Thursday, November 8, 2012

Remembrance Day

We have been looking closely at the book In Flanders Fields by Norman Jorgensen. We used a See Think Wonder Y chart to unpack the story and students are now working on a snap shots art project. We also discussed the significance of the poppies and then made poppies from tissue paper and pipe cleaners to wear on this Sunday and will wear them at school on Friday. Here is a little installation around the book and some art work in progress. We also viewed two short clips about remembrance day on the BTN (Behind the News) website. Two of our students will be representing the school at the service this Sunday.

Rob Pennicott Visit

Rob Pennicott ,an ex-student,  came to the school today and presented a very interesting talk about his life and his recent circumnavigation of Australian. It was a very informative and entertaining talk and the students  and staff were very engaged. The stories about the crocodiles, sea snakes, orcas and high sea swells had kids really hooked. We were also lucky enough to see five minutes footage of this amazing journey. The part where Rob is unceremoniously dumped from his hammock after the hard knocks of the night, was hilarious and the students will remember that.  I was impressed with the whole presentation and I know the kids were inspired. Rob is a very generous individual, especially with all the money and time he donates to charities around the world. One student was also lucky enough to win a three hour cruise along with an adult with his eco-friendly Tasmanian Island Cruises company.

Rob Pennicott hands over a wonderful prize

Anthony introduces Rob to the  garde 5-6 students

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Plasticine Art

Something creative for a change. We might plug away at this for a while.

Teddy Love by GK

Mouse by GL

Dolphins by AD

Singing Mermaid by EC

Blowin' in the Wind by AK

Bird in a Tree by PS

Thirsty Sheep by BS

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Speech Marks and Commas

Today we looked at the text called Water the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray as part of our focus on the use of speech marks and the use of dialogue in texts.

There were three levels of difficulty of the passages distributed, mainly in relation to length; all were obviously excerpts from the book with most of the punctuation missing. Students had to punctuate the text they were given individually. They were given ten minutes.

A smaller amount of text

A little more challenging
The most challenging

Once this was completed, they worked through it with a partner, discussing the application of punctuation and making any necessary corrections. 

Comparing and discussing in pairs

Comparing and discussing in pairs

They then made a group of four, discussed the text further and then wrote the text up. 

Then in groups of four, finalizing ideas.

The final write-up

We then went through the three texts using the Smart Board with students each having a section to punctuate on the board, or read out aloud with the new punctuation added, thus demonstrating the importance punctuation has for the reader when reading it aloud with expression and the correct diction. Students were asked to add in anything they missed at this final stage.

The students' work was then collected up and assessed. Students were asked to use different colour pens or pencils at each proof-reading stage so I could determine the level of learning obtained at each given point in this lesson. Some students need to be much more through with their final correction, whilst others had been extremely vigilant and accurate. At the conclusion of the lesson I read students the book which I think they enjoyed.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Federation (Grade 6 Curriculum)

The recreation, equally as big
It's pretty big guys, I was surprised when I saw it in person!

Today the grade 6 students made a start on the Federation Unit. We looked at the following website and read through it together.
This child-friendly website also has excellent links to other sites.

We then did a big book sharing using the book called Australians All put out by the Curriculum Corporation and which I found hidden away in the library at 5-45 yesterday afternoon. My wonderful students took turns sharing off-the-cuff.  Each student then received some notes from the book A Children's History of Australia: Federation by David Morrissey (revered historian) as well.  Well done to TM, LS, VL, OF-W, and OF who listened so attentively and presented so well.  Students had thirty minutes reading time to digest the literature they were given and to highlight keywords which we have focused on all yearThey have had time to plan their approach in their Writer's Notebook and this is tonight's focus for homework (30-40 minutes). Tomorrow they will look at their plans and they will begin their posters all about Federation. They will also be required to deliver a two minute speech to the class on the topic at the end of the unit. Plagiarism will be frowned upon! Students can use visuals and the Smart Board to aid them with their presentation, cue cards and their poster as a props, but are not to stand there just reading off their poster. This is can end up being boring delivery, try to think outside of the square. There is a display up the front of the room to help them along their way. They have also now seen the posters produced by two other  grade 5/6 classes in assembly. Meanwhile, the grade 5 girls have been working hard on their colonization posters whilst the grade 5 boys published their dustbin poetry and worked on their character studies from the film Gallipoli and continued on with the poetry terminology job.

I have suggested the grade 6 students think about the following topics when planning their posters:

What does Federation mean?

A PMI (pluses, minus and interesting) about what Federation meant for the colonies. 
(Ask your kids about the railway system or the luggage checks!)

Henry Parkes, the Father of Federation and his role in the whole process.

The Constitution/The Referendum

Edmund Barton (TM is excused from this as he did a whole historical show bag on him)

Debate over the national capital

By the way...Congratulations to all students for their behaviour and presentations in the book buddy assembly, most notably NS, GL, OF and JS.

Second lesson 
Today I tried to catch the band students up on the double lesson they missed and then all students working in pairs had to cross-correlate information to to produce a time line about Federation. Students shared their proposals and plans for their Federation posters with me and chose the card they wanted.

Working in pairs

Cross-correlating information

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Down Behind The Dustbin and our Poetry Unit

Last week we started our poetry unit in which we will be looking at fifteen different genres of poetry. Students will be producing their own poetry sequences of ten different forms of poetry in their portfolios. The will be using their Writer's Notebooks a lot over the next three weeks. We started with Dustbin poetry which uses a simple abcb rhyme scheme which the students had explained to them. Michael Rosen is one of my favourite poets and his website is well worth a visit:

Most students wrote three to eight poems after this session and I will get them to add them to this blog this coming week.  I have several of his poetry books in the classroom and currently have a poetry display of a wide range of books on the large board which runs across the back of the classroom. Most of the students borrowed a poetry book from the library last Tuesday.

I also read them Michael Rosen's Sad Book which Michael wrote to help him in his journey of coming to terms with the death of his son Eddie. It is a very personal, and sad but beautiful book at the same time, which I feel would help anyone who has had a loss in their family.  He writes about his sadness, how it affects him, and some of the things he does to try and cope with it. It is illustrated by his good friend and well-known British illustrator Quentin Blake.

On a happier note, and to see just how vibrant this brilliant man is, enjoy Michael reciting some of his dustbin poetry:

Stay tuned to this blog entry for updates on our poetry effort:

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Ollie.
I asked him,"Can you ride a scooter?"
He said, "No," but I can ride a trolley."

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Dunk.
He was hard to talk to though
Because he was very drunk.

Down behind the dustbin
I meta dog called Mustard.
"Don't disturb me now," he said.
"Iam eating up my custard."

Down behind the dustbin
I met adog called Viv.
She'd just taken a pill
And she didn't want to live.

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Frank.
I asked him what he'd bought.
He said, "I bought an army tank."

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Ted.
He said, "Leave me alone
I am just going to bed."

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Bob.
He'd just fixed up his fence.
So I said, "You're doing a good job."

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Roger.
"Do you own this bin?" I asked.
"No, I'm just the lodger."

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Claude.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"I'm playing on the Smartboard."

Down behind the dustbin
I met  dog called Grace.
She was looking through some cards,
Trying to find an ace.

Down behind the dustin
I met a dog called Sam.
He felt very hungry,
So I gave him some him.

Down behind the dustbin,
I met a dog called Grace.
"Why are you so puffed?" I asked.
"I just won a race."

Down behind the dustbin,
I met a dog called Pat.
"What are you doing here?' I asked.
"I'm chasing that cat."

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Ollie.
"What are you doing here?" I asked..
"I'm just buying a lolly."

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Finn.
He was putting on a wig,
But it was far too thin.

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Bail.
He said, "Please go away!
I'm trying to hold a sale."

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Smoke.
He was blue in the face
He was about to choke.

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Smudge.
"Leave me alone!" he said.
"I'm trying to eat my fudge."

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Frank.
"Please come in he said.
"I'm making up a prank."

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Oskar.
"What are you doing/" I asked.
"Me? Just packing my Toasca."

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Tracy.
She was trying on a dress,
Which was very, very lacy.

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Sting
"Don't disturb me," he said.
"I can't find my bling".

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Heather
She was in a bad mood
'Cause she lost her feather.

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Frank.
He was wearing his bathers,
And swimming in a tank.

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Chuck.
He said, "Help me please,
I'm feeling rather stuck."

The second lesson: October 22nd. We focused on some of the language needed for unpacking poetry such as alliteration, hyperbole, simile, metaphor, paradox, assonance, onomatopoeia, rhyme, personification, irony, among others and these were the spelling bingo words for the week. The students chose six terms to unpack and produced a describing wheel giving a definition of each, and an accompanying example. I will post a couple of wheels here tomorrow.

The third lesson:
Today October 24rd we focused on a poem using the abcb rhyme scheme but with the added component of alliteration. We also focused on line length. In group students unpacked the pattern of the poem using their Writer's Notebooks and brainstormed animals and thought about the rhyme scheme. They began writing their own poems following this format. This will be the second poem they will publish in their poetry sequence.  Here is the poem we looked at and discussed:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


The current sequence of work in mathematics is volume and today was a very hands-on approach. We recapped on linear measurements and surface area and then got stuck into volume. Firstly students made some basic 3D shapes and worked out their volume. Then they made open prisms on centimetre grid paper and then tested them against the 3D prisms they made from plastic interlocking cubic centimeteres. They worked in pairs. A few students have this job to finish for homework tonight (October 10th)

Cubic centimetres and that hand

Stay tuned to this page on the blog for more volume news.

Lesson 2 on Volume

Concept: To find volume work out how many layers there are and then multiply by the number of layers.

Students also learnt to use isometric paper to draw up some regular prism of their own, and then worked out the volume of each remembering to put cubic centimetres in the answer. The steps:

An impressive effort by AK, one of my grade 5 girls 
Lesson 3:
Today we had a double maths lesson and  students finished off their isometric drawings and then completed the following two activities. Constructing a 3D cubic cm shapes using the front view, side view and top view kept quite a few of them challenged for a while. 
Students had to make the shapes using the 3 views
We also introduced the formula of length x width x height to find the volume of regular prisms. Tomorrow we will be exploring this formula further with some discussion of the use of scales when representing the shapes.