Relaunching Baa baa black sheep!

Yesterday, I was able to dig up the old photos and recreate the students of 2011’s digital slideshow of a nursery rhyme, “Baa baa black sheep”:

Please click HERE.


Baa baa black sheep

And another one salvaged tonight:

Please click HERE.


The Gruffalo goes to the Joan

Federation for Stage 3

In Terms 3 and 4, to complement Stage 3 students’ class work in the areas of “Gold!” (Human society & its environment) and financial literacy (Priority Schools Program), the weekly library lessons will be providing field knowledge opportunities and Guided Inquiry research activities for the subsequent HSIE unit on Australian Federation.

By way of orientation, I have found these introductory Youtube clips:


A continent for a nation – Australian Federation.


Australia – A Federation in stamps.

This next clip is certainly both persuasive and irreverent in nature:


A brief history of Australia.

We are not sure what our final product might be, but these clips may well generate some discussion of the myriad of possibilities.

Imagine your own adventure

I have been invited to present at the 2012 MANTLE Conference in June, speaking on two topics: “Engaging students through Guided Inquiry” and “How to promote your school library on a shoestring budget”.

Both topics will have some added tweaks to presentations I’ve done before, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge of the conference, and meeting teacher librarians of the Newcastle, Maitland, Taree, Lake Macquarie and Central Coast districts.

Building and bridges for Stage 2

Our Stage 2 students are about to commence a Guided Inquiry science & technology unit on “Buildings and bridges” (Built environments strand). It’s part of a two-year cycle, so the first thing I did was go back through the blog to see what online resources I used last time.

Although I was responsible for developing field knowledge last time, the emphasis was on HSIE (Human society & its environment), but some of the Youtube clips on Introducing British colonisation will be very useful.

Some excellent footage of the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney’s CBD:


Queen Victoria Building, Sydney

Interesting to see an outsider’s view of the Sydney Opera House:


Sydney Opera House – Great Attractions (Sydney, Australia)

Supplementing this material will be the Flickr slideshow I created of local bridges two (or three?) cycles ago. How time flies!

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge and other bridges

As with last year’s Guided Inquiry units, the brief clips will be discussed and consolidated after considering the students’ “Plus, minus, interesting” matrices, which will encourage/develop some note-taking skills.

Back to Antarctica

Antarctica icebergs

Stage 3 students will be undertaking a Guided Inquiry exercise this term on the topic of Antarctica. For most classes, the science & technology aspects will be part of the work taught by Ms Stockton, the RFF (Release-from-Face-to-Face) teacher, so the library sessions will emphasise the achievement of HSIE (Human society & its environment) outcomes, and will complement the field knowledge being developed in S&T.

The following useful resources were invaluable the last time the curriculum cycle visited “Antarctica”.

Antarctica (Flickr slideshow), images courtesy of Mrs Coote’s brother

Introducing Antarctica (Youtube clips)


Mawson 100421 around station

Antarctica: Being there (TaLe)

As with last year’s Guided Inquiry units, the brief clips and links will be discussed and consolidated after considering the students’ “Plus, minus, interesting” matrices, which will continue to develop the students’ note-taking skills.

Stage 3 Guided Inquiry: almost there!

Well, we are finally on the downhill stretch for our Guided Inquiry Endangered animals (Stage 3 science & technology). After weeks of being immersed in the concepts – and being exposed to, and evaluating, any number of professional, persuasive texts and images – and then several more weeks of individual research, and then the designing of group-negotiated storyboards, the first three of the students’ digital slideshows have now been uploaded to the world:


by Trent, Michelle & Latisha
Compare the above slideshow with the students’ original storyboard.


by Tamara, Nandita & Riley
Compare the above slideshow with the students’ original storyboard.


by Jeremy, Lisa, Kayla, Emily & Phoebe
Compare the above slideshow with the students’ original storyboard.

Enjoy! Share! And please feel free to comment. More slideshows will appear as the term comes to a close.

By the way, just a few points to consider with Photo Peach: Use it as judiciously as you would a series of Youtube clips. Don’t permit students to do open browsing; Photo Peach is a Web 2.0 facility that is open to anyone, and the slideshows are “unrated”. Also, if you notice that new comments have been added to a slideshow you’ve made, please preview the slideshow again before using it with students so you can monitor (and moderate/remove) unwanted comments. (Or close off comments altogether.) Consider a subscription to Photo Peach, which enables you to add your own or Creative Commons music, a wider range of transitions, and the capacity to download slideshows to your hard drive, web space or a CD.

Guided Inquiry – ongoing thoughts

On nswtl listserv this week, some teacher librarians raised the question of “Creative Commons” sections of photo gallery sites, such as Flickr and Google Images, and how they are usually blocked to our students by the DEC firewall because there’s simply no way to police the images and ensure that students won’t be exposed to unsavoury images during a lesson. I’d already been milling some ideas in my head and thought I’d transfer them to here as well.

It’s important to keep child protection in mind with ICT. Parents will not tolerate students discovering inappropriate digital images during lesson time, and an open search through Creative Commons may well bring that situation to a head. And too often. My interpretation of “responsible downloading” of images in the K-6 environment is: I use Flickr and Google Image sites with K-6 students to model the search on the IWB, or to a small group clustered around a monitor screen, and we search under my teacher-level username and password. Preferably, I test the searches beforehand.

Even then, I once had a class of Stage 1s discover, during an innocent (and pre-tested) image search on “cats”, an unexpected photograph of a startled cat pencil-sharper, with a pencil in its bottom. It caused great hilarity on the day, but it was a reminder that even a well-rehearsed search can go wrong – because new images are added to Flickr and Google Images every minute of the day. And my search-gone-wrong could have been so much worse.

Guided Inquiry (ie. Ross J Todd & Carol Kuhlthau) would say that any assignment which leaves students no option but to breach copyright is a poorly developed assignment in the first place. Not too much deep knowledge will be evident in a student’s supposedly-original production that features only cut ‘n’ paste text from websites and/or stolen, uncredited images from Google. The situation really isn’t that different since hideous “projects on cardboard” were invented way back in the 60s? (Earlier?) In those days, students used to cut images out of the school’s encyclopedias – and then photocopiers were invented and suddenly students were able to colour over b/w images they stole and somehow make it all better.

If the research question is designed correctly, it can’t be answered by stock text and images. The researched material also needs to be marked and approved by the teacher before final products are created, by which time any plagiarism opportunities should have been eliminated or made redundant (or avoided in the first place).

The students who tend to use the Internet responsibly aren’t likely to plagiarise unless their assignments stymie them into doing so. I’m deep into Guided Inquiry with Stages 2 and 3 at the moment and, as their storyboards and oral presentations take shape, there won’t be anyone feeling the need to steal other people’s information. If anyone does decide they need a particular existing image, then we’ll do a modelled search and find the right one in Creative Commons – under my username and password.

It’s hard going, but it’s working! Guided Inquiry Endangered animals (Stage 3 science & technology).