Linking CBL and Mathematics

As part of our Challenge Based Learning topic ‘Environment’, students had been investigating their local environment and factors that impact on it. Students had always been told to put their rubbish in the bin when one student said “but other kids don’t”. This sparked a conversation on litter. Students knew that the garbage in the bin went to the dump…but where did the rubbish on the floor go? We decided to investigate if ACPS had a rubbish problem and what might be happening to all of the litter.

We grabbed some school maps from the office and separated into groups. We decided that we would focus on two things:

  • Do students at ACPS litter?
  • If so, which areas in the school have the most litter and why.

We decided that we would put a cross on the map every time we found litter. We had to understand the maps first so we spent time looking at the maps and discussing the location of different buildings and landmarks in the school.




When we got back we sat in our groups and discussed our maps and findings. Was there much litter? Which areas in the school had the most?

There was litter everywhere! -Haveesh

I think the wind blew the rubbish into the wetlands. -Irem

The little playground had heaps of rubbish. -Riaz

That’s because Preps play there maybe- Matias

Do the birds eat the rubbish? – Devyan

Yeah I’ve seen them and then they get sick – Lilly

The area around the playgrounds seemed to have the most. The class decided that maybe students drop it when they are on the monkey bars or maybe it is because it is mainly the little kids playing there and they might not know much about rubbish!

So where does this litter go if nobody picks it up? We used our iPads to research this and found some good videos showing where litter ends up – in the ocean or in an animals habitat! We decided to sketch drawings with oil pastels. One habitat would show a healthy habitat, the other would depict a habitat affected by litter or pollution.

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Later this week students will be presented with their ‘Environment’ challenge. Stay tuned to see what they come up with!

Week 4 recap

Reading and Writing:

This week our focus has been on punctuation and reading fluency. We have been learning about different punctuation marks, why authors use them and how they help the reader. We have then transferred this knowledge to writing and have been experimenting with using punctuation to write different types of sentences.




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This week we read the story ‘One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab’, a book about counting feet. We used the characters from the book to create our own addition problems!


We also continued our focus on statistics by conducting an investigation, making a prediction, collecting data and then analysing the results.



In CBL we made our green screen video which you can watch in the previous post!

This week we also participated in the ‘Count Us In’ singalong which occurred at 12:30pm Thursday, nationwide!!

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We ended this busy week by practising our spelling words, numbers and handwriting in the sun!


Hope you have a great weekend! See you on Wednesday!

Green Screen!

After our zoo visit we sat down to look at the photos. We discussed what we noticed about the animal habitats and environment. Students selected a photograph from the zoo and brainstormed everything they knew about that habitat. To present our ideas we decided to use the green screen! Green screens are used in movies to create backgrounds or make superheroes look like they are flying. At ACPS, we are lucky enough to have our own green screen! Here is what we did:

Excursion To The Zoo from Erin McNamara on Vimeo.

We would love some feedback from our families so please comment below and we will read them together in class.

Excursion to the Melbourne Zoo



Last Wednesday Prep B, along with 7 other Prep grades, visited the Melbourne Zoo as part of our Challenge Based Learning topic ‘Environment’. Our focus was on different animal habitats and their features so the zoo was the perfect place to do some investigating! Below is a slideshow of photographs from our day. A special thank you to Suren for being our class photographer.

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This week we are going to be sorting out the information that we learnt from our zoo visit and presenting it in a very exciting way! Keep an eye on this blog to see what we come up with. We always love hearing family and community feedback on our blog!

Prep B homework task: What was your favourite animal at the zoo and why? Comment your answer below and we will read them as a class!


Recap on Week 2

We have finished yet another busy week. Here is what we have been doing…

Reading: This week we have focused on identifying the problem and solution in a fiction text and using this information to retell the story. We have also looked at summarising and the difference between retelling and summarising a story. When retelling we say the characters, setting, beginning, middle and end. When giving a summary we just say the main ideas in sequence. We used the structure ‘Somebody, wanted, but, so’ to summarise.


We also worked hard in our reading groups. Each day students participate in one group: reading with the teacher, targeted word work (phonological awareness), readers theatre (acting out a script), comprehension and iPads. Here is a short snippet of green group doing readers theatre this week..

Readers Theatre from Erin McNamara on Vimeo.

Mathematics: In math we have been looking at addition and worded stories. We have focused on using counters and drawings to solve addition problems. Our minor focus was time. We ordered events based on their duration.


CBL: In our ‘Environment’ topic we looked at different environments around the word such as the arctic, rainforests, the savannah and reefs. We used Showbie to label the environment and discussed what animals we thought would live there. Check Showbie on the students iPads to see their submissions.


Directed Discovery: In DD we started our investigations by discussing our interests and natural curiosities. There are 5 groups this term that are investigating space, aeroplanes, jungle habitats, money and flowers. We have asked questions and spent time researching answers.





The aeroplane group (Riaz, Devyan, Bailey, Jibriel and Harun) wanted to know “How do aeroplanes fly?” They found their answer by looking in books and on the internet. Heres what they found:

  • The top of the wings is round and the bottom is flat
  • Air pushes under the wings
  • There are jet engines
  • There is a tail to stop it from tipping
  • Planes go very fast to lift off the ground.

On Monday, they are going to use this new knowledge to design their own aeroplane!

Prep Breakfast: This week we also had lots of fun at the annual Prep breakfast! I was very busy cooking food so I unfortunately didn’t a chance to take many photos!

IMG_0662So that was Week 2! Ask your child about what they have been learning about or practise these skills at home.


Directed Discovery: The Marble Run Project

It has been a lonnnggggg time coming but we have finally finished the marble run project. This all started back at the beginning of Term 3, when students were discussing how our toy marble run works.

What are marbles? What makes things fall? The interest grew! So one student started investigation and researching things such as gravity and different materials on safari. He decided to design his own marble run to help him learn more about how they work.

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Now that the design was finished and the excitement was growing, a few other students were eager to join the project. They started making the marble run through trail and error and quickly learnt that sometimes we fail more times than we succeed. Wrong materials, wrong slant, not strong enough, no support sides to keep the marble on, the list of failures grew very long! We watched a video of a Rube Goldberg Machine for inspiration and found out that failure isn’t a bad thing, it means that we are able to learn from it and make changes. The students spent weeks in Directed Discovery building, testing and then rebuilding. It took a lot of problem solving, more than the students had anticipated.


Finally, it was finished! It consisted of two starting points, three turns, a cup and about 15 reels of sticky tape. Now it was time to test it out! We predicted and hypothesised how many failures we might have before the marble lands in the cup. Check out the video below to see the results!

Directed Discovery: The Marble Run Project from Erin McNamara on Vimeo.

We would love to get some feedback from our families, friends, other teachers or anyone out there reading this!



Digital Citizenship

So always use our iPads for a range of projects but now that we are blogging online, researching using the internet and submitting work via Showbie, it was time to learn about online safety! Today we did our first lesson on Digital Citizenship and how to use the online world safely and appropriately.  We found out that it is similar to how we keep safe in the real world!

When you go to new places in real life we must:

  1. Stay with an adult.
  2. Not go off on our own.
  3. Only talk to people we know.

After watching a video about our ‘Online Neighbourhoods’, we found out three rules to follow when online. When visiting places online, we must:

  1. Ask an adult first
  2. Only talk to people that we know (eg. Miss McNamara on Showbie, or our family)
  3. Stick to places that are just right for us.

Watch what we found out here:

Digital Citizenship in Prep B from Erin McNamara on Vimeo.

Click the link below to see the video that we watched:

CBL in Term 4

This Term in CBL, we are learning about environments. We went on a hunt and looked at the natural environment. We took photographs and we used them to make a collage poster. Check out what we have made!


IMG_0254Jhye - collageDevyan

We are super excited to go to the zoo in a few weeks to learn more about habitats and different environments!

To learn more about CBL at Aitken Creek watch the video below:

App Smashing!



As part of our fiction unit, students were required to retell The Hungry Caterpillar story with a focus on sequencing the main events from beginning to end. I asked the class how they wanted to do this and as we have been loving Art Set recently it was no surprise that students wanted to use this. In Art Set we could create illustrations of the events but how would we show that we can sequence and retell these events? One clever cookie said “Let’s put the photos in Book Creator”.  Yay! Happy teacher moment! It was time for some App Smashing. App Smashing is when you create content in one app and then transfer it into a second or third app to enhance the final product. We have used both apps many times so most students were ready to give this a go by themselves. They used paints and textures to illustrate the main events from the story and then saved these pictures to their camera roll. They then inserted the pictures in sequential order in Book Creator and recorded their voices retelling the story. They exported it as a video and submitted it to me via the Showbie app for some teacher feedback! Check out some final products below.

The Hungry Caterpillar Retell (App Smashing) from Erin McNamara on Vimeo.

Hungry Caterpillar Retell from Erin McNamara on Vimeo.