Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan: Book Review

Chengli and the Silk CaravanThe desert wind is calling Chengli to discover who his father is. He must work in a caravan that is travelling the Silk Road for answers.

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Symmetry and Art

Grade 2 work sample

Symmetry is a fun part of mathematics that most students do not mind. Often it is a welcome break from numbers and what better topic to incorporate art.

This lesson was conducted over two 45 minute lessons (and I have also left it for relief teachers in previous years without issue).

Lesson 1

The first lesson revolves around talking and identifying what symmetry is. The samples shown were from a grade 2/3 class. Most had a good idea after a discussion that symmetry means the same but as a mirror image. Most had done the paint on paper and then fold in reception.

I then handed out the sheets which had half the butterfly on it. I found the image on the internet with a search. I didn’t give the students any instruction on how to do the butterfly. I simply stated it need to be symmetrical. This freedom allowed me to access how to observe the problem solving skills as well.

Template I used. I inserted it onto a Word document.

Some students kept it simple, some went all out. This was why I also asked that they include three (3) sentences explaining why it was symmetrical. I didn’t get that from all – lots chose instead to do a description but it was a learning curve for me too and made for interesting reading.

Lesson 2

This was the finishing off time and writing part. At this point I remember several students realising that they hadn’t mirrored their stripes. As they were able to pick this up for themselves though made for all the better learning.

Free-hand work example
Grade 3 student with learning difficulties


Watching the problem solving skills was interesting. The top example was achieved as they girl decided to backwards-fold the paper and trace the edge of the butterfly by holding the page up on a window. She did this first and then decided on her design.

The example to the left was done purely by hand. He chose a daring and complicated design but worked hard to have it completed on time. The student had a huge sense of pride as he struggled in literacy which had impacted his confidence greatly. In addition he was the only student who attempted to use the vocabulary of symmetry/symmetrical. All his work was completed independently.

Grade 2 student

The third example was from a girl who also used the fold and trace method. She used it at the start to get the shape and then again to do her pattern work. Her design was very simple, it is effective, but i would say that it was very “safe”. This student was capable of challenging herself a lot more but had been taught by teachers previously who though getting the work done was enough.

Overall, I was pleased that the work was finished, predominately, on time. The work also looked great being on display for acquaintance night.

Dragonkeeper: Book Review

 Dragon Keeper Book ReviewA slave girl who doesn’t even have a name rescues a dragon from imminent death. She finds herself tasked with protecting a stone and going on a journey with the dragon to the ocean.

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Buddy Unchained: Book Review

Buddy Unchained by Daisy Bix. Tale of an abused dog and his journey. Read the review at Miss Jenny's ClassroomBuddy is an unhappy dog. Rescued and taken to a shelter he wonders about what else life has in store for him.

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The Night We Made the Flag: Book Review

Title: The Night We Made the Flag: A Eureka Story
Author: Carole Wilkinson
ISBN: 9781922179159          Language: English

Classification: Fiction based loosely on historical events
Themes: Australian history, craft

What’s it about?
Told from Mary’s perspective, this story focuses on the Eureka flag and how it may have been made. It tells a tale about the nights leading up to what became known as the Eureka Stockade. About how a group of women get together to sew a flag that would unite the diggers under a banner.

I like that this revolves around a flag that actually exists. It is a simple story that doesn’t pretend that it is a history but does provide opportunity for discussion around how accurate the tale may, or may not, be.

There is a definite need to reinforce with students that this is only based on historical events and that the story itself is fiction.

My Thoughts…

Consider It
As much as I like the story my recommendation to other teachers/home-schoolers is to borrow it from the local library. My decision for this is based on the fact that while this books introduces a part of Australian history in regards to the Eureka Stockade, the focus of the story about the flag means it is just fiction.

The illustrations though are lovely and do support the story. If viewed simply as fiction it does spin a good yarn and you could use the book to kick start your students into researching about the Eureka Stockade. It could also be used to look at fact vs fiction.

The Night We Made the Flag: A Eureka Story