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

Art and Life

How dull would our lives be without art? I’m amazed that I still hear statements which question why we “waste” time on arty subjects rather than teaching the “important” topics such as English and maths. Despite so much research that backs up the importance of art and how it creates critical thinking and compliments our thinking across ALL the subjects, it is all to often dismissed by people convinced of their own ideas. Think about it, though, in our everyday lives we rely on the arts to provide the quality in our existence, the pleasure, the relaxation and the excitement that only art can provide. We love new, nice and well designed environments; we go wild at our favourite concerts; we relax and discuss the newest TV shows and movies; we desire to own the most attractive cars and motorcycles. These things (and many more) become way more important to our everyday existence than the more “serious” aspects of our life – if we had no art life would be grey, drab, empty and almost unbearable. So, enjoy the artworks below which were made by some of our students as they learnt new skills with layers and digital creativity.

Xanthe

Tyler

Natalia

Kicking Goals!

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s taking part that counts.” Yes, this always sounds like one of those sayings people use when someone loses a contest. It sounds glib, insincere and extremely patronising. However, this time I’m talking about our girls’ soccer team and even this saying doesn’t come close to doing them justice. The girls recently took part in a local soccer competition against seven other teams in our district; we managed to win four games but very narrowly lost three. The point is, some of the teams were made up of girls who regularly play for soccer teams outside of school, they had incredible skills and were quite intimidating. Our girls, though, with only two real soccer players in the squad, chased, harried, hustled and fought, never giving up, making their opponents work hard for their wins. The teams full of players only beat us by single goals, two at the most, and our girls made us so proud with their attitudes, efforts and wonderful sportsmanship. No, we didn’t win on the score sheet for some games, we never expected to, but I also never thought I’d be witness to one of the greatest team performances in the history of the school. We didn’t just take part, we really did win – big!

Don’t Tell The Cops!

There must be a law against this; we’ve packed so much amazing stuff into the first two weeks of this term that I’m sure we could get arrested for speeding! Considering that the first week was only four days makes it even more incredible. Our Meccano activities got the green light and and are travelling along well. We’re learning to follow step by step instructions, solve problems, work with new partners, use verbal cooperation skills and make moving models. Meccano is a great introduction into robotics and the sequenced language of coding. We’ve changed our collaboration skills up a gear as we simultaneously try to develop our comprehension skills through our “Wringer” novel study. Our writing has also accelerated away as narrative skills have been boosted through our small group discussions and crafting sessions. Maths has seen us charge head on into equivalent fractions, BIMDAS (ask your child) and the area of triangles. We’ve even managed a trip to the Western Australian Parliament where we learnt about the Westminster system, the three levels of government and tried our hands at voting in an election. This supercharged classroom doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon, I just hope we can avoid the speed cameras!

Group Work

Iman and Owen

WA Parliament

It’s All Over!

I remember it well. On the first day of my extended holiday (a whole five weeks) I had the feeling that it was gonna last forever, that it was going to be such a long holiday I couldn’t even begin to imagine it ever coming to an end. But how time flies! I really should know better, I’m old enough (and supposedly wise enough) to understand that nothing lasts forever – especially the good stuff. The key, I suppose, is to enjoy the moment and be thankful that we manage to get the good times at all; the world is full of people less fortunate than ourselves for whom the good times never seem to happen. Perhaps it is all over, but something equally exciting has just begun – I may have finished my holiday but I’ve started the final semester with my fabulous class and we have so many exciting things to look forward to over the rest of the year. Maybe the good stuff doesn’t stop after all, perhaps it just changes for other good stuff; like the saying goes, “When one door closes another one opens.”

I’ll leave this post with a few more photos from my holiday to Manchester and one from Manchester United’s visit to Perth.

Me and Ian Brown

United in Perth

A bee tribute to those lost in the Manchester Arena Bomb.