Thinking About Our Reading and Writing – Author’s Purpose

Image created by Bev Evans.

On Monday we spent a little bit of time talking about why authors write. Interestingly many of our class listed earning money as one of the main reasons that authors write. Is this really why people write?

Other ideas suggested were that authors write to entertain us, to teach us something, to explain an idea, to convince us about an idea or to share a story.

After doing some web browsing I found lots of suggestions for why authors write. Writers or authors are artists who love to create. They use words rather than paints, crayons, clay, pencils, cameras or pastels for their creations. Some write for no other reason than they enjoy creating with words. There are ideas and stories inside their heads that are waiting to be shared by being written down and maybe published as a book, an e-book or a blog post that others get the opportunity to read.

When we are reading and writing we become better readers and writers if we are able to be aware of the purpose behind an author’s work. Why are they writing their work in a particular style? What do they want their audience to take away from their work?

Mrs S found some great online images created by another teacher that explain some of the purposes that authors might have in mind when they are writing.

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Image from

Have you created a piece of writing that fits into one of these categories? Can you add a comment to this post to share a great book, e-book or blog post and tell us what the author’s purpose was?

Inspire Us Monday – 25th March 2013

Three more speakers, ready and willing to stand up and share. Our organisers are also getting the idea of keeping things running whilst our timekeeper keeps an eye of how much time each speaker has.

First up today we heard about the novel, Once by Morris Gleitzman. Our speaker let us know that the book is one of four in a series. The latest book is called After. Check it out here. Once is a fictional story which was inspired by the story of Janusz Korczak, World War 2 and the treatment of the Jewish people by Adolf Hitler. Morris Gleitzman read lots of other real life stories to help him when he was writing his story. Our speaker suggested that the story had a medium pace and realistic characters. What do you think? our speaker did not reveal the end of the story and left us thinking about whether the main character, Felix, will survive.

Next up was a great video about an Olympic athlete who did his very best. Our speaker found his video by focussing on sport and rather than searching the thousands of videos on YouTube he started by looking at some Olympic websites that had videos as part of the site. Take a look and see what you think of this, top of his sport, athlete and his very caring Dad.

Last of all, we were introduced to another great word that related to the work we are looking at in class. It was constitution and it fits in very nicely with our History studies. It is a noun and you can see a definition of the word at the Merriam/Webster online dictionary.

The word constitution has several different meanings but in class at the moment the meaning that fits best is meaning number 5 in the list at the website. Our Australian Constitution is the set of rules by which our country is governed and came into affect when our states joined together in 1901 to form the Commonwealth of Australia.

Please leave a comment on this post to let us know whether you have enjoyed reading a Morris Gleitzman novel or your reaction to our inspiring video or maybe you know an interesting fact about our  Australian Constitution. What other laws and rules help our parliaments to govern Australia?

Inspire Us Monday – 18th March 2013

Our next group of speakers were all ready to go on Monday morning. Our book talk this week was about a fantastic picture book that our speaker has treasured on his bookcase for a very long time. It is a great book written by Mem Fox called Koala Lou. Our speaker started of by suggesting that those of us who are interested in the competition that arises from sporting events like the Olympic Games would enjoy reading this story. It is also about families and the way in which siblings sometimes compete against one and other.

The main characters are koalas and it is a narrative set in the Australian bush. Our speaker chose to read an excerpt that left us wondering about the end of the story. One of the audience asked our speaker why they had chosen this book and it was great to hear him tell us that it had been a favourite book that was given to his family when he was born. Do you have a treasured collection of books that have been with your family for a very long time? Do you like to revisit favourite picture books?

Our word for this week was aeronautical. It is an adjective. Some of our class with be travelling aeronautically when they visit Canberra later in our term. Our apologies for the spelling error in the picture but sometimes when we are concentrating on the big picture of making it fit the page and adding the colour we do not see the mistakes until it is too late.

Our inspirational video was found with some help from our speaker’s Mum. What a great idea to ask for some help to find something that shows us how strong the bond in families can be. Cerebral palsy is a physical disability and this video showed how one brother made it possible for his younger brother to experience the fun of competing in triathlons.

Have you ever competed in a triathlon? What was it like?

Please leave a comment on this post to give our speakers some feedback about their choices. What does the word aeronautical make you think about? What is your favourite picture book? 

Creating Avatars

Over the last few Mondays with Mrs S we have been exploring one way of creating an image that could be used as an avatar.

An avatar is something which can be used to represent you when you are online. Many blogging sites allow you to have an avatar that will show next to your comments and when we are all finished our class with be able to use our very special avatars when leaving comments.

There are many online sites where you can create an avatar but Mrs S was trying to get our class to create one of their very own. She found some great advice on a blog post written by Bev Evans. We watch the movie about creating characters and had a go at making our own special characters. Mrs S created a template in MSPublisher for us to get started with. This gave us a square canvas to start our drawing. It was great fun exploring what we could do with Autoshapes and gradient fills. Here are some of the finished ones. They are posing on a couple of backrounds that Bev Evans had created and shared online for others to use.

It was great to learn about grouping shapes together, layering shapes by using the send forward and send backward tool, and to add different effects by editing the points of our shapes. The best part was being able to group all the shapes at the end and use the right click menu to save our creatures with a transparent background. This means we can also use them with programs like Scratch.

Hopefully when Mrs S comes back from her few weeks off work there will be more of these creatures to share with everyone. Thanks very much to Bev Evans for sharing such great how to videos. We loved being able to watch them again and again as we worked out how to make our very special creatures.

Please leave a comment to tell us whether you have ever made an avatar. How did you make it? Did you start from scratch or go to an online website? What else could we make using this great way of creating?


Inspire Us Monday – 4th March 2013

We had our second group of classmates sharing on Monday this week.  A book talk, a new word and a great video to watch. Our video finder found his task to be very difficult as he sifted his way through quite a few Youtube clips to find the one he wanted to use. We had a quick chat before school about using key words searches. He also offered some great advice to his fellow classmates about looking at the playback times carefully and starting to look well ahead of time.

We were introduced to Radiance by Alyson Noel. Wow!  What an interesting way to start a book by having the main character die right at the start.  It was great to have our book talk speaker read a quote from the very start of the book which definitely made me want to find out more.

Most people think that death is the end.

The end of life—of good times—the end of, well, pretty much everything.

But those people are wrong.

Dead wrong.

And I should know. I died almost a year ago.

You can read this chapter and several more in an excerpt on Alyson Noel’s website. We heard that this is the first of four books in a series. That is great to hear as if you liked the first one then there are three more to read.

Our new word for this week is a mathematical word. It has a great prefix – bi. This is a Latin prefix meaning two. We find it in words like bicycle, biannual, biped and bivalve. Binomial is a mathematical term used when studying algebra and something our class may met when they move on to High School. We can guess that it’s meaning will have something to do with two because of the prefix.

Our inspirational viewing was a great one about a solo sailor and a rescue aided by some great NASA technology. Take a look.

Please leave a comment on this post letting us know if you have read this book. What do you think of our word? Would you like to be a solo sailor?

Inspire Us Mondays

Every Monday in our classroom three of our classmates are asked to inspire us in different ways. One is asked to present a Book Talk and inspire us to read. Another is asked to find an amazing or interesting word that fits our classroom in some way. The last classmate is asked to find a video that will inspire us in some way. To keep things flowing smoothly we also have an organiser and a timekeeper.

Our first Monday speakers had their turn this week. They had taken on that hard role of being the first. Each on tried their best and shared with us the end results of their work.

We heard about Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I had not read the book and was interested to find out a little more about it. After listening to our Book Talk speaker I now know that it is about vampires both good and bad, their interactions with humans and that it explores the emotion of love as one of its themes. It was great to see our first speaker use some text free Powerpoint slides to support her talk. We could look at the images while she was letting us know about the setting, plot and characters. Finding out a little about the author was also good as was not aware that the idea for writing this book came from a very vivid dream the author had experienced. It was also interesting to hear from those in the audience who knew the book or had seen the movie. It appears from the discussion had on the day that this is a book for mature readers.

We were introduced to a new word. Our speaker remembered to make her word poster colourful and make the word the main focus while still adding some spelling and vocabulary information as well. Our first word was:

Our first interesting word for the year. It is a slang term. What does slang mean?

Last of all we were presented with this video.

It was interesting to see how creative these experts could be when given time to think and draw. What would you have draw with that starting point and ten minutes to complete your idea? Aside from time what other things might we need to be creative?

Please leave a comment on our post telling of your thoughts about the book or the word or the movie. Ask a question about the book, word or movie for our speakers to answer.