Indigenous Language Map

For an overview of Indigenous Languages spoken in Australia at around the time the first non-indigenous visitors starting arriving, view this video:

Indigenous Language Week @ SGS

Great little session at SGS in Notting Hill on Thursday – plenty of interest in my account of my years as a linguist in Central Australia and the Pilbara Region – and we had some fun wrapping our tongues around some sounds and words from the Nyangumarta language of North West Western Australia. Here are the slides and a copy of the handout

Lets Speak Nyangumarta! – SGS Australia Slides 2.0


I’m a great fan of Toastmasters

Look what I found!

Maths Chase is a free site where you can quickly test your times tables. The site is a very simple game but kids find it a fun way to learn their times tables.


Your Growth Mindset

Although this book hasn’t had 100% great reviews from the pundits, I must say that I enjoyed the sentiments that it focuses on. Since reading the material about how important it is to focus on avoiding a fixed mindset, I’ve noticed that there are plenty of examples around that could do well to change their approach.
For example, I am involved in a club that has diminishing numbers. The default mindset is that we keep doing the same thing, that we appeal to ex-members as we are about to fall over and so we need some help, and that we plea for help wherever it can be sought. A growth mindset would be to review what has worked and what needs improvement, evaluate the value of the club to see if it has more to share, and seek opportunities to speak to different audiences about what we have on offer.
The book I read made the options very real, in my mind.
I have used the same principles in my work, where everywhere there is advantage and everywhere there is opportunity to learn and progress. I may have views or attitudes that are hard to change, but now, I am seeking to challenge them and am finding ways to add to these views and attitudes.
‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’ has enabled that change in approach.

We all need a side gig – what’s yours?

Have you tried Tutoo?

The simple way to find
your perfect tutor.


Tutoo is a service where anyone can easily find a tutor local to you. Their service is completely free for tutors, students will only pay a finder’s fee. Tutoo never takes any commission for lessons you arrange with your tutor.

Tutoo lists details of thousands of tutors. They make it simple to browse though them and list by subjects taught and location – they have a wide range of skilled teachers registered at Tutoo; everything from mathematics, and piano, to philosophy is available!

Each tutor has their own profile page – you will be able to see their qualifications, their prices charged per hour, a photo, and some personal details including the experience and availability. They also show past feedback from other pupils. By having a large database of tutors available, they are confident that for every student who registers, they will be able to find the perfect tutor.


And the side gig? Become a tutor. Here.

Free Printable Lesson Starter Topic: GRAFFITI

Some great investigative worksheets on the cross-curriculum topic of Graffiti. Here I have used student interest in the topic to explore various cross-curriculum areas such as math, social science, debate, visual arts, and history.

I find the cross curriculum nature of these units provide so many learning opportunities.

The packs covers the following topics:

– Street Artists such as Banksy
– School policy on dealing with graffiti
– Investigation on graffiti removal products – reading a chart
– Experimenting in Street Art
– Art v Vandalism arguments
– Creating a Tag
– History of Graffiti
– Graffiti Poetry Response

This is NOT a course in Graffiti, but rather a stimulus pack of activities that uses various skills to investigate the topic of Graffiti. Suitable to Middle Schools Students in both interest and ability level.

Go here to see the full pack

Public Speaking Worksheet FREE

A free worksheet to start the topic – ‘Public Speaking’ – a skill everyone needs, but rarely see it taught in the classroom.






Get the whole pack here.



Cash for Worksheets

There is so much quality work in just about every Secondary teachers’ filing cabinet – why not turn it in to cash? Send me a sample of your printable and if it matches our publication strategy then I will respond with a quote.

We will then revamp the worksheets using our templates and make it available to teachers world wide. Every author will be referenced in the final publication – plus you will get a copy of the finished product.

If you have some proven high interest products that you think could earn you some extra cash, send them through to Malcom@malcombrown.com.au

Public Speaking Pack

My new Public Speaking worksheets are now up and running. More than 20 pages of tips, ideas and starters for delivering that killer speech – with confidence.

Every student should be equipped to speak publicly and confidently before they leave high school – it is such a necessary skill in the workplace and in life.


Winner Winner

Always a great challenge participating in speaking competitions and it is such a great feeling being successful. Judging can sometimes be a mystery, but the important thing is to participate and enjoy the experience. Congratulations to all the participants and thank you to Berwick RSL for your hospitality.

Speaking Competitions

Speech contests are all about personal growth and tonight I’ll be participating in two competitions at the Berwick RSL – Table Topics and International Speech Competition. Should be an exciting night, and at least I can say that I am participating, even though I may not win!

Plus you get to hear some great speeches.



The on boarding process is so important for any new team member. It is essential for the team leader to devote at least the first week to any new team member’s induction so that the standards and expectations are set from the very beginning.

Induction should normally follow the sequence of whole company history, values, beliefs, and direction, and then slowly narrow down to the exact job expectations of the role. As the new team member moves in to the role, it is important for the team leader to debrief the new team member at the end of the day to check understandings and clarify any queries.


Back to School

Quoting for bulk back to school deliveries is in full swing, and we are getting close to the due date for any deliveries in December.

Any school that needs a delivery in December, need to have their order in by end of October.

Get exciting – and very busy

Anyone Can Use a Speechwriter


It is more important to be an effective speaker than to deliver a perfect speech.  The best public speakers typically give more value to effectiveness in communication than they do to perfection. When they make a mistake, their reaction will be to carry on with their speech regardless; unless, of course, the mistake impacts the clarity of the speech.

The ability to structure thoughts and connect with the audience is crucial to being an effective public speaker. Great speeches connect with the audience and are relevant.

If you need to make a speech, I can help to make the speech memorable and perfectly suitable. Please use the contact form below to get in touch about any speech writing request that you may have.

Nailed it

  • 2500 words on a topic that I was not familiar with
  • Keynote speech to be delivered by the CEO of a Software company to an audience of prospective buyers
  • 23 hours notice
  • Speaker unknown, company unknown, topic unfamiliar


Everyone happy?


Thanks to Frontier Software for the opportunity.


Compering gives you special access

If you are the compere of any event, your access to behind the scenes activity is an eye opener. I have yet to meet any keynote speaker, confident speaker or even a practiced speaker who does not have some nervous moment before they enter the stage. They all do. It may not show once the speech begins, but the nervous energy is there. It is clear to me that a great speaker needs to be nervous. They need to be on edge, pace around, jump up and down – not to get rid of their nerves but to stimulate their nerves.

They will over-exaggerate their body movements – the handshake might be excessive, the smile too big, the eyes super wide. It is a high wire act and every nerve tingles and is alert.

This is what I learnt from our three day conference this week as I worked back stage with more than 20 speakers as they prepared for their moment in the spotlight.

When Will I Learn?

I have recently had to learn another lesson, and again the learning is about me not being able to suppress my ego. I had decided to visit another speaking club – a neighbouring one – and enthusiastically participated in the activities of the night. Impromptu speeches, short contributions, brainstorming exercises and so on.

At one point I was asked to give an evaluation to the group of another speaker’s efforts. I know that providing feedback in this instance is all about being positive about the speaker and couching a simple area of improvement either side of a whole lot of really good things that the speaker did.  Unfortunately I used this opportunity to provide feedback beyond my charter and gave the whole audience some gratuitous advice about the conduct of the meeting and how things could be improved – way beyond what I had been asked to do.

How arrogant. I thought I could add value to the friendly club with my experience and knowledge, but really that wasn’t the right time or place to be doing that. Fortunately, a far more quality person than me gave me the feedback that what I said might be appropriate, but the timing of the comments could have been better served in a different place. Thanks for that.

I really need to learn to keep my ego in check at all times. When will I learn?

The feeling you have when you are asked to compere a major conference

What a buzz! The pit in your stomach turns in to a knot but how proud are you to be considered for the compere of a major event? The mind races and the fears kick in at the same rate. You think of all the things that need to happen, how courageous can you be? how will I make it memorable? who thinks they can do a better job than me?

What is the timeline? How much time do I have to get ready? What will I wear? And so on.

But most importantly it is time to prepare, and preparation is all about thinking about the event. Gather as much information as you can and let it swirl around in your mind. Locate the agenda – well, at least the initial draft, because there will be many drafts. And then just give it a lot of thought. Does it have theme? Give the theme some thought. Google the theme and look at the images. Start a scrapbook about the event and anything that is of interest to the event. This is your mood board, turn it in to a brainstorm.

Preparing for event such as this, is all about inspiration. You only need to start doing the work once inspiration hits.

I’m excited.

Q and A

If you are waiting for a workshop or talk to commence, as the facilitator, you could always start an informal Q and A session with the audience to see if they have any questions. It is a great way to fill an awkward gap in the program while attendees arrive. It is also allows for everyone to start focussing on the topic to be discussed. Thanks to Darren LeCroix for that great tip.



This made an impact on me.

Not all original content, but some very thought provoking concepts and links. I particularly followed up on The Principles – management principles – that made Breakwater Associates great. The Principles of management at Breakwater are based on robust relationships and strong feedback within the team. Meetings are taped for viewing by others if they want. Everything is visible.

The Principles is an easy to read booklet. Download Bridgewater-Associates-Ray-Dalio-Principles

Transferrable Skills

Communication skills

  • Speaking effectively
  • Writing concisely
  • Listening attentively
  • Expressing ideas
  • Facilitating group discussion
  • Providing appropriate feedback
  • Negotiating
  • Perceiving nonverbal messages
  • Persuading
  • Reporting information
  • Describing feelings
  • Interviewing
  • Editing


Research & Planning skills

  • Forecasting predicting
  • Creating ideas
  • Identifying problems
  • Imagining alternatives
  • Identifying resources
  • Gathering information
  • Solving problems
  • Setting goals
  • Extracting important information
  • Defining needs
  • Analyzing
  • Developing evaluation strategies

Human Relations skills

  • Developing rapport
  • Being Sensitive
  • Listening
  • Conveying feelings
  • Providing support for others
  • Motivating
  • Sharing credit
  • Counseling
  • Cooperating
  • Delegating with respect
  • Representing others
  • Perceiving feelings situations
  • Asserting


Organisation Management & Leadership Skills

  • Initiating new ideas
  • Handling details
  • Coordinating tasks
  • Managing groups
  • Delegating responsibility
  • Teaching
  • Coaching
  • Counseling
  • Promoting change
  • Selling ideas or products
  • Decision making with others
  • Managing conflict


Work Survival Skills

  • Implementing decisions
  • Cooperating
  • Enforcing policies
  • Being punctual
  • Managing time
  • Attending to detail
  • Meeting goals
  • Enlisting help
  • Accepting responsibility
  • Setting and meeting deadlines
  • Organizing
  • Making decisions

It’s all in the detail

Before I started working in retail, I had thought running a shop was just about putting an A frame on the road out the front, and getting the customer to leave their money on the fridge whenever they bought something. I was so naïve about the complexity that was involved.

In my world, to have the common Staedtler HB pencil ranged in our system, about 1000 different fields that must be updated for the pencil to hit the shelf.

  • Barcode
  • Buy price
  • Sell price – inc and exc
  • Supplier name, supplier code, alternative supplier, alternative supplier code
  • Minimum stock holdings at each store, in each warehouse.
  • Minimum pack qties, minimum order values
  • Inner qties, outer qties, pallet qties
  • Use by date, colour, length, width, weight
  • GST, cost centre,
  • Ranged in all states, or just east coast, west coast, NT
  • Lead time from the vendor, lead time to the customer
  • …. And so on


Any error, any variation, misspelling, wrong digit, no digit, will create an issue that usually means the customer won’t get their goods, will ring up looking for their order, cause grief for my team, will create a piss off factor and tell between 5 – 10 others about their poor experience – all because someone forgot to put in the check digit on the barcode, or set the trigger for re-ordering to a too low number.

My life is about detail and precision. The system we use is an example of German over-engineering and is so unforgiving with any variances, customisation, or any ability to provide an ad hoc solution for the customer.

Retail is detail and so have been my life experiences.

In an earlier life, I was a cricket umpire. Those who can, do; those who can’t, umpire.

The front foot no ball rule was a precise rule. It clearly states that some part of the bowler’s foot must be behind the popping crease. Second day of a final. Ball number one is legal – well behind the popping crease. Ball number two is legal – just behind the popping crease. Ball number three ever so slightly edges past the popping crease in a flash – or did he? It was hard to concentrate because there was an appeal for caught behind – I think I heard a snick and the fielding team was quite vocal – and I gave him out. It was too late to call no ball. I probably wasn’t going to anyway – after all he only minuscule-ly stepped over – nothing to worry about. But now he was out, and it should have been a no-ball. I was wrong. I was inaccurate. The batsman was on 98, two more runs and he would have been a centurion. I was wrong and it had an impact. He trudged off the ground and sat forlornly in the shed. His day shattered and who knows who that effects in this Mt Gambier timber milling town. He would have gone home, another one with a piss off factor, been aggressive with the cat, taught his kids how not to respond to disappointment, sought someone to blame and caused all-round mayhem all weekend on the domestic front.

And lately I have been fixated with the detail in our writing rules. I’m a stickler for punctuation and love the detail in difference between a hyphen, an en dash and an em dash. Each has a different purpose and conveys a different meaning.

An em dash – the width of the letter ‘m’ – can be used in place of commas, in place of brackets, or in place of a colon. Multiple em dashes can be used in place of a word, or missing portions of a word:

“Die a–,” he shouted before pulling the trigger

An en dash – slightly wider than a hyphen, but narrower than an em dash – is used for spanning dates, such as 2010-2011, or scores, or indicate connection, direction, or conflict, such as East-West link, liberal-conservative. It can also be used for compounding adjectives – award-winning – but so is the hyphen. This is more about aesthetics.

So what about hyphens? Their primary function is forming compounds.




So you know, compound words are like eye­­­­-opener, check-in, free-for-all.


Hyphens are also used for word division at the end of the line.


But now that we know about the three types of dashes, representing these three dashes on a keyboard is problematic. The em dash is a double tap of the hyphen key, the hyphen is a single tap of the hyphen key, but frustratingly, the en dash is more difficult to achieve. There is no simple keystroke. There is a sequence of keystrokes: Alt + 0150

I must admit I find beauty in this detail. The ability to get things perfect, correct, and right. The ability to get an answer, the right answer, I thoroughly enjoy. For things to have such lovely detailed meaning and impact is so energising for me.

I love getting a spreadsheet to compute and will investigate to the wee small hours to find a solution for some web coding. It has taken me to all sorts of roles in life and work – anywhere some minuscule troubleshooting is required – I’ll be there.


Sorry about that.















Team Engagement

When I look after a team and expect high performance, to me, it is about team engagement. And team engagement is mainly about communication – real communication. I have been battling with how to achieve this level of real communication with a team that is spread across the nation, and in different time zones. It is expected that we have regular team meetings and to date this has been fortnightly or even weekly. These regular team meetings have had some housekeeping and general business. The main focus for each meeting has been to investigate a soft skill that team members are expected to use in their daily tasks. This has created some great discussion and new learning for the team leader and team members. All team members show a high level of engagement at these meetings, and as a result of these meetings.

The team is now at a new level of maturity and the learning is on-going but less programmed. The team will now only have a formal learning session once a month. Instead, to increase the level of engagement, the team will have a short daily stand-up or huddle – online. Each team member will be encouraged to dial in and call out any urgent tasks, difficult tasks, overloads, special requests, upcoming events. Tasks that need to be, will be reassigned.

The protocol is that the stand up will be short – probably 5 minutes – daily, and business only.

We will see how it goes. The question in my mind – what time of the day?

Speak UP!

Great news! – I have completed my pack of worksheets about Speech Writing techniques for Middle School students, and uploaded it here.

The contents of the pack include:

– Analyzing Donald Trump’s acceptance speech
– Learning about Alliteration in speeches
– Practising the use of Tricolons
– Understanding the Power of Speech Metaphors
– Ways to use Repetition in Speeches
– Reviewing Inch by Inch, by Al Pacino
– Reviewing Queen Elizabeth I’s Speech to the Troops at Tilbury, 1588
– Discovering the power of The Gettysburg Address
– Counting the metaphors in the ‘I Have a Dream Speech’, by Martin Luther King

The pack also includes a bonus Rubric that can be used to analyze the effectiveness of any speech.

Learning how to write and deliver a speech is one of the important life skills that any student should master as it will provide them with confidence to speak in any settings and make them a real asset in the workforce.

If you teach in a Middle School class then this pack will be a great stimulus for getting your students to improve their public speaking. Learn from the best.


Elements of Eloquence

Great book on the different techniques to turn a perfect phrase in English. It’s no just about alliteration and the ‘rule of three’ – this book as 35 more techniques that can be used to shape an ordinary phrase in to a fabulous one.

Loved it!


Letter to Son about New iPhone Present

Dear Gregory

Merry Christmas! You are now the proud owner of an iPhone. You are a good & responsible 13 year old boy and you deserve this gift. But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations. Please read through the following contract. I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it. Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.I love you madly & look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

  1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?
  2. I will always know the password.
  3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”. Not ever.
  4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
  5. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill.
  6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.
  7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.
  8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person or out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.
  9. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person, preferably me or your father.
  10. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public, especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.
  11. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.
  12. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.
  13. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO — fear of missing out.
  14. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.
  15. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.
  16. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Wonder without Googling.
  17. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You & I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine. I love you. I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone. Merry Christmas! Mum xoxoxo


Updating the Locals

I went to a neighbourhood community group meeting last night where leaders from local groups were invited to attend and link up. It was great. There were a couple of guest speakers that referred to local plans, a forum and some action planning in to the future.

female-speaker-1024x683One of the guest speakers was the local High School acting Principal. She had her notes, presented well and impressed everyone with her professional approach and informative update.


The presentation told everyone about the great renovations and building improvements that were going on at the school – a school that most had some connection with. Their connection might have been as a student, as a volunteer, as a parent of a student, or just as a driver who gets impacted by the 40kph speed restriction every school morning and afternoon.


The acting Principal kept to type, not veering at all from her script, and made a truly fabulous impact on everyone in the group.

This PR effort – during the school holidays(no mention was made) – was so effective that I am sure the large institution on the hill had just further increased their credibility in the local community.

Prepared, presentable, matter-fact, not setting out to overly impress, just the facts ma’am – it was great.

The Principal’s Welcome Back Letter – Setting the Scene

The school year is like a three act play (or two act, or four act – depending on the number of terms/semesters in the school calendar). The time leading up to the opening night on day one of school sets the scene. The producer of this annual performance needs to make sure everyone is coming to the event with enthusiasm and anticipation. The producer of the school year is the School Principal. Is that you?

To set the scene and create expectation, the Principal communicates with parents, and shares that same eager anticipation.

To do this, the Principal will write a Welcome Back Letter.

What to include in the letter?

The Principal wants the letter read. So the question is, what will the parents want to read?

Students returning to school, or beginning at a new school will want to be reassured. They will want to feel confident that the school will match their investment in time and effort. They will want to know that their child will be safe and cared, they will want to know that they will receive special attention whenever they want it.

They will want a close connection with the school and their people, and they want that to start straight away.

teachersHow can the Welcome Back Letter make certain of this?

The Welcome Back Letter needs to tell a story. And the story needs to connect with the reader. Tell a story about your first day of school; tell a story about your own child’s first day of school. Talk about another teacher’s first day of school, how they are feeling, how they have been welcomed to the new school. Tell a story about how it felt to start a new job. Tell about what you have found are the best ways to make people feel comfortable in their new job, and feel confident that they can participate without fear.

Many Welcome Back Letters(WBL’s) I have read provide advice to parents on their responsibilities to the school. I wonder if this really connects with the audience. Hmm. I don’t think so.

Many WBL’s outline the Principal’s great plans for the school year. Interesting and worthy, but not really suited to this communication piece – better to put it on the school website.

So, tell a story. Here is one that I have used.

“Dear Parent,

Day One of any journey is an exciting anxious one.

My first child has been to four different schools in his first years of schooling – we moved around a fair bit. I helped him carry his bag in to his most recent new school in 2016. The bag was heavy and overloaded. We presumed that the teacher wanted all 20 exercise books to arrive on the first day of school. We got lost finding the classroom, we didn’t know anyone. But pretty soon someone could see that we were lost and helped as find the right classroom. The room was bustling, kids were greeting each other and friendships seemed to be set. My son was new and looked both scared and brave.

He struggled in with his bursting bag, moving to the back without too much purpose. But his new teacher was there, getting involved. The teacher greeted us with such welcoming words and provided such clear direction on what to do next, that my son’s fear was gone. The teacher gave the job of one of the boys to look after my son on Day One. I could see that my son’s day was now set, and after only 5 minutes, he was settled. A connection had been made, the day started to happen and the journey began.

I collected my son at the end of the school day, and of course, when I saw him coming out of his new class with his newly emptied bag, he had a trail of new friends behind, wanting to come and hang out at our place.

Dear parent, we will make sure your child enjoys their school journey with us from Day One, as well.


Your School Principal”

Teaching Anti-Bullying

It can help to recognise bullying by breaking down ways that it can occur.

These worksheets focus on two types of common so-called ‘humor’ bullying:

Neither humor type is intended to make the victim feel good about themselves. They are meant to leave the victim with a negative feeling. Some can be gentler, but the serious pranks and on-going sarcasm directed to the one person can be very wearying and is bullying.

Often, when the curriculum focuses on the elements, they are called out when they occur in the school yard or workplace.

So, think about introducing them in to your curriculum. They can then be called out – before they do any damage.

Sarcasm_Cover ver4.0


Are Schools Missing out with their Web Presence?

You know, the trouble with an online presence and social media is that it is so time-consuming with such little apparent gain. And for schools to be expected to maintain a respectable presence on the web, but not really for any commercial gain, can be a big ask. A school after all isn’t really selling any products or providing any financial services. The independent school, I suppose would be trying to attract paying customers with a schmick-as-possible web page, but the run-of-the-mill Government school doesn’t really have the same motivation.

So what is the value of having an online site if you are a Government School. Any?

Well, it is a good way to communicate with parents and the school community. It can save phone calls to the teacher and the front office, and recent updates can be shared via the school website.

Flexischools is a great facility that allows parents to advise the school of absences, place orders for lunch, order a uniform, pay for an excursion and all those other admin tasks that are better to be done online and self-serve by the parent.

So, agreed. A great school website should be able to at least offer that!

But a school’s website should be more than that. And a lot of schools are missing out on using their website to their advantage. This is the place where the school culture is on display to the world. So the school website and all of its inter-connected social media should match the culture that the school is striving for on the ground.

If the online presence is full of teacher jargon, education guidelines and other mundane information, then does it really fully engage with its community and promote a connection? Your school people might be wanting to develop strong bonds with the local community, but is that what the webpage is reflecting?

Check you school webpage now, and see if it in sync with your school’s cultural aims.

Famous Comedy Fun Pack

Thought of Teaching Funny Ha-Ha Tricks and Tips?

It is so much fun and super-engaging for every student.


Humour Bundle_NEW COVERfive-stars

With this pack of worksheets and you can teach your students about different types of funny-ness.

  • 70 pages of easy-to-follow worksheets requiring minimum direction
  • the topic is so much fun, students ask for more and more
  • each page is professionally created in InDesign, providing a quality product
  • original content that will engage every student in the class
  • your class will be the talk of the staff room

Start with Slapstick, then Sarcasm, move on to Satire, and finish with Puns. You won’t be able to stop your kids. But who cares when everyone is enjoying the work?

The bundle of humor activities will create hours of relevant learning.

It is suitable for any time of the year, for any part of the curriculum.

The activities are fun and relevant. They cross a range of disciplines. This bundle is a combination of four packs that can be bought separately. But with this fun bundle you get four packs for the price of three.


Curriculum on Comedy

Analysis ParalysisHow much fun would a comedy curriculum be!

The funny teacher from your childhood probably didn’t exist, but the teacher who taught you how to master comedy certainly didn’t exist. I dream of a curriculum on comedy. Where students analyze the great comics, review their style, learn their ways, and then hone their own skills to be an entertaining presenter in all formats. Top comics bring an insight to life that others miss, the humorous person at a party is never without company.

The field is vast. The topic endless. The joy of being amused and alert tickles the interest in everything you do.

Comedy stuff includes sketches, comics, cartoons, funny signs, satirical news, improv exercises, stand up, You Tube laughs, pranks, caricatures, TV shows, comperes, jokes, riddles, funny quotes, T-shirt fun, black comedy, farce, slapstick, surrealism, sarcasm, irony, satire, spoof, parody, wit, malapropism, funny films, clowns …. anything else?


How to be the Funniest Person in the Room

I’m in the fortunate situation where I often conduct a morning huddle with the extended team

Fortunate because it gives me a bit of flying time speaking to an audience.

And for many mornings I used to tell a joke at the end of the catch-up to send the listeners off in a positive and optimistic mood. The joke might have been great, the delivery was terrible. It was embarrassing.

I noticed others were doing the same. Delivering a joke but without the funniness.

Then I realised that the joke was not my joke, it wasn’t my humour. It was someone else’s joke and their humour. And so that was why there was a mismatch.

Words of Wisdom “Best not to start any speech with a joke. The joke might fall flat and you will lose your audience”

I needed to find my own personal humour – rather than use someone else’s.

I needed to develop and use my own sense of humour.

A sense of humour is:

  • An acquired attitude
  • A practised perception
  • A trained eloquence
  • A learnt lifestyle

I have now set myself on a mission to practice developing a humour attitude to the way I see the world.

These are the techniques I have been practising:

Unconventionality – disruption – break the rules

Organisations can be staid and stolid. Which means they are a very fertile field that is aching to be disrupted. I have great fun at work breaking the standards.

When the campaign was happening to get a sorry from the government  to indigenous groups, ‘sorry’ was the hardest thing for some people to say. Midnight Oil wore the ‘sorry’ labelling during their gig at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

At work, I graffiti-ed ‘sorry’ on the bathroom mirror and on the glass on the front door. The standard bearers were horrified, the others thought it was hilarious.

There are many routines that are aching to be disruptive.

Commuting on a train every day in to the city and out again. My sister-in-law did this to and from her costume shop in the city. One evening train trip home she sat nursing a horse head prop – taking it home for repair. Then she put it on her head for the trip home.

At Toastmasters, we use a spoon as a gavel – it makes me laugh every time.


We all laugh down. We laugh at Charlie Chaplin, Abbot and Costello, Louis CK and their foibles.

I announce my foibles. My newly acquired Seniors Card gives me great Ha-Ha material – Seniors meals, discount on euthanasia kits, cheap haircuts.

The number of times I go to the toilet is now reflected on my step counting fitbit. If you want to make people laugh, display humility.

Start the Morning with Humour

I don’t leave the house without You Tubing my favourite comics – Louis CK, Chris Fox, Bill Burr.

When I got the kids up in the morning – every morning there was a different thing in the front yard. A herd of cows, flaming cross, crashed meteor. It was a Dad joke, but it got a smile.

Put on your Humour Glasses

Everything around me is funny. How people enter a room, where people sit, the different way people say hello, executing a wave. Observe the mundane and start talking about it. Other people will have found it funny as well – I bet you.

Combine the Unrelatable to make them Relatable

The basis of creativity is when two very different items are put together in the same space, to see what they create.

And so is humour.

Read the paper, stay with the news, most Tonight Show hosts combine two unconnected news events to create a gag.

Same principle applies to the opposites of Abbot and Costello, Woodley and Lano, The Odd Couple. By combining the opposites, you can be funny.

And in situations – sailors on desert islands, bachelor living with a family, Dale and the Druid.


Always carry a prop

What’s in your bag?

You might not need it, or you can use it.

Carry an Allen Key – in case you meet Allan

Do you have a wig in your desk?


There are techniques in making things sound funny, but if you practise your humour attitude, the techniques can be secondary.


Finally a word of warning.

It can be easy to get in to trouble.

You might have to let go of some gags – despite what your ego says. I have learnt this from many years of speaking to audiences and poked fun at people’s foibles – now I warn them and get their permission first. But I try to avoid people’s foibles as it is a put down of others. You can only put down yourself.

And other times you never know how things are misunderstood.

Our newly refurbished offices only needed a sign on the toilet doors to finish them off. A handwriting A4 sheet was used – obviously temporary. A highlighter was used to write the name – not even a normal marker.

So I had announced that a Kickstarter fund-raising program was set up to get enough funds to buy a couple of proper signs. Members of the audience thought that was a bit rough and rang the union complaining about having to donate to buy a toilet door sign.

Be prepared to wear the kick back.

Anyway, I know that whenever anyone passes me in the office, it is always with a smile, and a quip. They seem to want to run in to me.


Intrinsic awards can work better than extrinsic awards, so to apply an overlay of gamification to your team as an incentive can prove to be very effective.


LEVEL Description Features


To achieve DTM status the Team Member needs to consistently display team leadership skills, normally in the area of process or system improvement.

The DTM also displays change management skills through a series of actions that have a permanent change in team culture.

The DTM also displays a high level of communication with both internal and external stakeholders.

·         Identifies a substantial improvement opportunity and implements a new initiative to the team to capitalise on the opportunity

·         Acts as a cultural leader and representative to the wider business, eg regularly delivers the morning ‘Huddle’, comperes social events, comperes whole team meeting.

·         Develops a communication piece to share an initiative with stakeholders

Master Progression past the expert level requires the team member to consistently act as a facilitator of meetings or training sessions.

The Master level also expects the TM to display formal cross-department involvement.

·         Chairs at least 5 team meetings.

·         Leads at least 5 training sessions.

·         Received at least 5 ‘You Pinned It’ compliments from either internal and external sources

·         Participates in non-core activities, such as involvement in social committee, safety committee or some other initiative across the business.

Expert At the operator level the Team Member continues to display mastery for all transactions.

The TM also accepts responsibility for other areas of the team and becomes the key person for this other area.

The TM also complies to all work conditions and expectations

·         Acts as Buddy to at least two new team members during their induction process.

·         Displays 100% accuracy in all transactions.

·         Accepts responsibility for areas other than their core activity, eg supports a business during their warranty period, learns about another dept in order to assist

·         Attendance is consistent

·         Adherence to roster is consistent

Operator It is inevitable that all Team Members need to start their journey at the most basic level of the position. To progress from beyond Operator level the Team Member needs to display mastery in all basic transactions of the job and at a consistent level. ·         Completes 50 sales transactions.

·         Completes 25 return transactions.

·         Completes 100 cases

Newbie This is the induction and orientation stage. ·         All induction activities are successfully completed


Laughing video

Exercise the internal organs with these videos:



East Side Skids response

Dear West Side Skids – I have a Shakespearean response from the East Side Skids

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and the Sales Support Team is the sun.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Hey, nothing compares to our Kylie Hay
What fools these mortals be!, dear Lord
Marvel at Deidre and her SPORDS
All that glisters is not gold;
But Paul is something to behold.
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!
Karen Magrath solves the Bunnings muddle
What light through yonder window breaks?
Tis Dorine who makes no mistakes.
To die, to sleep, To be or not to be
Heard of Belinda Clark without an e?
She suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
But still completes her cases until exhaustion

Parting is such sweet sorrow,
See you all on the morrow






Rewards and Awards

When considering rewards for effort within a team it is important not to overcrowd the intrinsic motivation with extrinsic motivations. If a person or team is motivated to achieve and do well and this motivation comes from within then to add further extrinsic awards crowds out the intrinsic motivations and in fact can be demotivating. So better to focus on an element of work that is not performing well and that people are not feeling motivated to achieve in. In our team, this could relate to fitness or health standards.

The question then is how to improve health and fitness through a fun and motivating way. We previously had the Biggest Loser campaign and this worked well with some people. These people were probably already motivated to change and so were already intrinsically motivated.  The best way to improve the level of health and fitness is to perhaps provide a fun experience for participants – a way of them getting them to be active without thinking about it.

Dr Seuss Parody

‘The Cat in the Blender’


the sun did not shine.
it was too wet to play.
so we sat in the office
that cold, cold, wet day.

i sat there with Deidre.
we sat there, we two.
and i said, 'how i wish
we had a case to do!'

and then something purred!
how that made us stir!
we looked towards the kitchen!
and what we saw would make you wonder.
It was the cat in the blender

'i know some good games we could play,'
said the cat.
'i know some new tricks,'
'Lets call a vendor,
Said the cat in the blender
Let's create a SPORD
Just because we are bored'

Deidre and i
did not know what to say.
But Kerrie said it was up to us
So we went ahead without fuss.

We raised a SPORD
For two roller skates
Each had a delivery fee
But we didn't care
And so we went down the street 
squealing with glee

What fun we had with our skates
All of a sudden we had a load of mates
Better than doing a tender
Thanks to that cat in the blender


Thinking in the bath?

We don’t follow that path


We’re more modern,

Our iPad may get sodden!


Spords ‘cos you’re bored?

Oh my lord!


Spords for fun?

It shouldn’t be done.


A blender cat?

Who’s heard of that!


Now price uploads and bids,

They bring in the quids


….Well eventually

As you will see


Not that we mean

Your work to demean


A team we are

One that can go far


We just need to work together

In all sorts of commercial weather


Helping each other every day

That’s the Officeworks business team way


Eastside, Westside,

Rivalries we will put aside


Sharks or Jets?

Place your bets.


We’re certain now that the gauntlet’s down

This verbal battle will continue, who will wear the crown?



“Have a good lunch?”

“Yeah, fine thanks”


“What’s for lunch?”


Murray Tugworthy

Hi – I’m Murray Tugworthy and I’m in charge of the stationery cupboard at work.

One springback clip for each person

You need to bring me the last page of your post it note pack if you want a replacement

If you are here on contract you will receive a bunch of dates for your desktop calendar, but only for the months that you here on contract. I get them cheaper in March, so those who are here on contract Jan & Feb only, I have got some 1998 calendars because that’s when the day and dates coincided with 2016.

Replacement pens can be supplied after 6 months, only if you can bring me the expired pen. Same with highlighters – except their life span is 3 years.

Exercise books can be replaced if presented to me between 2-3 pm on last Friday of the month, fully completed, both sides. Dick and balls pictures don’t count and in fact any examples of graffiti like that will only receive a 48 page 12mm exercise book, not the 128 page 8mm exercise book with a red margin and polypropylene cover.

Remember that 4 ring binders are better than 2 ring binders.

Pencils can be sharpened at both ends.


At this morning’s huddle everyone got together to hear that there was nothing much happening today. In fact, nothing much happened at all on this day in history.


“I haven’t got much to offer today,” Brittany.