Getting Fit…Mt Cooroora

It’s been great for us to read together the fitness preparations of (then) kids like Jordan Romero and Alyssa Azar achieving their goals.  Hearing their accounts of appreciating the amounts of training they did, helps the kids to stay motivated when they have to get up early on a Sunday to beat the heat climbing a mountain 🙂

Which is what we did this Sunday to climb Mt Cooroora, in Pomona.  Only 439m, but straight up, so a very steep climb. It’s one of our favorite climbs, requiring full concentration whether going up or down to scramble over big rocks, and the chains to help balance and hoist give you an upper body workout too! The views are spectacular the whole way up, and especially at the summit 🙂

We will probably include Cooroora many times over the next few months as we crank up our training.  Kathmandu sits at 1400m, Basi Sahar where our Annapurna trek starts is around 760m. So living at sea level and climbing to 439m doesn’t even come near to where we start our trek, so can’t help us with our altitude training…but the plan is to at least improve our cardio and physical fitness…it took us (well me…the kids were way ahead constantly waiting for me) 56 mins from bottom to summit.  So the goal is to try and do it faster next time.

Australian Curriculum Links

I love the Health and Physical Ed Curriculum, it is soooo good covering so many ways to help kids have a sense of well-being.  Unfortunately, often there is no time in school to cover these…the little time HPE receives is often competition based and can really put off so many kids from enjoying physical activity for the sake of well being.

Our training over the next 5 months will encompass so many of the HPE outcomes. One thing that really stood out to me climbing this mountain is the support we give each other as a family and team, we encourage the slow one (me!), knowing it’s the trying and finishing, no matter how fast or slow, and each one of us can feel comfortable in our team knowing we are always doing our personal best, and that ‘best’ is encouraged with a ‘well done’ by all team members, but here’s the year 5/6 outcome for this anyway:

discussing the importance of social support and a sense of belonging in promoting mental health and wellbeing

Yeah we do this yr 5/6 outcome all the time…

Participate in physical activities designed to enhance fitness, and discuss the impact regular participation can have on health and wellbeing

Lee, the coach of the family is initially setting our training activities, but the kids will be ticking off this yr 7/8 outcome as they become more involved in setting their weekly activities to build up to their trek fitness goal :

designing and monitoring a personal fitness plan that proposes realistic strategies for maintaining fitness, health and wellbeing

I reckon we will have covered every HPE outcome as we prepare for our adventure by the end of the 5 months 🙂

‘Reading’ about our adventure

This is a Nepal in Motion post 🙂

Big adventures need lots of research and planning, so obviously we are going to cover oodles of English outcomes 🙂

Need to book things, find out things, from websites, books, blogs, maps, government offices, from chatting, from groups, social media, from shared experience…but it’s BOOKS we are going to focus on in this post 🙂

The library has been the place to find lots of books about our adventure.  From travel guides, phrase books, travel diaries, geographic and cultural informational texts, we have a lot of book reading to enjoy!

My daughter is a book worm, and absorbs so much from reading a diverse range of texts.  My son a book avoider.  He will happily surf the internet researching heaps about every airline /type of plane we can fly internally in Nepal, how much, where, cost, how many seats on the plane, chance of survival lol…and can give us a pretty persuasive argument to choose a plane instead of the 8 hour bus journey we need to take to Pokhara….because planes are his passion and he really wants to go on a plane in Nepal.  This covers lots of English outcomes! But when it comes to books….other than plane books, recipe books (cooking is his other passion), oh and the Treehouse series…that’s about it, and of course no matter how much I leave other books in his path to ‘diversify’ his reading, he might skim the pictures, but that’s about it.

I have an avid reader, and a not so avid reader.  Nothing wrong or right with either of them, that’s just how they are.

When our kids are toddlers, and can’t read yet, we read to them so much!  It’s how they eventually learn to read themselves.  As they grow older, there is this expectation that they read themselves to grow their comprehension and vocabulary, and understanding of the world. Set texts are given to them to scaffold this process.  Unfortunately not all kids are ready to achieve specific English outcomes at specific times, and if the ‘set texts’ have no meaning to them at that particular time there is going to be no interest, and the skill that has been so carefully sequenced by our curriculum writers for them to acquire with that text is going to be missed.

If I want my non avid reader to increase comprehension and vocabulary from a diverse range of texts, be aware of different styles and forms of writing, learn informational knowledge or biographical wisdom, I’m going to have to read them out loud, just like I would have when he was younger.

The beauty of learning together from home, is that we do have the time to sit down together, get comfy on the couch (often this is upside down for the kids), sometimes the kids might be also fiddling with goo, or colouring in something for our wall, and then just read together.  As soon as a book is opened and we find our comfy spot, there is a natural calm, they are listening, we go on the journey of the book together, we stop to talk about anything that triggers anything, we are making personal and meaningful connections with the text together.  Something in the book might stir a past memory, or future insight of our own journey.

This junior information book ‘Expedition Diaries: Himalayan Mountains’ has been cool, as it is about China’s Yunnan section of the Himalaya, a province we have explored many times and not far from our hike earlier this year through Tiger Leaping Gorge.  The kids were unaware we had already been so close to the Himalaya, and how far they actually range! The scrapbook / post it note /highlighter layout has given them some ideas of how they might write their own ‘expedition diary’.  Little interesting notes about planning, earthquake tips, animal sightings, transport mishaps, getting lost, language problems…this book is really ‘intrepid’ for kids 🙂  My non-avid reader enjoys the pictures in this book, but won’t take the time to read all the captions…so reading together allows us to talk about the diary, and how our potential diary might be written.

The book ‘No Summit out of Sight’ is a Junior book, written by the youngest boy ever to climb the highest mountain on every continent.  Because it is a junior book, from his perspective, the kids have enjoyed hearing about this boys experiences of goal setting, travelling, fund raising, cultures and environments as he lands in each country, the red tape, beaurocracy and politics of the different countries, the different gear and training he has needed for the different types of mountain, supporting charities, developing in maturity on his journey…each section sparking excited conversation about what we will need for our journey. (Also maths involved as it is an American book and all the mountain talk is in feet…we have had to convert to metres every time!)

This book ‘The girl who climbed Everest’ about the youngest Australian girl to climb the mountain, has been really good to read as she comes from Toowoomba just a few hours down the road from us 🙂 This is an adult book, written by an author who writes about the lives and experiences of not just Alyssa, but her family and friends. As it is not completely from Alyssa’s perspective, my 11 yr old non-avid reader has thrown out a few ‘this is a boring part’ in the parts where it goes on about the adults, but quickly switches back on when the author switches to the quotes from Alyssa, about the young girl’s amazing journey to her adventures and achievements.  Judgements and school / social media bullying have been talked about lots in this book, and have sparked lots of conversations about being different and fitting in, so important to talk about with our teens. My 13 year old daughter at a different stage of development, has been very interested in every aspect of this girl’s story.

Guide books are another type of book we will read together, the layout is often not appealing to kids!  Detailed notes of the route we plan to take are in several guide books, we will read together down the track as we research routes from other blogs, and plan our own routes through google maps etc.  Lots of exciting reading to come 🙂

Australian Curriculum Outcomes

This is from the ‘Understand how the literacy progression works’ sub section of ‘Listening’ :

This sub-element describes how a student becomes increasingly proficient at building meaning from a variety of spoken and audio texts. It includes active listening processes to access and understand the increasingly sophisticated language structures of spoken texts for audiences and purposes specific to learning area requirements.

From this many of the ‘outcomes’ are encountered, but in our home situation I don’t have to set a worksheet or a task to prove or justify the outcome has been acheived.  The outcomes are just happening, not necessarily in the yearly order set, not like when a teacher prescribes a set outcome to be assessed, the opportunities to experience the learning in each outcome just naturally occur.

After some reading sessions together, whether fiction or information books to prepare for any project or adventure, have a peruse through the English outcomes, and you will find one or two that just ‘happened’ through the osmosis of reading and the subsequent deep chats together 🙂


Our emblem for our wall display

This is a Nepal in Motion post!  You can access all these posts by choosing the Nepal in Motion category 🙂

We had designed and created an electronic version of our emblem.  But we needed a version that we could hang on our wall, a motivational first step to all our adventure learnings that we want to put on display.  It now looks beautiful and on display, with all its symbolism, reminding us of our awesome adventure to come.  Our feet are now on the wall walking around a mountain, the goal we are going to help each other do together!  The eyes are in the centre, the windows to our inner selves and the individual journeys we will take as we venture out of our comfort zones.  Such an emblem  on display is so powerful to give us that sense of belonging to a team working towards an adventure together.

Creating this paper version though, posed a math problem!

We had to create a red triangle with a blue border, just like on the Nepali flag. I gave the kids the task of doing this, but told them that I didn’t want them to just cut out dodgy triangles, but that we needed to make a perfect triangle with the border relative and consistent. How are we going to do that????

These piks tell of some of the thought processes and research involved :

Their ideas included measuring a cm border around an initial triangle, from the middle and each point…but then realised that 1 cm from a point of the triangle would not meet the line of 1cm from the middle of the side, making a wonky second triangle.  They thought about just cutting strips to place around the edges of the first triangle, but couldn’t work out exactly how to do that precisely.

They do a Maths Online program, that just shows them how to do math concepts, then they do a few online worksheet style questions, which they normally get most ‘right’.  Similar to what they would do in a classroom, great to cover the curriculum…but applying what they’ve learned about triangles and angles to this actual task was not so obvious to them.

They decided to try and draw the first triangle, and then work out how to do the border or a bigger triangle later. Even this posed a problem, they had agreed on the type of triangle they wanted to draw, an equilateral one, they knew this one had equal sides, but how to draw a perfect one?  It took a lot of discussion, and even a few prompts from me wondering if there was any other way, other than the length of the sides, that we could measure or determine a triangle…’Corners!!’ they shouted…’How do we measure these corners???’ I asked…

Even though they seem to learn the facts, even though we have done other practical tasks involving angles, like making a photo frame, measuring body angles whilst doing certain sports…it took discussing about these connections for them to work out that knowing the angles of the triangle might help us draw a perfect one.  As soon as this had clicked, they went to researching, asking google how to draw a perfect equilateral triangle.  They found a compass method, then practiced on plain paper, but then realised that the compass method was not going to work for a big triangle, their compass was too small.  So they found out they could use their protractor to measure the angles, then draw the two remaining sides, regardless of the size of triangle they wanted to draw. Drawing the second bigger one was then the same process, just a 2cm longer base! 

We each made a footprint with paint, each one coloured to symbolise the elements, this was our foot ‘signature’ pledge to the team!  Then traced the Buddha Eyes in a round sun to place in the middle.

It was a long process to get there, but learning that will stick more than just a few worksheet questions about angles.  Plus they had a perfect red triangle with a perfect bigger blue triangle to place it on, that they were really happy with as our symbolic mountain to start off our wall display!

Aust Curriculum Links

For us this activity was more for our sense of wellbeing and belonging to a team.  It has many learning areas covered, but this post has focused on Math outcomes. Math outcomes can be ticked, but often kids don’t really understand why they are learning them.  If we were to link this learning to the curriculum, we could use this one in the YR6 ‘Using units of measurement’ section:

Solve problems involving the comparison of lengths and areas using appropriate units

Or this one in the ‘Geometric reasoning’ section of the Yr 5 curriculum:

Estimate, measure and compare angles using degrees. Construct angles using a protractor. 

But at the end of the day, we wanted to draw a triangle because we wanted to put our emblem on the wall.  We learned how to. We learned that knowing about angles was useful for this task, will probably forget this, but know we will be able to find out what we need to know to solve a problem next time. The main learning was working out how to find the information needed for the task. It’s just reassurance for some that it’s linked to the curriculum 🙂


Dashain Festival

We are learning the Nepali Language through various means…(more to come on that soon!), but one of the ways we will be learning is through Nepali rhymes.  The first few years of our first language input is through hearing the sounds around us, and often through story and rhymes.  When learning a second language, whether you are a kid or an adult, I feel it is so important to listen to and sing along to songs, even if you don’t know the meaning of every word or understand the grammar!  It’s the best ‘input’ to get a feel of the sounds, and you get to naturally learn the patterns of word order and grammar, so when you do finally get to learning about a particular grammar point, you have plenty of ready made memorised examples to connect meaning of that grammar point to! YouTube has oodles of songs in many languages…just search your target language 🙂

It is currently the ‘Dashain Festival’ in Nepal, one of their longest and most important, it’s 15 days long, the main day for 2018 being tomorrow, the 19th October.  So we are learning a rhyme that apparently every Nepali kid knows about this festival. Here is a version that we really like and are learning:

The basic Nepali lyrics to the original rhyme are as follows, but I think the version in the video is a little different (the challenges of learning a new language from scratch!!!!).  I contacted the makers of the video to see if I could get a transcript of the actual Nepali lyrics in their song….they said they are working on putting the lyrics on the video…so I guess we’ll just have to wait 🙂

Dashain aayo,
Khaula Piula,
Kaha jaula,
Chori lyaula,
Dhatta papi,
Ma ta chuttai basula

The English translation to the original rhyme are as follows:

Dashain has come
We shall eat and drink
Where will we get drink and food?
We shall go and steal
Oh damn, I shall stay away from you sinner.

A main message of Dashain is ‘good overcoming evil’, Nepali kids being passed this message on through this rhyme 🙂

On researching things about the Dashain festival, the kids found that playing cards and kite flying is popular during this time.  But the thing they found really exciting, was the 20 foot bamboo pole swings that are made for the kids….they’ve loved watching lots of YouTube videos….here is one:

Our neighbours have lots of bamboo in their back garden….I think the kids are going to plan an engineering feat with the neighbour’s kids pretty soon….they have found a few videos if these swings being constructed…lots of tech/design/math outcomes to integrate with that project 🙂 possible videos of that to come soon….

Australian Curriculum Links

By searching key words from such activities in the ACARA website, you will find plenty of outcomes for many year levels in many learning areas that this activity could springboard.

Each language for Languages Other Than English (LOTE) in the Australian Curriculum have their own curriculum to follow.  Nepali is not included, but as it shares the same script with Hindi, the Hindi curriculum could be used to map outcomes.  The general scope and sequence of the Hindi Curriculum is on the ACARA website (there are two, one for primary level entry, and one for yr 7-10 entry)…but the year level stuff doesn’t seem to be completed yet.

It’s sequenced as Socialising, Informing, Creating, Translating, Reflecting.  This activity of learning a song for the pure fun of it would include ‘Informing’ outcomes.  Hopefully over the next 5 months as we learn more, we will be able to link all parts of such a scope and sequence to our learning.  We will continue to learn from our hearts and with the resources we have…not from the scope and sequence….we will journal our learning of the language, then work out what we have covered in the sequence for reporting purpose only 🙂

Our Family Nepal Adventure Emblem

This is a Nepal in Motion post 🙂

We have started a new Nepal in Motion FB page to journal the learnings of our preparations for our trip to Nepal! We wanted to have a special family emblem as our profile pik on our Facebook Page…so that was our first Adventure Based Leaning task 🙂

Possible curriculum outcomes are at end of the post…but for us this is just an exciting start to our adventure…creating a symbol of our team, a sense of identity and belonging, a symbol we can recreate on our wall where we will hang all our maps and planning, a symbol we can print on a T-shirt down the track…NEVER get bogged down with the outcomes….they are an afterthought for reporting only…..DO WHAT IS FUN WITH YOUR KIDS, the outcomes come naturally whether you record them or not 🙂

Lucas got straight to work in a paint program on the ipad….doodling this rough draft of a potential emblem, our plane flying through the mountains!

Lucas told me that the mountains represented Nepal, that the plane (planes are his passion) represented our journey and the bridge represented our hike.  Awesome!  Lucas had set the foundation for what our emblem needed…. something to represent Nepal, something to represent us as a family team, and something to represent what we are doing on our journey…but the emblem needed to be a team effort encompassing our values as a whole.

So we brainstormed everything that came to mind when we thought of Nepal, and researched into a few symbols of Nepal.

We found that the Nepali flag is shaped like 2 triangles representing its mountains!  It’s red colour represents the national flower the rhododendron, and blue outline represents peace.  We thought we could include this in our emblem somehow.

We then brainstormed how we as a team would like to be represented in our emblem.  We want to be strong, help each other in our journey, and be gentle on the environment.  So we searched for ways that we could represent both Nepal and us on our journey.  Aurora found ‘chain links’ linked together, and thought that we could draw 4 of these on our emblem to represent our strong team, but she knew it just didn’t quite go with our hiking /Nepali elements.  She then found four hands linked together….getting better!  We then thought….what about 4 feet????

So our team (mostly Aurora this part :-)), using a combination of Microsoft Paint, Publisher and Word, designed and created an emblem like this…

The triangle represents the Himalayan mountains, coloured red to represent the national Rhododendren flower, outlined blue to represent peace. The four feet represent us as a family, walking around the mountain together, leaving only footprints. Aurora had the idea of integrating  the 4 natural elements, water, air, fire and earth into our feet…the energy forces bringing us together in life.  The Buddha eyes, which appear on so many Nepali temples, represent the fifth element, the spiritual journey we would like to achieve individually.

Next task to create a card version of this emblem for our wall display 🙂

Australian Curriculum links 

Designing an adventure family emblem can tick so many outcomes in the curriculum…Here is one from the Yr5/6 Visual Arts Curriculum:

Explain how visual arts conventions communicate meaning by comparing artworks from different social, cultural and historical contexts – analysing how symbolic meaning or metaphor is constructed in students’ own artworks and artworks of others.

But it also covers English (researching, discussing and comparing symbols), Design and Technology (using a variety of media tools to design and produce own emblem), Health (awareness of wellbeing and working as a team), SOSE (exploring cultural perspectives)…LOTE cultural outcomes….many learning outcomes 🙂  If you search the keywords of making such an emblem in the ACARA website, like symbol, team, identity, belonging, etc you will find the potential outcomes for your year level.

This activity also involved ‘Ethical Understanding’, ‘Personal and Social Capability’, ‘Intercultural Understanding’ and ‘Critical and Creative Thinking’, all part of the  ‘General Capabilities‘ section of the ACARA website.

We’re learning Nepali!

Namaste 🙂 We are off to Nepal on an adventure next year, so we have started learning Nepali and all about Nepal 🙂

Over the next 5 months we will be preparing for our 230km hike around Annapurna by exploring the Nepali language and culture, learning all about gear and safety, training hard, saving and budgeting, mapping and planning…there will be so many learning areas that we can cover through ‘Adventure Based Learning’, that we have decided to make it our major project for the next 6 months!

These posts, and our FB Page Nepal in Motion are our way of journaling our learning.  But if you are planning a trip to Nepal with kids, or if you are a homeschool family planning an Adventure Based Learning project anywhere local or overseas (we will try and link curriculum outcomes for everything we do), then this journal might be able to offer some ideas or tips….or if you are already doing this you may be able to offer us some ideas and tips 🙂

We will place all Nepal posts in the ‘Nepal in Motion’ category for ease of looking up 🙂

Dhanyavad 🙂