Restoring endangered animals

In 2011, our Stage 3 classes created digital slideshows as persuasive texts in a Guided Inquiry unit, Endangered animals: beyond the rainforest, which focused upon rainforests in HSIE (human society & its environment’s Global Environments: Rainforests) and endangered animals in science & technology (Ecosystems).

A data crash of the Photo Peach servers, in December 2012, meant that the visual elements of the final products were lost. I am slowly restoring the students’ work from the archived storyboards, and the salvaged captions and comments on the old slideshows. I have restored the slideshows on my own (paid) PhotoPeach site, rather than the free s3penrithps page we originally created, because I can download archived versions as part of my subscription, and safeguard against losing them again.

by Tamara, Nandita & Riley (2011)

by Tahlia, Christina, Corey, Angela & Christian (2011)

by Tom, Matt J. & John (2011)

by Naomi, Bernise & Quinn (2011)

by Tristan & Luke (2011)

by Trent, Michelle & Latisha (2011)

by Jeremy, Lisa, Kayla, Emily & Phoebe (2011)

by Monique, Courtney, Patrick & Milo (2011)

by Jade, Lauren & Kiesha (2011)

Some of the original storyboards are linked at the Endangered animals: beyond the rainforest blog, plus programming, supporting documentation and a research article.

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.

Cool Creative Commons!

I’m really getting the hang of converting students’ collaborative Keynote presentations into video podcasts – and I’m *really* loving adding “Creative Commons” music as soundtracks!

I started to investigate “Creative Commons” sites last year, and found a few pieces of music that would have worked (the Stage 2 students wanted copyright free music that you could cha cha or belly dance to, and we did find one example of each!) but it all seemed too tricky last year, so our PowerPoints stayed mute. However, the website is well laid out and it is quite simple to search for “Creative Commons” music by theme, musician or style. (I’ve found “scary”, “happy” and “circus” style pieces via the search engine – but beware of possible unsavoury lyrics. Stick with instrumentals only, unless you’ve previewed all the songs you will “listen to” with students). The site tells you the exact wording to place in the credits of the video podcast, movie or whatever media. After you’ve uploaded the podcast, you can relay the URL to and they’ll add the online link to their searchable database.

So, just in time for Book Week, you might like to use my students’ “Mr Chicken” book trailer, and/or our “Across the Story Bridge” video podcast, and/or a revamped (from two Flickr slideshows) “Bear & Chook Adventures”. Click HERE!

Penrith PS podcasts

According to feedback, these video podcasts may require installing the latest version of Quicktime or, at least, clicking that you agree to MIME being associated with Quicktime on your computer. I’ve had the video podcasts working on Mac and PC, and they look really great on an interactive whiteboard (IWB). One teacher colleague had an earlier version of Quicktime on her IWB to enable her to run Kid Pix, and the podcasts did refuse to run on her machine.

Meanwhile, Happy Book Week!

Across the story bridge – a video podcast!

Here is Stage 2’s latest “Book Week” video podcast, which works best with the latest version of Quicktime. Click HERE to view the podcast.

Billy goats

I was able to play this new trailer to a group of students who were contributors to a brainstorm, only a week earlier, for many of the sequences, character suggestions, dialogue snippets. But the final shot list and script had been developed by a different group. It was such fun watching individual faces light up when “their” suggestion was suddenly up on the screen, as part of the cohesive whole. The power of collaborative writing, producing a final work which is greater than the sum of all the already-great smaller parts.

Penrith PS podcasts

If you have trouble viewing Quicktime podcasts, please try the Flickr slideshow instead. When the slideshow opens, click “Show info” to read the captions.

Bonjour, Monsieur Poulet!

Mr Chicken closeup on the Eiffel Tower

whiteMr Chicken on the Eiffel TowerwhiteMr Chicken's ascent

Leigh Hobbs’ infamous Monsieur Poulet, of “Mr Chicken goes to Paris”, climbs the Eiffel Tower and then (below, in my version of the story) seemingly meets an appreciative, time-travelling artist. (I’m actually working on a book trailer for this CBCA Awards nominated picture book. I hope. I have to produce something exciting for Tristan Bancks‘ final class on Monday night.)

Mr Chicken meets Leonardo

Monsieur Poulet was crafted from yellow, black and white FIMO Soft oven-hardening modelling material. Background artwork is from “Mr Chicken goes to Paris” by Leigh Hobbs (Allen & Unwin, 2009).

Mr Chicken and the Mona Lisa

I bought my copy of “Mr Chicken goes to Paris” the day it came out. It was one of those books you just couldn’t leave behind in the shop. Earlier this year, when the CBCA shortlist came out, I grabbed a copy for school. At first, I thought I’d have to forfeit mine. Mai non!

By the way, the French chair (below) is an actual miniature prop from the 2001 Australian movie, “Moulin Rouge!”

Mr Chicken in Paris

white"Mr Chicken goes to Paris" cover

I must explain, too: I was reading “Mr Chicken goes to Paris” today to a group of K-2 students, one of who just *could not* cope with me calling the main character “Mr Chicken” – especially since we read “Kip” (about a rooster) and “Bear & Chook by the sea” yesterday. Every page, the poor kid kept putting his hands over his ears and yelling, “There. Are. No. Chickens. In. That. Book!”

His young colleagues were telling me, “We all have to just ignore him.” We kept reading, of course, but I had to avoid saying those magic words, “Mr Chicken”, hence the main character was “Monsieur Poulet” throughout!

UPDATE: Okay, I think I’ve just managed to upload my book trailer as a VIDEO PODCAST! Music: “Parks On Fire (California Burning Mix)” by DJ Rkod (feat. Trifonic). is licensed under a Creative Commons license: