Students in Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 have been studying the Aboriginal Dreaming Story of “How the birds got their colours”. This week, they are investigating birds. Our playground is currently well-populated with large crows (or ravens?) and the students have been enjoying (or being blamed for) their hilarious antics: tossing scraps out of the bins, stealing shiny rocks from a memorial garden, and frog-marching pigeons out of the playground.
I found some fascinating Youtube videos that demonstrate the intelligence of crows, as they complete an exercise involving a three-step plan, and then an eight-step plan.
Crow intelligence – multi-step tool action test
Are crows the ultimate problem solvers? – Inside the animal mind – BBC
Smart crow uses cars to crack nuts in Akita, Japan near Senshu Park
Remember Aesop’s fable of “The crow and the pitcher”?
Causal understanding of water displacement by a crow
Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students have been reading the Aboriginal Dreaming story of Pheasant and Kingfisher, in a big book version by Catherine Berndt & Raymond Meeks.
We used a Google Images search to locate online photographs of Australian pheasants and Australian kingfishers. The additional descriptor of “long tail” helped us find images of kingfishers “with firesticks stuck in their bottom”.
We discussed why images of peacocks (not Australian!) and lyrebirds turned up in the pheasant image seach, and why kookaburras turned up in the kingfisher search. We then used Youtube to locate examples of a pheasant saying its name, “Bookbook”, as in the story, and a kingfisher saying “Bered-bered”.
Common pheasant making quick repeated sounds while taking a walk
Pheasant – common pheasant bird call
Pied Kingfisher catching fish in split second – BBC wildlife
The next week, we moved our investigations into factual information on Australian birds:
Our Stage 1 and Early Stage 1 students are investigating Australian birds this week in their library sessions. Youtube features a two-part PBS special. Americans are only used to seeing Australia’s parrots and cockatoos as caged pets. Here they are in their natural environments: Parrots in the land of Oz.
Another batch of completed persuasive slideshows from Stage 3: Guided Inquiry Endangered animals (Stage 3 science & technology).
by Amy, James & Ashley
by Luke, Mitch, Hayden, Corey & Tristan
by Aimee & Long
Enjoy! Share! And please feel free to comment.
As mentioned previously, 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.
What a fun day, as about 400 Penrith PS students (including the pre-schoolers in our “Play and Chat” group) joined thousands of Australian children and teachers across Australia, in schools and in public libraries, in a simultaneous reading of Rod Clement’s picture book, “Feathers for Phoebe“. Some of us watched a Youtube video clip (below), others read the book on an IWB (above, in our new school library), or using the book with buddy classes.
Here is the ALIA podcast of “Feathers For Phoebe” via Youtube:
Mr McLean reads “Feathers For Phoebe” for Stage 2.
This year, ALIA’s annual National Simultaneous Storytime event is Feathers for Phoebe by Rod Clement. Phoebe is a small grey bird who gets herself decorated in colourful feathers, and develops a new song and new moves, in order to attempt to get noticed. We plan to do this as a whole school event, probably split across four groups.
I was thrilled to notice some black-painted wooden bird templates in a local “Sam’s Warehouse” bargain store (at $4.00 each), which I’ve since painted with grey enamel. I hope to have one decorated in feathers in time for the big event on 25th May at 11.00am.
Yesterday, I found a great little mask, decorated with peacock-feathers and sequins, which should prove useful as part of Phoebe’s new look. Numerous bargain stores sell packets of assorted feathers for craft work – and then I found these cute little styrofoam birds, already decorated with sequins, gold tinsel and coloured feathers, at just $3.00 each: