Spring is here!

Early Stage 1, Stage 1  Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments »

Spring has well and truly arrived at Penrith PS and the Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students are investigating Spring this week!


Taronga spring babies


San Diego Zoo kids – babies!


Baby animals being cute at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium


Dandelion flower and clock blowing away time lapse


Bee collecting pollen on echinacea flowers in slow motion


Sid the seed by Daniel R Pagan

London’s Underground and New York’s Subway

Stage 2  Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments »

Next year, our school celebrates its 150th anniversary. Last year, the London Underground train network celebrated 150 years.


Engineering the London Underground


The secret station – Aldwych [London, UK]

In New York City, USA, the underground (and above ground) train network is called the Subway:


TourTips New York: How to ride the Subway

Investigating Australian birds

Dreaming stories, Early Stage 1, ICT, information skills, Stage 1  Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments »

Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students have been reading the Aboriginal Dreaming story of Pheasant and Kingfisher, in a big book version by Catherine Berndt & Raymond Meeks.

We used a Google Images search to locate online photographs of Australian pheasants and Australian kingfishers. The additional descriptor of “long tail” helped us find images of kingfishers “with firesticks stuck in their bottom”.

We discussed why images of peacocks (not Australian!) and lyrebirds turned up in the pheasant image seach, and why kookaburras turned up in the kingfisher search. We then used Youtube to locate examples of a pheasant saying its name, “Bookbook”, as in the story, and a kingfisher saying “Bered-bered”.


Common pheasant making quick repeated sounds while taking a walk


Pheasant – common pheasant bird call


Pied Kingfisher catching fish in split second – BBC wildlife

The next week, we moved our investigations into factual information on Australian birds:


Aussie beauties – a tribute to Australian birds

Le metro, Paris

Stage 2  Tagged , , , , , , , , No Comments »

Metro entrance
Abbesses Station in Montmartre, Paris, France.


Travel Paris, France – Learn how to ride the Metro in Paris


How to use the Paris Metro – Rail Europe


Paris Metro Pass : Unlimited travel in Paris (Metro, bus, RER trains)

Why the emu cannot fly

Dreaming stories, Early Stage 1, humour, Stage 1  Tagged , , , , No Comments »

Before Book Week, Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students were investigating the Aboriginal Dreaming story, Why the emu cannot fly. We found many versions of this story, including the picture book, Winin: why the emu cannot fly by Mary Charles & Francine Ngardarb Riches, and translated by Bill McGregor from the original Nyulnyul language. In this version, Emu is in dispute with a brolga.

This first Youtube version involves a crocodile and some Aboriginal hunters:

Talking Country: Worla [Why the emu cannot fly]

The following variation of the tale involves a brush turkey, and was created in claymation by young students at another school (some spelling errors):

Dinewan the emu and Goomble gubbon the brush turkey [Why the emu cannot fly]

This week, the students are studying factual information about emus, using books such as Emus by Caleb Whitehorn, in the Springboardseries, Feathered giants: the way of the emu by Henry G Lamond, and Emu by Claire Saxby & Graham Byrne.

Our research will be enhanced by the following Youtube clips:


Running emu


Emu hatching from an egg – beautiful HD footage from start to finish

And, just for a bit of fun:

Rod Hull and Emu – How to groom an emu [Hudson Brothers' Razzle Dazzle Show]

Celebrating Book Week 2014: Connect to Reading

books, library environment, news  Tagged , , , , , , , , , , No Comments »

Happy Book Week!

Congratulations to Shaun Tan for his gold-medal award-winning picture book, The rules of summer:

Illustrator Shaun Tan – ‘Rules of summer’ [HD] Books and Arts Daily, ABC RN

Our school library is being transformed by the arrival of many colourful and clever displays. The theme this year is Connect to Reading.

Week 33 Toy IIa
Click HERE to view a Flickr slideshow.

The first sunrise

Dreaming stories, Early Stage 1, Stage 1  Tagged , , , No Comments »

In 2013, a Stage 1 class retold the Aboriginal Dreaming story of The first sunrise as a digital story on Photo Peach, using art from a school-created “big book” made by Mrs Bagnell, way back in 1994.


The first sunrise

The gingerbread man returns!

fairy tales, humour, Stage 1  Tagged , , , , , , No Comments »

Two Stage 1 classes collaborated to brainstorm, and suggest text, for a new Photo Peach digital story, The gingerbread man returns:

The gingerbread man returns!

Federation in Australia: Stage 3′s political cartoons

evidence-based practice, Guided Inquiry, Stage 3  Tagged , , , No Comments »

Stop the presses!

Traditionally, a newspaper’s political cartoons are created close to deadline.

Congratulations to our Stage 3 students, who rose to a unique occasion. Following our intensive investigation into Democracy and Federation in Australia (HSIE unit), I challenged them to break into pairs and, armed with just a black felt pen, a piece of paper and heads full of concepts and ideas, to create a political cartoon in just 20 minutes. No pencils or erasers permitted.

Federation political cartoon

Our complete Flickr slideshow is HERE.

Researching Museum Railway Station

Stage 2  Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments »

City Circle Loop
City Circle Loop signage, Museum Station, Sydney, NSW.

3 Museum Station

A Flickr slideshow about Museum Station, Sydney, is HERE. Stage 2 students are researching underground railway systems as part of their science and technology unit, Buildings and Bridges.

And on through the underground stations (and Circular Quay) of Sydney’s City Circle Loop:


City Circle hi def hi speed


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