Tag Archives: Sophie

Australia Year- Personal Highlights

Australia Year is coming to an end.  The school term (and year) finishes on Friday, so this is a good point to find out what we most enjoyed about this special year.  To finish our blog we will be asking lots of people what they thought the highlights were.  We have started with views from the blog group. 

“The event I have most enjoyed through Australia Year is when Frances Firebrace came in and did lots of Aboriginal-type paintings with KS2.  We had to pair up and were only allowed to use red, yellow, blue and black paints, but that made it more exciting!”  Mollie

“My highlight of Australia year was when we made the Australian Poles for the end of Year 6 art.  I enjoyed this activity because we all got to be together and I really like calving wood. I wrote R+E+C=BFF. I did get a big cut in my hand but I do have a bit of me left behind (my blood).” Robyn

“My favourite thing about Australia year is when we did our aboriginal poles with Chris Holland (The Didgeridoo man!) I am looking forward to the signing of the t-shirts this Friday.”  Emily

“I haven’t got a favourite. I just Liked the whole year round and am glad I was a part of it. But I can’t wait till Friday!”  Sophie

“I think that the highlight of Australia year has got to be the year 6 Totem poles but Australia day comes close.  I know that almost everybody in Holbrook loved Australia day including me because of it’s extremely fun activities.”  Matthew P

The Other Facts of Life

We have finished performing the play! We think it was a great success, we have enjoyed it but glad it’s over.

Emily said: “I think that all the parents thought it was funny and enjoyable.”

Sophie said: “I think parents liked it and everyone was amazing at their parts.”

Mollie said: “It was good and I liked it!”

Matthew W said: “It took lots of practice and we enjoyed it lots!”

Mr Whitewick said: “I enjoyed it very much, it made me laugh, but I preferred it when you sang along to a backing track.  Singing along to a  CD doesn’t work as well- you cannot hear the pupils, just the CD.  I thought it was a very well written play, though.”

Matthew P said: “It was good, but I think it was a bit long.”

Ella said: “I enjoyed making the props more than acting in the play.”

Robyn said: “I enjoyed watching the making of the props and putting on the play.”

Interview with Harvey

On 28th June some of the Year 4 pupils from our school went to Royal Wootten Bassett Academy to talk about our Australia Year at Holbrook.  They had included a bit from their play but tweaked it so it went with what they were doing and so the audience would understand what was going on.  I asked Harvey (my brother who went to the school) a couple of questions about what he thought about it:

1) How long did it take to put the whole thing together?

It took quite long but it was worth it.

2) What did you think of it and why?                                                

I thought it was really good.  All the schools were great but particularly Holbrook.

3) How well did it go?

I thought it went very well because we worked very hard and we did extremely fantastic.

4) Did everyone enjoy it?

Yes I thought everyone enjoyed it because we all thought it was a really fun thing to be a part of.

5) Were there many schools there?

Not many schools were there, but some left a presentation because they couldn’t be there.

 6) Do you think Mr Whitewick did a good job and why?

Yes because he directed it, tweaked it, taught us the drama and made it a success!

7) Were people impressed by the peformance?

Yes because everyone else had scripts but we didn’t.

8) Was there anything you could have changed to make it better and why?

No because it was perfectly AMAZING!

9) Do you think everyone was loud?

Everyone was very loud and clear and you could tell that people could tell what they were saying.

10) Were Holbrook the best and why?

Yes because we are just awesome and we were well behaved!


Wiltshire International Book

At the same conference at which our Y4 pupils presented their drama about Australia Year, we received copies of the new book all about Wiltshire schools’ links with partner schools around the world.  Matthew and Sophie wrote the Holbrook contribution to this book.

This is the text they wrote for the book:

If you can’t go to Australia, get Australia to come to you!

Over the current school year, Holbrook has been focusing on Australia. This is so that everyone connected to our school can share their knowledge and find out more; parents and governors as well as pupils.

Throughout the year we have given our usual school events an Australian flavour, for instance on 11th November we remembered Australian soldiers, for our annual contribution to the dance festival we performed a dance based on Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, and our Year Four play was about Australia.

We have had many visitors to school to help, some of them real Australians. The year started with a visit from Travis, a student from Adelaide.  He taught us Aussie rules football.  Mr Clarke, a Wiltshire Adviser, visited us several times.  He told us Dreamtime stories, talked about Aboriginal Art and Australian animals. Chris Holland is a musician and artist. He taught us some basic didgeridoo skills.

We started a blog (www.holbrookaustraliayear.wordpress.com) which a group of Y5 and Y6 pupils keep up to date with all the news of our special year.

The best thing is that we found a school in Australia also called Holbrook School.  We made contact and asked them to work with us.  Their Principal and school leaders have shared ideas with our headteacher and School Council; we have exchanged work and they have answered our questions about their country.

Australia Day (26th January) was a big day in our school.  The blog group led an assembly and we worked together to create a giant map of Australia, now on display in our hall.  We wrote a letter to the Australian High Commissioner to ask for some support and he wrote back and put us in touch with people who could help us.

We got the whole school to read the same books: ‘Diary of a Wombat’ by Jackie French for KS1; and ‘Stories from the Billabong’ by James Vance Marshall and Francis Firebrace for KS2. Waterstone’s store in Trowbridge helped us with this project. Then, we had a brilliant visit from Francis Firebrace himself, an Aborigine from the Yorta Yorta people, who showed us his artwork.  We all then had a huge art session and tried our hand at art, aboriginal style.  After school pupils had their books signed.

To sum it all up, we would say that learning about Australia is brilliant when you can learn from real Australians.

Sophie and Matthew

Trowbridge- Australia: Any Connections?

This week we are sending out a letter to parents and carers to see what connections we can find between Trowbridge and Australia.  We also want to put a leaflet in the Trowbridge Museum because we think we could find out a lot about people who have travelled between our town and Australia.

 Here is the text of the letter:

Dear Parents and Carers

Have ever been to Australia?  Do you have any family or friends there?  Do you know any Australians living in Trowbridge?  If you do, we would like to know about it.  We want to see how many connections there are between Trowbridge and Australia.  We want to map all these links on a giant map of Australia in our school hall. 

Every connection we find out about will be marked on the map with a pin.   The first pin will be our connection with our partner school, Holbrook Public School in Holbrook, New South Wales.  

This will be helpful because it will not just be the children and staff members of Holbrook involved with Australia Year; parents will be involved too!

Hopefully, by the end of the school year the map will be full with pins, all of which mark a connection between Trowbridge and Australia.  As we are in the last two terms, we would like this project to be amazing so that we have a good end to our school year.

Thank you for your help

Yours sincerely

Sophie and Robyn

Interview with Mr Whitewick

Why did you choose the two books for The Big Read?

I went to Waterstone’s with a list of books I thought would be good.  I discussed these with the manager, Sara.  She had some ideas too.  Not all of the books on my list were easily available.  Sara used the Waterstone’s internal website to get ideas from other stores and, eventually, we came up with two books we thought would work well.

Out of the two, which one is your favourite and why?

I don’t have one.  ‘Diary of a Wombat’ is sweet and amusing and it suits KS1 but KS2 need a harder and more challenging read. I also like books with deeper meanings which the ‘Stories from the Billabong’ have.

Do you think people will read the book?

The idea was to read the books at home so that parents got involved as well.  I think that sharing books is very important.  The Big Read was designed for parents and children to read and discuss the books together.  This sort of thing really helps our pupils get better at reading. 

What are you expecting to do with people’s opinions?

The best thing to happen will be for opinions to go on the blog.  Our blog will be better if more people added comments and opinions.  

Are you excited about the schools partnership with Waterstone’s?

Yes, I’m very excited that Waterstone’s want to help us.  When I had the idea, I did not know what help they could offer.  So, I was really pleased when they gave a discount card to every family.  It was also very good to talk about the books with experts.

How did you manage to get all of the school a discount card for Waterstone’s?

It was Sara , the manager, who came up with the idea.                                                          

How well did the book sale go?

It went very well and it was very busy. We sold all the copies of ‘Stories from the Billabong’.  I think we emptied all of Britain of the last copies of the book because the publishers sent more from a warehouse in China, I think.  You can see some pictures on the blog.

How did you think of The Big Read idea?

Last year, the Deep See Readers went to see Ali Sparkes in Bath.  She was there because the festival had chosen her book, ‘Frozen in Time’ as the festival children’s book.  The idea was to get as many people as possible to read the same book.  I thought we could do the same thing as part of Australia Year and that thought led me to contact Waterstone’s to see if they would help us out. 

Thank you for your answers

Matthew and Sophie

Francis Firebrace is coming to Holbrook!

Great news!  Francis Firebrace is the illustrator of the KS2 Big Read book ‘STORIES FROM THE BILLABONG’.  On Wednesday 28th March he is coming to our school, if people in KS2 have brought the book and want it signed by him then they can bring it in and get it signed. Francis Firebrace is going to work with all pupils in the school.

Also, after school Francis will be reading some stories so if parents want to come and listen they will be welcome too. When you’re listening you can have tea and coffee with cake.

It should be a fantastic day.