Thursday, March 27, 2008

Have your say on the 2020 summit - in Alice this Saturday!

There is an opportunity to have input into Australia 2020 discussions that will be taking place in Canberra in April via a local Regional 2020 meeting in Alice Springs this weekend.

The meeting details are

Alice Springs - 29th March, 9am - 11am at Centralian Senior Secondary College

The aim is to discuss the same topics as in Canberra.

The Summit will focus on 10 future challenges:
· Australian Economy - future directions for the Australian economy - including education, skills, training, science and innovation as part of the nation's productivity agenda
· Infrastructure - economic infrastructure, the digital economy and the future of our cities
· Sustainability and Climate Change - population, sustainability, climate change and water
· Rural Australia - future directions for rural industries and rural communities
· Health - a long-term national health strategy - including the challenges of preventative health, workforce planning and the ageing population
· Communities and Families - strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion
· Indigenous Australia - options for the future of Indigenous Australia
· Creative Australia - towards a creative Australia: the future of the arts, film and design
· Governance - the future of Australian governance: renewed democracy, a more open government (including the role of the media), the structure of the Federation and the rights and responsibilities of citizens
· Australia's Future in the World - Australia's future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world
You are asked to register for the meeting at and indicate which topics you are most interested in discussing.

It can be an opportunity to 'put on the table' some key issues identified by this network and your organisation to ensure that input comes from the desert as well as the coast and large metro areas.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

International Year of the Potato:

2008 has been designated by the UN as the International Year of the Potato in order to raise awareness of how the potato has helped the agri-economy of developing countries to meet the challenges of malnourishment, land shortage, rising population and inhospitable growth climates. The official website is a useful education and information tool, featuring a kids section with basic potato facts, a quiz, details on growing your own potatoes, easy-to-use graphs on global production and consumption, and a video of a potato harvest.

Larapinta Trail information for school groups

Recently the Parks and Wildlife Service Northern Territory have put together a comprehensive information kit for school groups who are planning to walk the Larapinta Trail.

The information kit addresses topics like:

· Safety on the trail

· Special facilities and camping options for school groups

· Campfires, rubbish and water supplies

· Supervision, support vehicles and groups over 8

· Recommended reading about flora and fauna

It can be found on our website by following the links to ‘Walks, Talks & Trails’, ‘Larapinta Trail’, and then ‘Walking the Trail’.

The kit is in PDF form and will be updated whenever necessary so it is important to use the latest copy with every new walk that is planned.

Please phone Parks and Wildlife on (08) 8951 8250 if you require any further
information. Alternatively email

Invitiation to Pilot aspects of the renewed NTCF

NT teacher feedback and national curriculum developments have lead to the renewal of the NT Curriculum Framework over the past 12 months in the areas of English, Mathematics, Science and Learning Technologies. NT educators are invited to evaluate and provide feedback on these areas of learning through a piloting phase in Term 2, 2008.

Areas ready for piloting are:
English - Writing
Maths - Spatial Sense
Science - Science as Inquiry and Natural Processed Materials or Life and Living
Learning Technologies - Communicating through Publishing, Performing, Producing

Further information can be found in the Principal's Weekly Bulletin and in the attached flier

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Using Google Reader to keep track of blog posts

As you may realise, this blog replaces the many emails that I used to send out to teachers. This stops me from bombarding your mailbox. It is also useful as all the posts are kept in an archive which can be easily searched, so you dont have to trawl through your email to find the message. Mostly I have had good feedback about the use of a blog instead of email, the only problem being that people don't always know when I have posted something new. There is an easy solution to this too. There are a number of 'feedreaders' available to keep track of new posts. One is Google Reader.

Google Reader can be used to keep track of your favorite websites

Google Reader constantly checks your favorite news sites and blogs for new content. Whether a site updates daily or monthly, you can be sure that you won't miss a thing.

Google Reader shows you all of your favorite sites in one convenient place. It's like a personalized inbox for the entire web.

You can subscribe to this blog and many other great sites through google reader, making it easy to stay up to date with the things that are useful to you.


NEiTA is calling on parents, schools, and early childhood communities to show their teacher appreciation with an award nomination in NEiTA's new awards, the ASG Inspirational Teacher Awards.

The NEiTA teaching awards program provides parents, school, and early childhood communities with a unique way to acknowledge the contributions of a teacher. Parents, school, and early childhood communities can nominate through their School Council, Committee of Management, Parent Association, or Secondary Student Council. Parents can also nominate teachers independently.

Nomination forms are available by calling the NEiTA Secretariat on 1800 624 487. Alternatively, nominations can be made online at or by emailing NEiTA at For more background information about the NEiTA and its Awards program, please visit the website:


When the weather changes daily, how do we really know that Earth's climate is changing? A new book from Lynne Cherry and co-author Gary Braasch, written especially for middle schoolers, How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming (Dawn Publications, March 2008) presents the evidence behind the headlines-gathered by scientists from all over the world, sometimes with the assistance of young "citizen scientists" and told in an age-appropriate manner with clarity and hope.


Exploratorium site links to real-time NOAA imagery and graphs on atmosphere,hydrosphere, global effects, etc. Students can explore scientific data relating to the atmosphere, the oceans, areas covered by ice and snow, and the living organisms in all these domains.


HippoWorks Helps Teach Kids about Global Warming has just produced a new 12-part cartoon series "One by One, Ton by Ton, Let's Stop Global Warming!" to help teach kids about this important environmental issue and what they can do to stop it. A new episode will air every week.

As an educational tool for teachers, each episode concludes with questions and a glossary for a follow-up classroom discussion. Previous cartoons from Hippo Works have promoted energy conservation, awareness about animal extinction, and green living. The weekly cartoonlets are a free offering, for subscribers or for your Web site!


The Reframing the Future 2008 program has been redesigned to achieve even more of an impact within the national Vocational Education & Training (VET)system and to develop Australia's VET workforce. Two new publications in the Core Ideas series are now available:
- Action learning and the national training system
- Appreciative inquiry and the national training system
Reframing the Future's many FREE publications and new resources, can be ordered or downloaded through the website.


Water, Not Down the Drain is a comprehensive guide to sustainable water use around the home. With Australia experiencing one of its driest phases in history, everyone has to think about how they use the water available to them and find ways to reduce their day to day water use. The good news is that with rainwater and greywater, people have more water available to them than they think.

CONNECT2EARTH is a community website that will give young people a platform to share their ideas and concerns about environmental issues through their own videos, image or text. It is also a competition culminating in the presentation of the winner's video, text or images to
world leaders at IUCN's World Conservation Congress in Barcelona this October.

Connect2earth will allow IUCN to reach new audiences, especially millions of
young people from 13-35 years of age. It is a great platform to empower
young people to be more environmentally aware and involved in what we do.


Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard has invited all schools to participate in the proposed 2020 summit involving 1000 of Australia's best and brightest minds in April.

In a bid to tap into the minds of Australia's best and brightest students, Ms Gillard said she wanted all primary and secondary schools to host their own ideas summits. She said the schools summits would offer a unique opportunity for students throughout the country to make sure their views are heard on the 10 key themes of Australia 2020.

Each school will be able to hold their summit at a convenient time over a three-week period beginning March 17, with every school being encouraged to participate. Feedback from the schools summits will be collected and consolidated by the Federal Government, and will provide material for discussion at the youth summit, to be held on 12-13 April 08.


Monday, March 17, 2008

PCA National Schools Packaging Design Challenge

The Packaging Council of Australia (PCA), is running a national packaging design challenge to encourage innovative, functional and environmentally friendly approaches to modern packaging and consumer issues. Students from senor primary to Year 12 are encouraged to enter. Students and schools can win cash prizes, with the national winners also winning a trip to Melbourne to receive their prize at the 2008 Packaging Awards Presentation Dinner to be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel October 9. Registrations close in late April to late May depending on location. Please check closing dates for your state/territory closely to avoid missing out.
The PCA has been developing curriculum materials and supporting teachers to develop a comprehensive understanding and approach to packaging sustainability issues for the past three years. 2007 winning designs and competition video can be viewed at
For more information contact Prudence Frost E: or T: 03 9690 1955

Resources available from the PCA include:
The Pack pack – highly visual resource originally aimed at years 5-8. Currently being used by years 2-10 as a starting point for studying packaging issues. ($55) Also used as a reference for units of work in the Packaging Unwrapped series.
Packaging Unwrapped series – 4 titles each with 4 units of work covered for secondary students to Year 10.
Packaging Unwrapped – A Geography Perspective ($10)
Packaging Unwrapped – An Art, Design and Technology Perspective ($10)
Packaging Unwrapped – An ESL Perspective ($10)
Packaging Unwrapped – A Values Perspective ($10)

Packaging and Marketing Case Studies for Schools: 2.6 seconds to beat your competition – 18 case studies on packaging and its relationship to marketing strategies ($20)
All resources are only available from the Packaging Council of Australia. More information and order forms available on the website

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2008-09 EnvironmeNT Grants NOW OPEN

Yesterday the Minister for Natural Resources, Environment and Heritage announced the EnvironmeNT Grants 2008-09 was open and was even better with the addition of a wildlife specific category to complement categories focusing on the human impact on the environment. The amount up for grabs has also been increased to $560,000.

Grant types:
School project, individual project or operational funding.

Closing dates:
Two stage application process:
1. Expression of Interest – 31 March 2008
2. Full Application – 28 April 2008

Individual Project
Two stage application process:
1. Expression of Interest – 31 March 2008
2. Full Application – 19 May 2008

Operational funding
Application by written submission only - due on 28 April 2008

Go to for more details.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Photo Essay Exhibition for National Youth Week

Enjoy taking photographs? Like to show the world how you see things? The Alice Springs Desert Park would like to invite your school to nominate for a place in an exhibition to be hosted by the Desert Park, for visitors to learn about how Central Australia’s youth see the nature of the Desert. Showcase your own and your friend’s photography skills by sending us a group photo essay on the natural desert habitat where you live. Your group’s photos could be on display at the Alice Springs Desert Park for all to see. Be sure to have your entry to us by 5.00pm CST Monday 31st March 2008

More information

Darwin Youth LEAD workshop 10-12 April, 2008

Youth LEAD is an innovative eco-social leadership and action training program giving young people the skills, motivation and opportunities to lead the way to a sustainable future. It is for 15-25 yr olds (flexible age limit). The second annual Darwin Youth LEAD program is being run as a Youth Week event in partnership with the Office of Youth Affairs and with the support of the Vodafone Australia Foundation and the Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts.

* When: Thursday 10th to Sat 12th April 2008 (3-day residential workshop)
* Where: Kormilda College, Berrimah
* $250 includes all food, accommodation and workshop materials (sliding scale if this price is a barrier - please contact us)

For more information please contact Gabe (Programs Coordinator - South Australia & Northern Territory on 0405 02 3232, or visit the website: