Just a quick post to show how stunning nature can be as we slide into Autumn. Below are a few photos, unedited save for cropping, that are from the trees right outside our very own classroom. Stunning!
Term 2 is up and running and we’ve had a great start. On the first day alone we restarted our My Place series, investigated square numbers and square roots, explored water colours with the amazing Ms Sveinbjornsson and researched some peace symbols with a view to creating our own. A very busy start!
Day 2 was very different. Whilst some students stayed at school, I took 26 girls with Mr “Awesome” Jones to play in a local soccer tournament. Nearly all the girls had never played soccer and they were up against some experienced teams. The lack of experience showed, especially during the first game when they were all fairly static, almost rooted to the spot. Some of the girls were netball players and they weren’t sure where they were allowed to go. However, as the day progressed and the girls experience grew they started to understand the game much better. By the end the defence were moving smoothly as a unit up and down the pitch; the midfield players were racing up and down to support the strikers and the defence; and the strikers were using their skill to attack the opposition. The girls worked together to mark the opposing players and to create space for themselves to pass the ball. After 5 games in hot weather on full size pitches the girls hd run themselves selflessly into the ground. Our school had two teams and while neither won the tournament (although both won games) they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
The most amazing part of the day for me was to witness how a group of girls with little or no idea about the game worked together and developed their skills. By the end of the day they had become confident and skilled players, positioning themselves, harrying the opposition and working together as a team. It was truly inspirational and everyone was rightfully proud of them. Well done, girls!
We’re on holiday and we totally deserve it! Term 1 was an amazing term, the amount of work we got through and the number of new skills we learnt was quite incredible. We developed ICT skills with Google Drive, Connect and our awesome blogs and put these skills to great use. The students collaborated on Drive to produce presentations which demonstrated their growing understanding of how new suburbs are planned and developed and how such planning affects our environment. They delved into 20th century Australian history and discovered topics such as The Stolen Generation, the Vietnam War, 80s fashions and great Australian muscle cars. Whilst learning about history, they developed their reading, viewing, writing, speaking and listening skills by watching DVDs, completing research, writing posts on their blogs, producing podcasts and completing set tasks. The students also developed their skills with fractions, decimals, 2D and 3D shapes, prime numbers, factors and mean, mode, median and range. On top of this we created great works of art using photographs on the iPads. Also, none of the things I’ve mentioned even talk about the specialist subjects of Music, Art, Science and Phys.Ed (with our successes at cricket and basketball). When I consider that term 1 was only 9 weeks and we lost the first week due to the classroom swaps our achievements become even greater; we did all this (and more) in just eight weeks! Like I said, we totally deserve our holiday!
Well, this is usually the point in the year where I pick out a handful of students who’ve made an extra effort with their blogs and give them a shout-out on this blog. Unfortunately, I’m unable to do that this year. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, though, this is because it would just mean me listing almost the entire class in this post; it really has been an exceptional start to the year. Not only have the students been posting faster than I can comment (honestly, I can hardly keep up), but the number of students doing this has been outstanding. To cap this off we’ve had comments from new friends in Canada and visits from old friends who have moved on to high school. Check out the blogs on my class list and you’ll quickly see what I mean.
Following the restructure of the first week we seem to have been running permanently in overdrive. We’ve had such an incredibly busy two weeks that I have to give enormous credit to the students who have been open to learning new technology and integrating it into their routines. Not only have they started so well with their blogs, but they’ve also started to use Google Drive and our education department’s own Connect application which allows us to complete our work online. I also have to thank the parents who have also been so positive and open towards our new technology and have even joined in, following us on Connect. This has all been on top of our general class work which hasn’t taken a step back for a second. Whilst this pace is exhausting, it’s also very fulfilling and exciting, I only hope we can keep it up!
The final term for the year is well under way and the big countdown has begun (only 9 weeks left). Whilst the students are largely focused on their transitions to high school, we have lots of work to get through before the year ends and a lot of fun stuff, too. One of the more challenging topics we’ll be looking at in history will be the early migration of the human species out of Africa. We’ll be examining the evidence which supports the scientific theory including DNA evidence, climatology and archaeology. We also have a lot of fun things to prepare, too, especially the graduation performance and the Chritmas carol song. So much to squeeze into such a short time – the pressure will be on!
The end of term holidays (in this case the end of term 3) can be a bit of a barren area when it comes to thinking of a blogging topic. Whilst some of our more prolific bloggers (Demi, Aimee, Abbey, Caitlin and Georgia) have managed to post there’s not a great deal for me to write about. I thought, therefore, that I’d give a quick mention to how the term went.
To be honest, term three was a bit of a weird one – full of ups and downs, positives and negatives, but on the whole it ended with a sense of the students showing real signs of growth and change. Of course, not all the changes we go through are positive, but if we are prepared to use them in a positive way and learn from them then they can become some of our strongest and most influential experiences. I’ve had the pleasure in seeing some of the students work through adversity with courage and dignity, yet emerge with their values and personalities in tact, even stronger in some cases. I can honestly say that there are some young people in this group who leave me with a strong sense of pride. When I see the things they do, the things they say and the way they behave it leaves me with an enormous respect for the amazing people they are. I know if I compared the person I was at their age with the people they are now then they’d be head and shoulders above me for all the right reasons.
Unfortunately, this group only has another ten weeks together. When they return to school they’ll only have a brief time before they wave goodbye to each other (no doubt through floods of tears) and go their separate ways. As we adults know from experience, nothing will be the same again. Some students will be the only ones from the class going to a particular school and may never see many of their friends again. Even those who go to the same high school will find their friendships change as they throw off their connections to their previous life and build new connections to their new one. Either way, things will change and mostly for the better. Change is good, it helps us to grow into the adults we eventually become. What we need to remember, though, are the lessons from each other, that no matter how “different” situations may become we can hold onto our values, our personalities, the things that make us who we are and that have helped us to get this far. All we need to do is look around us and we’ll see all the role models we need, right within our own classroom. I do, I see people who inspire me everyday and feel privileged to have shared their journey.
Enjoy the remaining time we have together!
Well, there’s plenty, really, I’ve just been so busy trying to ensure NAPLAN went well, starting reports and keeping the activities flowing that my blog has simply had to wait. Working days, evenings and weekends is just a teacher’s typical lot, but it can mean we get a little wrapped up at times.
Anyway, the list of new “stuff” (our term for the work we do) is quite substantial. We’ve started a couple of new Art projects, a class one and another in partnership with our inspirational Art specialist Ms Sveinbjornsson. Both involve photography, though I can’t yet divulge the details of the class project. However, Ms Svein has introduced the students to the wonderful work of Roy Lichtenstein and we are deep into our attempts to recreate his art using our own photos. As usual, I’ll post the results as soon as we have them.
In History we’re continuing our Roman theme and have recently watched a Time Team video to learn about the scientific process that the archaeologists follow in order to achieve accurate results. The students are using Google Drive to collaborate on their responses to the questions I set for them.
Geography is also plodding along with students using their knowledge from the first term to determine the liveability of a random suburb selected from the real estate papers. Using Google Maps, they look at the facilities in their suburb (schools, parks, public transport, location away from main roads, shops…) to determine its attractiveness to potential residents. They also use Google Maps to look at the images from street level. Although these are now some years old they still have use and add to the information the students collect.
Maths and English are back into normal mode (following NAPLAN test prep) and we can now get back to addressing the requirements of the Australian Curriculum. All in all we are getting back to our usual busy selves, learning, developing and having fun whilst we do it.