To see Global Grade 3's original post click on this title Rock Museum.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
This post is the 200th to be posted on this blog. It's been a wonderful journey of sharing. 🙂
Mrs Jordan and Year 4, take a look at the "Post 201: About Bilbies and 200 Posts" post for a surprise.
A class posed the question, "What technology did you use when you were younger?" To see their original post, click on their question.
What technology did I use?
Let's take a journey back to the 1950s. When I was born, radio and going to the cinema, drive in or live performances were the normal entertainment. Computers were around but they were big, heavy and very expensive yet your mobile phone of today is far more powerful. These computers were only found in big companies or universities, not in homes.
Let's see some of the changes I saw.
Telephone - Telephones had been around for a long time before I was nborn but my family was the first in our street to have a telephone so neighbours would make and receive calls to our house. I still remember our phone number. It was UY 5734. That's right, we had letters and numbers and the phone had a rotary dial. It could be very awkward if it was a cold, rainy night when someone called for a neighbour and my father had to go and get them.Television - They started to appear in Australia in 1956. We, like the phone, were the only home with television in our area. It was black and white and not a very big screen. My father would arrive home from work to find people everywhere in our loungeroom trying to look at the TV screen. At first, they were just looking at photos such as of the Sydney Harbour Bridge until one night on 16th September, 1956 a man named Bruce Gyngell appeared to welcome us to television. Television had started so we could watch the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. For us in Sydney, our first TV station was TCN-9.
Record players - My parents owned a radio/record player for music and news. My mother had 78rpm* as well as 33 1/3rpm LP* records.
Games - They weren't electronic. We had board games such as Monopoly, checkers, chess and Ludo.
Cameras - We had film cameras we would use to take photos. Once taken, we would send the rolls of film away to be processed and printed. There were no video cameras but we did have movie cameras. The home movie cameras used 8mm film (see below). However, some people used 16mm film in cameras. They gave better pictures but were much more expensive. My first photo camera looked more like a black box and didn't take very good photos but my father had a better camera.
8mm movie camera and film
Here is a scan of some 8mm film frames. It's from a Popeye cartoon.
Movie film shows 1 frame (picture) at a time. When chaning quickly, the pictures seem to be moving. Here is a video clip showing how 8 frames from above can seem to move.
We would watch the 8mm movies projected on a screen.
*rpm - revolutions per minute - the number of times it turns in one minute.
* LP - long playing
There were no computers, iPads, and mobile phones in homes back then.
I was in primary and high school in the 1960s. Classes could have 40 children.
Pens and ink wells - At first, we had pencils but no ball point pens in class. In Year 3, I was an ink well monitor. My job was to fill the inkwells so students could dip their pens in to write. It was late 1963 when the school allowed students to use ball point pens. The only other way of writing was if we had a typewriter.
Computers - It was in the late 60s I saw my first computer at a science fair at high school. It was huge and could only play noughts and crosses. By the late 60s I had an interest in electronics so the big machine with valves in it reminded me of inside TVs of the day.
Transistor radio - The 60s was also the time I bought my first transistor radio. Imagine being able to hold a radio in your hand and listen to music.
This was when technology started to take off for me.
TV Games - I bought an electronic kit and was able to make a very simple game I could play on a TV. A small, very simple motorbike would move across the screen as you twisted a knob on the control box I built. You had to jump small "buses" that looked like white blobs.
The game looked a little like this on the screen.
Computers - In 1971, I visited the Atomic Energy Commission at Lucas Heights south of Sydney. I saw my first nuclear reactor and serious computer while there, a computer no one could afford to have in the home. The programs were on a series of cards. Programmers punched out holes in them. Hundreds might be needed for a big project so they would be left to run overnight. If one card had a mistake, the whole computer stopped and waited until the car was fixed.
This is what a programming card looked like.
Computers and me - It was in the 70s I first had the chance to use a computer while studying science at Sydney University. We didn't have floppy disks, hard drives, CDs, DVDs, USB devices or computer screens. There was a very large typing machine where you would type in your program. To have a copy of the program, a long strip of thick paper tape was fed through the printer and holes were punched in it. Graduates had something special, they had cassette drive but I was an undergraduate and had to stick to the tape.
The first computer I used at university (college) looked a little like this.
Teaching technology - When I started teaching in the 70s, I was a high tech type of teacher. Back then it meant I used a cassette player/recorder, a slide projector, and 8mm movie projector and an overhead projector in class. I wasn't able to use computers in class in the 70s but I did build some simple electronic kits for the children to use.
35mm Slide Projector. It still works.
8mm Movie Projector. It still works.
Overhead Projector. It still works.
Television - Colour TV started in the mid 70s.
Calculators - I was able to buy my first calculator in the 1970s. It could only add, subtract, multiply and divide. Around 1975, I bought my first scientific calculator. It could do much more. It's old and very worn but I still have it. Before calculators, I used a slide rule and logarithm tables.
My old calculator is 40 years old but still works. Good one Sharp!
Cameras - I have a few cameras to take still photos in the 70s. All used rolls of film.
Floppy Disks - Cassettes had been used to store program for computers since the early 70s but, by the late 70s, we had floppy disks to store programs. They came first in 8 inch, 5.25 inch and 3.5 inch sizes.
5 1/4 inch (13cm) Floppy Disk
Now we were starting to get really serious.
An Apple II computer.Computers in class In 1981 - I was in a small country school in western N.S.W. We had one Apple II computer we shared with five other small schools. There was still no internet, our class TV only had one channel if the weather was good, and the phone was oen where you would wind a handle and ask the operator for a number. It was in this year I wrote a couple simple programs for the children to use on the computer. One was a treasure hunt game and I always managed to beat the class members. Remember, I was the programmer so I programme d the computer to give me hints only I understood. Did that make me a cheat? 🙂
Video camera - It was in 1982 I bought my first video camera. It was large and had a heavy side pack you carried over your shoulder. Batteries were large and had lead inside so they were heavy. Back then, people thought I was with a televison station because video camera were very rare. I was visitng the town of Bathurst with my school that year when Queen Elizabeth II visited. Seeing the camera, police let me through the barrier so I could take a close up of the Queen. I'm sure they also thought I was from a TV station.
This is part of the video clip taken in 1982 during the Queen's visit to Bathurst. It was converted from VHS to digital.
Video Cassette Recorders (VCR) - These appeared in the early 80s and we could finally record programmes and watch movies. With my video camera and VCR, I was able to edit video I had taken. With my school Apple II computer and a small program I wrote, I could even add titles to the videos.
Computers in Schools - I helped introduce computers to two schools in the 80s. I was called a computer coordinator back then. As well as teaching, it was my job to care for the computers in the schools. Because of my electronics hobby, I was often able to fix computers with problems.
Computers and me - It was in the late 80s I bought my first computer. It was an Apple IIGS. With a printer (black and white only), I was able to print worksheets and dislpays for my class and other teachers . With only one computer in the school for classes to share in my first year there in 1988, I bought an Apple IIC computer for my class to use. I was really hooked on how they could be used in class.
An Applie IIGS computer just like the one I owned.
Computers in schools - In the 90s, the number of computers I owned grew as I bought or was given computers needing repair. The computer room I ran for a few years had 16 computers but only one was owned by the school. It was also in the early 90s I first used the internet with classes. I would roll my Apple IIc computer and modem down to an office and connect to a phone line. It was slow and could only show text. There was no graphics, music or video and I paid $5 an hour for access. By the end of the 90s, I had installed the first network room in the school and we then had a whole school network installed with internet access.
Computers and me - By the end of the 90s, I owned about 45 computers. I would have some of them in my classroom and lend others to the students in my class to use at home. The computers included Apple II, Apple Macintosh, Atari, Commodore, Acorn and a few other types as well as Sega and Gameboy handheld game devices. At home, I was using Apple Macintosh and Windows computers.
Handheld Gameboy Advance games machine.Cameras - In the 90s, I ran after school computer classes for students, the money I raised bought the schools first digital photo camera. The camera wasn't of great quality but the Apple Quicktake 100 meant I could load photos straight into a computer. In the late 90s, I also bought my first digital video camera. The photo quality was much better than the old video camera. Phones - In the 1990s, I bought my first mobile phone. You had to carry it like a small bag as it was large and weighed around 1kg but it was mobile and it worked.
Scanners and printers - In the 90s, I bought my first scanners and colour printers and had fun scanning photos and making changed photos for the student newspaper. Scanners were able to read printed writing so I didn't need to type everything.
CDs - Music CDs appeared and we were able to use these instead of vinyl LP records. We were even able to burn our own CDs .
DVDs - DVDs appeared in the late 90s and we were able to record movies from TV or add videos we made to them.
in these years I was retired from teaching by the end of 2005.
Computers in schools - Whole school networks, internet, You Tube, editing video on computers, digital cameras, small mobile phonesetc... The growth has been amazing. I moved to a new school and allowed children in my old school who had borrowed my computers to keep them. I had way too many for moving house and made a rule I should own no more than 10 for use in home and school.
Computers and me - I added my first laptop computer in this era.
Cameras - I bought my first digital SLR* camera and could simply plug it into the computer to load and edit photos and started buying extra video cameras for making DVDs and CDs for schools and community groups.
I have only just replaced this camera with a new digital SLR camera able to record HD video as well as photos.
Internet - was a part of everyday life.
Mobile phone - Mobiles were now much smarter and started to access the internet.
* SLR - Single Lens Reflex - It meant a type of camera where so look through the camera lens when taking a photo.
We're up to the current era.
I started blogging in 2012 and still am a keen techie type of person but no longer need all of the equipment I used while teaching but still have enough for producing filming and photographing performances as well as making CDs and DVDs for school and community groups.
So much has changed since I was your age. It makes you wonder what we might have in the future.
Will one of you invent something or create a brilliant app in the future?
To visit the original blog, click on Rocky River Goes Global
This is the 199th post on this blog. Rocky River, check out post number 201...
Hello Rocky River, here is the second part of a post I promised. This time we will look at life in a small, isolated school serving sheep and cattle stations, School of the Air, cattle stations in the Outback and life on a large sheep station.
Schools of the Air
Because of the isolated locations of some children on sheep and cattle properties or in communities too small for a school around Australia, a number of schools were set up to allow children to use two way radio. The first radio broadcasts dated back to 1951 and were sent out from the Royal Flying Doctors Service in Alice Springs. From 2003 till 2009, short wave radio was used but schools of the air are now turnng to internet technology giving students better access to information and the world.
In earlier years, radio became a contact to the world for isolated people. They used radios which were pedal powered. Someone would pedal to make electricity from a generator in order to power their radio.
With modern technology, you would find it much easier to use solar energy for electricity.
There are now a number of locations for Schools of the Air around Australia. According to Wikipedia, the schools of the air are in the towns of...
Mount Isa, Queensland
Charters Towers, Queensland
Charleville School of Distance Education, Queensland
Katherine, Northern Territory
Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Broken Hill, New South Wales
Tibooburra, New South Wales
Port Hedland, Western Australia
Port Augusta, South Australia
Kimberley, Western Australia
Carnarvon, Western Australia
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Meekatharra, Western Australia
School of the Air Locations
Within my state of New South Wales, the most isolated school is listed as Tibooburra School of the Air. The school is based in the town of Tibooburra. The school where I first had a permanent teaching position wasn't a school of the air although some high school students in my area used correspondence school where lessons were sent by mail. My school, Marra Creek Public School, was the sixth most isolated school in my state and the first not to be located in a town.
Marra Creek Public School
This was the first school were I was a permanent teacher and it was considered the sixth most isolated school in New South Wales. The five more isolated, while further from the state capital of Sydney, were in towns. Marra Creek Public School was 100km (62mi) from the nearest town. The children lived on sheep and cattle stations around the school and could travel from up to 50km (31mi) to school each day. Because the outback refers to isolated and remote areas, it could be considered an outback school. If you click on the school website link above, you will see they list themselves as an outback school.
This section of the blog post looks at my time in this outback school in the early 1980s.
When I first arrived at the school, the above photo shows what I found. You can see it had tanks to catch rain falling on the roof if it rained and a toilet block near the school building. We had a flagpole and a tall TV antenna but we could only receive one TV channel if the weather conditions were good.
The playground was mostly dirt but there was some ground covering plants. You couldn't go barefoot because there were often nasty wooden thorns called catheads. They would always have one spike pointing up.
We had a phone where, if you wanted to make a phone call, you would pick up the handset and listen to make certain no one else was using it. You would then put the handset down, wind a handle, then pick the handset up to see if the operator had answered. You could then ask for a number.
We didn't have mobile phones, push button numbers, emails, CDs, DVDs, Bluray or the internet back then but, for 6 weeks each year, we were able to use a borrowed Apple II computer. The computer had only about 12 programs so I wrote some extras for the class to use. Luckily for the children, I had used computers while a university student in the 1970s.
It was back in 1982 I purchased my first personal video camera. They were new on the market and expensive. When I used it, some people thought I might be from a television station. Using it, I produced my first school video clip. Now converted from VHS video tape to digital, below is a section of that first video clip. The youngest children, 5 years old, in the video would now be about 37 years old. I have never before shared this video clip with others since I was in that school so this is a special share for you to see outback children at work and play in the 1980s..
You Tube has removed some copyrighted music I used back then. I try to make certain video clips I now make only have music I am allowed to use.
During my two years at the school, numbers ranged from 12 to 20 students aged from 5 to 13 all in the one small classroom. I was the only teacher and was known as the Teacher In Charge (not a principal).
With a new classroom and my old classroom now the library, a teacher house and access to the internet, the school would be very different compared to when I taught there but it is still about 100km from the nearest town and so is still an outback, isolated school.
While teaching at Marra Creek Public School, I lived "next door" to the school about 20km (12mi) distant by road. I stayed in a house on a sheep station known as Lemon Grove. While I has there, the property grew to about 400 square kilometres (100,000 acres) although at the time the video clip below was made, the property was half that size. A neighbouring property had been bought by the end of 1982.
Below is a video clip I again made in 1982. It features Lemon Grove stud (sheep breeding property) and its annual field day. The field day allowed Lemon Grove and neighbouring properties to sell their sheep. It was also a social event for the area.
For any outback property, reliable water supplies can be a problem. Many properties have to pump water from natural underground sources such as the Great Artesian Basin found under about one quarter of Australia although water from the Basin came come to the surface by itself (see the grey shaded area on the map below).
On many farms, and sheep and cattle stations, you will see windmills. The windmills use wind power to pump water up from underground. Lemon Grove had a windmill near the main houses.
Each year, the sheep on Lemon Grove would be brought in for shearing in the shearing shed.
Shearers take the sheep and shear off the fleece in one piece.
Once done, the shearer takes the next sheep while others collect the fleece and take it to a table where bits of plants or dirt can be removed. A woolclasser then checks the quality of the fleece. They check how fine the wool is. Merino wool from these sheep is amongst the finest wool in the world.
Once classed, the fleece is put into a press with the same quality wool. When full, the press forces the wool together into bales. Bales can then be placed on trucks and sent off for sale.
Sunsets at Lemon Grove could sometimes be amazing, especially when storm clouds were gathering.
Sometimes, the miracle of rain comes to the dry land and within two weeks, the land can turn green with plant growth.
If you look very carefully in the middle of this photo, you can see an emu running away from where I was standing. Like ostriches, they can't fly. They rely on running to escape danger.
It is a male. How do I know? Look even more carefully and you can see chicks following the emu. For emus, once the female has laid the eggs she leaves. It's the males that care for the eggs and developing chicks.
Cattle stations mixed with sheep stations are found near Marra Creek School but, as you move into northern and more western Australia, sheep give way to cattle. Australia's largest cattle station is known as Anna Creek Station.
Anna Creek Station is roughly 24,000 square kilometres (6,000,000 acres or 9,400 sq mi) or about the size of the U.S.A. state of New Hampshire. It is in the state of South Australia. The largest cattle ranch in the U.S. is, I think, King Ranch in Texas. At 3,340 square kilometres (825,000 acres or 1289 sq mi) you would need a little over 7 King Ranch to make up Anna Creek Station.
In areas where rainfall is low, stations need to be very large to allow enough land for cattle to feed. In the photo below, taken by Robert Kerton of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in the Northern Territory, you can see how arid cattle station land can be.
Anna Creek Station in South Australia is roughly 24,000 square kilometres (6,000,000 acres or 9,400 sq mi) and, as at 2012, it had 17,000 cattle. That means each animal has about 1.4 square kilometres (353 acres or about half a sq mi). Smaller stations where more feed and water is available would have higher numbers of cattle for the land available.
Australia is a huge country, although smaller than U.S.A.'s 50 states yet most of it is arid or semi-arid (desert or near desert). Most Australians live around the coastal areas, paricularly in the east of Australia.
Sheep and Cattle Where I Live
My home is along Australia's east coast about half way between Sydney and Melbourne. It is in the Bega Valley Shire, an area known for Bega Cheese and its beautful coastline is popular with tourists. My family has been in this area since the 1840s. They were, and my cousin still is, dairy farmers. As well as dairy, we have beef cattle and sheep in my area. A few properties also have alpacas, none of these animals being native to Australia.
Below is a photo taken on the old family farm...
You can see it is much greener and hillier than central Australia. Farms are much smaller than the sheep and cattle stations of the Outback.
...and since I mentioned our coastline, here is a photo I have taken of the coastline as can be seen from my town.
This is a short post about the koala. Make certain you read down to the end of the post for something very special to celebrate the 100,000th visitor to this blog. Thank you for all of the visits to my blog. I had no idea it would be such a success when I started it in 2012.
Koala - Phascolarctos cinereus
Above is a photo of Sapphire the koala. She was born in 2011 to...
Did you notice Suzie had a large area on her breast much whiter than Blinky? Female koalas tend to have a larger, whiter area than males. You can see this on Sapphire as well. Seeing a koala up in a tree, you can often tell if it's a boy or girl from the breast area.
Koalas can live up to 13 to 18 years in the wild. Both Suzie and Blinky passed on in 2012. This left Sapphire alone.
Would she be sad? Koalas in the wild are normally solitary, i.e. they live alone, and only mix socially about 15 minutes on average a day, except in breeding season (October to May). Because their diet of eucalyptus leaves is very poor in nutrition, they can spend around 20 hours a day sleeping. I don't think koalas would be sad in the way we might be when they have leaves to eat and a place to sleep.
It can take a human child 9 months to develop before being born but koalas only about 38 days before being born and making their way into the mothers' pouches. Once in the pouch, they continue growing and can spend 6 to 7 months before they are too big to stay in the pouch.
Along their life's journey in the pouch, when the koala joey is large enough it at first sticks its head out of the pouch. As Sapphire grew, she spent more and more time out of Suzie's pouch. I was there to record some of her life's journey.
Koalas in the Wild
Koalas in the wild are listed as vulnerable. That's one step from being endangered and means we must take steps to preserve them and help their numbers grow in the wild.
For koalas, one of the biggest dangers is habitat loss. As trees are cut down, groups of koalas can be isolated, known as fragmentation of habitat.
When their habitat is fragmented, they can face the dangers of crossing roads or attacks by dogs as they try moving from one treed area to another. They can walk along the ground but prefer to stay in the trees. Below is a short video clip of Sapphire walking put together from a series of photos.
And now for a 100,000th Visitor celebration...
Sanctuaries such as Potoroo Palace rescue injured koalas and also have breeding programs to help keep koalas for our future. There are groups who concentrate on care for animals in the wild and educating people about our wildlife and environment. One such group is known as Backyard Buddies.
Each year Backyard Buddies contact me about their current fundraising goals. When I received the phone call towards the end of 2014, they explained for 2014 their goal was to raise funds to help animals in the wild. To do this, they sell special buddies and so, supporting such groups when I can, I purchased one of their buddies. Because of the amount of white, I suspect my buddy is female but am too polite to ask.
The buddy is 30cm (1 foot) tall and doesn't yet have a name.
To celebrate the 100,000th visitor to my blog, the buddy pictured above wants to find a new home. All you will need to do is leave a comment, "Backyard Buddies", in the comments section and I will carry out a random draw on March 1 this year.
There are some rules to remember...
1. Do not, in your comment, give any personal details. Safety online is very important.
2. The buddy can only be won by a class or school and not by individuals.
3. Individual class members can leave a comment but only their class can win. Individual class members must have permission from their teacher in order to be included.
4. Your comment need only say, "Backyard Buddy". As all comments need my approval, your comment will not appear on my blog until the comment has been approved.
5. The eligible comments close at the end of February 28, 2015, allowance being made so all time zones reach midnight on that day.
6. The random number selector I use will select a number. With the first comment received being number 1, each comment will be numbered consecutively. The comment corresponding to the random number will be deemed winner providing I can contact the school concerned.
Check on March 2 to see if your class or school is the winner. I will attempt to email your teacher, class or school to find a delivery address for your class or school. The buddy will be sent as a regular post parcel, air mail if the winner is outside Australia.
Upcoming other blogging milestones...
200th post - Some time this year I will make my 200th post on this blog.
3rd Birthday - On May 21, 2015 this year my blog will turn 3.
Mrs. Renton left a special message on her class blog for the incoming Grade 3 students...
I wanted to share some thoughts on their year ahead and the learning waiting to be explored.
Learning is like a seed
This is part photo, part drawing of a seed of acacia longifolia or Sydney golden wattle. It grows in the wild in my area and produces seeds around 6mm in length.
Why is learning like a seed?
In all of us when we are young there is a strong ability to learn, our seed, if only we are given the chance to experience new things and we keep our minds and eyes open to the world around us. With these experiences as its food and water, our seed starts to grow into a strong plant. Eventually, our plant brings forth flowers and seeds of its own.
With new seeds to sow learning into the hearts of minds of others, our knowledge grows and our plant thrives and is joined by others.
Our seeds grow strong into a tree of knowledge. Our learning continues throughout our lives adding new branches and planting more seeds as we share our learning with others.
Our learning and sharing can help keep our minds young even though we might grow older. I still discover new learning and, when I do, try to find ways of sharing with others.
A man made famous because of the cars he produced, Henry Ford once said, "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."
Grade 3 with Mrs. Renton will bring you many chances to grow your trees of knowledge and blogging will allow you to share with others as it has with me.
P.S. Like Mrs. Renton, I don't skateboard, would much rather go rock hunting and also have a love of science and drawing. I have been using computers with students since 1981 and am interested in many other subjects. There is so much to know and the aim of my journey is to learn as much as I can and share my learning with others. If we had all of the knowledge in the world it's of no use unless it is shared.
In the birthday post for this blog, classes were invited to suggest names for the two friends pictured above.
With the assistance of some Grade 4 volunteers, the votes are in for this blog's birthday competition. I would like to introduce some friends of this blog.
Boxer and Roo
Boxer and Roo will soon be travelling to their new home in Canada where they will live with the Battalion Bloggers.
Eucy the koala won't be travelling as far as Boxer and Roo because Eucy's new home will be in the state of Victoria, Australia. 4A and 4B will be Eucy's new family.
With their new names and homes, Boxer, Roo and Eucy were very excited but I noticed they were also a little sad. They said their friend, Pepper Possum, also wanted a new home. They asked if I could find one. I told them not to worry. Another class had entered some fantastic names in the birthday competition. After looking at the names suggested, Boxer, Roo and Eucy thought Pepper Possum would love a new home with such creative students.
When Pepper Possum was told about a new home, all of the friends were excited. Pepper Possum will be travelling to the U.S.A. to stay in a new home with Mrs. Yollis and her class.
What an amazing two years it has been. This blog started out merely as a way of adding photos/drawings/video/audio when a simple comment wasn't enough. I had no idea how much a part of my life blogging would become. Being a retired teacher, I once again felt part of student learning.
As of May 21 there had been 73,400* visitors from 179 countries who have dropped in. My top five visitors have been from U.S.A., Australia, Great Britain, Canada and India. There has been so much interaction where students and I shared our learning journeys on many topics.
To celebrate, two friends of mine joined me for a birthday party complete with a cake. As you can see in the photo above, they really got into the swing of the party.
My two friends have a slight problem classes might like to help me solve. They don't have names. Can classes help me find names for them?
Let's have a closer look at them...
They are an Australian made koala and kangaroo. If your class thinks of a name for each, write them as a comment on this post.
Only class entries will be taken, no individuals. If you are entering for your class, you must ask your teacher if it's okay.
Classes should only enter one name for each of my friends. Remember to mention which friend for each name.
I hope to have a panel of local students help me make the selection. They will not have entered for their class.
You have until the last part of the world reaches midnight on May 29, 2014 to submit your suggestions.
For my blog 's birthday, the gifts are for readers. My two friends are waiting for a new home. The winning two classes will be notified and I will attempt to contact your school for the school address details. Your class will, if your class name is chosen for one of the friends, receive the friend you have named.
Below is the Clustrmap for this blog's first two years...
*73,400 was based on data from Clustrmaps and not actual visitors due to the Clustrmap being inserted some weeks after this blog commenced.
To see Heather's post about prefixes and suffixes...
When I first saw your topic for the post I was curious. Words and something about words known as etymology are two of many interests of mine. Words because the more we know and understand of them, the more powerfully we can share with others.
Etymology is the study of where and how words began. Etymology can explain why words with silent letters came about or why other spellings or meanings exist.
You can try to find the etymology of words by going to this link. You will see a “search” box on the screen where you enter the word you want to trace…
(It doesn’t include spellable.)
Your post was interesting for me not only because you shared words to help others grow in word power, you also made me think about how words begin.
Let’s look firstly at the word, "spellable". Believe it or not, spellable is a word although not shown in all dictionaries. As you know, it means able to be spelt. If people think it isn’t a word, here is a link…
A little research and I find the word “spell” seems to have been around in some form for about 700 years but “spellable” is very different. I suspect it is much more modern and comes from our era. By using it, you are helping to make it a stronger word.
Made up words become real words the more people use them. Words can also change meaning over time.
Have you heard of an iPad? I’m sure you have.
iPad is very modern and I think was invented by someone at Apple Computers but the way it’s said is what I find interesting. If we go back to the time I was your age and I heard someone say “iPad”, I would think they are saying “eye pad”, a medical dressing placed over an eye. Now, I have to listen to how it is used to know if people are talking about an “iPad” or an “eye pad”.
Words can be different in other countries. You walk on the sidewalk while we walk on the footpath. In USA, if you break the law you can go to jail yet here we go to gaol. Believe it or not, “jail” and “gaol” are said the same although many Australians are now using the US spelling.
Words can be very interesting and that leads me to what you have shared.
Your post on prefixes and suffixes is brilliant.
You have set it out clearly and in an easy way for younger readers to understand. You may be a student in school but you are now also a teacher for younger children. To have knowledge and share it is a wonderful gift.
Can I come up with some words that have prefixes or suffixes?
I know one of the most confusing problems for many young learners is knowing which prefix to use. Look at these words…
impossible, unpossible, ilpossible
imlegal, unlegal, illegal
imnecessary, unnecessary, ilnecessary
In each line, one word is correct and the others are wrong yet the im-, un- and il- prefixes can all make the words opposite. My choices for the correct words would be…
impossible, illegal, unnecessary
Here is a link sharing some prefixes and suffixes people might like to try using…
What is my favorite word that includes a prefix or a suffix?
My favourite word containing prefixes and suffixes is…
base word: establish
prefixes: anti- dis-
suffixes: -ment, -arian –ism
meaning: opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England
Now that seems like a mouthful of a word but have a look at this one…
It’s said to be a medical word for a lung disease but I can’t see it being used very often.
Here is a little fun with prefixes…
If we are given more money, we have an increase. If we are given less money, we have a decrease. Does that mean if our money stays the same we simply have a “crease”?
Can’t words be amazing?
A student was learning about Australia and shared some facts and questions. Enjoying reading what was shared, I thought I would provide some information. To see the original Google document...
Looking at the Facts
Here is a summary of information based on your Google document. If you scroll down to "About Australia" on this post, you can read some of the information used to find answers and facts.
There are six Australian states.
The first known Europeans came to Australia arrived in 1606 although the Chinese may have come in the 1400s. People from Indonesia and may have arrived much earlier and the Aboriginal people first came here as much as 60,000 years ago.
Western Australia is our largest state.
There were many language groups in Aboriginal Australia, each with their own cultures. They didn't have tribes like Native Americans.
Australia is the largest island and smallest continent. It is the only continent to be one nation.
Australia has a number of states and territories.
Australia borders the Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans.
Australia is an island and not landlocked. Landlocked means no access to the sea.
Australia'c capital city is Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. Each state and territory has its own state/territory capital.
- What are these “parts” called? - The main part of Australia has six states (Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania)and two territories (Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory).
- Why are they so big? - Our states are large because of the arid and semi-arid areas, a much smaller population than the U.S.A. and finding most people live along or near the coast.
- How did they name them? - Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia were given their names because of their location. Victoria and Queensland were named in honour of Queen Victoria. Tasmania gained its name from the first European explorer to reach it Abel Tasman. New South Wales was named by Captain Cook. It's said the coast reminded him of parts of Wales in the United Kingdom.
- Who decided to split this country? - The country wasn't really split. Areas gained their names as new colonies were established.
- Who did this? - Each state had a governor representing the king or queen and a government. In a way, each state had been its own country and could set laws.
- How did this happen? - With all the states agreeing after many meetings of state leaders, Australian became a commonwealth and nation in 1901.
- Is it because a historical feature that slowly split them? - The historical feature was colonisation. With large distance between colones, it was better for each colony to control its own area while officially being governed by the king or queen through a governor.
- Was it because of a war? - Australia became a nation by agreement and not war. The English crown also approved Australia becoming a nation.
- When did this happen? - The first British colony was founded in 1788 in an area of Sydney near the now famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. The second colony was established was Van Diemans Land (later Tasmania).
- Why did it happen? - When there was only one colony, the east of Australia and New Zealand were all in the colony of New South Wales. As new colonies were formed, new borders were drawn up and New Zealand separated from New South Wales. Federation in 1901 came about because the states decided they should all be part of one nation.
- When was this discovered? - The borders in Australia were made using rivers or latitude and longitude readings. The changes all came about over time so there was no great discovery.
Read on to see more information on Australia plus links to other blogs.
Here is a map of Australia I have drawn...
The main part of Australia has six states (Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania)and two territories (Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory). It also has jurisdiction over Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and the Ashmore and Cartier Islands in the Indian Ocean and the Heard and McDonald Islands in the Southern Ocean.
The map also shows the capital cities of each state or territory. Canberra is our national capital.
Australia is said to be the world's smallest continent and the world's largest island. Any land mass larger is a continent and any small an island. It's the only continent that is one country. Much of it is arid to semi-arid (desert to very dry areas). You can see on the map cities tend to be near the coast or the wetter eastern coast.
Another student was interested in the "outback" and wanted to know if I'd been there. If you're interested, click the link below and you will see information about a 1985 trip through the Australia's centre.
The Australian flag has three major features on a blue background. In the top left hand corner, there is the Union Jack as in the Union Flag of the United Kingdom. The large, seven pointed star under the Union Jack is known as the Commonwealth Star. Six points are for the six states and the seventh is for Australian territories. The five stars at the right represent the Southern Cross (Crux to astronomers). It's always in our sky.
The First Australians
Firstly, it's thought the first Aboriginal people came to Australia from Asia up to 60,000 years ago. At that time the world was cooler and sea levels lower because a polar ice. The islands of Indonesia would have seemed closer because the low sea levels meant coasts were further out. It was possible to walk across dry land from New Guinea to Australia and from the state of Victoria to Tasmania.
Much of Australia was forested with lakes. There is evidence, particularly around the dried lake bed known as Lake Mungo, of thriving people living along its shores. As climate warmed, the land links to New Guinea and Tasmania were covered with water as they are today. Australia's centre started to dry. Forests and lakes disappeared and the Aboriginal people adapted their habits to live in the arid and semi-arid conditions.
This photo is of Aboriginal art on Uluru (Ayers Rock).
Rather than one tribe, there were many language groups. The Aboriginal people didn't really have tribal groups as the Native Americans have. My area of Australia is Yuin land. There were many language groups and different beliefs across Australia. Each were rich in culture and belief. Click on this link to see the Aboriginal Australia map.
To find out more about Aboriginal Australia, here is a link to a post I wrote for a class looking at Australia's original people...
This is one side of Australia's dollar note showing Aboriginal designs. It has now been replaced by a coin.
Chinese and European "Discovery"
I've always thought it a little strange when people speak of who discovered Australia. Surely that claim could only go to the first Aboriginal people coming to Australia fifty to sixty thousand years back. Who else "discovered"Australia?
There is apparently some evidence Chinese explorers as early as the 1400s. Between 1405 and 1453, a Chinese admiral sailed a huge fleet of junks south to Timor and so could well have visited Australia.
Here are some of the first known Europeans to make it to Australia were...
1606 William Jansz on the "Duyfken" saw the coastline of northern Australia
1616 Dirk Hartog on the "Eendracht" landed on Western Australia's coast
1642-1643 Abel Tasman reaches Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania)
You might have noticed the names are Dutch. The western area of Australia became known as "Hollandia Nova" (New Holland).
The first known Englishman known to have reached Australia was WIlliam Dampier in 1688. He also only reached the west coast of Australia. It wasn't until 1770 before the first European sailed along Australia's east coast.
Captain James Cook's 1769/1770 Voyage
Below is a photo of the H.M.B. Endeavour taken at Twofold Bay, in 2012. It is a replica of James Cook's H.M.S. Endeavour and visited Twofold Bay near my home. If you look at the background, little would have changed since Cook's voyage nearly 250 years ago.
To read more about this replica ship, click on HMB Endeavour at Eden.
In 1769, Captain James Cook set sail from England on the "Endeavour". His task was to take scientists to see the transit of Venus from Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean. His other task was to solve a mystery. Many had thought there must be an undiscovered continent south to balance the world's countries up north. Some maps named it Terra Australis (Southern Land). Cook was given the task of once and for all time showing no such land exists.
After heading south from Tahiti, he came to New Zealand in 1769. He mapped the islands before heading west. He first sighted Australia in 1770 at a place named Point Hicks a few hundred kilometres to the south of my home. He made maps of the land as he sailed north, naming it New South Wales.
New South Wales and a British Colony
At this point in Australia's history, the history of the United States overlaps ours. I'm certain you know the importance of the year 1776 for the U.S.A.. When England lost its American colony, they were looking for another place. English prisons were overloaded with convicts and couldn't be sent to America. It was decided to send a small fleet of ships to the land described in Cook's voyage.
On January 26, 1788, the English flag was raised in the new colony of New South Wales. At this point, New Zealand was also part of New South Wales.
1825 - the border with New Holland had moved to where the Western Australia border now lies. Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania in 1856) became a separate colony.
1829 - New Holland becomes known as the Swan River Colony and Western Australia in 1832.
1840 - New Zealand is no longer part of New South Wales, and the colony of South Australia is formed although it isn't until 1860 when South Australia has the borders we see now.
1851 - The colony of Victoria is formed.
1859 - Queensland is formed as a colony.
1901 - The Commonwealth of Australia is formed by the member states and Australia becomes a nation and not a collection of colonies.
1911 - Federal Capital Territory (Australian Capital Territory in 1938) and Northern Territory are formed.
Each of Australia's states started out as a British colony with their own government, money and banks. With federation in 1901, the states had agreed to join as a commonwealth. There wasn't a war between our states. Our political system is based on that of the United Kingdom. We have a Prime Minister rather than a president and Queen Elizabeth II is recognised as our head of state with a governor-general her representative here in Australia.
Until 1984, Australians sang "God Save the Queen" at official events, the same national anthem as in the United Kingdom. In 1984, "Advance Australia Fair" became our official national anthem. Click on the title below to hear a choir of about 100 sing our national anthem.
Our states are large because of the arid and semi-arid areas, a much smaller population than the U.S.A. and finding most people live along or near the coast. The largest U.S. state by land is Alaska at 1,481,347 square kilometres. With Western Australia being 2,526,786 square kilometres and Queensland being 1,723,936 square kilometres. Alaska would only be the third largest if it were part of Australia.
The area of United States is about 1.3 times larger than Australia yet the U.S. population is nearly 14 times larger than Australia. We have much more space but few people live in much of Australia because of its harsh climate.
To see more links to Australian information as well as video clips of Australian animals, click the link below...
On Wednesday, October 16, 2013, I was invited to go along on a whale watching trip with people from Potoroo Palace (an animal sanctuary and source for many of my animal photos) on a Go Whale Watching tour. To see the details of what was seen, click the link below...
This post is additional to the observational post and aims to give more information on humpback whales and their migration along the coast near my home.
(Information sources: Wikipedia... Humpback Whale and an Australian Government pdf fact sheet Eastern Humpback Whales )
The link below is a recording of humpback whale song. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain.
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are members of the balaenopteridae family of cetacea (whales, dolphins and porpoises), i.e. they are not toothed whales. They have a baleen made of a similar material to your fingernails. Their baleen is used to filter out food when they take in large amounts of water when feeding. They feed on krill (like small shrimp/prawns) or small school fish.
One surprising behaviour I have seen in nature programs is the way humpbacks work together to encircle schools of small fish using bubbles they blow. Making the circle of bubbles slowly smaller, they eventually lung up through the school of fish with mouth open taking in thousands of fish in one gulp. The water drains through the baleen leaving the fish trapped.
The green shaded areas are approximate breeding areas for humpback whales.
Humpback whale populations are found in the North Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Southern Oceans. The Southern Ocean humpbacks are the whales we find migrating along Australia's coast so I will write about those passing my area annually.
During the summer months, humpbacks feed mostly on krill in Antarctic waters. Although the timing can vary, most head north from June to August and south again from September to November. In northern waters, they don't tend to feed but this is where they mate and females give birth to their calves. The September to November migration gives a good chance to see mothers and calves heading south for summer. The calves take milk and build up fat reserves along the way.
In the photo below taken on October 16, a mother and calf seemed to be at play. The mother's pectoral fin and fluke are to the left and the calf's pectoral fin is at the right.
How Will I Know If It's a Humpback?
Humpback whales can be identified by the features you see when they surface. Below are some photos I have taken to help you...
Below is a short video clip made from a series of still photos. It shows a whale blowing and diving.
Whaling in Australia
Whaling had once been a big industry in parts of Australia, including Eden near my home. Whaling along the east coast stopped in 1963. All Australian whaling was banned by 1979. Since then the numbers of humpback whales migrating along our coast has been growing.
Located in Eden, the Eden Killer Whale Museum has many displays dealing with local whaling history...
...but perhaps my favourite display is the skeleton of Old Tom, an orca or killer whale (Orcinus orca). Unlike humpbacks, orca are toothed whales. They can feed on fish, sea lions, seals, walruses and even other whales such as the humpback.
Why is Old Tom so special? Old Tom was said to have had a special relationship with whalers in the past. Old Tom was thought to be the leader of an orca pod. The pod would herd balleen whales into Twofold Bay and help the whalers kill the whales. The orcas would then be rewarded by the whalers with the tongue and lips of the balleen whales. It was said at times Old Tom would hold a rope from a whaling boat to tow it out to the balleen whales. On September 17, 1930, Old Tom was found dead in Twofold Bay. His age was unclear but he could have been up to 80 years old*.
Eden remembers its past with the annual Eden Whale Festival attracting locals and tourists to the parade and festival area where rides, displays and entertainment are available.
This year (2013) the Eden Whale Festival parade is scheduled for November 2.
* Thanks goes to Jody White, Collection Manager for the Eden Killer Whale Museum, for the updated information on the age of Old Tom. Early 1970s age dating for Old Tom is thought to have been unreliable in placing Old Tom's age at 35.
to see Global Grade 3's original post, click the below link...
A very busy time involving around 300 hours work (from rehearsals, photography, filming, editing and producing) on a twin DVD set then travelling a total of around 1400 kilometres delivering them to 15 schools (some more than one visit) meant this is the first extended comment since July 9th. With the Northern Hemisphere on summer vacation, I spent more time on special fiction writing groups I visit. What a wonderful surprise it is to see, by chance, the first extended comment since July goes to a class blog I have so often visited. Here goes...
It's Just a Dot
Have you ever heard someone say it's only them and so what can they do? Your Dot Day post had me thinking about this. I thought I would share my thoughts with you through a short video clip I posted to You tube for you...
Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.
Making Your Mark
I watched your video clip about how you will make your marks and was very impressed by all of your ideas. They were of helping, persevering, caring for the environment and trying to be brave and do your best.
I hope I have all of the names from your video and they're spelt correctly.
Lane - Helping others is an outstanding way to make your mark.
Isaac - Using less electricity helps conserve resources.
Peng Peng - Being kind to other adds happiness to the lives of others.
Kelly - Trying your best and helping others will help you grow into a wonderful adult.
Hilary - Never giving up on something important is a way to make a difference.
Kale - Trying hard means you will always put your best effort into things you care about.
Hannah - Helping others who are sick or hurt suggests you might want to be a doctor or nurse. Caring for others is very rewarding.
Laurie - Being brave enough to try new things means you can face future challenges.
Aya - Persevering and helping others needing help means you will make a difference.
Noam - Smiling can bring brightness to a dull day and light into the hearts of those who share a smile with you.
Claire - Together with Noam, I think you will make the world a happier place.
Jenna - Helping others not knowing what to do is important. We should share our skills and knowledge with others.
Kennedy - Being kind to people shows them you care and helps them feel good about themselves.
Daniel - Being helpful adds to the happiness of others and rewards you with smiles.
Ethan - Helping everyone even when it's hard means you will make the world a better place.
Catherine - Cheering people up when they're sad is very important. Happiness brings health.
Alex - Making the world a better place is always a good goal and recycling is one part of the goal.
Sam - Helping your family can start you on a path of helping others. People who help others make a difference.
Zyne - What a great idea. I like to try to find ways of using things again. When we do this, we are part of recycling.
Cohen - Picking up litter gives us a tidy environment. Helping others gives us smiles.
Thinking About Dots, what would be mine?
I looked back on my life and wondered what a suitable dot for me might be. I thought what better than a dot made up of hundreds of faces from my classes over around five years. You saw it briefly at the end of the video clip. Here is my dot showing how I have made a mark...
Have I ever been faced with a challenge that I have overcome by PERSEVERING?
What an interesting question you've asked. I suppose I have faced many challenges in my life but that is part of living. A life without any challenges, no matter how small they might be, can be very empty. It's through life's challenges and how we deal with them we grow as people. Here are some of the challenges I've set myself...
When a boy, I was a Scout. I set myself the task of gaining the highest awards as a Cub (Leaping Wolf badge), Scout (Green Cord) and Senior Scout (Queen's Scout Award). Below is a picture of my Senior Scout shirt I still have. It's now over 40 years old.
When I was seven, I set myself the goal of becoming a teacher. By high school, I was collecting things I thought might be useful (including newspaper clippings of the first landing on the Moon). I decided I wanted a science degree even though I wanted to teach primary school. Most primary school teachers back then had diplomas and not degrees and few now have science degrees. My curiosity of the world around me and how it works drove me into science, a curiosity I tried to share with my students. Below is a photo on the day I received my Bachelor of Science degree (I should have worn a suit).