The Final Countdown

Not long now! We’ve passed the halfway mark of this, the final term of the year and are on the big countdown to the end. We’ve now only got 5 weeks to go (a little less, to be honest) and, while that sounds exciting, it’s also scary at the same time. The students have so much to think about, not merely their graduation ceremony, but also their friends, about leaving them and the safe, supportive surrounds that have been like a second home for years. The emotions are running high and often all of them at the same time; there’s sadness, a little uncertainty, bubbling excitement and a growing sense of adventure all simmering away in 11 and 12 year old melting pots. Not that it’s any easier for we teachers, with reports looming, excursions, ceremonies and assessments to organise and finish (not to mention those simmering melting pots to manage), but I’m sure it will all be okay in the end. It always seems to work out in the end – somehow!

Blogging Task #6

As you can see, I’ve changed my header photo. My stunning little MG F isn’t only my car, it’s my hobby, my interest and a thing that I thoroughly enjoy. I suppose part of it may lie with the fact I used to be a car body repairer, dismantling smashed vehicles and fixing them up like brand new. I’ve still maintained a great interest in cars and I’m always looking to tinker with my MG and improve it (although it does drain my bank account a little). This new task is to take a photo of your pastime or hobby and post it as a new header with an explanation of what it means to you.

Guest Blogger

This is a first for me. For this post I’m giving up the reigns of this blog and I’ve invited a guest blogger to present some of her work. This blogger is no ordinary guest, but none other than our wonderful school leader, Megan! Take it away Megan.

Hi this is Megan!! In class we were told that everyone had to create our own stop motion animation. Stop motion animation is where you use small figures take a photo, move them and take a photo again, this is repeated until you are left with a short, interesting film! I did mine with my two friends; Lily and Carys; and created the cool and interesting film, Snail Love Story! This is why the amazing , Mr Hope, wanted me to be his first guest blogger to show you my animation. This animation is about a boy snail who is sad and a girl snail finds him, falls in love with him, and then mid kiss, gets squished by an big shoe! A broom sweeps her away while the boy snail hides. The boy snail is so sad that he walks off the screen; but that is just what you think until a big shoe squashes him too! He pops back up from his squashed self as a beautiful angel. Along comes his former girlfriend snail and they both float up to heaven. Then it’s just the credits. I bring you, Snail Love Story!

Stop Motion

For the first few weeks of this term the students have been busy creating stop motion animations using the I Can Animate app on the iPads. The students got into groups of three and planned out their ideas. They first jotted down their ideas in their rough books, then they had to create a storyboard to sequence the ideas and to draw the representations of the scenes. Finally came the modelling with Plasticine, although not everyone used Plasticine, some used Lego, toy cars or other props. This planning formed an integral part of the process and is as important as the filming and the final video. However, it didn’t stop with the video, the students also had to include titles, credits and music which the either created themselves on Garage Band or downloaded from Bensound.com. The results so far have been very impressive and I’ll post some here later when they’re all finished.

Blogging Task #5

Have you ever had a great idea for an invention that could make a massive difference in the world? Well, one company has not only had a fabulous idea, this idea will soon be in the shops. Waverly Labs have created an amazing new gadget, a gadget that I reckon just about everyone will want to rush out and buy; they’ve created a language translator that fits in your ear. I know, this isn’t a new idea (if anyone has read The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy they’ll recall the Babel Fish) and that Waverly Labs aren’t the only company with the idea, but it’s one with the potential to bring the people of the world much closer together. If you had the chance, what would you like to invent that would be of great benefit to mankind? What would your invention do and how would it make a difference? Check out the video below to see what Waverly Labs are doing.

Back To Work

Holidays are awesome! That wonderful, relaxed sensation you get when you know there’s no pressure to get up in the morning is one that all teachers recognise. Sadly, it doesn’t last forever and that screaming, stress inducing buzzer has blasted its way back into our daily lives. However, I did have a pretty good time on our last break: I managed to finish a lingeringly bad part of my scruffy garden; I took my fabulous MGF convertible for a few sunny drives (see below); I had a lovely meal at a rotating rooftop restaurant (can’t recall the name); and I got the results of my Ancestry DNA test. The DNA test was the most exciting, especially considering that, besides being 47% British, I’m 20% Irish, 15% Western European, 7% Scandinavian and 6%Iberian (with a few other bits and bobs). All that fun now seems just a teary, distant memory as we embark on the final term. the final ten weeks of our time with the fabulous students of LA14. This will be very exciting!

Playtime

Well, the title of this post is a little misleading, as we don’t do playtime or free-time in LA14 (mean teacher, yes, I hear that a lot), but this playtime was for an important educational reason. Next year the Australian Curriculum will include the subject of Digital Technologies and nestled within the subject will be the topic of coding. The school has already been given a number of hands-on resources that will enable teachers across the year groups to deliver practical activities to support their lessons, but we first need to learn how these resources work. This week the students were given their “toys” to have a go and report back what they found. It was an incredibly useful activity and I learned an awful lot from them. I now have a much better understanding of how the resources work and which age groups they are more suitable for – all thanks to the students and their playtime.

Code Monkey Island

Bee-Bot

Dash and Dot

Blogging Task #4

This blogging task is all for a good cause. If you’re anything like me there’ll be a number of issues in the world that cause you to get a little frustrated. Amongst the many that concern me are: climate change, deforestation, animal extinction, equal rights, plastic pollution, marriage equality, whale hunting, renewable energy, puppy farms, child labour, poverty, slave labour, girls’ rights, freedom of speech… I could actually go on and on and on! These are, in my opinion, just a few of the most important issues of our time and are well worth fighting for. It’s a great thing to get behind a good cause, it gives people a sense of purpose and meaning in life, not to mention the satisfaction of knowing they’re trying to achieve some good in the world.

Do you have a cause that you’d like to be part of? Is there something happening in the world that makes you frustrated? Is there something you’d like saved? Is there something you’d like stopped? Use your blog to shout out for a good cause or a big issue.

Book Week

This year’s Book Week was another great day and a fabulous success (mostly thanks to our amazing Mrs Brayshaw). The students were allowed to dress up as a book character and to also wear cultural dress. The reason we chose cultural dress for the dress up was that the fabulous picture book, My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood, was chosen as a focus for the day. It highlights the struggles of a young girl who migrated to Australia and the struggle she faces to fit in and feel a sense of belonging in a strange environment. This was a great lesson and contained a mature message for the students, especially as they will be the ones helping us create the vibrant, tolerant and equal Australia we value so much. In the afternoon the students joined the year ones for some “buddy reading”. It was a great afternoon and a wonderful end to one of our favourite days of the year.

Nik

Paige

Ankita & Jade

Practical Math

Following a series of lessons on measuring area, the students have been given a major Math project on the topic. Their task is to measure various areas of the school and price up the cost of replacing the paving and the grass. The task isn’t as easy as it first appears. There is a mixture of shapes to consider, including circles and rectangles; some shapes are within other shapes so need to be subtracted; some shapes are semi-circles and the calculation has to be worked out carefully. When the students have worked out the area they then log onto genuine paver and grass websites to calculate the cost of the items needed. However, there’s more! The project has to include a detailed explanation of their process, any rough notes they took, photos and diagrams, formal and clear calculations and an explanation of their choice of pavers and grass. It’s all very hard work and I can’t wait to see the finished projects.

Megan, Lily, Carys

Denzel & Nik