Monthly Archives: May 2012


For the original Global Grade 3 post…

Pennies for Peru … walking a “mile” in someone else’s shoes!

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Hello Global Grade 3,

“To walk a mile in someone’s shoes”… what an interesting saying. There are many variations around and I don’t know of any specific origin but they all have the meaning, understanding.

As you’ve pointed out, such sayings can’t be taken literally. Although, it might be possible to spend time in Peru and wear the recycled tyre sandals and walk to school this might be an adventure for us. For Q’enqo children, it’s as every day as perhaps you riding in a car or dropping into a shopping mall.

I’m sure all of you, if it was necessary, could walk four kilometres to school and four kilometres home. Your shoes would undoubtedly be warmer and more protective than the sandals. I have seen sandals made from recycled tyres sold in Australia at times and know they may protect the bottom of your feet but they wouldn't keep out the cold.

Consider one problem you might face if you were to visit Q’enqo and walk with the children. Did you know the higher you are, the lower the air density and air pressure? What might seem normal to Q’enqo children might have you struggling to breathe if you tried to run or walk far.

I don’t know what altitude you’d find Q’enqo but, as an example, I once took a group of parents and children to New Zealand. We visited Coronet Peak on New Zealand’s South Island. Its altitude was only 1649 metres above sea level. While most people found breathing easy, one person had said they were finding breathing a little hard.

From what I have found, Peru’s highest peak is Hiascaran Sur at 6746 metres. Q’enqo wouldn’t be anywhere near that altitude but I suspect it’s much higher than Coronet Peak.

Now back to your walk in someone’s shoes…

What would happen if you were to carry out the same walk but only breathed in about half the amount of air you might normally take in?

Would you tire more quickly?

Would you find it harder to walk?

Now think again, if you were to wear sandals during winter, took only half breaths and had to walk four kilometres…

We are all very lucky to live where we do in countries where we have greater ease. What is so important about your walk is you are trying to share an experience with distant children and, in the process, raising money to help them.

Your school is a school of change makers.

This little girl is from a local alpaca farm. These cute little guys from South America have even made it to Australia.

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

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Mya – When we have a need, we often find ourselves much stronger than we think. You’ve experienced the walk but, if you had to do it twice each day, you would find yourself growing stronger.

Rijul – Distances can sometimes be hard to judge. On some of my longer walks, people have asked if I get bored walking for hours but I always said I don’t think about the walking. I just keep going and perhaps think of a story to write or watch for interesting animals and plants.

Tormod – Long walks can make you feel tired and, if it’s a warm day, sweaty. It might feel different in the thinner, cooler air of Q’enqo.

Ava – 6.9kg of money sounds impressive. That’s around the weight of a six month old baby. Something great was born in your walk and the children of Q’enqo will benefit.

Max - 7km is quite a walk. It’s almost the distance some Q’enqo children have to walk each day. How sad would it be to walk the 4km only to find the teachers aren’t there? It wouldn’t be possible to warn children ahead of time without the internet or phones.

Larissa – It is wonderful you have learned so much from your walk. For the children of Q’enqo, the walk is a normal part of the day. I think you would find strength if you lived in Q’enqo and had to do that as part of your day. We all learn to do what is needed to make our days successful.

Galen – Running may make the distance quicker but you can end up more tired. I think the Q’enqo children would walk. I once timed my distance walking speed and it came out as 4.8 kph so the 4km walk in your school would take me about 50 minutes but, in Q’enqo where the air is thinner and the walking is uphill, it would take me much longer.

Zahra – Q’enqo children do have a much harder life than children in your school and my area. Only the closest students walk to school here. Four school buses pass my house each morning. One travels 2km, a second 10km, another 20km and a fourth travels 35km depending on the school the children attend. Many children do walk to the nearby school but more than half take the bus or are driven.

Julia – Even though you were tired, I know you would have felt great because of the good cause the walk was supporting. Sweaty and tired in a good cause is worth the effort.

Alexia – I can see by the first photo on the post, some of you had the Peruvian flag to carry. I found a You Tube link of the Peruvian National Anthem. Check to make sure it’s okay for you to view…

Thalia – I can understand the Peruvian children’s liking for school. They are able to learn and be with others before they return home.

Brenden – I think you had a great attitude in the walk. When getting tired, you need only remember the reason for the walk and it can help you find new strength.

Natasha – “They think they are lucky. We know WE’RE lucky.” How good a world it would be if those with more were willing to share with those who have less.

Damian – Achieving 7km in an hour is quite a feat. I‘ve already mentioned my distance walking speed is an average of 4.8km per hour but, over shorter distances of only a couple kilometres, I reach 5.8km per hour. This means you would have out walked me by a little more than a kilometre. J

Jun – I know the feeling asthma can give you. I have what’s called exercise-induced asthma. Most of the time it’s no problem for me but I think it would be at Q’enqo’s altitude. One of the times I was on top of Mt Tarawera in New Zealand, I had some problems with asthma meaning I couldn’t do the walk into the volcanic crater. It was only 1111 metres above sea level. Here’s a link to a post I wrote for a class last year. It shows you Mt Tarawera…

Martin – Your achievement for the children of Peru is something worthy of being proud. More than that, it helps fill your invisible bucket.

Kaylee – Running 11 laps in 50 minutes is very impressive. I might walk quickly but I hardly ever run. The amount raised might be important but what is more important is the effort you all put into making the walk-a-thon a success.

Jesse – From the photos, I can see you are very lucky to have a very large grassy area around you school. This would have made it easier to walk around rather than the stony paths used by Q’enqo children. I can tell the Q’enqo children inspired many to try harder even when tired.

Sophie H. – I have also taken part in walk-a-thons in some schools. They can be good fun and raise money for great causes.

Eric – Exercise, whether it’s walking a long way to a school or out hiking, can build strength. If you were to walk four kilometres each day, in time it would become easy and you would find your feet getting tough just like the Q’enqo kids.

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When you think of the hardships of the Peruvian children compared to you and how hard it was to walk the distances you should also think of the last photo in your post. The smiling girl says it all. You are filling your invisible buckets and in the process helping the children like the girl in the photo.

One last point, you didn’t want to walk another 4km in the afternoon to simulate the walk home?

I see your teach has the same type of sense of humour as I do. 🙂


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NOW, BEFORE you click the link at the bottom. Read through what I’ve written and answer the question in your own mind as to what you would do. Once you are ready, click the link to see what I had written as an entry…

Here is something a little different. One of my blogs is dedicated to my story writing. As well as some longer stories, there are many short stories. Two regular challenges I enter ask us to write one hundred words on a given prompt. One I wrote in March this year was entitled, “ARK”. Perhaps it might interest you.

The prompt in the Saturday Centus Challenge starts the fictional story as its first paragraph. Here is the prompt…

My untied shoelace changed my life. As I leaned down to re-tie it, I kicked away a few leaves. When I turned my head slightly to look where the leaves had been, I was astonished to see a rubber-banded wad of hundred dollar bills nestled in a little indentation in the muddy ground.

What would you do if you had found the money?

Now click to see my fictional story then see the comment I added in the comments section of this post…


To visit Global Grade 3's original post...

Bucket Fillers and Change Makers!

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Hello Global Grade 3,

It has been some time since I last contacted you through your blog. I spent nearly a week transferring all posts from one blog to a new one. “Extended Comments for Students” had been on a blog provided by one company but, if rumours are correct, it will shut down some time in the not too distant future.

Here are links to the posts I’ve already sent but on the new blog….

Q’enco and Spanish

The Butterfly Effect and Change Makers

Change Makers

Now I am trying to do a little catching up on the tabs of various student/class blogs awaiting a comment.

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Bucket Fillers and Change Makers!

What an interesting idea! The invisible bucket we carry seems almost magical. If you think about it, it is the only bucket that is heaviest to carry when it’s empty. When it’s full of good thoughts and feelings about ourselves, we carry it as though it’s lighter than a feather. The world is a joy and anything can seem possible yet, when it’s empty, normal things in life can seem so hard to carry.

What amazing buckets they are.

Damian, Brenden, Natasha and Mya – I have heard of people believing in ARKs (Acts of Random Kindnesses) in this way. Some have paid in advance, others have placed money in envelopes and, while a shopper wasn’t watching, dropped it in their shopping trolley. On the envelope, they simply explained it was an ARK and they simply wished to bring smiles to a stranger’s face.

Kaylee, Jesse, Julia and Zahra – There are few better gifts than the gift of reading. When we help people learn to read or explore books, we open up a world of imagination and information. Bob’s bucket must be close to full just by this one act.

Elijah, Eric and Alexia – Hannah shows us we can achieve even when still quite young. It only takes the will to try and the idea to achieve. Like Hannah, I find ladybugs interesting. They are great little hunters keeping aphids off plants.

Tormod, Henrik and Martin – The man’s solution to the lady’s problem shows us we don't need to plan ARKs, we can help with creative solutions and what we have at hand.

Sophie H., Ava and Rijul – Cathy’s Café 180 is a remarkable business where she not only fills her bucket but gives people the opportunity to fill their buckets. It is a wonderful gift to help others help others.

Larissa, Galen and Jun – The man saw a need in someone who could afford little and set out to help without giving her the chance to be embarrassed by meeting the helper.

Zack, Max, Thalia, and Sophie G. – What a gift. Flowers can brighten the day with colour and scent. I can remember hearing about a man who carried a simple sign. It said, “FREE HUGS.” Believe it or not, men and women came up to him for a free hug and left with a smile. Others looked on and smiled as well. We might have to be careful offering something like this but we can do little deeds to help others smile even if it’s simply sharing a smile.

Mayor Nenshi seems to be a person who recognises what we can achieve on a big scale when many of us are willing to spend a small amount of time. I'll share something on a bigger scale with you...


Clean Up the World

Have you heard about the “Clean Up the World” campaign? Let me share a little history with you.

In 1987, an Australian man named Ian Kiernan entered a solo around-the-world yacht race. As he sailed his yacht, he was shocked and disgusted how much pollution and rubbish was in the world’s oceans and seas, particularly the Sargasso Sea in the Caribbean.

He wanted to do something about it so he carried an idea back to Sydney with him. What would happen if he organised a “Clean Up Australia Day”?

In 1989, his advertising for the first “Clean Up Australia Day” came about. He found 40,000 people came out to help clean up Sydney Harbour, his first goal. They found “rusty cars, plastics of all kinds, glass bottles and cigarette butts were removed by the tonne”.

In 1990, “Clean Up Australia Day” attracted 300,000 volunteers and has continued to grow throughout Australia. The clean up now occurs in waterways, roadsides, national parks, or anywhere there is a group of willing volunteers. Many schools in Australia also join in as have I.

The next step was to take it to the world. Ian and co-founder Kim McKay gained support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the first “Clean Up the World Day” was launched in1993. 30 million people in 80 countries took part.

A simple thought by one man to clean up our waterways has grown in to an international movement. How’s that for an ARK?

Here is a link to the “Clean Up Australia” website…

Clean Up Australia

And here is a link to the “Clean Up the World” website…

Clean Up the World

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I had better finish this extended comment here as I can see you have another newer post for me to read, “Pennies for Peru”. I may be working on another extended comment soon, but not now as it's after midnight down here.

May all of your invisible buckets be so full they overflow and help fill the invisible buckets of others.



To enter your own captions for the School of Puns fifth competition, go to...

The competition is open to 4 to 13 year old students, and teachers

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Hello Headmaster and the School of Puns,

My apologies for missing the fourth competition but I was at least able to vote for one of the chosen three . It became necessary to rebuild this extended comments blog as rumour has it the blog provider of the original blog will be shutting down at some time. My original post for you is now on this new blog at...

Now for the fifth competition...

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Below is the picture drawn by Alexandra for the fifth competition showing yet again the School of Puns is home to budding artists...

As you can see in Alexandra's wonderful drawing, it's the Diamond Jubilee celebration for H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II yet something has gone wrong. One of the the corgis has made off with the crown. Now, a pun is a play on words so let's see how I can play with words coming to mind on seeing this wonderful drawing...



The corgi ran away after stealing from H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II.

It was his crowning achievement.




If you're not already entering the School of Puns, why not try. If you're 4 to 13, or a teacher, visit the School of Puns blog for all the details and how to enter. It is open to students around the world. Here is a link to the School of Puns home page...

The School of Puns



Hello Year 4,

My classes always enjoyed “Fun with Magnets”, that’s what I called our look into magnetism when I had a class.

I can see by your worksheets in the photos, you had to choose objects, decide what material was in the object, predict what might happen then record your results. This is pretty much the way scientists carry out experiments.

Did you notice not all metals were attracted to magnets?

You tend to find metals must be ferrous (containing iron) to work. I suppose that would mean, if you were to include very small metals filaments (string) into paper, then paper would be picked up by magnets. J

At one school I ran a Double Helix Science Club for children interested in science. Each week we would have a different science activity or experiment to carry out. Here are a few of the activities from the Science Club book I had written. You can click on an image to enlarge it.


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



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

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

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

Enjoy science, it will help you discover the world around you.

@Ross Mannell


Dear Year 4,

How sad a time it was when families had to hide in shelters and hope they and their homes would survive. I've prepared some sound effects from my collection. Let's go on a journey back in time using a little fiction writing. Click on the clips below to hear the sounds (there aren't any moving pictures) then read the words underneath as I tell you a short story.

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Mum came running into our rooms at the sound of the air raid siren. She woke Molly and me and told us we had to go to our shelter. Molly insisted on taking her doll.

We stumbled outside. We could hear the sounds of planes approaching in the night sky. Lights from searchlights were already scanning the sky hoping to lock onto one of the planes. We had no time to watch. We had to get to shelter dad had built when he was on leave. He'd made us practise what to do.

Molly was scared, "Are bombs coming again?"

Okay, I was scared too but I didn't want to worry mum. We had our routine. We would try singing some songs and telling stories, anything to try and help us think about good things.


The sounds of bombs started, at first distant but one seemed to hit close. We felt the ground shake and I screamed in surprise. Mum said it was okay, the big one was a long way off. I wasn't so sure.

As we huddled together, the sound of bombs started to fade. We waited for the "all clear" to come. We had no idea how long we had been in the shelter. We didn't even know what time we came in.

With the long sound of the "all clear", we knew it was safe to come out. The sky was already growing light so we knew morning had come. Above we saw some planes but we knew they were ours. They were probably Spitfires or Hurricanes chasing the bombers away.

We went back into our house. Everything was safe, except one of mum's vases. It must have fallen when we felt the ground shake.

We walked out onto the street. Most of our neighbours had done the same. Our street was safe.

In the distance, we could hear the sound of bells from a fire engine. Someone hadn't been so lucky.


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For the original Year 4 class post....
Year 4's post

Hello Class 6,

With the London Olympics fast approaching, I was fascinated by your research into Olympic countries and was pleased to be able to read the Australian information from Chelsea, Ryan, Callum, Oliver, Jasmin and a name I wasn't quite able to read (sorry, I'll add the name if I find out later).

I thought I might share some information about Australia in some of the areas you researched, if you are interested. I'll break them up into  subject areas...


Early maps of the world from the 1500s showed the known world but little in the southern Hemisphere (south of the equator). Ships had rounded the southern tip of Africa and seen parts of South America. It was thought there must be a big southern land to balance the land in the northern hemisphere. Here is a 1564 map of the world by Ortelius...

We know some European explorers visited Australia as early as the 1500s but they thought they had found New Guinea. In 1606, a Spanish ship sailed between Australia and New Guinea but didn't seem to realise what they had seen. The first known landing in Australia by Europeans was by a Dutch ship also in 1606. In 1616, a Dutch ship landed on the western shores of Australia and in 1642, another Dutch sailed to Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania) before sailing on to New Zealand. The new land had been called New Holland.

Before the coming of James Cook, nothing was known of the east coast of Australia by Europeans. The then Lieutenant James Cook was put in charge of the ship Endeavour and set sail from England in 1768.

I prepared a blog post on another of my blogs for schools in my local area. Recently, the Endeavour replica sailed into Eden's Twofold Bay in Australia. You will find information and photos of the Endeavour replica on the blog as well as links to other of my posts including a 'letter' from Commander Cook to a class in California, a video of the ship departing Eden, and a slideshow of the photos taken.

Here is the link to the post...

James Cook and his Endeavour


Australia is said to the the world's biggest island and smallest continent. This means anything larger is a continent and anything smaller is an island. From my research,

Australia's area is...   7,686,850 square kilometres   or   2,967,910 square miles

United Kingdom is...  243,610 square kilometres   or  94,060 square miles

This means Australia is over 31 times bigger than the United Kingdom yet only has a population nearing 23 million whereas the United Kingdom has over 62 million people, over 2.5 times Australia's population. We must remember, much of Australia is desert and not suitable for many people to live. Most Australians live along the coastline.

Seas and Oceans

Australia isn't in the Indian Ocean, it's the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean. Look at this map I prepared for you...

From the map, you can see Australia is in three oceans, the Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans. It's also the shore of three seas, the Timor Sea between it and Indonesia, the Coral Sea between it and the islands of New Guinea, and the Tasman Sea between it and New Zealand.

I've seen estimates Australia has a coastline 25,760 km or over 16,000 miles long making it the sixth largest whereas the United Kingdom has a coastline of over 14,400 km or nearly 9000 miles making it 12th.

Our Flag and National Anthem

Australia became a nation on January 1,1901. It was no longer a colony of independent states, it was a commonwealth of states. Our national flag was first approved by King Edward VII in 1902.

As you can see, the Australian flag has the Union Jack in its top, left corner.This was used to show our links with the United Kingdom.

The large star underneath the Union Jack is known as the Federation Star. Six points represent the states (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia) whereas the final point represents the territories (Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory).

The group of five stars on the right is the Southern Cross. It is visible in our night sky throughout the year and helps me find south when out at night. The constellation is known to astronomers as Crux.

At times, there have been moves to create a new Australian flag but, at this date, no decision has been made.

The National Anthem

When I was a boy, the Australian National Anthem was "God Save the Queen" just as in England. In 1984, the new national anthem became "Advance Australia Fair". Here is a recording I made of a 100 voice choir some time ago...

Australian Natural


There certainly are a number of spiders in Australia. Each morning when I walk down a path I am likely to walk into webs strung in the garden. We have some deadly spiders here but most are reasonably harmless. Here are some photos and drawings of spiders and their webs...

This is a drawing of a funnel web spider. It's bite can be fatal but they are rare to see. I have seen them in zoos but only once in the wild.

The redback is also poisonous but it isn't normally a fatal bite. I have seen a number of these in the wild.

This spider is harmless and likes to hang around houses.

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

I often see these in their webs as I go on hikes. Again it's harmless. A bite might only cause a little skin irritation.

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

Also seen when hiking, this leaf curling spider brings a leaf into its web, curls it and stays hidden inside. Look carefully and you can see its legs sticking out touching its web lines. When it senses something in the web, it rushes out to grab its prey.

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

Spider webs can be quite delicate as this one spun between opening fern fronds.

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

...or this one photographed in the morning dew.

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

Kangaroos, Koalas and Wallabies

These are some of our cute looking animals but we must remember, in the wild they should be left alone. Wild animals don't like us getting too close.

This is an eastern grey kangaroo I met on one of my walks. He stood about 175 cm (5'9") tall. This type of kangaroo is the most common in my area. The tallest species is the red kangaroo but they live more in arid areas away from the coast.

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

Suzie is a female koala living at Potoroo Palace, a refuge for injured and orphaned animals.

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

 Last year Suzie gave birth. The peanut-sized baby made its way up and into her pouch where it grew. Below is a link to a video I shot of one of the first times her baby girl made an appearance...

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

Blinky is a male koala and the father of Suzie's baby. In the wild, the father has nothing to do with raising a baby but at Potoroo Palace, he shares an enclosure with Suzie. You can tell the difference between males and females by looking under their neck. You can see how much white Suzie has compared to Blinky. In many places, koalas are now endangered because of habitat loss and a disease. Breeding programs in zoos are helping.

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

While they normally stay in trees and sleep for over 20 hours a day, they sometimes can be seen walking from tree to tree. Here is an animation I created for you from a series of photos...

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

This little girl is a swamp wallaby. She also lives in Potoroo Palace. She appears to be smiling because she thought I had food for her. Swamp wallabies are very common in my area. I often see them on my walks.

Below is a link to a video of Serena, another swamp wallaby, when she was young...

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


Sydney Harbour Bridge (its nickname is "The Coathanger") was built between 28 July, 1923 and 19 January, 1932. It was officially opened on 19 March, 1932. Amongst the crowd at the opening was my father. He was 13 at the time.

Before its construction, the only way across the harbour was by ferry. When the bridge opened, it offered rail, tram and car access. There is now also a tunnel under the harbour nearby.

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


Cricket is without doubt a big sport here. We have a national team, state teams and local teams. There are two cricket pitches across the road from me.

Football to an Aussie can mean one of three major codes. We have soccer (there are two soccer fields across the road), Australian Rules Football (one field across the road) and rugby league.

The sport with the biggest number of players in Australia (mainly girls and women) is netball. In another park their are two courts.

Basketball is also a big sport in Australia with teams set up like in America. There are many other sports played.


Thank you all for sharing your research into the Olympic countries. I sure you will feel as excited as may class did when the Sydney Olympics started in 2000.


Teacher, NSW, Australia

** Some information was referenced using Wikipedia.


Dear Mr. Avery and class,

With such quality designs from Avery Architects, will it be long before Avery and Company Construction starts the projects?

Your questions... 

Have you ever tried to design your own house before?

Many years ago I did design an ideal house using a graphics program but it didn't have the features of Homestyler. It was only 2D so imagination was needed.
Have any of you used the program Sims? If you have, then you have been able to design homes and even add people to live in them.

What would your dream home have in it?

Kitchen - large to allow room for cooking and informal meals

Dining Room - for special meals

Lounge room - to relax, talk, play games

Rumpus room - indoor play area with maybe a Wii set up for interactive play

Bedrooms – Including ensuite bathrooms. Perhaps three or four to allow for guests

Movie Room - with large screen for watching DVDs/Blurays

Music Room – Soundproofed with baby grand piano and sound recording studio

Video Editing Room – Where I can edit, burn and print the CDs/DVDs I make

Computer Office/Room – printers and computers for the photo editing, blogging, and other things I do.

Outdoor Entertainment Area – for guests

Indoor Heated Swimming Pool – All year exercise and fun

Arboretum – Special room for plants with plenty of natural sunlight

Double Garage – For the car and a guest

Attached Unit – For longer stays by relatives

Big or small, many rooms or few it makes me wonder...

What really makes a home?

It doesn't matter if you're a queen in a palace...

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

...a knight in a castle...

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

...a president in the White House...

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

... or you and your family.

What really makes a house into a home is the people in it.


P.S. I took the Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama photos in Madame Tassaud's in London and the knight was on display in Paris's Musée de l'Armée.

Dear Alexandra,

Without doubt, one of the places I would most like to visit if I made it to the US is the Grand Canyon. I have watched a number of television programs featuring this amazing place.

I know the Grand Canyon has great significance for native American people and, according to Wikipedia, it is known as Ongtupqa to the Hopi and Wi:kaʼi:la to the Yavapai.

I’m also fascinated be the geology of the canyon. As you travel down into the valley, it’s like a time machine for geological history. I’ve read rocks date from about 200 million years old to nearly 2 billion years old. That’s some time machine in rocks. Fossils, fossil footprints, metamorphic (changed) rocks would all make it an interesting place for me let alone seeing the animal life and learning more about the culture of Native Americans.

Have you ever watched the cartoon, “The Flintstones”? I can remember one funny episode when Fred took his family to see the Grand Canyon. It was a small, toe-deep “canyon” with a trickle of water Fred said scientists thought would one day be a huge canyon. Of course, if Fred’s “canyon” were correct, it would only have been that tiny well  before cavemen were around.


I didn't have a picture of Fred in my graphics library so I had to draw one to show you him.

I see you also visited the Glenn Canyon. I hadn’t heard of this one but I had heard of Powell Dam. By chance, a person in my town had family videos he had taken at Powell Dam with his young family (he is a US citizen living here). He asked me if I could convert video tapes of his Lake Powell visits to DVDs. As I did this, I saw some of the beautiful scenery, including Rainbow Bridge. What an amazing place!

A video clip of Lake Powell and Rainbow Bridge taken with an old hand held video camera.

Thanks for sharing information about your Spring Break vacation. Perhaps one day I might see Grand Canyon in person as well. 🙂


Teacher, NSW, Australia

Click to see Global Grade 3's Original Post

Hello Global Grade 3,

How honoured I felt to be considered a change maker amongst the others you mentioned.  It was a surprise as all I do is sit in front of my computer a long way from you and share some thoughts and support for the blogs I come across, often by chance.

I was once asked to write my autobiography. Writing about your own life can be a daunting task but this one was deceptively easy. You see, I had to write my autobiography in no more than six words. How could I write about a life now only a couple years off sixty? The idea came much easier than I thought and was posted on my story blog in February. Here is what I wrote….

Seeking ways to make a difference.

(This is also now written on the cover on my Facebook timeline)

If we look at those six words, I can see all of you could write the same autobiography. Your work for Q’enqo shows you are also interested in making a difference. Differences needn’t be big. It can start with a smile and a kind word or a kind deed. As in the Butterfly Effect when applied to humans, we don’t know what might happen when we spread small differences.

When I look at the others you have written about, I was humbled to be amongst them. I have researched more about those you mentioned.

Terry Fox had his fight with cancer but he thought of others as he ran across Canada to raise awareness of cancer. He set in motion what has become an annual event.

Jeneece Edroff I found was "Vancouver Island's Penny Girl". I read more about her money raising efforts to raise money for Variety to help sick children.

I checked out the Calgary Regional Appaloosa Club, it reminded me of our local pony clubs. None are as selective as the Appaloosa but the mainly girls enjoy their times when riding. I see the Calgary club annually helps keep the local highways clean.

Serena Buffalino and her aid for Haiti was brilliant. I also was touched by the story of the conditions in Haiti and sent a donation for their aid. Her efforts remind me of a class helping establish a library in Peru.


In my life online, I have come across a number of change makers, some of which  have become Twitter friends. They remind me of those you have mentioned.


Meg (United Kingdom) has major health problems with her back. Unlike most 16 year old girls, she often is unable to leave bed because of pain yet we were chatting on Twitter last year when she told me she was going to set up a charity to help small children who are, as she says, ‘very poorly”. Believe in Magic was born and now has approaching 40,000 Twitter followers. Money raised goes to providing fairy and pirate parties for sick children. She has even told me there are fairy wings waiting for me if I am in the UK. For Meg and her charity, I’d wear a fairy outfit. Now wouldn't that be a funny sight? Meg suggested I might look better as a pirate.   Through her and her connections, I now follow a number of other children and their charities. While I can’t financially help in any big way, I can share kind words of support.

Next there was 11 year old Harry Moseley (UK) who had a brain tumour yet his cheerful face brought smiles to all he met. He setup a charity to raise funds for cancer research. His Twitter following is over 94,000 people. He lost his battle with cancer yet his parents continue his charity in his name and raise awareness of other children with his condition.

Then there’s 15 year old Ruth (UK). She has a rarer form of cerebral palsy and often has to struggle through the day yet she persists and has a spirit to brighten up her friends. When I first met her on Twitter she had only a couple hundred friends but now has over 15,000. In her profile, she says, “Disabled and proud of my flaws they make me unique.” She spreads awareness of cerebral palsy.

A more recent follower of mine is an 18 year old named Rachael Leahcar (her stage name). She is a contestant on Australia’s The Voice show. After I tweeted support for her I found she had followed me. Not only does she have a beautiful voice that stunned the audience, she is a Royal Blind Society Ambassador. She suffers from retinitis pigmentosa and will soon lose what little sight she has left yet she is following her dream. Below is a link to her RBS clip...

I feel honoured these people have chosen to follow me on Twitter. They are an inspiration as they try to help others despite their own problems. There are so many people who are making significant, even if small, changes in the lives of others. So many are unknown.

Now all of you are change makers, it makes me wonder what great works might lie ahead for some of you and how many of you might become quiet change makers throughout your life, the unsung heroes of change.


Teacher, NSW, Australia

Dear 4KM and 4KJ,

Here are the designs I used for Mother's Day cards. Some of the children wanted something cheaper than these even though the cards were the cheapest items. Next year I will be designing Mother's Day bookmarks to add to the collection. They'll cost half the amount of a card.

Schools and students have permission to use these graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. They may be used as fundraiser designs for sale at schools in Mother's Day stall.

Click on an image to separate it from the album. A new tab will open. Click again and the full size image will appear. It can then be copied.

For the original post…

Music and Art of the week- summer term week 3

Hello 4H,

I’m a little late responding to week 3 but, featuring a van Gogh painting, I had to drop in. Firstly, the music…


Do you like the music?  Why/Why not?

I think I have already noted I have a broad range of tastes in music and have traditional music from around the world, Gregorian chants, renaissance, etc as well as much more modern music, including from some in the current charts.

Music adds colour to life and is wonderful in various situations whether I want something lively to brighten the day, classical to concentrate when working or assorted when I comment on blogs or write. Mood always determines the choice of music.

I like and have heard both pieces. Although both seem to be of someone trying to recover from relationship problems, the first has more emotions of hurt and determination to get up again. The second is lighter and has a faster tempo and suggests your words won’t hold them back.


Which is your favourite and why?

At this particular time, I would choose Selena Gomez and her “Who Says”. I like the idea of being able to ignore those who would bring you down by nasty comments… “Who says I’m not perfect?”

Perhaps another day I might have chosen the other as both are good listening and carry messages of not letting others keep you down.


How does the music make you feel?

I think “Skyscraper” is a little more depressing in its lyrics whereas “Who Says” has a quicker tempo so is a little brighter. Both carry a psotive message.

 How are the similar/different to the pieces of music we have had over the past few weeks?

Week 1 concentrated on music blending traditional African sound with more modern music. I particularly liked the Ladysmith Black Mambazo track but that is because I have one of their albums.

Week 2 was more in line with European classical music with Saint-Saëns’s “Aquarium” and a version by Orbit.

Week 3 is the more recent popular music most students would know.


Does either piece link into our art at all?

Considering the life of Van Gogh, the music has more to do with the life of the artist. In his lifetime, he only ever sold paintings to his brother yet he didn’t give up on his art. As in “Skyscraper” , he got back up again when his art didn't sell and he wasn’t held back by the lack of acceptance of his art. His paintings are now very highly valued.

 If the artists (people who sing the songs) switched round, so they sung each other song, do you think they would sound the same or not?  Why/Why not

The two singers have different styles and approaches to the music. If we go back to Week 2’s Saint-Saëns and Orbit, you can hear the different approaches on the same theme. The songs would be unlikely to sound the same but might be similar.



Do you like the piece of art?  Why/Why not?

I recognised the painting as it is from an artist whose paintings I have always admired. The short brushstrokes and colour bring out the reflective night scene. The elderly couple in the lower right add to the scene of a gentle evening under the stars.


What is the picture called?

Starry Night Over the Rhone”. The painting has its own Wiki page including a modern photo of Arles from near where van Gogh must have painted.

How does the picture make you feel?

Serene. Night scenes with reflected light and starry skies can be calming because of their gentle topic.


Who painted the picture?

Vincent van Gogh


How do you think it was made/painted?  What techniques do you think they used?

The Musée d’Orsay website page on the painting has close up images of the brushstrokes. The painting made use of short brushstrokes blending colours on the canvas.

Do you think the picture is realistic/based on real life?

Refer back to the link under “What is the picture called?” and you will see the picture is most definitely based on real life and is realistic.


What can you notice if you look carefully at the picture?

Starting from the upper portion we see the night sky dotted with stars over a riverside township. Light from the town reflects off the rippled river waters. In the foreground, a boat is moored on the riverside and an elderly couple are having a starlit walk.


One tribute to Vincent van Gogh came in musical form from Don McLean when he wrote the song, “Vincent”.  It tells of his art and life. They lyrics can be found at…


Teacher, NSW, Australia


Original Post...

Biographical Bonanza

Dear sirs, madams and colonials,

I see a number of American colonials have already written to you, all from my future. What strange world there must be when we can speak from your long past.

It is the year of our Lord, 1771. I have just returned from a successful journey around the world although there were times all might have been lost. I share with you some of my experiences.

The Royal Society requested service from the Admiralty. Their scientists wanted to observe the transit of the planet Venus across the face of the sun. They had determined the viewing would be most clear from the Tahitian isles on 3 June, 1769. They called on me, Lieutenant James Cook, to take command of His Majesty’s Ship, Endeavour. She is a fine ship. She had started her days as a coaler along the coast of England but had been refitted for our journey. It was in the admiralty’s wisdom to grant me freedom of movement once we were done in Tahiti.

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

We departed England in 26 August, 1768 with 94 souls on board and provisions for 18 months. I had chosen a course around Cape Horn, the shortest route to Tahiti, arriving on 13 April, 1769. We awaited the transit. I will share from the ship’s log…

“Saturday 3 rd This day prov'd as favourable to our purpose as we could wish, not a Clowd was to be seen the Whole day and the Air was perfectly clear, so that we had every advantage we could desire in Observing the whole of the passage of the Planet Venus over the Suns disk: we very distinctly saw an Atmosphere or dusky shade round the body of the Planet which very much disturbed the times of the contacts particularly the two internal ones. D r Solander observed as well as M r Green and my self, and we differ'd from one another in observeing the times of the Contacts much more than could be expected.”

Once our observations were complete, I opened sealed orders given by the Admiralty. I had been tasked to find the land to the south known as Terra Australis, hitherto of unknown quantity. Thoughts of riches from the new land had been on mind.

We set sail from Tahiti along an approximate course south-west. A Tahitian had with knowledge of these waters provided us with information of lands once seen by Abel Tasman in 1642. On 6 October, 1769 we reached the islands of New Zealand whereupon I set to task mapping the islands’ coastlines.

From these waters, I was determined to prove once and for all there was no great southern continent. I headed westward hoping to find Van Diemen’s Land (I think you more modern folk call it Tasmania) but bad weather hit on 19 April, 1770. It was the next morning Lieutenant Zachary Hicks sighted land. I named the point of land after the Lieutenant.

To the south, the sea looked empty. I thought this was strange because Abel Tasman’s logs suggested I should see Van Dieman’s Land. The coast we found was not on any charts. With the weather clear, we had a good view of the coast as we headed north. It was 22 April when we sighted people on the land through our telescopes. They appeared dark of skin.

As we continued our voyage north, we had times of bad weather. On 29 April we took our ship into a large bay. Seeing natives on the beach, we tried to make contact but they didn’t speak a language we understood and had tried throwing spears at us with no success. We tried leaving beads and trinkets for them but they avoided us as we explored the area. Perhaps we had broken one of their laws so they wouldn’t meet with us. We did have clashes with them at times but no one had been hurt.

We found two streams and, although the soil was sandy, we saw some fine meadows that might be good for farming. Joseph Banks, our botanist, and Dr Solander, our naturalist, collected many specimens in their explorations. One species unknown to us seemed to be of the honeysuckle family. It was named after Banks and was called banksia.

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

One of our crew had been ailing and had died while we were at anchor. Forby Sutherland was buried on May 1 on the shores of the bay we named Botany Bay. May God rest his soul.

Again sailing north, we saw a bay which might be a good anchorage. I named it Port Jackson although I think you modern folk now call it Sydney Harbour. Day after day we continued our journey north. Many nights I spent in my cabin working on charts of the coastline.

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

We eventually reached tropical waters. There were plenty of waterfowl to hunt, mussels and large pearl oysters on rocks and fish to be caught. As we continued north, we saw islands to our east. I knew we would have to watch our depth lest we end up on a reef.

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

On June 10, the depth under our ship was 15 fathoms as I retired for the night but by the morning, the depth suddenly fell from 14 to 8 fathoms. I ordered all hands to their stations. Our next cast found a depth of 21 fathoms. At 11pm the man at the lead called 17 fathoms but, before we could take another depth, our ship struck a reef. I ordered crew to boats. We needed to haul off the reef before the tide fell. We needed to lighten our ship so we cast overboard unneeded items, including six ship’s guns.

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

At 10:20 pm on 12 June, we finally freed Endeavour from the reef. Our battle was not over as water poured in through the holed hull. Sail and packing was used to stem the flow. So far from home, if our ship was lost so were we.

We searched for a safe anchorage to effect repairs. On 18 June we found a safe place to effect repairs at a river near a town you modern folk now call Cooktown. It took six weeks to make repairs. Timber needed to be cut and nails made. It was during this time hunting parties were sent out. We saw strange animals hopping across the land.

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

It was 6 August when we were finally able to set sail. We kept watch for further reefs and would send out a boat ahead to take depths. Huge seas threatened to throw us on the reefs on 16 August. I decided to keep the ship close to shore. If we were to be holed again, we could make land.

Our journey had now taken us into seas seen by the Spaniard Torres. If his records were true, we would come to a strait as indeed we did. We landed on a beach after passing through this strait. It was here I raised the flag and claimed the eastern half of New Holland in the name of His Majesty, King George III. I named this land New South Wales although I have heard you modern folk have divided it into smaller states with only a central portion keeping my naming.

I considered this land suitable for settlement.

Our journeyed continued west with a stop over in Batavia (you call it Indonesia now). From Batavia we headed a course WSW, rounding Cape of Good Hope before heading into the Atlantic and north to fair England on 13 July, 1771 where I was promoted to the rank of Commander.

I must leave you now as I have a meeting with the Admiralty to discuss a new voyage back to the southern seas.

Commander James Cook

Royal Navy


I hope James Cook didn't mind me including some photos of a replica of his Endeavour. It is in Eden Harbour, about 20km fom here,  till Monday, May 14th. He didn't have access to cameras.

References used....

Discovery series by Marcia McEwan


Teacher, NSW, Australia