A Well-Deserved Break
Dear Woodleigh Families. Having reached the end of term with only one hiccup along the way, it is with great enthusiasm and relief that I wish you all a very happy Easter break. Term 1 has been incredibly busy, and I know that our students, staff and parents are ready to pause and take stock of everything we have achieved so far.
Getting Away Brings Clarity
I'm writing this article, sitting in the dust at Hattah, enjoying some time with the Year 10 students as they navigate their way across the semi-desert expanse. To see these iconic Woodleigh experiences first-hand has been incredibly reassuring and exciting for me. When we talk about being a holistic school, we refer to the development of character that students experience as they make their way through the years.
The adventures I have witnessed during Term 1 have consolidated my belief in the importance of Woodleigh's Outdoor Education and Camp experiences. This is where students learn about challenge, empathy, leadership and compassion. It is also where our students can have voice and time to express their opinions and fears and share their optimism for the future.
Speaking and Listening
Throughout this term, I have also had the opportunity to speak with many Senior Campus students, both in larger year level groups and in class. Often, I've been talking about our school culture and the 3R's – Respect for Self, Respect for Others and Respect for The Environment.
I spoke of how we all carry the responsibility to protect our culture and live the 3Rs, both at school and in our wider lives.
For staff and parents, as the adult members of our learning community, we must not underestimate the impact that the past 12 months of tumult, both locally and globally, has had on the beliefs, feelings and behaviours of our students and society in general.
For me, time spent speaking with students about the many issues currently portrayed in our media and opening up a dialogue about the minor issues we've recently seen at school has been time well spent. Leadership at Woodleigh is not dictated by formal structures. It shows in how we live our lives, how we interact with others and support the individuals and causes that require voice. So it gave me great joy to hear that students continued these conversations beyond their sessions with me. Likewise, I was most impressed to have students contact me directly to express their support and commitment to the concepts of selflessness and service.
Connecting with Community
I want to thank our Penbank staff and students for a fantastic Harmony Day Twilight Picnic. This event was a brilliant example of a community coming together to celebrate diversity and inclusion. Students were engaged in activities all day, and families danced the night away on what was a beautiful Autumnal evening. It was great to celebrate being together and also to provide a sense of connectedness for all. Unfortunately, due to the recent lockdown, we have not had the same opportunities at Senior Campus and Minimbah. However! We will look for opportunities to bring these groups of our community together again in Term 2.
Once again, I would like to wish you all a wonderful break, and offer my thanks to our staff, students and parents for what has been an amazing term.
Stay safe over the break,
Life is busy, often messy, and sometimes challenging, but after the annus horribilis that was 2020, we have had a solid start to 2021. However, the transition back to full-time on-campus teaching and learning has provided an exciting learning landscape, particularly in terms of social & emotional wellbeing. As if time moved on and the predicted understanding, developing, and strengthening relationships were interrupted or setback.
As we embark on the Easter school holidays, I encourage everyone to take the time to reflect, rest & reset, to give yourself a break before we begin again!
An explosion of research into self-compassion over the last decade has shown its benefits for wellbeing. Individuals who are more self-compassionate tend to have greater happiness, life satisfaction, and motivation, better relationships and physical health, and less anxiety and depression.
According to preeminent researcher Kristin Neff, people who respond to life’s challenges by practicing self-compassion become more resilient. They also have the resilience needed to cope with stressful life events such as relationship breakdowns, health crises, academic failure, and even combat trauma.
“It is only when we take care of ourselves that we can take care of others. Self-compassion provides an island of calm, a refuge from the stormy seas of endless positive and negative self-judgment.”.
Instead of becoming defensive, blaming others, or shirking responsibility, none of which is conducive in responding to setbacks or unmet expectations, and undermines personal development, Neff suggests responding with self-compassion entails these three behaviours to promote resilience:
- Practicing kindness & understanding rather than judgment and criticism about failures and mistakes;
- Acknowledge shortcomings and failure as experiences shared a shared human experience;
- Being mindful, they take a balanced approach to negative emotions and keeping things in perspective
How is self-compassion related to parenting?
Self-compassion is rooted in centuries of the Buddhist tradition. Still, it’s been only within the past decade that researchers, led by Dr. Neff, have subjected the concept to empirical scrutiny. Numerous studies have shown that self-compassion is strongly linked to overall wellbeing. Recent studies of parents found that self-compassionate parents tend to have lower levels of stress and depression, which, in turn, positively influences relationships, productivity, and more life satisfaction, hope, happiness, self-confidence, and re-engagement with life goals.
Here are three ideas to build compassion for yourself (and role model to your children. )
- Take routine self-compassion breaks by treating yourself as kindly as you would treat a friend who needs support. Simply ask the question, “What do I need now?” and allow yourself a moment of self-compassion, even if you can’t find an answer or can’t meet your needs at the time.
- Practice loving-kindness meditation: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/mindfully/time-for-self-compassion/12450302
- Write a Letter to Yourself: You can find your compassionate voice by writing a letter to yourself whenever you struggle or feel inadequate or when you want to help motivate yourself to make a change. It can feel uncomfortable at first but gets easier with practice.
Mindfulness and self-compassion are resources that give us the safety needed to meet challenging experiences with less resistance. The reality is that by being kind to ourselves, we become stronger, more resilient, and less focused on our problems which in turn serves to make us more present for our children and energized to engage with our communities.
Acknowledgements & further resources
- Consent - https://www.qt.com.au/videos/respectful-relationships-video-about-consent/98983/?cspt=1616387678%7C994de9904f952b3f14374ce63976003a&fbclid=IwAR3wE45BW9hj6mxvh8B7ww8r6Fm_hlg9ZZrAApWBav5YOvp3_UEDq7umF8g
- Vaping - https://doingdrugs-darta.blogspot.com/2021/03/what-should-parents-say-when-their-teen.html?fbclid=IwAR1ZMbDoEmQDxM7MOQewOwdyEdBeCwSfTLtfQu01MvPQJk99orhxlD0jB28
On behalf of the Counselling team, Happy Easter!
Director of Counselling
New Metrics for Success is a ground-breaking research-practice partnership between the University of Melbourne and selected Australian schools focused on expanding assessment practice to improve a range of holistic outcomes for students. I am delighted to let you know that Woodleigh School has been chosen as a founding member of this project to recognise our strong reputation as an innovative learning place. The collaboration seeks to provide excellent and valuable ways of measuring growth in the capabilities that sit at the heart of a Woodleigh Education, such as creative thinking, intercultural understanding, self-management, and collaboration. As well as benefitting teaching and learning at our school, the project aims to inform new ways of measuring student success at a school, state, and national level.
The schools selected for this partnership have been chosen as they are seen as leading thinking at a national level concerning providing education relevant to the contemporary social, economic, environmental, and technological environment in which we live. The leader of the project, Professor Sandra Milligan, has noted that: "the distinctive 20-century version of schooling is past its use-by date". She argues that education in Australia needs to move beyond the narrow definitions of success offered by NAPLAN and ATAR towards the measurement of both subject knowledge and the kinds of attributes that families, communities, businesses, and higher education are looking for in our young people. In this way, the project can be seen to build upon the work we have been doing over several years on the development of a curriculum that supports students to think critically, solve complex problems, drive their learning, and engage productively in a rapidly changing world.
The New Metrics partnership will initially run for two years. It will provide our school leaders and teachers with the opportunity to collaborate with globally recognised researchers and experts to explore new approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment. Significantly, the partnership will help us find new ways of capturing, communicating, and celebrating our young people's unique strengths, passions, interests, and achievements.
I look forward to sharing regular updates on our progress with this project in the years ahead.
DR. RICHARD OWENS
Director of Learning, Strategy, and Innovation
The term has flown by in a whirlwind, but it has been a pleasure to observe the children settling into the environment, watching their self-confidence grow and their explorations become bolder. Over the last few weeks, we have had a fantastic native wildlife incursion, beautiful expressions of belonging around our Harmony Day celebrations, and seen many rich examples of play across the Early Learning and Bush Kinder settings.
PYP Units of Inquiry
The Early Years program of inquiry comprises four different Units which are offered throughout the year:
- Who We Are
- Sharing the Planet
- How the World Works
- How We Express Ourselves
While we are introducing these units one at a time, they are designed to run throughout the year. This will allow us to revisit our investigations and follow the children's interests in our programs while honouring their right to learn through play and have voice, choice, and agency in their learning. As projects and investigations unfold with the children's interests, we will return to the relevant units.
For example, each time we celebrate a birthday or special family news, we will extend our learning through our "Who We Are" unit. An interest in plants or animals might allow us to build on our learning through "Sharing the Planet."
Sharing the Planet
"Exploring the natural environment leads to discoveries."
An inquiry into:
- how we can explore nature
- how people connect with nature and Country
- our responsibility to, and for the natural environment
We introduced our Unit of Inquiry, "Sharing the Planet," during the last few weeks of term. This unit sits alongside "Who We Are" and will run throughout this year. Our early learning experiences have related to ways we can explore nature in many ways, including sensory play, creative art with natural materials, and engaging in active or risky play as we connect with the Country.
Next term, we will continue this unit and plan to provide a wide range of opportunities for the children to investigate ways we can be caring, show respect for the world around us and discover an appreciation for beauty in nature. Learning experiences about the impact we can have on the environment will also offer the children a chance to learn about their responsibility for the natural environment, take action, and discover how they can make a difference in the world.
The three-year-old Group has had a busy time completing projects to end the term. We can't wait to show everyone the belonging branch we have created using the clay leaves each child made to display their name. Grouping our leaves have created a beautiful piece of work to show that we are one Group and we all belong.
One of the highlights of the term was the Harmony Week celebrations. We took this opportunity to look at each of our family backgrounds and share memorable and unique things with our family. The children enjoyed bringing in maps that they had completed with their families and sharing them with their peers. We also explored special items that the children had brought in from their homes and discussed how different things were used in other parts of the world. It was a fantastic way for the children to relate to "Who We Are" on a very personal level.
Another celebration day was our Fancy Hat Parade on the last day of term. On this day, we used the stimulus of a bird's nest and discussed how birds use nests to protect their eggs. We created our nest-like baskets to hunt for painted gum nuts in our yard and cover the delicate bath fizzers we made as Easter gifts. We ended the day with a parade of the Fancy Hats that the children had made with their families.
We look forward to many more celebration days next term.
Bush Kinder has undoubtedly been the highlight of the term. Although we have only been to Bush Kinder a handful of times so far, most children are discovering with delight the opportunities for play and learning that space provides. Initially, there has been lots of tree climbing, hide and seek, and making or using cubby spaces. Groups of children are creating narratives around rescues, emergencies, and discoveries in dramatic play. Some children are very interested in the natural surroundings, the insects, tree sap, and natural treasures they find, such as feathers. To further encourage children's connection to the land, we are inviting Lionel Lauch from Living Culture to visit us next term, who has a vast knowledge of local flora and fauna from the First Peoples' perspective Bunurong/Boon Wurrung Peoples. We can't wait!
Whether in the ELC or at Bush Kinder, Penbank's location provides an abundance of natural items that are fantastic for use in play. Stick play is one type of play that has been consistently explored by the children this term and has led to constructive discussions about the safe use of sticks and clear language regarding appropriate play choices.
As mentioned, we have seen rich examples of play and learning, which has included groups of children coming together to share ideas, build, create and problem solve. It is truly heart-warming to observe children as the play unfolds and develops, and as teachers, we work hard to give support where needed but to stand back as much as possible. In the last few weeks of term, examples of these times have been in the block corner where children created a 'world,' in the sandpit to dig the 'biggest hole ever' and in the home corner, as children negotiate and take on roles to support play.
We have been enjoying playing structured games too, with many children playing bingo and the 'shopping cart' game. Simple board games such as these provide opportunities to watch others, take turns and practice being a good sport. We have also introduced the always-fun 'lycra' song, where we have to work together to make the most of the stretchy lycra, and all enjoy it together.
A few weeks ago, we introduced box construction which the children are loving! A common theme has been constructing robots, stemming from an interest in how robots can help us. As children made their robots, we recorded their words to display the finished items, which are now on display. Some children drew a design for a robot, and still more helped put together and decorate a big cardboard robot.
Please restock your child's bag with a named set of warm clothes as we enter the cooler months. Please bring in a named pair of gumboots to leave at the centre for those who have not done so yet.
Loose Parts Donations
We are currently looking to restock our yard of loose parts for the building. In particular, we are after donations of milk crates, bread crates, small tyres, and cable reels. If you can provide any of these items, we would be very appreciative.
Also, we would appreciate any cardboard boxes and other unique items for our construction table.
As it has now been 12 months since we introduced the Seesaw communication platform, we are currently evaluating its use to ensure that learning is being shared with families effectively. We feel it is essential to review this as part of our Quality Improvement Plan. Any changes to the way Seesaw is used will be communicated to families in the coming weeks.
We are looking forward to term 2 with gusto. Mother's Day will be upon us before we know it. Watch this space for information on our ability to host Mother's Day celebrations. I will also let you know as soon as we can have volunteers back in school and start a parent-helper roster for both the ELC and Bush Kinder.
We wish you and your families a lovely and refreshing Easter and term break. Have fun!
MEL, TRACY, CADI, SALLY, DEBORAH & LISA
Early Learning Teachers
The Preps have completed their first term of Prep at Penbank and should be feeling very proud of themselves. It's been an excellent start to the year! The children have all developed a great sense of independence, belonging, confidence, new friendships with a term full of growth.
We have explored relationships, belonging, identity, rights, responsibilities, similarities, differences, and emotions during Inquiry times. The Preps have written and illustrated their friendship book, which they titled "Friends Forever." We'd love to share it with you all soon. Here are some thoughts from the Preps about what makes each of them special and unique in their way.
"I am special and unique because I help the planet." Aria
"I am special and unique because I am very hilarious." Angus
"I am special and unique because I help my friends." Annie
"I am special and unique because I have pink nails" Ellie
"I am special and unique because my family is fun!" Etta
"I am special and unique because I have a nice voice." Harrison
"I am special and unique because I have long hair." Ilka
"I am special and unique because …" Kintah
"I am special and unique because I have two different ways of speaking." Kit
"I am special and unique because I don't have a brother, sister, or twin. There's just me!" Leon
"I am special and unique because everyone likes doing walks but I, don't." Lenny
"I am special and unique because I am good at running." Lewis
"I am special and unique because I am kind to people." Luke
"I am special and unique because I have a big heart." Matilda
"I am special and unique because I always try to be kind." Oliver
"I am special and unique because I have one blue and one green eye." Percy
"I am special and unique because I have nice long hair." Scarlett
"I am special and unique because I love snails." Sophie
"I am special and unique because I am different from other children." Thea
"I am special and unique because I am very fast!" Thomas
"I am special and unique because I like myself." Walter
"I am special and unique because I have lovely long and curly hair." Zoe
"I am special and unique because I can run fast." Zach
During English, we have been busy learning new phonograms and their sounds. The Preps have become experts at bringing their reader satchels to and from school each day with their 'Read to Me' books. Thank you for supporting the take-home reading program and fostering a love of reading. We are so close to knowing the alphabet and will finish it off in Week 1 next term, ready for the decodable readers to come home in Week 2 next term. Stay tuned!
During Maths, our focus has been on numbers. We have worked on our ability to count forwards and backward and use numerals to represent quantities. We have also spent a lot of time writing numerals, using the correct formation to record our Maths thinking. We have collected data on our Prep friends to find out more about each other. Another big focus has been measuring time, exploring days of the week, months of the year, and seasons.
It's time for a well-earned rest! Thank you to all the Prep parents for making the transition to school such a positive experience and a happy start! I hope you have a lovely break with lots of rest and family time!
BRITT, DONNA & SALLY
To finish off our Inquiry this term, the Year 1 children have been exploring Penbank's systems. We have investigated the different parts of a system and how they all work together by creating marble and domino runs. We have been inquiring about the systems we might see in our community and their role in providing safety, organisation, and order. Our Central Idea of 'Communities develop systems and services to function effectively' will see us also looking into our community's different services next term. We hope to wrap up this Unit of Inquiry with an excursion to Mornington to experience first-hand some systems and services that help us (e.g., Police Station, Town Planning, Retail Shops, maybe even a Supermarket). We will let you know once this is confirmed.
In English, we have focused on exploring the elements of a narrative, discovering characters, settings, and the story's sequence (beginning, middle, and end). We are also still practicing our handwriting, phonograms, and reading daily. Thank you for all the fantastic feedback and dedication you have shown your children when they've been reading at home. It is such a valuable resource for your child/ren – something we can't emphasise enough.
Maths has seen us continue to practice gaining fluency in understanding place value and the base ten systems when working with numbers. We have also spent time focusing on 2D and 3D shapes, exploring the different attributes of forms, and identifying and classifying shapes according to these features.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family, and for those of you who celebrate Easter, a very Happy Easter to you all. We look forward to seeing you back in Term 2 for a productive, engaging, and fun term ahead.
HEATHER, CATH & BRENDA
The Year 2s have begun their new Unit of Inquiry – 'Where we are in place and time'. Our central idea, 'People's daily life is connected to the place in which they live,' was undoubtedly highlighted on our recent excursion to the Dandenong Market. The children observed different languages, clothing, foods, and smells. This excursion assists us in launching our Lines of Inquiry:
- Location and features of places
- Connections between place and the way people live
- How people create spaces for daily life in our community
Perhaps when you're out and about on holidays, you may want to discuss the different places people live in throughout the world. Discuss the location and features of those places. You may also like to chat about the connections between the people and the places they choose to live. The people who inhabit these places may have some strong links that resonate with the children and the discussions we've had in class.
On Seesaw, you will have noticed that I have been asking children to document their learning. It has been a great hit with the children who are keen to share their learning journey with you all. If you haven't yet logged on, please do so. You can download the app onto your phone to see what the children have been doing.
One of our big focuses in English this term has been on reading with FLUENCY. Repeating reading of short passages every day is a great way to promote fluency in children's reading. When children repeatedly read short passages every day, they begin to recognise words automatically and group them quickly to gain meaning. Please keep up the reading on the holidays as this will help them enormously.
In Maths, fluency is also essential. We often say you can't do maths unless you talk maths. But the quality of maths talk is critical. It is not simply children sharing how they did a particular calculation but describing why and how it worked. How their method is the same or different from those of others—in other words, giving children opportunities to use those higher-level skills of comparing, explaining, and justifying. One problem can be solved in multiple ways because maths does not consist of isolated rules but connected ideas. Solving a problem in more than one way reveals the ability to make connections between and among mathematical areas and topics.
Finally, we hope you all have a lovely break with your families, and we look forward to seeing you all next term.
OLIVIA, JENNY & BRENDA
Term One has come to an end, and after a busy and productive term, students are ready for a well-deserved break! We’d like to acknowledge the fantastic effort put in by Year 3 and 4 during Term One.
Golden Valleys Lodge Camp
This event was a wonderful experience for all students and staff. The weather was perfect, and the venue was excellent. Only 20 minutes from Penbank, GVL is surrounded by nature and feels a thousand miles away. Its location allows students to develop independence and build relationships with one another, with school and home safety close by.
The broad range of activities and experiences available allowed students to step outside of their comfort zones. Crate-stacking, ga-ga ball, and even staying away from home for a couple of nights pushed students to face discomfort and build resilience. They experienced new things with support from friends and teachers.
Students were grouped intentionally by teachers to allow new friendships to develop. We were very proud of how students carried themselves, interacted with each other, and took part in all aspects of school camp life.
A big thank you and congratulations to all students, parents, and teachers for their efforts in ensuring the camp was a great success.
Students have been writing camp reflections. They drafted their writing, conferenced with teachers, edited their work, and published a final piece complete with a detailed illustration. Students have also been involved in narrative writing. This genre of writing appeals to most writers in Years 3 and 4, and it has been pleasing to see the kids engrossed in writing as well as seeing their imaginations come alive through their writing.
We have been involved in weekly spelling sessions where new words are presented to the students, who then complete spelling activities throughout the week. These activities are designed to increase knowledge of phonograms, parts of speech, suffixes and prefixes, spelling rules, word families, root words, and more. Handwriting development is also something that is focused on regularly.
Guided reading sessions, whole-group reading, and modelled reading occurs throughout the week, improving reading skills, comprehension, fluency, and awareness of text types and features. Children typically enjoy reading aloud during guided reading sessions and applying new skills to explore and analyze texts.
We have been inquiring into time and learning to read analogue and digital clocks. Telling the time on an analogue clock is quite challenging for many reasons: 1 is five, 6 is a half, and the 3rd hand is the second hand! (for a hilarious take on the challenges in learning to tell the time, check out Dave Allen’s performance of ‘Teaching your kid time’!).
There are many opportunities to develop an understanding of time:
- When traveling somewhere, discuss how long they think it will take to arrive at the destination with your child.
- Talk about a time concerning events and activities that are important to children. For example, “We’re camping for five days over the holidays. That’s almost a week”.
- Cooking is great for developing many mathematical concepts, including time. Whether it’s cakes, biscuits, or a roast dinner, try to involve your child cooking and have them take responsibility for setting timers (under guidance!).
- Help children understand the concept of time by simply having them brainstorm activities that take specific amounts of time. For instance, what takes 1 minute? 30 minutes? 1 hour?
- When children ask you what the time is, turn the tables and ask them to tell you! They may need support and guidance, but if you simply tell them when they ask, they won’t put in a personal effort to learn for themselves.
Unit of Inquiry
Our recent Unit of Inquiry, ‘Where We Are In Place and Time,’ focuses on significant people and events. We aim to have students inquire into people and events that have impacted the world in which we live today. It is easy to focus on prominent people and events throughout history and contemporaneously, but we also hope students will learn about people and events that are personally relevant to them and in local contexts.
Our Central Idea:
Significant events and people impact the lives of individuals and communities
Our Lines of Inquiry:
- Why a person or event becomes significant
- The impact of significant people and events on individuals and communities
- Our responsibility when acknowledging significant people & events
We are excited about the learning opportunities for this Unit of Inquiry when students return following the holidays.
We hope you enjoy a relaxing and enjoyable time with loved ones. Stay safe, and see you in Term Two!
JUSTIN, HANNAH, GAYLE & SALLY
In what feels like the blink of an eye, another term has arrived and passed! We are so happy to have had the opportunity to spend the vast majority of this term onsite, learning and problem solving together or out exploring alternate environments during excursions and camps. The past few weeks have been action-packed, with camp reflections in Year 5, Body-Safe sessions, our Harmony Week picnic, incursions, and Surf Live Saving in Year 6.
How much is a million? The provocation has led to a maths inquiry around place value and large numbers in Year 5. Like in Year 6, we also created 10,000 using both MAB and pages from our grid books. After seeing a real-life example of 10,000, we asked, 'what would a million look like?' We read the book 'How Much is a Million?' and learned that it would take approximately 23 days to count to a million! We thought about if there was a million of anything at Penbank. Some of the student's ideas were:
- Are there more than a million blades of grass?
- Are there more than a million grains of sand in the sandpit?
- Are there more than a million strands of hair?
We then followed the theme of the book and did some estimations of our own. We had several provocations around the room, such as 'how many exercise books would it take to cover the Homestead?' and 'how many protein bars would I need to cover a table?' Some students came up with their lines of inquiry, including 'how many Year 5 students lying end on end would it take to complete a lap of the oval?' They estimated and then attempted to find the answer using informal units of measurement. Here are some of our discoveries:
- It would take approximately 4000 exercise books to cover the Homestead.
- It would take around 182 protein bars to cover the table.
- It would take about 184 Year 5 students lying end-on-end to complete a Penbank oval lap.
We know our place value system is a base 10 system, and we know that numbers get ten times larger as they shift place value columns. But sometimes, it can be hard to picture how big a number is and how numbers increase in magnitude. We made a model using the base unit 1cm, with the 1s column being a single cm square. The tens column was 1cm x 10cm in a strip. The 100s column was 10cm x 10cm. We continued to scale our model up until we got to the hundreds of thousands column.
The kids realised that "it got massive" by the hundreds-of-thousands of centimetres column and the next column, the millions, will be ten times bigger again. It formed the basis of the following inquiry maths challenge. How could we measure and represent 1 million cm2?
Following our Life-Saving Course in Year 6, we also looked at graphs and data from the Royal Life Saving 2019/2020 'National Drowning Report.' The students discussed the data and made many observations, including:
- 41% of deaths occurred in the summertime, 18% in autumn, 35% in spring, and 6% in winter
- The majority of deaths in Australia occurred in rivers/creeks (21%), followed by the ocean (20%)
- Males make up 77% of drowning deaths in Victoria
- NSW had the most drowning deaths last year (89), followed by QLD, VIC, and then WA
In Year 5, our Literacy focus has been on narratives and persuasive texts for writing, where we have explored the written arguments of a piece and the position the writer has taken. These elements of report writing will be revised and included in our projects. We have had fun challenging ourselves writing a variety of 'sizzling starts' for one topic. We will continue developing our vocabulary related to our unit with a focus on affixes and root words.
In Year 6, we have recently focused on procedural writing, reviewing first aid and CPR processes that we explored during our Surf Life Saving course. After reviewing the features of an informative piece, our students drafted, edited, and published a finished article on a topic of personal interest, which they shared at our inquiry showcase.
Learning the rules of spelling is helping us decode more challenging words. Our reading is also part of our project work, emphasising vocabulary specific to comprehension and reading deeply to answer inferential questions.
All Homestead students also participated in a Zoom incursion with the State Library of Victoria over the last fortnight, which gave us great insight into what to look for when researching for information online, locating credible websites, and identifying 'fake news.'
In Year 5, our Unit of Inquiry, this term is 'Sharing the Planet' with our Central Idea 'Interdependence within ecosystems can be connected to their features.' Through our inquiry sessions, we will be exploring different ecosystems and how animals have adapted to live in a variety of biomes. We will also consider the impact humans have and the solutions and actions we can take. We will also consider local issues like the Arthur's Seat quarry and AGL in Westernport Bay. Several students have already expressed interest in taking action on these issues. The key concepts we will focus on are causation, connection, and function alongside the related - ecosystems, interdependence, biodiversity, and solution. Our approaches to learning will be thinking, social, self-management, and research skills.
In Year 6, we concluded our inquiry focus on 'Who We Are' by sharing our learning with staff and peers. The students spoke exceptionally well, with their explanations demonstrating a genuine interest in their learning and understanding of our inquiry lines. They set up an impressive showcase of their work. Sharing their family history, artefacts of significance, reflecting on what makes them a valued class member, their rights and responsibilities at various local community groups and sports clubs, and what learner profiles they employ in these settings. Check out the attached photos of each student's setup. We also had a thought-provoking incursion with Valanga Khoza, where he shared his own life story, including his experiences with racism and how it felt at times to not belong in his own home country.
We hope all of our families enjoy a lovely relaxing break. We are looking forward to recharging before starting another busy but exciting Term 2.
LORRAINE, MATT, ASHTON, MICK, CHRIS, FRANNY, KATHERINE, LISA & BRENDA
The Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) provides payments for eligible students to attend activities like:
- school camps or trips
- swimming and school-organised sport programs
- outdoor education programs
- excursions and incursions.
From 2020, the Victorian Government is investing an additional $160.9 million for the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund over the next four years. This has been bolstered further with an additional $28.6 million announced in the 2020-21 State Budget for the 2021 school year. This funding will help ensure more than 220,000 government and non-government students from lower-income families are able to participate in camps, sports and excursions each year.
Please find more information here for financial assistance information for parents.
Application and eligibility form can be found here.