Monday, May 25, 2015

Homework for this week:May 25th until May31st

Hi, all going well. This week students should be focusing on the time lines for their chosen person from the early colonial/invasion days. Plenty of cartridge and coloured card are available in the room and individuals can select how they want to lay it out. Students are also learning to make boxes to house their jigsaw puzzles. The other focus is on The Pinballs assignment. A new display of their first pinballs is going up this week in the room. Should be done by Friday; come and check it out. Book buddies today was awesome where the older students taught and modelled to their buddies board game etiquette. It was a wonderful social interaction of 40 minutes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Pinballs - Library Assignment

Last term and this term we have been reading the novel The Pinballs by Betsy Byars. We also watched the movie which is very closely aligned to the novel. Some students even read chapters to the class and did a fantastic job.The book focuses on the  three foster children, their physical and emotional challenges and how they overcome their problems. It has themes are perseverance, love and depression. It looks closely at the relationship between these three quite different characters and how they come to understand and help each other.  Students have been utilising both library lessons and class sessions to explore this novel. They have been given a rubric so they know clearly what the expectations for this unit are. They are currently working on answering some questions which will help them unpack some of the major themes in the novel. Then they will choose three of the following activities to complete. All the materials needed are available in the classroom.

The Pinballs Activities
1.  Write a letter pretending you are one of the main characters, describing the foster home and the other foster children.

2.  Prepare a comic strip version of one of the chapters or one of the significant events in the novel.

3.  Write another chapter for the book.

4.  Design a new jacket for the book. Remember to include a blurb on the back. You could get some ideas by looking at the various versions that have been published.

5.  Harvey makes lit of things that have happened to him to try to come to terms with his life. Make some lists of your own.

6.  The children talk about having fifteen minutes of fame. Write about what you would like to happen if you had fifteen minutes of fame.

7. Write a poem with each line beginning "I remember when..." OR "I would like to forget..." You may like to alternate these lines.

8. Make a PhotoStory or PowerPoint presentation promoting the book. (Students were shown four examples of book promotions this morning in class.)

May 22

A few examples of the students' pinballs:

Display currently in the classroom (June) thanks to HI and GL

Monday, May 18, 2015

This weeks foci: Maths Online and Historical Placemats

Due to lack of working laptops at school...I have requested students complete 20 minutes of Maths The tasks given to each student are highly individualised and help fill in the gaps and to also extend students. Online tasks each night and/or placemat work. Students without net access can do the Online work from 8-30 until 8-55 before the oficial day starts (they will have computer priority) and during silent reading for twenty minutes.  Fire drill, which took out the whole middle part of the day meant  both cold damp feet and that placemat work was unfortunately not covered today...hopefully tomorrow morning. Students did a great job with the unexpected fire drill and behave exceptionally well during the looooong wait on the school oval. We did fit in a great activity on triangles and looking at the different types and modelled the fact that the angles of any triangle add up to 180 degrees. Battle bunnies now nearly also finished ready to trial a simple class animation.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Placemat and homework this week: 11th - 16th May

On Monday11th and Tuesday 12th May students will begin note taking to collect as much information on their colonial figure to design and make a placemat with the headings Resilience, Perseverance, Getting Along, Organisation and Confidence (which are the "keys to success" at our school). Students  will choose four of the above headings under which they will provide rich examples of how their chosen person  exemplified these qualities  under the respective  headings.  They will need to carefully plan their piece before making the placemat. Cartridge will be provided. Here are two examples done by former students. Students will have to really read a lot about their person and know them well. This kind of activity prevents students from just doing a "cut and paste" of someone else's text... and discourages plagiarism. This will also be discussed in class. This homework this week will to be making notes from information texts to design and write up the placemat. An hour was spent scaffolding this task in class this morning (discussion of using a bibliography and using keywords) and over an hour given in the afternoon. Each students had time to source their first piece of informational text from the internet or they were given a photocopy from a book or magazine. A3 cartridge paper will be available in the classroom tomorrow for those students with enough information to start their placemats.

Help for Students

I will endeavour to help each student find at least one good source of information on their chosen person from the colonial days. Students must be able to find some reliable sources of their own from both books and websites, and synthesise the information. This skill will be taught in class. Students can compile notes in their History/Science book, maybe from the stapled centre onwards to keep the front of the exercise book free for science work we are still doing. Please remember to keep a list of the books and websites you have used which you will glue onto the back of your showbag. You must show use of multiple sources. If you used this page for example and ideas from it you would acknowledge the book. I have written an example below the information panel.

Peter Lalor  information for AL

Author (last name first). Title of the book. City: Publisher, Date of publication.


 French, Jackie, Fair Dinkum Histories: Gold, Graves and Glory, Lindfield, Scholastic Press, 2007.

Ned Kelly: attention JH_G  There are also seven great pages of information on Ned Kelly the bush ranger in this book, pages 82-87 It is available for borrowing in the classroom from our library .

A.B.Patterson: attention SG

These two books are available in the classroom and have great illustrations for jigsaws and decorating your showbag:
For SG
For SG
For CS - this will help with your placemat and timeline

For CS
Taken from:
Parson, Christine, Aspects of Australian History, Marrickville, Science Press, 1989.

Mary Reibey : Attention FC
For FC, This will help with placemat and timeline
For FC

Taken from:
Parson, Christine, Aspects of Australian History, Marrickville, Science Press, 1989.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Historical Showbags: a major focus for this term

This term students will be creating their own historical showbag based on a well known Australian figure who lived some time between early invasion/settlement and the 1850's. It would be great if students could all research a different identity.We will endeavour to sort that out over the next few days. Click on the below link to see what some of my students did a few years back. This year we are limiting the time frame from the late 1700's up until the era of the gold rush; so ignore those personalities after this time.

On Tuesday 5th May we brainstormed the personalities on whom there is a lot of information and who will be easier to create an amazing showbag about. The showbags will be shared with two other classes, one being the other grade 5-6 and one being our buddies. So students have to think about the range in their audience. I have been collecting strong paper bags for over a year now so there should be enough to go around. 

Here is the main information about the expectations for the unit this term. Students will need to refer to this closely and plan their time well in order to get the showbag done in the  five week time frame ready for sharing. Here are  some key people during the time period…we can add to these lists but need to have a balance:
Pemulwuy (JH) (LJ)
Traganinni(KL) (KP)
David Unaipon (JdP) (KS)
Benelong (SJ)
Francis Greenway (AG)
Mary Wade (SL)
John Kelly (JS)
Mary Reibey (FC)
Governor Arthur Philip (CS)
Gov. Lachlan Macquarie (TL)
Peter Lalor (AL)
Edith Cowan (JMS)
AB 'Banjo' Paterson (SG)
Catherine Helen Spence (RC)
Mary McKillop (GL)
Ned Kelly (JH-G)
Ben Hall (AE)
Joe Byrne (TW)
John Batman (JB)
John Macarthur (CG)
Matthew Flinders  (NB)
Elizabeth Macarthur   (CL)
Charles Sturt (BG)

Task: Historical Showbag


  1. A Placemat: Keys to success 
  2. Timeline
  3. Diary Entry
  4. Point of View- poster/reflection/news srticle
  5. An extensive bibliography citing primary and seconday sources      

Choose  2-3 options

Poem  – rhyming couplet / ballad
Crossword or Word search
PowerPoint / PhotoStory
Eggshell face
I see I think I wonder strategy for a painting/ song / or artefact
 Plasticine figurine no taller than 10 cm and dressed in period clothes. This needs thorough research!
Portrait (painted)
A comic strip
Now and Then
Jigsaw - hand drawn picture with information on the topside lid suitable for their buddy to read
(I am happy to negotiate any other ideas students have for this second options section.)


 Inquiry skills 

 Differentiating between primary and secondary documents
 Note taking
 Asking questions
 Summarizing and synthesizing information
 Point of view






Here is a few snap shots of a time line and the finished one. A job well done. Excellent use of the many hours given in class.