We are surrounded by RED

Class 3/4L recently had an extra session in the school library, so we decided to create a digital slideshow, inspired by the powerful cover art of the new picture book, One red shoe, by Karin Gruss & Tobias Krejtschi (Wikins Farago, 2014). The book, set in the war-torn Gaza Strip, features black and white illustrations through, with the dramatic use of spot colour on a US-style, Chuck Taylor All-Stars red canvas shoe, to persuade the readers and viewers with symbolism.


Surrounded by RED

The resulting, jointly-constructed text of this digital slideshow, created during a Circle Time brainstorming session, is quite reminiscent of the colour poems featured in the now-classic book, Hailstones and halibut bones by Mary O’Neill (1961), although the students were not exposed to that particular work. Yet. Red objects featured in the images came mainly from the school library environment, but also a few from my personal digital albums.

Download free Teachers’ notes for One red shoe.

Jack and Jill and friends

This week, our Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students were investigating the nursery rhyme, Jack and Jill. The following digital slideshow dates back to 2011, and was created during the previous three-year cycle:


Jack and Jill

HooplaKidz TV present two Youtube videos about Jack and Jill. Note that, in the first one, Jack breaks a crown fit for a king, rather than his actual head.


Nursery rhymes for kids – Jack and Jill – nursery rhyme


Jack and Jill – Olive & the Rhyme Rescue Crew

We read two books on the theme of friends, Eight by Lyn Lee & Kim Gamble, about a lost toy octopus, and Brave Squish Rabbit by Katherine Battersby. Coincidentally, both picture books feature a thunderstorm. The students of Classes 2RB, 1IW and 2S then brainstormed the following digital story about friends:


We are friends!

UPDATE: I found a different slideshow about friends on Facebook, also by Year 1 students, at another school:


We are friends! by Mrs. Burnett’s First Grade class

New PhotoPeach celebrations

Here is a new PhotoPeach digital slideshow which archives some of the photos and craftwork of this year’s K-2 Chinese New Year celebrations:


Year of the Horse at Penrith PS

The inclement weather on Friday gave Class 1HB an additional lesson in the school library, so we brought out the collection of puppets and brainstormed a new digital story:


A lemur’s tale

Robbie Rules: My first day at school

This digital story is especially for author Meredith Costain, with many thanks for sending Penrith Public School the signed copy of her wonderful new picture book, My first day at school (Windy Hollow Books, 2013). The book’s illustrations are by Michelle Macintosh.

Stage 3 students have recently been working as “buddies” for Kindergarten Orientation, and they enjoyed having Meredith’s book read to them in a library session, and then reminiscing, brainstorming, storyboarding, photographing, and suggesting possible text for a joint construction to create a PhotoPeach presentation. We anticipate our incoming Kindergarten students, future buddies and staff and students at other schools to get some useful tips from it.

Special thanks to Ms Stockton, who allowed Robbie Rules – our oldest “student” at Penrith PS, who’s never graduated from Stage 1 – to visit the library for the last few weeks of Term 4, 2013.


Robbie Rules: My first day at school

Creating digital stories for PMBW TLs

My workshop: This session will look at how to make book trailers and their use in engaging students in literacy and reading activities. Applications used to make trailers will be looked at and discussed, also how they can be used as a resource in a school library and in classrooms and how they can help promote literacy and reading. Ways to engage students in these resources to augment their learning experiences will be modeled and discussed.

* Brainstorming (using Circle Time) – consider audience, theme, length, 30 images
* Storyboarding (using a book rap template) – small groups
* Will you use photos (“Creative Commons”), drawings, cutouts, puppets, toys, claymation, or actors in dress-up box clothing?
* Upload – to Photo Peach or other Web 2.0 facility – Flickr slideshow, PowerPoint/Keynote, podcast/Youtube, IWB Notebook software?
* Edit, adjust timing to the selected music
* Share with wider community – monitor incoming public comments regularly, or close them off.

* Rap resources (NSW DEC) for making digital stories and book trailers

* Bear and Chook PowerPoints

* Flickr slideshow repositories – and with captions added or Explore Creative Commons

* Commercial book trailers on Youtube, eg:


In the lion book trailerJames Foley

* This year’s CBCA Book Week theme is: “Read across the universe”. A starting point?

Further reading (articles by Ian McLean):

* ‘iInquire… iLearn… iCreate… iShare: Stage 1 students create digital stories’ in Scan 30(2) May 2011, pp 4-5.
Stage 1 students narrate how they inquire, learn, create and share with ICT and Web 2.0 to produce online Photo Peach slideshows at Penrith Public School. View the article online HERE.

* ‘Have blog, will storyboard!’ in info@aslansw Issue #2, May 2010, pp 5-8.
Stage 2 students at Penrith Public School created storyboards and PowerPoint digital stories as resources to support Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students working on the Bear and Chook books rap, which ran during the subsequent term.

* ‘Circle time: maximising opportunities for talking and listening at Penrith Public School’ in Scan 26(4) November 2007, pp 4-7.
Circle Time is a structured framework for social and emotional learning which promotes a positive class ethos. Moving from class teacher back into the school library, I incorporated Circle Time and information skills into a range of collaborative literacy and ICT activities, including book raps.

When I presented the above worksop at a MANTLE conference, earlier this year, members of the audience suggested a few possible captions, in keeping with Book Week’s “Read Across the Universe” theme, and my intention was to get the Stage 3 students, back at school, to complete the brainstorming of the rest of the captions during Book Week. As the events of that week overwhelmed us, I filed away the groups’ A3 planning sheets, but dug them out again this week – and was thrilled with their results. A reminder to those on iPads: the latest version of Flash is required, so you’ll need to use a regular computer to see Photo Peach slideshows.

As promised, here is the finished slideshow:


Read across the universe by 5/6E

and an additional set of bookish/SF images that got the students’ conversations going:


Book Week 2013

By the way, we found “Robot jokes” during a Google search:
boyslife.org/about-scouts/merit-badge-resources/robotics/19223/robot-jokes/

and we were surprised to find that there are interactive “Yoda speech generator” sites (it started out as a joke that there might be one – and there were several!), such as:
www.yodaspeak.co.uk/

More fables: The magic fish and The town mouse & the country mouse

Stage 1 and Early Stage 1 students are studying fables this term. These Youtube videos will support the reading.

The magic fish, or The fisherman and his wife, is often categorised as a Grimm’s fairy tale, but it also has an obvious moral.


The fisherman and his wife

Two parodies of the same tale:

The magic fish – Fractured Fairy Tales


Fractured Fairy Tales – The fisherman and his wife


Aesop: biography of a great thinker


The town mouse and the country mouse – Aesop’s fables


City mouse and country mouse


Мышь vs. Печенька (Mouse vs Biscuit)

After reading several versions of the famous Aesop’s fable, the students created their own interpretation of “City Mouse & Country Mouse” as a PhotoPeach slideshow. A combined effort of brainstorming, storyboarding, set creation, photographing, and joint construction of text!


City Mouse & Country Mouse

Mirragan and Guranggatch – and The first sunrise

This week, Class KB retold the Aboriginal Dreaming story of Mirragan and Guranggatch to create a new Photo Peach slideshow using the art from a school-created “big book” from 1995. The beautiful artwork is by Mrs Bagnell, with one mural panel by Mrs Martin.


Mirragan and Guranggatch

Then Class 1/2St retold the Aboriginal Dreaming story of The first sunrise, with art from another school-created “big book” made by Mrs Bagnell, this time from 1994.


The first sunrise