I’ll be away for the next two weeks on school holidays so I won’t be updating during that time. See you next term.
We’ve got a video conferencing room set up in the library and are part of the Independent Schools and Broadband Technology Group. Each week we get a list of upcoming video conferencing opportunities and I collate them, look at where they might fit in the curriculum and send them out to teachers who might be interested. So far this year we’ve had a number of great conferences. Yesterday, our Year 6s linked with the Australian Museum in Canberra and with a school in Warwick to look at “Fascinating Fossils.” We’ve also had Year 3 students practise creating characters with author, Laurine Croasdale; Year 5s joining Whitsunday Christian College and author Laurine Croasdale to explore persuasive writing, coming up with some creative ideas on topics such as ‘Should boys become tooth fairies?’ and ‘Why the school should buy a flying bus’; and another group of Year 5s joining experts from Sydney Living Museums to explore what life was like for convicts in the early colonies. Teachers have also been using the equipment to take up professional development opportunities.
Our MakerSpace was buzzing with activity today as we challenged the students to use whatever materials they wanted to try to build the tallest free-standing tower they could, within half an hour. We put out newspapers, cardboard tubes, connector straws, Lego etc and let the kids experiment. It was great to listen to the discussions within the groups as they went through a design process of testing their ideas and modifying them as problems arose.
Yesterday, I took the long drive over to Good News Lutheran College at Middle Park to have an evening playing with all kinds of goodies such as drones, robots, squishy circuits, wearable technology and MaKey MaKeys. They have a great set up over there and are lucky enough to have a specialist IT teacher in their primary school. It was a fun afternoon for about twenty teachers to get hands-on and share ideas. Thanks to Derek Bartels from LEQ’s head office and to the staff at Good News for their organisation of the day. I am definitely going to get a drone.
We had an exhausting but brilliant day today, hosting a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for our Year 2 students to mark the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland. We’d decorated the library the day before (see my previous post) and hired some costumes. I came as the Mad Hatter, Peta was the Queen of Hearts and Lily was Tweedle Dum.
The catering was superbly done by our Year 10 Hospitality students and their teachers. When I’d approached Colleen a couple of months ago about catering it, she worked it in to their programme so that the kids watched the movie and came up with ideas for themed food. They had bottles of chocolate and strawberry milk with “drink me” labels, cupcakes and cake pops with “eat me” on them and tiny pictures of the book characters, hats festooned with rice bubble slice, tiny teacups made of lollies, and sandwiches and fruit.
Our library monitors, twelve students from Years 6 and 7, ran the activities. The Year 2s cycled through three fifteen-minute activities – croquet played on the lawn outside the library (minus the flamingos and hedgehogs unfortunately); pinning the tail on the Cheshire Cat; and making their own mad hats from our craft materials and some cheap plastic top hats purchased from Spotlight. After that, we sat down to eat afternoon tea at 2.30.
This was a great promotion for the library as we had large numbers of staff, older students and parents popping in to the library throughout the day to see what was going on and to marvel at (and try to steal!) the beautiful food. The kids had a great time and the feedback from the Year 2 parents and teachers has been wonderful.
We’re having a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party tomorrow to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland. My assistant, Peta, created large cardboard cutouts of Alice and the White Rabbit and created a tree over the entrance way. Tomorrow we’ll drape some black material over the security gates to create the rabbit hole that students have to go through. We got all the tables and chairs from the different library areas and created our long dining tables. We covered them with material that we use for displays, hung streamers and crepe paper flowers and put boxes of artificial flowers on the table.
I attended a great robotics day at Grace Lutheran College yesterday, run by Peter Kellett. Our school’s participating in the First Lego League this year so I went along to find out more about it and to have a look at some robotics resources that I’m considering purchasing for the library. We had to build a robot that would travel forward and pull a lever, releasing a package. The robot then had to transport the package back to its home base. There’s a lot of design, engineering and mathematical skills involved as well as a lot of trial and error. It was great fun and a fabulous learning opportunity for students.
We didn’t have time to prepare much this week after all the effort we’d put into Book Week, so we decided to do something simple. I brought in a couple of buckets of pine cones from my garden and we got out all of our craft materials and let the kids get creative making pine cone people. We had a competition and the kids came up with some weird and wacky creations.
Aaron from Osborne Technologies visited the school yesterday to speak to our P-5 staff about Romo the Robot. Romo is a visitor from outer space who the students have to help get around by programming him. He is controlled by an iPod or iPhone and responds to and interacts with students. Our P-5 teachers had fun playing with him and doing some basic programming. The library is looking at purchasing one to see how it goes and what we can do with it.