How to Have a Great Day


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Literacy | Posted on July 30, 2014

Our regular blog visitors will know that we have been reading and writing procedures recently. A procedure is a text that tells you how to do or make something.

This week we all wrote about ‘How to Have a Great Day’. It was a writing moderation piece. This means that Mrs Placek and Miss Crowther will take our writing to a staff meeting and the teachers will talk about what we have done well and what we should do to improve our procedural writing. They will also use some documents from the Department of Education to help them because the Department has guidelines on what students need to do in each year level. The grade 3/4s also had to write a text with the same title.

Our writing moderation sessions went like this:
Tuesday: Planning (5 minutes)  & Drafting (20 minutes)
Wednesday: Drafting (20 minutes) & Revising and Editing (10 minutes)

Watch the video clip below to see us planning and drafting.


Here are some of our writing moderation pieces so far. We had to use a red pen to make any changes.








How would you have a great day?



How To Make An Ice Cream Sandwich


Posted by Mrs Placek | Posted in Literacy, Uncategorized | Posted on July 13, 2014

Procedures are factual texts that provide instructions on how to make or do something.
The following video from YouTube is a type of procedural text because it shows us how to make ice cream sandwiches.

The reading strategy we are working on is ‘Ask Questions Throughout Reading’. We ask questions before, during and after reading or viewing a text to improve our understanding of the text. If you are asking questions about the text, you are actively engaged in reading.

Before you view the YouTube video, record two questions you have.
While watching the video, record two questions.
After watching, record two final questions you still have.

Did your questions get answered? How did asking questions help you to improve you understanding of the text?

Explaining Explanations – Part B


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Literacy | Posted on June 16, 2014

Our regular blog visitors will know that we have been learning about explanations for the past three weeks. We have read explanations on a range of topics, including bikes, bees and breathing. We have also been researching and writing our own explanations.

The pictures below provide a summary of our learning. They are from the clever people at ‘Bitesize’ which is an excellent BBC website perfect for students.  Click on each picture to make it bigger and easier to read.

Explanation 0

Explanation 1

Explanation 2

Explanation 3

Explanation 4

Explanation 5

Explanation 6

Now that you’ve read all about explanations, click HERE to play a game and test your knowledge of this text type.

Ready for a challenge? Click HERE for a quiz on explanations.

What would you like to write an explanation about? Why?


What do you like/dislike about explanation texts?



Explaining Explanations!


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Literacy | Posted on May 25, 2014

This week we will be starting to learn about explanation texts. Explanations are written to inform people about a topic. Like all texts, explanations have a title, beginning, middle and end. Explanations are written in third person.

The title relates to the topic. It can be a statement or a question. For example, How spiders spin webs or How/Why do spiders spin webs?

The beginning is called the introduction. It expands on the title and defines the topic.

The middle part is the sequence of stages. This is the BIGGEST part of the explanation and explains how or why something happens. There can be more than one paragraph in this section. Topic specific vocabulary is used along with labelled diagrams.

The ending is called the conclusion or final statement. It can be about the final stage of the topic or an interesting fact.

We will be reading and writing lots of explanations over the coming weeks. Keep an eye out on our blog to read some of them!

Below is an explanation about how bread is made. Thanks Grain Chain and YouTube!

What are some of the stages in making bread?


What topic specific words did you hear in the video?


Have you ever made bread? How did you do it?


Rainbow Tweets


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Collaboration, Literacy, Twitter | Posted on May 14, 2014

We have started a new Twitter project! It is exciting to be working with our old friends Mrs Monaghan and Class 2 in England and Mrs Yollis and her third graders in America again and our new friends Ms Shannon and the Tipperary Station children in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Our last Twitter project had a number focus and this one has a literacy focus; poetry.  Each week we focus on a certain colour, take photos of objects that are the focus colour and write a short poem to match. We are working our way through the colours of the rainbow (in order) and this week the spotlight is on YELLOW.


Red  Orange  Yellow  Green  Blue  Indigo  Violet


There are easy ways to remember the order of the colours in a rainbow:

1. Use the acronym ROY G BIV.  Think of it as a boy’s name. Roy is his first name, his middle initial is G and his last name is Biv.

2. Use the mnemonic Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain.

Here are this week’s YELLOW photos and poems so far:

(Click on them to make them bigger)


Twitter 1


Twitter 2


Twitter 3


Twitter 4


Twitter 5


Click HERE to read Mrs Yollis’ post about our Twitter project.  We are using #clrpoem. If you search Twitter using the hashtag you will be able to read everyone’s poems about all the colours we’ve done so far.

It is interesting looking at everyone’s photos and seeing things from around the world. Probably the most amazing thing we have found out so far is that two children fly to school in a helicopter every day! We are not even half way through the rainbow so we wonder what else we will discover!


What YELLOW things should we take photos of this week?


What GREEN photos should we take next week?


How do you remember the colours of the rainbow?




Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Literacy | Posted on May 4, 2014

We are reading and writing narratives. Narratives tell a story to entertain an audience. They have a beginning, middle and end, characters and can be set anywhere. The storyline is called the plot. We used a graphic organiser to find these features in a picture storybook called The ANZAC Puppy.


We also used the above organiser to plan our own narratives. When we started drafting we had to experiment with different ways to ‘hook’ a reader and make them want to continue reading. We had to try four different opening sentences before writing our opening paragraph. We had to try:

* An action

* A noise

* Dialogue

* Short and sharp

Here are some examples of how Aidan decided he could start his narrative:

I was hanging on for dear life as Dad fish tailed up the hill.

Vrooom, vroom.


Dad killed it.



Which opening sentence do you think Aidan should use? Why?


Narratives also have interesting words that help the reader to picture what is happening.  We have added lots of words to our class word collector this week and will be trying to use them in our writing.


What interesting words have you read this week? What do they mean?


What interesting words have you used in your writing this week?


Skype Night


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Collaboration, Literacy, Skype | Posted on April 3, 2014

Guest post by Eve and Chelsea

On Friday 29th of March, 16 Upper Plenty P.S students weren’t doing an ordinary 8:00pm thing. Usually, we would be watching TV or doing after school sports like basketball. Instead, we were getting ready to Skype six classes around the world. The reason for this was that most of the classes were our blogging buddies, but the time differences didn’t match ours, so therefore, we couldn’t Skype them during UPPS school hours. It would only be possible for us or them, to sleep over at school.  So that’s what 16 students, from 5/6 Team did, including us, did!

The first Skype of the sleepover was at 8:15pm after our UPPS Market Night. It was a mystery Skype, so we had no idea who they were or where they were in the world. Here are some clues to help you guess where they were:

  1. They’re in the Northern Hemisphere
  2. They are in Europe
  3. The country had a disaster involving potatoes between 1845 – 1852
  4. Their country starts with an ‘I’
  5. Their town is well known and starts with a ‘D’
  6. Their town is the name of a clothing brand

We won’t tell you the answer here, but you can watch the clip in this post to see if you are correct!

We found out the Mystery Class were a whole school of boys!

After finishing the Mystery Skype we walked over with our bedding to the Central Learning Space to get ready for a Skype with Tanzania in Africa. There were a few technical difficulties, so we couldn’t see them. But, their teacher sent us a photo of them during the Skype. What was weird was that they were reading the same class novel as us, Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo. It was a shock and they are three chapters behind us. Of all the books in the world, both our teachers chose to read Kensuke’s Kingdom!

We found out that:

  • They’re a Grade 5 Class
  • They have no class pet because they can’t even look after a plant!
  • There are 18 students in their class
  • They love reading Percy Jackson books (also a movie)
  • It was 1:33pm there and 9:33pm in Victoria
  • Loom Bands are popular too (their bracelets made with rubber bands)
  • They start school at 7.10 am and finish at 1.45 pm.

It was fun Skyping with them apart from not being able to see them, we hope the connection will be better next time!

At 9:15 pm, we had a chat with our old friends from Middleham, North Yorkshire; Class 2 and Mrs Monaghan. First, we taught them how to play, You can come to my party if…. Here are the rules to help you understand how to play and maybe teach someone else.

1. Choose a ‘rule’ for items that can be brought to a party. For example, the item must have double letters, the letter k or two vowels.

2. One class asks the other class ‘Can I please bring….’

3. Make a list of the items you can and can’t bring and see if you can work out the rule

We played a few games. The first one had to have double letters and Middleham’s rule was that the item had to have the letter ‘k’ somewhere in it.

Soon after, we had ANOTHER Skype at about 11:00pm with a school in Sweden. They each had an Apple computer to themselves and we were very jealous! There were lots of questions once everyone got into the groove. As their first language is Swedish, they did really well to understand and talk to us in English. It was really impressive!

We found out that:

  • They start school at 8am and finish at 2pm
  • 900 students go to their school
  • It snows every year in winter
  • They are learning about multiplication and division
  • They learn Swedish, English and when they are older, German
  • Their temperature was 10C on the day we spoke to them
  • Their favourite food is pancakes
  • They play football, ice hockey, dancing and golf

After talking to Sweden it was nearly midnight and time for bed. We climbed into our sleeping bags and swags and tried to get some rest. Miss Crowther and Mrs Placek set the alarm for 1:45am.

When the alarm went off some people stayed asleep. Most people woke up in time to talk to Mrs Todd and the Roadrunners in North Carolina, USA. Mrs Todd has Skyped a lot but it was the second graders first time. We asked them some questions and they asked us some.

We found out that:

  • There are 20 children in each second grade class
  • At recess they play on the rock wall, slides and monkey bars
  • They like to play soccer, tag, hide and seek, basketball, baseball and football
  • Their weather was sunny but they were getting some rain later
  • They are not allowed to go outside at play time if it gets too hot or cold
  • They have a cafeteria
  • It was 10:45am their time on Friday morning and 1:45am our time on Saturday morning

We climbed back into bed for a few more hours sleep.  When the alarm went off at 6am we were feeling pretty tired. Some people didn’t get out of their sleeping bags for our Skype with Mrs Yollis. Instead, they shuffled their way over to the computer and Skyped in their sleeping bags! We hadn’t ever talked to Mrs Yollis before (apart from a five minute test call one morning) but we already knew her from our Mystery Number Twitter project. It was great to finally get to talk to her and her class properly.

Mrs Yollis’ class had prepared answers to some questions Miss Crowther had sent them earlier and this is what we learnt:

  • There are 600 students at the school
  • We were speaking to third graders who were 8 and 9 years old
  • They use the word ‘split’ to describe what we call composite classes
  • They call a car park and parking lot
  • They are reading ‘The One and Only Ivan’ as their class novel
  • They start school at 8:15am and finish at 2:20pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
  • On Wednesdays they have banking day at finish at 12:30pm
  • In maths they are learning about area, perimeter and volume
  • They like blogging, reading, Minecraft and hiking
  • It was 17C on the day we spoke to them and there was no wind

We learnt some other things too:

  • They use the word cafeteria to describe what we call a canteen
  • They use the word canteen to describe a water bottle


Watch the slideshow below to see what we did during Skype Night.


We all really enjoyed Skype Night. Thank you to the classes that Skyped with us. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!


What country would you like to Skype with? Why?



A Marvellous Market Night


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Collaboration, Numeracy, School Event | Posted on March 29, 2014

On Friday afternoon we set up our stall at the school market.  For the past few weeks we have been planning and organising our market stall items and it was finally time to see if our hard work had been enough.  We made some of the items and people chose something from home to donate (with parent permission of course!). Click HERE to read Billie and Tanyshah’s previous post for more details about our preparations.

We were rostered on for different times throughout the evening and had a steady stream of customers all night. The lucky dip prizes were very popular and we sold out!  Towards the end of the evening we reduced our prices and sold a few more of the other items.



Having a market stall was lots of fun and it also helped us learn:

* You can do more if you work together

* People have different strengths and can use them to do different jobs

* You have to think about what items people will want to buy and what they will pay for them

* Deals like ’50 cents each or 3 for $1′ work

* How to calculate change

* Reducing prices at the end of the night helps sell a few more things

* It’s important to set up your stall well to advertise the items so people want to buy them

* There are expenses running a stall that you have to pay before you get to make a profit

It cost us $10 for the stall spot and we put in a $6 float for change. After paying Mrs Placek and Miss Crowther back, it looks like we have made abut $70 for our class bank account. We haven’t made a final decision on how to spend it yet. It might be used to rent a class pet, buy things for Genius Hour or other class projects.


What would you sell if you ran a market stall?


How do you think we should spend our $70?



Understanding Texts Better


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Literacy | Posted on March 23, 2014

We use the CAFE model for reading developed by two American sisters called Gail and Joan. CAFE stands for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expanding Vocabulary.  There are strategies to help with each part of our reading.  Click HERE to read about the strategies in more detail.  This week we are focusing on identifying the main idea of a text and finding the supporting details.  This is one of our many comprehension strategies that we use to better understand the texts we read.

The main idea of a text or paragraph is often stated in a sentence within it. It helps readers understand the most important idea about what is being said. The other sentences include pieces of information that tell more about the most important idea. These are called supporting details. Sometimes the main idea is not obvious and the reader has to infer the main idea using the details.

Why do we need to know about this strategy?

* Finding the main idea helps us understand the text better

* We can work out what the most important parts of the text are

* This strategy helps us get ready to summarise a text

This strategy works for texts that try to persuade, inform or entertain us. Watch the clip below and see if you can work out the main idea and find the supporting details.


What is the main idea of Hey Little Ant?

What are the supporting details?


What is the main idea of Mr Peabody’s Apples?

What are the supporting details?


What is the main idea of your text?  

What are the supporting details?

Fred’s Head


Posted by Miss Crowther | Posted in Literacy | Posted on March 18, 2014

This week in spelling we are focusing on the ‘e’ as in bed sound. There are different ways we can make this sound. Sometimes the letter ‘e’ makes the sound, such as in the word bed. At other times, the digraph (two letters) ‘ea’ makes the sound, like in bread. Occasionally, the digraph ‘ai’ makes the sound in words such as said. The digraph ‘eo’  also makes the sound in the word leopard.

Today we decided to write a short story using as many words with the ‘e’ as in bed sound. Here it is…

One sunny morning, Fred was in bed. He fell out and bumped his head. He imagined he saw a leopard on a red sled eating bread. His mum Evelyn fled in from the shed holding a medical book. His dad, Ed, stayed outside and fed the family’s ten hens.


His mum said, “Fred, is your head okay? I hope you’re not dead!”

Fred said…


Can you continue the story using words with the ‘e’ as in bed sound?


What other letter/s do you know that can make this week’s sound?




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