Author Archives: rossmannell

About rossmannell

Photographer & DVD/CD producer (amateur & non-profit), children's novel writer (unpublished), child care worker (casual), primary school teacher (retired from full time but still involved), blog commenter to the global classroom.

To see Mrs. Yollis and class's post...

So Long Summer :: Hello Autumn!

Hello Mrs. Yollis and class,

For us down south in Australia, this is the time of year for the Spring Equinox. Days are now growing longer than night and deciduous trees are sprouting new leaves.

1. Most native trees in Australia are evergreen, i.e. the leaves stay green throughout the year but parks and gardens often include non-native deciduous trees, including my own yard's Japanese maple tree (Acer palmatum). Australia does have some native deciduous trees but not as many as you have and most are found in northern tropical areas.

My Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) has sprouted new leaves and small flowers. There is the sound of bees attracted to the flowers.

2. Our Spring Equinox has 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night just like your Autumnal Equinox. It's at each equinox you and Australia have the same length day. Your days will now get shorter than night while our days get longer. As your blog stated, it's all to do with the Earth's tilt as it orbits the sun. For Australia, the tilt is bringing us spring and longer days. Here s a simple animation I prepared for you...

The above video clip may be used by students and schools for educational, non-profit purposes.

3. With warming weather and Term 3 vacation now underway, thoughts of being outside and, weather permitting, visiting the beach or our local national parks come to mind. The need for warm clothing will be swapped for cooler clothing. A sight you don't see on your beaches are kangaroos. Kangaroos also come into my yard looking for grass to eat when food is scarce.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

4. Animal behaviour is changing here too. Birds are nesting, whales migrate south along our coast to spend summer in Antarctic waters and our marsupial and monotreme mammals produce their young.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A Nankeen kestrel out looking for food. It is a raptor, a bird of prey.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This is an old favourite photo of a mother koala and her young.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Wombat - This is Grace. She is an orphaned wombat joey. We call the young of our marsupials joeys. It looks like Grace might have been saying, "No photos!"

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Migrating humpback whale.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Short-beaked Echidna - Echidnas are monotreme mammals. Together with the platypus, they are the only remaining mammals in the world where females produce eggs. Like other mammals, the females produce milk for their young.

Did you know a young echidna is known as a puggle?

I know the pup of beagle and pug dog parents can also be called a puggle but the echidna young have had that title much longer.

for Miss Jordan's Class

Hi everyone! I was fascinated by one of your class blog posts because it showed you had been learning about one of my favourite topics, Volcanoes in Science.

I thought I would send a few small samples from my visits to volcanoes in New Zealand and Hawaii some time ago. I'll also share some new video clips from my video library.

Your samples sent are...

Hawaii - Aa and pahoehoe lava

New Zealand - scree, obsidian, sulphur, iron sand, volcanic sands

Volcanoes

Many of the world's volcanoes formed along tectonic plate borders. These "plates" are large areas of our world's solid surface floating on the molten magma layers below. It's a little like ships floating on the sea.

This image was sourced through Wikimedia Commons & was released into the public domain.

You can see Australia lies on its own plate but New Zealand is on the border between the Pacific and Australian plates.

New Zealand and its volcanoes are formed over the the tectonic plate border but can you see Hawaii? Its a small mark on the map in the upper middle of the Pacific Plate (yellow).

Hawaii formed over what is known as a hot spot. On these spots, it's thought the magma underneath the plate is particularly hot. As the Pacific Plate moves very slowly over the hot spot, new volcanoes start to build. Old ones erode back into the sea.

Below is an image from Google Earth. You can see the Hawaiian Islands near the bottom. Can you see the line of old volcanoes now below the ocean moving up to the left?

Hawaii is a collection of old and newer volcanoes. There is thought to be a much newer one forming below the ocean about 30 kilometres off the Big Island of Hawaii in an area known as the Lö'ihi Seamount. Don't expect it to be above the ocean surface anytime soon. While it rises about 3000 metres above the ocean floor, it still has over 900 metres to go before it reaches the surface. Aren't volcanoes interesting?

Let's Look at your samples...

Hawaii

While there in 1996, I learned Hawaiians talk of two types of lava. They are Aa and Pahoehoe.

Aa (ʻAʻā) - These stones are hard and have sharp edges. Your samples are only small but they can be much larger. I don't know why but perhaps Hawaiians named it this because of the sound you make when you try to walk on it in bare feet when it has cooled.

This basalt lava is cooler as it flows and is rubbly on its surface and edges.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Pahoehoe - Is a smoother basaltic lava that flows more like cool honey does when it flows. Your sample was from an active flow of lava I saw on my visit. It tends to break down into a black sand when crushed or stepped on.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

In my video library, I have a video clip to show a pahoehoe flow. My cameras weren't up to it back then so I had to buy this clip. It has been speeded up because its flow can be quite slow.

This clip is not to be copied or linked in any form. It was a royalty-free purchase through Videoblocks.com.

While in Hawaii, I watched lava pouring into the sea. I have another video clip from Videoblocks showing the lava entering the sea and being hit by waves. The seawater boils and gives off steam as the lava hits.

This clip is not to be copied or linked in any form. It was a royalty-free purchase through Videoblocks.com.

New Zealand

Scree - Scree is broken bits of rocks which can be found at bottoms of cliffs or around volcanoes. It isn't Aa lava. Your samples come from the Mt Tarawera area of New Zealand and were mostly formed during a major eruption in 1886.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

If you visit Mt. Tarawera near Rotorua, you can walk into its crater on guided tours. This includes walking down a huge scree slope. The arrow points to a group of people near the way down into the crater. This gives you an idea of just how deep the crater is. I found it easy enough to walk down the steep slope by taking very big steps down. The slope is made of scree.

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Obsidian - Obsidian is also known as volcanic glass. It forms when lava high in silica (like sand used to make the glass in your windows) cools quickly. While obsidian can be found in the Mt tarawera area, the area is protected so I bought my large sample in a rock shop. Your sample was broken off mine and has sharp edges. Can you see why some traditional cultures have used it to make knives, arrow heads and spear heads?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Sulphur - Sulphur can often be found around fumaroles. These fumaroles release gases from below including sulphur dioxide and hyrdogen sulphide. Sulphur can crystalise around the fumerole. Your sample is a small piece of New Zealand sulphur.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Below is a photo showing yellow sulphur on the rocks. It was made by gases escaping the small cave at New Zealand's Orakei Korako Thermal Area.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Iron Sand - Iron sand is mostly iron and was deposited along New Zealand's coast by volcanic activity about 2.3 million years ago according to New Zealand Steel's webpage. I used this sand in class science lessons with magnets. Unlike iron filings, the iron sand doesn't get rusty but works just as well with magnets as iron filings. I collected the sample in the Awakino area of New Zealand's North Island back in 1975.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Can you imagine a beach made of this sand? On a hot summer day it can burn your feet if you walk on it. It becomes much hotter than the sands we know. Where I visited, a small stream of water cooled the sand enough to walk on.

Volcanic Sands - My first visit to New Zealand was back in 1975. While there I bought a tube of coloured volcanic sands from the Rotorua area. I thought you might like to have this 42 year old souvenir so you can see the colours of volcanic areas.

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The colours would be caused by different minerals in the sands.

Pumice - I've included a piece of pumice found on a local beach. I know you have learned about pumice. We have had many pumice stones wash up on our beaches lately, some pieces bigger than your fist. Because it can float, if pumice explodes out of underwater volcanoes, it can form "floats" of pumice. Some of these floats can be on the ocean for years and become home to many marine animals before they reach a shore. The sample could have come from a 2012 eruption of an underwater volcano near New Zealand.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

My Area

I like to go hiking in the national parks and nature reserves in my area. I find plenty of evidence my area once had its own volcanoes but that was 360 to 380 million years ago in an era known as Devonian, also known as the "Age of Fish".

The photo below was one I took while in Ben Boyd National Park in an area known as Boyd's Tower. The greyish-brown rock is heavily folded (curved and bent) sandstone. The red rock is siltstone made from fine ash from volcanoes settling over the sandstones. The deposits are around 360 million years old according to a National Parks sign near where I stood.

The reddish siltstone is seen in many areas along the coast and appears in many of my photos. I know there are many areas of Victoria with evidence of volcanoes.

Do you know of any places in Victoria where volcanoes were once active?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

To see the post written by Mrs. Yollis and her class once a surprise package arrived...

Meet Walter the Wombat

Wombats, Marsupials and Joeys

Following the arrival of a friendly wombat to Mrs. Yollis and her class in California, I wanted to share a couple extra photos.

Wombat

There are three species of wombat still to be found in Australia.

In my area, we see the common wombat (Vombatus ursinus). They are herbivores and live in burrows. Normally, they aren't see during the day but can be seen venturing out at dusk. I have seen them in the daytime but this is unusual. Unfortunately, wombats are sometimes killed when crossing roads but groups such as WIRES plus the staff at Potoroo Palace care for joeys if their mother is killed. The fathers don't take part in raising young. The photo below is of an orphaned wombat joey. It was in the care of Potoroo Palace staff. Potoroo Palace seeks to return injured and orphaned animals to the wild if at all possible.

One of Potoroo Palace's greatest wildlife heroes, and a friend, is Alexandra Seddon. She has devoted her life to wildife and the environment. A documentary of her life and care for the environment was just released. Click here to see the short about Alexandra and someof what she has achieved.

Alexandra Seddon

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Wombats live in burrows.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Seems a little yucky but below is a photo of wombat droppings. They are easy to identify because they have a cubic shape.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I realised I hadn't added a video clip of wombats to my You Tube channel so I have added a brief one showing Bert the Wombat taken at Potoroo Palace back in 2011.

Kangaroos and Wallabies

Most people know of kangaroos and the smaller wallabies. Not only are some species native to my area, they sometimes feed on my front lawn and are an extra obstacle for golfers at a local golf course. Also marsupials, the females have pouches. They are not all the large kangaroos we see on TV. Here are just a few species.

Parma Wallaby  (Macropus parma) Taken at National Zoo in Camberra, Australia's capital city.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

Tree Kangaroo Taken at National Zoo in Camberra, Australia's capital city. Yes it climbs. There are 12 species of tree kangaroo found in New Guinea and northern Australia. The photo is of a Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi) and is found in New Guinea.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) - Very common in my area and sometimes have fed on my front lawn. The first photo shows females and joey too big for the pouch at Potoroo Palace. The second photo is of a male in the wild. He was about my height (183cm - 6').

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This photo below shows Alexandra Seddon at Potoroo Palace. She is holding a swamp wallaby (wallabia bicolor). I see more of this species of wallaby thank eastern grey kangaroos.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Here is one of the short videos I have made showing the Eastern Grey Kangaroo at Potoroo Palace.

Koalas

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) rival kangaroos as the best known Australian animals. The first photo is of Suzie the Koala and the second of Blinky at Potoroo Palace in 2011. They were the parents of Sapphire. Blinky and Suzie passed away a few years back but Sapphire lives on a now is a mother. The video shares a little of Sapphire's life and includes her emerging from Suzie's Pouch. The video clip was made over two years from 2011 to 2013.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Did you notice Suzie has a much larger and more defined white patch on the chest? This is a feature of females.

Other Marsupials - Antechinus

There are so many marsupial species in Australia apart from wombats, kangaroos, wallabies and koalas, too many to show here but I thought I would add a little about one of the smallest marsupials. The photo shows a mammal expert holding an antechinus in his hand. It was taken when I was recording activities in a local biological/environmental survey.

Antechinus are the size of mice and are often mistaken for them but they are true marsupials and females have a pouched area to carry young. Antechinus have pointier snouts than placental mice (common mouse).

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

2 Comments

To see Global Grade 3's original post click on this title Rock Museum.

Hello Grade 3,

Well, you have been studying something of great interest to me, although previous classes know many things interest me. Rocks, minerals and fossils can be fascinating. I thought I might share some photos of a few of my collection.

Hardness

Did you know geologists grade rocks for hardness on a scale known as the Moh Scale? It's a scale running from the softest at 1 to the hardest at 10. Here are photos of the hardness levels from my collection.

Moh 1 - Talc

Talc is a very soft rock. You can easily scratch with your fingernail. It's the stone used to make talcum powder. This is a very small sample from my collection and is only about 1cm across.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 2 - Gypsum

A little harder than talc but it can still be scratch using your fingernail. I have plainer samples of gypsum but like this rose gypsum.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 3 - Calcite

Calcite can be scratched using a copper coin. I liked this closeup photo of calcite crystals.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 4 - Fluorite

These fluorite crystals can be easily scratched using a knife.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 5 - Apatite

Apatite can be scratched using a knife.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 6 - Orthoclase

Can be scratched by a steel knife.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 7 - Quartz

Scratches glass.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 8 - Topaz

Like the diamond, this topaz is lower quality and, by its shape and look, was found in a river or stream. Topaz can scratch quartz. Good quality topaz is used in jewellery.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 9 - Corundum

Corundum scratches topaz. While I shared a rough topaz, I thought I would show you a small cut corundum gemstone.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 10 - Diamond

This is a real diamond from my collection but it isn't worth very much because it is not gem quality. It is industrial quality because of its impurities. Diamond can scratch all samples in a lower moh scale.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 ABOUT FOSSILS

Back in 2012, I shared some of my fossils with an earlier Global Grade 3. If you want to see what I shared, here is the link below.

My Fossils for Global Grade 3

It's been some time since I have added a post. My life as a carer as well as recording and producing DVDs and occasionally CDs for schools and community groups as well as taking long hikes when I can escape to one of our national parks has kept me busy but, with a new school year having started for some of my Northern Hemisphere friends, I wanted to share a post about some local animals and a group called Backyard Buddies.

Backyard Buddies is a free education program run by the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. Backyard Buddies are the native plants and animals that share our built-up areas, waterways, backyards and parks. Backyard Buddies are also the people who value native wildlife and want to protect it.

In order to raise funds and awareness, Backyard Buddies sells soft toys. Appreciating the work they do, I have purchased some over the last few years and want to give them a new home. I will share a little about each of the three soft toys I have and at the end of each section will reveal where they will find new homes.

Sulphur Crested White Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Sulphur-Crested White Cockatoos are common in my area and are often heard because of their loud squarking call. Most days, some of the cockatoos visit my yard looking for seed I leave out for native birds. Occasionally, one of the cheeky birds comes near my back door, looks inside and squawks loudly if I'm a little late putting out seed.

The photo is of a pair of cockatoos looking for seed in my backyard. I have a Backyard Buddies cockatoo soft toy that will be winging its way to a school I know so well in Calgary, Canada. They will also find a small plastic sign, a copy of the type drivers in Australia might see along the roads in some areas.

Kangaroo

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Kangaroos, and the smaller wallabies, are often seen when I'm hiking or along roadsides. Because of this, kangaroo warning signs are often along the roadside. For the unwary driver, the kangaroos and wallabies can suddenly jump in front of cars , especially in early morning and dusk. I'm sad to say, I often see kangaroos and wallabies on the roadside that didn't make it across roads.

Occasionally, kangaroos and wallabies visit my front yard in order to fee on the grass on my lawn. The most common kangaroo species around here are eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus). The males can be up to nearly 2m in height. The photo is of a young eastern grey kangaroo in full hop. The most common wallaby species is the swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor).

Did you know scientists looked at the hopping of kangaroos and wallabies because they wanted to find out if it was an energy-efficient way of moving? They found the hopping can help them cover large distances quickly whereas walking would use much more energy to cover the same distance.

A Backyard Buddy kangaroo will be hopping its way to a school in Whitfield, U.K.

Wombat

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Wombats, like kangaroos and wallabies, are common in my area and can sometimes be seen along the roadside where they weren't able to make it safely across the road. The plastic sign with this Backyard Buddy is a small version of the wombat warning sign drivers can see along some of our roads. The photo shows an adult wombat I saw while hiking. Unusually, I saw it during the day whereas they normally come out of their burrows as it starts to become dark.

The wombats in my area are known as common wombats (Vombatus ursinus), They can be an average of about 26kg in weight. The photo below is of a young wombat being cared for at Potoroo Palace Native Animal Educational Sanctuary. It's mother had been killed on the road.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The Backyard Buddy wombat will be digging his way to a class in California.

My Local National Parks

There are three national parks as well as two nature reserves in my area, They are Ben Boyd National Park, Bournda National Park, South East Forest National Park, Bournda Nature Reserve and Nadgee Nature Reserve. When I can find the time, I visit some of the sites and go hiking and taking photos. You can see some of the photos I have taken on my Google+ page at Ross Mannell.

As I tend to hike alone, I carry a peronal emergency beacon (PEB) with me in case of an emergency if I'm out of range for mobile phones. My love of hiking dates back to when I was a Scout back in the 60s.

The Grade Three Bloggers wrote a post about the packages I sent them. What started as a simple comment grew and so a post was needed. To see their original post, click the link below...

A Special Surprise Arrives!

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.”

Mark Van Doren

When I retired from teaching I at first thought my times of assisting the education of others was coming to an end yet, as can happen in life, it was the time of new beginnings. Through blogging I found I could still be involved in the learning of others and, having always wanted to share with others, I found I could still share resources as I had with children in my classes. The packages I sent were some of the learning “treasures” I still collect in the hope of sharing.

“Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”

Will Durant - The Great Gadfly, Time magazine, 8 October 1965

I shared the above quote because I have found similar to Will Durant, although sixty years ago I was only one year old. It seems the more we learn, the more we realise how much there is still to know.

As I read through the cards, I discovered new information about some of the animals; in fact some of the animals were unknown to me before I read the cards. I realised I still have large gaps of knowledge waiting to be filled. Learning is a lifelong journey just waiting for us to explore.

Unlike Mrs. Renton, I find snakes interesting and have seen a number of poisonous species while out hiking. Red-bellied black snakes, tiger snakes, eastern brown snakes and death adders are native to my area. I have a healthy respect for these snakes and tend to keep my distance although I once had to chase a young black snake out of a school playground. Black snakes are the shyest of these snakes and prefer to slither away rather than attack.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

What’s happening for the rest of my year?

You already know I film and produce DVDs and CDs for schools and community groups in my area. I have an adult choir and a dancing school production edit under way at this time and will soon film a school play (Dec. 8) and Kindergarten Graduation (Dec. 11) in two schools. With our year soon to end, I thought that might be the end of projects for the year but I had a phone call and have been asked to again be a photographer and videographer for a BioBlitz on December 4 and 5.

What’s a BioBlitz?

Scientists and interested amateurs, including school students, take part in animal and plant surveys in a given area. It’s a method of checking the environmental/ecological health of an area. This time it will be in Bournda National Park to the north of my town. It will be the second I have been able to record.

I arrive with cameras ready before dawn each day hoping to capture a sunrise at least once. The Friday doesn’t end until about 8 p.m. and the Saturday ends around 4 p.m. It’s a chance to learn more about my area. It seems there’s so much yet to see.

I know I will be adding photos and video clips to my collection and sharing them with the BioBlitz team. I hope to add a blog post about the experience by the beginning of 2016. I wonder if I will be able to photograph some interesting animals again this time?

Here are a few images from the 2014 BioBlitz in an area known as Panboola

Sunset  in Panboola

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

frogs

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

lizards

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

scorpions

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The little guy below is a marsupial mouse, species antechinus.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Birds of Prey

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

What people thought about being involved in the BioBlitz.

To view Mrs, Watson and K/1/2/3 original post, click the link below…

Our First ABC Performance

Hello Mrs Watson and K/1/2/3,

A favourite instrument... Like so many things in life I have many favourites because I like the sounds. I play a little recorder, flute and piano but not very well so they are amongst my favourites.

At times, I like unusual musical sounds so discovering new instruments means hearing new sounds. From more ancient instruments in Aboriginal culture such as the didgeridoo (another spelling is didjeridu), clapsticks and bullroarer to instruments such as sitars (India), shamisen (Japan), djemba drums (Africa), Taiko drums (Japan), and voices raised in music, I like the sounds. They can be fascinating.

One big activity I have here in Australia is filming school and community performances in order to produce DVDs andsometimes CDs. While I can’t share the images, I can share the sounds from some performances. Here is a little audio from a few of the performances I have put together for you…

African Djemba drums and a cowbell

Djemba drumshave a fantastic sound when played together. You can feel the sound in the room. This is the sound of around 30 drummers from a primary school.

Didgeridoo and clapsticks

Didgeridoos are played by the men in a number of Aboriginal cultures. Women aren't permitted to play one. Clapsticks are two stcks struck together to give the beat. This was a recording of primary school boys and girls performing a traditional dance.

Dingboxes and boomwhackers

I must admit, when I first heard of dingboxes and boomwhackers, I wasn't certain what they were. Did you know? Dingboxes are boxes with a springed lid and a tuned bell inside. Step on the box lid and the bell rings. Boomwhackers are length of tuned plastic tubes you can hit together. The other sound a little like a drum is a person hitting a box with their hand.

Recorder and violin

As I once taught the recorder in class, I like their sound if played well. This is the sound of 31 primary school recorder players with two high school students playing violins over a recorded background.

Loop pedal

This was a new piece of equipment I heard for the first time this year. It was used by a high school student to create an original piece. You will hear her add sound using only her voice. The Loop pedal stores the sound and then repeats it while she adds a new sound. After adding a third sound to make the backing, you hear her sing. I thought it was fascinating to hear one person create such a sound using the loop pedal.

Storm Choir

This is an original piece of music from a performance I was asked to record. A choir of 9 people use their voices to create the sounds of a coming storm. You hear thunder as they stamp their feet and their voices create the sound of rain falling.

Taiko Drums

Taiko drums are traditional in Japan. Played together, I like the sound. You can feel the sound in the room as Taiko drums are played.

I also like the sounds of nature. Listen to the sounds of these birds…

A favourite, the kookaburra…

While hiking recently, I saw one kookaburra fly to a tree where another was perched. I suspected they would start to sing together. The recording is the sound they made. Can you hear why some people think kookaburras are laughing at us?

While hiking, 50 to 100 ravens landed in the trees around me…

It was quie a surprise to see so many ravens in one place so I took out my phone and recorded them. The raven choir sounded incredible.

and a sound recording taking me weeks to get close enough, the lyrebird…

The lyrebird, named for the lyre shape of its tail, is a mimic bird. This recording is of a lyrebird copying the calls of other birds. I have heard of lyrebirds copying the sound of machines and of one, raised from a chick by someone who played the flute, being heard mimicking the sound of flute music. While shy of people in the wild, I have seen them a number of times but find it hard to get close enough to record them singing. On the day of the recording, I was down wind from the bird and could see its lyre tail just above a bush. It didn't see or hear me.

  * * * * *

While sounds can be loud, soft, musical and even horrible, they are part of the world we live in. Whether we hear them or feel them, I love hearing interesting new sounds.

Did I say feel them? Have you felt the vibrations caused by sound? Drum beats, especially large drums, bass guitars, and the delicate vibrations of a soft piano piece when you put your ear against the piano, we can both hear and feel them.

Did you know one of the great composers, Beethoven, became deaf as he grew older? He still composed music but would place his ear against the piano to feel the sounds. He wrote his final and 9th symphony when almost totally deaf.

Did any of you feel the music through the floor as you listened to your ABC performance?

To see Global Grade 3's post, click the link blow...

Investigating Fossils

Life can be full of wonder and discovery if we only keep our minds and senses open to the world around us.

Some Fossils In My Collection

Hi there!

I didn't think I would be preparing another extended comment for you so soon but you wrote a post about one of my favourite topics, fossils. I thought I would write a post so I could share photos of some fossils in my collection and links to other posts written on this blog.

At the end of this post, I have added links to some other posts I have written about fossils and dinosaurs.

Some of my favourite fossils I collected.

Being able to find your own fossils makes a specimen more special because you could be the first person to have seen it.

The sample below was collected from a dolomite quarry. You can still see the remains of the original shell but the soft parts of the animal have been replaced by dolomite. This shell belonged to an animal living perhaps 30,000 years ago.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The next dolomite stone was found when I was walking along a beach. You can see it has been rounded by wave action and rubbing against other rocks. In it are the remains of small shellfish. I can stlll find small shells similar to these on beaches today.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Below is part of a fossilised tree trunk I found when looking over a rockfall. I only have this section but I always wondered if the entire tree was somewhere in the tonnes of rock in the rockfall. According to my geological map, this fossil may have been a living tree perhaps 200 million years ago.

I don't know when the rockfall happened but I had also been to the same place before part of the cliff above gave way.

WARNING: unstable areas can be very dangerous. I only examined the edges of the rockfall and kept well away from the cliff area.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

In the next fossil we see a leaf in the middle and a piece of a branch below it. As it was found in the same rockfall as the fossilised tree trunk above, it may have come from the same tree.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

And some favourites I purchased...

Fossiled ammonite shell. Ammonites lived in the ocean from about 400 million to 65 million years ago.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This ammonite fossil shell has been cut in half and polished to show the chambers inside the shell.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Dinosaur coprolite from U.S.A. Did you know it can be possible for scientists to find what animals had eaten from coprolite samples? This was from a herbivore dinosaur. It may only be a coprolite but it is my only real dinosaur fossil.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Trilobite - Species of trilobites roamed the oceans from about 500 to 250 million years ago.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I've included the photo below but it isn't a fossil. It is a piece of wood from a New Zealand kauri tree found in a swamp. Because of the quality of the timber and the lack of oxygen in the swamp, it had been preserved but you can see the writing printed on the timber telling us it has been carbon dated to 44500 years. Imagine, it's over 40000 years old but looks as though it has been cut from a modern tree. Kauri trees are still found in New Zealand forests today.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Below is a photo of a kauri tree I had taken in 1986. It is known as Tane Mahuta. It's thought to be between 1250 and 2500 years old but is still alive. It's the largest kauri tree known to be standing in New Zealand. In the Maori language, Tane Mahuta means "Lord of the Forest".

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Some of the most interesting dinosaur fossils found are those of dinosaur eggs. Look at the photo below. It shows dinosaur eggs in a nest so we know at least some dinosaurs had nesting grounds for their eggs. Can you imagine seeing a heard of nesting dinosaurs caring for their eggs?

This image was sourced through WIkimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain. It was taken in China's Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology.

This image was sourced through WIkimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain. It was taken in China's Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology.

And now for something a little different.

Below is a photo of a toy dinosaur egg.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

When placed in water and left, the egg starts to open and the toy dinosaur can be seen hatching. It grows (swells) in the water.  It can take up to one week so I might have to top up the water. According to the information sheet, the dinosaur in this egg is named Matilda and is a Diamantinasaurus matildae. The diamantinasaurus is an Australian dinosaur. Fossils were found in the Australian state of Queensland.

I don't know whether to try it or not because I like the secret inside being a secret.

Would you hatch it if you had one?

It's only through fossils and other remains we can start to discover animals and plants from the past. As examples, some are simply washed out of the ground in storms, some uncovered in mining, and some are seen after rockfalls. Back in 1984, I visited Naracoorte's Victoria Fossil Cave in South Australia. Animals had wandered into the cave, become lost and died. Paleontologists had been digging and found, amongst other animals, the remains of an extinct kangaroo species as well as diprotodon (a little like a huge wombat). Here is a photo of the dig site back in 1984..

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I checked Wikipedia to see what they have since discovered and found Wikimedia Commons has a wonderful public domain photo taken in the cave in 2006. It shows thylacoleo skeleton. This was an extinct carnivorous marsupial. Being a marsupial, the females would have had pouches for their young.

his image was sourced through WIkimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain. It was taken in China's Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology.

his image was sourced through WIkimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain. It was taken in China's Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology.

And now for a little gift I posted to you today...

I have just finished collecting cards from a new series named "Ancient Animals". I thought you might like one of the sets for your class. It has 81 cards on different types of animals from the past. It does come with a special magnifying glass with a UV light to show secret information on some of the cards. I had to put the UV magnifying glass in a small box to keep it safer. Both were posted on October 16. If all goes well and both parcels reach you, I wonder how long they will take and whether the book or magnifying glass arrives first?

Ancient Animals

 

AND NOW FOR THE LINKS TO EARLIER POSTS ON THIS BLOG I PROMISED

It was back in 2012 I wrote a post about fossils for the Global Grade 3. They would probably be Grade 6 now. Here is a link...

My Fossils for Global Grade 3

I've included links to posts I wrote after a visit the the National Dinosaur Museum in Canberra, Australia's capital city.

What the Dino Saw

What the Dino Saw Next

 All of the knowledge in the world is of no use unless it's used to help, and is shared with, others.

2 Comments

To see Global Grade 3's original post, click the link below

A Closer Look at MAPS!

Hello Global Grade 3,

I'll start by repeating the wonderful quote from Henry Miller at the beginning of you post...

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. 

~Henry Miller

I saw your post entitled "The Power of Observation and Wonder" and found it very interesting to read. I was going to write a reply because, as the previous Global Grade 3 class knows, I am interested in many things including stones but I have been very busy filming and making DVDs for schools. However, your "A Closer Look at MAPS!" post again caught my attention so I thought I'd write a short post about maps.

I have seen many types of maps including the types you have studied. Perhaps my favourite modern maps are the types I used as a Scout. I would say, "Give me a good map and a compass and I can usually find my way around."

I have scanned an old topographical map I used in the 1970s. It was measured in miles and feet but we were changing over to kilometres and metres around then. Have a look at the map. Click on it to see it larger...

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

The map has a great deal of information. I can see red lines showing roads. Some roads are shown as white with red dashes to show they are dirt roads. There are thick black lines with small, double dashes along them to show a railway line. Blues lines show rivers and creeks. We can easily see Blackheath is a town but there are large areas without streets and those areas interest me as I have explored those areas.

Can you see the brown wriggly lines on the map?

The brown lines are contour lines. They show heights. Each line shows a height of 50 feet more or less than the next. Some of the lines have numbers such as 3200.  The 3200 tells me at that place the land is 3200 feet above sea level. Looking at the numbers and the lines can tell me if I will be going up or down when hiking. Let's look closer at a section of the map...

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

I have added the red numbers to help students find specific points.

See the black, single dashed lines?

They are walking tracks I have followed. I have walked down from number 1 to 3 and up from 3 to 2.

1 - The beginning of the track is about 3250 feet above sea level.

2 - The end of the dirt road is about 3200 feet above sea level

3 - Beachamp Falls is about 2650 feet above sea level.

The map shows me if I walk down from 1 to 3, I will drop 600 feet. If I then walk up to 2, I will go up 550 feet. Because the brown lines are close together, I know the track will be steep in places.

Do you notice one section is named Grand Canyon?

It's not even close to the size of the Grand Canyon in U.S.A. but it is steep sided.

Let's look at some photos I had taken around 1980 in the Grand Canyon and at Beauchamp Falls.

Starting down the steep track from 1.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

We pass through a small tunnel and behind waterfalls.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Deep down in the Grand Canyon.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Until we reach Beauchamp Falls at 3.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

And now for two photos for your "The Power of Observation and Wonder" post. The photos show rocks that caught my eye but were left in place. They were in a national park so we are not allowed to take them. They were also far too big to carry.

The first shows a large sandstone rock.

Can you see the black mark?

It is the remains of a tree trunk buried under sand millions of years ago but now exposed after a rock fall. It is a fossil record of the tree.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The second shows an even larger sandstone rock.

Do you notice the ripples on it?

Millions of years ago sand was rippled by flowing water. A thin layer of mud covered the ripples and in time left a fossil record of water running over sand.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

What is even more amazing is this sandstone was sand under the sea millions of years ago but it is now lying 2650 feet above sea level. These rocks of sandstone certainly caught my eye and the eyes of the children I had taken there as we thought of their long history.

When we then walk the 550 feet in height (but much longer along  track) back up to 2, this is what we see when looking north.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

...and now your interesting questions...

How long does it take to study a place and then make the map?

For early map makers, they might have to walk, ride or travel by ship in order to make maps so it could take a long time to make a map.

Back in August 1768, Captain James Cook set sail from England. He was taking scientists to Tahiti to observe Venus crossing the Sun. Once the scentists had finished their observations, Cook's orders were to sail south to find Terra Australis Incognita, the unknown southern land, some people thought must exist.

In September, 1769 he reached New Zealand and set about mapping its islands.

In April 1770, he reached a land he named New South Wales. It was really the east coast of Australia. He sailed north along the coast mapping as he went. Cook and his ship didn't return to England until 12th July, 1771. It had taken him and his crew three years to make the journey and return with the maps he had made.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Today, with satellites, GPS and Google Earth, we can map the world from our own homes.

How many different kinds of maps are there?

Interesting question and makes me wonder what a map might be. We know most types but is a plan for a house a map? Is a design for a new machine a map? They also show where things are.

Are there maps about SPACE?

Now this is complicated. In your post , you noticed the maps you saw were two dimensional flat maps. In order to find a place on a map, you needed to know how far up or down and side to side a place is.

To accurately map space, we would need a three dimensional map and it would have to be huge because space is huge. Using computer models, there are space maps. Here is a link to a 3D space map animation representing 400,000 galaxies. Remember our Sun is just one star amongst possibly hundreds of billions in just one of those galaxies.

Amazing Universe Fly-Through

How do pilots use maps?

Have a look at this aviator's map. It's how a pilot might plot a course using information on their computer.

SkyVector Areonautical Maps

Of course, pilots in early days didn't have computers. They would look down to the ground and possibly follow roads or railways to their destination or they might use a compass so an old fashioned paper might might have helped.

Do we have maps for EVERYTHING?

WOW! Maps of everything? Even on our own Earth there are places no one has ever been so, for example, there are no accurate maps for some of the deepest places in our oceans. What about other planets, stars, galaxies? We may not have maps for everything but we do have maps of very many things but there is still so much more waiting for someone like you to map.

What jobs need maps?

Cartographers (map makers), pilots, sailors, explorers, delivery drivers, police, ambulance, fire fighters, tow truck drivers...   There would be so many jobs where we might need maps at some time.

How old is the OLDEST map?

A link if you want to see old maps....   Early World Maps

Look at these three maps...

These maps were sourced through Wikimedia Commons where they are listed as in the public domain.

These maps were sourced through Wikimedia Commons where they are listed as in the public domain.

The first shows the world as known by the Greeks perhaps 3000 years ago. It shows the Mediterranean Sea.

The 500 BC map from around 2500 years ago shows the Red Sea and the opening into the Atlantic Ocean.

By 150 AD Europe, parts of Africa, and Asia has appeared on the maps. Notice Terra Incognita at the bottom right of the map. It's what Captain Cook was sent to find or show wasn't there.

How many countries are there in the world?

Interesting... The United Nations has 193 countries as members. My blog has had visits from 193 countries and I have seen 196 listed as the number of independent countries in the world. Here is a link for you...

The Number of Countries in the World

Do maps ever change? (This one brought up some VERY interesting conversations around Bombay, Calgary, Nunavut and the NEW islands that VOLCANOES create!!!)

Maps have to change when what has been mapped changes.

Yes, volcanoes can create new islands.

1996 Hawaii Lava flow 01

You know about the big island of Hawaii. Did you know deep under the ocean around 30 kilometres south of The Big Ilsand there is a new volcano rising around 10,000 feet from the ocean floor with only about 3100 feet before it reaches the surface? If in the future it does break the surface, Hawaii will have a new Island.

The islands of Hawaii were formed in this way and will eventually erode into the ocean as many have already done over millions of years. Look at the Google Earth image below. The Hawaiian Islands are in the middle at the bottom. Look carefully and you can seen now submerged volcanoes moving off to the left  as you go north. They may once have been islands as is Hawaii.

Volcanic hotspots

When we have changes in the level of the sea, land also changes. In times of ice ages, sea levels can be much lower and expose more land. When the first people came to Australia around 30,000 years ago, they were able to walk from New Guinea into Australia and cross to Tasmania by land. Now you would need boats.

The opposite happens when sea levels rise. Some islands in our oceans are now underwater but were once above. It worries island nations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Another country I find interesting is the Netherlands (Holland). Over generations, they have taken back land from the sea using dykes and sea walls. In the news recently there have been stories of islands being built by the Chinese government in the South China Sea.

And in your own part of the world, when new suburbs, roads, streets, airports, railways, etc are built, maps need to change.

Do maps ever change? They have to if they need to be accurate.

I'll end with a quote, not from some famous philosopher or writer but from a character in the movie, "Superman", released in 1978...

“Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.” – Lex Luthor

Both your quote at the beginning and this at the end tell me the key to learning is to keep our minds and senses open to all around us for, if we do, we will begin to see our world and those beyond as containing mysterious, awesome and magnificent opportunites just waiting to be discovered.

OH DEAR!

At the beginning I said I'd write a short post about maps. I do get carried away when I see something as interesting as your posts. 🙂

To see the post from The Blogging Hawks, click below...

The Blogging Hawks

Hello Blogging Hawks,

What a wonderful surprise it was to read your post. You will find a comment for each of your comments below but I wanted to write a little first.

At the bottom of your post, there is a quote…

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

~James Matthew Barrie 

Looking back through my life, I must say I cannot remember when I started along my journey of giving and sharing with others. I suspect it’s something that can grow in all of us from when we are very young if we can open ourselves to the sunshine it brings.

The sunshine can’t be stopped from lighting our own lives. I know I enjoy being able to share whether through words, photos and video clips in a blog or items I have picked up such as your Orlando.

You know about Polly Princess and your Orlando but I also purchased a third bear from “The Kids’ Cancer Project”. I hope they don’t mind me using the below image from their website but I wanted to show you Olivia Cate Fairy Bear.

This photo should not be used by others. It was taken from the Kids Cancer Project website, an act I hope they don't mind. It has been used to show the bear I donated back to them.

This photo should not be used by others. It was taken from the Kids Cancer Project website, an act I hope they don't mind. It has been used to show the bear I donated back to them.

I bought Olivia and donated her back to The Kids’ Cancer Project so they could give her to a sick child in hospital. In a time when sunshine might seem to leave us, I hoped she had brought a little brightness to a young heart.

And now to your class comments…

Oliver – I may have not had a class of my own for nearly 10 years but it seems I am always looking for things to share with classes. I am glad to read you liked Suzie, the card readers and Orlando. Believe it or not, I already have some other items I will probably give away on the blog in the future. It seems charities know I will help when I can. Here is a photo of the latest new friend of mine from Backyard Buddies. It's a green tree frog…

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Mani – How wonderful you mentioned the peregrine falcon. Every day I put out seed for local birds that come to visit my house. One day I heard the noise of birds flying off quickly and looked to see what had scared them. Sitting on my roof was a peregrine falcon. I think it wanted to catch one of the birds. Here is a photo of some of birds who regularly visit my yard. Unfortunately, I didn't have the camera handy when the falcon visited.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. Birds include crimson rosellas, rainbow lorikeets, crested pigeons, a sparrow (not native) and spotted turtledoves (not native).

Aleah –I love to give but this means in return I also get gifts. My gifts come from the enjoyment I see in others when they receive things I send. I love that far more than receiving gifts I can hold. I’m glad Orlando has friends to keep him company.

Adam – It will be some time before my blog hits another milestone but I already have some new friends waiting for a chance to celebrate a milestone. I shared a photo of one with Oliver so here is another. He is a Backyard Buddies wallaby. I say he because he would have a pouch if a female…

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Faith – I knew Orlando would be welcome in your school because the other friends I have sent always found a good home. From my blog, you probably know I also sent Polly Princess to California. Unfortunately, Polly arrived too late as the class had gone on summer vacation. I have decided next year it would be better if I offer gifts before the blog’s birthday so I can show the winners on the day. This would mean gifts have the chance to arrive before vacations. I will write a birthday post in May, 2016 and show the winners on the blog’s birthday, May 23. What do you think?

Shaye – I know a number of people see the special milestone posts I write but many don’t leave a comment. Mrs. Renton’s classes have always been keen to write comments so they have better chances of receiving a gift. It seems strange but no schools in my own area have ever left comments. Perhaps they know they can see the real animals when they want.

Liam – You have probably noticed the photos of some new buddies above. I do have an unusual friend in the waiting queue. She is an Australian Army Nurse bear from the Australian War Memorial. Some of the money paid for her goes to wounded soldiers. I think she is cute but I shouldn't say that because she is a Lieutenant according to the pips on her shoulders. She will find a new home in the future.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Olivia – I think I am probably more surprised than you how many have visited my blog. When I started it in May 2012, I thought a few in the classes where I gave a comment might visit but now the blog has had over 110,000 visitors and 192 national flags. Isn’t it amazing how many people we can connect with through blogging?

Roxanne – I always find I learn when I share. I like to check the information I share and in doing so I often learn new things. Learning, good learning, comes from sharing and learning with others.

Haya – I also like the cards and reader. I ended up sending out three complete sets. Two went to Canada and one to U.S.A.. I’m waiting to see if my local supermarket runs another collector series I like. If so, I might have more to share with Mrs. Renton’s new class and perhaps you might be able to see them.

William – I also like to write comments but I think you know that. It seems a simple comment is really never enough if you have much to share. I do also have other collections I keep because of my many interests. They include rocks, music, movies, books and even some model trains I have had for very many years but these collections are never sent out or only, as in the rocks, shared as photos. Would you believe I even had a computer collection in the 1990s? I had 45 of them. They were old and needed repair so I fixed them then I would lend them to students. I mostly gave them all away to students over the years. Now I only have four including an iPad.

Robert – It’s easy to care about the world once you realise there are so many wonderful things, places and cultures. Back in the 90s, I worked as a teacher through the week and on weekends as a childcare worker in a hospital. My hospital work was as a playgroup leader. I would have games, crafts and activities for the children in the hospital. What amazed me about the children was they would try to have fun even when very ill. I like to think the Olivia Cate Fairy Bear I donated added a smile to a face.

Prayers – You are very welcome. I know Orlando will enjoy his new home, especially as Suzie will be there with him.

Bryan – The contests were a solution to a problem for me. I was buying items from charities but didn’t have room to keep them so I thought they would be happier in new homes where they would be loved. 🙂

Marah – I try to help charities whenever I can but I can’t help all that ask. I favour charities for children and animals. Kids Cancer Project is one I help when I can.

Riley – It’s hard to believe your year in Grade 3 has now ended. I wonder what great learning adventures lie ahead in Grade 4? I was always excited about getting a new class each year. It meant a whole new lot of shared learning adventures.

Sofie – It was kind of you to give a lovely gift to your sister. I know Kids Cancer Council, as well as Orlando and other bears his size, also have a much larger bear. Their Big Bear is 130cm (51 inches) tall. Could you imagine trying to post something that big? They might want him to sit in a seat on a passenger plane. 🙂

Alvin – I was once asked how I manage to win competitions (I have won a couple) and I say the first step is trying. Your class and other of Mrs. Renton’s classes enter whereas many don’t. It’s one of the secrets of life. We have to try if we want to succeed. I’m glad you liked the special friends I’ve sent. 🙂

Thomas – That’s kind of you to wish more classes had added comments for the koala draw. Maybe they thought they could only enter if I had written a comment for them but any class can enter the draws. I sent emails to my local schools about the draw but none entered. I suppose they thought the koala was cute but, living here, they can see living koalas. Yes, I have held a real koala. Because they only eat leaves from certain eucalyptus (you-ca-lip-tuss) trees, they smell a little like eucalyptus. Perhaps you can buy eucalyptus oil in Canada. If you can, you would know the smell.

The tall tree in the first photo is a type of eucalypt tree and the flowers are from a eucalypt tree. The flowers burst out of what we call gum nuts. You can see unopened gum nuts in the photo. You can’t eat them but bees love the flowers. Did you know native Australian bees can’t sting? We have honey bees here that do sting but native Aussie bees are smaller and safe.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Saadia – You can see in the comments above I already have other stuffies waiting to find new home in the future but you might not know about some others I have. Over the last few years Halloween Trick or Treating has grown in my town. I prepare all sorts of treats for what can be over 60 visitors. Some of the treats include small bears and other animals. You can see some I already have for this year.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Luisa – Before sending out the three sets of cards and readers to schools, I tried the cards on a spare reader I have. Some were incredible to hear. I don’t remember there being a card for koala sound but I can tell you they can make grunting like sounds, especially the males.

Marcus – It may seem strange but I never set out to have a blog seen by so many people but was happy to see the number of visitors grow. It made me feel as though I was still part of a class but this time, instead of being a class in a room, it is a very big class spread around the world.

Colby – One thing you can learn the more you know about a subject is how little you really know. That sounds strange but it means as you learn you start to realise how much more there is to know. That’s why I am still interested in many things. I seem to always be learning something new as I write blog posts. We only need keep out minds and senses open to the amazing world in which we live.

Carter – It would be very strange for my blog to receive gifts on its birthday but, from the pictures I share each birthday, you can see there is a party and I get to eat some birthday cake. Next door to my house there are two children I have at times looked after when their mother has to be away. They love to share the blog birthday cake even though they are now 12 and 15 years old.

Anita – Shipping can be expensive but I love to give and see that as part of giving. When I had classes of my own, I liked to buy things for them to use and still, after 10 years away from a class, have craft materials I bought back then. Now my “class” is much bigger but I still love buying things and sharing.

How do I get time? I sometimes wonder myself but I always seem to find time when it’s most needed but it can sometimes mean very long days.

I liked your comparison to changing a pumpkin into a carriage. Perhaps you were thinking of the recent cinema movie, “Cinderella”. Another of my hobbies is going to the cinema. I saw “Cinderella” a number of times before it finished and loved watching the pumpkin turn into a golden carriage.

Back to your post’s ending quote…

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

~James Matthew Barrie

Your comments brought some sunshine into my life. I hope you all enjoy your learning adventures in Grade 4.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This picture was one I prepared for a very short (54 word) story I wrote for a writing challenge back in 2011. We had to use the words “You are my sunshine.” I remembered it after I read your quote. Writing short stories was another hobby of mine but I never thought them particularly good. I just loved the writing challenges. You can find the stories using this link…

Ross’s Writing Blog

1 Comment

This post was written as an extended comment for a student sharing a post on Memorial Day in the U.S.A. You can see her post by clicking...

Memorial Day: A National Holiday

Hello Mallory, Mrs. Yollis and class,

I found this post to be interesting as it shares a few things of interest to me. Looking at Memorial Day, Australia's equivalent would be ANZAC Day held each year on April 25. It's a day when Australians remember those men and women who have served our country in war.

Bega Soldier's Memorial

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A Little ANZAC History

This year, 2015, held special significance for Australia and New Zealand because it marked the 100th anniversary of the day the ANZAC tradition began. Firstly, ANZAC is an acronym coming from Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It's a word used to describe the combined forces sent by New Zealand and Australia to help England in World War 1 (WW1).

Australia had only become a nation in 1901 when the British colonies, now our states, agreed to form the Australian Commonwealth, i.e. Australia as a nation. With England's declaration of war against Germany in WW1, the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand also declared they were at war with Germany. This was to be the first time Australians had gone to war as Australians.

Ships set sail from Australia and New Zealand with troops expecting to fight in Europe against Germany but a failed attempt to use naval strength to take the Ottoman Empire, and ally of Germany now known as Turkey, out of the war, ANZAC and other troops of the British Commonwealth were sent to the Gallipoli Peninsula then known as Çanakkale Savaşı to the Turkish. It was on April 25, 1915 ANZAC troops first landed at Gallipoli.

The Battle of Gallipoli (Çanakkale) lasted from April 25, 1915 until January 9, 1916 when British troops including the ANZACs withdrew from Gallipoli. There was huge numbers of soldiers killed on both sides of the battle where conditions were very poor for soldiers, many also dying of disease.

For the ANZACs, it may have been a defeat but it marked the beginning of a tradition. ANZAC Day each April 25 is a time when Australians and New Zealanders pause to remember those who have died in wars from that first battle up until modern times.

What did I do on ANZAC Day, 2015?

A few years back, I set myself a task of filming the ANZAC Day ceremonies in towns having one of the local schools in our Sapphire Coast Learning Community including 2 high schools and 13 primary (elementary) schools. I knew it was a task that would take a number of years as I didn't expect to finish until 2018. the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1.

My ANZAC Day this year started at 4:30 a.m.. I rose and headed down to the memorial in my town of Merimbula in order to set up a video camera to record what is known as the Dawn Service. The Dawn Service ended a little after 6:00 a.m.. I haven't as yet processed the video of The Dawn Service so I can't yet share it here but the photo below was taken during the service.

Merimbula Dawn Service

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

After returning home for breakfast, I next headed into our main shire town of Bega for the ANZAC Day March and Ceremony. It was only after this ceremony my ANZAC Day ended. I returned home by 1:00 p.m..

Below are two video clips I made of the Bega ANZAC Day march and ceremony. They were used in a DVD I gave to schools in Bega and members of the R.S.L. (Returned Services League for veterans).

Bega ANZAC Day March and Ceremony part 1 and 2

Do I have anyone in my family who had served in the military?

Before WW1 started, I had a great uncle (my father's uncle) who was in the Australian Naval Reserve. With decelaration of war against Germany, naval reservists were called up and sailed north in order to capture Germany territories around New Guinea. That means my Great Uncle Ernie was in one of the first battles of World War 1.

Great Uncle Ernie taken in 1915

Permission should be sort before using this image.

Permission should be sort before using this image.

After taking over the German colonies, my great uncle had returned to Australia and had resigned from the naval reserve. He was later to join the Australian Army and was sent to fight in Europe. He was killed in action over there but exactly where he lies isn't certain. He was one of the many unknown soldiers.

With the coming of World War 2 (WW2), my father and five uncles joined the forces serving in the Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force. All of my uncles survived that war and returned to Australia.

My father (left) and a friend in 1940 before leaving for Singapore.

Permission should be sort before using this image.

Permission should be sort before using this image.

My father had also returned but his fate in the war wasn't as "easy" as the others. He had been sent to defend Singapore from Japanese attack but, when Singapore surrendered to the Japanese, he spent most of the war as a Prisoner of War. He always marched in ANZAC Day marches. My brothers, mother and I would travel into Sydney to watch so ANZAC Day is also a day I remember my father who died back in 1967. My mother is a War Widow as it was determined my father had died as a result of his years as a P.O.W..

What else caught my interest in your post?

You mentioned you were a Girl Scout. I spent many years as a Cub Scout and Scout and eventually rose to earn the Queen's Scout Award (sort of like the Eagle Scout). As a scout, I had at times marched in ANZAC Day parades as a flag bearer. Scouting gave me a love for hiking and the outdoors that has stayed with me through life. Below is a photo of my Queen's Scout badge.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

If the British Commonwealth has a king as it's head, this badge would be known as the King's Scout badge. My Queen's Scout badge was awarded to me by the then Governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden Cutler, back in the early 70s.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Like the bears in the photo above? They are Orlando Pirate and Polly Princess I purchased from The Kids' Cancer Project. Read to the end for a birthday surprise.

Background to Items given away on this blog...

When considering my major blogging events at the beginning of this year, I knew three were approaching. At that early time, I thought they might spread throughout the year but, with the free or not for profit photographic, video, DVD, CD work I do for community and schools growing, busy times have meant the events have come close together. Two have already been achieved and posts written. They were...

Koala – Phascolarctos cinereus & 100,000 Visitors posted February 18, 2015

Post 201: About Bilbies and 200 Posts posted May 23, 2015

It wasn't meant to be but I am writing this blog birthday post on the same day I wrote the post celebrating the 200th post which included a class giveaway. It means I will be running two giveaways for classes (the bilby items in another post and the above bears), both to be decided June 6 to allow for Northern Hemisphere classes approaching their end of school year.

Why giveaways? Whenever I can, I support a number of charities. Some, as fundraisers, offer items for sale. The koala in the Feb 18 post came from "Backyard Buddies", a group supporting animals and the environment in national parks. The bilby items come from "Save the Bilby Fund" raising money to help preserve the bilby.

For the 3rd birthday post, items come from "The Kids' Cancer Project" from The Oncology Children's Foundation. I bought two of their bears to give away. Details of the giveaway after a little information on "The Kids' Cancer Project".

A Little About The Kids' Cancer Project

(Text taken from The Kids' Cancer Project notes.)

The Kids' Cancer Project has a single mission: To cure kids' cancer

Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in Australian children. Finding cures for 100% of kids' cancer is dependent on medical research. The Kids' Cancer Project funds The Tumour Bank, The Gene Therapy Trial, Drug discovery Program and the C4 Consortium of 8 expert cancer scientists, as well as other targeted research.

Two Bears Needing a New Home

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Orlando Pirate and Polly Princess want to find a new home with classes somewhere in the world. If your class would like a chance to receive one of the bears, simply leave a birthday greeting for the blog in the comments. A random draw will decide the winning classes if there are more than two class comments. You don't need to have received a post or to have visited this blog previously. It's open to any school class.

* Note: If individual students want to leave a comment, they must ask permission from their teacher. The bears can only be sent to a class and not an individual student.