I hope that you are all ‘hanging in there’. It seems our resilience levels are going to continue to be tested but please remember to continue to give yourself permission to be less than perfect and to simply do your best.
We know that you are all working hard and we can see each day how much support is going in to your children in their remote learning. The students continue to amaze us all with the way in which they have embraced the uncertainty. I’m sure every household is having their share of good days and bad days and that is totally normal.
Remember that there are external supports out there if you feel that your child is in need of some mental health assistance. Smiling Mind have made a free Self-Care Pack for children available and there are modules to work through on Supporting Children’s Wellbeing Through Mindfulness, Helping Children manage Worry and Anxiety, and Focussing on the Positives. https://www.smilingmind.com.au/kids-care-packs-getting-started?utm_campaign=Care%20packs&utm_source=SUBMISSION%20EDM%20-%20GET%20STARTED
Beyond Blue is also a fantastic resource for how to build resilience in children with a section completely devoted to Coronavirus specific information.
THURSDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER
Next Thursday is officially R U OK? Day and, as a school, we would like to take this day to highlight how important it is to check in on one another and to have a focus on wellbeing. Classes will begin the day with their WebEx session and then each grade level will spend the morning participating in engaging activities that focus on student wellbeing and on ensuring that we are caring about one another. There will also be an online magician session which we know all of the children will enjoy. We encourage children to really get into the spirit of the day by wearing yellow – this could just be as simple as a yellow hat or ribbon or be a completely yellow outfit! Additionally, we would like to acknowledge just how exhausting it is for everyone to be constantly interacting and operating through a screen and would like to make the afternoon on Thursday a ‘screen free’ period. The specialists will provide some activity options for students to complete in the afternoon that do not require screen engagement. (We will also try to make them as simple as possible to enable students to do them relatively independently).
It would be wonderful if, as a community, we could all embrace R U OK day by ensuring that we are checking in on those around us. The theme this year is “Are they really ok?” and there are many resources available on the website to support you if you are feeling like you would like to check in with someone but don’t really feel equipped to do so. https://www.ruok.org.au/
They are also offering a free Online event to learn when and how to ask “R U OK? so you can have a conversation that could change a life.” The event runs at 12.30pm which I understand is not greatly accessible but by registering you will receive access to a recording of the event to watch in your own time.
Last year I published a list of mental health tips that a friend provided me with. It was written by a psychologist who was spending every day counselling people on how to cope during Covid-19 lockdown/isolation. I still think it is one of the best ‘coping strategy’ lists that I have seen so I am including it again. It is relevant even more now than it was then!
Victorian High-Ability Program
The Victorian High-Ability program will provide up to 48,000 high-ability students in Years 5 to 8 at government schools the opportunity to participate in 10-week online extension and enrichment programs, in English and mathematics.
The virtual program, delivered by Virtual School Victoria, will focus on extending and developing students' mathematic and English abilities.
The Department of Education is centrally managing the selection process for the program based on student academic performance. Parents of students selected for the program will be provided with more information about the program by our school. Mr Snow is facilitating the program for Parkdale Primary.
Since the program was initiated at the beginning of 2021 we have had a number of students complete the program and look forward to many more being given the opportunity in the future. Here are some insights from a few of our participants.
Ben, ‘It gave me a deeper understanding of number systems from Mayan, Babylonian, Roman and Egyptian. In the program I had to answer problems with powers of ten and twenty, I also had to decode binary. I enjoyed making my own base system, the base 7 system, I found it very interesting as there was longer numbers for different values.’
Maddy, ‘The program helped me learn more complex things about writing. It has also helped me add more tension in my pieces. This program helped me learn about the structure of a narrative in more detail. I was required to write a story, which was quite fun. The thing I enjoyed most was improving my writing ability and doing it with like-minded students.’
Ben, ‘The program was really good. My teacher was amazing and really knowledgeable about maths and a lot of other different things. The program went beyond normal maths and we looked into the history of number systems and looked at numbers in different cultures. We also looked at different ciphers and got good at deciphering difficult codes.
I went online once a week to do the course with other kids in Victorian schools. Even though we didn't meet each other in person, it felt like we got to know each other quite well. We did group discussions and activities during the session and had a bit of homework each week which I enjoyed. We also watched some very good maths YouTube videos. The thing that I enjoyed most was when I cracked the Vigenère cipher.’
Over the last two weeks in Phonics, we have been introduced to 3 different digraphs (two letters making one sound) – ch, sh and th. We have been practising reading and writing words with these digraphs in them. This week, when learning about the ‘th’ sound, students had to take a photo of their teeth and provide clues for their classmates to guess! We have also been learning some new Red Flag Words and have been practising spelling these, focussing on marking the ‘tricky’ parts of the word.
In Maths Groups, the students have been learning about Measurement this week. We have been learning about non-standard units and the importance of measuring with 'uniform' units, where all items are the same size. This week the children measured items around their houses and compared the length of different objects.
In Inquiry, we have been learning all about transport. The students created a detailed plan and have begun constructing their own type of transport out of boxes! They are looking fantastic!
This week in our WebEx sessions, we completed a Father’s Day drawing and used adjectives to describe our dad or special person in our lives. The students then made a frame out of craft supplies at home to give as a gift on the weekend.
Thank you all for your ongoing support. The students are doing an excellent job with all of their learning at home. Their resilience and hard work in inspiring and we are so proud of them,
The Foundation Teachers.
We are so proud of the consistent effort, enthusiasm and resilience that Grade 1’s has shown throughout this term. Only two more weeks to go before a well-deserved break for everyone! We have been enjoying a focus on Wellbeing this week, it has been great to have some social and wellbeing focuses in our small group WebEx calls, as well as throughout the week with our daily check in activities and questions. We also had a wonderful time last week with our Book Week focus! Thank you to all the parents and students for the outstanding effort in our Friday Assembly dress up!
For English, this week we have been reviewing the r-controlled vowel sounds in Word Study. We have continued developing our skills in Narrative writing with some fun “Ouch!” stories. Our Punctuation focus has continued to be on applying speech marks, it has been great to see them being used in our narratives too!
We finished off our Addition topic last week and began our new Maths topic of Time, which has been a lot of fun. In Inquiry we had a look at Queensland last week and this week explored some amazing destinations in NSW.
We wish all our Grade 1 Dads (and Grandads) a very lovely Father’s Day for this Sunday. Thanks again for your continued support!
As we are fast approaching the end of our Term 3, we are continually impressed with the resilience and hard work that our wonderful Grade 2 students are displaying. As mentioned last week it is important that students and families are looking after their wellbeing by taking regular brain breaks, making healthy food choices and getting outside as the weather is starting to get better and better!
We were very proud of our students with their factual and well organised information reports. We have just begun a new writing genre of PERSUASIVE WRITING where students are encouraged to form strong opinions about topics and then convince our reader to change their mind. This type of writing requires students to think of reasons and examples and organise their writing in clear paragraphs. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve got!
In our maths groups we are still working through MONEY. We have discovered the Australian coins and notes, and the features presented on these coins. Making change and calculating money is something we are all working towards. As a part of our Applied Maths topic of TIME we are revising o’clock, half past and quarter times. We strongly encourage students to get their hands on a clock around the home and use this to help them with their time knowledge.
Through our Inquiry topic of EARTH’S PRECIOUS RESOURCES, we have discovered the importance of water in our homes and around the globe. We will be beginning to look at ways in which we can look after our beautiful planet and what we can do at home to continue to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost.
We know that this is a challenging time for families throughout this lockdown and remote learning period, please don’t hesitate to email your child’s classroom teacher if you have any questions or concerns.
Grade 2 Teachers
Another excellent few weeks of remote learning in Grade 3! It was fantastic to see students and teachers celebrating Book Week by dressing up as their favourite book character, listening to a range of short-listed picture story books that are nominated for 2021 and rating them.
Reading: Good readers identify an author's purpose by asking themselves whether an author wrote a passage to describe, to entertain, to explain or to persuade. Last week, the students completed 5 STARS activities and read a range of texts to identify the author’s purpose. This week, we have started to explore the use of figurative language within texts.
Writing: Over the last two weeks, we have been exploring the writing genre of explanation writing. The students have been studying the structure and language features before having a go at explaining how a bicycle works. In our MSL lessons, we have continued to revise sounds, syllables and suffixes as well as introduced the prefix un- and mid-. In our Writing Revolution/Grammar lessons, the students have worked on their sentence level and structure.
Maths: We have been revising over place value in our number groups. The students have been identifying the value of a digit depending on its place in a number, representing a number in various ways and even delving deeper into decimals with some students. For our applied topic, we are beginning to look at the concept ‘Location’ where we have started to focus on understanding, interpreting, and using directional language as well as reading grids and coordinates.
Inquiry: In our morning WebEx, we followed an experiment to create ice cream! After participating in the experiment, the students wrote a procedure on how to make the ice cream as well as explained the important role of salt in the process. The students also explored lift and gravity by designing and making a parachute that would allow an egg to be safely dropped from a height.
Digital Technologies: Linking in with our inquiry focus, the students participated in a coding lesson relating to one of our mentor texts ‘Room on a Broom’ that the students explored earlier in the term. Their task was to follow instructions to create an animated scene with detail from the picture story.
Wellbeing: The students also got their creativity and imagination on last week when designing and constructing a Lego creation. The students had one rule to follow - be as creative as you can be and have fun! This week, the students created a ‘Colour Wheel of Emotions’ as a way to provide an opportunity to identify, manage and talk about their emotions during challenging times. It is important for students to know that sometimes we can’t control the big events in life, but we can use small strategies like square breathing to calm us down.
Our Grade 4 students continue to display many of the Parkdale Primary School Super 6 values during this time of remote learning. They are showing an abundance of resilience and striving to achieve their personal best each day, a true testament to being a responsible learner. We continue to enjoy our weekly Grade Four WebEx forums and even experienced 'break-out rooms' for a rotation’s activity.
Writing: We have begun looking at a new writing genre, procedural texts, which has seen the students review and extend their knowledge of the structure and language features for constructing procedures. Some activities have involved the students writing procedures for a drawing task and detailed steps for a recipe. A big focus has been on the use of imperative verbs, connectives and adverbial phrases to make their instructions, method or steps as detailed as possible.
Reading: Students have reviewed the comprehension strategies of Finding Word Meaning in Context, Drawing Conclusions and Making Inferences as well as Facts & Opinions. Our new focus is about Identifying Author's Purpose in reading passages and short texts. Learning how to critically think and figure out if an author is writing to persuade, inform, entertain, describe or explain is a skill that requires practice, so students continue to utilise our online program, CARS and STARS for this.
Maths: Our Maths WebEx lessons have been an extremely important part of our remote learning program each day. We have continued our work with the mathematical concept of Patterns & Algebra. Exploring and applying rules, applying multiplication and division to increasing complex problems and learning about equivalent number sentences involving addition and subtraction have been some of the areas covered during our lessons.
Inquiry/Digi Tech/Resilience Project: For Inquiry, the students have learned the differences between rules and laws and our various levels of government that are responsible for overseeing these in our community and everyday lives. The students are really enjoying the opportunities to explore the various coding activities on code.org and 'Hour of Code'. We encourage the students to actively practise mindfulness and to reflect on things that make them feel good.
Our students have continued their online learning program this week, with a real sense of enthusiasm and gusto!
Recently, the students have been writing explanation texts as part of our writing units. We were blown away with the research skills and the student’s abilities to invest themselves in their chosen topic. Students will turn their attention to writing ‘Haiku’ poetry this week, which will offer them a chance to showcase their word choice and emotions. The students have further immersed themselves in their reading comprehension and practised using the clues from the text to make some great inferences. They have thoroughly enjoyed analysing song lyrics as well as participating in some ‘reading escape rooms.’
Maths has seen our students participate in the implementation of the ‘Essential Assessment’ program. We are currently working through our topic of Patterns and Algebra as well as incorporating Data and Graphs for our applied topic this week. No doubt the students will enjoy these current units!
It has been great to see so many students practising being mindful and focusing on the present moment. We understand this is incredibly difficult times for everyone and our students are to be commended on their resilience and ability to show up each day to the WebEx with a smile on their face. As a teaching team, we are incredibly grateful for all your efforts throughout remote learning.
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.