Sock it to me!

Fish wind sock

Last year, I spied these large fish wind socks hanging from the awning of Goldfish, a gift store in Berry, in southern NSW. They came in a rainbow of colours, but I had to wait to see what contrasting colour choices I would have in the finished BER library. My selection: green, like the doors!

I couldn’t help but buy myself a rainbow lorikeet wind sock as well. It’ll come in handy when the K-2 students study “How the birds got their colours”:

Parrot wind sock

Keji and Wally: store and display

Keji Sorted's Blitz plastic storage box and lid

I am really enjoying my Blitz plastic storage box and lid by Keji Sorted (above, from Office Works)!

Don’t you hate it when you send out a class of avid library borrowers, only to realize that one of them has borrowed that wonderful book you were using with the class – or worse, your next class? At least that’s traceable through OASIS Library, but what if they merely looked at the book… and then reshelved it incorrectly, somewhere in the library?

I knew I needed some kind of little table, desk or box next to my ergonomic chair, but this lime-green, plastic storage cube (or rectangular prism) is the perfect height, and is colour-matched to the library’s door trim. I can load the box up with the resources I will be using over the week – books, pictures, my timetable, sample library bags, teaching aids, etc – and they stay safely together until I need them.

Where's Wally? poster rack

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had set up a beautiful display of all of the library’s “Where’s Wally” books late last year but, in the first week of borrowing this year, the highly-motivated student borrowers have cleaned me out! Luckily, I found a giant-sized Where’s Wally?: the magnificent poster book I’d had at home for over a decade, and finally succeeded in finding the inclination to separate the eleven posters within. I had them laminated, made the little checklists into laminated cards, and used the cover art to set up a backup display. My concept is to make good use of the new poster rack we received as part of the BER, and have plenty of Wally items that can be used at lunchtimes. Our library picture collection hangs on two perfectly good racks of their own, and just need a good cull and better cataloguing to work effectively (although the coming of interactive white boards is definitely causing a decline in poster use by the teachers.)

I’ve also found a new boxed set of Wally books with a free jigsaw puzzle included. Now I might have the students outnumbered! Maybe.

Nursery rhymes: beyond the pail!

Jack and Jill

Stage 1 students today consolidated their knowledge of the nursery rhyme, “Jack and Jill”, by creating some digital stories. We brainstormed ideas, the students suggested suitable toys and props from around the library, we made scenery on the interactive whiteboard (IWB) and I then uploaded their photos to Photo Peach to create a new slideshow.

Jack and Jill title card

Tomorrow some other classes might suggest extra captions and ideas.

A wolf in sheep's clothing in a tree

And yes, Jack is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In a tree.

Also see our 2008 adventures with “Jack and Jill” on our wiki page.

Jack and Jill

Stuck on you: going dotty


Wondering what is good for affixing signage and other decore to the fabric walls of your BER school library?

I can highly recommend getting a supply of “hooks only” Velcro dots (eg. from official education suppliers or your local Office Works), and even a long rolled strip of “hooks only” Velcro, if you can find it (eg. Lincraft, Spotlight). If you have to get the long accompanying “fuzzy” strip as well, use it up with some more “hooks only” Velcro dots on hard walls in other locations of the school.

The dots are usually self-adhesive and are best for laminated signage, student/class work on cardboard, and even MDF lettering. The strips of fuzzy Velcro can be glued along the back of light, plastic photo frames with glues such as Selleys’ “Liquid Nails”.

For heavier framed works with glass, which I didn’t trust to Velcro, I hammered in picture frame hooks when no one was around to ask, “Should you be hammering nails into our brand new wall?”

Items that don’t have a flat surface, such as small stuffed toys (below), can be pinned up high and out of reach of little fingers, with bead-ended hatpins.

Captain Underpants
Captain Underpants – his secret of flight: a hatpin.

Preparing to celebrate

Happy Chinese New Year!

Our K-2 students are about to start investigating Chinese New Year, as a part of a HSIE unit, “Celebrations”. Libby Gleeson & Armin Greder’s “Big dog” will be a feature picture book, as will Di Wu & Kathy Huang’s “Are you a dragon?”

Year of the Rabbit
Rabbit float on display near Central Station, 2011.

2011 Chinese New Year flagwhite2011 Chinese New Year flag
Rabbit pennants in George St, Sydney, 2011.

Chinese dragon and lanterns
Chinese dragon and lanterns, SCHM.

Zodiac animals
Chinese Zodiac animals, SCHM.

Chinese lanterns, SCHM.

Emperor Robbie
Emperor Robbie Rules in 1/2S.

Chinese lantern in 1/2S.

2011 Chinese New Year flag
2011 Chinese New Year pennant, George St, Sydney – notice
the numerals 2, 0, 1, 1, making the shape of a rabbit.

My photo (above) inspired a quick and easy craft activity for the students in our 2-6 hearing support unit yesterday:

2011 rabbit

2011 rabbitwhite2011 rabbit
2011 Chinese New Year rabbits by SCHM students.

Relive The Year of the Tiger (2010).

Relive The Year of the Rat (2008).

Relive The Year of the Rooster dragon parade (2005) on Photo Peach.

Images of Dragons! on Flickr.

Dragon parade!

Animals of the rainforest (and beyond)

Our school’s Stage 3 students are about to commence a Guided Inquiry HSIE/S&T unit on endangered animals that goes beyond their in-class work on rainforests, and I’ve been searching for WebQuests that we can adapt to suit our first attempt at Guided Inquiry. Yesterday, I set up a new Edublogs site, in which the five classes will share their findings.

So far, in my quest to find a suitable WebQuest, I’m more impressed with the one at, although I need to get some additional “deep thinking” potential into it. However, the site has already led me to some interesting and probably very useful Youtube video clips:

Rainforest animals

Wildlife of the Amazon rainforest (

Rainforest animals and plant life in the rainforest

This one, “The *original* rainforest rap“, does not permit embedding.

These clips should also be useful:

The rain forest song

Save the rainforests