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Ogilvie - Newtown District School

Project Implementation and Resources


The Ogilvie cluster of schools involved Newtown Primary School, Newtown High School, Ogilvie High School, Bowen Road Primary School and Lenah Valley Primary School. Approximately 25 Grade 5/6 and secondary mathematics teacher participants started with the project in 2013, and most continued with the project until the end. Professional Learning (PL) days were hosted throughout the project. In 2013, three whole day PL sessions were held, involving most of the participants from all five schools. In 2014, 3 whole day PL sessions were again held, and these were supplemented by inter-school classroom visits. The PL sessions were facilitated by Tracey Muir, Helen Chick, and the Network Lead Teachers. The region's Principal Network Leader also provided ongoing support and input into the planning of the sessions.

The overarching goal of the project over the two years was focused on improving student understanding and application of place value across grades 5-8. To this end, the PL days in 2013 involved identifying the focus area (place value) and building teacher knowledge and understanding of this area. This focus continued throughout 2014, together with a shift towards effective and consistent implementation of the learning across schools and across Grades 5-8. Inter-school visits were also organised and conducted in order for teachers to observe, reflect and provide feedback on the teaching of place value. Each of the PL days held in 2014 contained the following common elements:

  • Building pedagogical content knowledge – professional learning led by Dr Tracey Muir and Associate Professor Helen Chick from UTAS and John Penman – Network Lead Teacher.
  • Task design: planning in teams for the teaching of place value – based on the professional learning.
  • Observation and feedback: planning for, reflecting on and refining the process.

The University Liaison, Dr Tracey Muir, facilitated all the PL days throughout 2013 and 2014. The planning for these days was a collaborative effort between Associate Professor Helen Chick, the Network Lead Teacher and the Principal Network Leader. Associate Professor Helen Chick particularly provided PL around increasing teachers' knowledge and understanding of key place value concepts and the implementation of diagnostic tools.


The Ogilvie project maintained a focus on developing the key concepts and big ideas around place value. Beginning with place value of whole numbers, the professional learning days contained a mixture of mathematical content and pedagogical content knowledge. Later on in the year, we extended place value ideas into looking at decimals. We found the use of a decimal diagnostic interview tool invaluable in helping teachers understand some of the common misconceptions associated with students learning of decimals. This was very much part of the inquiry aspect of the project, in that teachers administered the decimal interview with their students, observed and documented the results and then implemented teaching strategies to teach students decimal concepts. Later in the project, teachers visited each other's classrooms and observed and reflected upon the teaching of place value concepts, including decimals.

The Professional learning days typically followed a similar structure.

Overview of the Professional Learning days undertaken by the Ogilvie - Newtown District Cluster in 2013:

Example of a Professional Learning day conducted in 2014:


The following resources are available for printing for educational purposes (including any attached copyrights).

The following activities can be used to develop students understanding of place value and working with decimals:


The Decimal Interview

The decimal diagnostic interview was developed by Kaye Stacey and colleagues from the University of Melbourne. Prior to administering the interview, Helen Chick provided with the teachers with the theoretical background behind the interview, along with instructions on how to administer it and record the results.

Student Activities

Skip Counting

Number Estimation