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A Surprise Package Inspires Action!

Posted by on February 6, 2014

The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.

~Mark Van Doren

A SURPRISE package arrived in the mail the other day … ALL the way from the OTHER side of the WORLD! It was COMPLETELY unexpected and GREATLY appreciated by ALL! You may be asking yourselves, “What in the WORLD did the Battalion Bloggers RECEIVE from the other side of the world?”

Well, we have a VERY special TEACHER in AUSTRALIA who frequently leaves comments on our blog posts. His name? YOU guessed it: Ross Mannell! Earlier in the year, when the Battalion Bloggers were BRAND new to blogging, Ross left them a few comments. The bloggers have spent a LOT of time learning how to REPLY to these comments meaningfully. We asked MANY questions to learn MORE about Ross and the beautiful land he lives in. MANY of our bloggers wanted to learn more about the ANIMALS that lived in Australia. So, our teacher on the OTHER side of the world began to add to our knowledge by sharing detailed comments and posts, written JUST for US, on his extended comments for students blog.

There is something  VERY special about receiving a surprise PACKAGE in the mail! ESPECIALLY one THIS adorable!

There is something VERY special about receiving a surprise PACKAGE in the mail! ESPECIALLY one THIS adorable!

Since Ross KNEW how keen we were to learn MORE about the animals in Australia, he sent us a care package he had collected with 36 … yup … THIRTY-SIX … different Australian ANIMAL baby cards! We are SURE glad Ross likes to shop at Woolworths! We’ve had an AMAZING adventure … a mini multidisciplinary INQUIRY … and learned SO much more about the wildlife in Australia.

LOOK at ALL these AMAZING Australian baby animals!

LOOK at ALL these AMAZING Australian baby animals!

On Monday, when we arrived, the cards were all taped to the wall outside our classroom. Each of us had a “sticky” and got to spend time reading EACH of the cards. There were twelve baby animals that lived in trees. Twelve of these baby animals lived on land AND twelve of these cards had baby animals that lived in the WATER! Oh … it was SO hard to choose just ONE baby animal to learn a little more about. MAYBE a FEW of the Battalion Bloggers will take on a triple doggy dare and do some FURTHER research at HOME! 😉

It’s FUNNY, but, once we’d place our “stickies” above the animal of our choice, we sat on the floor and took a CLOSER look. You will NEVER guess what we had created … a … GRAPH! Once we discovered it was a BAR graph we decided we needed to LABEL it! It needed a TITLE … and the horizontal and vertical axes needed to be labelled so that anyone passing by would understand what we were doing!

What? LOOK! It's a ... BAR graph! We'd better LABEL it!

What? LOOK! It’s a … BAR graph! We’d better LABEL it!

We discovered MANY interesting things while inspecting our graph. The biggest group of people chose land animals. Fewer people chose tree animals. More people chose koalas than any of the other animals. Three more people chose land animals than water animals.  There were SO many interesting bits of information we could see on our bar graph.

NEXT came the recording of our “wonders” and time on the iPads to discover MORE about the animals we had chosen! What an AMAZING day of adventure! It’s time to grab a warm drink and settle in for an enjoyable read! What follows are just a FEW of our discoveries:

Tree Animal Discoveries:

“Wow! I think it is SO cool that flying foxes are also called Fruit Bats and they eat eucalyptus flowers! Did you know their wing span is a metre wide? I thought it was so cool that there are sixty kinds of bats in Australia. They get their name because their heads look like a fox. Flying foxes are 25 cm long for an average size. Flying Foxes are members of the pterapdidoe group. There are three types of Flying Foxes: a Red Flying Fox, Grey Headed Flying Fox and Golden Brown Flying Fox. I wish I knew what part of Austalia they lived in!” ~Ethan

We EVEN laid out metre sticks to see how long the wing span was on a Flying Fox!

We EVEN laid out metre sticks to see how long the wing span was on a Flying Fox!

“Here we GO! Did you know that the Grey Headed Flying Fox is Austalia’s largest bat? Do you know what the Grey Headed Flying Fox’s scientific name is? It is Pteropus Poliocephalus! Did you know that the Grey Headed Flying Fox’s alternative name is Fruit Bat? Do you know what the Grey Headed Flying Fox’s size range is? It is 23 – 28 cm! I wonder what the other two types of flying foxes are like?” ~Melvin

“Wow! Did you know that a koala’s lifespan is up to eighteen years? Did you know that a koala can be 70 – 90 cm or 27 to 35 inches long? Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves. Koala’s are very picky eaters. Those picky little eaters! Here’s another fact about its food. If a koala can’t find any eucalyptus leaves they will not eat! A baby koala stays in his or her mother’s pouch for nine to ten MONTHS!” ~Catherine

“Did you ever wonder about koalas? Koalas live in forks of a tree. Koalas sleep in the forks of a tree for about 19 hours a day! The koalas are nocturnal, meaning that they sleep during the day and are active at night! Did you know that koalas are only found in Australia? They look like soft and cuddly teddy bears. Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves. They are very, very picky eaters. If a Koala can’t find any eucalyptus leave they will not eat at all. The oil on the eucalyptus leaves is poisonous to mammals. They live in the eucalyptus trees and the leaves provide the water that they drink. Koalas are mammals. The koala’s fur helps to keep it cool in summer and warm in the winter. It was really exciting to do this and I hope I can do it again!” ~Hilary

MANY of us just can't seem to get ENOUGH of discovering MORE about the adorable koala!

MANY of us just can’t seem to get ENOUGH of discovering MORE about the adorable koala!

“Did you know that koalas sleep in the fork of a tree? They sleep between 16 and 20 hours a day. They eat eucalyptus leaves. They are very picky eaters. If they don’t find eucalyptus leaves they will not eat. Don’t you think that’s amazing? Koalas do live a long life. They live around 12 to 16 years old. In fact the female koala lives longer than male koalas. That is amazing!” ~Aya

“Hmmm. What do I wonder about koalas? Wait … I know … what do koalas make their homes out of? The answer is koalas sleep in the day. They sleep in the nooks in trees. I did lots of research! Did you know koalas can sleep for up to 18 hours? Those LAZY koalas! These plum and fuzzy mammals were hunted in the 1920s and 1030s. I still do not know what they were hunted for. Even though koalas are called bears they are marsupials. Baby koalas are called joeys. What do koalas eat … they eat eucalyptus leaves! Guess what? Every so often koalas eat a little bit of dirt! It helps them digest eucalyptus leaves. When a baby is born it rides on it’s mother’s back, or it clings on it’s mother’s belly. What? Really? Koalas have two thumbs. Koala’s do not eat meat at all! Mother koalas are pregnant for about 35 days. Wow. Did you know when a baby koala is born it is blind and hairless. I had so much fun researching! I hope I can do this again!” ~Jenna

Land Animal Discoveries:

“Hey, red kangaroos have squared-off muzzles! Females are smaller than males, just like us! That’s a way that you can tell which is which gender. Isn’t that cool? Where do red kangaroos live, you ask? Well, they live in a lot of habitats throughout Australia and New Zealand. The red kangaroo usually is found in dry, grassy and sometimes even in desert areas. What? Red kangaroos can live by or in tropical forests. Red kangaroos eat grasses, leaves and other veggies that can be spotted by them. Red kangaroos travel in groups called mobs. Wow! Red kangaroos can jump up to nine or ten feet. They can grow up to 1.9 metres. The tail length is about 1 metre. These kangaroos are about 1.5 metres high. They can weigh up to 85 kg. I had the best time sharing my research with you!” ~Kennedy

Kangaroos ... SO much awesome learning!

Kangaroos … SO much awesome learning!

“Did you know that red kangaroos can swim? Hey, did you also know that red baby kangaroos are called joeys? I wonder how high a red kangaroo can jump? A red baby kangaroo lives in it’s mother’s pouch for about 8 months. I can’t believe that red kangaroos are mammals. If a red kangaroo is pushed under water, the kangaroo may use its for paw to hold it’s enemy under water so it drowns it. Oh my gosh. Did you know that a female red kangaroo is smaller, lighter and faster than a male kangaroo? Red kangaroos eat grass, leaves and tree bark. Wowza! I can’t believe that a red kangaroo has good eye sight but only responds to moving objects. I had a lot of fun researching!” ~Kelly

“I wonder why emus are called emus? Did you know that a group of emus is called a mob? Emus can’t fly but they can swim! When I found out that they are the second largest bird in the world, I wondered what the third largest bird is. Emus are big birds and so are their eggs. They are large and dark green. In fact, they are so dark it looks like black. Emus also eat leaves, grass and fruits, plants, insects and flowers. I want to research more about emus at home.” ~Daniel

“Have you ever seen a bilby? They are super cute! Bilbies are light grey and white with a really long black tail that has a white tip. They have a long pointy nose, big ears and are about the same size as a rabbit. I wish I had a bilby stuffy!” ~Sam

The tasmanian devil reminds SOME of us of the Bugs Bunny cartoon!

The tasmanian devil reminds SOME of us of the Bugs Bunny cartoon!

“Did you know that bearded dragons are both vegetarians and meat eaters? Bearded dragons diets are 80% bugs and 20% plants if they are young. 80% plants and 20% bugs if they are adults. The only reason I know this is because of a very special someone named … you guess it … ROSS! Because he know that we were very interested with the animals in Australia. So, he shipped us some very cool Australian animal cards. The bearded dragons life span is 7 to 10 years in the wild and 12 years if adopted. That was a lot of fun.” ~Alex

“If you want to learn about tasmanian devils, keep reading! Tasmanian devils eat insects, snakes, birds, (I don’t know hot tasmanian devils even CATCH birds), fish and anything up to the size of a wombat. The tasmanian devil is the size of a small dog like a Chihuahua, for example. Usually, tasmanian devils live in hollow logs and old abandoned wombat burrows. I wonder why the tasmanian devils can’t make their own place to live? Tasmanian devils can live up to 6 years but if they are kept they will live about 8 years. Tasmanian devils got the word devil from their screams and they got the word tasmanian from a city. Usually tasmanian devils cream when they are fighting over food or territory. I hope I can learn more about the tasmanian devil.” ~Isaac

“OM Gosh! Did you ever know that eastern blue tongued lizards do not lay eggs? Oh. I’m just doing some research on easter blue tongued lizards. They live in Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. Their length is up to 20 inches. I don’t want to be that small! Really, they can live 10 to 15 years … not a long life. And, they eat bugs and rodents. Ugh! The eastern blue tongued lizard can lose their tail when they are frightened, run and grow a new one. I hope that we can research on Australian animals again!” ~Kale

The echidna has captures our hearts for a VERY long time!

The echidna has captured our hearts for a VERY long time!

“Hi readers! My name is Noam and I am going to tell you about short beaked echidnas. The first thing I’m going to tell you is how long echidnas can live fore. They can live for 58 years in zoos but, unfortunately, it is unknown in the wild. Echidnas are one of the two egg laying mammals. The other one is the platypus. Echidnas can live in Australia, Tasmania, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The habitat echidnas can survive in are: scrubland, deserts and forests. The food echidnas eat is: ants, termites and earthworms. The size of an echidna is 14 to 30 inches long, depending on the species. A baby echidna is called a puggle. It crawls into it’s mother’s pouch after hatching from the egg. I hope I can do MORE research about echidnas!” ~Noam

Water Animal Discoveries:

“Have you ever seen a little blue penguin? Did you know that another name for the blue penguin is fairy penguin? Did you know they weigh about 3.3 pounds? And … did you know they live for about 6.5 years? Blue penguins are carnivores and they eat fish. Their natural predators are sharks and seals. I liked choosing it because it had dark blue feathers that were my favourite colour!” ~Lane

“Wow. That is so cool! The animal I was researching was the bottle nose dolphin. Usually when the bottle nose dolphins swim they swim with at least twelve other dolphins. This group is called a pod. Another fact is that the female is called a cow, the males are called bulls and the young dolphins are called calves. I wonder why the names are so different? Did you know that some dolphins go to murky shores and eat the fish that gets washed up? Weird, hey?!? All dolphins belong to delphindae. That is the scientific family for dolphins. The average length for an adult bottle nosed dolphin is nine feet. Also, bottle nose dolphins can weigh around 500 pounds! Hopefully you learned a lot about bottle nosed dolphins. I sure did!” ~Peng Peng

“WOW! REALLY! AMAZING! COOL! Ross sent us a surprise package with baby animals inside! Each of us were supposed to chose ONE baby animal! It was so hard to chose ONE baby animal because they were all so CUTE! I chose bottle nose dolphins. Here are some of my wonders and questions about bottle nose dolphins. Are bottle nose dolphins meat eaters or plant eaters? They are .. MEAT eaters! Why are they meat eaters? Bottle nose dolphins eat small fish such as squid, crabs, shrimp, and other smaller sea creatures. Do bottle nose dolphins have teeth? Yes. But they do NOT use their teeth to EAT! They use their teeth to help them CLICK, WHISTLE and SQUEEK! What is the scientific name? Tursious Truncatus! I bet YOU can’t say that! I have got lots more wonders and questions but I have to go. I’ll write again! See you later!” ~Claire

“Click. Click. Click. Did you know that the port jackson shark eats crabs, oysters, fish and sea snails? The port jackson shark’s scientific name is heterodontus portus jacksoni! Did you also know that the females can be 32 to 37 inches and males can be 75? They are bottom dwelling. When females lay 10 to 12 eggs, they usually are around 11 to 14 years old. Wow! That was a LOT of researching! Thank you for reading my research about the port jackson shark!” ~Cohen

This was an AMAZING discovery! If you are wondering what in the WORLD this is ... look into some Port Jackson SHARK information!

This was an AMAZING discovery! If you are wondering what in the WORLD this is … look into some Port Jackson SHARK information!

“Hey, did you know that black swans are vegetarians?! They eat vegetables, and weeks, grass and other plants. I did not know that baby black swans were vegetarian! That is so cool! Black swans have black fur over their body. But, baby black swans have white fur. I think baby black swans are so cute!!! Black swans live in Australia. I wish I had a pet baby black swan. I would make a pool in my basement for him!” ~Hannah

“Did you ever wonder what green turtles eat? Well, I did and now I know what they eat! They eat sea grass. You’re probably wondering what a green turtle is! It’s not green. They are blue with a little bit of green. their eyes are huge and cute. I think they like to sleep on beaches but that picture I saw might be a turtle laying eggs. Did you know the green turtle is names by the greenish colour of their skin? I wonder if there green cuz they eat sea grass? I wonder how awesome some other baby Australian animals are!” ~Amy

Wow! We think we LOVE surprise packages! What an AMAZING learning adventure! THANK you, Ross!

Wow! We think we LOVE surprise packages! What an AMAZING learning adventure! THANK you, Ross!

“Shh, shh, the ocean water goes slowly on the Australian shore. Yesterday all the Battalion Bloggers research an animal from the Australian wild. I chose the gracefully swimming, beautiful gray Australian sea lions. You could see them from the east coast of Australia although some have been recorded as far north as the mid north coast of N. S. W. (New South Wales). They eat crabs, little penguins, salmon, sharks, squid, and whiting, (a type of fish). Sea lions have hair similar to a dog. The Australian sea lion is a large sea mammal growing two and a half metres in length and weighing up to 220 kg. The make is called a bull. He has powerful shoulders and a very thick neck. The baby is called a pup. It could be born from January until June. Did you know that the females are always littler than the male? They reach a length of 1.8 metres and weigh about 100 kg. I wonder how fast they could swim? Well, maybe I will need a little more research! I hope to get to go to Australia to see that animal!” ~Martin

We did Math, Social Studies, Science AND writing. We learned that HOW you search for information can turn up NOTHING or turn up TONS of valuable information. We discovered that it’s BETTER to put your research into your OWN words because THEN you UNDERSTAND it … but you are ALSO being respectful of someone ELSE’S ideas and not plagiarizing! We ALSO discovered you CAN’T trust everything you read on the internet! Who KNEW?!? It’s IMPORTANT to double and TRIPLE check your discoveries sometimes because not EVERYTHING you read on the internet is TRUE!

Ross … thank you SO much for being our AWESOME teacher in Australia … Mrs. Renton LOVES having you as her partner teacher TOO! You truly ARE a teacher that inspires learning!

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

~Henry Brooks Adams


26 Responses to A Surprise Package Inspires Action!

  1. Elisa Waingort

    Hello Global Grade 3’s!
    You did an awesome job with your research. I learned so much, especially about some animals I’d never even heard of. You gave lots of interesting information. Thanks for sharing!

    • The Battalion Bloggers

      Hello Elisa!

      Thanks for leaving us another comment! Our class really enjoyed researching the different animals from Australia! We wonder which animals you’d never heard of before? Some of us had never even heard of the flying fox, or the tasmanian devil, or the eastern blue tongued lizard, or the numbat!!! There were actually SO many animals we’d never heard of before! We know it’s HARD to DECIDE … but … which animal did you like the best? 😉

      Have you heard anything more, on the news, about the voluntary no-contact tribes in South America? We still have so many questions and we know that you are keeping your ears peeled for us!

      Thank you, Elisa!

      The Battalion Bloggers 🙂

  2. Jenna

    Hi Miss Renton and classmates

    Great writing to all of you! 🙂

    Good thing I saw the Vocie tread at school ( of corse) because I am on my IPAD and it did not work. 🙁

    I am the 2nd ( sorry for the cheat! 🙂 ) person to leave a comment on the blog! 🙂

    Jenna 🙂

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Jenna!

      Awesome job leaving a comment! You’re right – some thing just don’t show on an iPad like they do on a regular laptop. I find even the revolver map doesn’t work!

      I am glad you enjoyed the writing. I wonder what your MOST favourite part of the entire experience with our surprise package was?

      Mrs. Renton 🙂

      • Jenna

        Hi Miss Renton.

        Guess what! On my iPad the revolver map dose work!

        My favourite part well getting that package was great but when we first opened it was just loved seeing you take the cards out! I just LOVED it ALL!

        Now for the class:
        Hi everyone! I hope you like the video of the Indian clothing that I got for the class! But that also means the photos. Now to the post.
        I think EVERYONE did a great job on their animals!


        From Jenna 🙂

        • Laurie Renton

          Hi Jenna!

          Thank you for leaving ANOTHER awesome comment for us! I am surprised to hear that your revolver map works on your iPad. It doesn’t work for us at school, or on Roger’s at home! You must have some different settings on your iPad! I will have to learn what they are! On our iPad, at home, the revolver map is just like a “flat” map and it doesn’t move.

          I am glad that you enjoyed exploring Ross’s surprise package! He sure takes great care of us!

          I am SO proud of you for always thinking about our learning and sharing the things that you do with us! The video and photos were fantastic! Keep on sharing … it pushes our learning!

          Mrs. Renton 🙂

  3. Darcie and Lane

    Hi Mrs Renton. I was excited to show my mom this new blog post tonight. My Mom thought it was spectacular!
    Love Lane .

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Darcie and Lane!

      Thank you SO much for leaving an AWESOME comment on the blog! I am glad that you were so excited to show your Mom the post about our surprise package! I hope she gets the chance to see your awesome comment now that we have retrieved it and published it with all the others!


      Mrs. Renton 🙂

  4. Peng Peng

    Hi Mrs. Renton

    My favorite part of the surprised was when we open it! The reason is I feel so excited to see what is inside the surprise package.

    I missed my swimming race this morning because of sickness but I feel much better now. So tomorrow I will go to school!

    Peng Peng 🙂

  5. AJ


    Most of you might not know me,and for those who don’t, I was one of the past battalion bloggers. I’m happy to see so many posts.

    I didn’t know about the blue tounged lizard, but I bet you don’t know about the LIGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, it’s real alright, as real as the blog, but it’s rare to find it in the wild, because it is a hybrid. Hbyids are a cross of 2 animals, like a duck and HUMMINGBIRD (only an example. 😛 ) In my new school, I have gotten so many insperations, like building a First Person View plane, a quad copter, and a hover craft. Once I am done one of these, I will send a pic (and hopefully not forget) to Mrs. Renton, and I expect her to show it to you.

    The blog is going great, I hope you get lots of views. 🙂


    (P.S. You have the greatest teacher ever! tell her thanks for being a great teacher!) 😉

    • The Battalion Bloggers

      Hi AJ!

      Thank you for leaving a comment on our blog! We think that Mrs. Renton is a great teacher too, (Mrs. Renton is blushing right now and says thank you. She feels pretty lucky to work with the kids she gets to work with every year!!!) 😉

      We actually DO know about the liger … because Ross sent us a comment at the beginning of the year. Guess what? He ALSO talked about LIGERS!!! We bet you don’t know about the TIGON!!! 😉

      You left this comment on February 10th. We wonder if you have finished your First Person View Plane, or your quad copter or the hover craft? We would LOVE to see a picture. Mrs. Renton PROMISES that she will show it to us if you send it!

      What is it like at your new school? We can’t wait to hear back from you, AJ!

      The Battalion Bloggers 🙂

  6. Ross Mannell

    Hello Battalion Bloggers,

    I had intended writing a shorter comment but, as usual, I got carried away as I thought of more and more to write. Here is a link…

    Keep your minds and senses open. There’s a world of learning out there.

    Ross Mannell

    • The Battalion Bloggers

      Hello Ross!

      We want you to know just HOW much this extended comment meant to us! We spent yesterday afternoon and this MORNING reading it in depth and exploring all the AMAZING links you shared with us. You are right … it sure didn’t turn out to be a short comment. But, we are THRILLED that it didn’t end up being short because we learned even MORE amazing things about these Australian animals! We know a TON of work went into this comment for us and we really want you to know just HOW much it MEANT to us all!

      Here are some of our reflections:

      “Hi Ross. Thanks for all the awesome facts about echidnas. That video of the Eastern Blue Tongued lizard giving birth was cool. The picture of the bottle nosed dolphin was fascinating. The video of the koala after the forest fire was so cute. I loved when it was drinking water from the water bottle. I liked the video of the red kangaroos fighting. It was awesome. And, again, thank you, Ross, for all your work!” ~Noam

      “Hi Ross. Thank you for sending us some amazing information about Australian animals. Thank you for the amazing videos. The baby black swans were so cute but the MOST cute part was when the babies followed their parents. I was surprised when I saw all the algae in the water because I had never seen that before!” ~Hannah

      “Hi Ross! I liked how you wrote each of us a comment. Thank you for sending us the animal cards because we got more wonders. What did the emus evolve from and what is the tallest bird? I wonder how the real name of the emu is pronounced. How can you tell the difference between a male emu and a female emu? If you didn’t send us the cards, I wouldn’t know that emus swim! Which continent is Polynesia on? We are so lucky that we blog with you, Ross!” ~Daniel

      “Hi Ross! Thank you for telling us lots of facts. I appreciate that. Thanks a lot for taking time off and researching. I also liked how you took pictures of the red kangaroo. Which kangaroo do YOU like? I also like how you tell us a lot of great facts. I wish we could do this again!” ~Kelly

      “Hi Ross! I loved the turtle information you shared on your post. I think it’s cool that you did all that research for us! I thought it was really awesome that a turtle can lay 110 eggs at one time! Are the turtles in Australia endangered? Thank you SO much for the AMAZING post! PS I LOVED the turtle video!!!” ~Zyne

      “Wow, Ross! Thank you for doing all that research for us! What do eastern blue tongued lizard sound like? Do you know what that red ball that comes out of the adult is before the baby is born? What kind of injury did the lizard have that you took care of? We loved the post! Thank you, Ross!” ~Kale

      “Hi Ross! Thank you SOO much for the post! I definitely did not see that coming! Port Jackson sharks have a diet of molluscs. The video about Port Jackson sharks was amazing! How many Port Jackson sharks are there?” ~Cohen

      “Thank you SO much Ross! I felt so happy you took time out of your day to leave a HUGE comment! I LOVE the baby turtles hatching in the video! You’re SO nice for getting information about turtles for me. It’s sweet of you to get us some information. I didn’t know it depends on the sand temperature for a boy or a girl turtle to be born!” ~Amy

      “Hi Ross. The squawks of the flying fox and the sound of the tazmanian devil probably scared the class next door! We really liked hearing how those animals sound. I think that the blue tongued lizard looked interesting. My favourite part of the post was emu video! ~Melvin

      “Hi Ross! Thank you so much for giving me and the class an AWESOME extended comment and teaching us LOTS! I loved all the information you gave me about bottle nose dolphins. It was pretty cool how bottle nose dolphins are so defended and can kill a shark! Lots of these animals are fun to research. A few other animals I loved to hear about were the red kangaroo and seeing the video of them having a fight and I also loved the bilby. It is SO adorable! I think my favourite fact that you gave me was that dolphins can turn around and charge the shark and if maybe in a group could kill a shark! I loved all the facts you gave me and the class. And, once again, thank you SO so MUCH FOR GIVING US AN awesome COMMENT. We love your support, Ross!” ~Claire

      “Thank you for the picture of the bilby. I liked it. Can you eat chocolate bilbies at Easter?” ~Sam

      “Thank you so much for the extended comment, Ross. I loved how you shared the cute little story about the orphaned red kangaroo. When I finished reading it to the class, Mrs. Renton announced to us, he isn’t just good with us but he is also good with animals! It is so cool that red kangaroos fight using their strong legs. Wow. I just can’t believe that a male red kangaroo can be about the size of you, Ross! What are grey kangaroos like? Thank you, once again, for taking your time to do this for us!” ~Kennedy

      “Hi Ross! I loved all the information you gave to us! Especially the video of the kickboxing kangaroos! I’ve seen a kangaroo at the zoo but never kickboxing! The extended comment was awesome. I loved when the seal was swimming around. It looked like they were dancing! We are very sorry about how long it took to reply to your comment! Thanks for taking your time to reply. Hope you leave another comment soon!” ~Peng Peng

      “Hi Ross! Thank you for the awesome LONG comment! We really appreciate that you took time to expand our learning. It is funny that Mrs. Renton still thinks that koalas are LAZY! You put some awesome photos and videos of the koala and all the other animals in your post! Even though we are doing koalas, we loved the green turtle youtube video. The video of the koala drinking water was too cute! We also loved the boxing red kangaroo! We just loved EVERYTHING!” ~Jenna, Aya, Catherine and Hilary

      “Ross, thank you so much! I thought it was cool that you actually saw a dead broad nosed bat! I didn’t know that bats can get rabies just like dogs. I never knew that there are five kinds of bats in Australia! My favourite video was about the kangaroo kickboxing! It was so cool learning about the flying fox. Thank you so much for the blog post!” ~Ethan

      “Ross, I very much loved your picture that you drew of the Tasmanian devil! I like how you put the link to the Tasmanian Devil sounds. If you didn’t do the research I would have never known that Tasmanian devils are pouched animals. If you didn’t research we wouldn’t have known more about our animals! We loved how you put time into your blog post! Thanks for helping us learn!” ~Isaac

      “Hi Ross! Thanks for your great comment! We really love that you took time out of your week to help us learn more about Australian wildlife. We all love your photos and youtube videos. We really appreciate all of your work. The Tasmanian devil sounds were too cool. The flying fox sounds were very cool too!” ~Alex

      “Hi Ross. Thank you for the amazing information. I loved the diving with sea lions video. Their faces were adorable. I would really like to know if you have seen them in the zoos and how many years has the sea lion visitor come to your town. Thank you for your awesome work!” ~Martin

      “Thank you, Ross, for sending us these amazing videos and facts. One of my favourite parts of the blog was about the bearded dragon. My favourite part was when the bearded dragon puffs his beard out when he’s in danger. I have seen one in the pet store in Canada. I thought the bearded dragon was interesting. I also heard about kickboxing kangaroos on our blog! It looks like they’re fighting each other. I wonder if they get hurt? I am happy when you send us cool information!” ~Lane

      Ross, we are SO thankful that you continue to be a HUGE part of our learning journey. You push our learning deeper EVERY time we interact and we LOVE that! Thank you for being SO awesome!

      The Battalion Bloggers 🙂

      • Ross Mannell

        For the original post extended comment on my blog…
        More About Australian Animals

        Hello Battalion Bloggers,

        It seems at times I write much the same as I can talk, long rather than short. 🙂

        Your replies and thoughts on my posts are a highlight of blogging for me. As I read, I often have more ideas come to mind because of the quality and detail of your comments. Sometimes, a left comment or question on a post can lead to another post as it has this time for Daniel.

        Blogging allows us to share with the world. Commenting allows us to continue the conversation.

        On Your Reflections…

        Noam – From small bugs, insects and arachnids up to whales, I find all animals fascinating even more so if I can encounter them myself. 🙂

        Hannah – One of my favourite experiences with black swans was an accidental encounter. I had stopped on the roadside at the edge of Bega, a large town a half hour drive from my town. I noticed forty to fifty black swans walking through the grass near a large pond and wondered why they were there. I then noticed why, Following the pairs of adults were approximately 100 fluffy, white cygnets. What a day to be without a camera!

        Daniel – What wonderful wonders! 🙂 I couldn’t answer with simple words because I had more than words to share. Here is a link to the answers…

        Kelly – The most common kangaroo in my area is the eastern grey kangaroo. I often see them when hiking and can sometimes see them eating the grass in the morning on the sports ground across the road from my house. I have also seen red kangaroos in the wild. The first school where I was a fulltime teacher was a small one-teacher school 100km from the nearest town. Out there we had red kangaroos. They looked magnificent as they bounded across the flat, open country of western New South Wales.

        Zyne – For me, learning has never stopped. If I become curious about something, I always want to find out more. This can lead to a new post where I share what I have found. Unfortunately, large sea going turtles do tend to be endangered but there are people dedicated to helping them survive.

        Kale – You are very observant. You probably know reptiles tend to produce eggs from which their young hatch. In some reptile species the young can develop inside the mother and be born ready to go. I suspect the small red ball you saw could have been the remains of the egg sac from which the lizards hatched inside the mother. The injured lizard I took to the vet had a hole in its right side. A dog bite or perhaps a person accidentally stabbing it with a garden fork as it was in a garden could have caused it. As far as sound is concerned, I have seen and handled a number of blue tongued lizards and have heard little sound except for perhaps a slight hissing sound if it is scared.

        Cohen – I am not aware of any attempt to count all of the port Jackson sharks. They can be found along many parts of Australia’s southern coastline. Here is a link to the Australian Museum’s site on the sharks…
        Port Jackson Sharks

        Amy – Finding out new information is fun for me if I am interested in a topic and I am interested in many topics. Can you imagine what it would be like if human boys and girls were decided by temperature? That would be very strange. For humans, it’s more a game of chance. For the turtles, it may help their survival because humans might by able to ensure there is a good mix of male and female turtle numbers. If we were to have too many males one year, conservationists could artificially adjust the temperature to increase the number of females the next breeding season. Nature is fascinating.

        Melvin – Only two nights ago I heard flying fix bats squabbling in a neighbour’s fruit tree. They can be very noisy but can you imagine the sound a large colony might make? I also like emus but I one day came very close to hitting one with my car. I rounded a corner in a country and found an emu standing in the middle of the road. I braked and swerved around it. I could have reached out and plucked a feather it was so close. I think we both had a big scare that day. 🙂

        Claire – Nature is always a favourite subject for me. Next week I should be visiting a local zoo only 3 hours drive from here. I hope to be able more photos to my library and fill in some gaps I have. Maybe I will be able to share a few if I find interesting shots I don’t already have. Here is a link to the zoo’s website…

        Sam – Chocolate Easter bilbies taste as good as chocolate bunnies but money raised helps the conservation program trying to save the bilbies in the wild. I haven’t seen them in local shops as yet but I am looking. Here is a link to the Easter Bilby website so you can see what they look like in shops…

        Kennedy – Male red kangaroos can be taller than me and I stand about 185cm tall. I have seen male eastern grey kangaroos almost my height but most I see are much smaller than me. I wanted to share two photos with you so I prepared a short post. The first photo shows one of the tallest male eastern grey kangaroos I have seen while hiking while the second shows a close up shot of a much smaller female.

        Peng Peng – I have seen how busy your class has become through blogging. I have found the same. Blogging and commenting is both interesting and fun but time is often short. It’s only at the beginning of each year I have extra time. By mid-year I start to get busy filming again.

        Jenna, Aya, Catherine and Hilary – Koalas do spend much of each day sleeping but it’s their diet at fault. They only eat eucalyptus tree leaves and rarely drink extra water apart from what is in the leaves. Eucalyptus leaves are poisonous to us but koalas can eat them. They take a long time to digest and don’t given the koalas large amounts of energy so they sleep to digest and not waste their energy.

        Ethan – I find bats to be very interesting creatures. They are mammals like us but are good fliers without the need for planes we use. I have been in caves and seen bats hanging at the top of caves but was sad to see the poor little bat that had been killed by a car. For flying foxes, all I need do is walk outside into my yard in fruiting season to hear them squabbling in trees at nights. There are even colonies living in Sydney.

        Isaac – I mentioned to Claire I will soon be visiting a small zoo about 3 hours drive north from here. I’m hoping I might be able to add photos of many of the animals to my collection. Perhaps there will be Tasmanian devils I can photograph. I won’t know until I visit the zoo as it will be my first time there. I might take a still and video camera and hope I can do some filming.

        Alex – There are so many Australian animals I have yet to photograph or film but I am always on the look out for something new. I would like to add more video clips of my own to my collection for sharing. I hope to be able to get my own video of Tasmanian devils to share in posts.

        Martin – I have seen sea lions and fur seals both in zoos and in the wild. They can be very graceful as they swim. The old sea lion must have died a few years back because we haven’t seen him for some time but he had visited each year for a number of years. ‘m not sure if I have a photo of him but I am scanning all of my old photos onto the computer so he might turn up later this year.

        Lane – Bearded dragons can make good pets if you know how to care for them. I have held a couple of them over the years. Yes, kangaroos can get hurt but their chests and stomach areas are very strong so they would survive a strong kick we might find would leave us very hurt.

        Keep blogging, Battalion Bloggers. 🙂

        • The Battalion Bloggers

          Hi Ross!

          Thank you SO much for another AMAZING extended comment with the most WONDERFUL links! Some of our bloggers are away right now … so they will reply once they return! Here are our thoughts:

          “Hi Ross! Thank you for a GREAT comment! I agree that koalas sleep so much during the day. When I see koalas pictures I feel like I can look at the pictures all week long. The best one I like that really reeled me in is knowing that if sea turtle eggs are born on the warm sand the turtle will be a girl. If it was laid on cold sand it would be a boy! Thank you for extending our learning, Ross!” ~Hilary

          “Hello Ross! Thank you for leaving a great LONG comment! At first I did think that koalas were LAZY but now that I did some research I know they are just saving energy. Here are my wonders: how long can a koala live and how big can a koala grow? You are right. It would be weird if boys and girls were born because of heat but it’s super cool! Thanks for extending our learning! Once again, thanks for leaving a GREAT comment!” ~Jenna

          “Hi Ross! Thank you for leaving an AWESOME comment on our blog! We love that you took time to do it! It’s so cool that if a green turtle is a boy then they were born in the cold sand and if it is a girl there were born in hot sand! The best one that I liked is the red kangaroo! I do think that koalas sleep for hours. I was amazing by your comment. We had a great time – thank you for extending our learning!” ~Aya

          “Ross, thank you for the amazing comment! What are bearded dragon’s favourite foods? Why do bearded dragons only fight when they are the same size? Why do kangaroos fight? Does it depend or is it just for fun? Where do flying foxes like to sleep? How big are tasmanian devils? What is your favourite place to hike? What do you like better: chocolate bunnies or chocolate bilbies? We never knew that for turtles it depends on what heat the sand is for their new borns to be female or male! Thanks for the great comment!” ~Alex and Ethan

          “Hi Ross! Thank you for leaving a comment for us! It was really funny that you could have plucked a feather off the emu when you were in your car! Have you ever seen a fossil of a tasmanian tiger? Did you know that people see elephant bird eggs on eBay? We hope we can write to you again!” ~Melvin and Kale

          “Hi Ross! Thank you for giving me the link to see pictures of chocolate bilbies! They were adorable! They are saving REAL bilbies. That’s nice! The Port Jackson shark video was cool! I loved the video!” ~Sam

          “Hi Ross! Thank you for the awesome information! It was great! For us, too, learning has NEVER stopped! We have wonders. We have wonders we are curious about too! We like sharing what we have found. Yes … it’s unfortunate some turtles are endangered and they’re lucky some have survived. We’d love to purchase a chocolate bilby at a shop so we can help the bilbies by eating one!!! Chocolate bilbies sound very delicious. They are MORE adorable than chocolate bunnies! The Port Jackson shark was SO cool. It is awesome that they have a spine in their fins!” ~Martin and Zyne

          “Hi Ross! Thank you for leaving us an awesome long comment! We love that you take the time off to research for us and tell us lots of facts. I LOVE that!!! We love when you tell us some awesome facts about Australian animals. We wonder where the red kangaroos live. The baby black fluffy swans were SO cute! I wish we could do this again! We love when you leave comments for us!” Kelly and Hannah

          “Hi Ross! Thank you for the comments! We loved how you gave the link to chocolate bilbies. We wonder who got the idea of chocolate bilbies instead of chocolate bunnies? Why are chocolate bilbies famous? We wonder if they sell chocolate bilbies in Canada? I know a class in Canada who would like to buy some! We wonder what real bilbies like to eat and drink? Thank you for giving us learning support!” ~Isaac and Cohen

          “Hi Ross! Wow! I can’t believe that you can eat chocolate bilbies and save a bilby at the same time! If you are very busy filming, do you get days off? When I saw the picture of the grey eastern kangaroo it looked like he was posing for you! 🙂 I think blogging and commenting is fun too, because you get to learn more about the world! Can you buy chocolate bilbies online?” ~Peng Peng

          Thank you, Ross! You INSPIRE us!

          The Battalion Bloggers 🙂

          • Ross Mannell

            Hello Battalion Bloggers,

            Hilary – No matter how many times I’ve seen, held or touched koalas, I’ve found them interesting marsupials. Like you, I also found the girl/boy turtle eggs interesting. There are some animal species which can change boy to girl/girl to boy in their lives. The term for this ability is hermaphrodite. Most of them are invertebrates (no backbones) but there are also some fish. A fish called the wrasse is an example. If the dominant male in a group dies, a female may become a male. Isn’t nature interesting?

            Jenna – Koalas can reach as much as around 15kg in weight and live up to around 18 years in the wild and possibly longer in captivity. They have a slight smell of eucalyptus oil because of their diet. While some born in captivity can be handled, they can scratch and bite if you try to handle them in the wild.

            Aya – Kangaroos and the smaller wallabies are interesting. If, early in the morning, I look out of the window where I am working, I can sometimes see them of the sports ground across the road. They are usually also seen on a local golf course and in a holiday park. When hiking, I often surprise them.

            Alex and Ethan – Bearded dragons do eat some leafy greens and vegetables but they also like juicy worms, bugs, insects, cockroaches, etc. They are omnivorous (plant/meat eaters like us). What’s interesting is young dragons mostly like the bug diet whereas, by the time they’re adults, they prefer mostly plants. In captivity, I know they are often given mealworms.
            Dragons show a little sense in fighting. If another dragon is much bigger, the smaller dragons probably thinks it’ll get hurt. Many animals use size to frighten off challengers.
            Kangaroos live in groups called mobs. Males and females can fight over drinking places but the males tend to fight over females. It can be to find the dominant (biggest/strongest) male who has the mates and therefore fathers more joeys. Kangaroo fights don’t usually last very long. I have seen then “boxing” at times. They rarely get seriously hurt.
            Flying foxes like to sleep in trees during the day then fly around at night in search of food. Right on Sydney Harbour you find the Royal Botanic Garden. They had trouble with a colony of flying foxes which had moved into the gardens and were damaging rare trees before they moved on. If you scare a large colony, they can be very noisy as they fly off.
            Tasmanian devils can be around 0.2g when born but grow to an average of 6kg when fully grown. Growing from 0.2g to 6kg is an increase 30,000 times. Imagine if a human baby grew that much. A human baby born at 3.3kg would grow to 99,000kg.
            Hiking is a hobby of mine when I have the time. I like national parks, nature reserves, coastal walks or even hiking along highways and roads. I usually also have a camera with me in case I see interesting things to photograph.
            Chocolate bunnies/bilbies are both chocolate so I like them both but bilbies sell to raise money to help save wild bilbies so they have the advantage.

            Melvn and Kale – I have seen a taxidermy example of the Tasmanian tiger as well as fossils and bones in museums. There are people who believe there might still be some in very remote areas of Tasmania. Perhaps one day we will see them again. It would be wonderful. Ebay can be a source of all sorts of things but I hadn’t thought of looking for elephant bird eggs.

            Sam as well as Martin and Zyne – Chocolate bilbies are delicious, real bilbies are cute and Port Jackson sharks are interesting. With Easter coming up, I’m looking for chocolate bilbies but not to photograph. If carnivores eat meat, herbivores eat plants and omnivores eat meat and plants, do you wonder if there are chocivorous animals only eating chocolate? I think I come close to that species.

            Kelly and Hannah – Red kangaroos aren’t found in my area. They tend to live in drier areas of Australia west of the major mountain range running down Australia’s eastern half. When breeding season is on again, I’ll have to see if I can get some photos of black swan cygnets.

            Isaac and Cohen – A group had been trying to raise money to help save the endangered bilbies when someone came up with the idea of the Easter bilby. For Australia, they make sense. Rabbits are not native to Australia and are listed as a pest species because of the environmental damage they can do in the wild. Here is a Wikipedia link for bilby information…

            Peng Peng – Because I am no longer working as a teacher with my own class, I officially have every day off but I love to fill my days with activities such as photography, video, blogging, commenting, reading, walking and going tot he cinema. On Thursday I drove to a zoo called Mogo Zoo and a pioneer village replica called Old Mogo Town in order to add more photos and video to my collection. I may be able to share some of what I captured soon. I haven’t seen too much of online bilbies but grocery stores like the Woolworths who supplied the cards I sent you can have them.

            Keep blogging 🙂

          • Ross Mannell

            Hello again Battalion Bloggers,

            With the interest shown in our chocolate Easter Bilbies in your comments, I thought I would share a short post on them complete with photos of one I bought. For Peng Peng, I mentioned I had visited Mogo Zoo so I thought I would add some photos of animals taken on that day. You are the first to have a post including any of the Mogo animals. 🙂


            Ross Mannell
            Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

        • The Battalion Bloggers

          Hi Ross!

          Sorry – it’s taken us a while to reply to the amazing comment you left for Daniel as well! Here are our reflections on that awesome post about the evolution of birds:

          “Hi Ross! It’s amazing that you got that close to an emu! Did you use a ZOOM lens? We love all the links that you put on your posts. Guess what? Now we are interested in emus and dinosaurs because of your comment! Why do you like sauropods so much? I’m surprised an emu didn’t jump in your car when you were driving, when you were testing how fast it was going! Ross, what is the biggest emu you have seen? Where have you usually seen emus?” ~Ethan, Isaac & Alex

          “Thank you SO much, Ross, for that awesome comment to Daniel. It was cool how the hoatzin chicks climb the trees! How fast was the emu that was running beside your car? I never knew dinosaurs had feathers! We’ve been looking at an eagle cam and it’s skeleton looked like a dinosaur! The winged dinosaurs give me the creeps. I can’t believe you got THAT close to an EMU! Thank you, again, Ross … you are thoughtful!” ~Kale

          “Thank you so much, Ross! Mrs. Renton has a book and here are some of the facts I’ve found:
          – the biggest egg is laid by the ostrich! (170 by 130 mm and it weighs 1 400 grams!)
          – the ostrich family contains the biggest flightless birds and emus, cassowaries, maos and elephant birds, (which are extinct).
          – an ostrich can run 60 kph or more!
          I wouldn’t have known the facts if you didn’t follow our blog! Thank you!” ~Melvin

          “Hi Ross! Wow! The ostrich is humungous! It’s amazing you know all about these awesome animals! We never knew that polynesia was made up of 1000 little islands! That’s a LOT … and I mean a LOT! Have you ever seen an emu on your street? Have you ever felt an emu … and if you did … what does it feel like? Thanks, again, Ross, for always extending our learning!” ~Amy, Catherine and Noam

          “Hi Ross! It’s really amazing that the moa can reach 3.6 m in height and weigh 230 kg and that there is a living bird with claws! It is called the hoatzin! Another name for it is “stinkbird”! What was the most spectacular thing you saw in the Aukland museum in New Zealand? It’s cool that you could take a photo of the emu’s legs SO close! Thank you for the post, Ross!” ~Martin and Zyne

          “Hi Ross! Thank you for an awesome extended comment! We loved EVERYTHING! Our group was wondering what the adult stinkbird looks like! We never knew that stinkbirds were also called hoatzins! We also wonder how you got so close to the emu! A grade six teacher in our school is about the size of an ostrich because he is about 2 meters tall! We wonder what a daddy emu is called? Our group wonders how many types of emus there are on earth? When you were at the dinosaur display what was the best thing there? Our class has been looking at eagle cams. It’s so cool … and we saw the eggs!” ~Jenna, Hilary and Claire

          “Hello Ross! Thank you for sending us an amazing comment on our blog. The information you said about emus made me excited. The picture that was my favourite was the emu feet. Ross, you are a genius to me because you send interesting facts and information! I hope that there is still time for you to send us some more facts, Ross!” ~Lane

          “Ross, thank you for writing back on the blog! In China they only put the boys on one family tree and the girls are on a different on! Weird! How close have you ever been to an emu? What was the most best artifact you saw in the London Museum? Are eagles related to dinosaurs because when we looked at a skeleton of of one it looked like a dinosaur! What is your favourite bird?” ~Peng Peng and Daniel

          “Hi Ross! Thanks for the awesome facts! We never knew about those emu facts! How do you know so much about emus? If you never told us about emus we would not be able to know so much about emus! Wow! You did a LOT of research! We are so lucky that you researched for us! You really did not have to do that for us! Ross, what do you like about emus? Once again, thank you so much!” ~Aya, Hannnah and Kelly


  7. Peng Peng

    Hi Mrs. Renton!

    I am at the Olimpic Oval!
    I think everyone did a great job in there writing! How much packages did you get from Ross in the years you’ve been teaching grade 3?


    Peng Peng

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Peng Peng!

      How lovely to see your comment this morning! It sounds like you are having an adventurous weekend! I agree. I think we all really enjoyed delving deeper into some of the animal cards that Ross sent to us! Gosh. You ask a hard question! I would say that this would be the third or fourth surprise that Ross has sent to the Battalion Bloggers since we first started blogging! The first time, he sent us our fantastic echidna, along with several Australian treasures, (we’ve seen them … the koala puppet, a coin from the Potoroo Zoo, an Australian flag …). Ross has also sent some of the DVDs he creates for schools! We’ve been VERY spoiled by Ross! He has really deepened our understanding of SO many things … including life in Australia!

      Mrs. Renton 🙂

  8. Ross Mannell

    Just an addition to my recent comment, I have rescanned my 35mm slide of the bearded dragon and shared it with Lane…

    • Lane

      Hello, Ross!

      Thank you so much for commenting to me on our blog! You were right. Kangaroos can get hurt but their chest and stomach areas are very strong. You are so specific with the information you write and the pictures you take. I really enjoyed the pictures you took for me of the bearded dragon. I think it’s cool that you’re scanning all the pictures! You left amazing an comment for me and for my class. Thank you for telling us more about our favourite animals. It really inspired me for the bearded dragons, Ross! You come up with amazing information. Thank you!


      Lane 🙂

      • Ross Mannell

        Hello, Lane.

        Thank you for your kind words. I’ve always thought information shouldn’t be kept to yourself. It needs to be shared.

        If we were to think of two theoretical (make believe) people, one who knows everything there is to know about everything and one who may not be good at any subject yet has learnt much about bearded dragons. The first thinks it useless to share with those who know so little because time shouldn’t be wasted on the ignorant (not knowing). The second shares a wonder of bearded dragons to all who will listen with such enthusiasm for sharing. I would rather meet the second person and share the enthusiasm than the first who sits isolated in their knowledge.

        We learn, we share and we grow together.

        Ross Mannell
        Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

  9. Melvin

    Hi Battalion bloggers

    This is my 2nd comment on the blog. I have a lot of Wonders for all of you! What is the biggest skyscraper in the world? What is the smallest mountain in the world? What is the biggest house in the world? What is the most interesting bridge you have ever seen?

    From Melvin;) 🙂

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Melvin!

      It was lovely to see your comment tonight! Congratulations on leaving your SECOND comment – that’s AWESOME!

      I LOVE your wonders! I “wonder” if you should put your wonders on stickies for our “wonder” wall? I wonder if any of our other bloggers will take the challenge to try to answer them! I can’t wait to hear what we discover!

      Mrs. Renton 🙂

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