And here is a map Lucas mapped for us with google maps to map the section that we would be tackling this weekend.
We parked our car at the end of Sam Kelly Road, so that we got to conquer the daunting ‘Gherulla Bluff’ right at the start with fresh legs, shade and morning temperatures. Last time I ascented this Bluff was during the Blackall 50, after already running 20kms and in 11am heat…it took me 2hrs to reach the top!
This time it took us 1 hour to reach the top, and 6.5 hrs to complete the whole circuit, including a couple of refreshment stops, and potato salad to give us some much needed energy!
The track is unforgiving, hilly and hard on the feet in many sections. It’s uneven and rocky, needing a mental alertness each step to place feet in the best position, the impact giving your whole body a physical workout.
Creek crossings were a bit dry, but enough water to dip our hats in to cool down 🙂 After rain, crossings require good rock hopping balancing skills, or just wading through.
But still enough water in the water holes for a swim at the end to cool down 🙂
A great circuit to do every now and then to test endurance and resilience 🙂
Australian Curriculum Links
Too tired to map them this time 🙂 but you can imagine the geography, maths, health outcomes, and those core values we learned through experience together 🙂
Our goal of trekking around the Annapurna is our ‘Everest’. We have been reading biographies of Alyssa Azar (youngest Australian to climb Everest) and Jordan Romero (youngest worldwide to climb Everest at 13!!!!!), sharing their journey of achieving their goal, and inspiring kids to go for their own ‘Everest’ whatever their dream might be. We learn so much from their stories, from their experience travelling new cultures, planning, failing, hard work, training, safety etc., and especially BALANCE.
We have also just read Solli Raphael’s new book ‘Limelight’. He hasn’t climbed Everest :-), but at 13 has written a book inspiring kids to follow their dreams too, this time through slam poetry! At 12 he won the Australian Slam Poetry Competition, beating Adults! Here he is performing his winning slam:
His poetry is awesome, he’s not just good at poetry though, he has a passion to rally all of his generation to help change the world for the better. He gives good advice, not just about metaphors and similes 🙂 But also about the importance of well being, balance, and BREATHING…did you hear in the above poem…Breath In, Breath Out :-). His saxophone playing, his long distance running training, his tennis playing, are not just other interests, they contribute to to his mental and physical health, a balance that makes the ideas, the words, the creativity, the nerves of ‘slamming’ all possible for him. It is this BALANCE that we are focusing on as we read Solli’s poetry.
We’re not all great poets or Everest climbers…but just as we can achieve our own personal physical goals, playing with and being mindful with words can help us to transform those goals from the words of a ‘training plan’ to discovering our goals on a more personal and emotional level, from within.
We are going to try and write our own poems about our journeys, but first we are exploring the genre of SLAM. Slam is like the RAP of poetry. So to get us warmed up, we thought we would learn a RAP. But, as we need to maintain our Mandarin while we learn Nepali, we thought we would learn a RAP in Mandarin 🙂 Our goal to trek around the Annapurna is about having a goal that will keep BALANCE in focus, a goal that we can integrate all our learning areas with a focus on our inner, local and global ‘Well being’. So we are learning a RAP in Mandarin about having a ‘Balanced Lifestyle’. Memorising this rap, and making a video to go with it, will help us to talk about the topic of having a balanced lifestyle while we achieve our goals, with friends in China. And of course it integrates LOTE, English, Health, Music, Arts and Technology. It will help us to share bilingually what we think is important to achieve our goals.
We found the site Mandarin Rap Podcast for learning how to talk about some deeper topics in Chinese through learning Rap! It’s a great site, check it out! We found a rap about Lifestyle Balance on the site.
Here is the video of Aurora and Lucas singing the Rap. They added images to help with meaning, as well as subtitles in Mandarin and English. Lyrics in Chinese characters, pinyin and English translation below.
Aiya! I’m really tired. No time to rest, no time to rest…
A balanced life is important
Students’ have such a lot of stress
Homework and revision are piling up.
So busy every day that we’re going round in circles.
The pace of life is really fast!
Lots of adults all hope
To get bonuses and promotions
All day, working from dawn till dusk
They have no way to look after their families.
Free time and leisure are always rare
But a balanced life is so important
Let everyone take action
We all need to adjust and make changes
Vegetables, fruit – eat them every day.
Drink more water; drink less coffee
Never set foot in McDonalds
Give up smoking and limit drinking – that’s the way.
Don’t forget to do enough sports
Keep on burning calories
Exercising every day is good for your health
Early to bed, early to rise: you won’t grow old!
Aust Curriculum Links
Yr 7 – Plan, structure and design media artworks that engage audiences – selecting footage, editing the footage into a sequence and applying a soundtrack that matches the edited sequence’s pace, rhythm and style
Yr 7 Use interaction skills when discussing and presenting ideas and information, selecting body language, voice qualities and other elements, (for example music and sound) to add interest and meaning
We have been learning some Nepali words and phrases over the last few weeks, and are now starting to learn the Devanagari script and Nepali Alphabet 🙂 So kids have been making prayer flags, they thought it would be a nice way to paint the symbols on and hang in our classroom for daily practice 🙂
This activity is not just about the Nepali Alphabet though, ‘how to do’ the activity and the freedom to get things wrong are what make the activity meaningful. In a school environment, a teacher may only have 50 mins class time to run such an activity. So the teacher has to have all logistics worked out, everything measured, cut, prepared in piles, resources ready etc. The kids are given instructions and they just follow. Stepping back and letting the kids work out the logistics takes time, some may say is a waste of ‘learning’ time, but it’s where all the learning takes place 🙂
We first had to think of a way to make prayer flags. After searching many odd bits of material around the house and estimating cost of buying blank prayer flags, we found an old whitish sheet in the cupboard. Then came a Math problem. What size should our prayer flags be to ensure we had around 100, enough for Nepali alphabet and some spares for fun wishes. They measured length and width of sheet, 138 and 110 cm. Lucas remembered on his maths online he had done something by adding all the lengths and widths together, and maybe that would help him figure out our problem. He went onto his maths online program and found that would give him the perimeter. He then looked some more, and recapped the lesson he’d done multiplying length and width, remembering that would give him the area. He calculated 15,180cm square. We needed 100 squares, how would we work out the area of each square, though? Lucas shouted ‘divide the area by 100!’ I was impressed 🙂 So they worked out each square needed a rounded down area of 150square cm to ensure we got 100 flags. But how long should each flag be???
They figured they could just guess a length, multiply it and see if it was close to 150. 16 x16? too much. Tried 8×8, too little. 14, too much, and so on. They decided to make them 12cm long and wide. When they measured and cut them, they found they had over half the sheet left…hmmm, calculations must have been wrong. So they made an extra set of flags at 15cm each, as they thought the others were too small anyway! Where did they go wrong? All their calculations had been correct, but the initial measuring of the sheet with the tape measure might have been wrong. Fortunately this mistake left them with surplus flags! But my controlling this activity for them would have prevented them from making a mistake, one that didn’t really matter in the big scheme of things, but it’s because the mistake isn’t really going to hurt them in any way that it is such an important aspect in the process of ‘learning’.
The neighbours joined in making prayer flags with us 🙂
Next was to work out how to dye the flags. They noticed that our prayer flags we have hanging on our deck, are white, blue, red, yellow and green. We looked at material dyes online, average price $10 each, we would need 4, too dear for our little project. Aurora researched into natural dyes, we bake using ‘foods’ for natural colours, so she found videos of using natural ways to dye materials. But we worked out once we had bought the foods for all the colours, would be too expensive and time consuming…red cabbage so expensive, then boiling for 2 hours…didn’t sound practical. Then Aurora suggested food colouring, which we never buy but figured the cheapest solution for the small quantity of material we needed to dye..we got each colour for $1.14 each 🙂 This took a couple hours of research and chatting to get to this decision…but lots of reading and reasoning to get there.
Once dried we could paint the Nepali Alphabet on them. Here’s Lucas using a video he found for painting the vowel symbols. The lady had made the video for teaching the Nepali Alphabet to kids, so we could learn the sounds as we painted.
Here is the full video we used :
As well as using the ‘concept’ of the prayer flag as a beautiful way to decorate our classroom and learn the Nepali alphabet, we also thought we would paint some with our personal hopes and wishes for our world, to blow into the wind. Aurora painted symbols to spread her wishes of love, balance, strength, nature and peace.
Australian Curriculum Links
Yr 5/6 Visual Art : 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.
yr 5 Calculate perimeter and area of rectangles using familiar metric units
Critique needs or opportunities for designing, and investigate materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to achieve intended designed solutions
Select appropriate materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques and apply safe procedures to make designed solutions
LOTE (Hindi as no Nepali in Aust Curr) : Convey information about aspects of language and culture in formats to suit different audiences and contexts / Creating and comparing their own examples of particular text genres, such as horoscopes, prayers or weather forecasts explaining their choice of particular language or text organisation
HASS YR 7 describing how harmonious relationships with the natural world were reflected in Indian belief systems (for example, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism) (this is very limiting as all outcomes are…but you can work out the connection :-))
We havn’t done an actual pack list yet for Nepal…not got to that stage yet…but while we are doing all our reading and information gathering, we are realising that we are going to need a fair amount of ‘gear’ that we still don’t have, or really have the money for…
I saw on a local group a call out for leaflet and local newspaper droppers needed…so we got thinking…we need to train with packs on, we need extra cash for our gear…and it’s a job we can do safely together, so it seemed a no brainer to give it a go and sign the kids up for their first real job!
Signing up for this job has given the kids a real sense of responsibility, and a sense that they are contributing financially towards our family goal. They are serving the community (we had no idea how many people look forward to their catalogues each week and thank us!). They’ve been able to use the job as a meaningful way to apply their math learning.
Aurora has created a spreadsheet that calculates how much we earn.
The first leaflet pays $20 per 1000. Every leaflet in the delivery after that pays $10.90 per 1000. Aurora had to think of how to work out how much we would get paid depending on the amount of leaflets and number of houses in the area we were delivering. Then create a formula in a spreadsheet, so that we could easily enter the number of leaflets and houses we have each week to calculate our pay, and keep a running total of the weekly earnings.
Lucas created a wall chart for us to have a visual running total of our earnings each week.
We decided that the kids were doing such a good job, that they could both receive 10% of each weeks earnings towards their own personal savings. 10% will also be going to a charity or organization in Nepal that helps kids somehow. So the next task is to make the spreadsheet visually appealing, plus include the deduction of their 10% and our 10% donation, and a separate weekly total of those. Then there’s working out how we can get things like wind and rain proof hiking pants each, cheaply, with the savings we have 🙂 So much Math!
The job has also opened up discussions about doing a job that does not align with personal values. We have a ‘no junk mail’ sticker on our letter box, and we don’t consume much other than food, basic hygiene stuff, books, and hiking gear 🙂 We’ve been a bit anti- consumer catalogues!
We’ve talked about how many people would read/ bin the leaflets, is it a waste of energy on the earth to produce them, what does the companies’ involved market research say? Is it an ethical job? What about all the other jobs involved from producing the leaflets, to marketers? What other jobs contribute to environmental, physical and mental health problems? There were actually lots of regular jobs we could think of!!!
It’s the kids’ first job, we are now part of the process, in order to save up things we need for our goal. We live in a world where we have to work to live. Is it possible to have a job that aligns with all ethical values? Deep topics, but the kids have plenty of thoughts to contribute to them!
Australian Curriculum Outcomes
Yr 7 HASS Economics and Business – Knowledge and Understanding : Investigating the contribution that work can make to an individual ( example, earning an income, contributing to an individual’s self-esteem, contributing to the community, material and non-material living standards and happiness)
From the senior secondary curriculum : calculate weekly or monthly wage from an annual salary, wages from an hourly rate including situations involving overtime and other allowances and earnings based on commission or piecework (ACMGM002)
use a spreadsheet to display examples of the above computations when multiple or repeated computations are required; for example, preparing a wage-sheet displaying the weekly earnings of workers in a fast food store where hours of employment and hourly rates of pay may differ, preparing a budget, or investigating the potential cost of owning and operating a car over a year. (ACMGM009)
Yr 5 Math : Select and apply efficient mental and written strategies and appropriate digital technologies to solve problems involving all four operations with whole numbers
Investigate and calculate percentage discounts of 10%, 25% and 50% on sale items, with and without digital technologies
The Hokey Pokey song in Mandarin is called 唱歌跳舞 (chàng gē tiào wǔ) which is literally ‘sing songs and dance’ in English!
This is just full of grammar learning opportunities, and also gets the kids up and dancing like they are at a party!
It has position/location sentence structure (inside, outside), left and right, and body parts.
But it is the repeated 把 construction that is the winner for me! The 把 sentence pattern in Chinese is tricky for older students to get their heads around, yet little kids get to hear this sentence pattern in this song, and so many other songs and classroom instructions, so many times that they will never have a problem with understanding the grammar of it when they get older!
Here is a video of us singing the song at our Mandarin Song and Story Time, with the words below.
Here are the lyrics:
Chorus: 唱歌跳舞， 转个圆圈， 大家笑哈哈
bǎ yòu shǒu fàng lǐ miàn
bǎ yòu shǒu fàng wài miàn
bǎ yòu shǒu fàng lǐ miàn
yáo yáo nǐ de shǒu
(Chorus) chàng gē tiào wǔ zhuǎn gè yuán quān
dà jiā xiào hā hā
bǎ zuǒ shǒu fàng lǐ miàn
bǎ zuǒ shǒu fàng wài miàn
bǎ zuǒ shǒu fàng lí miàn
yáo yáo nǐ de shǒu (Chorus)
bǎ yòu jiǎo fang lǐ miàn
bǎ yòu jiǎo fàng wài miàn
bǎ yòu jiǎo fàng lǐ miàn
yáo yáo nǐ de jiǎo (Chorus)
bǎ zuǒ jiǎo fàng lǐ miàn
bǎ zuǒ jiǎo fàng wài miàn
bǎ zuǒ jiǎo fàng lǐ miàn
yáo yáo nǐ de jiǎo (Chorus)
bǎ zì jǐ fàng lǐ miàn
bǎ zì jǐ fàng wài miàn
bǎ zì jǐ fàng lǐ miàn
yáo yáo nǐ zì jǐ (Chorus)
Translation is much the same as English with a few changes: You put your right hand in, you put your right hand out, You put your right hand in, and you shake it all about, sing and dance and you turn around, everybody laugh. Repeat with left hand, right foot, left foot and whole body, and add your ‘bottom’ (pigu) for a fun one at the end 🙂
This particular translaton was taken from ‘Sing and Learn’ by Trio Jan Jeng and Selina Yoon. You can purchase the whole CD on iTunes.
This week at our Mandarin Song and Story Time, we read 大卫， 不可以！(Dàwèi , bù kěyǐ!) the Chinese translated version of ‘No, David!’ by David Shannon.
It is a simple book with the ‘No!’ and ‘’Don’t!’ things that adults often say to children. The illustrations are fun and convey all the meaning needed for reading in a second language, will encourage lots of discussion in both English and Chinese, and lots of repetition in the text to reinforce some key Chinese phrases.
不可以玩食物！(bù kě yǐ wán shí wù) ‘Don’t play with your food!’
Chinese doesn’t really have a word for ‘No!’ So instead the translators have used the modal verb ‘Can’ to translate ‘No’ in this context as ‘You can’t’. When we say ‘can’ in English, it can mean ‘you know how’, or that you ‘are able to’ or that you are ‘allowed to’, all depending on the context. In Chinese, there is a different modal verb for each one…’会 (huì), 能 (néng), and 可以 (kě yǐ)’. It is 可以 kě yǐ that is the one used to say that you are permitted or allowed to do something. At pre-school in China, when teachers are telling kids what ‘not to do’, it is this ‘不可以!’ (bù kěyǐ!) that is used…No! Don’t! For English learners of Chinese, learning how to use these different forms of ‘can’ in Chinese can be tricky. So this book is also great for older students of Chinese to reinforce the usage of one of these ‘can’ modal verbs. It will only take a couple of readings and some fun discussion of the illustrations to remember that ‘不可以!’ is the ‘can’ that means ‘allowed’ or ‘permitted’.
不可以挖鼻孔！(bù kěyǐ wā bíkǒng!) ‘Don’t pick your nose!’
Of course the little ones at our story time will pick all this grammar up naturally just by enjoying the story!
We are doing really well exercising every day, but Sundays are our day to do something longer or more challenging. Didn’t wanna drive too far today, and some of our favorite walks that aren’t too far away we’ve done so many times that they are not that challenging to us anymore. So we decided to do the Kondalilla Circuit, 4.7 KMs down to the waterfall and back up, have a bit of brunch, and then climb Mt Ngungun on the way home.
Kondallilla circuit was an easy but lovely shady rainforest walk to start our Sunday morning. Kondallilla is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘rushing water’, and the falls were really flowing today!
It’s mango season, so mango and bananas were our fueling refreshments along the way.
After a bbq brunch, and a coffee for us and iceblock for kids in Montville, off to Mt Ngungun for our climb. At a peak of 235m, when Kathmandu will start us at 1300m, it’s not exactly altitude training…but the closest we are going to get to it here 🙂 It’s only 2.7km up and down, but a good climb, and in midday 33 degree heat it’s a good cardio workout. More cool refreshing mangos when we got back down to the bottom. Its geography and Aboriginal links can be explored at the visitor center at the start of the Glasshouse Mountains in Beerburrum. The info on the leaflets though seemed to be very ‘white male explorers historic notes’ oriented…so our plan is to try and find some indigenous perspectives of the area, as this climb will feature a few times over next few months I think it would be good to learn a little more about the mountain’s history.
But for today, nice views of the Glasshouse Mountains, good exercise, and a lovely outdoors in nature way to spend a Sunday with the family 🙂
As we explore the history of Ngungun, a few outcomes from the HASS curriculum:
Pose questions to investigate people, events, places and issues
The diversity of Australia’s first peoples and the long and continuous co nnection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to Country / Place (land, sea, waterways and skies)
year 5/6 Health outcome:
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
As we are getting into the routine of daily fitness, kids will be working on a program for us, so we are building up to this yr 7/8 outcome :
designing and monitoring a personal fitness plan that proposes realistic strategies for maintaining fitness, health and wellbeing
Lucas’s passion is cooking, well maybe it’s ‘eating’, and he’s merely learned that culinary skills can produce yummier food! He’s 11, and could easily cook for the family full time. As soon as we thought of going to Nepal, Nepali cooking has been on his radar. He’s been reading about Mo Mos, and having already perfected making Chinese Dumplings, he’s interested in trying these Nepali versions!
We’ve not had any luck finding a Nepali cook book at the library, and on our scouts round book shelves in op shops have had no luck either. So we have ordered one that we have found online…but while we wait, with all the reading about Nepal that we have been doing, we are learning that Nepal, bordering India and Tibet, has influences from both their flavours. We got to taste Tibetan flavours when we hiked Tiger Leaping Gorge earlier this year, so Yak cheese dumplings might be on the to do list soon!
Lucas found an Indian cook book last week at a Mapleton op shop, and bought it for $2 out of his own money, and promised to make us an Indian Madras for dinner this weekend, feeling like he’s getting closer to Nepalese cooking already 🙂
Lucas is not an enthusiastic reader, but reads with 100% focus when he’s about to make us a new culinary treat and needs to follow a recipe. We started cooking together when he was a toddler, when we made new things we followed recipes together, now he can make a new dish from start to finish completely independently. He can even follow recipes in Chinese :-).He checks for the ingredients we already have, writes his shopping list, and shops for the ingredients without any help. Our store didn’t have fenugreek seeds, so in the supermarket he borrowed my phone to search for a fenugreek seed substitute, and found he could use mustard seeds. He gets all his ingredients together, and does all chopping prep before starting. Then weaves his magic.
For a non avid reader allowing him to read the books that he is passionate about (recipe books), gives him confidence that he can read and comprehend if he needs to. Tweens are forgetful and can lose focus easily, my son being no exception. By allowing him to dabble in his cooking projects whenever he wishes, lets him know that he can focus, he experiences success using all those skills that are in the English curriculum. If I was to insist on giving him set readings and subsequent tasks that he wasn’t interested in, his tween brain would look at the blur of writing that he had no motivation to ‘decode’, and he would feel like a failure wondering why he was unable to achieve the standards that the curriculum had laid out for him. Letting kids follow their interests and passion, they achieve these outcomes without even trying!
The learnings are amazing and are fused with as much zing as the curry itself 🙂
The recipes in the book are titled by their Indian names. By perusing the recipes he wants to make, he is making more connections between Hindi and Nepali…he noticed ‘Aloo Gobi’ is an Indian dish with potatoes, and having just learned how to say lots of vegetables in Nepali, he noticed it was similar to ‘Alu’ which means ‘potato’ in Nepali. He then found out the Indian dish names are taken from Hindi, where ‘Alu’ also means potato.
He scanned, he read instrutions, he wrote a list, followed instructions, researched alternative ingredients, measured/converted in ml/fl ounces, teaspoons, cm/inches, tasted chillies and consulted with his family how many he should put in 🙂
A list of outcomes for such a ‘task’ for Lucas’s year level are below. But cooking is so much more than this. It’s about sharing a meal together, new flavours to be experienced produced entirely from scratch, being in the moment chopping and smelling ingredients, tasting and experiencing another culture, watching how these individual inedible ingredients fuse into an amazing flavoursome dish (so much chemistry in the kitchen!). I am so glad his passion is cooking…we get such yummy dinners 🙂
Australian Curriculum Outcomes
English Yr 5:
Understand the use of vocabulary to express greater precision of meaning, and know that words can have different meanings in different contexts eg. Moving from general, ‘all-purpose’ words, for example ‘cut’, to more specific words, for example ‘slice’, ‘dice’, ‘fillet’, ‘segment’
Text processing Strategies: readers use to decode a text. These involve drawing on contextual, semantic, grammatical and phonic knowledge in systematic ways to work out what a text says. They include predicting, recognising words and working out unknown words, monitoring the reading, identifying and correcting errors, reading on and rereading.
LOTE Hindi (Nepali)
Collect, classify and compare information from a range of sources relating to social and cultural worlds