Skype with Rinku

On Thursday 19th September a small group of students and their families returned to school in the early evening.


To Skype with Rinku and learn about life in India. Skype is a wonderful, free program/app that lets you talk to people. The best bit is that you can see them as well! All you need is an Internet connection. Once you have a Skype account you can search for people you know, ask them to approve your request to connect and then make a time to Skype. It is important to remember to only send requests to people you already know.



Rinku is currently located in England, so whilst it was 6pm Friday evening our time, it was only 9am Friday morning for Rinku.

In Term 2 we spent a lot of time reading, researching, watching film clips and wondering about different parts of Asia. However, there is nothing quite like speaking to someone with first hand experience. Rinku knows a lot about living and learning in India because she has lived there and taught at a small rural school in a village called Chembakolli.

We thoroughly enjoyed listening to Rinku tell us about Chembakolli. There was a chance for us to ask specific questions and have them answered. We also showed Rinku an Indian dance we had been practising at school. Next time we’ll add some music!

You can watch some of our Skype call in the film clip below.



We discovered that some things are quite different for children in Chembakolli:

* They walk to school in groups so they are safer if they come across animals in the forest. Sometimes monkeys jump on them!

* If they see an elephant they have to climb the nearest tree and wait until it passes

* Their lunch boxes are metal and have a little bowl. Children might have rice and lentils for lunch.

* Their school is two storeys high and in the old hospital

* Some children have to walk for 30 – 40 minutes to get to school

* The houses don’t have glass in the windows


We also found out that there are some things we have in common:

* We both make Christmas Cards and sell them to raise money for our schools

* Have assembly and children perform dances

* Have similar school hours

* Usually have literacy and numeracy in the morning


Find out more about Chembakolli by reading the slideshow below. It has been made by the Action Aid team who Rinku works with in England.


Our Skype call was made possible by Skype in the Classroom and the clever people at Action Aid, Vaila and Rinku. We would like to thank them for giving us an opportunity to talk to someone on the other side of the world. We would also like to thank our parents who brought us back to school. Thank you everyone!

Have you ever Skyped with someone in a different country?

What would you do if you saw an elephant on your way to school?

Do you know any facts about India or another part of Asia?

Craft Studio App Review

App of the Week – Craft Studio Reviewed by I.C.T Captain Eve

This app was recommended by Tanyshah and Monique from 5/6JC as part of their spending money for winning the Five Cent Fundraiser Challenge.  It costs $5.49.

What’s good about this app?

It’s very creative and there are lots of amazing things to keep you creating for a long time. Everything is also realistic and looks like you’ve done it on a page. There are a range of themes with different stickers, backgrounds and more than enough themes. You can also punch holes in paper, type in a special message, stamp and draw with your hand.

What’s not very good about this app?

The app is American so some themes have ‘Happy 4th of July’ or ‘I love you Mom.’ Also, you have to pay an additional $1.99 per extra theme. The app is already expensive so we don’t need to pay more money! The help videos aren’t very helpful either.

What would you add?

I would probably add a section so people can choose their nationality, so everything was relevant to them.

One word to describe Craft Studio…..


What would you give the app out of 10?

An 8.5. I think it was well made app, it had its faults (as everyone does {yes, even apps}), but it had good things too. A good example of a Craft App.

Good choice Monique and Tanyshah! 🙂

Have you used Craft Studio? Tell us about it!

Tagxedo Website Review

Website review by ICT Captains

Tagxedo is a website that creates a picture using words. You can use Tagxedo for a lot of things like a mind map or describing something or how you feel. Basically, you can use it for anything!  It’s a great way to present information in a different way.

Simply type in a selection of words on a chosen topic, chose a shape to represent the words, experiment a bit with the colours and you’re done!

This is an example of one we made about I.C.T at our school.


It is a pretty easy site to use.  Sometimes it is tricky to find the right link, but if you have a bit of a play around you can work it out.

Do you have any questions about Tagxedo?

What would you use Tagxedo for?

There are so many possibilities!


Website review by ICT Captain Ebony.

Voki is a cool website that lets you build your own talking avatar.  You can use it to make a Voki for a blog, website, school work, homework, as a report or even for a blog post like this!

Voki is easy to use. First you choose a character (that’s the fun part).  You get to choose from all sorts of different faces and backgrounds.  When you are happy with how your Voki looks you type or say what you want it to say.

Voki is suitable for all ages.  At UPPS everyone from Grade 2 to Grade 6 have used it before.  With help, younger children could use it too.  The only bit they might need help with is the typing when the Voki needs to talk.

 I’ve made an example for you to look at.  Hope you like it!

Try Voki today!

Build Your Wild Self!

This website review is proudly brought to you by ICT Captain Sam.

Build Your Wild Self is a really good for making fun pictures that you could use as a profile pic for Skooville or other things like that.

It is a great website for making characters or wallpaper. It lets you make a person that you can give all types of cool things, like wings, frog legs, gorilla arms and much more. You can save the photo on your desktop for backgrounds or send them to your friends.

This program is suitable and fun for all ages. I give it a 6.5/10. It could be a bit easier to get the photos and maybe add more poses.

Do you have any fun websites you would like us to review?

What did you like about this program and what didn’t you like?


I Write Words

This app review is brought to you by Cam and Tyler.

iWriteWell is a spelling and handwriting app that is best suited to younger grades.

Things We Like:
* You can write the letter that shows up
* You can play the alphabet song and learn the letters in the alphabet
* You can trace inside the letter and the crab shows you which way to trace
* It shows you a picture of the word you have spelt

Things We Would Change:
* Add more songs that help you learn how to spell words or about the letters in the alphabet
* Make it stricter when you write your letters. Sometimes it passes your letter even if you have not traced it carefully

We recommend this app for young grades and people learning to write letters correctly. It could also be helpful for people learning English as a second language. Most of the words are short words, have pictures to match and show you the order of how to write each letter.


Have you used this app before?  What did you think of it?


What other literacy apps do you like?


Comic Life

This week at school the senior classes have been using an app called Comic Life.  The classes have used it to organise and present their knowledge as part of this term’s Unit of Inquiry. 

We decided to purchase the Comic Life app because it can be used by students at all year levels and in all subject areas.  It is only limited by imagination!  It is the most expensive app we have bought so far ($5.49) but we feel it is going to be worth it.

Here’s what two of our ICT Captains, Cam and Tyler, had to say about it:

Comic Life is good for making comics without paper.  You can add photos from the camera roll.  This means you can take a photo of yourself or take a screen shot and edit it.  Comic Life can be used in the classroom in many ways.  Children can make posters or comics on lots of topics including how to be healthy or how to clean your teeth or even about Comic Life. 

Comic Life is a good app for literacy because you can add text in boxes or speech bubbles.  There are really cool text types that you can do and backgrounds as well.  You can colour the background by pressing the little ‘i’ button at the top of the screen.  Headings can be changed and different fonts, sizes and colours selected. 


Have you used Comic Life? What for?

Do you like reading and/or writing comics? Why?


iPads & Puppet Pals

This term we started using our school iPads.  It’s lots of fun and a great way to learn new things.

For the past fortnight, each class has been exploring an app called Puppet Pals.  There is a free version and also a paid version.  The paid version costs $2.99 and we think it is excellent value for money.  It has more characters and backgrounds than the free version.  After all, you get what you pay for!

Puppet Pals is a story telling app that can be used on iPods, iPads and even iPhones.   Basically, you choose characters and backgrounds and then record a story.  When you record you can also move the characters around the stage and make them bigger or smaller.   It’s easy to use and suitable for all year levels.  You can also use your own photos for characters and backgrounds.



We think Puppet Pals is a super fun app that is also good for making narratives which make sense.  Try it today!

Have you used Puppet Pals before? 

What do you like about it?

What would you make a Puppet Pal about?


Cybersmart Presentation

On Tuesday Lesley from the Cybersmart section of  ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) came to Upper Plenty Primary School to talk to us about Internet safety.


The Cybersmart Website


Lesley told us lots of different ways to make sure we stay safe when we are online.  She reminded us that you should never have a password that involves your name, pet’s name, birthdate or anything that is easy to guess.  Did you know that the top three passwords in 2012 were:

1. password

2. 123456

3. 12345678

These passwords are way too easy to guess.  Last year the most popular password for primary school girls was ‘One Direction’.  If you want to use One Direction as your password you should change it to something like ‘1Dyrec!shun’ so it is hard for someone else to guess.  Strong passwords should have a combination of capital and lower case letters, numbers and dots or dashes.  Remember to keep your password safe and don’t tell anyone your password or ask to know anyone else’s password.

It is also important to only play games and use apps that are suited for your age range.  Some primary school kids are on Facebook but hardly any are 13 years old and that is the age that you have to be to use Facebook legally.  It’s also important not to check in online because it shows that you are not home so burglars can rob your house.  Your Mum and Dad won’t be too happy about that!

Lesley also taught us how to spot scams.  If it is something that you have signed up for and they send you a ‘Hi There’ email instead of using your name, it could be a scam.  Delete it. 

It’s also important not to become friends with people online if you haven’t met them in real life.  Lesley told us a story about a man who pretended to be a 16 year old boy.   Some of us play games online where we talk to people.  If you do, never say your surname, where you live, mobile number, school, birthdate or any other information which could give your identity away.  That is all secret information.  If someone says LMIRL it means Let’s Meet in Real Life and you have to say NO!

In our next post we will be talking about what to do if someone sends you something mean or you see something inappropriate online.

What is your number 1 tip for being safe online?


Maths Online & Mathletics

This week we are focusing on two maths websites that the ICT Captains use and like.

Cameron interviewed Tyler about Maths Online, a program that Tyler really enjoys using.

What’s Maths online?

It is a great website because it shows you a video of Maths problems. The picture below shows one of the videos.

What videos have you watched recently?

There are lots of different videos you can watch.  I watched one on doubles and multiplication.

Are there any things you would change about the site?

The only bad thing about the site is that you have to register and pay.  But, I think it’s a good thing to do in your own time at home.

Tyler interviewed Cameron about another maths website…

So, what if you don’t want to pay for a maths site? 

You could go on Mathletics which is paid for by the school.  Everyone at UPPS has a username and password that they can use at school and home.

What is Mathletics?

It’s a maths site where your teachers set tasks for you so you can practise things you have learnt.   Or, you can do live Mathletics with people around the globe and practise your fluency answering addition and subtraction problems.

What is your favourite maths website?

Do you know any other great maths sites?