Investigating world religions

Stage 2 students are studying world religions and festivals in their HSIE work. A useful website should be Religion for kids.

These Youtube video clips will be our starting points to start explore essential field knowledge:

Religion Global History Timeline 1 min 30 sec (Was: History timeline: world religions conquest map HD)

See also:
The world must watch this video to respect Vedic Hinduism (from “Proud Hindus of India”).
The link above does not allow embedding of the clip into a blog entry.

Krishna: history or myth 1
(First few minutes are a broad overview of Hinduism; then moves to Krishna sect.)

Hindu creation story

Explanation of the Hindu Gods

Hindu Gods Ganesh

Akshardham Temple, Delhi
“Akshardham Temple, Delhi” by travfotos on Flickr Creative Commons

5 Pillars of Islam – part 1 | Cartoon by Discover Islam UK

The 5 pillars of Islam animated in English (includes previous clip at the beginning)

Taj Mahal
“Taj Mahal” by ndj5 on Flickr Creative Commons

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.

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.

Waiting for the other tentacle to drop

Tree Octopus website website

If you’ve never used this website with students, please have a go when next studying endangered animals or persuasive texts. I had a great science and technology lesson about The Endangered Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus with Stage 3 today.

In preceding weeks, the students had already viewed selected Youtube video clips of rainforest animals, “The Dodo” episode of the TV program “Extinct”, and an array of fiction and non fiction books about endangered animals. We had already discussed concepts such as authority, reliability and publishing dates of the books and clips. Today, in groups, they were asked to explore the Tree Octopus site, reporting on ways the web composer had used persuasive images, design features and text.

For a disturbingly long time, no one questioned the factual content, authority or reliability of the site. It took some students a full 45 minutes to realise they were being fooled by a bogus website. A few remained confident right to the end. Some great dialogue ensued and I know this will be a memorable, cautionary experience which will support their ongoing research in the weeks to come!

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

School librarians shelved by the ‘Net?

I had some good belly laughs from Network Ten’s 7pm Project‘s presentation on teacher-librarians on Friday night. The pithy segment covered the forthcoming government inquiry into Australian school libraries and the roles of teacher-librarians. As always with this kind of TV news satire, when you’re close to the issue it can be hard to see the humour, ie. knowing that some teacher-librarians have felt under fire from a naive principal, or shortsighted Departmental or political decision-making, for many years.

I hope this inquiry into the state of teacher-librarianship has positive results for all stakeholders across Australia, especially the students. NSW conditions are certainly better than in many interstate school libraries; too often, when “equity” comes into a controversial issue, we all end up with less in order to be seen to be equitable. My school’s brand new “stimulus package” library starts being built this week – our local community really hopes I’m still there to work in it when it’s finished. What’s been interesting is that we’ve been without an actual physical collection (and a venue for centralized library visits) for two months now – and yet I’m still doing cooperative planning, programming and teaching, and promoting recreational reading, going from door-to-door. My influence on all class programs is as strong as ever. The TL role is so much more than a school’s information collection, be it shelves of books or a web of Internet sites.

As James Henri rightly says on the 7pm Project‘s web page, “Information is information. Packaging is just packaging”. With the Internet, everybody gets to be their own publisher and having “experts to manage what information is required by whom and when” has never been more important. Someone needs to be showing the students (and the teachers) how to navigate the virtual information overload. I’m not sure I want to evolve into one of those IT guys whom Carrie Bickmore loathes. Teacher-librarianship is so much more (although there’s plenty of IT blood running in our veins; has been for years!).

These principals who supposedly imagine a fully electronic, futuristic school library with no books – and no trained TLs to manage that info – are really going to be in trouble when there’s a power blackout. Or when their child or grandchild wants one last picture book to be shared before bed.

I did try to leave a comment on the 7pm Project‘s web page, but some IT guy’s message was telling me I was “undefined”.

Bright ideas – Inventions for Stage 2

Bloom’s (Revised) Taxonomy now puts “Creation” above “Evaluation”, as seen in this revised diagram.

Here’s the blackline original I created to help out Stage 2 students to finish up their science and technology unit on “Inventions”. Hopefully, the students were able to create some new knowledge, using all the essential field knowledge and skills developed by the unit:

BLM - inventions

And two completed creations:

PROBLEM: “Falling out of bed” by Maria:
invention 2

PROBLEM: “Falling off a motorbike” by John:
invention 1
(Note the “invented spelling” of “exhaust pipes” on this one.)