Holidays are awesome! That wonderful, relaxed sensation you get when you know there’s no pressure to get up in the morning is one that all teachers recognise. Sadly, it doesn’t last forever and that screaming, stress inducing buzzer has blasted its way back into our daily lives. However, I did have a pretty good time on our last break: I managed to finish a lingeringly bad part of my scruffy garden; I took my fabulous MGF convertible for a few sunny drives (see below); I had a lovely meal at a rotating rooftop restaurant (can’t recall the name); and I got the results of my Ancestry DNA test. The DNA test was the most exciting, especially considering that, besides being 47% British, I’m 20% Irish, 15% Western European, 7% Scandinavian and 6%Iberian (with a few other bits and bobs). All that fun now seems just a teary, distant memory as we embark on the final term. the final ten weeks of our time with the fabulous students of LA14. This will be very exciting!
Well, the title of this post is a little misleading, as we don’t do playtime or free-time in LA14 (mean teacher, yes, I hear that a lot), but this playtime was for an important educational reason. Next year the Australian Curriculum will include the subject of Digital Technologies and nestled within the subject will be the topic of coding. The school has already been given a number of hands-on resources that will enable teachers across the year groups to deliver practical activities to support their lessons, but we first need to learn how these resources work. This week the students were given their “toys” to have a go and report back what they found. It was an incredibly useful activity and I learned an awful lot from them. I now have a much better understanding of how the resources work and which age groups they are more suitable for – all thanks to the students and their playtime.
This blogging task is all for a good cause. If you’re anything like me there’ll be a number of issues in the world that cause you to get a little frustrated. Amongst the many that concern me are: climate change, deforestation, animal extinction, equal rights, plastic pollution, marriage equality, whale hunting, renewable energy, puppy farms, child labour, poverty, slave labour, girls’ rights, freedom of speech… I could actually go on and on and on! These are, in my opinion, just a few of the most important issues of our time and are well worth fighting for. It’s a great thing to get behind a good cause, it gives people a sense of purpose and meaning in life, not to mention the satisfaction of knowing they’re trying to achieve some good in the world.
Do you have a cause that you’d like to be part of? Is there something happening in the world that makes you frustrated? Is there something you’d like saved? Is there something you’d like stopped? Use your blog to shout out for a good cause or a big issue.
This year’s Book Week was another great day and a fabulous success (mostly thanks to our amazing Mrs Brayshaw). The students were allowed to dress up as a book character and to also wear cultural dress. The reason we chose cultural dress for the dress up was that the fabulous picture book, My Two Blanketsย by Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood, was chosen as a focus for the day. It highlights the struggles of a young girl who migrated to Australia and the struggle she faces to fit in and feel a sense of belonging in a strange environment. This was a great lesson and contained a mature message for the students, especially as they will be the ones helping us create the vibrant, tolerant and equal Australia we value so much. In the afternoon the students joined the year ones for some “buddy reading”. It was a great afternoon and a wonderful end to one of our favourite days of the year.
Following a series of lessons on measuring area, the students have been given a major Math project on the topic. Their task is to measure various areas of the school and price up the cost of replacing the paving and the grass. The task isn’t as easy as it first appears. There is a mixture of shapes to consider, including circles and rectangles; some shapes are within other shapes so need to be subtracted; some shapes are semi-circles and the calculation has to be worked out carefully. When the students have worked out the area they then log onto genuine paver and grass websites to calculate the cost of the items needed. However, there’s more! The project has to include a detailed explanation of their process, any rough notes they took, photos and diagrams, formal and clear calculations and an explanation of their choice of pavers and grass. It’s all very hard work and I can’t wait to see the finished projects.
Last week the students were allowed to run (well, walk quickly) around the school on a 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 Math books with them so they could refer back to jog their memories. The students all had fun and learned, at least, what they’d forgotten they’d done before!
This term the students in LA14 will be studying a new and 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. If you’d like to know more just ask your son or daughter.
If you’re a fellow teacher then you’ll not only understand, but I reckon you’ll sympathise, too. In Australia, this is term 2, the end of the first semester – report time! Boy, have the last few weeks been busy! As any teacher can tell you, when the work starts to pile up, on top of an already hectic and time-poor day job, prioritising becomes a very important skill. However, that doesn’t mean you simply forget things. Actually, the opposite is closer to the truth, the things we let slip simply lie at the backs of our minds, nagging us and making us feel bad that we simply can’t get to them. Sadly, this blog was one of the things that simply took a back seat, but I now can finally get back to work.
Below are a few photos of some special moments that I’ve been saving up: the students participated in one of Ms Svein’s incredible Art classes, this time outdoors; Denzel created DNA double helix treats for everyone in class to help celebrate his birthday; Lily brought in the medals she’d won through her gymnastics; Paige, Aimee and Kayla created an awesome brainstorm of Australia’s role in World War 1. So many great, special events to help me refocus my blogging efforts.
Choosing a blog of the week was something that I used to do on a regular basis, but it’s been quite a while since I last chose one. It isn’t that there hasn’t been a blog worth choosing, it’s just that this has been such a hectic and strange year that our blogging exploits have taken a bit of a hammering. However, that just means that to be a blogger of the week a student has to have put in an extra effort and this blogger has done that. The latest “Bloggers of The Week” areย Aimee,ย Denzel and Hannah. Click on their names and check them out.
Last week the year six students from our school competed against another local school in a number of sports, including netball, football (Aussie rules), soccer and modcross. It’s fair to say we had a pretty good day with all our teams running out comfortable winners. I’ve had the good fortune to be the coach for the girls’ soccer team again this year and was so proud of their efforts in their match. We had an amazing 5 – 1 win, with Lily from our class scoring two of the goals. I know it’s not all about the winning, and that being a teacher I shouldn’t gloat, but WOO HOO! Sorry!