Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tints and Shades

In Art this week, we learned about tints and shades. A tint is a colour you get by adding white to some paint and a shade is when you add black. A tint is lighter than the original and a shade is darker. We learned how to draw cubes using a square piece of card. It was easier than we thought it would be! We then used our original colour to paint the front of the cube, the tint to paint the top and the shade to fill in the side. The combination of colours helps our cubes look three-dimensional. We can't wait to experiment more with mixing paints next term.

We've been doing some more learning about homophones. Miss H gave us lots of magazines and asked us to find pictures of things whose names can be homophones. We created a poster to display in our classroom.

It's almost the holidays, which means that we're just about at the end of our unit of work about Australia. Elise's mum brought us a poster from the post office which has pictures of some new stamps that are being released this week. They have drawings of Australian animals on them. They inspired us to design our own postage stamps! We needed to choose either an animal or a landmark that we had learned about and we drew them with a postage stamp border. Real stamps have the word "Australia", the name of what is drawn on them and the price of the stamp. We made sure we included all that information on our stamps too.

The Three Sisters
Western Swamp Tortoise
Our visit to the zoo a few weeks ago really made us think about animal habitats and the animal homes we saw there. In class, we were given the challenge of designing an enclosure for an animal of our choice. We needed to use our knowledge of zoos and our knowledge of animals and think about their needs and wants to design a perfect enclosure. We drew then on paper first, labelling all the main parts, then we borrowed the blocks and plastic animals from Pre-Primary and created a zoo in our classroom!

We received letters from our Skype buddies, 2MK in Victoria. It was great to read about what they learned from us about our state.

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Golden Wattle

The Golden Wattle is the national flower of Australia. It's a really beautiful plant that has bright yellow flowers that look like little, fluffy balls. This week, in art, we drew some golden wattles using oil pastels on black paper. We think they turned out really great!

In English, Miss H has been teaching us about homophones. These are words that sound the same, but have different spelling and different meanings. Understanding homophones can help us with our spelling! Some of the examples we've been learning about are:

hear - I can hear a noise.
here - Come over here, please.

two - I have two pencils.
to - I'm going to the supermarket.
too - I'd like an apple too.

there - Look over there!
their - That is their dog.
they're - They're going to the movies.

right - The car turned right at the lights.
write - I need to write a shopping list.

which - I wonder which one he will choose.
witch - Jane dressed up as a witch for the concert.

Here's a homophones quiz, where we can test our knowledge!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Monday, June 20, 2011

Zoo and Skyping!

Mrs N has been extra busy writing lots of nice things about us in our Semester 1 reports, so she hasn't had time to update our blog for a while. Lots has been happening!

Last Friday, we all hopped on a bus and travelled to the Perth Zoo. When we arrived, we carried all of our lunches to the grassed area and had our morning snack. After that, we went off in groups of three or four, with a parent helper and we visited as many animals as we could! There was a special section just for Australian animals, so most of us headed there first. We saw kangaroos, emus, quokkas, echidnas, wombats, dingoes, cockatoos, wallabies and numbats, which are many of the animals we've been learning about in class! We also saw lots of snakes and lizards, nocturnal animals like possums and bilbies, as well as animals from other countries, like lions, sunbears and otters. It was a fantastic day!

This morning, we Skyped with 2MK in Victoria. Their class is learning about Australia this term too, so our teachers organised to video chat so that we could teach each other about our states. We asked each other lots of interesting questions and we learned some new things about Victoria.

  • Their state animal is the Leadbeater's Possum.
  • Their state bird is the Helmeted Honeyeater.
  • The aquatic emblem is the Weedy Seadragon.
  • The body of water closest to Victoria, is Bass Strait, which is a channel that sits between Victoria and Tasmania.
  • People in Victoria are crazy about Australian Rules Football (AFL) and they invented the big competition that now has teams from most of our states competing in each season.
  • The Victorian flag looks like this:

Victorian State Flag


Our Monday Munchies food this week was a really pretty fruit called a Tamarillo. None of us had ever tried one before and at first, we didn't know what it was. It had a smooth, dark red skin and was shaped like an egg. We thought it looked a bit like a passionfruit and a bit like a tomato. When Mrs N cut into it, we could see lots of seeds and pulp, a bit like a tomato. In fact, tamarillos used to be called tree tomatoes, so our guess was pretty good! We used spoons to scoop out some of the seeds, pulp and flesh and we all had a taste. Some of us came back for seconds and thirds, because it was so delicious!

Stephany has some gorgeous new glasses. Her eyes had been getting sore, so her mum took her to the optometrist, who is someone that checks eyesight. He said she needed glasses, so Stephany picked the ones she liked and the optometrist put the right sort of lenses in them. Now her eyes shouldn't get so sore and she looks great too!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Great Barrier Reef

As part of our studies on Australia, Miss H has been teaching us about the Great Barrier Reef. This is a very, very big coral reef off the coast of Queensland in eastern Australia. Yesterday, we watched a video about it and saw the colourful fish and coral that live there. This morning, we created beautiful pictures of fish, using cotton tips dipped in paint. We drew a fish and its underwater habitat, then dotted the paint all over the page. It took a long time and our hands were a little sore by the time we finished, but they look amazing! Thankyou to Elise's mum for helping us.

This morning, we went on a treasure hunt! We're going to be learning about writing directions, so Mrs N organised a list of instructions for us to follow. In small groups, Brydie's mum took us around the school, searching for the treasure, following the directions. Eventually, we found it and enjoyed our surprise chocolate treasure!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Aussie Slang

There are many countries in the world that speak English, but sometimes they have some words that are only used in that country. These are called slang words. Miss H has been teaching us about some Australian slang. We learned that words like cuppa, bikkie, arvo, pressie and stickybeak are not used in most other countries, even though we use them all the time here. Tomorrow, we're making a wiki page and writing some definitions for those words and lots more!

Farbstudie Quadrate by Wassily Kandinsky

We had a fun art activity to do today. We had a look at a painting by Wassily Kandinsky, a russian painter. He used lots of circles in little boxes to make one of his pictures and we started making our own version. Our paper was folded up so there are 16 boxes and we're using permanent markers to draw circles in each one. They're looking really colourful and it's really fun to do.

Today we learned how to measure in centimetres (or cms for short). We used a game from Funbrain to practise, then we measured lots of lines on a piece of paper. We were pretty good at that, so then we needed to draw lines of certain lengths. We were so clever, we used some half centimetre measurements too!

The weather is rainy and cold in Western Australia right now. Winter started a few weeks ago, so we've written some acrostic poems about wintery things. You can read some of them on our writing blog. Hopefully, the rain will go away so we have some nice weather for our trip to the zoo on Friday!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What am I?

We're becoming experts on Australian animals and can't wait until our visit to the zoo next week! Miss H asked us to use our knowledge of animals, as well as some fact sheets from the Perth Zoo website to write "What am I?" quizzes. We're making them into a lift-the-flap book so we can guess the animals we all researched. Can you guess what animals these might be? The answers are at the bottom of this post.
  1. I have a black bill and flippers. I live in the oceans in the south of Australia. I eat fish. I am 37-43cm tall and weigh 1-1.2kg. What am I? (by Samantha)

  2. I have a large frill. I live in northern Australia. I eat insects. I am up to 30cm long. What am I? (by Taj)

  3. I have black fur. I live in south-west Western Australia. I eat eucalytpus, marri and peppermint tree leaves. I am 30-35cm long and weigh 70-160g. What am I? (by Tatiana)

  4. I have a reddish-brown coat. I live in central Australia. I eat grasses and plants. I am 74-140cm tall and weigh 26-66kgs. What am I? (by Jacinta)

  5. I have a long, slender neck. I live all over Australia, except for central Australia. I eat mostly waterplants. I am 100-140cm long and lay 3-9 eggs. What am I? (by Brydie)
Miss H was at her university this afternoon, so we got a chance to start our top-secret project for her. We can't tell you what it is yet, but we hope she loves it! We love having her in our classroom and we want to show her how much we'll miss her when she's gone at the end of the term.

Stephany has a new swimming pool at her house. A big crane and some workmen installed it last week and they took some photos. She hasn't been swimming in it yet, but she can't wait until she does! Stephany and her dad made a PowerPoint presentation to show us the steps involved in putting a pool in the ground. Thanks Steph!

New Pool
View more presentations from Lisa

Here are the answers to our "What am I?" quizzes.
  1. Little Penguin

  2. Frilled Dragon

  3. Western Ringtail Possum

  4. Red Kangaroo

  5. Black Swan
Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Australian Coins

Last week, Sharni spotted a platypus on a 20 cent coin. Today we learned that there are a few other animals on our coins, as well as some non-animal things too! We also noticed that all of our coins have a picture of the Queen on one side (the "heads" side). On the "tails" side, we have:

5¢ - echidna
10¢ - lyrebird
20¢ - platypus
50¢ - Australian Coat of Arms
$1 - kangaroos
$2 - an aborigine

 We all had a great long weekend, so we wrote sentences about it using Wallwisher. (You might need to scroll and move the posts around to read them all.)

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Saturday, June 4, 2011

No Hair!

Mrs B
The kindy teacher at our school, Mrs B, did an amazing thing at assembly yesterday. She had her hair all cut off! She wanted to raise money for cancer research so she asked people to sponsor her. This means that people said that they'd donate money if she did it, and she did! She's raised over $2000 and we're all very proud of her. The teachers gave her some new hats to wear so her head doesn't get too cold while it's growing back!

Mrs B is extra special because she had cancer last year, so she knows how hard it can be and how sick it can make you feel. She really wants to help stop people from getting sick in the future, so by doing such a brave thing and raising money for cancer research, she is helping scientists and doctors find a cure.

free glitter text and family website at

Our school fair is being held this weekend. We decided to make some signs for the White Elephant stall. We made posters with prices on them, as well as words like "books", "shoes" and "clothes" so the people working there could label all the different areas. The fair raises lots of money for our school, so we can buy new things to help us learn, like computers and books!

We spent some time in the library yesterday using the laptops. We were learning about how to use bullets in Microsoft Word. Bullets are little dots that appear at the beginning of each line. We can use them when we're writing a list of things and want them to stand out and be easy to read. Mrs N uses them on our blog sometimes. We wrote some facts about platypuses using bullets and displayed them with our platypus habitat art.

We won't be back at school until Wednesday, because we have an extra-long weekend. We've been working super hard this term and learning so much. It'll be nice to give our brains and bodies a break for a few days!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Platypuses have been the theme this week. They are a very unusual looking animal found only on the east coast of Australia. When Europeans first came to Australia, they drew pictures of the platypus and sent them back to England, but the people there thought it was a joke and that there couldn't possibly be an animal that looked like that! But there is and we've learned all about it.

We read a story called The Silver Stream by Robert Roennfeldt. It's about a platypus who lays her eggs in a burrow and cares for and teaches her babies as they grow up. Even though it was fiction, the author knew alot about platypuses and included some real information in his story. We learned a lot. We've also been reading some non-fiction books so that we could learn more facts about platypuses.

We've learned that platypuses:

  • cannot breathe underwater, so they need to hold their breath
  • have a wide tail to help them steer in the water
  • have webbed feet, with claws, to help them swim fast
  • have a bill like a ducks which they use to dig in river sand to find food
  • are carnivores and eat things like yabbies, snails, larvae and insects
  • are a special type of mammal called monotremes (this means they lay eggs but also produce milk for their babies to drink)
  • have two types of burrows - one for nesting and one for sleeping
  • dig burrows in river banks and block them with leaves and mud to keep predators out
  • have poisonous spurs on the feet (male ones only)

We've loved learning about platypuses and were inspired by some of the pictures in the books we've been reading. We created platypus habitat art. We blew bubbles with a straw in some blue paint, mixed with detergent, to create our background. It looks like bubbly water. We glued sand and lentils along the bottom to look like a riverbed and then we glued shredded paper to look like reeds. Finally, we drew platypuses and stuck them onto our underwater habitat.

As well as learning about platypuses, we've also been learning about fiction and non-fiction books. We know that fiction books are stories and non-fiction books are information books. We completed a table to compare them. It's important to know about different types of books, so we can choose the right book for what we want to do.

Miss H, Mrs N's student teacher, has been teaching us about telling the time. She found a fun website where we can practise our skills online! We've also made our very own clocks. We're getting pretty good at it now, so no more excuses for sleeping in on school days!

Love from The Smarties and Mrs N