Let’s Collaborate

Earlier in the year Mrs Smith received an email from Miss Crowther and the children of 5/6 Team@UPPS. It let us know that she would be travelling to Tassie with some of their class on a school trip. She asked about spending a day with our class.


© Google – Imagery © Terrametrics, NASA, Map data © 2015 Google

Oh, wow! What a great idea. We would get to meet some of the children we have exchanged Trading cards with and Mrs S would get to meet someone that she has only spoken with via email or Skype over the last four years.

The answer was definitely yes and the date was quickly added to the school calendar.

As the day drew closer Mrs S thought and thought and thought about what we could do. She felt that this would be a great day to collaborate in person so we were sorted into groups of 4. Each group had children from both schools. During the day we worked together and got to know each other as we created some tetrahedral kites.

Before we started with the kite making the 5/6 CS students gave the 5/6 UPPS students a tour of our school and found out a little about our guests.


Making the kites was a little tricky at first. To start we watched a video. Then we read through the instructions and worked out how to join six straws together with string to create a tetrahedron. Thank goodness for pieces of wire as this made threading the string through the straws a little easier. We learnt that tying good knots was important when repairs were needed on one kite which did not quite get out the door for the first test fly. All was good once some knots were retied.


Working together gave us the opportunity to combine four small kite sections together to create a bigger tetrahedral kite. Our fickle weather made the first test fly of our kites a little troublesome but eventually all the kites were in the air. Take a look at our Animoto to the see the fun.

It was fantastic fun meeting our online buddies and creating kites, talking, flying kites, talking and playing games. The day flew by and then 5/6 UPPS headed off to see some more of our great state.

Have you worked together to create something? Have you flown a kite? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Creating Street Art

It has been a long time between posts. Grade 5/6 CS have been busy investigating birds, working on their understanding of Australian Government, creating 3D book reports and working with graphs. Amongst all of this we were very lucky to have some visitors from the Clarence Council who helped our class work on some stencil art. Over two weeks we cut out some stencils and then used these stencils with spray paints on large pieces of light weight board to create some art. Cutting out the stencils meant being very careful with sharp cutting blades. We used cutting mats to protect our work surfaces.

5-6CS Street Art

When we were working with the spray paints we were all outside and dressed in gear to protect our clothes. We also wore eye glasses, masks and gloves to make sure that we were being safe as we painted. We needed to share the pray paint colours and were shown some techniques to help us. Using the spray paints was a sticky business.

Take a look at the Animoto of our work.

Have you ever created art with stencils? What kind of stencils have you used? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Farewell 2014

School is over for the class of 2014. We have created, explored, questioned and worked our way through four terms together. Our grade 6 classmates have been farewelled and are now off to High School next year. We wish them all the best in the next stage of their learning and hope that they may drop by our class blog and leave a comment.

Mrs S found this very short video to share as the last post for 2014. It contains a very simple but powerful message for us all to remember.

The video comes from a website she found that has many useful tips about creating sketchnotes to help you record ideas and thoughts that you would like to remember. Sketchnotes are a visual thinking tool that use a combinations of words, quick sketches and connectors to create notes about an idea or topic. We used sketchnotes throughout the year in our Monday journals to keep a record of our weekend experiences, thoughts and ideas.

Have you heard of sketchnotes? How would you use sketchnotes to help you at school? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Creating a Christmas Decoration

On Monday we had some time to create some decorations that we will take home.  One of the tasks was to create a Christmas angel. It was made using double sided Christmas paper cut into circles. There was some folding, gluing, waiting for glue to dry, some decorating, some face creating and lots of talking as we put our angels together.

Our angels are hanging, en masse, in our classroom until we take them home next week. There are several Christmas carols that feature angels and the Christian Christmas story tells of a host of angels that appear to announce the news of the birth of Jesus to the shepherds.

Do you make new decorations for your tree at Christmas? Have you got a favourite decoration? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Exploring Cartesian Coordinates

On Monday we started some work on Cartesian coordinates with Mrs S. It gave us another opportunity to explore Scratch which uses Cartesian coordinates to locate sprites on the stage.

scratch stage

The Scratch stage showing the coordinates for locating sprites.

Cartesian coordinates allow us to give a precise location to an object on a grid or graph. We use a numbering system – (x,y) – to name the locations on a graph. The first number in the ordered pair is always on the horizontal axis and the second number is always on the vertical axis.

We used a grid that was the same size as the Scratch stage to draw our initials in the upper left quadrant and work out the coordinates of the points we would need to draw these using a sprite and the PEN commands in Scratch. For those who finished this challenge the next step was to translate, rotate and reflect our initials in the other quadrants of the Scratch stage. We are still working on our projects and have shared some of our unfinished ones via the Scratch website.


Have you played any games that use coordinates? Where and when would it be useful to use coordinates? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.


Translation, Rotation and Reflection

On Monday during Maths we discussed of some words we meet when working with tasks from the transformation and location section of the Measurement and Geometry strand of our Maths curriculum.

When working with a 2 dimensional shape we can rotate, reflect and translate the shape.

To translate a shape is to move or slide it up and down or from side to side without changing the shape in any other way.


To reflect a shape is to flip the shape over a mirror line.


To rotate a shape is to turn it around a given point. The distance from the centre to any point on the shape stays the same.


We worked in pairs, using Scratch, to create a program that demonstrated our understanding of one of these mathematical terms. Mrs S has added our work to a Scratch studio and embedded some below.

Have we demonstrated our understanding of translation, rotation and reflection? How else could we share our knowledge about transforming shapes? Please leave comment sharing your thoughts.

Our Dot Day Creations

Here are some of our Dot Day creations.

Rohan made a mark by creating a Scratch program. Click the green flag to watch his bouncing dots. Click the red octagon to stop the show.

We created a display outside our room with our blotting paper dots and our concentric circle patterns. We added a QR code directing those with a mobile device to our class blog post about Dot Day.

Dot Day display

Cascading Dots

We explored creating patterns using concentric circles. Each level out from the centre contained an extra element of our pattern.

What do you think of our dots? Have you used Scratch to create? How have you made your mark and where has it taken you? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.


International Dot Day

September 15th is the date when Peter Reynolds published his book called The Dot. It is the story of a little girl called Vashti and her journey towards creativity.

In 2009 a group of teachers began to use this date to celebrate International Dot Day. They shared their ideas over social media and more and more classes around the world have used this day to explore the themes of bravery, creativity and self-expression as Vashti did in the story of her dots.

Explore our ThingLink to hear Vashti’s story, find out who has been creating celebridots and about some artists who use dots in their work. Hover over the image and follow the links attached to it.

While the Grade 5’s have been finishing up their learning at the pool the Grade 6’s delved into creating some dots. We used blotting paper and water soluble textas to create some of our dots. We made printed patterns with cotton reels and circular felt stampers. We are working on some patterned dots and we are working on some digital dot artworks. Once our work is finished we will share in another blog post.

Below is a video of a celebridot in creation. Watch as Renee Kurilla, a children’s book illustrator, creates an image that is similar to her celebridot.

The Making of a Dot from Renee Kurilla on Vimeo.

 What might you create for Dot Day? Have you created something that is special to you? What was it? What did you use to create it? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Swimming and Water Safety Time and IT Helpers

Our Grade 5 classmates are spending some time each day at the pool. They are participating in our yearly Swimming and Water Safety program for students in grades 3-5. They are all using the time to become better swimmers by practising their strokes and to learn survival and safety techniques.

curve e rette
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Eugenio via Compfight

On Tuesday, before the Grade 5’s headed off to pool,  all of the class worked hard  by becoming IT buddies for the children from Prep F or the children from Prep/1 G. They helped the students in these classes to do some drawings using ArtRage. This computer program is one of Mrs S’s favourites.

Before using ArtRage both classes listened while Mrs S read a story. Prep F listened to a story called Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton and Prep/1 G listened to Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French. Then each class drew their favourite part of the story with some great technical help from the Grade 6 helpers. Everyone practised using layers to separate out parts of their drawings.

Adding layers in ArtRage can be very useful.

Adding layers in ArtRage can be very useful.

While our Grade 5’s were enjoying themselves at the pool the Grade 6’s were hard at work back at school. They were all challenged to create a presentation of the drawings created by the younger classes. Mrs S did not tell them which computer program to use and many of the class used two or even three different programs while creating their presentations. They found out that it can be a very repetitive task as they added pictures, resized them, worked on transitions and timings, and tried out different layout ideas.

Below are some of the finished presentations. Not everyone finished in the timeframe we had. An afternoon was just not long enough!

 created by Rohan

created by Hugo

created by James E

Have you created a presentation? What programs did you use? Do you have any tips for creating a good presentation? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Creating with a Programming Language called Alice

Some of our class have had an opportunity to create some animations using a programming language called Alice. It is a 3D programming environment that can be used to created animations and stories.

The students are part of an online class and their online teacher uses Fronter as a workspace. There are challenges to complete and students must create their animations, using Alice, and then hand them in. Some of the animations are featured on the start page of the Fronter online environment.

Watch the animation that was created by Elizabeth and featured in Fronter.

And here is one created by Amy.

Each movement of a character needed the correct programming to ensure that the animation worked correctly. The screenshot below is an example of creating using Alice.

A screenshot of Georgie's Alice work.

A screenshot of Georgie’s Alice work.

Have you created a digital story? How did you do it? Leave a comment sharing your thoughts.