Please refer to an extract from Adam Grant’s article (New York Times) at the end of our message.
Welcome to Term 4, a period of significant milestones and rites of passage for our Year 6 cohort.
FLOW & CONNECTION
Term 3 was challenging, there's no getting around that, and the recent two-week break was a necessary circuit-breaker. Now that we are back, we are approaching the next nine weeks with renewed optimism, knowing that we will all be back together soon in a physical sense.
Until then, we are still working remotely. It is both valuable and necessary to examine what has been working well in this context and what needs to change, especially regarding our students' mental health and wellbeing.
The extract above from Adam Grant's New York Times article resonated with both of us, and we encourage you to read the text in its entirety. It has prompted us to think carefully about structuring our days to promote flow and connection.
Rather than trying to cram multiple subjects and ideas into a day of online learning, we have decided to dedicate each day to a specific concept or idea (insofar as the timetable allows). It gives us the luxury of exploring topics in English, Maths or Units of Inquiry across up to three live lessons, with asynchronous follow-ups. We are hoping this means they get to their independent work time with the flow of ideas still front and centre for the students. We are also planning for more frequent opportunities to work in breakout rooms and small groups; while the resonance of our teacher voices must be lovely to listen to, maybe there can be too much of a good thing!
Both teachers and students have also relished the return of Activities. Bearing in mind this idea of flow, we wanted to dedicate a whole day to pursuing student interests, working with like-minded peers and staff on initiatives and tasks that allow connection, wonder and creativity to flourish. Our Fridays now bring Year 5 and 6 into line with the rest of the school, dedicating extended periods to extra-curricular activities (The junior Discovery Days, Kitchen Garden, Senior Campus Activities Program).
While our regular curriculum of English, Maths, Units of Inquiry and Specialist classes will continue apace, it is essential to be aware of several significant events coming up for Year 6 students. As you can imagine, the school calendar is very much 'shifting sand', and while many meetings have already occurred to lock down dates, there is still much uncertainty. Where possible, we will give some indication of dates for these events.
Returning to Onsite Learning
Year 6 are scheduled to return to the classroom on Thursday, 27 October. We will have two days onsite before the mid-term break (incorporating Melbourne Cup Day). Wednesday 3 will be our (hopefully) final day of CLP from home. Then we are back full-time from Thursday 4 November. When we return, please be aware that some restrictions will still be in place to ensure a Covid-safe workplace. For example, our Homestead Kitchen will not be available for use, and there will be a mandate in place for wearing masks (students Years 3-6 and staff). More information will follow in the coming weeks.
Year 6 Production
It has been many months in the making, but we are determined to stage our production of 'The Hidden Tales of Hunter Inkwell' throughout Weeks 6 and 7. The show will be filmed as though live, and we will keep you updated about a date for its premiere, whatever form that may take.
Much time has already been spent researching and writing these presentations. We will finally have an opportunity to present them to our peers throughout Week 8. The Minimbah Hall will be converted into a temporary TV studio, and a live Zoom broadcast will allow you to tune into the student presentations. These speeches are always a highlight, where students get behind their peers and encourage them to shine in what can be a daunting exercise.
Our transition sessions will begin during our CLP time, where we will have some informal Q&A sessions via Zoom with a range of staff from the Senior Campus. It will give the students some time to hear about the exciting programs awaiting them in Year 7 and ask any burning questions. We are hopeful that it will be possible to have some onsite transition visits to Senior Campus before the year is out. We are aware that some students will not be continuing onto Woodleigh's Senior Campus. Still, these sessions often provide insight and information that pertains to all students making the leap to high school.
Year 6 Dinner
The students have already begun to throw around some ideas for Year 6 Dinner themes! Although the dinner may take a slightly different form to other years, it is more than possible to have a grand celebration outside the established traditions. Last year's dinner, held outdoors, was a roaring success! As the date for the dinner is confirmed, we welcome parents to get involved in the planning and organising of the event.
We are hopeful that our most formal occasion of the year can still go ahead in some capacity in the final week of school. We will be preparing our students to each speak individually at this event, which is designed to showcase each individual's unique insights and talents.
Our traditional final Year 6 assembly may need to look slightly different this year, but we will endeavour to bring you all the fun and excitement of the event as the Year 6 cohort performs for the school community one last time.
Wow! That is A LOT to pack into five weeks, but we are determined to make every moment count!
JACQUI & ANDY
Y6 Classroom Teachers