“This post is dedicated to an AMAZING teacher who has inspired us to delve DEEPER into our thinking with each and EVERY comment he leaves for us on our classroom blog. Thank you, Ross … you inspire us!”
~ The Battalion Hawk bloggers
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
~William Arthur Ward
Earlier this week the MOST amazing thing happened to the Global Grade 3 Bloggers. Two MYSTERY parcels arrived at the classroom door! There was GREAT speculation as these Grade Three students VIBRATED with excitement … each ITCHING to RIP open the mail. You see, one of our VERY special readers and FREQUENT extended commenters decided to enrich our classroom learning even DEEPER.
Over the past ten months, Ross Mannell, an AMAZING retired educator from Australia, has BLESSED our blog with comments that have stretched us … pushed and pulled our learning BEYOND our wildest imaginings. He has CAREFULLY crafted his reflections to each of our blog posts, personalizing his comments for EACH of our students and enriching our learning by frequently sharing new thoughts to ponder deeply and explore further.
Our blog, which has focused on our connection with Mosqoy building a library in the rural weaving village of Q’enqo Peru, as well as other Social Studies and Citizenship inquiries, has been a POWERFUL way of sharing our classroom discoveries with a global audience. Perhaps the MOST surprising discovery learned while piloting CBE’s very FIRST classroom blog has been the POWERFUL learning which CAN develop when readers take the time to leave a comment on these classroom blogs. This, alone, is not enough.
We have worked HARD to FOSTER engagement with our readers by consistently responding thoughtfully to EACH comment they leave us. This interaction between bloggers and readers has been the source of deeply engaged and personalized learning within a classroom setting that is working hard to flatten the walls of the school.
This year, with a brand NEW set of Global Grade 3 Bloggers, (self-dubbed The Battalion Hawk Bloggers), the POWER of sharing learning with the world truly hit home. While we have continued to blog about our Social Studies inquiries, a few of our OTHER interests have been shared with our readers through the interactive nature of comments.
Fast forward to the beginning of the week …
Ross Mannell has spent HOURS taking his 35mm film and converting it to CDs. WHY, you ask? Well … we have been exploring the magical world of Rocks and Minerals. Who KNEW that rocks could be SO exciting?!? Along this journey, we have discovered that we even have an amateur volcanologist in our classroom. Actually, if the TRUTH be known, he is more of an EXPERT volcanologist than an amateur when you compare him to the REST of us in the classroom!
Somehow, this rock inquiry came up in our comments with Ross and a few of our other readers, like “Daytime Grandma and Grandpa”! It is THROUGH these interactive comments that we have discovered such AMAZING things as the Elasmosaur fossil found on Vancouver Island … and seen some of the most GLORIOUS photos, converted from 35mm film to CD, of Ross’s adventures with volcanoes!
What follows are some of “snippets” of the letters The Battalion Hawk Bloggers have written to express their DEEP gratitude for the enrichment Ross provides each and EVERY time he replies to one of our posts … and for going above and BEYOND the calling of a faithful reader by sending his powerful care package to FURTHER enrich our learning journey:
“Ross, thank you for taking your time to write comments for us! Where did you GET the iron sand?” ~Zubayda
“Hi Ross! Thanks for the AWESOME rocks and Olympic DVD! My favourite was the iron sand!” ~Tre
“Hi Ross! I liked the things you shared with us. The koala is SO cute! I liked those rocks … ALL of them!” ~Cemre
“Thank you, Ross, for all the things you gave us. Before we opened the box I was SO excited! my FAVOURITE thing that you sent was the pahoehoe! We are SO SO happy we met you on the blog!” ~Nick
“Hi Ross! I like the Australian flag! I like the beautiful koala too! Thank you!” ~Dimitrios
“Hi Ross! Thank you for the rocks and the Olympic DVD. I liked the a’a’ rock … it is so cool! I put my hand in the puppet that you gave us. It was soft. I liked the puppet. It was my favourite one!” ~Constantine
“Thank you SOOOO much, Ross, for sending us some VERY special packages! I thought that was VERY kind and thoughtful! I was SOO EXCITED! I am STILL so excited!” ~Jayden
“Thank you, Ross, for your wonderful package! We all loved EVERYTHING you gave us! A few days ago, Mrs. Renton told us there was a surprise coming but … she didn’t tell us what it was because she didn’t even know! Which mountain did you find the scree from? Also, which beach in Hawaii did you get the iron sand from because THAT was one of my FAVOURITES! It is cool that you give out those koala puppets at Hallowe’en instead of candy! We are VERY appreciative that you take the time to send us a nice JUICY comment on our blog!” ~Chris
“Hi Ross! Thanks for the awesome packages!!! Do you know how many rocks you have in your collection? I LOVE the kangaroo coin. I wonder how much it would cost in Canada. 1 dollar? 2 dollars? A few cents? (We will have to do some research!) Where did you get the a’a’? Where in Hawaii? Do you have lots of it? Did you find the pahoehoe in the same area? Can you name the specific beach that you found the iron sand at? PS The DVD was AWESOME!” ~AJ
“Ross, I love what you gave to us! I love the one dollar coin the most. We watched some of the video … it was great! How many do you make? What was your favourite one that you ever made? I also liked the magnetic sand. We haven’t tried it out yet, but I can’t wait until we do! I think the a’a’ is sharp and a little more interesting than the others. The obsidian is very smooth!” ~Davis
“Thanks, Ross! It is so cool that you gave some “stuff” to us! We are SO thankful. I love BOTH packages. My favourite was the one dollar coin. I am almost a volcanologist! The a’a’ and pahoehoe are some of my favourite rocks … but my favourite rock is sulphur. I have some in my collection!” ~ Christopher
“Thanks for the packages, Ross! The rock samples were cool! I especially like the iron filing sand. Last year my teacher brought the iron filing sand and we saw that it could move with a magnet! The Australian flag sort of looks like the British flag! I liked the koala. I also like the kangaroo one dollar coin. It looks like it’s a coin that would be used here. But, it is smaller and has a kangaroo on it. Now, let’s get back to the rock samples. they were really cool! Thanks for the very cool package! Everyone was very excited for us to open it!” ~Chelsea
“Hi Ross! I appreciate what you did for us. I love ALL the stuff. We watched some of the movie you sent us. GOOD job! We’re going to watch the rest another day. I have a question for you. How long did you take to make the movie because it looked REALLY good. Thank you for helping us with our learning journey. I have another question for you. Where did you get the iron sand? Which beach? The Australian flag is like the British flag … just with stars. There are SIX stars. The six stars represent the six states. That’s what one of the kids told us! Thank you for your time, I really appreciate it!” ~Rayann
“Hi Ross! Thank you for the lovely gifts! The Australian flag was cool! Do you know any stories about it? Why does the one dollar coin have a kangaroo on it? The a’a is really a’a’ because when I put my finger on it, it hurts! And, I say a’a’a’a’! The pahoehoe looks like it has gold in it! My favourite part of the DVD was when the people were waving flags! The last thing I need to say to you is “Thank you, thank you and THANK you!” ” ~James
“Ross, my favourite part of the video is when the boy was on the stage singing a song. I like when you did a close up so that we could see it closer! We loved the rock samples. You are just SO kind to us … thank you for the notes you sent and the pahoehoe, obsidian, iron sand, Australian flag, a’a’, koala puppet, Australian kangaroo coin and the scree. What is YOUR favourite thing from this box? I have to say that it is SO interesting to see all these things from Australia!” ~Joyce
“Hi Ross! We LOVED that you used “snail mail” instead of emailing it! Luckily none of the rock samples dissolved! As soon as Mrs. Renton saw the DVD she FLIPPED! Many of us wanted to sneak the rock samples into our backpacks but we know that would be wrong. You are SOOOOOO generous! We were just watching your DVD but we had to turn it off to write you this letter. There were MANY awwwwwws when we turned it off … because we were enjoying it SO much! Thank you SO much for everything you sent to us!” ~Ben
“Thanks for everything, Ross! One of our students brought in a video and they showed a’a’. What made you start collecting rocks? Our class really liked the Olympic DVD. The Australian flag at the top corner looks like the British flag! Where did you find the obsidian?” ~Danny
“Hi Ross! Thank yo SO much for taking your time to send us a DVD, and Australian flag, koala puppet, kangaroo coin and other stuff from your rock collection! I was wondering ALL night yesterday what you were sending us! I thought you were sending us a picture of a dinosaur coprolite fossil! But, when I figured out that it was a DVD, I was SO shocked! I really enjoyed it a lot! Thank you SO much!” ~Lauren
“Dear Ross: Today we opened your two awesome packages. In the first one, we found an interesting note and a DVD! We started to watch it. It was so COOL! There was a lot of dancing. I can not believe you filmed that show. Now I have a compliment and a question for you! Fist I’ll say the compliment. Your koala puppet was SO cute! And now my question for you. Where di you GET your koala?” ~Ella
“I love the koala puppet. I liked how in the Olympic DVD they pretend to be the Beatles. I LOVED it! No WONDER the rock a’a’ is in a bag … because it HURTS! One of the kids in the classroom told us the name. Warning: don’t use as SOAP!” ~Elijah
“Hi Ross! Thank you SO much for sending us the Australian flag, a kioala puppet, a kangaroo one dollar coin, a’a from Hawaii, scree, pahoehoe, obsidian and iron sand from New Zealand! I didn’t mention the school Olympic DVD because it was SO amazing that I wanted to save it for last!!! We watched it and it was funny and cool at the same time. We didn’t finish it … but we are going to watch the rest soon!” ~Rebecca
“Hi Ross! We really appreciate that you gave us your treasures! Thank you for telling us that there was a surprise in the mail. I think snail mail is REALLY cool because you can give gifts and presents! My favourite is the koala puppet. I really like it because it looks cute. I also like the DVD because it was smart to do DVDs for schools. It is so awesome that you do that! I like EVERYTHING that you gave us!” ~Tyler
A CONNECTED classroom TRULY rocks!!! (NO pun intended … well MAYBE just a LITTLE!) Thank you, Ross, for showing us not only the power of BLOGGING but for ALSO showing us the power of making global connections to enrich our learning experiences. We look FORWARD to your comments, knowing that we will ALWAYS walk away further enlightened and engaged!
Thank you ALSO to ALL of our readers. You help us to write for an authentic audience. You deepen our understanding of the world and help us to personalize our learning!
- Do YOU know the significance of the six stars on the Australian flag?
- What do the symbols on YOUR flag represent?
- Do you have a national bird, or flower or animal?
- Do you have a favourite rock, mineral or fossil sample in YOUR collection? What makes it your favourite?