Last Post

This will be the last post on this blog as our school year ended in December.  The Grade 6s are off to Secondary School and the Grade 5s will be Grade 6s in 2014.

We would like to thank everyone who has been part of our blogging journey in 2013.  You have all helped flatten our classroom walls and we have been able to learn with people all around the world.   We would like to thank all our family, friends and teachers who have visited our blog and left comments for us to read.  It’s been a big year!

We have been very lucky to work with different classes on a number of collaborative projects. We say a HUGE thank you to the teachers and students who have blogged with us throughout the year, especially the following people:

* Mrs Monaghan and Class 2 in England for being our ePals, Skyping with us on several occasions, including singing Christmas carols with us and leaving lots of comments on the blog.

* Mrs S and 4/5DS and 5/6CS in Tasmania for working with us on Artist Trading Cards, The Alien Project and 100 Word Narratives.

* Miss Fraser and the Frole Islanders for the Asia Skype Quiz, 100 Word Narratives and Mystery Excursion.

* Rinku and Vaila in England for teaching us about India.

* Mrs Monaghan, Mrs Todd, Mrs Gioia, Ms Majithia, Ms Williams and their students, along everyone else, who helped us research articles for Global UPdate, our magazine about life and learning worldwide.

The Grade 5s (2014 Grade 6s) and Miss Crowther’s

new blog address is

Please update your bookmarks and links!


What A Day!

Today we launched our magazine, Global UPdate. Parents, grandparents, friends and guest speakers joined us from near and far to hear about how we wrote our articles, what we learnt and to get their copy of the magazine.  We even had two special guests who weren’t actually in Victoria!

Earlier in the week we were interviewed by Amy from the local newspaper and on Tuesday it hit the stands!  Amy came earlier in the term to talk about writing newspaper articles and we used the information to help write our own articles.  It was great to have Amy come back and see the finished product.  The only problem was that the people in the photo below weren’t actually allowed to open the magazines!  And we’ll let you in on a little secret…they’re only the proof copies that the magazine publishers sent to us so Mrs Placek and Miss Crowther could check things.


We wore red to support our chosen charity, Red Cross. Nicole from Red Cross spoke about the work Red Cross does and how our money will help people who have been affected by natural disasters. We learnt about natural disasters this term and were affected by the Black Saturday bushfires, so we were really happy to help such a great cause.

Some of us spoke about how we researched our articles by emailing people at schools around the world.  We explained the process and shared some facts about our articles.  We also had a panel of students who answered questions from the audience on everyone’s behalf.




Mrs Monaghan was a special guest speaker…all the way from England!  It was only 9:15am in Australia but it was 10:15pm on Tuesday night for Mrs Monaghan!  We’re very grateful that she stayed up so she could talk to us about all the great projects we have worked on with her class.  Technology means that we can work and learn with people on the other side of the world and feel like we know them.



Our third guest speaker was Jeremy Scott who is cycling 50 000km around the world to raise money for The Heart Foundation.  At the moment he is in Sydney.  Click HERE to visit his blog and read about his adventures.  Today was a rest day for Jeremy which was lucky for us because he could talk to us!  Jeremy told us about the things he has seen on his adventure.  In one photo there is an ‘elephant’ road sign!  He has cycled in temperatures of -20 degrees and met bears.  Sometimes it has been really hard to keep going, but he does.  His trick is to think of a hard thing he has done in Turkey and remind himself that nothing is as bad as Turkey.  Jeremy is nearly at the end of his trip as he only has about 5000km left to ride.



At the end of the launch we finally got to see a copy of the magazine and it was AWESOME!  We ate red velvet cupcakes, red grapes, red apples and red lollies whilst we read our articles.



We all enjoyed sharing our magazine with our family and friends.  We hope we get to write one next year!

What was the most important thing you learnt from publishing the magazine?

If you wrote a magazine, what would you make it about?


Natural Disaster Facts & Figures

Today we discovered some interesting facts about natural disasters.

Did you know…

* The earthquake off Indonesia on Boxing Day in 2004 measured 9.1 on the Richter scale?

* 78 million people in Asia were affected by natural disasters in 2012?

* China has had the world’s deadliest famine, killing 30 million people?

* A severe tropical cyclone can have a sustained wind speed of 170km/h in the centre?

* Natural disasters affect people in different ways.  Click HERE to listen to how drought has affected three children.

Click HERE to watch a video about tsunamis (you can also just say ‘tsunami’ for the plural form too).  The word tsunami is a Japanese word.  ‘Tsu’ means ‘harbour’ and ‘nami’ means wave.

This week for Flipped Homework we have to watch the clip, write two interesting facts and ask one question in a comment on this post.

What interesting facts did you learn from the video clip?

What do you still want to find out about tsunamis?

It’s a Disaster!

This term we are learning about natural disasters around the world.  Our key questions are:

  1. How have landscapes been effected by extreme weather?
  2. How have human activities caused erosion of the Earth’s surface?
  3. What are the characteristics of natural disasters?
  4. How is science used to manage natural disasters?


Our flipped homework is to watch the video clip below. It comes from National Geographic Kids website.


Click on the image to watch the video


Part of our flipped homework is to write a quiz question about the video clip in a comment on this post. We also have to answer a question someone else has already asked.


What did you learn from the video clip?

Can you think of other natural disasters?

Skype with Rinku

On Thursday 19th September a small group of students and their families returned to school in the early evening.


To Skype with Rinku and learn about life in India. Rinku is currently located in England, so whilst it was 6pm Friday evening our time, it was only 9am Friday morning for Rinku.

In Term 2 we spent a lot of time reading, researching, watching film clips and wondering about different parts of Asia. However, there is nothing quite like speaking to someone with first hand experience. Rinku knows a lot about living and learning in India because she has lived there and taught at a small rural school in a village called Chembakolli.

We thoroughly enjoyed listening to Rinku tell us about Chembakolli.  There was a chance for us to ask specific questions and have them answered.  We also showed Rinku an Indian dance we had been practising at school.  Next time we’ll add some music!

You can watch some of our Skype call in the film clip below.



We discovered that some things are quite different for children in Chembakolli:

* They walk to school in groups so they are safer if they come across animals in the forest.  Sometimes monkeys jump on them!

* If they see an elephant they have to climb the nearest tree and wait until it passes

* Their lunch boxes are metal and have a little bowl.  Children might have rice and lentils for lunch.

* Their school is two storeys high and in the old hospital

* Some children have to walk for 30 – 40 minutes to get to school

* The houses don’t have glass in the windows


We also found out that there are some things we have in common:

* We both make Christmas Cards and sell them to raise money for our schools

* Have assembly and children perform dances

* Have similar school hours

* Usually have literacy and numeracy in the morning


Find out more about Chembakolli by reading the slideshow below.  It has been made by the Action Aid team who Rinku works with in England.


Our Skype call was made possible by Skype in the Classroom and the clever people at Action Aid, Vaila and Rinku.  We would like to thank them for giving us an opportunity to talk to someone on the other side of the world.  We would also like to thank our parents who brought us back to school.  Thank you everyone!

Have you ever Skyped with someone in a different country?

What would you do if you saw an elephant on your way to school?

Do you know any facts about India or another part of Asia?


This term we are learning more about Australian history.  Our focus questions are:

* Why and how did Australia become a nation?

* How did Australian society change throughout the twentieth century?

* Who were the people who came to Australia?  Why did they come?

* What contribution have significant individuals and groups made to the development of Australian society?


So far, we have discovered:

* Australia hasn’t always been a nation.  There used to be six colonies with their own set of rules.

* The six colonies were Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

* If you bought something from another colony you had to pay a tarrif on it.  Tarrifs are like taxes.

* Colonies had different sized railway tracks so you had to swap trains.

* In the late 1800s lots of people started to like the idea of becoming one country because national pride was increasing and it would mean a better defence against possible invasions.

* Not everyone liked the idea.  Smaller colonies were worried that colonies with larger populations (New South Wales and Victoria) would dominate.

* After many meetings (called conventions) and drafts of rules, a referendum (like a vote) was held and Australia finally became the Commonwealth of Australia.  This is called the Federation of Australia.


This week we had to find out five facts about Australia’s first Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton.  We had 15 minutes to research and record our facts as dot points.  We then created a Voki using our facts.  Our Vokis had to look and sound as ‘life like’ as possible.


Bailey and Daniel made this Voki:

Chelsea’s Voki:

Madison and Billie’s Voki:


Eve and Alicia’s Voki:

What facts do you know about Australia’s history?

If you researched an important person from Australia’s past, who would it be? Why?

Skype Quiz – Millionaire Style

Last week two schools and four classes met online for a Skype Quiz.  We first met Miss Fraser and the Frole Islanders earlier this year through a Mystery Skype.  In the chat that followed the Mystery Skype we discovered that both classes were learning about Asia.  So, what better way to celebrate a term’s learning than to have a quiz?

Earlier in the week, 5/6JC and 4/5P worked in small teams to brainstorm multiple choice questions for Miss Fraser and her class.  The list was narrowed down to ten questions.

Before the quiz began we allocated roles.  There were quiz masters to ask questions, fact fairies to share information after each of the questions we asked and contestants to answer questions.  We also had a ‘music man’ to play the theme song, performers for the ad breaks, photographers,  a camera person and Google Gurus.

Each school/team had four life lines:

* Ask the Audience (the class voted on each of the answers)

* 50:50 (two wrong answers were eliminated, leaving two possible answers)

* Phone a Friend (contestant ‘phones’ a classmate)

* Google Guru (a student with internet access can Google the answer)
Killara Primary School asked us ten multiple choice questions first.  They were all about China because that was this term’s Unit of Inquiry. You can see how many you would have answered correctly by clicking on the slideshow below.


We used three of our life lines and won $5000.  Next, we quized Killara about different countries in Asia because that is what they have been learning about this term.  You can test your general knowledge of Asia with the ten questions we wrote below.


Our Skype Quiz was caught on film and you can watch a very edited version of it in the clip below.


Thank you to Killara Primary School for a great afternoon and congratulations on winning $500 000 imaginary dollars.  We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

What quiz question about China would you add?

How have you used Skype in the past?

Do you have an idea for our next Skype with Killara?

Lucky Dragons

This week the spotlight has been on Chinese festivals and celebrations.  We found out about the Dragon Boat Festival and Chinese New Year.  It seems that dragons play an important part in Chinese celebrations.

Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival is held on 5th May every year.  It is held in memory of Qu Yuan, a Chinese man who drowned in the Miluo River.  Fishermen tried to save him by paddling out on boats and even threw food into the water so the fish would not eat his body.  Today, celebrations include dragon boat races and special ‘zongzi’ food is eaten.  Zongzi is special food wrapped in bamboo leaves.  Click HERE to read Daniel’s blog post about the history of the Dragon Boat Festival and how we celebrated it at school.



Chinese New Year

Click HERE to watch the Behind the News video clip we watched to learn about Chinese New Year.  We discovered:

* Chinese New Year is usually in February and celebrations last for 15 days.

* The Luna Calendar determines when Chinese New Year is celebrated.

* Dragons are a symbol of good luck and can be made from paper, silk and bamboo.

* Some dragons are 70 metres long and need 200 people to carry them.

* Each year of the Chinese Calendar is represented by an animal. 

* It is believed that people take on the characteristics of the animal of the year they are born.

* It is considered bad luck to do house work during Chinese New Year because you will sweep away good luck.

* People eat special dumplings shaped like money so they become rich.

* There are special red envelopes with money handed to children.

After taking notes in a data chart we used the Educreations app for the first time ever to create a short report on Chinese New Year.  We are still learning all about this new app and Miss Crowther is still learning how to put our iPad creations on the blog.  Hopefully you can click HERE and HERE to see our early creations. 

What other celebrations do you know about?  Tell us!

Have you used Educreations before?  What tips can you share?



Chomping on Chinese Food!

Last week we put our taste buds to the test and tasted some foods from different parts of Asia.  It was interesting to see the different packaging and to look at the ingredients listed in another language!


There was some interesting information on the back of the Fortune Cookie box.  Legend has it that years ago an important person in China became worried that the people who lived in the town would challenge him and take over.  So, he sent someone to take away all the weapons.  But, this made the people cross.  So, they used Fortune Cookies to send messages to each other about when and where they would fight the important person.  We’re not sure if we believe this because Sam has a book that says Fortune Cookies were invented by two Chinese people living in America.  And, people in China didn’t know anything about the cookies until they started importing them from America in the 1980s.  Two very different stories depending which text you read.
Here are some of the messages in our Fortune Cookies:

* It is always the ones who talk the loudest who do the least.

* Faults are thick when love is thin.

* Deciding not to choose is still making a choice.

* Confucius say: “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”


What foods have you tried from around the world? 

Have you heard any other sayings from Confucius?



Having Fun in China

This term’s Our Unit of Inquiry is all about China.  China has a population of 1.3 billion people (according the National Geographic for Kids) which means that more people live in China than in any other country on Earth.  We have discovered that China has huge mountains, sandy deserts and even rainforests. 

Last week we learnt about some of the traditional games children play in China.  They play lots of the same games we do, like running races, tiggy and hide and seek.  Some of the games are a lot like our games, only with a different name.  ‘Jumping Room’ is the same as our Hopscotch and ‘Dodge the Beanbag’ is our Poison Ball. 

Some Chinese games are not so similar to the games we play.  Tiao Pi Jing (tee-ow-pee-jing) is one of these games.  Miss Crowther remembers calling it Elastics and playing it when she was at primary school.  As part of our Education Week celebrations we taught our prep buddies how to play and have made a short video to teach our blogging buddies!  Thanks to Mrs M for the Vimeo tips.  If you don’t have elastic, thread some elastic bands together! 


We didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out Mrs M and Class 2 have also been playing elastics….in England!  Click HERE to see their video clip.

What is your favourite game to play?  Do you know which country it originates from?

Do you know any other Chinese games?