The Teacher Toolbox

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New FaceBook FanPage

Posted by Adrian on Oct-7-10
Hi All,

Over the last few months I’ve had several requests from people all over the world to create a FaceBook Fan Page for my site. They told me the fanpage would be an easy way to keep up with my site updates and it would enable them to share my ideas with their friends with the press of a button.

So here it is.

Facebook Fanpage The Teacher ToolboxThe Teacher Toolbox Facebook FanPage

I’m still learning how it all works but feel free to ‘like’ it and spread the news around to anyone you think who would benefit from free resources.

My plan is to post all the new updates to my website and blog to the fanpage so people can get access to the materials immediately. No waiting for me to remember to write an email newsletter :-)

See what you think.

Adrian Bruce

Oh, and I’ve added a ‘Become a Fan’ button and ‘Like’ Button to my blog to make sharing resources easier as well.?


The reading games & phonics posters are some of the most popular resources on my website. It has been a while since I added anything new to this part of the site, so when my 5 y/o daughter asked me to teach her to read I knocked up this ‘t’ phonics poster.

This phonics poster webpage is also my first experiment with the Facebook ‘like’ button. A homeschooler in the US asked if I could include it so she, ‘…and others like her’ can share my resources with their friends. Do feel free to test the button out for me.



What is a Polygon?

Posted by Adrian on Aug-31-10

Last week the boy I’m helping out with maths explored the vocabulary of 2d shapes. Here is a poster we planned together. What is a Polygon?

Today’s resource is a temporal conjunctions poster. It is designed to help out with the language features of Explanation text type. The small version is great for student personal reference and the larger version is a good reference for the classroom wall. NB When doing a joint construction of an explanation it is a useful strategy to model seeking out ‘alternative’ time words. ie model using the poster.

Hope this helps.


Vocabulary Strategies – Card Set 3

Posted by Adrian on Aug-30-10

Here is another set of cards for aiding the teaching of vocabulary. Feel free to print them out and see if they work for you.

On another note, the reading comprehension section of came in as third most popular section of the website. You might like to see if there are any resources there for you to use with your class or hand around to other teachers.



Comic Life, Division & Enforced Creativity

Posted by Adrian on Aug-17-10

DivisionI once enquired of the Head of Curriculum of a school why she thought the Yr 5 & 6 cohort had no real understanding of what Division actually was. Her reply told me a fair bit.

‘You know how it is Adrian, by the time you do Addition in Term One, Subtraction in Term Two and Multiplication in Term Three those last 10 weeks of school just get too busy to do Division properly.’

I believe the modern term all the cool kiddies are using is WTF 😉

That said, I’m trying to pull a friend’s child back from the abyss that is Math Anxiety. We’ve been ‘exploring’ & ‘playing’ with maths concepts.  We’ve done heaps with metacognition/self talk, error analysis, heaps of demonstrations with concrete materials & practise moving from concrete to symbolic representations then we put together the comic strip above.

I’m fond of ‘enforced creativity’ as a way of producing unique ideas. We took the PC version of Comic Life (yes one does exist) and a pretty random set of machinima images from my Dawn of War collection and dropped them into the program. We then started brainstorming ideas for how we could create a comic about Division. NB the last speech bubble is a little tongue in cheek as my student knows that beyond simple division most of us use a calculator :-)



Oh, & I’ll deal with this comment another day 😉 ‘Adrian, that’s all just ‘bells and whistles’. ‘Real’ teachers ‘don’t have time’ to do stuff like that. We have a ‘test’ to ‘cram’ for’.

Terry Denton & Abobe Ideas

Posted by Adrian on Aug-16-10

I attended the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival last weekend and one of the highlights for me was watching the children’s book illustrator Terry Denton work a marquee full of adoring fans. He spoke well on creative processes and all the while drawing to illustrate his point :)

After the session I joined the hordes of kids for a book signing and introduced Terry to the Ipad. I then asked if he would draw one of his characters for my son in Adobe Ideas. (Ok, I lied, it was for me too hehehe)

Maths and Animation – Part II

Posted by Adrian on Aug-15-10

Aussie High School Math teacher Marc Liddell has been experimenting with Xtranormal for and in his Maths classes. He sent me this animation to check out.

How might you use this tool in Maths investigations? Instruction? Tutorial? Reinforcement? Error Analysis? Assessment? Motivation? Building positive attitudes towards Maths as Art?

Oh and I almost forgot Marc will be in Lorne next week running a workshop called Maths is So Boring – How to Change the Attitude of our Students Through the Use of Technology – I’m hoping to make it to that one.

Reinforcing Maths Concepts With Animation

Posted by Adrian on Aug-13-10 Polygon Mystery by Demanter

I like using animation tools with students to reinforce maths concepts. I also like having them choose the concept they think they ‘need’ to reinforce.

Thanks for the inspiration Marc Liddell

Do people really want a computer or do they just want the things a computer can do? Here are 26 apps that suit the way I work. They aid my creativity, connectivity and work flow & all from the comfort of where ever I choose to be – couch, park, bed. Nice.

1. Atomic Web Browser – I like my browser to have one touch tabs and a full screen option. I spent the whopping $1.19 to buy the full version because I wanted to be able to set my homepage to my Pageflakes account. The other feature I like is the ability to save a webpage so I can read them later. Great for traveling on planes.

2. Mail ( the default) – hooks all my webmail accounts into one spot. Too easy.

3. TweetDeck – Twitter: informs me, keeps me in touch with people who are knowledgeable in my field all around the world, allows me to argue, helps me refine thoughts, entertains me, challenges me, inspires me and provides support in times of need. All for free and in real time.

4. Simple Sense – OK I’m an Adsense publisher and this app let’s me check the stats.

5.  The App Store – I especially like the free part of the store and so does my son :)

6. Evernote – Miss 4 has been waking between 4:30am and 5:30 for almost a year now. My partner is a midwife and my son is 11. So once Miss 4 awakes and I’ve set her up with a quiet activity, ‘…until the sun comes up’ I can work on my latest project in Evernote until the rest of the family arises.

7. Notes – Often I’m not in range of a wi-fi networks so I jot stuff down in Notes. I also find this tool handy for everyday stuff that I don’t want ‘cluttering up’ bigger projects eg I don’t want a list of apps to check out in with draft readers’ theatre scripts.

8. Stanza – Download free books from Project Gutenberg so when you have a quiet moment you can do a little light reading. Currently there is a rather eclectic mix residing on my machine – Mark Twain – ‘How to Tell Stories’, ‘The Sayings of Confucius’, ‘The Creative Process in the Individual’, ‘The Dhamapada’ and Thoreau’s ‘Walden’.

9. Facebook – I still don’t ‘get’ Facebook but there are a lot of the kids I’ve taught over the years who have accounts and it is nice to catch up.

10. Kindle – The Ipad provides a very ice reading experience so I’ve been downloading sample books from Amazon to check them out. My first purchase is not too far away.

11. NPR – This is a news app. I love the ‘Arts & Life’ section as well as the ‘Music’ section. Excellent for finding interesting stuff.

12. The Australian Braodcasting Commission – ABC – WOW!!! This is pure brainfood. Listen to radio and podcasts. Watch TV shows – ‘Media Watch’ & ‘Catalyst’ are current favorites. Check it out to see what works for you. It is HUGE!

13. Youtube – Youtube is one of the first places I turn when I want a solution to a problem. This week it has helped out with solving the Rubik’s Cube, using the Dragon Age Toolkit, getting the run down on the NSW DET blogging platform and some cartooning workshops.

14. CoolIris – for the photographer in me this is a wonderful way to view art and photographic images. Completely clutter free!

16. Feeddlerss – Hooks straight into my Google Reader account and delivers the latest posts from all the blogs I read straight to me. Quick, clean and efficient. Just the way I like it. Shame the free version doesn’t allow you to add subscriptions to blogs inside the app, you have to do that from your Google Reader account.

18. Google Earth is beautiful on the Ipad. That’s all. Simply stunning.

19. Ebay – If ever you want to buy something, check out the price on Ebay first. This week I bought a heap of rechargeable batteries for almost half the price I normally pay. I’ve also picked up some second hand books I’ve been meaning to read for for a while now. Even with the postage the books were cheaper than in our local book store chain.

20. Cloudreader – Displays comic book/graphic novel *.cbr files (comic book reader). I like to keep up with some of what is happening in kid and counter culture so I’m looking to read some Naruto, Manga and Tank Girl.

21. Dictionary & Thesaurus – so much quicker than looking for the books and then doing the whole alphabetical order thing.

23. Apps Mosaic – I don’t like the way the App store for Ipad doesn’t have a way to see the most popular free apps. Apps Mosaic shows you what is free and popular. It’s nice just exploring what’s out there.

24. Adobe Ideas (Ipad only) – hmmmmm, still a little out on this one. I love the vector graphics feel but it is a little hard drawing with your finger. Maybe pen and paper is a better option but I’ll continue to tinker.

25. Shazam – play a sample of music into the microphone and Shazam will compare it to its database and let you know the title, artist, album and sometimes a Youtube video. Shazam!

23 & 24 – Videos & Itunes – Video is beautiful on the Ipad. I use these apps to view my TED videos and listen to Utunes podcasts. NB I find the iPod is a much more convenient way to listen to podcasts.

25. Mobile Photoshop Express – a graphics manipulation program that can crop and adjust colour. I find it a handy app for if you want to drop something into your Twitter feed but I do prefer to do my serious photo editing on my laptop.

26. Wikipanion – the feature I like best in this app is the ability to navigate the article sub-headings in the side bar. Big timesaver for me.

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