Thank You & Good Bye


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Classroom | Posted on February 6, 2016

This will be the last post on this blog.

We would like to thank all of our blogging friends from near and far who have followed us during the past two years. Thank you for your comments and interest in our learning. A special thank you to our regular followers who have left us many comments and particularly our friends around the world in Middleham, TasmaniaCalifornia and North Carolina. We have enjoyed working on global projects with you and hope you enjoyed it as much as us!

Mrs Placek is leaving Upper Plenty at the end of Term 1 (March) because she is going to become a mum and Miss Crowther has already left to work at Kilmore Primary School.


Please visit Miss Crowther’s new blog.




‘Genius Hour’ Day


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Classroom, Genius Hour, Special Event | Posted on December 1, 2015

Yesterday we put a spin on the traditional ‘Genius Hour’ model we have previously used. Instead of spending one hour a week over ten weeks working on a project, we spent one whole day.

You can read about our previous Genius Hour projects HERE, HERE and HERE.

We decided to change the time frame for our last Genius Hour of the year. Some of us have completed three projects and we have all completed one round following the traditional one hour a week time frame. Changing to one whole day meant we had to think and plan differently. It presented new challenges and new opportunities.

Our plans were submitted ten days before ‘Genius Hour Day’ for approval. We had to think carefully about what we could achieve in five hours. It was tricky making sure our project wouldn’t be finished in one hour and didn’t need more than five hours. We used our experiences from previous projects to guide our thinking. We knew the day was nearly here when equipment and tools started appearing in our classroom last Friday.

You can view our Genius Hour journey in the video below.

Genius Hour has taught us a lot about thinking ahead, organisation, problem solving and a number of skills specific to our individual projects such as working with wood, art and craft, embroidery and using technology. We have also discovered that it is very important to have a Plan B and to think creatively to solve problems. It is amazing what can be achieved with a little bit of imagination, creativity, persistence and lateral thinking.


Plan A


Do you prefer a whole day to work on a project or ten separate hours? Why?


What has Genius Hour taught you?


If you could do any Genius Hour project, what would it be?

Today we are grateful for…


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Classroom | Posted on November 6, 2015

Regular blog followers might remember our earlier posts about ways we can be happier and more resilient. This helps us to enjoy things more and it also helps us to learn more things! Earlier in the year we learnt about ways to improve our mood, strategies to bounce back and be happy along with ways to grow our minds.

Last year, Mrs Placek and Miss Crowther listened to a presentation about resilience given by a man named Hugh from The Resilience Project. Here is one of the slide’s from his presentation:


A slide from Hugh's 'Developing Resilience' presentation

A slide from Hugh’s ‘Developing Resilience’ presentation


In 5/6 Team we all have ‘journals of joy’. We toyed with the idea of calling them ‘joynals’, but settled on Gratitude Journals.


We apologise for the background noise in some parts of the video. It was lunch time (when we interviewed) and some people were very grateful for the oval right outside our classroom!

We write in our journals every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There are three sentence starters that we complete:

Today I am grateful for…

Today I am grateful to…

I am looking forward to…









After keeping our journals for a while, the words in Hugh’s slide started to come true. We notice the small things that we might have missed before. We notice the good and great things that happen each day and appreciate the people in our lives more. When you stop and reflect, there are so many things to be grateful for each day.


Quote from

Quote from


We would love to know…

What are you grateful for?


Who are you grateful to?


What are you looking forward to?

Homework – Helpful or Horrible?


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Classroom | Posted on October 16, 2015

Today we watched two video clips and read one text about homework. We had to identify strategies used to influence viewers/readers, with a particular focus on the bias of the reporter/author.

This is the first clip we watched:

Click HERE if the video link doesn’t work.

After watching, we worked in small groups to discuss if the clip was fair to both sides of the homework debate and found examples to support our responses. We decided that:

* In the very first sentence the reporter shared his bias about not liking homework as a student or parent. In fact, he didn’t just ‘not like’ homework, he ‘hated’ it.

* Seven, six and three year old children do not get a lot of homework so why was the Crew family interviewed? What three year old gets homework?

* The reporter used words like ‘stuck inside’, ‘labouring over the three Rs’ and ‘burdened with homework’. He could have used words like ‘practising the three Rs’ and ‘completing homework’.

* More time was devoted to people who do not think homework is good. Charles spoke to the Crew family, the teacher from the Knox school and the author. Only one person, Debra, who supports the idea of homework was interviewed.

* Children are not at school in class for 30 hours a week, providing ‘more than enough education’. There are only five hours spent learning a day So, that is 25 hours of learning in a week. Charles used a larger number to make it sound worse.

* Charles said ‘The average Australian kid spends 7 hours a week’ doing homework. We don’t think this statistic is about primary school children only, yet the story is focused on primary school children.

* The clip uses quotes from Mrs Crew like ‘We go to the playground’ and ‘They (the children) are interacting with our chickens.’ She makes it sound like people who have homework can’t ever go to the playground or play with their pets.
This is the second clip we watched:

In small groups we discussed whether or not the clip presented a balanced view of homework. We decided that this clip was much fairer because:

* It allocated an almost equal amount of time to both sides of the homework debate.

* The reporter asked questions about both sides of the debate.

* Both people who think homework is good and people who think homework isn’t necessary were interviewed.

* The reporter did not share their own opinion. They stayed ‘neutral’.

After watching both clips, we shared our own opinion about the value of homework. A quick poll revealed that 17 people out of 33 believe that some form of homework is helpful.

Our school has a Homework Policy and we have different types of homework tasks each week.

This week, one of our homework tasks is to write a comment about this post. Half of our class are happy about this and half are not!


Should primary school children have homework? Why or Why not?


Is homework helpful or horrible?


The Term That Was…


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Classroom, Collaboration, Inquiry, Learning, Literacy, Numeracy, School Event, Special Event, Sport, Twitter | Posted on September 30, 2015

We are currently on school holidays after finishing Term Three on 18th September. We packed a fair bit into our ten week term. In addition to learning about procedures (more here), reports, finding the main idea and supporting details of a text, comparing texts, skimming, scanning, summarising, fractions, decimals, location, data and natural disasters we also had some special events, including:

A First Aid course



– A Hoop Time Basketball tournament






– Working with Miss Newton and Mr Sinclair (our pre service teachers)

– An Athletics Day (sorry, no photos – we forgot to take the camera!)

– Winning a T-Ball grand final

– Cooking



– eSmart Week and a cyber safety workshop with Susan McLean



– Developed growth mindsets and completed a ‘Seven Day Growth Mindset Challenge’.

– Dressed up as a favourite character from a favourite book to celebrate Book Week.












– Continued our #globalpal Twitter project with Mrs Monaghan in England, Mrs Yollis in America and Ms Shannon in Darwin.



– Went to Allambee Camp


– Some of us also went to Tasmania to visit Mrs Smith and our friends in 5/6CS. We also learnt about Australia’s convict history. Click HERE to read Mrs Smith’s blog post about our visit.


– Said ‘Goodbye’ to Mrs Laffan (our principal) with a special Mrs Laffan dress up day, flash mob dance and assembly.



No wonder we were all very tired at the end of term – we were busy little bees!

Our last term for the school year begins on Monday 5th October.  It is sure to be another busy and exciting term. Check out the ‘Curriculum’ tab in the ‘Parents’ section at the top of the screen to see what we will be learning about. There will also be ‘Where’s William?’ Day on Friday 10th October, a Genius Hour Day, Grade 6 Graduation, Christmas Carols and Awards Night, a Christmas Skype with Mrs Monaghan and some High School Days. We will also be welcoming Mrs Egan, our new principal for Term Four.


What did you enjoy most in Term Three? Why?


What are you looking forward to doing in Term Four? Why?

We’re Back!


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Classroom | Posted on July 13, 2015

Today was our first day of Term Three. There was lots of excited chatter before school, with people sharing stories of holiday adventures.

Each morning when we do the roll (you might call it the register, depending where you live in the world) we ask a question. When our name is called, instead of saying ‘Here’ or ‘Yes’ we answer the question. The question has to be one that can be answered quickly so that we can start our learning for the day. Emily supplied this morning’s question which was ‘What was the highlight of your holidays?’

Some of our answers were:

– Playing football in the mud

– Going to a farm for a week

– Going to the movies

– Playing with my baby cousin

– Going shopping


At the start of each term we always do a team challenge. Today’s challenge was to work with a partner to crack the codes below. Each capital letter stands for word. The first one has been done for you!

33 S in 5/6 T = 33 Students in 5/6 Team

12 M in a Y

8 T on an O

7 D in a W

4 S in a Y

7 D in S W

26 L in the A

What do you like to do in the holidays?


Can you crack the codes?

Have you got a code for us to crack?

Tell us in a comment!


Homework, Diaries & Organisation


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Classroom | Posted on February 22, 2015

Everyone in 5/6 Team has a student (or teacher!) diary. We use our diaries to help us keep track of homework, due dates and events. We also record the book we read each night, one thing about it and how many nights we have read this year.





At the back of our diaries we have ‘5/6 Team’s 40 Book Challenge’ glued in.  When we finish reading a book, we decide which category to record it in. Some books fit in many categories so we just pick one. The aim is to have one title written in each box by the end of the year.




Reading is one of the things we do as part of our homework. We are expected to read for at least 15 minutes five nights a week. We can read books, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, instruction manuals and other texts too.

In addition to our reading homework, throughout the week we have maths homework, inquiry homework and spelling homework. Different homework is given out and due back on different days. We use our diaries to help us meet the deadlines.

Maths is handed out on a Thursday and is due back on a Monday.

Inquiry homework is handed out on a Monday and is due on a Tuesday. It is called ‘Flipped Homework’ because we have to read or watch something so we are ready for Tuesday’s inquiry class.

Spelling homework is handed out on Monday and due back on Friday.

If we are away, any homework or notices for our parents are placed in the pockets shown below.

We have been working hard to set up systems that help our organisational skills.  Hopefully, this will make life easier for us and we will always be up to date. It is also good practice for the future when we are at high school and also when we are adults.


What type of homework do you/did you have in your class?


How do you stay organised?


Do you have any tips for us about being organised?


Random Acts of Kindness


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Classroom, Special Event | Posted on February 16, 2015

Last week was ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ week. A random act of kindness is when someone (or a group of people) do something nice for someone else. The person doing the random act of kindness does not expect anything in return – they are simply being kind and trying to make someone happy.

Mrs Placek told us the story of how when she was working in a shop (when she was at university and before she was a teacher) someone bought a box of chocolates and asked her to wrap it up. The customer asked Mrs Placek to then give it to the next customer who came into the shop. Mrs Placek did as she was asked and the lady who received the unexpected chocolates was so happy she cried. It turned out she had been having a really tough time because her mother was sick. She was so touched by the stranger’s random act of kindness that she bought another box of chocolates and did her own random act of kindness.

There are all sorts of ways you can make someone happy with a random act of kindness.  They don’t have to cost any money and can be done in less than 30 seconds.

Here are some examples we brainstormed of how you can make someone’s day with a random act of kindness:

Sometimes you might not think you can make a difference, but you can! Whenever you think that your small act of kindness won’t make a difference, remember the story of the little boy on the beach and the starfish…


Source: unknown

Source: unknown


Have you ever received a random act of kindness? Tell us about it!


Have you ever carried out a random act of kindness? What was it?



Many Hands Make Light Work


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Classroom | Posted on February 10, 2015

‘Many hands make light work’ is a saying, also known as an idiom. It means that if lots of people work together a big task becomes a small task that is done quickly and easily.

Keeping a classroom running smoothly is a big job. So, in 5/6 Team we all help out. At the start of the year we made a list of all the jobs that need doing in our room each day and allocated monitors.

We have monitors for the following jobs:

* Laptop cupboard & computer

* Class meeting ‘chairpeople’

* Class meeting secretary (takes the minutes)

* Hot lunch monitors

* Tidy inspectors

* Thermometer

* Teachers’ helpers

* Office

* Whiteboard

* Recycling & Paper

* Class library

* Emergency (fills in when someone is away)

* Bag lockers

* Mail

* Compost bins

* Electricity

* Telephone

* Chairs


We are lucky enough to have three couches in our classroom. So, we also have two ‘Couch’ monitors. Every morning when the music starts they pull paddle pop sticks with our names on out of the ‘Need a Turn’ container and write the names under the little couches. Three people get to sit on each couch for the whole day.





We also have two ‘Quizzle’ monitors. A quizzle is a cross between a puzzle and a quiz. Miss Crowther and Mrs Placek have 100s of quizzles from a book written by Michael Pohl. Two quizzles are put up at the start of each day and we guess them as part of our End of the Day Process. You can read about our Start and End of the Day Processes in our Class Learning Plan.


Quizzles are words, expressions or lines from a song, in disguise. To solve them you have to think about how the words are written on the page. For example, the clues might be that the words are big, little, in between another word, jumbled up, at the top of the page or at the side of the page.

The answer to the quizzle below is ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’. It is a line from a song in The Wizard of Oz. The clues were that the word ‘Somewhere’ is written above/over the word ‘Rainbow’.

When we work out a quizzle we talk about what it means and try to use it in a sentence.


Can you work out the two quizzles below?


Leave your thoughts in a comment!





What monitor jobs do you have in your classroom?


Which monitor job do you think would be the best one to have?


Hey, Macarena!


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Classroom | Posted on February 6, 2015

At the end of last year, Mrs Placek and Miss Crowther went to Swinburne University to listen to a man named Hugh talk about resilience. Resilience is the ability to look on the bright side of life and ‘bounce back’ when things don’t go your way. We have been learning about resilience as part of UPPS’s ‘Bounce Back’ program.

Hugh talked about a lot of things, including what makes people more happy. He has read lots of books about it and visited countries around the world. He said there are three things that can change your mood quickly and make you feel happy.







Hugh showed everyone at the meeting a YouTube clip  and we have watched it too. It made us laugh and put us in an even better mood than we were in.

We have Random Dance Breaks in 5/6 Team. At the start of the week we all learn a new song. Throughout the week when we least expect it, the music comes on and we stand up and dance. As soon as the music is finished we sit down and go on with what we were doing – like it never happened! Except, our minds are refreshed and we feel full of energy to keep learning. We shared our dance at assembly today.




Hugh said that happy people are also grateful people. He said that if you write down three new things you are grateful for everyday for 21 days then your brain stops looking for bad things and starts looking for good things.  We have started to look for moments that we are grateful for each day. At the moment we are sharing them at class meetings. Soon we will start writing them in our diaries so we can look back on them during the year.

Here are some of the things 5/6 Team members are grateful for:

* Being elected as School/House Captain

* Having friends to play with

* A roof over my head

* A supportive family who come to see me at school

* An unexpected hug from my sister at recess

* Mum cooking my favourite meal as a surprise

* Mum making me lunch every day

What dance do you think we should do next?


What are you grateful for?


How do you include music, exercise and laughter in your life?


Edited to add:

After ‘The Macarena’ we learnt ‘The Nutbush’. Due to popular demand, here is a video of us in action!

The music started as we were packing away our reading books, getting our 10am healthy snack and getting ready for the next session. Some of us were on the floor eating and some of us were putting our books away. When the music starts, we stop what we are doing and dance – where ever we may be in the classroom!



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