Welcome back everyone to term 3 and while the dreaded COVID-19 returned to front-page news I’m sure the students enjoyed a break to recharge the learning batteries. While we have restrictions in place, we are hoping many of our activities will be able to continue over the course of the term.
Book Week for the College starts on Monday 23rd of August and will finish with our very popular book parade on Friday the 28th of August. While we were hoping to have parents attend at this stage that will not be possible so we will stream it live again from the courtyard with parents being able to watch the parade from the comfort of their own homes.
Camps for years 3, 4, and 5 are set for week 2 next term. It is too far away to determine if they will be impacted by COVID-19, but as the term progresses, we will keep you informed. Fingers crossed things settle down, so the students get to experience time away with their friends while parents enjoy a quiet couple of evenings on their own.
Assemblies and Chapel remain online and don’t forget these are also available to watch online via the link on Caleb. We use assemblies to recognise student achievements and showcase the talent we have with our budding performers. As an example, we are looking forward to hearing the College Hymn being recorded by one of our year 4 students and played each week. The assemblies are organised by the year 6 students and are lots of fun so tune in each Monday morning from 8:50 am.
This week teachers have been busy before and after school discussing student progress with the parent-teacher interviews being held online. It is an opportunity to discuss how your child is developing both academically and socially in the school environment. If you haven’t been able to arrange a meeting, reach out to your child’s teacher via email or phone call to see how your child is doing at school.
This week we have had 6 teachers from the College participate in some very exciting professional development designed to enhance our teaching skills over time. Known as the Quality Teaching Rounds, this very well-researched program developed by the University of Newcastle is aimed at improving the way we connect with the students in the classroom with our curriculum delivery. It involves teachers being observed by other teachers as they teach and then as a group, they meet to discuss what worked well and how the lesson could be improved. Peer-to-peer support has proven to be one of the most effective professional developments for teachers and research shows it increases student academic outcomes by up to 25%. Over time you will hear more reports from students about other teachers visiting their class for observations.
We are ready for a fantastic term and have started our fairy-tale unit off with a stellar performance of ‘The Little Red Hen’ by the kindergarten teachers. During week one we practiced our writing and spelling skills and wrote amazing recounts of all the fun activities we did during the school holidays. In maths we have been learning about money, looking at coins, ordering coins, writing dollars and cents, and having fun in our class shops. We LOVED the funny song on Australian coins. We are looking forward to a fun and exciting term.
It was great to hear about the mini getaways that Year 1 families had over the holiday break, including a lot of visits to local areas and sites. The students were very eager to share these experiences with their friends and teachers and wrote all about it in their Winter Holiday writing pieces. Over the next few weeks, we will be learning all about the structure of Narratives. If you are reading a book or watching a movie with your child, please ask them to identify the orientation (characters and setting), the big problem in the story, and the resolution (how the problem was solved). We have already looked at some basic fairytales but will build on this knowledge as the term progresses. The kids have loved shifting their focus to Geography this semester. They are learning about what makes places special, and natural, managed, and constructed features of places. The kids made some amazing artwork to kick off the unit!
It has been a very exciting start to the new term for Year 2. On Monday of Week 2, we had a very interesting presentation from Jessica Crow from Hunter Water. It reinforced everything we had learnt in Science the last term and gave us even more ideas for the task we are about to embark on as part of our Deep Learning projects. Students are now ready to begin creating a product that will get the message out to the public about the need to save water. Year 2 has been learning to tell the time accurately on an analogue clock as well as using a calendar and learning more about the months of the year and seasons. We have embarked on an imaginative writing theme for this term and will be breaking into groups across the year to participate in writing workshops. Our Science and Technology topic has got underway and the students have been investigating push and pull forces to move toys or change their shape. In Geography, Year 2 is thinking about where places are located in Australia and how we are connected to them. We are starting ‘close to home’. Year 2 is also about to finish a very successful STEM project that involved the students constructing their own iPad game, with several ‘levels’ for users to work through. Year 2 students are participating in Drama lessons over the next couple of weeks run by the talented Mr. Youman.
It is wonderful to have our smiling, cheerful Year 3 students back in the classrooms and we feel gratitude and relief that online teaching has not commenced in Newcastle. We are ensuring that students ‘sanitise to minimise’ on entering classrooms, wash their hands frequently and remain in separated desks whilst working.
We have introduced the new text for this term, which is ‘Bungawitta’ by the well-known Australian author Emily Rodda. This text focuses on community and how each person is valuable and contributes to the life of a small country town. It also looks at resilience and coping with the adversity of drought. Here there will be lessons that we can all draw on as we face times of uncertainty and find the resilience to cope with changes in our lives. Students are beginning to complete their Premiere’s Reading Challenge list which is due by mid-August. Text names need to be uploaded to the website and a total of twenty books is required.
In Numeracy, we have started the term looking at the relationship between multiplication and division and applying these strategies to mathematical problems. Students are getting far quicker and more accurate with their multiplication tables and they are encouraged to keep practicing.
In Geography, Year 3 has started mapping out Australia and will determine landforms and weather patterns across the region. Many students managed to finish joining the puzzle pieces together that made up the Australian continent and could identify the six states and two territories.
We look forward to an exciting and busy time of learning this term. Let the adventure begin!
Year Four are set on being scientist and engineers this term as our Deep Learning Project and Science unit combine forces, allowing children to explore the design process and conduct incredible investigations. Students are flexing their inventing muscles and developing products to meet various design briefs. We are only in our second week and already students have created futuristic chairs, planned new shoes, built towers, and designed their own COVID-19 safe mask. Students are excited to find out what’s happening next as we head towards our invention convention and expo at the end of Term Three.
It has been a busy fortnight in Year 5! We have celebrated NAIDOC week with a range of activities. Students embraced their creativity to design clothing for the ‘Free the Flag’ campaign and have learnt about the meaning of this year’s theme, ‘Heal Country’. Students have also been working on informative texts in writing. They have been learning about the structure and precise language used in informative texts. Year 5 has worked hard to solve challenging rich tasks in Mathematics involving fractions, area, and perimeter. Students enjoyed spending time with their buddies this week, and have begun delving into their new units of rainforests and biomes across Geography, and Science and Technology.
We have had a great start to the term. Our first week back focused a lot around NAIDOC Week, ‘Heal Country’. We learnt some Awabakal words, played Indigenous games in Sport, danced to ‘Move it Mob Style’, learnt about the significance of Country, and read a range of inspiring Aboriginal texts from Aboriginal Elders. To carry on our learning, we will be incorporating Awabakal words into our spelling words each week. We have also begun our new Novel Study which is the Tim Winton book, Blue Back – a beautiful story about family and sustainability set in Western Australia. Science this term will be looking at Energy, last week we made our own roller coasters, collaborating and learning about kinetic and potential energy. Lastly, we began our unit about Asia, with a fun Kahoot testing our knowledge on the largest continent of the world.
Head of Junior School