Firstly, can I begin by saying that I hope that you are all well and are coping with these strange times as best you can. The news that we received on Monday has sent us all reeling and we feel the need to reach out to the community and tell you that we understand just how devastating the announcement of this lockdown extension is for us all. Each and every one of us are affected, just in different ways, remember - same storm, different boats.
Now I do not want to stand on a soap box and preach about resilience and I would never want to make little of the pain that I understand people are going through at the moment. I had my own moments Monday and there were definitely tears in my house. Tears for the devastated daughter turning 21 on Saturday whose plans are in tatters, tears for my mum who I haven’t seen in 6 weeks, tears for my friends who have relatives ill in hospital and who cannot even go in to visit, tears for the husband who has hit the one year mark of working from home and hating it, tears for the son trying to accumulate enough clinic hours at uni to graduate and now unable to work at the bar that pays his rent, tears for all of the children that I know have had enough of learning from home, tears for the parents trying to constantly juggle working from home with supporting remote school learning, tears for more cancelled holidays, tears for those in the community affected by the tragic accident at Thrift Park. My list goes on and I know I was not alone this week. Sometimes we all just need to have a good cry and let it out.
Moving forward I have done a lot of reflection. I can only control what is controllable and I can worry about what I can’t do or I can choose to focus on what I can do.
What we cannot control at this point is that we have two more weeks of remote learning ahead of us. What we can control is how we embrace this and move ahead. We have emphasized before that every family is different and you need to make the remote learning situation work for you as best you can and in a way that suits your own circumstances. It may suit some to do the learning in real time whereas others may have their children attend the live WebEx sessions and then sit with them to complete the tasks later in the day when they have time. (If you can have your children attend the WebEx sessions then I would encourage this as this face-to-face connection is vital – both teacher/student and student/student.) The teachers are working really hard to ensure that this remote learning time is not wasted and that the children are not disadvantaged academically. We have had some very positive feedback about the increase to face-to-face teaching time via WebEx sessions. We also understand that some children do not find these easy. It can be difficult to find a system that suits everyone but we are working hard to find middle ground.
There are going to be days where, as a parent, you need to make the decision that mental health trumps academics and your children need a day away from the screen and school work and that is absolutely fine. Please make sure though that you touch base with the teacher and let them know if your child has hit a rocky patch as they can work with you to support and reengage them.
Lockdown fatigue is a real thing and I have done a lot of reading on this. What resonated with me is the idea that when we have experienced this type of uncertainty and upheaval for so long it is absolutely natural to feel exhausted by the stress and anxiety of trying to keep everything together. Our kids are feeling this too. What I have found out though is that the number one strategy for keeping up energy and mood levels is maintaining a routine. This is why it is important, if we can, to ensure that the children maintain a daily school routine. Having structure to the day and a list that we can tick off gives us back control at a time when we really need to feel like we have some. It will also make the transition back to school at the end of lockdown smoother and less stressful. I came across a really useful resource for parents called A Parent Handbook for Remote Learning. It was written by Deirdre Brandner who is a Melbourne psychologist. She gave me permission to share the handbook with you and it provides many useful ideas and hints. It doesn’t have all the answers and it might not all work for everyone but there may be parts that can be helpful. Please give it a read if you have time and take from it what you think might work for you.
Parent Handbook for Remote Learning - Deirdre Brander
The one thing that I do know is really important at the moment is to remember that our children are watching us carefully and how they deal with things and how they are coping will be very much a reflection of what they see and hear. That is a big responsibility at a time when we are all feeling incredibly weighed down. So, reach out for help when you need it. Take the time to ensure you have some moments that are just for you whenever you can. Try and remain positive. Try to be kind. Try to reach out to others who are having a tough time. We need to be the people we want our kids to be – not a battle I always win here believe me, but I try and that is all we can do. At the moment, doing our best is all that we can really do and it will be enough. Hang in there everyone, together we will get through this.
Polices are implemented within schools or organisations to ensure all members of that specific community have a reference point to guide actions and behaviours. They can be referred to when situations arise to avoid disputes and discrepancies and to allow clear decision making to take place. They provide a line of sight on issues and inform all stakeholders about key aspects of our school environment.
There are a range of policy documents incorporated by Parkdale Primary that are provided by the DET. We make adjustments, where relevant, to suit our school setting and context. Some of these policies require consultation with School Council, where they provide insight and guidance from a community perspective. Other policies are school based operational, therefore they do not need consultation, and are noted at School Council meetings. Recently, we have updated and ratified our Sunsmart, Asthma and Anaphylaxis policies.
Policies are always evolving or being newly created based on the ever changing world we live in. A Mobile Phone Student Use policy was introduced only a few years ago. Who knows what will be introduced in the years ahead.
Policies are publicised on our school website in the ‘About’ section. A snapshot is provided below.
We are so proud of all the children and how hard they have been working during Remote Learning.
Last week in Phonics, we learnt about ‘y as a vowel’. This week, we learnt the ‘ch’ digraph. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to learn more digraphs. We recommend practising these new sounds as part of your child’s Sound Pack.
In Literacy, we have been focusing on classic Fairytale’s such as The Gingerbread Man and Jack and the Beanstalk. We have been working on retelling the story, learning about the story elements (i.e., characters, setting, problem and solution), and have also been doing crafts to match the story.
Next week is Book week. Your child is welcome to get dressed up on Tuesday 24th August, as a character from their favourite book! We have organised lots of fun activities to look forward to over the next two weeks.
Thank you for your all your support,
It is very hard to believe we are already in Week 6 of this term! As you are working hard with your kids at home, we know that you are very aware of the topics we are covering at the moment. You will have seen that we have provided a new reading resource for you to access from home. If you need assistance locating your child’s Wushka reading login, please contact your classroom teacher. It has been great to see lots of children jumping onto the website and reading a variety of books this week! Next week we will have a bit more of a social and wellbeing focus in our morning WebEx sessions to allow students to interact and connect with each other. Just a reminder to please make sure you check the WebEx schedule each night so that you know if your child is joining an earlier or later WebEx time (e.g., 9am) so that they don’t miss out.
The students have transitioned smoothly back into Remote learning once again. A big thank you to our Grade 2 parents for your continued support and hard work at home. We have been so impressed with how resilient our Grade 2 students are and the quality of work they are uploading to Seesaw has been fantastic. Please encourage your child to take regular brain breaks throughout the day, as we know the students' wellbeing is priority during this challenging time.
We have started to learn about the features and structure of INFORMATION REPORTS. Students have been busy collecting notes and facts to write information posters and reports about ‘Saving Water’. They have been impressing us by writing in paragraphs that include an introduction, sub-headings and diagrams with captions.
In our Maths groups we are finishing our topic of MULTIPLICATION and DIVISION and are beginning our new topic of MONEY next week. As part of our Maths Applied topic of TIME, students are revising o’clock and half past time and learning to tell the time to the quarter-hour, using the language of ‘past’ and ‘to’. We encourage students to practise telling the time on their watch and clocks at home, as well as having conversations with family members about calendar time (E.g., identifying the date and discussing how many days there are in each month).
Students have been learning how the Urban Water cycle works as part of our Inquiry into Earth’s Precious Resources and are investigating how much water we use in our homes and ways we can help to reduce water use.
As always, we are here to support you during this very difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to email your child’s classroom teacher if you have any questions or concerns.
Over the last two weeks, the Grade 3 teachers have continued to be impressed by our students’ level of effort, responsibility, and ownership over their learning. It has been fantastic to see many students contributing in daily WebEx meetings and taking on teacher feedback to improve their work. Keep up the incredible job!
Reading: The reading comprehension strategy we have been focusing on during remote learning is distinguishing between fact and opinion. We know that good readers distinguish between fact and opinion by thinking about whether a detail can or cannot be proved. An opinion often tells what someone thinks or feels about something. The students have been identifying facts and creating opinions after reading a variety of texts and watching various videos.
Writing: We have continued exploring the writing genre of procedure. The students have revised the structure of this text type and created a handful of different procedures including recipes, instructions, and directions. In our Writing Revolution activity on Seesaw, the students have practised their knowledge and application of correct sentence structure. Identifying fragments and the different types of sentences as well as creating and combining sentences using subordinating and joining conjunctions and appositives. During two of our morning WebEx meetings, we have explicitly taught MSL spelling lessons each week where we have reviewed and introduced new sounds, suffixes, and syllables.
Maths: Within our number Math groups, the students have continued learning about the concept of money. The Seesaw activities this week have provided students with more choice due to the open-ended nature and real-life application of calculating total cost, change, discounts, and budgeting. We will be finishing our ‘Time’ concept this week with a post-test during our math WebEx. It is always a good idea to continue encouraging your child to practise identifying the time on analogue clocks at home as a way to work on reading time.
Inquiry: Continuing with our inquiry unit, the students have explored more types of forces through some hands-on investigations. The students built a boat out of foil to test the principles of buoyancy and made a paper helicopter to observe what force was acting upon it when dropping it from a certain height.
Digital Technologies: The students have been practising their ability to follow instructions from a tutorial to create a cartoon animation using Scratch, all while demonstrating problem solving, resilience and persistence!
Wellbeing: The students participated in a lovely wellbeing scavenger hunt activity where they practised expressing gratitude by identifying several things in their life that they are grateful for.
Weeks 5 and 6 has seen the move back to remote learning. The Grade 4 teachers are very proud of how our students have engaged in daily class and maths WebEx meetings. An online Grade 4 forum has been so important to maintain those connections as a cohort. Thank you once again to our Grade 4 parents for your continued support.
Writing: Planning, constructing, and editing a narrative has been a gradual writing approach that we have adopted. We have conducted explicit lessons on writing parts of a narrative such as organising ideas, creating a complication, a series of events for a character/s, rising action, big moment, falling action, resolution, and conclusion. The students have written some truly engaging narratives.
Reading: Our students have learnt about distinguishing between facts and opinions. They have practised this by reading stories from our mentor text, "This is our world" and identifying and writing factual statements and using signal words e.g. like, best, favourite, most, to form opinions. The completion of CARS and STARS reading activities has given the students a gradual and structured approach to learning and applying this strategy.
Maths: Students have completed a pre-test using Essential Assessment on the maths concept Patterns and Algebra. Describing, creating, and continuing number sequences using all four operations is a focus. Establishing, applying rules, and identifying terms in number sequences is a focus too. We have continued our work with data, chance and graphing for Applied Maths.
Inquiry/Science Week: We have started to explore what a democracy is and the history behind it. The students were able to join a live stream at Taronga Zoo last week to find out about different reptiles. To celebrate Science Week, students have joined live WebEx sessions with Miss Beglau and tried some STEM challenges such as making mazes and bridge building.
The 5/6’s have been doing a fantastic job with remote learning and the teachers are extremely proud of our amazing students. It is fantastic to see their smiling faces in our daily WebEx sessions, contributing to our class learning or sharing some fun stories and news with the class. We want to also say a big thank you to our parents for their ongoing support throughout remote learning.
Maths: We have just completed our topic on Fractions with students having completed a post-test last week and have moved onto our new topic of Patterns and Algebra.
Reading: We have been reading a variety of fiction and non-fiction text types and focusing on comprehension strategies both literal and inferred. The students have also been practising answering their comprehension questions in full sentences.
Writing: In writing, we have completed our Response Writing focus and have moved onto Explanation Texts. The students have chosen a life cycle or natural disaster to explain for this writing topic as well as focusing on following correct structure. The students have also powered up their imagination in a variety of creative tasks.
Inquiry: We are continuing with our inquiry topic, ‘Australia: Through a Different Lens’ that delves into Australia’s history whilst looking at it through different perspectives. We discussed the important role sport plays in celebrating and recognising Aboriginal culture, with a special focus on AFL and the Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
Camp Australia – Guiding Children’s Growth
We are proud to partner with Camp Australia to provide our Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) program.
Camp Australia programs are centered on child enrichment, while ensuring a reliable, engaging and hassle-free OSHC service at our school. Their engaged educators foster a safe, inclusive environment where children can relax, have fun and grow.
Your OSHC – OSHC that inspires
At Your OSHC by Camp Australia, every before school, after school and pupil free day program is tailored to the likes and interests of each child in service. Camp Australia’s educators design enriching experiences to inspire your children’s confidence, independence and imagination. In any one week, they could be participating in science experiments, active play, creative expression and more - they believe in learning through experience so that each child can grow.
Rocketeers – Extraordinary Holiday Adventures
Rocketeers by Camp Australia is a space for children to escape the ordinary and experience the extraordinary during their school holidays. Every school holiday break is a new mission for children to embark upon. With carefully designed programs, directed by the children and informed by family feedback, no two days are the same with Rocketeers. Experiences planned could include games, arts & crafts, sport, excursions, cooking, coding and more.