If You Can’t Beat Them…

I don’t want to worry you, but in the not so distant future the machines will rise up and replace us! You’d have to have been hiding in a cave to have not heard about the way technology is going to replace us in the workforce. Some research estimates that around 40% of the jobs we have today in Australia will be lost to automation within the next 10 to 15 years. Already robots make cars, cars can drive themselves, trucks are already autonomous, plows use gps to plow fields…  However, we have to plan for such a future and what better way than to provide students with the skills which they may need in our ever increasingly technological world.

This week we started working with Dot and Dash. We’ve already used coding in other activities but working with the robots has a little more appeal for the students. They are able to construct blockly style code in order to make the robots move, light up, speak and even communicate. We’ll be doing this for a number of weeks throughout the term. You never know, your child may just be the one who programmes the machines that put the rest of us out of a job. Not to worry, though, I always fancied having more leisure time – I seriously need to work on my tan.

The Final Countdown

I hate to sound like a typical oldie, but this year has simply flown by. It’s already mid-October and we’re heading into the final term for this crop of year 6 students in LA14. In less than 10 weeks their primary school adventure will come to an end and they’ll fly from the familiar surrounds of this school and head out in different directions on new adventures. Before then, though, we need to squeeze in so much that 10 weeks starts to seem like way too short a time and I’m sure that, just like the year so far, it’s bound to fly past and leave us breathless as we race to try to keep up. This is the most exciting time of the year for our year 6 students and I’m sure this blog will be busy recording their final journey.

One more thing – did you sing the title? If you did then congratulations, you must be a typical oldie like me!

Just Before We Go…

Okay, disregard my previous post, this is now the final one of the term. Sometimes something comes along and we’ve just got to share it. This time it’s an incredibly talented young lady called Erin. For quite a while now Erin has been doing art classes and she constantly brings in her new creations and each time I’m left in awe. Check out the examples below.

Phew!

“Utterly exhausted, the frail old man gasped for air. His thinning, greying hair clung to his scalp, soaked in sweat. His face contorted with pain. His bones ached and his withered muscles shook in a vain attempt to wring out every last drop of energy. Desperate, delirious and with a wilting determination he dragged himself along on bleeding hands and knees towards the finish line. He was there! His breath was weak and wheezy, but he was there. It had seemed so far – he would soon be able to rest, his final marathon over.”

Okay, a bit dramatic, but it’s still a pretty close reflection of myself right now. It’s the end of term 3 and what a term it’s been. I’ve got vague memories of a movie I saw when I was a kid, where a super-fit milkman was persuaded to run a marathon, but at a sprint. I can’t remember the name of the movie, but I can remember the ending as he collapsed exhausted at the finish line. Okay, still a bit dramatic, but it paints a clear picture. Don’t get the wrong idea, though, whilst it’s been hectic and very hard work it’s also been fun, exciting and very rewarding.

If you’d like to know exactly what we’ve been up to just ask your child. In the meantime check out the photos as they’ll give you a fair idea. Oh, and by the way, enjoy your holiday time with your amazing kids! All that’s left to say is, “Phew!”

Who Am I? (Blogging Task #4)

Check out that title! Woah – pretty deep stuff huh? Do any of us really know? It’s a very complex topic; the perception we have of ourselves can often be very different from the perceptions others have of us. All year I’ve been lecturing the students (“Oh no, here he goes again!”) on the values I hold dear, on the principles I live by and the things I stand for and would never compromise. The only way anyone can get a clearer picture of exactly who we are is if we tell them. So, this is where this task comes in. Who are you? What do you stand for? Do you think you’ve developed your ideals and beliefs at all over the year? We’ve completed so many activities and discussions on equality and many other similar topics, but what do you really think?

I want you to really get your teeth into this task; don’t just give a list of things, instead, say what really gets you going, say what you really believe in, tell us all about you and how you want the world to act and behave. I’m really looking forward to getting to know you!

“On your marks…”

Ask the students and they’ll tell you, the faction carnival is one of the best days of the year – and who am I to disagree? This incredibly exciting day, organised by our awesome sports specialist, Mr. Jones, is always a great day and one we celebrate together as a whole school. This was the last ever faction carnival for the students in LA14 as, being in year 6, they’ll be moving on at the end of the year. The day takes a lot of organising and all the staff take part with specific roles throughout the day. However, it couldn’t run at all without our fabulous faction captains helping to run it. The girls were truly amazing (as usual), and some who weren’t faction captains took it upon themselves to also help out and organise the younger students – it was genuinely great to see. We really do have some outstanding young ladies who consistently leave us feeling proud and lucky.

This year it was the red faction who took out the honours, but the photo’s below are of Olivia, the captain of the yellow faction (with thanks to Olivia’s mum for the images).

Hurdles

Champion Girl

My Favourites

The complexities of teaching are rarely understood by anyone who isn’t a teacher themselves. There are the usual technical aspects of teaching which are themselves complicated: the comprehension and delivery of the curriculum; the design and integration of topics; motivating and challenging the students and much, much more. However, the most misunderstood part of teaching is often the essential aspect of the relationships a teacher builds with each and every student.

Students are individuals, human beings (yes, you read that right) with their own needs, problems, worries, dreams and hopes and they need to be treated as such. There’s a whole complexity of humanity which walks through the door each morning and each individual is worthy of our time and support. It never surprises me that the accusation from students that someone in the class may be our “favourite” arises every year. However, they may not see the girl who started the year without friends and who needs a little more attention and more of a teacher’s time; or the student whose friends have found new pastures and who also needs extra support, a few words and a few smiles to rebuild their confidence; the student who is so independent and confident they rarely need any “targeted” time but who can be pushed and prodded to rise even further; the student with an outgoing sense of humour who can take the jokes that we would never say to a more sensitive child; the student whose desk we crouch at each day to check they have understood and are okay with an activity because we know they feel anxious when putting their hand up in class; the student who doesn’t speak often and needs more one-on-one attention to draw themselves out of their shell. The lucky ones, those who don’t need or want any added support, may view this as some sort of favouritism. But we know they’re okay, they are, as I said, the lucky ones.

I suppose the fact that some students think we have our “favourites” means that our classroom skills, the way we give “extra” support to some students, is actually working. It may be misunderstood by many in the class but that’s okay, as long as each and every student gets what they need in order to get through their day and has a chance to learn like everyone else.

Wringer!

This term the students in LA14 have been studying a very challenging novel called Wringer by Jerry Spinelli. It follows the challenges faced by a young boy named Palmer who has to face his fears and make some of the toughest decisions of his young life. Palmer has to deal with peer pressure, the problems of growing up without friends, and the conflict of being an animal lover in the face of community sponsored animal cruelty. Not only is it an engrossing story, it has many thought provoking and relevant topics for our year 6 students. One of the activities we did involved the students having to listen closely to the description of Palmer’s bedroom in order to construct a diorama. The results were fabulous and helped to showcase the listening skills and craft skills of the students. If you’d like to know more about the novel just ask your son or daughter.

 

 

Science-a-go-go!

Science is everything – including ourselves. Science tells us about who we are and what we are. It’s explained the universe, kept us alive, built the cities we live in and created the technology I used to write this post – it’s everything! In fact, science is so important that it’s essential we try our best to get the boys and girls in our care enthusiastic about becoming a part of this creative and critical field. Luckily, our local high school laid on a great demonstration of the activities on offer for our students as they prepare to transition into their care. We saw technology, biology, chemistry, physics, robotics, mathematics, the periodic table of elements (using cakes – yum) and more, all very exciting for our students. Have a look at the photos below to see a little of what we got up to.

Revision Fun!

Who doesn’t love a good old mathematics revision session? This week the students were allowed to run (well, walk quickly) around the school on a special treasure hunt. Not that there was any treasure at the end of this particular hunt, just the satisfaction of completing a revision exercise on our previous Math concepts. A number of QR codes were placed around the school with a selection of questions covering the topics we’ve covered this year. The answer to each question was a clue to the location of the next question. The students carried their maths books with them so they could refer back to jog their memories. The students all had fun and re-learned some of the things they’d forgotten they’d done before!

Scanning a code.

Checking the books.

Reading clues