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Let’s skype with vegemite!

Posted by murch on 18th June 2008

 At the end of term 2, we experienced an amazing session. It was Friday 13th, in the school library with a combined year 9/10 info class and the grade 3/4s (as  it was too wet to play sport outside). Our principal had just left on a plane for the US, but we beat her there as we had an appointment at 10 am with a school from New England in the USA, at 8pm Thursday 12th.

Skype allowed us to videoconference with exceptional clarity. The audio did not falter on our end and the video was quite clear and had few time delays. A web cam and desktop mic were our means of communication. After 8 weeks or so of connections via shared blog posts and live blogging, our finale was this videoconference of ’show and tell’. A live bird, a New Guinea eclectus parrot, and three baby birds started the show off, followed by vegemite, a meat pie with sauce, a footy, Essendon footy jumper, a netball, webkinz, toy koala, banksia flowers etc. Collaborationnation showed us their dunkin’donuts/drink, baseball cap, basketball top, district flag, Disneyworld souveneir. They explained the origins of their national anthem and sang it to us with gusto. The girls demonstrated cheer leading and jazz ballet steps and chanted mugzy to taste test vegemite from a teaspoon to prove it was a food. We responded with a demonstration of netball and the singing of our national anthem. The responses from students has been resoundingly positive  and they wish to continue on with this style of learning and both countries’ students have begged their teachers for more. However, the US students finish their school year next week and we change semesters. It is certainly to be hoped that we can continue to collaborate next semester with a new group. Read these student posts to see what students feel about our current schooling and the online collaboration in comparison:- Flurogreen, Tawney, Leecie, Lauren, Mugzy The fabulous part about all this collaboration, is that it triggers further research from the initiative of students. Paul Bogush has forwarded on this finding on our infamous vegemite from his students after yesterday’s videoconference. We had promised to send them a tube of vegemite, but now we will have to abstain. However, I have been since informed it was a hoax!!!!

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Global Projects, flatclassrooms | 1 Comment »

My Flat Classroom

Posted by murch on 12th April 2008

Lesson Plan for Tue 8th April, 2008

Topic: Oceana - Australia - our culture, country, school, town, farm

Length of lesson - 60 minutes

Class size: 110 students, several staff members!

Student asking question via skype

Time of lesson: New Brunswick 8:45am, Australia 9:45pm

Teachers involved: Jeff Whipple, Chad Ball and other interested Canadian staff; and me, Anne Mirtschin (Australia)


  • Nashwaaksis Middle School / Devon Middle School School District 18 Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and
  • the study, my home, Hawkesdale, Australia

Prior learning:

  • existing wiki, with resources set up by Chad Ball, the teacher in New Brunswick
  • questions posed by the students in reply to the message by Chad, posted on the facebook bulletin board.If any of you have a good question for our Australian webguest, please post it here. Add your name, write your question down and bring it tomorrow morning. You may have the chance to ask. See the questions.


  • skype, headphones with microphone,
  •  lots of digital images of Australia put into 4 powerpoint presentations
  • wiki setup with MS Powerpoint presentations, using slideshare to embed them into the wiki.
  • internet access
  • nerves of steel!!

Lesson Plan:

Introduction: introduce myself and my country with a map of Australia.

Lesson: Walk through the slideshares on the wiki, indicating ‘next’ so Chad and his students can be viewing the same slide as me, as I talk to these students about our culture, country, town, school and farm, stopping for questions along the way.

Conclusion: Question time for staff and students.

Teaching the New Brunswick students about Australia


Self:  There were many questions which is always a good indication. My voice broke up somewhat but overall skype and the line were okay. We dropped out once but were soon back online again. Such a powerful learning experience that textbooks can never give.

Jeff: kids loved it…isn’t skype wonderful kids couldn’t stop gabbing about presentation all day…so excited…you are so right about textbooks…primary sources  are as close as our connections to the world…current, authentic.  thanks sooo soooo much…the kids haven’t stopped talking about you, the learning, and your “funny” accent…

Chad: As it was still pretty early when we came online, the students were all pretty sleepy, but that didn’t stop them from talking about you all day! I would really like to see this communication continue, if you are interested.  How many students have you got?  Maybe we could do some type of e-penpal idea or something of that nature.  I would love to have the kids share some of their teenage lives with each other.

Part of our ‘de-brief’ when we were done was to review some of the pics and video from your website.  I also had the kids write a few quick notes to you.

  • It was incredible,
    Its just so different from what is normal here. I probably would of never found any of that out if it wasn’t for that presentation!
  • That was soo cool! it was real awesome of the cool things i (and everyone) learned, I think i’m gonna do some research on more later…
  • i really liked the fact that we were actually talking to her. not just in email. i thought all the pictures she showed were pretty sweet. also, i thought it was cool how we are used to different surroundings and habbits.. yes, we dont say put your bookbag in the boot… i still find it awsome, though. i love australia so much! (not to mention thier accents!)
  • I thought that was so cool, for anyone who missed that, I wish that they could have seen it!
  • that was an EXCELENT, presentation. I LOVED IT.
    it was very interesting, and i think that getting to learn chinese
    is a very diffrent thing then what we learn here.
  • i dont really understand why they learn chinese… i dont really think that makes much sense
  • Hi Mrs. Mirtshin
    We were just watching you video and we wanted to know what bubble taps were.
  • I really enjoyed seeing and listening to her.
    I learned a lot of new things
  • i loved her accent. when she said RIGHT-O ! hahaha !
  • Hello again..
    I jsut wanted to say thanks again for taking the time to talk to us abotu Australia. It was really interesting and i learned a lot!.
  • it was swet
    her accent was cool, but the conection kept breaking up
    but it was till sweet
  • thanks allot for sharing some of the intersting facts about were your from and for taking the time out of your day!!
  • I thought that it was great! And I love her accent. Plus, we got out of Math!!! It was really fun and I hope we can do it again.
  • Mrs.Mirtschin,
    Thank you very much for taking your time to teach us about where you live. I thought i was really interesting to learn about how different it is from here.
    thanks again !! )
  • Awesome presentation and pics. I’m gonna look up some more stuff on Australia… We should have a field trip there lol it would be fun…
  • Yeah we thoguht the presentation was cool, and the web-cam thing was a really good idea. We both learned lot’s of new things about Austrailia.
  • thank you Mrs. Mirtschin, that was really cool… and i hope that someday i will come to australia, and now that i know a little bit about australia i will be able to understand things there even more.
    for anyone who missed it, it was a very awsome presentation.
    you should have been there.
  • Thank you for teachiing me lots of things that i didnt know about Australia.
  • Thank-you for teaching us stuff… PS. Kangaroos are cute!
  • Thank you for teaching me so much about your home, Australia. I learned a lot of really cool stuff, and I hope that some day I can go there to explore for myself.
  • jsut wanted to say thanks for talking with us today and taking the time to teach us more about australia. hope you have a grate day MATE, or nignt i dont know
  • I that it was to cool that we got to talk to you this morning
    Thank you lots
  • hey mrs. mirtschin
    thanks for teaching us about australia it was fun thanks again
  • Thank you Mrs. Mirtschin for teaching us alot about Australia and what it is like to go to school there and about the farms and the sheep and everything. I enjoyed listening to you talk and asking you questions thank you for your knowledge that you shared with us.
  • thank you i learned stuff that i dident know about befor
  • i really liked the presentation you gave!!! thanks bunches
  • good stuff, cool last name
  • That was really interesting! It was pretty wicked awesome in my words. ) -lh
  • i thought that was a really interesting presentation. i can’t believe you can EAT kangaroo! gross.— emma.
    P.S- her accent is AWESOME. )
  • Lucas: thanks for doing your awesome presentation! ps: i would like to try kangaroo
    Stephen: thank you for taking your time to do that it was great!
  • Thank you very much for your time. I really enjoyed listening to your presentation. I thought it was very interesting and very well done !
  • Thank you so much for staying up late to talk to us. I thougth it was really fun and nice of you. Hopefuly we can do it again sometime!
  • Thank-you so much for staying up late and talking to us about Australia.! I learnt a lot just from that presentation. : ) . It made me want to take a trip to Australia! That would be pretty sweet .! Anyway, THANKS SO MUCHH! : )
  • Thank you for the grate moring here.
    Thank you for geting ous out of the frst 2 class of the day!
  • Thank you!
    I learned a bit from the presentation this mornig!
    I wish I could visit Australia sometime!

Dont forget to check out Jeff’s version of our flatclassroom.

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Global Projects | No Comments »

Borrowing Children’s Voices

Posted by Jess on 28th February 2008

As part of the Voices of the World project run by Sharon Tonner in Scotland, we have to complete a different task every month that focuses on using the kids voices. This month I got Grade 2/3 to lend me their voices to say numbers in English and Chinese. Here is the result:

I got all the kids to write a number and decorate it. I then took photos of their fabulous artwork. While they were working, I took my iPod with it’s voice recorder attached around the room and got each student to say a number in English or Chinese. I put it all together in Photostory 3, which is a free download from the internet. I had to adjust the timing of the images so that it matched up with the audio which took a bit of fiddling, but that was all.

To see numbers presentations from other classes around the world, go to the Voices of the World wiki and click on February’s Task.

Posted in Chinese, Global Projects, Jess McCulloch | 3 Comments »