Hard Workers

Five days done (yes, only 5) and you wouldn’t believe what the students in LA14 have already achieved. They’ve learnt to take a breath when they work, take time, look carefully and make sure their work isn’t just “finished”, but it’s also the best possible and it’s also better than their last effort. They’ve learnt about events in history (The Stolen Generation) and looked critically at characters in a video. They’ve tried to get their heads around analogy, and the symbolism that authors use to make meaning. The students have even developed their skills with factors and place value. This is all on top of attending Art, Music, Phys. Ed. and Science. I’m exhausted just writing all this!

Check out some of our early work below.

Kendall

Jack

Elsie

Split Down The Middle

Another year and another class. Also, another change of classrooms; last year I was booted out of LA1 and sent back to LA14. There was a good reason for this, though, as I’ve changed year groups. This year, LA14 will be a split class made up of year 5 and year 6 students. A split class is quite a common thing in all schools and we do try to avoid it as much as possible, but it’s just the way things fell this year and, as usual, we’ll be giving it our best shot. I reckon everything will be just fine; the admin are up for it, I’m up for it and (most importantly) the students are up for it. So, as usual, watch this space, 2024 is going to be yet another cracking year for all of us!

Happy Goodbyes

The end of the school year has come around once again in Australia. We’re very different from all the nations in the northern hemisphere in that our school year runs parallel to the calendar year. The big reason for this is that our summer starts in December and ends in February (even though the Aboriginal calendar is so much more appropriate). Consequently, our summer holidays include Christmas, meaning we get the best of all worlds. Strangely, this blog has taken a bit of a dive over the year, possibly because it’s been my first year in this year (year 5) and it’s taken a lot of getting used to and organising. No excuses, though, I’m going to have to “pull my finger out” and do better in 2024.

The last few days are here and, unlike my previous years, I’ll see many of the students again next year as they’ll be returning for year 6. I can’t yet say where I’ll be (an industrial secret of the highest order) but at least I’ll be able to see the kids around the school. I’ve had a ball this year, it’s certainly been one of my very greatest years and the students have been fabulous. Have a wonderful Christmas and a brilliant 2024!

Testing Testing…

This has got to be both the best and worst part of the school year – especially for the students. The best bit is that we’re coming to the end of the year and will soon be on our long and summery 6 week break. Aahhh, I can almost touch it..! However, before we get there we have lots to do, not least completing all the end of year tests – and we have a lot of them! It always surprises me that the best education system in the world, the one in Norway, doesn’t test the way we do, particularly with multiple choice answers, but we stick to this process like a dog with a bone. Anyway, I’m sure the powers that be know what they’re doing. The human or personal aspect of all this testing can be quite stressfull, but never fear, the stress will soon fade away at the sound of that final siren in a few weeks from now. Enjoy these extra photos from our school music festival, Art, and our trip to the museum.

Future Leaders

Even the best of people need a helping hand now and again. This is even more true when those “best” people happen to only be aged 10 or 11. So, this week we gave the whole of our year 5 students a day of reflective, self-improvement and leadership activities. We had a visit from the special team from Armed For Life who shared their amazing stories and insights. The presenters shared their experiences of school life, the troubles they had growing up, the decisions they’d made (and wished they could change), and the lessons they’ve learned. It was inspirational stuff! The team also brought special guests: an AFL player, an Aussie rapper, and a super yoga teacher. It was a fabulous day and gave students the tools they can use and refer to throughout their lives.

Stepping Back in Time

Last week we left the cozy comfort of our classroom for the hard, basic conditions of one of the earliest settlers in Western Australia. LA1 and the other year 5 classes visited a famous local landmark, the actual home of one of the oldest families in our town. This particular family landed in Western Australia at the very start of the colonial occupation of the state. It was an incredible day and one which opened everyone’s eyes to a way of life and hardship that left us all in awe of the early settlers. It can be very confronting, balancing admiration for the inginuity of people from our past with the questionable moral perspective of their very existence in an already inhabited land. However, it was both enjoyable and educational and one which, through the stories of mutual cooperation between the settlers and the indigenous people (and, of course, conflict), left us with a clearer picture of our historical town.

Art Attack!

Ask any of our students or even ex-students and they’ll tell you that the best thing about our school are the incredible specialists. We are so fortunate to have specialist Art, Music, Sport and Science teachers, and they’re really the best! If I had to choose, I’d say Music and Art are my personal faves, ever since high school. I did well with my art and got great grades, and music became a huge and central part of my life (especially coming from Manchester). Strangely, despite all this, I really don’t dedicate as much of this blog to these subjects as I should, so starting from now I’m going to put that right. I snagged the opportunity to snap some of the students in Art today painting on material, so check out the pictures below.

No Rest

I once saw a meme that stated how children don’t learn to the timetable of the curriculum. This stuck in my head, and it stuck for a good reason – it’s true. It has always seemed to me that the people who write the curriculum and those in power to make decisions around education are usually the ones who have never worked in our field of excellence. Often, our well meaning (although misguided) politicians and decision makers imagine educating human beings to be like a production line where, if you press button “A” you’ll create product “A”. Unfortunately, the infinite varieties and vagaries that make up our student population means that production line practices are unfit for educational institutions. However, the pressures put on teachers mean we often have to push through with timetables and curriculum commitments. This is where we try to use our professional experience so we can not only educate our students but also help them with their social and emotional well-being. So, check out some of the activities we’ve been working hard at in class as we push forward and try our best to meet our commitments.

Art Activities

Novel Studies

Reading Tests

Reading Tests

 

Blogging Task #3

“Go back to where you came from!” Ever heard people shout this at others? Or even at yourself? Well, funny thing is, unless you’re one of our indigenous population then everyone in Australia is from somewhere other than here. The question is – where? In this blogging task you need to ask your parents, or even your grandparents, where they originated from. For instance, I’m from England, but my origins can also be traced to Scotland, Ireland and Scandinavia (seems I’m a little bit Viking). Also, why did your family originally migrate? Did they have a push or a pull that influenced their decision? Were they pushed from their homes due to war, lack of jobs, no money..? Or were they pulled to Australia for the climate, better prospects for their children, job opportunities..? We have such a wonderfully multicultural classroom in LA1 so it will be fascinating to learn a little about each other as well as ourselves.

Faction-tastic!

For many of the students, last week was the single most important week of the year – it was when we had the Faction Carnival! The flags flew, the music blared and the colours ran, in fact they ran and ran and ran! As usual it was an amazing day, especially for the students and for all the families who managed to turn up and cheer them on. It’s always a busy event, although it’s quite a tough day for us ageing teachers whose biggest concern is whether our crumbling knees will hold up. However, the most important thing is that the kids loved the day and, in the end, the yellow faction came out victorious.