The doves have mailed in!

Opening the parcel from Israel

Opening the parcel from Israel

This term Go-Getters grade under the guidance of their teacher, Tyna Lee,  have linked up with a Grade 5 class at Huberman School in Israel. We have been emailing with their teacher, Mrs Hanita Han and decided to have a toy-exchange. This week we received a large parcel from them which included many goodies & letters.

The contents included a huge Israel flag, lots of mini-flags and a giant toy caterpillar. Another of their gifts were some toy doves as a symbol for peace. The Go-Getters class have decided to take turns taking responsibility for the doves. This will include taking them home for a few days and keeping a diary of their adventures. Pupils will write about their lives in Australia and where possible include photographs. At the end of term we will send the scrapbook diaries back to Israel.

go getter

What we learnt from the contents of the box and from connecting with Hanita Hen’s class:-

Logan: they write in different to us

Max: I learnt that the doves were white and not black as I thought

George: that they have different letters in alphabet to us

Emily: they have 22 letters in the alphabet, we have 26

Kayden: what the flag looks like

Adam: I didn’t know the flag was blue

Nigel: I liked the caterpillar

Max: that they write from the bottom to the top and from right and left

Hudson: they right from top to bottom and right to left and that they are the same age as us, mostly.

Lana: There can be lots of war around them

Alice: that Hanita couldn’t find a stuffed dove, so she sent little feathered doves instead with a stuffed caterpillar

Felicity the doves mean peace

Jemima: the houses look different to ours in Jerusalem

Jessie: I learnt where they live – petach, tikva Israel

tom: They have different letters to our alphabet. We saw them on the caterpillar that they sent us

Hawkesdale’s Presentations at the Global Youth Summit

YouTube link to the one minute “OzTrees 4 GYS” presentation or view below:-

YouTube link to the three minute “OzTrees 4 GYS” presentation.

The video clips above were filmed on Saturday 18th January at the Singapore Science Centre, as part of the Actions for Earth Global Youth Summit. All the students had specific roles from collecting contact names and addresses for each of the attending schools, photography and script-writing to slideshow creation, creating our logo and giving feedback to our speakers.

Book Presentation by New York author

Last year, a group of 9 students volunteered for weekly lunchtime videoconference linkups with an author from New York to pursue their passion for writing. Each week they were set writing tasks. Their completed tasks were shared online with Chrisopher Herz, a New York author, using evernote. He would then look at their work, give them feedback and set further tasks.

Christophers second novel  was released in December last year. On Thursday, last week, at a special lunchtime ceremony, Christopher ‘beamed’ in from New York, using skype and presented each student with a copy of this novel. (He had posted the books to our school during March.) A big thank you is extended to the parents and teachers who attended the celebration with the students.  This was an exciting  connection and an amazing opportunity to learn from and with an author. It is hoped that lunchtime connections will continue during late term2 and term 3. Any secondary students who wish to improve their writing skills are encouraged to attend.

Thank you so much Christopher for giving up your valuable time to work with our students!

Students with Christopher

An educational tour of China


Mr Distel, our principal and two leadership team members, Mrs Tricia Butters and Ms Marg Murnane joined an Education Tour of China for two weeks at the end of September. This was a great experience where the staff involved had the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of China, as well as experience their education system.

The trip was quite different to past school trips in relation to what was seen and experienced. The visits to International Schools allowed them to talk with teachers and watch lessons providing insights into what support the language program at our school requires. While their classrooms and later during tours of the school acted as a remingder of how different modern education is in Australia compared to what we experienced as a student.

Mr Distel’s report continues as follows:-

The other participants on the study tour provided valuable contacts in terms of future funding support and the exchange of  ideas between our schools. The Hanban in Beijing which sponsored the land based costs in China went out of their way to make us welcome and had spent much time planning our accommodation, meals and itinerary. The Hanban is able to support language programs in schools in Australia, particularly in relation to resources. One of th ehighlights of the trip for me was the education centre at the Hanban building in Beijing, at which we experienced some of the innovative use of technology that is being developed to support the teaching of Chinese language. I am currently investigating the possibility of having a Chinese teacher assistant next year. They would need to be provided with home stay accommodation.

China is rapidly changing and is becoming increasingly more important in world affairs, the trip demonstrated clearly to me that the Chinese people are keen to embrace other countries and that the learning of the Chinese language will provide our students with a valuable tool in th future. On numerous occasions, be it on a tour of a school or a casual walk through a park in the morning, we were made to feel welcome. It was apparent on numerous other occasions while there are cultural differences that we are all the same in so many ways. I highly recommend that you take up the opportunity to visit China, if you are given the chance, because the reality of China is very different to the perceptions that you may have.

The Last Block in Harlem comes to Hawkesdale!

We are excited to welcome Christopher Herz to our school on Friday. Christopher is author of the newly published “Last Block in Harlem” which captures his love of the Block . From the age of 8, Christopher knew that he wanted to write and become an author.

The publishing of his book by Amazon Encore is an amazing story in itself – From Street Selling to Publisher to a Publishing Deal. The intriguing part of this presentation, is that Christopher is in New York and he will skype or videoconference into our school on Friday morning 11:30am our time, which will be late Thursday night his time.  He was kind enough to respond to a tweet seeking an author or writer for our celebrations during Australian  Bookweek – the theme of which is One World – Many Stories and Literacy/Numeracy Week 29th Aug to 4th Sept. He is passionate about inspiring young writers and encouraging them to read and write. Christopher kindly responded to a tweet seeking an author to speak to our students.

my request for authorherzwoods on twitter

Many of our students will be attending the Melbourne Writers Festival the day before. These students will be given the opportunity to hear Christopher talk.

Thanks Christopher for sharing your precious time with us and we look forward to working with you.

Introducing Malay Customs and Cultures – An eIntercultural Learning Adventure!

Veronica Woo, an innovative teacher from Malaysia, organized an extravaganza two weeks ago. The library was booked so that we could videoconference with skype using the Interactive White Board to project the web  conference. A number of classes from year 6 to 11 were present – a total of more than 45 students and 6 staff members.

Year 11 students from  SMJK Poi Lam School in Ipoh, Malaysia, demonstrated to and treated us with the following:-

  1.  Malay dance performance
  2. Demonstration on how to play ‘congkak’
  3. Demonstration on how to beat the Malay drum ‘kompang’
  4.  Brief introduction of a Malay wedding
  5.  Demonstration on paper money-folding ( folded items are given as Bridal gifts to families concerned )
  6. Ended the web conference with a song!

Three of our year 6/7 students learnt how to dance the Malay Dance by following the Malay girl’s movements on screen. Most students had an Australian paper note to practise folding the paper money.

In turn, our students and staff demonstrated the following:-

  1. a bearded dragon lizard
  2. a pet colourful baby bird
  3. how to play Australian Rules Football (footy)
  4. vegemite and how to spread it on a dry biscuit

It is always great to see that the sharing of objects over the web cam, makes students overcome their shyness, as their curiousity drives them to naturally ask questions about the object.

A surprise package………….for Class 9!


Do you recognise these papers and pamphlets? They were sent to Mrs. Barthelomew’s class in UK for a project about Australia. Here is what they wrote on their class blog:

 “Class 9 were extremely excited yesterday to receive a mystery package! We used the clues from the packaging to work out that it had been sent from Australia. On opening the parcel we were thrilled to find local newspapers, leaflets, information cards and a letter all about Australia’s flora and fauna, sport, lifestyle and indigenous people which had been sent by Britt at Hawkesdale college. These will look fab on our class display about Australia along with the many postcards that we have been receiving over the last few weeks. A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to our topic so far!”

Toys from Siberia!


Russian Toys

Grade 5 students are excited about two new toys that they have been sent from their ‘buddy’ school in Siberia. The school in Russia is Abanskaya School. (see how they start the school year!) It is in the town of Aban, which is in the Krasnoyarsk region, right in the middle of Russia. The group that we are working with are from the English speaking group. It is assumed that it is a group of students who do English as an elective. The school, like ours, has students from 5 to 18 years.  Our students are writing to students who range in age from about 8 to 12.

Read the letter that accompanied the toys:-

Dear friends,

Now we have summer holidays. Summer is not very long at our place, so we enjoy our hot days, swimmin and other outdoor activities. We sent you these toys. One of them is a tiger. Its name is Tigrenok. There are a lot of tigers in Russian forests. We hope you will like this little tiger and make friends with it.

The other is Cheburashka. It is one of the favourite cartoon characters. You can find some information on the Internet. If you press his body, it can speak and sing a song.

girls and toys

Grade 2/3 Global Connections through Voicethreads

Grade 3 have been making some really interesting global connections. Please take time to look at and enjoy the work they are doing:
 Here is a recent letter from a class in Wisconsin:-

Mr. Huglin and Students,
Thank you so much for creating a VoiceThread of “Possum Magic” for my students to watch and listen to. They were so surprised to find out that their Mystery Readers were students their age that lived in Australia! I have the story in our library, so after we listened to your VoiceThread we looked through the book too. We learned a lot about the animals, cities, and foods in your country. It all sounds so interesting and very different from the animals and foods we have here in Wisconsin. Melissa Schurr,  Teacher, St. John Vianney School, Janesville, Wisconsin


 Here are some of the student responses:-

  • Thank you for reading Possum  Magic. I really liked how you read to us. It was really nice of you guys to do that. I really liked the story Possum Magic. I really liked the pictures you guys made. I liked the animals like the kangaroo, the koala bear, and all the other animals.  Love Abigail
  • I   really    liked  the  story.  I  loved   the  illustrations.   I would   love   to  go   to  Australia  some  day.    Thank  you  for  reading   the   story  to  us. Here   in  Wisconsin  we  have  animals  like  bears , cows,  and   robins.   Your friend Ciara
  • We  loved   the story. It was awesome! Thank you! I loved Possum Magic! We love the pictures.   Colin
  • Thank you for reading Possum Magic to us. I really liked the koala bear. I really like the pictures. We have a lot of robins in Wisconsin. Our state flower is the violet. Eli
  • Thank you for reading ‘’Possum Magic’’.  I really liked the kangaroo.  In Wisconsin our state bird is the robin.  In Wisconsin our state animal is the bear.  In Wisconsin our state flower is the violet.  It was really cool for you to show us Australian animals.  Once again thank you. Gabby
  • Thank  you  for  reading  Possum  Magic. I like the koala bear you drew. Our state animal is the Badger.  Another one is  the cow. Love Jackson
  • Thank you for reading Possum Magic to us. I really liked it. You are good artists. It was fun.   My classmates liked it to. The koala bears are cool. So was the kangaroo. And the possum. Some of the animals here are the badger, the deer, and the turkey. Liza
  • Thank you for reading the Possum Magic book. I liked the pictures. Here in the United States we have bald eagles, bears, badgers, and robins. Nathan
  • Thank you for reading Possum Magic. It was a cute story. Mem Fox is a awesome author! Nicole
  • I loved the story you read to us! I love the illustrations too! Do you know just one thing about   Wisconsin? Here I will give you a tip… our state flower is a violet. Olivia

Students also produced a Voicethread on Easter and shared it with their friends in Czech. Their email response is to be found below the voicethread.


Read how Czech celebrate Easter via this email.

Thank you for your email. It´s fine that letters didn´t lose. We have the Easter holiday , too, but only 5 days. There is the spring in our country and many people celebrate Easter as a spring holiday, not ecclesiastic. We bake a special cake similar to the cross buns but bigger, decorate eggs for boys who come to our houses on Easter Monday with carols and hunt girls to whip them by a special Easter rod made of the willow twigs. This custom may give health and force but I don´t like it. I´ve never seen that whipping cured somebody. So we visit our parents and friends, give the chocolate and real decorated eggs to our children and turn away the carollers. 🙂 Ivana

International Friendship Day

Friday, April 16th, was International Friendship Day in Singapore.

“International Friendship Day is a day dedicated to the understanding of Singapore’s relations with neighbouring countries and beyond. It aims to sensitise our children towards the geo-political realities inherent in Singapore, as well as nurture in our students the spirit of friendship and collaboration among different people.”

The classes at Elias Park Primary School were busy with a number of activities. Grade 5, under the direction of their teacher, Baljeet, were writing to the students in Australia about the kampong experience eg the games, the house and utensils used during the kampong days. Aini Hussein’s grade 6 class were making miniature scarecrows from different countries, out of recycled materials. Students were given two chopsticks and then use their recycled materials they brought from home. The scarecrows were to represent the citizens from other countries. To our delight we were part of the demonstrations of the completed scarecrows. Elias Park students and Aini linked up using skype to videoconference with us and one of our year 6/7 classes. In clear confident voices, students took it in turns to talk about their scarecrows. The scarecrows represented USA, China, Korea and one really creative one was a cross between an Egyption mummy and a Japanese citizen. Thank you grade 6 students from Elias Park Singapore, for a showing us your wonderful scarecrows and involving us in your International Friendship Day.