So much learning going on!

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Yesterday we received a comment on this blog from a school in London. They are starting a blog and wanted to know some tips. Year 5 worked in small groups to come up with the following advice. I think our students have great ideas. Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know in a comment.

Hi Year 4 and Ms O’Donnell,

Thanks for visiting our class blog. We really enjoy blogging and think that you will too.

When starting a new class blog you should:

  • Include a Blogging Guidelines Page so commenters know how to comment and to leave a nice comment which keeps them safe on the internet. Respect your school’s blogging policy.
  • Make sure you don’t give away any personal details. Also you will probably have the ability to edit comments, so make sure that the people who comment don’t give any personal details about themselves.
  • Include an About me page – it is necessary to have an about me page so visitors who look on your blog know a bit more about you / your class
  • Add a few widgets: (example) Clustrmap, Flag Counter, or a Class Pet. This can make your blog look more interesting and organised. But please don’t go crazy with cyber pets!
  • Choose a theme that you like and don’t change it too often
  • Post once to twice a week (regularly) and use categories and tags. Make your posts interesting – write about things you love!
  • Add some media: pictures or videos – they will make your post much more interesting but be sure that you acknowledge where they come from and who owns them. Always check that you are allowed to publish images to your blog.
  • We would recommend telling people about your blog so they visit and comment. You can also add a subscribe by email widget which means your visitor gets an email when you publish a new post. You should comment on other blogs and interact with other classes. That way you will get more visitors and comments on your blog.
  • Once your have started we highly recommend that you sign up for the student blogging challenge on  you will learn lots about bloggging!
  • We use the edublogs platform and highly recommend it for student bloggers.

You might find this video from Mrs Yollis helpful too. She and her students are very experienced bloggers. We learned a lot from them.

We wish you well at the start of your blogging adventure. Please visit us again and let us know your blog address so we can visit you too.

From the Year 5 students at year5rc

TEAR ~ What is it?

Today Year 5 were challenged to think about the letters in TEAR. What might they stand for?

TEAR Australia is a charity that we have supported at school for many years and will do again this year. The girls brainstormed possibilities. They had lots of fantastic ideas as you can see. A few clues were needed to get some of the actual meanings (which, by the way, is Transformation, Empowerment, Advocacy, Relief.)

We talked about what these words mean to us and how they fit into the work of TEAR. Our new central idea is “We can express ourselves through our beliefs, values and actions.” Can you see how the work of TEAR Australia might be connected to our learning? Please comment and let us know what you think.fullsizerender-157

Have you ever thought about who made your clothes?

Year 5 have been thinking about this question in our new Unit of Inquiry. We brought in a favourite piece of clothing and looked at the labelling. It tells us where it was made and what it is made from but not who made it. We saw a video that showed us that a lot of clothing in Australia is actually made overseas in countries like China, Cambodia and Bangladesh. We wonder why this is and if it is a problem. Are the people who make our clothes paid fairly? Do children make clothes in some countries? We are hoping to find out some answers to these questions. Here are some posters we have made to promote our question.

How is Australia Connected?

Wow! What a great start we have had in Year 5 to term 3. During our integrated inquiry unit we have started to explore the big question of “How is Australia Connected?” The girls have discussed what they think this question is all about. We thought about the many products that we use between getting up and arriving at school and realised that the products come from an amazing number of countries. A classroom display of common food items from the local supermarket also made us realise how many different countries we rely on for our food products. Each girl has briefly investigated a country to see how it is linked to Australia. We are looking forward to finding out more about “How Australia is interdependent on other countries?”, “What is a global citizen?”and “What role do communications have in the life of global citizens.”

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Reflections on the break from school that wasn’t quite what I had planned…

On Monday 26 September when I woke up with a tummy ache I thought I had my usual school holiday illness. (This often happens to teachers because they work very hard for a term and the body says “relax” in the holidays). But things progressed and I had my appendix out on the Thursday, 5 days in hospital and now I am recuperating at home.  The point of this post is not to have you worry or fuss over me at all but I want to tell you what has been happening during the holidays when I haven’t been able to get out the door.

It is an amazing world we live in.  I was meant to speak at the ASLA conference with Mrs Miller on Tuesday but joined in with what was going on there via Twitter and edmodo. I would have gone to another great IWB conference called ‘See Share Shape’ on Thursday and Friday with 5 teachers from our school but again I could follow what was happening via Twitter from my bed. All this via my iphone.

As well as my own professional development needs being met I have been able to link in to what many of your have been doing in the holidays. I have done this in a few different ways.

  • Our various edmodo groups have been visited regularly by a few girls who have been extending their learning through the holidays. Some of your have joined the new Global Classroom 4-6 group and have been introducing yourselves to students in the USA and NZ.  This is like an edmodo pen pal group with the aim of students getting to know one and chatting about things that are important to you.
  • My google reader keeps bringing to my attention the many students who are blogging regularly about what you are up to in the holidays; there have been posts about things we’ve done at school, reflections on your term and more.  All of this is unprompted by any teacher which makes me realise that you must like blogging and are using it as a tool to create your own learning.
  • I was thrilled to see many of you mentioned in the Blogs to Visit post at the edublogs Student Blogging Challenge.  This means that edublogs thinks that your entries in the variety of challenges on offer are good ones and are being recommended for others to read! Well done to those girls who have a mention.
  • Our Quadblogging buddies have also been busy reading and writing comments for us and I was delighted to receive this tweet from Mr Gagnon at Stratham Memorial in America. He said ” Whenever I want high quality blog comments from my class all I have to say is Australian style comments. LOL :)” That is great to hear that your comments have been so well written and are great examples of what comments should be.
  • The Blogger’s Cafe is continuing to receive many hits and comments from students around the world, as does our own blog here at year5rc

It is indeed an amazing, connected world in which we live.  I think back to my school holidays when I was in Year 5.  I probably didn’t go away, I might have gone to see a movie and had a friend over to play. Most of the time I would have been hanging out with my brother at home.  (Speaking of my brother look and see what he has been doing these holidays.) In 1970 we had a television, could listen to music on records or tune in to the radio. Don’t get me wrong these are good things to do as well and I would encourage you to go outside and play but in 2011 there are so many choices available to you. What I really hope is that Mrs Miller and I are helping, teaching and guiding you in sensible choices for a balanced and enriching life!  I look forward to seeing you all back at school for more creating, learning and growing together!

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International Feast Day and our trip to the city

We had an amazing day on our last Wednesday of term, giving our country presentations to the other classes and feasting on all the delicious food everyone had brought from home. We also enjoyed a skype call to Miss T’s Year5/6 in New Zealand. We discovered that they are just like us! Not really that surprising, since we are all the same age and live in a similar part of the world. Our feast day was a great way to end a busy term in Year 5. We have learned about many things and have enjoyed getting to know one another. As a teacher I love to see the excitement that happens when students really get involved in their own learning. I saw this in Term 1 when so many of you took to edmodo like ‘ducks to water’ and have really embraced it as a great interactive learning tool. I particularly loved the contributions in the Frindle forum when students took on the role of characters! It was entertaining and insightful, a great example to me of how engaging technology can be. I wonder what the highlight of the term has been for you? and for your parents? Please comment to let us all know.

On Tuesday we travelled by train to the centre of Sydney to sing at the Easter in the City festival run by Fusion.  We sang well, enjoyed lots of fun activities and only got a little wet in the rain. It was lovely to have so many parents enjoy our performances.  This short movie made in Animoto shows you some of our day.

Off to a great start

Our first week of term is almost over and phew what a scorcher it has been! Despite opening all the doors and windows and turning on the fans full blast it has been hot and sticky in the year 5 class rooms. That has not stopped us learning and having fun though.

Today we started our All about Me projects.All about me Global connections part 1

Mrs Thomas and I sat down together at the end of the day and discussed how impressed we were with the way you all settled down to work. We saw

  • Girls collaborating with each other and sharing ideas.
  • Girls connecting with each other and making new friends.
  • Girls taking care with their work.
  • Girls showing creativity and producing excellent work.

We can’t wait to see your finished projects and learning more about your lives and the things you enjoy doing, when you are not busy learning, thinking and having fun at school.

We made it! Silver coins buy a school and a goat!

As you know we have been raising money this year for  TEAR Australia.  Our target was $550 to purchase a community school.  We raised this and more! $50 extra means we have purchased a goat for a village.  We are amazed to see that little coins which on their own can’t buy anything can combine and do great things.  This is a very practical way to see that every little bit really does help, and so much can be achieved when people really work together.  As well as $600 from Year 5 our school community has donated another $950 to TEAR buy purchasing Christmas gifts ranging from school supplies and fish farming to toilets, goats or a self help group for women.  You might like to take a look at Arguably the World’s Most Useful Gift Catalogue and choose something yourself this Christmas.

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5 Gold Aboriginal Voicethread

5 Gold has completed the following Voicethread. Mrs Miller created the Voicethread using the Aboriginal paintings which we had painted during the term. Each painting tells a story, so after the paintings were put in the Voicethread we each spoke or wrote that story. Mrs Miller then sent the Voicethread to her friend Mrs Webb who teaches at Weston Village Primary School in England. The pupils at Weston Village school have responded to our paintings. Take the time to listen and read what they have to say about our Art works.

Today an article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald about our blogging and this Voicethread, which we think is very exciting.

Buying a school with our loose change!

Are those annoying silver coins in your wallet worth anything?  They certainly are in our classroom.

We have been collecting 5cent and 10cent pieces in Year 5 this year.  We a hoping to raise enough money to buy a Community School through the TEAR FUND.

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To do this we need $550. So far we have collected $264 and we are half way through the year so we are just about on target! We are just collecting silver coins because these don’t seem to be of much value on their own but when we put them all together we think they can make a real difference.  Our money will buy “a dedicated teacher, plus simple learning materials, to give children the opportunity for a quality primary or pre-primary education” in a poor community in Pakistan, Laos or Zambia. Our money pays for teacher training, salary and a year’s running costs.  The TEAR FUND is a Christian organisation who, we think, are doing really good work.

Do you think we can make it to our goal?