Daily Archives: February 28, 2009

What is a family? What is a school? How does a five year old answer these questions?

Below is a summary of my student’s thoughts about families and schools. I’ve scribed their ideas as they were said. We will continue to add reflections as we continue our inquiry. I was impressed by how willing my student’s were to share their ideas.

I belong to family. What is a family?

-some families are bigger.

-some families look different.

-families have different coloured hair.

-families do different things.

-some dads and mums live in different countries but visit and talk a lot.

-some children live with their mum only and teddy.

-some children live with mummy, daddy, brothers, dogs, birds and ducky.

-some children live with just their dad, sister and brother.

-some families talk differently.

-some families speak different languages.

-some children live with a step dad and mum one week and a dad and step mum the next week.

-families are different.


I belong to a school. Why do you go to school?

-being happy, having fun and learning

-and listening to teachers too.

-so you can paint and have lots of books read to you.

-working really hard and doing your best.

-going to music and learning.

-going to the library.

-doing art in the art room.

-French: you can say bonjour.

-sport: running and playing games.

-you go to school to learn.

-you go to school to make friends.

-because mum’s work and can’t play, so you come to school to play.

-to learn to read and write.

-so you can make things.

-to play computer games.

-you go to the library.

-school is for little children.



Self Portraits- Just beautiful!

Cheers Nina


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Mandala Poetry: Perfect for Preps & students of all ages!

What is mandala?

The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.

Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community. 

Extract: Bailey Cunningham


Picture- Tibet Mandala

This form of poetry is great way for young children just starting to write to enjoy making poetry. Older children who struggle with poetry find this form of poetry non-threatening. The poem is created using the circular geometric shape of the mandala.



Our Prep Inquiry is outlined below:


Who we are

An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

Central Idea

I belong to a family, a class and a school.


The children have helped to create a class mandala to display their understandings and reflections. Our mandala includes family photos, drawings, and statements that the children have made.  


The children will be creating their own mandalas where they are the central focus. The ideas that have been put forward by the children have been insightful.

The children have also been doing self portaits. I’ve included some photos because they’re beautiful.




Cheers Nina

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Why Blog? Who’d be interested in what I do all day? Well, I am!

I was sitting in my staffroom listening to a conversation about blogging. A statement was made:

Why does anyone bother with that and who’d be interested in what I do all day. I’m growing accustomed to this! I didn’t respond, but I should have said ‘I am’. I am interested in what my colleagues are doing. I am interested in teaching and learning outside my arena. Someone then said, Nina has an educational blog. Silence!


However, my colleagues are visiting my blog ‘on the quiet’. They’ve been speaking to me and asking questions. They want to know, for example, ‘what books I’m using’, how to get ‘interactive writing going’ and so on. I’m hearing my writing vocalised. That’s what this is about. I haven’t publicized what I’m doing at my school, but my readership among my own staff is growing. I can feel a shift in attitude. This is not about ‘intellectual property’, it’s about professional sharing.


My readership outside my school is certainly developing as I’m getting feedback and my blog is being recommended by other educational professionals working in schools-not necessarily teaching in classrooms.


Why am I writing this! I was talking to Jenny Luca, my mentor the other day and she mentioned a utube called ‘Did You Know’ and I thought ‘no, I don’t know’. I do now, and I have to say, all teachers should view this. I know teachers can’t watch it a school, but please watch it at home. It actually puts what I’m doing into perspective. I’m learning what I need to know to teach children this century-not next.


The Victorian Government Ultranet is coming and will revolutionize how we work as teachers. Recently, I learnt about elluminate – attending conferences virtually. This is not a vision for the future, it’s happening now!  I’m also a member of a ‘ning’, Working Together 2 Make a Difference. Who would have thought? I’m developing an ‘international mind’ and working collaboratively with education professionals around the world!


So… I encourage anyone visiting my blog to watch ‘Did You Know’. There is an education revolution happening right now that many teachers aren’t aware of. We live in exciting times!  


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