In this episode of The Learning Network's Community & Family Studies Podcast I dive into the reasons why students shouldn't be writing notes!!

Re-writing notes on the course content is a waste of valuable revision time & energy. Revision is a time to apply knowledge & skills by completing past exam questions & other strategic revision activities!

Listen along as I share with you some strategies that you can use to help your students succeed in both Community and Family Studies and PDHPE!

In the episode, I also chat about my Year 12 MasterClass Sessions, which allow me to work with you & your kids in a session tailored to their specific needs. These sessions enable me to give your kids direct feedback, personalised strategies & a fresh perspective from a CAFS coach who has had years of experience teaching & marking the course. You will also get access to a booklet for the students to use throughout the session & beyond, with templates, scaffolds, brand new HSC style questions, tips & tricks & more!


Show Notes 

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The Learning Network

Since 2004 I have been teaching PDHPE and Community & Family Studies. I love learning. It lights me up. I am so passionate about supporting you to be the best educator you can be.

My Purpose
To grow a lively and connected community, where Community & Family Studies teachers can network, learn and share with each other.

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To build on the knowledge, understanding and skills of Community & Family Studies teachers to set their students up for success with confidence.



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Show Transcription


Episode Intro - Kelly:

Hey everyone and welcome back to learning network podcast. This is podcast episode number 32. And in this podcast episode, I unpack and share with you some of my big picture strategies that I've implemented in my CAFS and PHP classroom. To help my students receive results well over the state average, with a huge number of band four, fives and sixes. This episode is another practical episode where I share with you some strategies that you can use for the end of course exams in trials and the HSC to help your students succeed both in Community and Family Studies, and PT HP. Enjoy this episode, guys.

Podcast Intro - Kelly:

Hey, I'm Kelly Bell. Welcome to The Learning Network Podcast. I guide Community and Family Studies teachers, newbies and experienced, through best practice to improve knowledge, increase empowerment and alleviate stress, to help you and your students to make meaningful connections across the course. I will share strategic and purposeful applications from my 16 years experience in the classroom that I have adopted to increase student motivation, enjoyment, engagement and results. Together, we will grow and transform your CAFS crew to the next level without impacting your sleep and wellbeing process. To join my free how to improve writing and fast track results webinar, head to So tune in, get inspired and let's connect, learn and grow together. 

Episode - Kelly:

Hey everyone, and welcome back to another episode of The Learning Network podcast. In this podcast episode, I'm going to share with you my top strategies for success when our students are revising for CAFS. Now it's that time of year and I absolutely love term three, I don't know why just that buzz or that finality, I suppose, or just really seeing our students succeed and the combination of you know, three terms in your living and then four terms of YouTube, I think I just love seeing my students shine and look, seeing them go from having no idea how to write absolutely flourishing was one of my highlights when I was in the classroom. So this podcast episode is going to be jam packed with strategies to help your students succeed in their exams. Okay, so let's get into it. One thing that really drives me nuts is when my students would say this time of year, or miss, I just have to keep, I just have to rewrite my notes. And I would say to them, Do not rewrite your notes. It is absolutely pointless of rewriting our notes. We want our students to apply their understanding of the content. There is no point whatsoever in writing the notes.

So you might be kind of thinking, well, when do we actually get the kids to write the note? Well, they should be doing that during the course. So when you're maybe doing some content, or if you're, I don't know, maybe getting the kids to put lots of ideas together. You're actually going to get them to write their note, write that in there. And this strategy was really learned to my beautiful CAFS kids. I had her for PHP, but I also mentioned mentored her in Korean family studies. And Beth was her name. And what she would do is actually download the Microsoft Word version of our syllabus for both PHP and CAFS. And she would write her notes in the margin, or write it within the table itself. I think what she did was have a load about column in the middle she had her notes and then a learn to so all of her notes were actually in that middle column. All of her notes were actually directed to that content. So this was a great strategy for her she found it really successful. She colour coded each of the units of work for both PE and CAFS. And let me share with you that she could have been five in PT HP. She was very, very close of getting a band six, I think she may may have came fifth or six in our cohort for PE very, very close but she absolutely Shawn and got a band six for communion Family Studies. Now not to say that this one particular strategy was her recipe to success or the one thing that she did to actually succeed but it really helped her be set up for success. She didn't waste time, she didn't rewrite her notes. She had the men in their in her syllabus on her computer as well. Now I know you what you're probably also thinking is that, you know, why would I get my kids to type up their notes. If HSC is handwritten? Well, they can write their class stuff. They can write their class notes, they can write, you know, my maps on their computer, they can do everything on their computer when it comes to practising for the HSC practising their writing? Yes, of course getting the key to actually handwrite. Their their answers is absolutely crucial. But what Beth was able to do was be really efficient with her notes. She would write her notes in class while I was teaching.

So whether it be an application based activity, or you know, some notes on the board, whatever it might have been, so I'm reading she actually put them into her table straightaway. They say two hours upon hours of rewriting her notes. Another set of students that I'd love to share with you is back in 2017, my last year group through at Nagel college at Blacktown, absolutely beautiful garden garden class, I think we had 16 kids we had we had really good results that year, I think we had maybe 80% of the cohort going to band five or six, various we did have a couple of lower kids. We had a couple of Ben twos in that one. Kids who just really struggled, they should have really left school, school wasn't their thing. But they were still there. For some reason. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about those kids, they're just hanging on to the social life. But in that particular year, we had a core group of kids probably about six, sorry, about 10 of them, who were workers, they absolutely loved our course, they worked so hard together. And they actually wrote their notes together. They actually had a Google Drive and a Google doc set up. And they actually had folders for each of our cause our option. They did lots of study together. And that was again, I think a bit of a recipe to success for those kids working together, feeding off each other because remember, at the end of the day with the HSC, we want our students to get the highest mark possible. We want our average to be really high across our CAFS class.

So that spread of marks isn't so much we want to have a really high average across our class. So we are maximising our results are getting your kids to work together on Revision, getting your kids do study groups in the library, getting your kids to do revision sessions at recess. And we had that I have done that literally, since I started teaching 2004. Nobody told me to do this. It wasn't sessions. And what we did also was schedule, both July school holiday session and the September school holiday session. I know this sounds a bit overkill. So to you, it might sound like okay, cool, give me a break. But offering those little touch points with the kids is really important. So they have that continuity, but also, you can really support them along their pathway to success. What we also did was offer opportunities to catch up with us in term four before the HSC. So that might have looked like a few different ways we could have had a set to maybe to set sessions in term for before the HSC exam. What we also did was open up our lessons during our timetabled spot. So if we weren't given an extra or Meadowbank, if you're in the department system, we we would just, you know, have our classroom open, and kids could come in there to ask us questions. Now when I went to the senior campus, we did it a bit more strategically. We said okay, we had five PE classes five CAFS classes, and we said, Alright guys, e6 is going to be open for CAFS. During this time, ie seven is going to be open for PE during this time, and either one of us or faculty members would go there. Usually it was the same sort of people who would be presenting the teachers. But we also had this the regular kids turn up. And that was great just to provide them with extra support in the lead up to the HSC.

The other thing that I got my kids to do, constantly, not just before the HSC was do revision questions or exam prep questions I used to call them so these were typically at first when I first started teaching, they were past HSC questions. So HSC questions that they re re answered. I compared it against different things, the NASA workbooks. They're still available on the NASA website for both CAFS and PT HP. I also got my kids to compare the answers to exemplars that I had written. I had kids to answer the responses to and compare them to the checkpoints. CAFS HSC and CAFS books as well as the PE ones and the kids would compare their answers to what's in those. Now if you're not really sure what those books are, they are sample answers that would get a band six for both PE and CAFS. So Cambridge checkpoints in HSC, CAFS and PT HP. Katerina and myself are the authors of the Cambridge one. And I grant maybe Bradshaw possibly that's his name was the author of the P one I could be totally wrong. But let me know if I've got that got that right or wrong. Anyway, these books allow the students to have a look at past HSC questions and answer questions to really look at what they can include and what they haven't and compare it against a sample. Now, as I shifted to becoming more strategic, more meaningful with what I did, I realised that These questions would never be entered or asked again in a HSC. And you know, McTeigue and Williams and Gareth, how good and Andrew Ponton are the authors of the PD HP one. So Kate and I are the authors of the CAFS one. And then how good and Ponton are the authors are the PD HP one. So these resources are phenomenal. They are very affordable 3295 And they provide our students with pass HSC questions.

They also provide them with multiple choice questions, sample answers that would get a band six, like I mentioned, but also in the CAFS one, we also have coded the kids or not the kids, it's our answers. We've coded the answers according accordingly. So that's a really great resource. You can also look at questions that have never been asked before and HSC. And essentially, that's what the exam committee do. They look at and they map paths HSC questions were in the syllabus they have been taken. And then they create new questions, brand new questions every year, based on the syllabus. Now, I know that kind of goes without saying and what we should be doing is preparing our kids for the end game and preparing them for you know, that grand finale in the best way possible. But what we can also be doing is looking at what questions haven't actually been asked before, because that's what is going to happen in the HSC. So
Understanding by Design is a fabulous, fabulous resource, an awesome read, looking at backward design curriculum designed looking at also preparing our students for the end game, high stakes, testing, exams, that type of thing with questions that have never been actually asked before. So Wiggins and MC T, the authors of that great resource, you guys would love that.

So what I would really highly recommend to you is accessing questions that have never been asked before. Where do you find them? It's a great question. You can find them the top of your head. But you can also find them in all of my resources or every single resource booklet I have developed. There are exam prep questions in there that have never been actually presented or or asked before, no HSC questions in there. No Catholic trial, no independent trial, they are completely unique to the learning network to me, Kelly Bell. So they're completely unique for you guys to have access to all of my resources, have mapped, exam prep quick questions for each of the resources. So if you head over to the, you'll have access to those. And forward slash resources. They are really great. And they provide practical application for you guys to implement in your classroom straightaway. The next thing that you could also do with your resources and preparing the kid is doing a word response on the board or on your laptop and then beaming it up to the projector. So I loved that. And no one told me to look like I said to you guys, no one told me to do half these things, but I just kind of went well, that's a great way I'm going to do that. So breaking down a question. Many of you guys who have followed me for a long time would know that my grandfather acronym is my approach to answering a HSC or exam style question. So having a having a plan of attack before the kids actually start to write. So RUNFAR really stands for reading the question and rereading it. underlining the syllabus points, the content, the glossary of key words. We also then have naming and any definitions as well as the glossary of key word what that actually means. We then have formulate a response or sorry, formulate a plan of attack in and around the response before you actually get started. Answering the question is part of it using peel and then addressing the glossary and the syllabus. And then we also have our Rs 10, standing for reread make sure we actually reread our response before we're ready to move on.

So RUNFAR has been tried and tested for the best part of I reckon I implemented in about 2008. So we're talking What's that? A long time, best part of 12 years 13 years, not just with my kids, not just with with my Nagel students, but at the senior campus that I worked at, and also with hundreds and hundreds and 1000s of teachers across New South Wales in CAFS. So if you'd like to access that resource, I really unpacked that inside stripe my signature course to help writing and fast track results in CAFS. I am also going to bring that course out in PHP very, very soon. As you know, I'm a one woman band. I do have two assistants but I'm the only curriculum developer here at The Learning Network. So I'm hoping to bring up that new resource for you guys. And it's just that additional aspects of having PT HP equations in there. So I break down my grandfather approach but also although Glossary of key words sentence starters, templates, scaffolds, sample answers as well as in strive. There are many sample answers inside strive. Sorry, I'm just looking at our puppies. Our dogs, we got a puppy about four weeks ago. And she's a corgi the names crumpet. She's very cheeky, so if you follow me on socials, you will would have seen her but she is causing some chaos with our older dog biscuit. She's quite funny, actually.

Anyway, um, so yeah, you can you can kind of have access to lots of those resources inside strive. But the best way look is modelling it's for the kids modelling it demonstrating it breaking, breaking down each question on the board, and getting the kids to have a plan of attack. So breaking it down and then going okay, well, we've run farther. So I say run fight it. We've we've had a plan of attack. Now let's have a go at answering this question using peel. So in Peel paragraph structure, with making sure we're actually addressing the glossary of key word all the way through, we know that it makes a huge difference with our kids. If we talk in eight marker, the glossary of key word probably has enough weight for about four marks. If we don't address the glossary of key word, the kids are only kind of doing half of what they actually need to do. Remember, our syllabus is not just about the knowledge and understanding or the knowledge, you know, the knowledge part of it. It's the understanding of it, and then the application of that. And I really think that's why CAFS is very unique. We spoke about this in marking experience in CAFS only last week with when I was I was facilitating in between each session and my presenters were presenting the main part of the marking simulation part.

But I was jumping in saying, hey, what were your biggest takeaways? And a lot of them were saying I didn't realise how important that Glossary of key words was, am I there you go. absolute gold, the glossary of key words, I really still believe is something that we're not focusing enough on with our kids, we might do it in your 11. Or we might just start to do it in year 12. We're definitely not doing it in seven to 10. At schools. It's something that I really believe in. And I think it is, in the current system, the way the glossary of keywords is embedded in the HSC. If we don't start it in year seven, our kids only have, you know, they have only so many years to get to get it through in your Lebanon tool. So starting from the beginning will ensure a lot of success for them. So hopefully today's episode has provided you guys with a few little new strategies about implementing revision at your school, what that would look like on the ground. So offering some revision sessions at recess. And that's what we'd literally did, I brought food, I forgot to mention that we bought food for the kids. And that was a great way to get them into the class, some snacks, some healthy snacks and treats in there as well, mainly healthy snacks, but some treats as well, to get them into the room engage building those connections with us as their teachers. And I honestly believe and I know that you guys have heard this before. But I honestly believe that relationships are the key to success in our courses in both PT HP and communion Family Studies. And if you're outside of New South Wales, in health and physical education, and all the other courses that are offered in our HP umbrella. So the other thing was looking at sample answers using past HSC questions, but also looking at other new questions. So developing new questions with the kids. But also you're developing those with the kids to actually answer together. And then modelling responses on the board demonstrating to the kids using scaffolds and templates to get them on writing. But look, all of these things can be found in a few different things inside the learning network.

So first of all in my resources I have past HSC sorry, I don't have past HSC questions. I have exam prep questions. Inside strive I have completely new exam questions that have never been answered before and HSC or asked before in the HSC hundreds of them that you guys can use in your classroom straightaway without taking the guesswork out, as well as in my year living exam, my exam package and also in a lot of my other you know things on on my website with my resources and you know, revision cards and revision booklets, but also inside my masterclass sessions with you guys. So I've presented masterclass sessions, the best part of 12 years of my career, I started young, and I absolutely love presenting to students and I will literally go to like, I don't know, Norland library was one I went to University of Western Sydney, I would go to UTS every year with inspired Ed, I would present these for AP to New South Wales. And now I feel so blessed that I get to do it my way and present sessions that are really highly practical, but give your kids a little bit of the content but lots of application and I think it's not a lecture I know some of those sessions are like lectures, mine art, I don't talk at the kids for Two hours, I'm definitely not going to do that. I actually made them do some work. And it also gives you guys some times and breather space to, you know, to see it from a different angle, I have different opinions and perspectives of the course of, you know, over the last 16 years. And, you know, working with you guys and I get to see, I get to see the mistakes our kids are making with lots of different things with presenting these sort of sessions for the best part of 16 years, but during lots of other experiences that I've had in community and family studies, so if you'd like to join me in so one of my Year 12 masterclass sessions, that's the best way at the moment to work with you and your kids. I get to give your kids direct feedback on how they're going.

So you can head over to And you can book a session with me, whether it be two or three hours, and I get to zoom into your classroom and I do the rest. You don't have to do anything. You just have to organise your kids. And I get to zoom into your classroom to prepare to provide lots of strategy and lots of practical application for your kids. You also get access to a booklet for the students to use throughout the session but also afterwards, with templates and scaffolds and lots of direction with all brand new HSC style questions, tips and tricks about the multiple choice part of the paper, then short answer and the options, but also, one of the best things that they get is direct feedback from me as a highly experienced CAFS teacher a CAFS presenter and someone who has marked many, many papers, you know, for my YouTubes in my year 11 So, again, if you'd like to learn more about my masterclass sessions, head over to learn forward slash masterclass. And I would really love to be able to zoom into your CAFS classroom this year in term three. And please reach out if you have any questions about revision. As I mentioned, stripe is a great course really practical package for you guys to be able to use it implement straightaway in your classroom with scaffolds and templates and that type of thing for revision as well. So really great for post trial blues. And if you'd like to learn more about stripe, you can head over to


Thanks for joining The Learning Network, I'd love to hear what connected with you most about today's episode. Take a screenshot and tag me on Instagram and Facebook, @thelearnnet. If you'd like to know more about my courses, MasterClasses, Coaching and Mentoring and Membership, you can DM me over on Facebook or Instagram or head to Don't forget to stay connected by subscribing to Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and if you love today's episode, I would be so honoured if you could please leave me a review. See you again next week. Let's continue to connect, grow and learn together to make a huge impact on the students we teach. 

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traditional custodians on whose land I walk, work & live.
This land was and always will be the land of the First Nations People.