Designing a Community Garden for Eleebana Public School

We are so proud of our collaborative achievements!

We are so proud of our collaborative achievements!

It takes a lot of thought when trying to design a garden for the whole schooling community to share. There is the layout, criteria and considerations of what people will want and need. It’s a BIG job. It involves drafting, higher order thinking, deep understanding, planning, problem solving and accepting critique from your friends.

KB designed their own plans for the Eleebana Community Garden. We drafted and then reworked our designs to ensure they fit the special criteria of:
6 boats – each with a type of garden (to be specified)
A bird bath
A compost bin
A hose and tap
A greenhouse
A Fairy Garden
Minimum of 2 trees
Native shrubs

The designs were amazing. We were all very impressed with our hard work and creativity. We each had planned, designed, labelled and presented a map of what we thought the garden should look like. Then Mrs Evans and 3/4E showed us their virtual garden designs. We knew we couldn’t let a Stage 2 class beat us in design so we decided to make a 3D model.

We realised we couldn’t make 19 individual 3D models so we voted on who had designed the absolute BEST garden. It was a tough decision with very close contenders: Layla, Bailey, William and Jordan. In the end Jordan’s design won and we began the process of design in 3D and each of us took turns in adding to the model.

The end results…well they speak for themselves.

I am so proud of all the hard work KB have put into the GTK project this year and how ALL students have been engaged in the learning process through open ended tasks and inquiry based learning.

off my camera dec 2013 328

off my camera dec 2013 331

Our GTK walk!

Our GTK walk!


How did we get to Bunyah Park you ask...well just follow the map!

How did we get to Bunyah Park you ask…well just follow the map!

It was a hot Monday afternoon when the Kindergarten and Stage 2 teams set out on an adventurous walk. Our destination: Bunyah Park.
We travelled down Glad Gunson Drive and had to use our problem solving skills to answer questions that had been posed by Mrs Evans.

Did we know what number should have been on the cylindrical letterbox? What was a phone number of one of the real estate agents?
When we made it to the lake we even had to search for a piece of furniture in it!

We travelled over the boardwalk and some of us saw a floating crab! Did you know that the lake spans over 110 squared kilometres…its bigger than Sydney Harbour!

After listening to the echoes of our voices through the tunnel we made it to Bunyah Park and were met by the committee members of the Warners Bay Community Garden project. They had a virtual game ready for us to play where we identified the differences between herbs, vegetables and fruit.


When we had completed this we laid in the grass listening to the sounds around us before discussing how we got to the park and if we had finished all of the tricky questions.

We are pleased to say that all of us made it back in one piece!

We had a great day and thought we would tell our friends but there was just one thing…”what happens if our friends want to go on the walk?” said Alex.
“We could draw maps for them,” stated Jacob.

Well what came next will amaze you. After discussing the way we walked, what we passed, the turns involved, the bridges and tunnel we began drawing our maps.

in the tunnel

in the tunnel

Here is what KB came up with…This should show them the way!




On Monday 3/4e and kinder red went for a walk and we had to find out all the answers to Mrs Evans questions and we went past some bus stops then we saw a purple tree. Then I saw three trees shaped in a triangle and they were gum trees. When we saw the trees we were at the lake. Then we went to Bunyah Park which was on Cherry road and we had to pick up a vegetable or a fruit or herb sign and it was on a stick. There was only one herb and Brayden was the only person who got a herb. Then we went back to school.

by Jordan (KB)

On Monday we walked to the lake and we walked to Bunyah Park. We planted signs in the ground and we went across a main road and I saw some bus stops. We went in a tunnel and we walked across two bridges and in the park I heard sounds. I heard birds and Mrs Evans gargling.

by Mahala (KB)

On Monday we went to a park called Bunyah Park and do you want to know how we got there?  We went past some bus stops and the lake and we had to do activities with 3/4e.  We saw a caravan and a boat.  My buddies are Georgia, Teia and Izzy.  It was a fun day.

by Poppy (KB)

Moving Machines and everything DESIGN!

This term KB and 3/4E have worked hard at researching why things move and how. This has included toys, machines, robots and even ourselves!

We have; choreographed dance moves to a variety of different music;

brought in toys that move;


played problem solving games that involved talking and listening using descriptive vocabulary, identification of which of the 6 simple machines are used to make a specific toy move

and independent writing to accompany these investigations.

We then went onto design our own machines. This was a 5 stage process! First students had to use their higher order thinking skills to invent something that moved and that would be useful. It needed to be something that they would use regularly. They then needed to think of what simple machines would be involved in their invention. Designing their own invention on art paper was the fun part! This was their first prototype (draft) and could be developed further as they moved onto their second prototype (final edit). They were required to label the specific parts of the invention and the machines that were used in constructing it. After the thinking, designing, labelling and re-designing, students were then asked to write about their invention. How did it work and what was it used for? What machines were used? Why did they design it?


The results from students directing their own learning in a design based environment were amazing! Just have a look…

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Professional reflection…

Miss Sarah Meehan KM

My children have been able to flourish through GTK because of their growing intrinsic motivation to learn as a result of differentiated learning, strength based and hands on activities and demonstrations and a supportive environment with peers. My students have been able to grow in confidence as they show me multiple skills at one time making my assessment of them authentic and holistic. After beginning GTK in KM I feel I know my students better and some children have shown me talent I would not have otherwise seen by focussing on the “must know” skills of literacy and numeracy.  I found the project extremely useful in connecting to and understanding the new Australian Curriculum focussing more on what students need now in the 21st Century such as teamwork, creative and critical thinking, expressing yourself and decision-making. I constantly ask myself and here as the teacher talk for others “Am I giving students what they need for their future?” with GTK I can confidently answer “Yes”.


Miss Brianna Galinski (3J)

How has the GTK project supported the new English Syllabus?

The GTK project has been a wonderful springboard leading into the introduction of the new English syllabus at Eleebana Public School. The new English Syllabus requires students to be actively involved in: expressing themselves, reflecting on their learning and thinking imaginatively and creatively. The children have had opportunities to be a part of a design process in creating a ‘Bee-bot’ house. This task required students to express their ideas through the creation of an initial prototype design. As students began to build and construct their ‘Bee-Bot’ homes with their Kindergarten group members, students soon realised that the design process required them to reflect and make changes to their original plans. In order for students to successfully complete this task, the children also had to think creatively and imaginatively as they were designing a house for a ‘Bee-Bot’ and not a person. This required them to imagine what a Bee would require in its house.

The final step in the design process, which addressed the reflective element of the new English syllabus, was a whole group presentation of their ‘Bee-Bot’ house. We recorded each group on camera making a presentation of their house and reflecting on the whole design process including: initial ideas, changes that were made along the way, what worked well and what didn’t and how they worked as a team etc.

The GTK project has been a wonderful experience for both myself as a teacher and also for the students.


Mrs. Jody Birleson KB

What do you do when your new supervisor says, “let’s do a collaborative project with Bee-Bots?” First of all you google what Bee-Bots actually are and how they work! Then you try to wrap your brain around how it will all work. What could Stage 2 learn from Early Stage 1? Wouldn’t Stage 2 be too advanced for Early Stage 1? How would we find the time and how would the outcomes align? What would the students gain from this?

To some, who know little about the project, it may look as though all we are doing is playing with desk top computers and small robot bees. If you take a step closer, even for just one lesson, your eyes will be opened wide just like mine were. Students from ages 4-6 and 8-10 learning from one another. Collectively driving their own learning through problem based curriculum. Of course us teachers have set the background up for these experiences to occur but what students have gained has been beyond my greatest expectations.

The elements of each lesson covered many, if not all, Key Learning Areas. We cover writing, reading, problem solving, working mathematically, position, map making, talking and listening, movement, music, drama, visual art, design, construction and of course various sources of technology. Due to the large scope and sequence of activities (and use of a Blooms rubric) it was easy to continue to use the activities undertaken in the collaborative project throughout the rest of the week’s lessons. For example, lessons such as; interactive writing, independent writing, spelling, maths and creative arts.

Of course covering learning across stages and working with another teacher takes time and an open mind. My room, for an entire term, was full of recyclable materials, student made homes (that of course weren’t small) and then theres the paint, masking tape and decorative materials everywhere! Uploading video of ongoing assessment takes time as well.

To be serious though, I would take all of that and the extra work any day. I remember someone explaining the the difference between ordinary and extraordinary…it’s the “extra” you put in. To put the “extra” in is to see your students thrive and become extraordinary. They learn through inquiry and problem solving whilst working collaboratively with others. They acknowledge differing opinions of their peers, assist and scaffold peer learning and most importantly drive their own learning. In some special cases it also provides a spotlight for talent and giftedness to shine bright and in a way that may never have been noticed before.

Cooperative collaboration has been an exceptional, eye opening experience to myself as a teacher and to my students in their most vital first years of schooling life.

Cooperative Creative Collaboration!

In week 3 Kinder Red joined their BeePals in 3/4E to use their creative thinking caps! We gave our BeePals our thoughts and opinions on how the cooperative Bee-Bot games should be played. We discussed rules, themes and visual art designs. The collaborative discussions went on through the afternoon and the design process began with our prototypes.

this is what a prototype looks like

this is what a prototype looks like


another prototype

Jack D, Dom and buddy discuss their game

Jack D, Dom and buddy discuss their game

Kinder students are very capable at working together in cooperative groups. We do this everyday! It is amazing though, that Kinder Red has been able to use their higher-order thinking skills and creativity to collaborate extensively with our Stage 2 friends. We have appreciated design, problem-solved, discussed and accepted varying opinions within our small groups and used higher-order thinking to assist with the holistic development of these board games that will inevitably be used by both classes with the BeeBot robots to integrate with our COGs units, “Healthy Choices” and “Our Needs.”


cooperating and collaborating


Kindergarten can be very creative


Eliza makes cards for their board game