December 12

Let’s do Lunch, the Collaborative Way

We don’t do class parties in our room, we have shared lunches! So at this time of year, we plan a collaborative shared team lunch.

Each team had to decide on their menu for Christmas lunch. Our school has a healthy eating policy and once a year we can have a red food day. However in this case they could only have one red food in their lunch. The menu needed to be healthy choices with one sweet.

In their learning teams they needed to organise the food as well as the accessories such as plates napkins and utensils. Most wanted some kind of Christmas theme so decorations were up to them. It took real team work.

The biggest challenge was to cater only for four people. A few teams over catered!

They had plenty of time to set up, indulge in pleasant dinner conversation and clean up.

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I loved the way the worked together thought together and acted together. A real collaborative effort.

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Well done everyone I was impressed. We had some very festive tables indeed.

 

November 26

Remembering our Brave Armed Forces and Giving Back

During our preparation for Remembrance Day, many discussions were had about the life and conditions of the armed forces during wars and conflicts. I shared my experiences of visiting Anzac Cove in 2006 and we talked about the battle that had taken place. I also shared with them the poem written by Ataturk and showed them a statue of soldiers helping each other out.

A deeply moving poem.

Headstone line the foreshore, young men who paid the supreme sacrifice.

Courage, Mateship, Bravery on both sides.

While discussing the past, the children were stunned to discover that in the present our service men and women  are still working to defend our country and help out our allies. They had also just watched the Christmas pageant and their thoughts are turning to fun times with their families.

I had heard from my husband Peter about a wonderful idea to spread some Christmas cheer to our scattered defence force. With the help of Australia Post, we could say thank you and acknowledge their hard work.

I put out a request for some donated items to place in care packages. The response was overwhelming.

Thank you all so much, I was touched by your generosity.

 

Each box could only be 2 kg. After weighing everything individually, the students had a task.

What was the total weight of our items and how many boxes do I need to get?

Each team was given a list of weights and as a team they needed a sub total. Once that was completed they could find the total weight. They could use any procedure to get their answer and could check it later with a calculator.

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They eventually worked out we that had 22.5 kg. of donated goods and that we would need 11 boxes. Given we had 7 teams, if we shared the donations we could make 2 boxes per team. They agreed and set to work!

Making and assembling the boxes was tricky. Then they needed to decide on what to give the soldiers they had selected.

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It was a great collaborative effort, thanks everyone young and old. We included a photo of ourselves so they knew we were thinking of them.

The words say  We wish you a Merry Christmas  Thank You 

Something to think about.

What did you enjoy about making the care packages?

What did you put in your box?

What do you think the soldier will say when they open their box?

Have you ever had to be away from your family?

How would you feel to be away from your family for a long time?

What are you hoping will be in a box for you at Christmas time?

 

July 25

Spinning in Space

Last term we learnt about how the Moon,

 

the Sun

and Earth

spin and rotated in space. We also learnt that from all this spinning and rotating, the positions of the Sun and Earth played a big part in how we experienced day and night.

Relative sizes

It was important that we understand exactly how big these objects are. Now that is kind of tricky because we really can’t see Earth as we are standing on it, as for the Sun and Moon, well at a distance they can play tricks on your eyes.

We are fortunate in our Solar System to have the Moon and Sun exactly where they are because they actually look the same size. We know the Sun is huge, but it is 400 times further away than the Moon. The further something is away from us the smaller it looks. That is why when he Moon moves in front of the Sun we get a perfect eclipse.

Actually things in space are big, really, really big in fact somethings are so big our heads can’t get it at all. This is what we mean.

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Checking this idea out

We had a go at using a basketball to represent the Sun and a tennis ball to represent the Moon. In teams we worked together to move the Sun away until it appeared to our eyes to be the same same size as our Moon.

I had my eclipse glasses handy so we all had a couple of safe looks at the Sun. Although this mighty sphere was shining brightly, it looked indeed no bigger than a full Moon. Some children even saw the Sunspots.

Understanding shadows

How much fun is shadow tag! But there is a lot of science in shadows.

Why don’t shadows stay put?

On a sunny morning, we went outside and traced around each other’s shadow.

Then we played some shadow tag. That was challenge, they never stayed put!

Back in the classroom we discussed and recorded what we thought we knew about shadows.

Time to return outside to checkout our shadows….oh no!  They had moved. We needed to trace them again.

We noticed that all the shadows that we could see had moved from the base. To start with, they were facing west, later on, they were moving Easterly. That was odd. Why did this happen? Ah, the Sun moved. Of course, that was it!  Or was it?

Time to get serious with a scientific investigation.

I gave each team member an investigation planner, together they discussed and recorded their plan. This is a summary of our discussion, once planning had ceased.

Luckily for us the day was one of the last sunny days before the cloudy days of winter settled in.

We went out every hour on the hour, as best we could, throughout the day, sharing jobs to complete the investigation. To make it a fair test, we needed to place the cardboard in exactly the same place, have the same equipment and record the shadow line carefully. Teams worked collaboratively to complete their observations.

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The following day, in our teams, we analysed the information together.

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We had some interesting data that we were able to place in a table and record graphically such as this example. We know that tables are useful to sort out information and graphs show us data that we can see clearly.

We discussed our observations and concluded that as the Sun moved across the sky from East to West, the shadows moved in the opposite direction. Our proof was the marks we recorded on our cardboard posters. We found out that the shadows were longest when the Sun was lower in the sky and shorter when it was high in the sky. Our proof was the measurements we took each hour. Our claim based on our data was that the Sun’s movements caused all this. So the Sun did move!

But

We knew better though. Earth is really the object that moved, not the Sun, that object stays in the centre of our Solar System  and rotates. It is the rotation of the Earth that caused the Sun to appear to move in the sky, which then caused the shadows to lengthen and shorten.

You see we’d also been learning about the spinning and revolution of Earth. There was a lot to remember. Everything spins in space. You can get dizzy trying to remember everything.

We found this clip to be a great reminder.

We learnt a great deal about our neighbours in space and how they affected our life. At the end of the unit, I asked the students to design a scientific poster that explained how we get day and night. Here are a few.

 

Here are some things to think about.

What did you enjoy most about the science unit? Can you remember an impressive fact?

What didn’t you like?

Are there things you still are curious about and have more questions?

How did you feel about giving your oral presentation?

What do you think of space and the things beyond Earth?

What impressed you?

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.

We had fun.

Trevor’s farewell message from Ellen Eisenkolb on Vimeo.

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?