Thursday, March 31, 2011

Our Assembly Slideshow

Tomorrow morning, we have our assembly. We'll be performing a song and dance in front of the whole school and we can't wait. The theme of our assembly is "reading", so we've taken lots of photos of us enjoying books and made them into a slideshow to play in the background during our song.

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kathy the Entomologist

Kathy showing us some butterfly specimens

When we want to learn about something, there are many things we can do. We can ask our teacher and parents, to see if they know, we can check in books, we can search online, or we can find someone who is an expert on the topic and ask them. That's what we did today!

We had a Skype session with Kathy, who's an entomologist in Queensland. She knows lots and lots about insects. She taught us all sorts of amazing things and answered a lot of questions that we had. Kathy showed us her pet stick insect, who lives on a gum tree branch in her office and she also showed us some specimens of lots of other insects too.

Some of the things we learned are:
  • all insects have 6 legs when they're adults
  • baby ladybirds are tiny red and black lavae that might be mistaken for caterpillars
  • all spiders have some venom because they use it to break down food to make it easier for them to eat
  • there is a butterfly that looks exactly like a leaf
  • there is a beetle in Africa that is as big as your hand
  • some butterflies are poisonous when they're eaten by birds and other animals
  • butterflies have a long curly mouthpart and they use it to suck nectar from flowers to eat
  • ants are very organised and have separate rooms in their ant nests for different jobs (eg. a room to store food, one for the queen to lay her eggs, one for the larvae to live in and one for rubbish and waste to be kept in)
  • bees, wasps and ants bite or sting because they're trying to protect their homes
  • grasshoppers have special muscles in their legs to help them hop
  • some insects only live for a day, while others can live for years
  • only female mosquitoes bite and they need blood to feed the eggs that are inside their bodies
  • slaters curl into balls so they can protect themselves from predators
  • some insects are red because it's a "danger!" colour and warns predators that it wouldn't be a good idea to eat them
We really enjoyed our chat with Kathy. She was really, really nice and was very happy to answer anything we asked. We made her thankyou cards this afternoon, with special drawings of insects on the front.

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fruit from a Cactus?

A Dragonfruit Tree (photo by C. Sookdhis)
Have you ever eaten fruit from a cactus? We have! We tried it today during Monday Munchies and it was called dragonfruit, or pitaya. It originated in South America, but is also grown in many Asian countries. The outside is a beautiful pink colour and the inside is white, with many tiny black seeds. About half the class liked it and the other half didn't, but Mrs N was very happy that we all tried something that looked very strange to us.

Paige brought a book to school today about cystic fibrosis (CF). It's a story about a dog called Monty, whose owner has CF. It really helped us to understand some of the treatments that Paige experiences and helped us to understand her condition more. Thanks for sharing it with us Paige!

Venn diagrams can be used to compare information about two things. It's a simple way to organise similarities and differences. We used one to compare moths with butterflies. At first, we thought it was quite hard to tell the difference, because they look so similar, but after completing our diagram, we discovered some things that made it easy to tell them apart. We decided that checking whether it was day or night and whether the wings were up or resting flat, were the easiest ways.

What a busy week we have! We've been very busy practising for our assembly, which is this Friday! On Wednesday, we're going to be Skyping with an entomologist (an insect expert), so we spent some time today, planning some questions to ask her.

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Colourful Creation

We created a beautiful colour mural today. We learned to draw portraits and paid particular attention to the shape of our eyes, noses and mouths. The trick was that we needed to use only one colour for each drawing! This is called mono-chromatic drawing. We could use pencil, crayon or texta to make our pictures and each person was assigned a colour to use. We did two each, but some of us did three or four because we finished quickly. For some of the drawings, we actually used two colours so they could go in between the groups of just one colour. When they were all done, we stuck them all together and hung them outside our classroom. We have had lots of compliments about our artwork already!

In Maths, we practised addition. We're becoming superstars at it now and know lots and lots of number facts in our heads. This makes it much easier to do trickier sums.

This afternoon, we created a Voki to add to our blog. When we visited the 2MK blog, we saw they had one and wanted to make one for ourselves! We thought of a message that would welcome people and asked them to leave us a comment. We recorded our voices and uploaded it so that it looks like the koala is talking! It was lots of fun picking out the character we wanted to use. You can listen to it by clicking the play button underneath the koala.

The best part of the day was when we got to eat the gingerbread house that Julie's mum made for us. It was delicious!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Monday, March 21, 2011

Prickly Pineapples!

It's Monday, which means it's Monday Munchies day! Today's healthy food was fresh pineapple. Many of us had tried sliced pineapple from a tin, but having fresh pineapple was a treat. We learned that they grow in warm places and they were named pineapples because their skin resembles a pine cone. We thought it was really delicious and we especially liked that it was so sweet and juicy.

We were excited this morning when Julie arrived at school. Her mum had made us an amazing gingerbread house! She knew that we have been reading various versions of The Gingerbread Man and that we made our own gingerbread men last week. She thought we'd like a house to match! We can't wait to start nibbling on it.  

Thankyou Julie's mum!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Butterfly Life Cycle

We watched this video to learn about the life cycle of a butterfly. We learned that:
  • butterflies lay their eggs on leaves
  • after a while, the egg hatches and a very small caterpillar comes out
  • the caterpillar nibbles on their egg for nutrients
  • the caterpillar spends all day eating, eating, then eating some more
  • they like to eat leaves
  • as it grows, it grows new skin and sheds the old one
  • eventually, when it is big and plump, it sheds its skin for a final time and surrounds itself with a chrysalis
  • it is called a pupa while it's in the chrysalis
  • the pupa turns into a butterfly
  • the process is called metamorphisis
  • the butterfly hatches out of the chrysalis and pumps fluid into its wings
  • the butterfly flies away and feeds on nectar
  • eventually, it will lay eggs of its own
We were amazed at the complete change that happened in the pupal stage. Where did all the legs go? How did the body change shape so completely? Where did the wings come from? How did it grow and change while it was so squished up in the chrysalis?

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gingerbread Goodies

Brydie, Paige and Tieg with different versions of the story
We LOVE the story of the Gingerbread Man! We've been reading different re-tellings of it and have even been writing a class version. Today, we baked our very own gingerbread men, with the help of Mrs B and Danica's Nanny. We did lots of mixing and rolling and cutting out. We put them in the oven and kept a close eye on them when we were taking them out, just to make sure they didn't run away! When they were cool, we decorated them with icing, Smarties and mini M & Ms. They looked so adorable and they tasted delicious too!


Tomorrow is St Patrick's Day, which is a big holiday in Ireland. Many Australians are descended from the Irish and Aodhán is half Irish, so to celebrate, we made some shamrock crowns. We traced around some cardboard templates, twisted some sparkly green pipecleaners and attached them to a strip of green card. They look great and we'll be wearing them all day tomorrow. Thankyou to Elise's mum who helped us make them.

We've been practising counting by 5s. We made slithering snakes so we could practise writing our numbers. We needed to count by fives, write the numbers on the snake, then colour it in with a pattern. Renee's aunty helped us out!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Monday, March 14, 2011

Crazy Craisins!

Mrs N was away from school because she was sick last week, which is why we didn't have any blog entries. We were super-good for our relief teachers, Mrs L and Mrs M, so that made Mrs N feel much better!

Our Monday Munchies food today was dried cranberries, which are sometimes called "craisins". They're a healthy food if you eat them in small amounts, because even though they have lots of vitamin C, there is some sugar added to them when they're being dried. They're a great healthy treat, rather than something we should be eating every day. We learned that they can be dried by being out in the sun, or by machines. Most of us enjoyed eating craisins because they were juicy, sweet and tasted just like cranberry juice!

We've been doing lots of work learning about healthy foods. We know that healthy foods give our bodies the things we need to be strong and active and for our bodies to grow. We had to think about the types of foods that we could have for dinner that would be good for us. We drew all of those healthy foods and glued them onto a paper plate, along with drawings of a healthy dessert, a drink and cutlery, which we made with silver paper. We put them on a piece of cardboard to make it look like a placemat. You can read some of the descriptions of our meals on our writing blog. We're going to ask our mums and dads if we can help them make our healthy meal at home one night!

Mrs N received an email from our Italian penpals. They received our letters and they're busy writing back to us. Hopefully, we'll be hearing from them soon!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Trip Around the World

This morning, we spent some time looking at classroom blogs from around the world. We saw videos of children playing in snow in Canada, we were amazed at the writing on a blog in Israel, heard a report about monkeys from Russia, watched a video made by children in New Zealand, looked at photos of children from Poland, watched a slideshow about Valentine's Day bags in America and finally, looked at projects from South Africa. Our school theme this year is HARMONY and being able to see and read about children in other countries really helps us to understand how alike we all are, as well as to appreciate our differences.

A few weeks ago, we all wrote descriptions and posted photos of our lunches. We are collaborating with a class in Malaysia so that we can learn about what the children there like to eat for lunch. They have posted some photos on their teacher's blog. The picture on the left is of Afrina and she likes to eat sardine sandwiches. You can see the rest of the photos on their blog

Jenaya had some exciting news to tell us today. Her mum is having a baby and she'll have a new baby brother soon! She brought in a DVD and some pictures of the ultrasound her mum had recently. We got to see the baby in her mum's tummy and it was exciting to see his little face and arms!

On Sunday, it's Clean Up Australia Day. This afternoon, we spent time cleaning up our school. We wore gloves and weren't allowed to pick up anything that looked like it could hurt us. We made a list of the things we found:
  • glass bottles
  • paper
  • chip wrappers
  • lolly wrappers
  • cigarette butts
  • metal
  • cans
  • a car tyre
Some of those things weren't put there by anyone at the school. They might have been thrown over fences onto school property, or blown by the wind from somewhere else. However, there were some things that students had probably left. We each made a commitment to do our best to pick up our rubbish, as well as any rubbish we see laying around, even though it isn't ours. We want our school to stay as clean as it is now!

There is no school until Wednesday! Monday is a public holiday for Labour Day and then on Tuesday, kids stay home because the teachers are having some meetings. We get 4 whole days to relax and have fun at home!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Leaping Lizards!

Sharni found a baby lizard at her house and brought it in to show us. We aren't sure what sort it is, but it has a long curly tail and was sitting happily on a stick in the little habitat she'd made for it! Sharni will let it go when she gets home, so that it can go off and do lizard-type things, like finding delicious insects to eat! Sharni's dad also came in to help out in class. He helped us with writing and with Maths and it was great having him there!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Butterfly Creations

We finished our butterfly pictures today and we think they look amazing! They've been worked on in stages over the last few weeks and we're happy to finally have them on display in our classroom. Elise's mum helped us finish them.


For the backgrounds, we painted stripes with watercolours, trying to keep the colours soft by using lots of water on our brushes. We traced the butterflies using templates in the shape of half butterflies, then flipped them over to make them symmetrical. We used oil pastels to outline them, then painted with watercolour. This time, we tried to make the colours darker and brighter by using less water on our brushes. We folded the wings up so it looks like they're flying and glued them wherever we wanted onto the background. It was great fun and we love the bright colours!

We used the laptops this morning and practised our maths at Tutpup. Danica's mum helped us with logging in and making sure everything was working properly.

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Schoolyard Safari

We grabbed clipboards, pencils, paper and hats and went on a schoolyard safari today! Our task was to find minibeasts to observe.

First, we decided on some rules to keep ourselves safe and to care for the little creatures we found. Our rules were:
  • Don't touch any animals we find, just in case they can bite or sting us, and so that we don't do them any harm.
  • Put things back exactly how you found them (eg. if we move a rock to look underneath, put it back carefully, because it's a habitat and it was just the way the insects liked it before we took a look.)
  • Wash our hands after we're finished because our hands might be dirty from touching sand, bark and rocks.
A few days ago, we predicted what sort of minibeasts we might find at school and made a big list of them. Today, we put a tick beside the ones we actually found. Some of them were interesting because even though we didn't find them today, we're pretty sure they're somewhere at our school, but they might be hard to spot because they're so good at camouflaging themselves.

  • mosquito  ✔
  • stinkbug ✔
  • ladybird ✔
  • butterfly
  • praying mantis
  • grasshopper ✔
  • fly ✔
  • spider ✔
  • bee ✔
  • snail
  • centipede
  • dragonfly ✔
  • hornet
  • caterpillar
  • ant ✔
  • worm ✔
  • moth
  • wasp ✔
  • slug
  • beetle ✔
  • stick insect ✔
  • scorpion
  • slater ✔
  • cicada
Mrs N appreciated having Renee's mum to help us on our safari this morning!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N