April 23

# Farewell Mr Potter

Sadly we have had to say goodbye to our beloved sports teacher Mr Trevor Potter. He has decided the time was right to retire.

Many years ago, not long after I began working at Grange, Trevor and I decided to team up together with our respective classes and created what we affectionately called The Eisenpot Unit. We had a great time establishing lots of collaborative practices, many routines and practices which I maintain today, had their beginnings in the Unit.

Now anyone who knows Trevor, knows he likes to talk, that was indeed the case way back then, so to curb his monologues, I would at times perk my own voice up and over do the patronising singsong, happy voice. This irritated him, but achieved our objective in stopping him, so we could get on with things. So when we were asked to send a video message to Trevor, I knew exactly what memorable thing we could do.

Check out our message.. There were no rehearsals, I just asked the kids to answer me based on my questions, and to respond in exactly the same way as I said them.

What would you like to say to Mr Potter?

How do you feel about Mr Potter leaving?

What will you miss most?

April 2

# Morning Maths

This term we have been using the time before school really starts 8.30 am and a little after the bell 8.55 am to sharpen our maths fluency skills. We have been working on our recall skills for number facts. We were taught a great game called flip.

Using a pack of cards we flip over a card and we need to say the number to finish the fact. Learning facts to ten. All number cards are face value e.g. 7 of hearts is worth seven. Picture cards Jack, Queen and King are worth ten. Aces are worth one.

Using a timer we set one minute to go through the pack. When the minute is up, we count our successful cards. We have found that over the weeks our totals are increasing. We are recalling facts a lot quicker. The helps us when we need to calculate in problem solving.

The great thing about flip is we can play it individually or in partners. When we feel really confident, Ellen does a game with us to test our skills.

Once we are confident at one fact family, we challenge ourselves for different amounts such as to 20, or to 8. It’s great fun. Beepers are going off everywhere, there is a hive of mathematical activity.

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As we move into learning our multiplication facts we can still play flip, instead of making totals to a number, we can multiply the card shown by a certain table number e.g. pull a seven, times by two is 14. So we can learn our two times table facts a lot quicker.

There’s a lot to be said about practice makes perfect.

What do you think about morning maths?

How have you improved in recalling your facts?

What helps you or gets in the way?

Which tables do you think you should begin with?

April 2

# Harmony Day – Everyone Belongs

This year Ellen was at a maths conference and missed celebrating Harmony Day at Grange. But Thankfully Mrs Tunney our relief teacher captured some of the events that our class were involved in.

Traditionally we transform the school by simply changing the colour of our clothes. The colour for Harmony Day is orange, so we could wear orange for the day. If we did, a gold coin was donated which we send to support our World Vision sponsored child.

We had an harmonious assembly where classes shared work about diversity, tolerance and inclusivity. Australia is our home and like our class, there are many nationalities that live together. Harmony then, becomes an important concept to understand and practice.

We all worked hard to write acrostic poems using the ideas from our brainstorm on how to let everyone belong. We were able to decorate and publish them before Mrs Tunney put them up on display.

Giving people compliments and acknowledging the kind and helpful things they do is an important part of showing respect. Lending someone a hand when they need it is a simple act, but very powerful.

The class was asked to trace around their hand and write a message of gratitude  when someone included, helped or supported them.

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Once decorated, they passed their messages on.

I hope you enjoyed the activities on the day. Happy Harmony Day everyone.

What did you think about the events of Harmony Day?

What things have you done to include others?

How has someone helped you out?

Do you think we should celebrate Harmony Day? Why or why not.

April 1

# Classifying living things

As scientists, our job is to record our observations. So before we began investigating our topic for this term, we brushed up on our scientific drawing skills. Ellen gave us an interesting specimen to look at closely and we had a go at drawing the object with as much detail as we could. We added labels another helpful notes.

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Our Topic for investigation this term has been

Feather, Fur or Leaves

We began by checking out a scientists journal entry. Were things living or not?  Was it an insect? Was it an animal or plant? How could we tell? Did we agree with the observations and recordings? Why? Why not? Questions, questions…?scientists should always questions. That also makes them think of answers, so we should be able to give an explanation of why we think what we do too.

We shared and recorded our ideas of these journal entries in different groups according to our understanding.

We thought our explanations were quite thoughtful, given the limited information.

We got excited by the different specimens that we compared, so we set up our own nature table.

Phoebe’s Grandmother bought her a Venus fly trap to observe, Phoebe kindly added it to our collection.

Taxonomy anyone?

So what do you call it when a scientist sorts out stuff? We sorted lots of living things into two groups plants and animals. There seemed to be a lot of animals, they couldn’t all belong to one group, could they?

We were given some animals cards and in groups we stared looking at similar features. We made a list of features we could use to separate animals into groups.

We shared our thinking with the class.

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It is hard to be a complete expert and remember everything, so having tools to help makes our life easier. We were introduced to a branching key. That unlocked the door to any problems we had.

By answering yes no questions, we could slowly refine our search until we had the exact group. For example.. Start at the first question…

This animal, Does it have bones in its body. No Does it have a hard body. Yes Does it have antennae. Yes Does it have more than two antennae? No Does it have six legs? No -its a Myriapod

We had a go using more animal cards. It was quite challenging. How do you know the answers, sometimes we went down the wrong path?

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Time to collect some real animals and put the table into action. We set up an investigation. Searching for animals groups in the leaf litter at Grange School. To get us on track, we predicted what we thought we might see. To be fully prepared, we read our procedure carefully, making sure we had everything we needed. For a successful investigation we all needed to know our jobs, so it was time to negotiate.

But wait, field work can be hazardous. So we armed ourselves with eye protection and wore gloves in case of any bites. We were ready to go out and collect a couple of scoops of leaf litter to see what animals we would find.

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Back in the laboratory, or the classroom as we usually refer to it, we looked closely at our leaf litter and checked out what specimens we could identify. Then we needed to work out which animal group it belonged to.

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We found a variety of things living under the leaf litter such as:- millipedes, ants, spiders, worms, bugs, moths, caterpillars. Each team recorded their own….eg.

Using the branching key we discovered that there were only four animal groups. We made a table to record this information and the total animals found in each group..

Making a Claim – stating a case

Tables are useful tools to help sort out information. From this we have evidence and can make a claim.

We claim that there are many different animal groups found in the leaf litter at Grange Primary School. We also claim that it is highly likely that you would find myriapods such as millipedes and slaters, as well as insects such as ants and beetles. We know this because in our total samples there were more myriapods and insects, compared to the small amounts of annelids and arachnids found.

We also thought that there were variables (things that might change our results) such as rain, time of day and time of year might effect which animal groups we would find.

What did you think of our unit?

Questions for you to answer and let me know how you felt about science this term.

What didn’t you like?

What questions do you still have?

How could you solve some of the team issues you experienced in the research?

Which scientists do you believe would need to investigate in the field or use tools such as a branching key or table?