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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
No, we aren’t big green men, we don’t wear our undies over our trousers, we don’t even swing through the street blasting spider webs from our wrists. However, we do have a superpower. LA1’s superpower is bending time! It must be, ’cause there’s absolutely no way we’d have been able to fit so much into this term if we hadn’t been able to grab time by the scruff of the neck and bend it, stretch it and smash it to pieces. So far we’ve cramed in a new novel study (a huge project), practical measurement activities, a new spelling programme, the study of why Britain sent convicts to Australia… That very short list is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. If you ever feel like the weeks are stretching out a little more than usual, don’t panic, it’s just LA1 up to our usual timey-wimey tricks.
LA1 are back in the swing of things! Two weeks off, followed by the usual craziness of chasing the clock and trying to grab some spare time to blog has left this space fairly empty. However, we’re here and getting stuck into our new novel study. This term we’re looking at the novel His Name Was Walter by Emily Rodda. I have to say, it’s a tricky story for the year 5’s, but we’re getting right into it. One of the first activities we did was to develop character webs in our groups. These are really dynamic and will grow to wall-filling proportions as we learn about the characters and watch them develop and change as the novel unfolds. I’ll post much more about this intriguing story as the term progresses – time allowing.
It’s taken us a while, but we’re really starting to get going. Due to technical problems beyond our control (changeover of computers), it took us longer than usual to get all of our digital activities up and running. However, even though we’re approaching the end of term 2, we’re finally on our way. We’ve started our blogs (obviously) and begun to use our Google applications. The students have completed their first podcasts, which will soon be on their blogs, and edited them using Audacity. We’ve also begun our coding journey which we’ll hopefully be following throughout the rest of the year. Check out the images below of the students working on Code.org.