Travelling beyond the shores- Geography web surf

look at what i found

Originally uploaded by gumbootspearlz.

In second year high school my social studies teacher was horrified because most of the class did not know their geography. So she gave us a crash course, and we had to memorize the maps and fill them in. We also did a special project on one particular country.

My kids have always loved their atlases but as they have not yet travelled, well except to New Zealand and around Australia. I don’t want them to have their sos teachers horrified at their general knowledge. Besides which I think it’s great from them to understand different cultures and places, especially because of the diversity in Australia.   I do hope we soon take them further than New Zealand.

A lady I heard do a lot of public speaking used to say in “Australia we can travel the whole world within our nation”- and I think that’s so true, especially when you live in the big cities of Australia for any length of time. Although rural areas are becoming increasingly culturally diverse.

I came across several sites that would be helpful in teaching my kids to learn their geography.  

You can print outline maps from it, and labelled maps for Australia, South, North and Central America, Europe and Africa. This means the kids can colour them in, and then try and label the blank one when they know it and test themselves. If they laminate them they can test themselves again and again by writing on their unlabelled blank one with a marker!

Another one of my favourite sites, which I must admit I haven’t visited for a while is Kidzone.  

It has a section on geography and of course several other subjects. Its geography section includes,Canada, Egypt, and the United States.

The DLT website  has several crafts and activities for classrooms doing around the world themes- Australia, Canada, Native American, China, Denmark, Hawaii, Egypt, Greece, India, Norway, Spain are some of the places linked with. Some of it’s not up my alley (too much use of toilet paper rolls?) but some of its useful. I like the Australian and Egyptian sections as they have some really interesting activities, like writing your name in heiroglypics, anagrams

First School is great for preschooler activities on geography and language  It has topics like Nursery Rhymes and Fables. Why not start them understanding the diversity of the world from a young age!

Finding out about Rainforests in Australia

pathways to peace

Originally uploaded by gumbootspearlz.

In my web wanderings today I found some wonderful educational work on Rainforests.

The Wet Tropics Management Authority on their website have had permission to put PDF of fact sheets on many topics, such as bats, butterflies, foodchains, plants- and on top of this there is a teacher and students resource with units for Prep through to year 8 which make use of many creative teaching and thinking strategies, just as thinking hats, bloom gardeners matrix, the multiple intelligences, games, composing poetry, and role plays to explore issues of caring for the rainforest and the nature of the wildlife and fauna there.

If you are a teacher or parent wanting to educate your children about the Rainforest in Australia this is a great site for supporting you in your in efforts. If you want to also see creative teaching methods applied to a particular teaching unit this is a very interesting site that demonstrates this.  I can’t wait to encourage my own kids to explore this site and  do some of the activities on it, particularly as they are studying plants and food chains at the moment.  There is also in the rainforest explorer units a consideration of Aboriginal people living in the wet tropics environment.

Maths on line- interactive sites

Today I went looking for fun interactive activities for children to learn about maths on line.   I thought it would be helpful to save my findings here for any other parents who are looking for the same kinds of materials and to remind myself and my kids what sites are fun for them to visit.  If you have any other sites to add to this post please post them in comments and I will take a look at them.

The BBC UK has an interesting site with an activity and a quiz for- shapes, measurement, and number.  Some of the topics include decimals, problem solving,  subtraction, the number system, fractions, division, multiplication,  addition.  The money problems work in pounds and pence so maybe are not so useful if you are not from the UK (but great if you are soon to visit there).  Initially some of the activities take a while to load (maybe that’s just our computer?) but they are quite sound activities when they are all systems go.

Superkids  helps you to generate your own worksheets and is full of inspiring quotes and brainfood!

Funbrain has levels for the interactive activities, easy, hard, medium and superbrain, some of the topics in Funbrain are fractions, measure it- and there are some activities that are applied maths like working out how to tip a penguin, as well as problems of working out area and perimeter.  For those who like their music as well as maths there is a piano player game (  You can also search games for an age level match.  Unlike the BBC site it doesn’t explain things to you but its good reinforcement practice when you have learnt something and want loads of practice at it.

An Australian site with plenty of interactive games, but the added bonus of a maths dictionary is Jenny Eather’s Rainforest Maths

Well that’s all to log for my searches today- I think the kids and I will check these sites out for a while and see how we go.  I am going to ask them to rate the sites in different areas, usefulness, fun, time to download, enjoyment etc. 

Like any online learning it’s also great for it to be backed up by learning by other modes, chatting with parents, hands on maths, and reading and puzzles. 




Brain Food – sites for parents and educators

blueearthOriginally uploaded by gumbootspearlz.

There are many resources available on the internet to support the education of children. It is overwhelming at times to navigate it all.  A few good key words and off I go. When I find a good site I bookmark it to try to remember to visit again. Whilst looking for some activities all about the letter S I came across some other interesting sites. I found a rather interesting entry in “Brain Food” I especially liked the use of a thought provoking story to introduce a concept to stimulate creative thinking in kids.This section of this  site is drawn in part from a selection of creative thinking for all ages Roger Van Oech’s very thought provoking blog At his blog another interesting entry can be found at

I don’t think his site is neccessarily something for children to read directly as the Brain Food snippets drawn from it are just about the right size for a start with many kids, but it is a stimulating site for parents and educators to read to assist them to encourage creative thinking in youth and children as well as themselves (we never stop learning and growing!).

Baha’i Principles – site review

Spring Time – June Perkins

Baha’is will let you know of their Faith, because it is a beautiful gift they should not hide from you.

They will tell you or show you more about it if you are interested. People are welcome to attend meetings and to visit the Houses of Worship in places like Sydney, India and Samoa.

Today I came across a site which I greatly appreciated because of its focus on Baha’i principles and its inclusion of some awesome photographs.

A visit to  is informative and inspiring for those wishing to explore the Principles of the Baha’is.

The site shares stories of Baha’is around the world enacting their principles both in the early days and in more contemporary times. It is a site that Baha’is wishing to deepen their Faith and to know more about its history will also appreciate.