High School Science Visit

Last week all our year 6 students were invited to the local high school to see and experience the wonderful opportunities on offer in their science department. The students were able to experience an incredible variety of activities: they tried Minecraft on the computers; they witnessed lungs from a sheep being inflated; they saw rockets being shot into the air; they became part of an electric circuit; they witnessed how silver nitrate reacts with copper under a microscope; they saw robots fighting and firing balls across the room. It was an awesome experience and we have to thank our high school partners for inviting us along.

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Back in the Swing

Teaching can be a funny old game. I’ve had many jobs in my life, including some very dirty, physical and labour intensive ones, but nothing has ever come close to teaching in regards of exhaustion, stress, high workload and commitment as being a teacher. So by rights my return to the classroom after an incredible seven week holiday to the UK and Europe should have been as much fun as swimming through croc infested waters wearing boardshorts made of raw steak. Strangely, however, I’ve had an absolutely fabulous week.

Apart from trying to catch up with the students and what they’ve been doing in order to get ourselves all on the same page so we can move forward with what we need to do, the week has been as busy as usual. We’ve learned about the order of operations in Maths; we’ve discussed our understanding of how narratives are constructed; we’ve refined our understanding of how we read and comprehend novels; and we’ve completed our trials for the up-and-coming faction carnival. Talk about busy! In fact, we’ve been so busy and hectic it almost seems like I’ve never been away!

Blogging Task #5

Watch this short video from BTN which is all about “Web Secrets” and tell me in at least two substantial paragraphs what you think. Do you do anything that your parents don’t know about? How much would you be happy with your parents seeing? Why do you think parents want to check what you do? You can answer all these questions (and more) and give reasons for your opinions and answers. What do you think most kids opinions are on web privacy and what are some of the things they get up to? What are parents’ opinions? Remember, parents have been around long enough to have experienced consequences of the actions they made as kids – you have not, you still haven’t experienced the full force of some really bad decisions (and you may not for years). So, who knows best?

Amsterdam

Next stop – Amsterdam! In a similar way to Copenhagen, Amsterdam has evolved around a series of canals. The canals are hundreds of years old and the history of the city can be seen everywhere, particularly if you take a trip around on a canal cruise. There are heaps of museums and tourist options and one we took (which will please Ms Svein) was the Van Gogh Museum. I’ve enjoyed Amsterdam way more than Copenhagen, which was a little slow and limited as far as being a tourist was concerned. Amsterdam is much bigger, livelier and historical and I’m just disappointed that I only have three nights here.

Friday will see me board yet another plane to jet back to sunny Manchester. Nice one!

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Latest From Denmark

This is one I’m posting from my iPhone, so I hope it works okay. Just landed in Denmark this morning (the country in Europe, not the town down south), and it’s looking pretty good. We’ve only got three days here, but even after one coffee it’s already an expensive place to be compared to Australia. I’m sure I’ll have a good time, though, so don’t feel too sorry for me.

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Historic Chester

Everyone knows that, of all the countries around the world, the UK has an immensely rich and varied history. Few places have as great a history as the town of Chester. The name itself is historic, its origins being Roman meaning a fortress or fortified town and the Roman presence in the area is still strongly visible. We saw the remains of a genuine Roman amphitheatre with the remains of the thick walls still visible. We also saw the great medieval wall which still showed the scars of the English Civil War (1642 – 1651). The Royalists (those who supported the king) were camped within the town whilst the Parliamentarians (those who supported the freedom of parliament) blasted them with their cannons. The photo below shows where the wall had to be repaired. An even older history is also visible in Chester, one that doesn’t go back hundreds, but rather millions of years. Sedimentary rock which was laid down millions of years ago forms the bedrock upon which the town is built and with lower water levels this is clearly now visible. Check out the photos to see this amazing history.

Medieval wall with repairs.

Medieval wall with repairs.

Wall built on sedimentary rock.

Wall built on sedimentary rock.

The Roman amphitheatre.

The Roman amphitheatre.

A building from 1664.

A building from 1664.

Holiday Post

This week (and for the next few weeks) I’m enjoying a well-deserved (in my opinion) break in Europe. I’ve returned to my home town of Manchester in the UK and am spending time catching up with my family and taking nostalgic tours around all my old haunts. Whilst I’m in the UK the fabulous students from LA14 are in the excellent care of Mrs Vandebroek and continue to blog in the usual way.

Yesterday I had gruelling 18km walk around the hills and countryside of the Hope Valley (apparently the village where all “Hopes” originated). The scenery was incredible and the climb up and down the hills punishing, but the reward was the great photos you see below. I’m sure our amazing art teacher, Ms Svein will enjoy these (sorry there’s so many of them).

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Blogging Task #4

This task is all about the year so far. We’ve accomplished so much this year, but what parts of it have stuck in your minds most? Write a post about how you think this year has gone. You may like to consider how you are progressing, maybe how you’ve found the work, perhaps which activity has been your favourite. What are your hopes for the rest of the year? With only 20 weeks of primary school life left after this term how would you like those weeks to go?

Podcasts

Microphones and technology have been a great asset to us in encouraging and exploring opportunities to participate in English activities. We’ve been able to create podcasts on a number of topics and demonstrate our ability to change our speech for different purposes. Some of our podcasts have been very formal and required an interview style format with clear turn-taking, whereas others have been very informal, although these ones also required controlled informality and an awareness that the purpose was still educational. The students have created introductory music and used Audacity to edit them. The podcasts are also a great opportunity to empower students who may struggle to write; they have the option to verbally demonstrate their comprehension of a topic.

Below are two examples of these podcasts. A group of students discussed what they think happens after we die. This may sound very serious, but never underestimate children. They have very valid opinions and are capable of holding very interesting discussions (as you’ll see). The topic came about following the death of a character in a series we are watching. The other podcast is one I did with a student to see how she could address the requirements of completing a persuasive writing text orally.

   

Cross Country

Last week the whole school (yes, the whole school) took part in our annual faction cross country competition. This year was probably our best ever, but that has a lot to do with our awesome Phys. Ed. teacher, Mr Jones, whose twice weekly running club has helped so many students prepare. The students from LA14 were incredibly successful, especially Riley Crane who won the boys’ race.

Riley (centre), the winner.

Riley (centre), the winner.

Jordan and Elly

Jordan and Elly