It is very hard to believe that this is the last newsletter for this term, and also that this time last year we had started learning from home. Thankfully, 2021 is looking more promising and if we all continue to follow hand hygiene, social distancing and stay home when unwell, we can stay safer.
New Learning Time Structures
As a school, Literacy has been a major priority for us over the last four years. Teaching staff have been involved in researching best practice and then implementing strategies across the whole school. This has resulted in a change to some of our teaching practices, for example: more word conscious classrooms with students engaged in spelling inquires exploring the meaning and origins of words; more dedicated time spent on guided and reciprocal reading; and currently a focus on the types of feedback we give to move the learner forward with their writing.
Improving Literacy outcomes is core business for schools and to help us plan and implement our whole school approaches we have decided to alter our daily schedule so all classes from Prep-Grade 6 will have at least four uninterrupted 1hour and 50minute Literacy blocks a week. This will mean that our new daily timetable will be as follows:
9:15-11:05 – Block 1 (fruit break incorporated into block)
11:05-11:10 – Eating time for recess
11:10-11:30 – Play time
11:30-12:50 – Block 2
12:50-1:00 – Eating time for lunch
1:00-1:40 – Play time
1:40-3:00 – Block 3
We will trial this schedule in Term 2 and then reflect and make any changes if necessary.
An Inquiry Approach and Learning Assets
One of our priorities for the last two years has been implementing an inquiry approach to teaching and learning. Classroom inquiries usually start with teachers gathering information about what students already know or understand about a concept and the questions they would like to investigate. They then begin a learning journey together to develop a deeper understanding of how the world works. This involves students using higher order thinking strategies such as predicting, analysing, synthesising, reflecting and applying their new understandings to real world contexts.
To complement our work on inquiry, we have decided on six Learning Assets to help students better understand the skills and dispositions of how they learn alongside what they are learning. The Learning Assets are: we are researchers; we are thinkers; we are collaborators; we are self-managers; we are communicators; and we are contributors. Staff and students have discussed and brainstormed what these learning assets mean and we are in the process of collating and writing statements to match each asset. We look forward to sharing these with you next term.
In today’s world “teachers now have a much greater responsibility to help students build a repertoire of skills and dispositions that enable them to more effectively locate, access, understand and critique ideas, as well as design, create and share their own. When teachers use an inquiry approach to designing learning experiences for students, they provide an excellent opportunity to develop those very skills and dispositions critical for 21st century living”
We are Contributors
Below are some great examples of students contributing to their world.
Soft plastic recycling
A few weeks ago, Freya wrote me a letter with a proposal to set up a soft plastics recycling bin at our school. Freya is very concerned about how damaging soft plastics are to our environment and marine life.
After meeting with Freya, we worked out a plan of how we could put her proposal into action.
- Freya has written the following newsletter article to advise families of our new soft plastic initiative.
- She has designed posters that will be displayed around the school.
- We have purchased a bin that will be located near the astro-turf each morning for people to place their soft plastics in.
- Freya has arranged for her family to drop the soft plastics off at Woolworths each week.
I hope people can support this great initiative and do our little bit to save the environment.
Now at the school we are going to have a soft plastic bin to prevent less plastic in the environment. 50% of plastic that ends up in the ocean is soft plastics that could be recycled and made into more useful items. Plastic is a horrible use of nothing that can cause bushfires, less ocean life and make Australia look dirty. Please bring your soft plastic to school and place in the black bin that will be near the astro-turf each morning.
What can go in the bin:
- Empty chip packets
- Bread bags
- Fruit bags
- Shopping bags
(Freya Grade 5)
In Grade 2 and 2/3 they have been focussing on living things. This has led them into an inquiry about bees. During their investigations and research, they discovered that bees are very important for our survival as they pollinate the plants we use for food.
Mrs Burr and Mrs Hurst then prompted them to think about the ways they could protect bees and increase their survival. The students came up with many ideas, however, planting a bee friendly garden was the most popular. The students then wrote me the letter below, using the new knowledge they had gained from their inquiry, to ask if they could plant a bee friendly garden at school. Of course, I thought it was a fabulous idea and now the students are very excited about planting their garden, watching it grow and the number of bees that will visit.
Maybe you could learn from our students and grow some flowering plants in your garden too.
Have a safe and happy holiday and we will see you all on Wednesday 21st April.
Luckily for Mrs Fisher when it was her turn for newsletter item, she had 4 keen newsletter reporters willing to help.
Thank you to my reporters from Prep who interviewed the Kinder students to find out what they have been learning.
Kinder A reporters – Kirri and Ivy
Kinder B reporters – Evie and Ariah
Mrs Fisher was the reporter for Prep and she asked some of them what they have been learning about…
“We know things are living when they are moving” – Zarah
“We have been learning about letters and the sounds they make” – Abel
“I have been learning about numbers, we are learning to count up” – Vivien
“We have been learning how to read and write words like can and the” – Ella
“We know the letter ‘s’ and the word sun starts with ‘s’” – Lily
“We have been learning about dinosaurs because Henry and Thomas found dinosaur bones in the playground” – Kloud
“We have been talking about building towers out of blocks and learning to share and take turns with your friends” – Oscar
“We have been learning about numbers and counting to 10” – Taylah
“We have been learning about sounds words start with” – Arlia
This term in 1A students have been exploring the meaning of Habitat. As we looked deeper into how things live in different places for their own needs to be met, we discovered how mini-beasts, animals and flowers survive in extreme places. Furthermore, how living things have a variety of external features. 1A were fortunate to have some students bring in their pets to meet the class and to talk about how they care for their pets needs.
Numeracy and Literacy has been concrete ‘hands-on’ learning with materials to extend the meaning of the tasks involved. This has been a lot of fun and very engaging for all students. Especially now with Easter a few weeks away. Develop confidence with number sequences and counting in 2’s doing the ‘Bunny Hop’. ‘Easter Egg Scoop’ hunt to find words to match sounds is very popular as students begin to understand how to spell one and two syllable words with common letter patterns
During the week we took on a still life drawing challenge with beautiful fresh flowers – concentration and focus was needed as the students experiment with different materials, techniques, and processes to make artwork. Students also demonstrated various compositional effects for example, overlapping and crosshatching.
Grade 1B have been learning all about what living things need to survive. We have explored the different habitats animals live in, and the special adaptations or body features that help them survive in these environments. We discussed a variety of words that describe how animals move and used these to write Cinquain poems. As Easter approaches we also investigated animals that lay eggs, which are called oviparous animals. We chose one oviparous animal and wrote facts them.
Bullying. No Way! and Harmony Day were recognised with emphasis on these important messages spread throughout the school. Each class used the book A World of Kindness by Suzanne Del Rizzo and designed and produced a class collage to promote the important messages. We used several Learning Assets through this task, mainly ‘we are collaborators’.
Below are a series of photos showing these amazing collages. They are posted around the school as we continue to highlight these messages. Don’t forget to ask your child/ren which collage is theirs.
During this term athletics has been the focus for Physical Education and as with other units of work respect, teamwork and co-operation is a major focus, with the children being exposed to a variety of group dynamics involving individual, partner, small group and team activities. Children are encouraged to demonstrate tolerance and respect for peers, rules and equipment. For us to experience a variety of athletics events, improvisation with gear is a must.
PREP to 2
These children worked on starting a race, finishing a race, some of the events in the athletics carnival, relays, jumping for height and length.
Grades 3 and 4
Middle primary classes practiced starting races, sprints, baton change for a shuttle relay, athletics carnival events (e.g. three legged race), hurdling (we have some tall witches hats, put the handle of a skipping rope down the top, this makes a great hurdle to jump) and long jump (we played a game of fly with skipping ropes, mimicking the technique involved for long jump)
Grades 5 and 6
The upper primary children started with sprints, circular relay technique, discus ( we used quoits to replicate the technique), shot put ( for this the children put large hand size rocks) and the various relays used in the athletics carnival.
This year the weather was very kind to us for the school athletic carnival, with a very full day of friendly competition between the house teams. From this carnival the placegetters went on to represent Somerset Primary at the North West Primary Schools Sports Association athletic carnival in Penguin. Children that do well at this carnival, then move onto the state athletic carnival in Launceston next term and Somerset will have a couple of representatives in that team.
The next School Association meeting will be held on Tuesday 27th April in the staffroom at 6:00pm. Items on the agenda include: proposal to change school start and end times; turning engines off in pick up zone to reduce car fumes. All parents are welcome to attend these meetings to keep informed on the decisions made across the school.
Thank you to the parents and carers that used our drop off/pick up area well. We really appreciate your support and care.
A couple of reminders:
People reversing out of the car parks at the end of the day are causing some congestion by holding up traffic flow. To assist with this could you please be mindful of the following:
- Moving traffic has the right of way. We understand you may want to stop and let people in, however, please don’t as this causes traffic build up.
- If you are attempting to reverse out of parking spaces please wait and be patient until the flow of traffic has cleared
- If possible reverse into the straight parking spaces. This does not apply to the angled parking at the western end of the car park. If the flow of traffic eases – you can then simply move out, rather than cause congestion as you reverse.
Safety reminders at pick up and drop off times:
- Parking or standing in the pick-up/drop-off zone (to the east of the office area) is not permitted between 8:45-9:15 and 2:45-3:15. Drivers are to stay in their car with the motor running.
- Move your car to the front of the line to allow other cars access into the area.
- Try another lap or find a park in a designated area if your child is late to the pick-up zone
- Avoid double parking in the pick-up area as it becomes very dangerous when students attempt to walk between the cars.
- Delay pick up until after 3:05pm as teachers do not dismiss students until 3:00pm. It may be best to alter your family’s pick up time to 3:10 as this allows your child time to move to the pick-up area (and avoid the rush).
We appreciate your support and extra care within our car parks as we make this a safer place before and after school.