalas, who spend about 18 hours a day asleep in trees, are one of the worst casualties of bushfires. An IFAW volunteer says: “They are slow-moving creatures, with a top speed of only 10km an hour. In a fast-moving fire-front they are often the first to perish. Injuries to paws, claws, face and ears are common and tiny joeys can often only wait in burning trees, crying for their mothers. I’ve worked with wildlife rescuers after fires and they tell me about seeing koala babies actually sitting in the trees, crying.”

Dyslexia film

Dyslexia can hold a student up badly in class. A new documentary, Outside the Square, is bringing together the nation’s top researchers and experts in dyslexia to help explain what the learning difficulty is and how students can be assisted in school. The producers say one in 10 students suffers from dyslexia. Details on Outside the Square's Facebook page.

Play with figures

Bring stats to life with ConCensus, where students can use real ABS data to paint a picture of life in their suburb and compare other suburbs, and Choose Your Own Statistics, which helps students from years 5–8 gain a better understanding of human rights issues. Topics such as immigration, the justice system, respectful relationships and life expectancy, address the Australian Curriculum’s Ethical Understanding general capability. Stats cover the full range of graphs in the Australian Mathematics curriculum. Both are available at the ABC’s Splash website. Students using ConCensus can build their own census with MyCensus, and the ABC hopes that over time MyCensus will grow to form a living map of schools and their communities.

Schools Clean Up Day

All schools are encouraged to register a local rubbish hotspot to be part of Schools Clean Up Day on Friday, February 27. “It’s easy to get involved,” said Clean Up Australia, Chairman and Founder, Ian Kiernan AO. “First, work with your kids to identify areas within the school grounds or local area that need some attention and write short stories or create picture boards about what needs to be done. Second, register your school’s site on our website, muster some volunteers, have fun on Schools Clean Up Day and create reports about your results.” For details, visit Clean Up Australia's page and also find an online toolkit from Cool Australia with a specific lesson plan for the day and other curriculum-aligned lesson plans themed around water, energy, climate change, packaging, waste and recycling.

Free environmental resources for teachers

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness, one of NSW’s peak environmental groups, is donating to teachers and librarians free copies of their environmental publications. They are Battle for the Bush by Geoff Mosley; Blue Mountains World Heritage by Alex Colley and Henry Gold; Blue Mountains for World Heritage by Geoff Mosley; Celebrating Wilderness: Wild Places by Peter Prineas; and Wilderness — the Future edited by Will Barton. Free class sets are also available. Call (02) 9261-2400 or email the foundation.

Women conservationists lecture

In “Three Women Conservationists — Annie, Marie and Thistle, a housewife, a lawyer and a teacher”, tutor Janine Kitson will outline how these women shaped the Australian environment movement. Annie Wyatt, a conservative housewife, was unexpectedly catapulted into activism and went on to create the National Trust; Marie Byles was a feminist, activist, mountain climber and first female practising solicitor; Thistle Harris was a botanist and teacher who pioneered the environmental education movement. The course is on Saturday February 28, 10am–noon at WEA Sydney Building, 70–72 Bathurst Street, Sydney. Cost: $35, bookings essential. Call (02) 9264 2781 or book here.

Teachers for refugees in Indonesia

The Australian Education Union is seeking expressions of interest from teachers trained in ESL to help deliver a professional learning program to teachers at the Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre in Indonesia, 80km south of Jakarta. The Federation supports this project. The area has become home for many asylum-seekers. There are currently 77 students in five classes with ages ranging from preschool to about 17 from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Myanmar. Subjects include English language, maths, general knowledge and basic science. Details here on the Federation website. Send your application to the Federation General Secretary.