Thursday, 30 November 2017

Moving on - Year 6 leavers

Here is an open letter to the year 6's who are moving on to Intermediate and College next year.

To the year 6 ‘Quest’ students of 2017

You have been identified at some stage as gifted and talented - that does not mean that you are perfect! You have the ability to think and learn well and strengths in some areas. You may learn some things faster than others. You may have intensities in different areas - imaginational, intellectual, emotional, psychomotor(movement), sensual (senses). You are all amazing in your own unique way.

As you move on in life here are some things to remember that you have hopefully learnt at Quest.

PUZZLES / PROBLEMS TO SOLVE - just like the quizzles we have at quest, sometimes there are challenges in life. Some are easy to solve, some take time and thought.

MISTAKES /FAILURE do not mean that you are no longer gifted. They are a natural part of learning. Thomas Edison (the guy who invented the light bulb and many other things) said “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that did not work.” If you make a mistake or don’t do as well at something as you hoped, pick yourself up and try again, and eventually you’ll get somewhere.

STRUGGLE and EFFORT are also part of learning. Remember the learning pit - if you have to struggle to get out of the pit you will eventually be able to climb out the other side. You may need help along the way - don’t be afraid to ask for help (or to help someone else). If you just lie at the bottom of the pit and give up then you will never get out the other side. It may feel difficult at times, but struggle is worth it.

DIFFERENCES - everyone is different. Respect others’ opinions. You do not have to agree with them, and you can respectfully debate, but ultimately they are allowed to have their own opinion. Often there is no right or wrong opinion, just different points of view. Everyone has different personality types too - so don’t forget to listen so that you hear the views of the extroverts, and ask questions so that you hear the views of the introverts.

BOREDOM - Believe it or not, it is good for you to be ‘bored’ (that is, not amused / stimulated) at times. Rather than sit and wallow in the feeling of being ‘bored’,  use that time to notice the world around you, think about life, create new ideas, ask questions, communicate with someone, try something new. There is no need to feel bored - it is up to you to do something to change those feelings.

CURIOSITY - never lose that amazing curiosity that helps you learn. Ask questions, listen to others, read, research, experiment, wonder and think. Notice the world and the people around you. Share your amazing observations and ideas.

CARING - you all have something that you care about. People, a cause, a passion. Carry on caring - it makes the world a better place :)

DON’T FORGET YOUR ROOTS - Stop every now and then to look back to where you came from. It will help you to see the amazing changes that have happened in your life as you learn and grow, to remember moments that helped along the way, to reconnect with people and ideas that you may have forgotten about.

I have loved working with all of you. You are amazing interesting people - I love our conversations, your ideas, knowledge, personalities. Don’t stop being YOU!

I would love to hear how you are going if you ever feel like popping in or emailing to say hi. I may not recognise you as you grow and change, so if I look blank please remind me who you are! I have taught hundreds of children over the years, but I still remember students even from my first classes. You are all important to me and I wish you all the best as you move on to your next journey through college.
From Debbie (Mrs Thompson)

P.S: Here’s a good website if you ever want to know more about being gifted and talented…

Monday, 27 November 2017

How can WE help our planet?

This week we continue to look at how we can help the planet.
We will discuss concerns and ideas to help.

Last week we looked at the work of one young students and her Dad - Riley and Steve Hathaway, They have set up 'Young Ocean Explorers'. Many of the students met Riley and Steve when they came to speak at our school last year.
They now have an interactive website, along with their TV series and book, to help children learn about and love the ocean. It is hoped that by inspring others to love the ocean they will also learn to respect it and look after the health of our sea and the creatures in it.
The website is

This week we will be looking at another young girl who worked hard to raise awareness and help our planet - Severn Suzuki. There are many other children who are working to help our planet - Charlotte Thomas came to talk to our school a couple of years ago to tell us about her work helping Orangutans and raising awareness of how palm oil production harms their habitat.

I hope students will get an understanding of something they could do to help - from simple things like walking to school, using less electricity, recycling, to acts that help raise awareness like posters, speeches, letters, joining organisations etc.

This is my last week with the year 5&6 Quest kids as they are away on camp / EOTC activities next week. Years 1-4 students have another week before we finish Quest for the year (no Quest in the final week of school due to assemblies, class moves etc)

The EPro8 Team are going to the semi-finals this week - good luck team!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

People who help the environment

There are many people around the world who are doing their bit to raise awareness of issues and to help the environment.
Last week we looked at the 'Black Mambas' - a female anti-poaching unit in the Kruger National Park who protect Rhinos. Why are Rhinos endangered? Why are they being poached?

This week we will look at Sylvia Earle and others who champion the ocean and encourage others to love and protect it.

Older students will debate Trump's recent trophy-hunting rule reversal - looking at possible positive and negatives.

When looking at sustainability it is important to help students find ways they can help to give them hope for the future. By looking at others who are helping we can get ideas for how we can help.
Image result for ways kids can help the earth

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Ocean Health


This week we looked at the health of our oceans.
Why is the ocean important to us?
What is affecting the ocean?
How can we help look after the ocean?

We specifically looked at coral reefs, as indicators of ocean health. We looked at how global warming and acidification, due to CO2 being absorbed into the water, is damaging the reefs - bleaching and killing the coral.

We tried mixing CO2 and water with an indicator in it (blowing into purple cabbage water). It turned a slight pink which indicates a weak acid. For the scientists - H2O+CO2 = H2CO3 (carbonic acid)
Oceans are thought to absorb almost half the CO2 from the atmosphere, which is produced by burning fossil fuels.

There are some great little videos that help understand these very difficult concepts.

Importantly, we looked at ideas to HELP our oceans - kids came up with ideas like using electric cars (but what about the electricity stations - they cause pollution, someone stated) So then we looked at ideas for clean energy like solar and wind farms. 
Children talked about walking or biking instead of using cars all the time, using less electricity, not dropping rubbish, using less plastic etc

Back in May I shared the recipe for making indicator solution with purple cabbage. It's a fun way to experiment with everyday substances to identify acids and bases. Here it is again...

Purple Cabbage
Hot tap water

Slice some cabbage into a large bowl and cover with hot tap water. Leave for 5-10 mins, then strain and keep liquid. This is your indicator solution (it changes colour to indicate pH) - it will be blue or purple, depending on how long you leave it and the temp of the water etc -it will work regardless of the colour it starts as. 

Now you can pour some of the solution into several glasses or any clear containers. Experiment with adding different substances to find if they are acidic or alkali. Acidic things around the home are generally sour things - vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, citric acid etc. They will turn the solution pink. Alkali things are generally soapy - like washing powder, soap, baking soda - they will turn the solution green or blue tones. Don't forget to keep a 'control' so that you can see what colour the solution started as. Kids will have lots of fun with this. Remind them that mixing some solutions from opposite ends of the pH scale could cause a reaction - eg baking soda and vinegar - but they will want to experiment with changing the colour and trying to neutralise the pH again (getting back to the original colour).

WEEK FOUR - there will not be Quest next week sorry as I am taking the TravelWise Team to a TravelWise Celebration on Wednesday, and two teams to the EPro8 engineering challenge on Thursday (instead of working Tuesday). Year 3-6's can look at their penpal information - watch the video, read information and discuss next week's topic 'A Groundbreaking Crisis' with their penpals. 

WEEK FIVE - we will be looking at people who are helping our planet - starting with the 'Black Mambas' who are working to protect Rhinos. 

SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGE - Wenderholm Regional Park 31st October. We took 3 teams to participate in this - a fun day full of map reading, team work and problem solving while learning about caring for our environment. There were about 350 students from many schools there - a great day! Here are a few pictures of our day - complete with a couple of the challenge stations - predator recognition, and first aid. 

Parent Evening - 'Gifted 101'

What is giftedness? At a recent parent evening I talked about the different domains (areas) of giftedness and how we identify and cater for ...