About twenty Bexley Public School students, parents and teachers attended the Koori Art Expressions Exhibition launch last Thursday night at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Pyrmont.
This is Bexley Public School's first foray into this annual event which has been running for over 13 years. Two of our artworks were chosen - a collaborative artwork completed by KM titled, "A bird's eye view of our school", and an individual artwork by Mariam, in Year 5, titled, 'Through the trees". Both artworks reflected the theme of 'Songlines', representing students' connections to our school.
Most of the students and their families caught the train together to the City and walked across to Darling Harbour. What a lovely community activity for them!
The evening began with a Welcome to Country by Aunty Fay Carroll and her nephew, Mr Luke Carroll as Master of Ceremonies kept everything moving along nicely.
Mr Kevin Sumption, Director of the Australian National Maritime Museum told us that we were the largest group ever in that function area - it was very, very hot and there was very little room to move, so that was not surprising!
Before the Executive Director of Public Schools NSW, Mr Murat Dizdar officially declared the Exhibition open, we were also treated to a performance by two Campbelltown Performing Arts High School students, Rebecca and Joshua. It was difficult to believe that they were only in High School. What wonderful talent.
Finally, we were all able to enter the exhibition. This year there were so many students and families at the launch that they had to take us in in ten minute intervals. Thankfully we were nearly all able to get through at the same time and we looked at all of the amazing paintings, sculptures and installations before finding ours and taking some pictures.
What a wonderful experience for our students and thank you to all of those families who made the launch such a memorable experience for us teachers. Many thanks also to Mrs McNamara who came to see KM's artwork.
Today I re-discovered poetry with Australian author, Libby Hathorn.
Having poetry recited to you by someone with such melody and silkiness in her voice is quite special. What lucky grandchildren!
Libby presented to the Sydney Region Teacher Librarian Network Meeting today, held at the NSW Department of Education's Futures Learning offices at the Australian Technology Park in Redfern.
Today's focus was her most recent work but the impact of poetry in all of her work was what I found most compelling. Her recent compilation of Australian poetry, 'The ABC Book of Australian poetry- A treasury of poems for Australian children', took us backwards to the influences of poetry on her writing.
Libby also introduced us to some of her other new works including, 'A baby for loving' and a very poetic picture book about a day in the garden - 'Outside'. Illustrated by the incredibly talented Ritva Voutila, 'Outside' is soon to be developed into an opera. Its illustrations are stunning, with a very Tim Winton/Alice through the looking glass, quality. The beautiful language within lends itself to the development of poetry for all grades of students. 'Outside' is definitely on my Library Wishlist.
Come to our Library to see our animal homes!
This Term students in Kindergarten are exploring Australian animals, and wow, they have learnt so much already! Our Library program supports this work by exploring animal shelters or homes.
In the past two weeks we have examined koala habitats and bat habitats. KM loved choosing 'trees' from our playground for their hand-drawn koalas to cling to. It was a bit tricky to find ones that had a 'fork' for the koalas to rest in but they did a great job. We then poked our trees into the grassland to create a forest of eucalypts.
Unfortunately we were unable to use real eucalyptus trees because we don't have any at Bexley PS but we did smell some eucalyptus oil. Some of the students connected the scent with the soothers that they suck on when they have a sore throat. Others thought it smelt like cleaning products. This generated lots of discussion about how koalas only like eucalyptus trees and how some species will only eat a specific type of eucalyptus.
Making these connections helps students to expand their vocabulary and deepen their understanding of topics that can then be used to extend their reading and writing.
Finding facts in fiction stories is always a great activity as well. Today's text, "Warambi", written by Aleesah Darlison and illustrated by Andrew Plant, is a great example of this. Following this up with viewing the website, 'All about bats: Habitat', helped students understand more about different types of bats. They were able to classify Warambi as a microbat, because it ate insects.
After drawing bats, discussing their body parts, and how they move, students suggested facts to add to our tree of bats.
It's looking very spooky, indeed!
Anyone outside librarian circles or perhaps the teaching profession may not be aware of the constant to and fro of discussion and foreboding that libraries, librarians and therefore teacher librarians, are too 'old school' to be cool. We have google now, right? What can teacher librarians teach us?
Considering over 3.4 billion people use the Internet each minute of each day in 2016, (see infographic below), being able to ask the right questions to answer a problem or inquiry, critically evaluate the results, identify and appropriately use information and create information for a variety of purposes for a variety of audiences, in a variety of formats, is more important now than ever before.
This recent article from the School Catalogue and Information Service (SCIS) outlines exactly how essential the Teacher Librarian skill set is in today's schools.
Support for the School Library is often dependent on the Principal and, as the SCIS article suggests, some Principals devalue their Library through inadequate resourcing and funding.
We are very fortunate at Bexley Public School to have strong support that allows us to extend our students and provide them access to information through books, DVDs, apps and the Internet. We also have a well-attended Library @ Lunch program and extension programs such as iBand and Code Club.
As a result, we have seen a steady increase in positive reading behaviours with students being more engaged in reading activities, borrowing regularly, asking for specific titles, and hunting down authors' latest releases. They are becoming active participants in the Internet by writing and responding to blogs and creating content such as images, art and presentations. Our students are also deconstructing multi-modal texts, creating their own and reflecting on opportunities for improvement.
Our Library is becoming a flexible learning space for students and teachers and we hope to extend this soon by including parents in our programs as well.
Hello! I am a Primary School (that's Kindergarten to Year 6) Teacher Librarian at a medium-sized school (300+) in Sydney, Australia. This blog and it's website records our learning adventures as we prepare students who are future-ready, digital savvy, productive digital citizens.