Category Archives: Travel

Absolute Perfection!

So that's where Marty went?

I just couldn’t help myself 🙂

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Posted by on 01/12/2013 in Photography, Travel


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To The Boy in Berlin – Fantastic resource for German students

Last week I travelled to Melbourne for a meeting of the Professional Development Facilitators for the Goethe-Institut and also to present at the Victorian German Teacher’s Conference. It was fantastic! In fact, I would go so far as to say that I came away completely inspired and fired up, ready to boost my numbers back up in German.

One of the fabulous workshops that I attended was by Tina Wilkinson on using ‘To The Boy in Berlin’ as a text in a middle school German classroom. It’s written by Elizabeth Honey and Heike Brandt and is centred around two main characters; Henni and Leo.

The blurb on says:

To the Boy in Berlin

A funny, suspenseful novel, bursting with character and ideas: a quirky detective story about righting the wrongs of the past and fighting injustice in the present; a touching story of friendship, football and the power of the Internet.

Henni lives in Melbourne, Leo lives in Berlin.

Different countries, different lives, so far apart;

but sometimes the person furthest away is just the one you need

A postcard from Leo Schmidt? I can’t believe it. I’m trying to solve the mystery of a boy called Leopold Schmidt who migrated to Australia years ago. Leopold is long dead, but this new Leo is very much alive and kicking.

Emails fly as they explore the world according to Henni and Leo. It’s friendly and funny, but deadly serious, too. Without Leo, Henni would never unravel the dark secrets from the past. Without Henni, Leo would have to save his friend Felix single-handed.

Amazon suggests that this book is suitable for students from ages 9 and up, but as I want to incorporate German language and an investigation into internment camps during World War 1 in Australia, I am going to have a go at running it with my current Year 9 class, and possibly also my Year 8 class later next term.

You can buy an eBook copy of the book from here – if you download their free Kindle for PC here, you can actually read it using a normal PC without the need for a Kindle device. The novel costs $9.99 and will be well worth the price in my opinion.

As I don’t have a class set of these books, it would be great if my students could buy the eBooks, so that they have their own copy of the book to refer back to.

Here’s a little teaser though that I downloaded from the Amazon site – they have it there as a free preview and is publicly accessible. NB – this is all copyrighted material.

To The Boy in Berlin teaser (Year 9 students, this is your homework: please read it and add any information you find out about either Henni or Leo to your brainstorms)


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Beautiful educational storybook about to be released

Where Has Polly Gone‘ is a story about Netta, a young ostrich who finds it very difficult to concentrate at school and who finds it very easy to get into trouble. Travelling the world in search of ‘Polly’ – the Summer homework her teacher has set her – Netta discovers that polygons are all around her.

Book CoverI am very fortunate to have gotten a sneak peak at this beautifully illustrated book before it’s released (later next month), as I’m the Marketing Assistant for author, Lisa Service.

This book accurately reflects the frustration that so many of my students who suffer from ADD/ADHD have felt in the classroom. Without attention and care to their learning needs, it is easy to understand how they might find themselves gazing off into the distance, taking their imaginations to more interesting places.

I love the fact that this book focuses on geography, especially the inclusion of different country flags and the shapes that have been used to symbolise their people. Considering that many Middle School students still can’t use maps effectively, this is fantastic!

The layering of shapes throughout this book is very well done – from the obvious to the subtle, it provides teachers and parents with the opportunity for explicit teaching, as well as student centered discovery.

The website includes a blog written by Lisa Service, as well as lesson plans linking directly to the book and Learning Outcomes from the US, with Australian Curriculum links to come. It will also include a platform from which to buy the book, as either an eBook or a hard cover book.

You can also find other great teaching resources shared on the Where Has Polly Gone? Facebook page, Twitter feed, Pinterest page and Google+ page.


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Travel through Color – Inspiration for your next painting project

Travel through Color – Inspiration for your next painting project

I adore travelling the world; I believe that it’s one of life’s greatest pleasures to be able to experience other lands, climates and cultures. Indeed when I return home, I plaster my walls, fridge and computer screen with images that I’ve captured from my journey, just so that I can hold onto that feeling a little bit longer. So the thought struck me; why not bring the colors that inspire me from around the world into my home?

The first step is to identify what inspires you – is it a particular color palette, shade or texture of your favorite image? What is it about the photo that evokes that feeling of longing and wonder? Then you need to draw out the essential hues and tones, in order to find paint shades, furniture and accessories to match.

For now I’ve decided to start by sharing some stunning images found through Pinterest (where all original sources and credits can be found), as well as some I’ve taken from my own travels. I’ll then take those color palettes and share some ideas and inspiration with you in upcoming blog posts.

Please head to for the images. Enjoy! :-)


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