Comparing Schools in Australia and Rocky River and Comparing Others in Discussions

Each class contributed information to add throughout the week during their Global Studies class.   We research for several weeks and finally this week we created our first project together on Google docs.


Rocky River School and Australian Schools
  There are 7 second grade classrooms at Rocky River with about 140 students.   We found many schools to be smaller overall to our 820 students.  But we also discovered they had some of the same books, math/maths manipulatives, interactive boards and computers and playgrounds.  Some classes did the same subjects and some added other things.   We liked all the outside playtime everyone got.  We are required only 30 minutes per day.  Barriers to our education might come more as alarm clocks not going off, parents sick or working, no transportation if car rider, clothes not clean and bad weather (snow, hurricanes, storms, tornadoes) but we didn’t face barriers like some places that had war and had to pay for school to even go.    We think that Australia is similar to us in the barriers they might face. Is your school similar to Rocky River or the Australian schools?  Of course, we didn’t get to do all Australian schools in our research. We were most amazed by the ones in the Outback that we read about called Radio Schools.  We’d like to hear from someone that has done one of these and learn more about it. We want to thank Ms. Cartwright and her students at Newrybar Primary school for their help.  That school is in New South Wales.  They are part of our penpal project Exploring Our Places and our post card project.   Take a moment and make a comment to this new class of bloggers. Her new blog site is   Ms Crowther’s in Victoria was also helpful in our project and answered several questions. View Larger Mapnewrybar (1)   Other schools and blog sites that helped us compare schools in other places included many continents.  Even though our focus was on Australia we have explored schools in England, Canada, Africa, Brazil and Scotland during our investigations. We also appreciate the opportunity to look into Mrs. Lynch’s second grade classroom on her blog site from Canada We loved seeing the video and comparing our classrooms to theirs.  They read many of the same books. We saw The Littles, Pete the Cat, lots of Dr. Seuss books and many other familiar titles.  They had pattern blocks.  They did math.  We wonder more about games they play and what they bring in their lunches. Mrs. Monaghan and a Room with a View has been our learning partners for several years as we learn more about their class and school.  Their blog site is  Mrs. Monaghan continues to share and answer our questions often. We were amazed at the zipline in Scotland.  We got involved with Burravoe Primary through a post card project and learned a lot about their small school.   Many things were different yet similar here.  Did you know they are on an island that you have to ride a ferry to get your car to the mainland?  They often have to stay on the island because of so much wind. We noticed they had a lot of technology for such a small school.    Visit their site to learn more about this small interesting Shetland Island school. We enjoyed viewing the wiki between  Burravoe and Longhaugh.

Longhaugh/Burravoe wiki

Mapping Resources/Products North Carolina and Australia


  • What resources/products are the same in North Carolina and Australia?
  • What are some that are different in each place?
  • Why does our maps show Australia having most of their resources around the edge and not in the center of Australia?
  • Is the sugar cane grown in NC the same as the sugar cane grown in Australia?
  • Are the cattle and sheep the same? 
  •  Why do you think both North Carolina and Australia are able to have cattle and sheep?
  • Does your country produce the same things?   Do you have different things?


Mapping – Australia

Recently we started a mapping project to learn more about products and natural resources in Australia and Monroe, NC.  We spent a day working on NC paper maps and using a map key and placing products/natural resouces on the map.  Then another day we did Australia the same way   After that we used a web 2.0 mapping tool — to create the same information with technology.  Watch for these  in a later post.

Ms. Crowther from Upper Plenty sent us some maps showing a few of these to compare.  She did beef, sheep/wool and grains.

Victorian Agriculture (1)




View Larger Map

Our World

Where is Monroe, North Carolina?

  •  Where is Rocky River Elementary in the World?    34° 59′ N / 80° 36′ W

It is in the Piedmont region of North Carolina.  There are over 800 students.   Over 40 classrooms.

We have been learning about latitude and longitude and maps from Our World Our Numbers.  This next week when we return to school we would like some help to understand how big your city is and how much different areas of the world recycles in our own mapping project.

Rocky River Elementary School is in Monroe, North Carolina.

North Carolina is bordered by South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia, as well as the Atlantic Ocean along its eastern coast. Off the coast of North Carolina, out in the Atlantic Ocean, are a string of barrier islands, called the Outer Banks, the site of the Wright brothers first flights, the Kitty Hawk flying experiments.

North Carolina’s main geographic features are the coastal plains and the Appalachian Mountains. The sub ranges of the Appalachians located in North Carolina are the Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Great Balsam Mountains, and the Black Mountains, which have the highest in the eastern United States, Mount Mitchell.

North Carolina is one of the fifty states in the USA.  California is all the way across the United States.  You can drive there in several days.  It’s between four and five hours to fly there.

The United States (50 States) joins Canada (10 provinces and 3 territories )  to make up what is known as North America.   Bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west side and the Atlantic Ocean on the east side.

Flight Distance

Monroe to Middleham UK—3924.69 miles / 6316.18 km

Monroe to Sydney, Australia-  9486.7 miles / 15267.36 km

Monroe, NC to Victoria, Australia–9902.31 miles / 15936.23 km

Monroe to Los Angeles California   2146.63 miles / 3454.67 km  driving time  2442.18mi / 3930.3km

Monroe to British Columbia Canada and Mrs. Watson’s Class  2636.95 miles / 4243.76 km

Monroe to Palmerston North, New Zealand-     8343.44 miles / 13427.47 km



Inquiry about Currency Around the World

Our dollar bill also referred to as a buck has George Washington the first president.  Not all of our bills have Presidents but several do.  Our coins are penny (1cent) nickel (5cents), dime (10 cents), quarter (25 cents), half dollar or fifty cent piece (50 cents.  Four quarters make a dollar.  10 dimes make a dollar.


This week we’ve had the opportunity to learn about currency from some of our blogging friends from around the world in their project Our World, Our Numbers.


We had already been solving word problems with money the previous week so this fit into our extended global learning about other countries and their money.

We loved the Canadian video about their coins, Mrs. Yollis’s video about the President’s and coins in America.  We discovered that our bills are not as colorful as they are in other parts of the world.  They are called bucks or bills here and notes in some places.  We liked seeing our friends in Middleham shopping in an actual store.   We can’t just take a walk and go to the store at our school.   We have to plan months in advance for a couple of field trips per year then we send home a permission slip for parents to give permission to go and then we travel by bus to our destination.  We thought New Zealand and Australia both had colorful money.

This is a local ad for groceries in our area.   Prices vary each week and by different stores.



We played some games and learned more about money at this site from the US Mint.


We decided to look at the British Museum video about the history of money.



Teaching Peers About Weather

We’ve been learning about air and weather.  We’ve tracked the temperature and weather over time.  We looked at weather tools.  We read books about weather.  We got to teach out classmates about what we learned as we were reading.

  • Do you know what causes snow?  
  • How about tornadoes?  
  • Which causes more damage a tornado or hurricane?  
  • What is the type of cloud that means fair weather?

Weather Around the Globe-

During the past few weeks we’ve hear that it was very hot in Australia and cold in England with snow.   We’ve had some combinations of both places.   For January it got very warm last weekend (January 10) then during the week it got cold enough we got a little snow during the night on the grass and steps.  There was ice/snow on the windshield to be scraped off.  It rained a lot on Thursday during the day before it snowed at night.   Water was standing everywhere but now we don’t have a deficit in our water table according to the meteorologist.     It was cold and frosty yesterday (Saturday) and today.   The forecast is for it to be in the teens by Tuesday morning (that’s F) and perhaps only 30’s during the day.  It’s sunny and clear, blue skies this morning and about 42 degrees F.   It’s suppose to be a nice day before the Arctic blast comes down from Canada.

Global Connection with Wildfires

We made a connection to Australia this week when we heard about the wildfires there.  This past summer here we heard a lot on the news about wildfires in some states in the western United States.  

We wondered how many were caused when lightening struck during a storm?  

How many had high winds?  

Was the humidity just right to keep them burning so long?

 What effect does it have on people and animals that live in these areas in the United States and Australia?

  •   We know homes were destroyed for both people and animals.


What is the weather doing where you are?  

Can you explain the water cycle?

Global Warming- What do you believe?

You hear a lot about global warming.  Which of these are true we wonder?   We need to read more to find out which source is correct.

Do you know of evidence that proves this is happening?

We read it in some books and on some websites but……

We also read that it’s just something that environmental groups and some people are saying.  This is were we have to read and think very carefully and compare and contrast evidence.

Inquiry Learning- Innovations and Inventions

Recently our class was doing some inquiry learning.  Each 2nd grade classroom was introduced to Australian inventions that we might be familiar with== refrigeration, note pads/post-its, bug spray and google maps.

The teachers created a video to get us interested.   They gave us two questions during the lesson to think about.

Compelling Questions

  1. Using what you know about Australia, why do you think the Australians invented these products?

2.  How did each invention make other cultures better?


We researched the inventions and then discussed them and what we learned.  We had to decide why the Aussies invented these items and how the invention made other cultures better.   Then we had to do a video, create our own inventions and critiqued our presentations.   We decided some of us needed to speak louder, some needed to not fidget, some needed to know the information better that we talked about.   The invention we discussed the most was google maps which then lead into GPS inventions and how this helps us travel and learn about the world.



Inventions Can Help from Brenda on Vimeo.

Surprise Package from Upper Plenty -Australia

This week we received yet another package in our box.   Anticipation of where it came from and what was in it could be hear around the room.

As we gathered around to find out the answers we noticed it was addressed to Mrs. Todd and the Roadrunners.   The return address was Upper Plenty  3/4 C and Miss Crowther’s  in Australia so that was one question answered.  Now to find out what was inside.  As Reese pulled open the package tab and Kaylie looked inside and pulled out the contents we found the answer to our second question.

Inside we found two cards wishing us a Merry Christmas and  the students in 3/4 C Upper Plenty, Victoria, Australia  had signed them.  Then there was a wrapped package that was flat and  square wrapped with red Christmas paper.  Kaylie opened it and inside was a book and CD with Aussie Christmas songs.   We found out they were different from our songs.


Although it arrived in America after our holiday it was a nice surprise for the first of the year. We wanted to listen and sing along.   Thank you, Upper Plenty for sharing with us!

We hear that it was very hot there this week.   While you were baking in the sun we had temperatures in the early morning in the high 20’s low 30’s F.  And daytime temps around 50 degrees F.   Do you know what that is in Celsius?


Skyping with Upper Plenty

We had sent them questions about the holidays a few weeks earlier so they could prepare for the Skype.   They have holidays called Australian Day, Boxing Day, Anzac Day along with ones that sound like ours– Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, Halloween, New Years and Valentine’s Day.

Did you know that they have a bilby at Easter instead of the bunny?

Did you know they can go to the beach on Christmas Day?

Why ?  It’s summer time there.

They still decorate like we do but have picnics, barbecues, and play a lot outside.   The boxing day is a shopping day after Christmas similar to our Black Friday after Thanksgiving.  They honor soliders on Anzac Day like we do at Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day.  They serve mom breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day and give gifts.  They call candy lollies.  They celebrate birthdays too!

This Skype experience was a good follow up to our study of Australian holidays.  We learned that the Melbourne Cup, Boxing Day, Australian Day, Anzac Day are only celebrated in Australia.   They celebrate Christmas during their summer while we celebrate it during our winter.   We all celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Birthday’s in similar ways.

We have Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and Columbus Day.

Do you have other holidays to celebrate?  Which is your favorite?

What is the best thing about skyping with children from another country?




What’s on that Cracker?

Friends in Australia wanted us to sample and give our thoughts.  Watch our expressions and hear comments as we have a tasting party.  We tried it on  saltine crackers (Square/white) and on Ritz (round and yellow) to see if one was better.   How else do you eat it?  We heard of it on toast for breakfast.

VID00081 from Brenda Todd on Vimeo.

Native Americans (USA), Aboriginal Cultures (Australia), Maori (New Zealand)


We’ve been busy comparing three cultures from around the globe.   With the help of Ross Mannell we explored the Aboriginal cultures in Australia, the Maori cultures in New Zealand and the Native Americans in the USA.  We made pictures of what we thought life would look like for the different groups.

What do they all have in common?  What are the differences?

  1. They all valued the land and took care of it.   
  2. They respect and honor nature and animals.
  3. They are spiritual and have stories told from one generation to the next.
  4. They  only used what they needed .  They were hunters, gathers and some tribes  practiced agriculture and fishing.
  5. They often celebrated with dances and song.
  6. Their homes were made  from twigs, grasses, sticks and things from nature.
  7. They were the first people in their country.
  8. Each group/tribe/clan lived in different places so they had different tools, weapons, clothes, homes and foods depending on what area of the country they were from.
  9. Unlike Native Americans, no formal treaties existed with Aboriginal people. It’s only in modern times the status of Aboriginal people as the first Australians has been recognized through land rites and respect of their culture.  They told stories on bark, cave walls and rocks with their drawings.   Men could play the didgeridoo and women could not.   They hunted with spears and boomerangs.     Each clan had a name.  Animals were done with dot art.  Turtles, kangaroos, dingos, emus were painted on the cave walls and used on boomerangs.
  10. The Maori belong to the Polynesian group.  They believed they were the caretakers of the land for the next generation.  They shared dreamtime stories that told about creation and how things came to be.   They celebrate with dances and songs.   They wear tattoos on their faces and bodies.  There are many different clans.

Some facts about the Cherokee one Native American/American Indian tribe… in North Carolina.

  • The Cherokee Indians are believed to have broken away from the Iroquois.
  • The Cherokee Nation once stretched from the Ohio River to South Carolina
  • They raised crops of corn, beans and melon (known as the 3 sisters) & tobacco.  The corn provided stalks up which the beans could grow; the beans added nourishing nitrogen to the soil; the squash spread out and prevented weeds from taking over .  (We saw this in the BrainPop Jr. video about Native Americans helping the Pilgrims with our Thanksgiving study.)
  • The Cherokee hunted deer, bear and gathered plants for food and trade.
  • I-85 (runs through Charlotte near Monroe NC) use to be an old Indian route used for trade
  • The Cherokee language has an innovative writing system that was invented by the Cherokee scholar Sequoyah.  Sequoyah’s writing system is a syllabary. That means one character represents each syllable. (Another language that uses a syllabary today is Japanese.)
  • Like their distant cousins the Iroquois,  the Cherokee Indians had an even division of power between men and women.  Cherokee men were in charge of hunting, war, and diplomacy. Cherokee women were in charge of farming, property, and family. Men made political decisions for the tribe, and women made social decisions for the clans. Chiefs were men, and landowners were women. Both genders took part in storytelling, artwork and music, and traditional medicine.  Now women can be chiefs.  Men can be farmers.
  • Cherokee houses were made of river cane and plaster, with thatched roofs.
  • There are many traditional Cherokee legends and fairy tales. Story-telling is very important to the Cherokee Indian culture.  ( The Maori culture has their dreamtime stories about creation and how things came to be).
  • Creeks, Chicksaws, and Shawnees were other tribes that were sometimes enemies and sometimes friends.
  • Each Cherokee tribe has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country.  However, Cherokee Indians are also US citizens and must obey American law.
  • During the 1800’s, the US government created an “Indian Territory” in Oklahoma and sent all the eastern Native American tribes to live there. This was called the Trail of Tears and many Cherokee died on the journey there.   Some tribes willingly agreed to this plan. Other tribes didn’t want to go, and the American army forced them. The Cherokee tribe was one of the largest eastern tribes, and they didn’t want to leave their homeland.  Some Cherokee are still located in North Carolina along with Oklahoma.  The ones in North Carolina live on a reservation.   They still hold ceremonies  make baskets and art work and have a large tourist industry with visitors each year to the mountains of North Carolina.
  • Traditional Cherokee art  included pipe craving , river cane baskets,  gourd art, and pottery. After moving to Oklahoma, the Cherokees couldn’t get the materials they used to use for traditional crafts, so they concentrated on other crafts like beadwork and blankets.
  • Cherokee (Tsalagi) language is spoken.
  • What do you think environmentally friendly farming – sustainable farming   

  •     Is it new or an old concept from the past?  Do you think these groups practiced this before it became popular with today’s society?

  • Do you think the landforms determined how these different groups lived and what they believed?

  • What is your opinion about our responsibility to the land, plants and animals found on it?

Quad Blogging Begins This Week

We are starting an exciting adventure with friends from around the globe to learn about our favorite things.  These classes are excited about blogging and looking forward to quad blogging so please take time to read their post and make a comment.  They would love to hear from America about favorite things.  To read their post just click on the link on the side under Quad Blogging buddies.

Quad blogging is where four classes spend time learning about different countries and cultures from around the world through their blogs, by writing posts, reading posts and leaving comments.  Classes take it in turns to have their classroom in the spotlight for a week.  During that time, the other three classrooms visit and leave comments.

We’ve enjoyed a Flat Stanley project last year with a Room with a View and hosted Snail and Whale from New Zealand so we know these classes.  Although we are a new group of students we’ve heard about these projects and look forward to more.

Week 1  starts November 4th 2012  3/4C & 3/4K @Upper Plenty-  Ms. Crowther Victoria, Australia



Week 2: A Room with a View- Mrs. Monaghan – Middleham, England


 Week 3:  Mr Baker and the Ins & Outs in Palmerston North, New Zealand



Week 4:  Going Global- our week-  Roadrunners & Mrs. Todd in Monroe, North Carolina

Adventures into Global Learning

Union County Public Schools in Monroe, North Carolina are introducing students to a global society.   Each elementary school is part of the Global Gateway program.   Teacher’s work on modules learning how to bring globalization into their classrooms and lessons.  They will collaborate and learn about ways to incorporate global learning into their curriculum.

Students will do inquiry based learning by finding answers to questions about a specific region of study.  At Rocky River the second grade will focus on Australia and New Zealand and some smaller islands.

  •  How do Australia, New Zealand and North Carolina compare?
  • Do they have similar cultures?
  • Do they have similar traditions?
  • How are they different?

Our Friends in Australia– Pt Lonsdale Primary School

Our second sister school Pt Lonsdale Primary School, Victoria, Australia          What have they been up to….    they had family blogging month in June to get families and friends involved in their blogging.  Before term was over they picked winners for the month.     We thought this was such a great way to get our families more involved that we’d like to encourage all of you to make comments and get involved with our GoingGlobal blog site.

  Check out their site to see what they did and perhaps leave them a comment from North Carolina.

They’ve also been learning more about Australia in order to teach us about Australia.   We can’t wait to see what they are putting together for us.   We loved learning about other people, places and cultures.   We can read in books and on the internet but it becomes more special to us when we learn about places with other students and teachers.  Ms. Murphy and her students have taught us a lot of things because we enjoy visiting their class blog site.  Take some time to see what is happening with the Learning Legends in Australia.    Be sure and check out their mystery skype.    As they are on a different schedule be sure and continue to check out their site.  Their school is in session at times when we aren’t.

What is one thing you learned from their blog site?

What was the most interesting post and why?

Do you think school there is like Rocky River?

Locate them on a map and see if they are in the outback or near the ocean.  Where are they located at in Australia?