Steering Clear of P.L.O.M. Town
As I sit down to write this Messenger article, I have much to think about and many reflections regarding our world and our current situation. Like most, my family are mostly working and learning from home. There is growing frustration regarding many aspects of our lives – events and rites of passage we have missed – birthdays, weddings, major life milestones and a funeral. I am also currently managing a household of passionate Melbourne supporters who are devastated that they cannot attend football games during this, their year of success.
Happy Father's Day to all the Woodleigh Dads and Special Dudes out there! Please accept this Dad joke as a token of our respect and esteem. Special thanks to Minimbah Year 4 student Jack W for the expert timing and delivery.
It would be easy to let our minor, first-world problems dominate our mindset and develop a sense of helplessness and negativity. As a colleague of mine would say, it would be easy to develop a PLOM (Poor Little Old Me) complex for ourselves.
I have spent time reflecting on my leadership and relationships with others and called upon my mindful leadership training to reinforce my strategies and form a positive mindset about the life we are currently experiencing. This training has taught me how to use mindfulness techniques to be aware of my thoughts and feelings and understand how external events can impact the way I feel.
The three pillars of Mindfulness, Selflessness and Compassion are very simple to understand and easy to bring into every aspect of our lives. Practising ten minutes of mindfulness each morning provides an opportunity to check in with my feelings and thoughts and reminds me to be present in the moment and present for others. Carving out this little piece of time each morning creates a massive difference in my day.
I was in a Zoom lesson recently, and it occurred to me that in every class I have attended lately, there is always at least one student who is actively engaged, positive, full of fun and happy to be learning. I often find myself wondering, 'What is their home life like?" And, "How is it that they can always retain their positivity?" In most cases, it comes from the mindset of their homes and their families.
These students and their families are experiencing the same difficulties as the rest of us; however, they view their world with hope and optimism and take care of their wellbeing whenever possible. They often describe a great walk or bike ride they had taken or talk about completing a tricky puzzle or sharing an amazing meal they had cooked for their family. They are immersed in an environment that embraces hope and positivity, and they look for opportunities to enjoy life, no matter what the circumstances are.
With that attitude in mind, when I read these words from Author and Mental Health Advocate, Jill Stark, I felt they were worth sharing. They capture the feeling that many Melburnians are currently dealing with, but zoom out to bring a perspective of Mindfulness, Selflessness and Compassion to Melbourne's current situation and our pathway out of lockdown.
"I know it feels like groundhog day, but we're not where we were a year ago. We have a vaccine now. It's our pathway out of this. Every day that passes gets us closer to an easier way of living.
The sacrifices we made weren't for nothing. We saved countless lives, protected the most vulnerable, and stopped our hospitals from being overwhelmed. That matters. Your efforts matter. Be proud.
If you're finding it hard to see light at the end of the tunnel, I get it. We've been doing this a long time. But don't let your tired brain trick you into believing things won't change. They already are.
After a slow start, our vaccination rates are increasing rapidly and are now, per capita, higher than the rates the UK and US achieved at their peak.
And that's before we see a huge boost to supply in coming weeks. There's every reason to believe we'll quickly reach 80 per cent of over 12s fully vaccinated, and will probably smash through that target.
And when we do, life is going to look very different.
This suffering is real, and it's hard, but it's finite. We can survive anything if we know it will one day end. That day is closer than it currently feels.
We will get to the other side. And when we get to wrap our arms around the people we love, how sweet that moment will be. I can't wait."
While endless press conferences and news bulletins spruik doom and gloom, I choose to be grateful for my life, my family, for the wonderful school that I am privileged to lead and for the amazing place that we call home – the Mornington Peninsula. The people I spend Zoom time with every day, the classes that I attend, and the optimism of our community inspire me to seek out and enjoy the many positive aspects of our lives and the many positive relationships that surround me daily.
When our situation feels desperate, that’s the time for us to change our perspective, to zoom out and refocus. Times are certainly challenging right now, but we are closer to the end of this than it feels.
During the implementation of our Continuous Learning Plan (CLP), the school uses surveys to check in with students, staff, and parents about the experience of learning from home. Pulse surveys are commonly used in a range of organisational, community and business contexts as a way of monitoring participation and engagement in specific programs, projects and services. Given our ongoing need to respond to the current health crisis, the school uses the surveys to effectively and efficiently gather a full range of perspectives and insights into the operation and impact of the CLP over time. The data and feedback we receive from the surveys help inform the development and fine-tuning of the CLP and our approaches to teaching and learning online.
Unfortunately, the recent spike in the spread of COVID19 in Victoria has meant that we have needed to extend our time in remote learning. For this reason, the school will continue its use of pulse surveys this term, checking in with our students, teachers and parents about their experience of the CLP in the week ahead. The surveys will be short in length, easy to complete, and focused on a range of important topics relevant to our current context, with a particular interest in student learning, wellbeing, and engagement. We were delighted with the survey completion rates last year and kindly ask parents to continue to engage with the survey series this time around, so we can work in partnership to sustain and improve our support for student learning. Survey links for parents will be sent out as part of the correspondence from the Principal, so please look out for upcoming opportunities to engage with us.
Dr Richard Owens
Director of Learning, Strategy and Innovation
Bestselling author and psychologist Angela Duckworth is the world's leading expert on grit—the coveted quality that's a better indicator of success than talent or even IQ as we continue to grapple with the challenges of living in a pandemic. We can all benefit from practising being "gritty"; by looking for opportunities to learn and grow, to help us cope, practice gratitude, cultivate a growth mindset and acknowledge that we can do hard things!
What Is Grit and Why Does it Matter?
Grit is a distinct combination of passion, resilience, determination, and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in their goals even in the face of discomfort, setbacks, and a lack of visible progress.
Grit means maintaining the hope and vision to change even under the most challenging circumstances.
How can we foster GRIT?
As parents, carers and educators, it is up to us to instil the confidence and optimism in our young people that will allow them to push through the low moments of COVID 19.
Kids are not able to just spontaneously grow up to be "gritty" people without being supported in that.
Here are few ideas gleaned from the "grit" experts about being intentional in our quest to build grit.
#1 Find A Passion (Or At Least An Engaging Activity)
One of the characteristics of "gritty" people is that they are "especially motivated to seek happiness through focused engagement and a sense of meaning or purpose", says Duckworth, so letting a child find their passion is necessary.
"I don't think people can become truly gritty and great at things they don't love, so when we try to develop grit in kids, we also need to find and help them cultivate their passions."
Pursuing a particular interest of their choosing can help young people identify a passion and understand that practise, hard work and perseverance are the surest way to achieve.
#2 Recognize That Frustration, Confusion and Practice Are Par for the Course
In a 2013 TED Talk, Duckworth said it is the "best idea" she has heard about how to increase grit in children is to teach what Stanford professor and author of the highly acclaimed book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success , Carol Dweck, calls a "growth mindset."
Dweck has found that people with "growth mindsets" are more resilient and tend to push through struggle because they believe that hard work is part of the process, and they understand that failure is not a permanent condition. Those with "fixed mindsets", on the other hand, believe that success stems from innate talent and tend to give up easily—why work hard at something if you don't think you can change anything?
#3 Take Risks
Grit demands risk-taking. Successful people are willing to step out of their comfort zones and risk failure to learn something new or pursue a long-term goal. And while, by definition, a risk may fail, successful adults don't give up.
Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed , says,
"Lots of parents don't want to talk about their failures in front of their kids, but that's denying kids the potentially powerful experience of seeing their parents bounce back."
#4 Teach that failure is not the end
To teach children to be resilient, we need to show them real examples of how failures and setbacks can lead to success—by talking about them regularly, sharing our own experiences, and most importantly, allowing them to fail.
In his New York Times article "The Secret to Success is Failure," Paul Tough says,
"It is a central paradox of contemporary parenting, in fact: we have an acute, almost biological impulse to provide for our children, to give them everything they want and need, to protect them from dangers and discomforts both large and small. And yet we all know — on some level, at least — that what kids need more than anything is a little hardship: some challenge, some deprivation that they can overcome, even if just to prove to themselves that they can."
Duckworth suggests that taking the lead from "gritty" people can help us reframe our adversity and lead to what she refers to as an "optimistic, resilient way." We can achieve this by focusing on the things we can change, the items in our life we do have control over, and that it's in our best interest to spend most of our time on those things as we continue to weather this storm. Because of, and despite this, young people need to be seen & valued for their efforts. To continue to show up and do their best on any given day.
As parents, we mustn't let our protective instincts rob our children of first-hand experiences of learning to navigate challenges for themselves. We all want to see them succeed, but as they search to find their footing in their pathways to success, it is essential to show them that setbacks and failure are part of that process, not an endpoint, but a necessary crossing on the road to achievement. If we don't let them see us fail or experience a failure themselves, in the safety of our presence, they may not have the stamina to overcome life's challenges when they are on their own and know that it's okay to ask for help and where to find it.
We have all experienced the hardship of the pandemic collectively, which has made it possible to acknowledge that we are all doing things hard everyday single day. This was true before COVID and will be true after Life is hard, but we can do hard things by being "gritty"!
Director of Counselling
Acknowledgements, further reading & resources:
Links to (non- Woodleigh) Webinars for Parents:
'Young people, alcohol and other drugs 2021: What do parents need to know?'
It will examine current drug trends amongst school-based young people, including vaping and the online sale of drugs via social media apps. The session aims to empower parents with a positive message and assist them in having open and honest family discussions in this complex area.
Thursday, 16 September at 7.00-8.30pm (AEST).
Further details and registration can be found at the following link: https://events.humanitix.com/young-people-alcohol-and-other-drugs-2021-what-do-parents-need-to-know?_ga=2.254673803.260490359.1627864130-467732293.1627864130
Dr Arne Rubinstein
Fathers Day workshop: A fun interactive evening that will guide you through activities and conversations for Father & Child (of any age!). The perfect way to honour the special relationship you share. Thursday 9 September: 7 - 8 pm EST $25 to attend. Please register through the link below.
Maggie Dent & Michelle Mitchell
Understanding Our Gorgeous, Confused Girls - an online masterclass about tween & teen girls
With Maggie Dent & Michelle Mitchell
Thursday 9 September, 8 pm EST
$35 to sign up to live event with access to repay & additional resources through the link below.
It's hard to believe that we are coming towards the end of term three already.
This term, we have been investigating, researching, and inquiring into how we can manipulate materials for a purpose and noticing how they change. We have been exploring 'How the World Works' through our play and work in all aspects of the program. Simple experiences include using the slinky apple machine, building towers and ramps, experimenting with playdough, and carrying out several experiments.
We are learning to experiment through play, observe and begin to record our thinking.
When creating/designing and building our ramps, block buildings, or carrying out science experiments, we discovered that we could manipulate resources to change the outcome.
"You can try again," Ezra
"We can move this bit over," Willow
"It's so annoying it keeps falling," Isaac
"Let's try it now," Austin
"It worked; it really worked!" Ezra
Water Walking Experiment
During our morning meeting, we shared our new resources and used the food dye droppers. Last week we researched the experiment to follow on from our theories about color mixing.
Just a gentle squeeze, and a drop will come out.
"This is a color experiment," Pearl
"When they mix together, they will create another "color Huxley
"We need to make purple. Should we read the instructions?' Tahlia
"Yes. It's one of blue and one of red" Huxley
"It made purple," Harry
"I want to do the purple," Jake
"I'm doing the red" Indiana
"I have made a rainbow at home," Pearl
"The one in the sky isn't made like this' Austin
"How is the one in the sky made?" Rachelle
"Sun and rain" Pearl
"I did a squeeze," Harry
"The paper goes in the cup now," Remi
"The paper is dry. When we add it to the colors, it will change "color Zoe
"We need it long. Super long" (the paper to reach each cup) Jake
"You have to staple it together, so they don't fall apart," Remi
"The colors of the rainbow are on the paper now," Willow Shirl
"They are all different "colors," Willow Shirl
"It changes from white to "colors" Jake
"The top of the paper is still dry," Willow Shirl
"The blue hasn't gone all the way to the top yet," Isaac
"Now the paper is all wet," Rose
"The color just goes inside, then up and all over," Henni
"If it just dries, it changes again. The color will go away," Lewis
"You mix it together, and it makes purple," Jake
"I made light green. I'm adding blue now, and it has gone dark green," Rose
"The paper is so wet. It's white, but now it's purple and blue or yellow," Daisy
"It's all the colors of the rainbow," Austin
"What will happen if we dry the paper out?" Rachelle
"I think it will stay rainbow," Stevie
"I think it will go white." Austin
"It will go white," Pearl
"It's getting all colored because of the colored water. The paper is wet now". Flynn
Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination, and reflexivity. This is evident when children:
- Express interest and wonder in their environments.
- Are curious and enthusiastic participants of their learning.
- Use play to investigate, imagine and explore ideas.
- Follow and extend their own interests with enthusiasm, energy, and concentration.
- Participate in a variety of rich and meaningful inquiry-based experiences.
- Persevere and experience the satisfaction of achievement.
- Persist even when they find a task difficult.
Children develop various skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesizing, researching, and investigating. This is evident when children:
- Apply various thinking strategies to engage with situations, solve problems, and create use representation to organise, record, and communicate theories and concepts.
- Make predictions and generalisations about their activities, aspects of the natural world, and environments.
- Explore their environment.
- Manipulate objects and experiment with cause and effect, trial and error, and motion.
- Contribute constructively to small and large group discussions.
- Use reflective thinking to consider why things happen and what can be learned from these experiences.
It's not a box!
The Story "It's not a box" was used as a provocation to extend the children's thinking and imagination. We brainstormed as a group what we could do with some large boxes we had and voted on making a boat where we could go on adventures!
It was amazing to see how engaged the children worked in small groups to create their "it's not a box boat."
Working in two small groups, the children had different ideas and could present their creations to one another. Children need time to explore and manipulate various materials for a purpose. Collaboration and creative thinking were evident as children shared their ideas, researched different designs, and looked and the materials we had, which impacted their decisions about an effective plan.
- Communication Skills: reading, writing, viewing, speaking, listening, presenting ideas
Self-management: Adopting a variety of roles, cooperation, group decision making, accept responsibility
Learner Profile: reflection, risk-taker
HAPPY FATHERS' DAY 2021
Hive dads can do anything!!!
We asked the children:
What are our dads good at? What do they enjoy?
"Playing dolls and dolls house."
"Inventing new things."
"Doing my hair."
"Giving hugs and kisses."
"Making me laugh."
"Playing instruments. He even has a guitar."
All our daddies are for amazing things no matter what they do, how they celebrate, or what they are good at! We love you: happy Fathers' Day, lots of love, the Hive Children.
RACHELLE, MILLY, TAHLIA & HEATHER
As we have recently transitioned into two worlds, one of online home learning and one of onsite school learning, one of our challenges is to build connection and continuity between these two contexts. Our continuous learning plan aims to be that bridge, and over it, we can offer many rich learning experiences that are equally sustaining and developmentally engaging for the children.
An excellent opportunity does exist to deepen our partnerships with families as we virtually step into each other’s homes. By creating a welcoming and inclusive online and onsite environment, all involved in the partnership, children, families, and teachers, are given opportunities to engage in ongoing learning and development.
Recently, a past colleague and friend, Kirsty Liljegren, an educational consultant, was permitted to share her thoughts and responses. I hope you find them helpful.
“I have been having conversations with families who are anxious about what it means for children to be missing school. It is impactful in so many ways, and of course, is circumstantial—a few thoughts from me in the hope that it reassures and eases some of the angst.
- Life is learning-it doesn’t start and stop as children walk through the centre or school gates. You are your child’s first teacher, and you always will be.
- Ordinary everyday moments are full of potential. Learning is sparked and enabled through curiosity, wonder, imagination, creativity, and conversation.
- Play is the vehicle for learning-children learn through being active with body, hearts and mind working in harmony.
- The outdoors is an enriching classroom.
- Reading together is a verbal cuddle at any age.
- The arts support expression, communication, and the generation of ideas.
- Small moments matter. Whatever you can manage is ok, be kind to yourself.”
“Children learn about themselves and construct their own identity within the context of their families and communities. This includes their relationships with people, places and things, and the actions and responses of others. Identity is not fixed. It is shaped by experiences. When children have positive experiences, they develop an understanding of themselves as significant and respected and feel a sense of belonging.” (DEEWR,2020 ).
In the Cocoon group, we recently created our letterboxes in the classroom. The children have enthusiastically been writing letters to their friends and posting them into their school letterbox. At home, the children explored their letterboxes, and some ventured out to discover the letterboxes in the street where they live. Letterbox numbers became a focus, and some children chose to write their house numbers with found materials.
At school, the children shared their knowledge about letterboxes.
“The postman delivers the mail. They can be boxes or packages.” Riley
“My letterbox has newspapers only. It is number 22.” Lewis
“I have 6011 on my letterbox.” Teddy
“They have numbers on them, so the postman knows which letter goes in it.” Ollie C
“Mail goes in my letterbox. It’s white, and it has 8 on it.” Luca
On a community walk, to the surprise of the children and teachers, a postman on his motorbike stopped to talk. The postman showed the children his scanner for the packages he delivers each day.
The Adventures of a line. “A line is a dot out for a walk.” (Paul Klee)
Earlier in the term, the children explored the meaning of lines in art. Extending on this experience, we offered the children the opportunity to play with lines at home and school. We invited the children to draw a line, and it might be straight, curvy, wavy, dotted, zig-zag, spiral or your invention. Christopher decided to find a ruler to draw straight lines.
Lines were created with natural materials, blocks and through the shape of our bodies. Lines were found at school in all sorts of places.
“There are actually lines everywhere. These lines go down, these go across. Some lines go diagonal. There’s even lines on my clothes!” Riley
The Mandala Maths Challenge explored shape and symmetry. The children collected some beautiful nature from Boon Wurrung/Bunurong Country to use in their Mandala. Tricky part was deciding what to put in the middle and repeating a circle pattern around and around the middle part. Some beautiful ephemeral Mandalas were created.
Teddy’s Lullaby from home.
Teddy recently shared a beautiful lullaby that brings him a great deal of meaning and joy. We have all enjoyed listening to and learning this beautiful Lullaby.
“I watch it every day with my Mum then I go to sleep. I like the little Kangaroo the best.”
Tjitji Lullaby (meaning child in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara languages) sings baby animals to sleep as the sun sets and the moon rises. Tjitji Lullaby was created on the lands of Kaurna, Gunai/Kurnai, Boonwurrung/Bunurong, Kabi Kabi, Yuggera and Turrbul People. (ABC, 2021).
Mindfulness and Wellbeing.
“Wellbeing includes good physical health, feelings of happiness, satisfaction and successful social functioning. A strong sense of wellbeing provides children with confidence and optimism which maximises their learning potential.” (Early Years Learning Framework)
Embedded into our daily lives, whether at school or home, are times set aside for mindful
meditation practice. Presently we are learning the ten mindful movements written by Thich Nhat Hanh. The practice of mindful movements is to bring awareness and enjoyment into our bodies. Mindful movements are effortless but very deep and a wonderful way of connecting your mind and body in mindfulness. They are a way to touch the sky, to smile at your body, and to touch your heart.
“Mindful meditation teaches children to notice what occurs in moments of stillness, to observe the self and bring their attention fully to the present moment. As the skills of self-awareness grow through the practice of meditation, self-knowledge blossoms.” (Janet Etty-Leal)
Our sincere gratitude and thanks to all families for your unwavering support and appreciation in all that we do. Community spirit is alive and well.
KELLIE, RACHELLE, MILLY, BELINDA, HAYLEY & CATHY
This term, the children have been enjoying exploring our central idea 'Products and services are created to meet the needs of a community.' It has been wonderful to see the children starting to think about roles and responsibilities, occupations, and different products and services. They have been encouraged to explore these ideas, engage in the design process, and be creative and critical in their thinking. The children have enjoyed being inventors and engineers, building bridges, inventions, and imaginary businesses at home. I have been very impressed by their ingenuity and resourcefulness.
Over the next few weeks, we will be asking the children to develop a 'Restaurant' at home where they will work on designing a name, logo, menus, table settings, and eventually following a recipe to cook a meal to share with family members. This project will require some 'grown-up' assistance but will give the children a chance to create a product and service for your family.
In Maths this term, we have consolidated our place value understanding and moved to numbers beyond 20 and skip counting. We have also begun to explore subtraction and look at measurement and money before the term's end. If your child enjoys problem-solving, make sure you have a go at our optional challenge problem on Seesaw each Wednesday.
It has been great to make literacy connections with our current unit of inquiry so that the children listen and respond to fiction and non-fiction texts that help them explore roles and responsibilities. Our Read Write Inc program is progressing well during CLP. We plan to reassess the children's progress in the coming weeks and let you know how this process will work.
I appreciate your support of our program. I am so grateful for your enthusiasm and commitment as we continue our learning at home. Please send me an email if there is any way I can support you or your child over the coming weeks.
While we have been online this term, Years 1 and 2's have discovered the world around them while at home. And we thought we would take this opportunity to celebrate all the fantastic work they have been doing.
We started with our adventures of Stickman
Stickman was fun because I got to video it and makeup stories. I was open-minded when I was thinking up all the different things he could do. Sasica
Then, based on the engaging time we spent at Overport Park building huts, we decided to apply those skills to what we could build at home.
I liked designing and building the cubbies the best. Ewan
I liked cubbies and cooking. Jesse
We were then inspired by the change we saw all around us as the seasons changed from Winter to Spring. We investigated what other changes we could find and make.
I enjoyed the celery task and making them change colour. Ike
I liked the cooking, vinegar eggs, building a giant cubby and the scary cinnamon experiments. Oscar
And those of us who were on-site at school on Discovery Day had a wonderful time exploring the creek and being adventurous there.
I like playing with Phoebe, making ochre, and painting the teachers' hands in ochre. Abbie
I enjoyed going down to the creek and being a risk-taker jumping in. Elise
We thought about what sort of learners we were as we were discovering.
I have been creative, caring and reflective because I have always thought about things. JJ
When we were making fluffy slime, I think I was a risk-taker because I accidentally put too much activator in, but it made it better! Imogen
I have been a risk-taker with baking and knowledgeable and a thinker when building a cubby. Maddi
When I have been cooking on Discovery Day, I have been caring because I have been sharing everything I have made. William
We then reflected on why we love the Discovery Day tasks and how they can differ from the rest of our online learning.
It lets us explore things we're interested in because we have choices. It's also good not to be using the iPad all day. Ashley
Discovery day is different to other learning because we don't have to be in front of iPads all the time, and we can go outside and explore or do fun learning with our family. Bella H
LISA RIX, LIANE CLEMENTS & ALEXIS TAME
Year 1 & 2 Teachers
When we went into lockdown almost a month ago, most of us envisaged another short return to remote learning. Here we are, nearly a month later! These transitions are difficult for all, the increasing ease with which our students make this transition is a testament to their resilience, adaptability and connection to each other. It gives us great energy to connect with our classes each day, laugh, comfort, and support each other through this.
A highlight of this return to remote learning has been the increased collaboration between students. We utilise break-out rooms and tools such as 'jamboards', making student thinking visible and enabling students to build upon each other's ideas. The high levels of responsibility and engagement our students have shown when given this opportunity have been truly remarkable to see.
Over the past few weeks, we have been exploring the question: How does poetry work? We have woven a path through different types of poetry, learned how rhyming poetry could be organised and analysed how different poetic styles can be used for other effects. Students have been challenged to use humour, figurative language, and creative presentation to enhance their poetry.
It has been a joy to see the students developing a deeper understanding of Multiplication and Division concepts. They've seen beyond the written expression and recognise the connections between the topics and real-life applications. Alongside this investigation, our Measurement unit into Area/Perimeter has been a joy to experience. The students have constructed a range of shapes, designed plots of land on Mars and created their Space Invaders. All the while demonstrating their practical application of the four operations to find the Area and perimeter.
Unit of Inquiry
As with everything lately, our last Unit of Inquiry took an abrupt turn as we got sent into lockdown. Unfortunately, our plans to run a Wellbeing Olympics, organised and developed by our students, could not occur. Our students demonstrated the ability to think creatively and ran online Wellbeing Workshops for their peers, a huge success. Throughout the unit, we used the same evidence-based framework to discuss wellbeing used throughout Woodleigh. PERMA, which stands for Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement. This provided our students with the language to talk about wellbeing, and their reflections on the wellbeing workshops offered great insight into their newfound understanding. Both hosts and guests reflected on the experience, taking different but essential learnings from the workshops. When we face such challenges, it has been an absolute pleasure to see the students deepen their understanding of their actions to improve their own and others' wellbeing.
Our new Unit of Inquiry, How The World Works, focuses on the central idea that investigating the properties of materials enables people to solve problems, create and innovate. We are excited to provide the opportunity for our students to engage in playful inquiry, testing materials, designing solutions to problems and investigating how materials can be changed.
Thank you for the continued support of the students as they learn from home. We greatly appreciate it.
JAMES CLAPHAM & CRAIG KENNER
Year 3 & 4 Classroom Teachers
It's been a busy few weeks in Year 5, full of emotions, memorable moments and special events. In addition to exploring a range of concepts and developing our understandings across various learning areas, we have also made wellbeing and gratitude a tangible focus. Making sure that we spend time during sessions and tasks focusing on positivity, finding the fun in each day, taking time to be mindful and being still, and also practicing gratitude for the people in our lives.
Read on for more details about what's been happening in Year 5
Farewell Ms Martin
Last week, we said farewell to the truly extraordinary and much loved Ms Martin as she retired from a fantastic teaching career. We had some exceptional moments over this year, and we're so happy that we could make Ms Martin's last week in Year 5 and teaching full of more memorable moments. We loved seeing the look of surprise and joy on her face, particularly during her special Assembly items. A big well done to Year 5 and 6 students who helped with Ms Martin's ''Thank you'' video and all those who helped make her ''Dancing Queen' video such a unique and memorable moment for everyone watching. We wish Ms Martin all the best and thank her so much for being such a wonderful and inspiring teacher.
Unit of Inquiry
These past few weeks have seen us concluding our fantastic unit on Historical Evidence. We have enjoyed taking our thinking to the next level and seeing students engaged in their investigations, hunting for and curating evidence based on historical events and then presenting them to the class. It was incredible to see the creative ways that students showed their understandings, with many role-playing and creating great videos to show their findings.
It was also wonderful to share our Sovereign Hill experience with all of Minimbah during our School Assembly, which focused on gratitude. We were so proud of the students who presented at assembly and all Year 5 students for their resilience and appreciation for this fantastic experience.
Last week, we began our New Unit of Inquiry, focusing on How we Organise Ourselves. We will be exploring and inquiring into what makes a successful business and the various components that help to inspire and achieve success in a business sense. We are very excited about this unit, and the ideas and wonderings students have shared so far have been fascinating.
Our Literacy sessions included various learning experiences, from refining and extending vocabulary through spelling sessions and tasks. The development of reading strategies, including text analysis and connecting to stories through our Book Club sessions, and developing and refining students' written and oral language skills through debating and preparing argumentative writing pieces.
A highlight for us over the past few weeks has been our GREAT DEBATE. Our debate was based on an old Philosophical problem and was also inspired by real-life events around who is the rightful owner of an ancient flute. Students formed groups that each represented a different perspective and worked collaboratively via a break out rooms during our Live Learning Sessions to develop and refine their arguments. All culminated in a great debate in which a jury of teachers and a judge (Mr Davies ) had to decide a verdict. The students amazed us with their skills, their articulate presentations and their passionate arguments. It was a delightful and memorable moment for us all. Well done, Year 5!
Year 5 have been spending the last few weeks exploring concepts related to Problem Solving and also multiplication. We have been exploring various strategies and skills that we can use to help us solve more complex algorithms.
Year 5 students have been putting in a fantastic effort with their Personal Maths Goals over the past few weeks. Each week, students have been given time and support to identify areas of Maths that they would like to extend and develop, and then have time allocated in the week to work on these goals. We have been so impressed by the focus and dedication students have shown to help improve their skills and reach their own goals. It has been so wonderful seeing them work hard and see their confidence improve.
Book Club time has continued to be a highlight of the week for many of us in Year 5. We recently finished our Book Club book, Pax, by Sara Pennypacker. Students loved listening to the story of Peter and his search for his fox, Pax. The engagement and connection that Year 5 had with the story and the characters were truly remarkable, and the responses to the Pax tasks, including the illustration tasks, were incredible.
We are so proud of the efforts and resilience our students have shown these past few weeks.
Seeing their smiling faces and chatting and connecting with them during Live Learning Sessions truly makes our day. We are looking forward to more fun, engaging and memorable moments in the coming weeks.
NICCI MURDOCH & VANESSA HODGKISS
Year 5 Teachers
We hope you are all doing well as we navigate this Continuous Learning Program together.
And make no mistake - we do it together. At times, it can feel isolating working in this way. Schools and classrooms function through collaboration, one-to-one support, and the physicality of being together. When some of those elements are missing, we must work harder to fill in the gaps – and working harder is becoming harder to do as we get fatigued.
It is what we are striving for each day, and it is what combats this fatigue. We hope it is evident in our daily videos, Zoom lessons, invitations to check-in during open Zooms, call, and email. We hope for and encourage all students to make the most of these invitations. Just because you are all mostly out of sight doesn’t mean that you are out of mind!
Instead of our usual format for this Minimbah update, we wanted this Year 6 section to reflect smiles and laughter that regularly punctuate the days that connect us all. Here is a collection of submissions from our students from across the curriculum that hopefully entertain and inspire.
At the beginning of each day, Cedar keeps us entertained with the adventures of her comic creation, Bob. Not only do we get to see how she is planning her daily schedule, but she is also keeping us entertained. Connection through humour!
Recently, we asked everyone to share something that is framed in their house, signifying its importance. Grace and Ludivine provided us with these lovely photos, proving that they also stay the same as much as things change. Connection through personal histories!
These images illustrate how Alby and Denzel are making connections between shape, design and transformation as they created these tessellations. Charlotte also played with shape and form as she started a Tangram puzzle for others to solve. Connection through play and invention!
More connections were made as Evie discovered how to visualize fractional equivalencies through patterns and design. Connection through imagery!
Amy created this game that she shared with her family as we examined probability and represented this fractionally. Connection through fun!
As we approach the end of our Inquiry unit, ‘Where We Are in Place and Time,’ we have been inspired by some of the writing developed around the migrant experience. Here, Flynn and Hamish base their work on our experiences in class and their research. They are still drafts at this stage, but we can’t wait to see where they end up. Connection through language!
Our students are committed to getting the Year 6 Production up and running, regardless of the format it may take. We are working together across a range of disciplines to pull it all together. Here, Tom and Lily B-L use skills developed in illustration workshops to design the digital set projections. Connection through collaboration!
Using the tools available, we have been privy to some humourous digital creations, demonstrating that we don’t take ourselves too seriously! Connection through self-deprecation!
Although we might feel like we are all glued to our screens, we regularly discuss the importance of getting outside and being grateful for our natural environment. These images from Tom and Ava remind us of our place in the world. Connection with nature!
Finally, well, we’re not too sure what’s going on here, but it certainly raised a smile! Connection through surrealism?
Much excellent work appears daily on our Seesaw feeds – we are inspired by what our students create, both serious and light-hearted. We’re sorry that we could not include it all here!
As always, please reach out to us if and when required to connect!
JACQUI STOCKER & ANDREW HICKS
Year 6 Teachers