As Head of Junior School, I must say that this Friday brings to an end one of the most demanding and confronting, yet rewarding terms of work that I have ever experienced since beginning my teaching career nearly 30 years ago.
My sincere thanks to all Ormiston families, students and staff members for working through, and taking on board a very challenging situation. Whilst I acknowledge that many families are still going through difficult times, we have come together as a close school community and we should be very proud of what we have achieved together.
Throughout Term 2, I strongly believe our staff and students consistently displayed the CGGS School Values of respect, commitment, integrity, hope and courage and I am confident that these values will continue to shine and develop further in our school community when we unite, for hopefully a more settled Term 3.
Early Learning 3 – Diverse ways of learning
Early Learning staff were thrilled to be reunited with the children once again and it appeared the feeling was mutual seeing the smiles on each of the children’s faces. It was evident that all concerned were delighted to return to face-to-face learning after a somewhat sudden interruption to their learning environment due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
While classroom play and activities is essential to many aspects of learning for these children, as Educators we then had to quickly reposition our thoughts on how can learning take place off-site with a remote learning device. During this unprecedented time remote learning devices was considered an alternative option regardless of the learning dispositions of these three-year old children where each child still had the opportunity to engage and connect to learning but in a different format.
The uptake of remote learning was mainly reliant on parent partnership and the ability of the parents to take on the teacher’s role. When roles are not negotiated and the vision of teaching is daunting while attending to family needs, running a home with cooking and cleaning, it is indeed a discovery that was achieved with reciprocal relationships to set literacy and fun in learning into practice between the teacher in a school setting and the teacher in the home setting.
Families have had to face their own challenge during COVID19 albeit a time we never want to experience again but certain attributes did arise during this phase such as balance of trust, understanding and mutual respect acknowledging the different ways each family responded to online remote learning.
Through self-reflection I questioned myself – did I aspire to be a polished presenter online or did I continue to be my true self – authentic and relatable to children with familiar connections to prior experiences in EL3 pre lock down. I settled for relatable!
Relating to three-year old children online was an art when unprecedented times called for unprecedented pedagogy. We have come out on the other end with many hooks to hang our countless learning hats.
These hooks for learning are the many possibilities for teaching. One of the common threads that emerged were the stories and activities that presented many assorted “Bears”. From going on a Bear Hunt to singing Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn-around – our project on Teddy Bears visually emerged.
The Teddy Bears helped the children to transition back to onsite learning by deflecting their emotions onto the Bears. It gave the children an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings to feel safe and secure.
Jayden’s mum said, “Purple Bear helps Jayden talk about emotions of Anger, sad and happy!”
Eason said, “My Bear’s name is Pan Pan!”
“My Bear is called Robin Hood!” said Azalea and many other children mustered their courage and confidence to talk about their Bears.
I appreciated and recognised families’ literacy practices can vary according to their cultural background. I saw positives in the richness of their home language and appreciated parents who spoke in their language and did their best to connect to their children and promote the learning competently in their home language.
To this end as a teacher, I am mindful that there is no one way to teach literacies and learning will and can take many forms and shapes at the face of this unique time. I know for sure we need to keep our partnerships strong with our families and communities and can’t help but wonder where the Teddy Bear Project journey will take us.
ELC 3 Class Teacher
The Early Learning children are learners with curious minds
The Early Learning children are curious about nature and they’re developing a respect for and love of things from nature. Recently, we engaged in some thinking where the children identified things in our environment that were living or not living and were encouraged to justify their thinking.
Qianqian:“Snails are living because they eat leaves.”
Clara: “Frogs are living because they live in water.”
Sage: “Slugs because they eat leaves.”
Kelly: “Ducks because they are in the water.”
Alex: “Worms and that’s because they live in the soil.”
Madelyn: “Birds are living because birds eat worms.”
Ting Xuan:“Butterflies because they have long tongues so they can taste the flowers.”
Calista and Alex demonstrated their ability to think flexibly and interdependently when they expressed their understandings about how some things were once living but are now not living.
Calista: “Logs are not living.”
Alex: “We need to put logs in the middle because it’s not living but one time it was living.”
Calista: “Dead leaves were once alive. Put that in the middle too.”
June: “Pots are not living because they stay still in the kitchen.”
Alex: “Rugs don’t live and that’s because they don’t move and they just stay on the ground.”
Chloe: “Chairs are not living because they don’t move.”
The children are currently applying this knowledge about what identifies something as living or not living to create a criteria for sorting things in our classroom and garden, into living and not living.
A recent event in the classroom, provided an authentic opportunity for the children to experience how something can be living and then not living. On arrival at school last week, I noticed that one of the fish in our tank had died. I removed the fish from the tank and wrapped it in some paper towel. The death of the fish provided further learning opportunities for the children. The children made connections to the theory that Alex and Calista made about how some things can be living and then not living. We realised that yesterday the fish was living but today it is not living because it had died.
Alex: “It’s going to go all the way up to heaven.”
Rubyrose: “I thought it may stay for long, but it didn’t.”
We shared a story titled Lifetimes. The story explained life and death in a sensitive and caring way. It informed us about beginnings and endings and about living in between. There were illustrations of plants and animals and people depicting how there is always a beginning, then living and an ending.
Ms Angela: “I wonder what we will do with the fish that has died.”
Calista: “Maybe you could put it in a riverbank. There’s a riverbank near my house. It’s called the Yarra River.”
June: “We could just put it in a paper towel and bury it in the dirt.”
Alex: “We should bury it so it can go to heaven.”
Ms Angela: “Alex can you tell us about heaven.”
Alex: “It’s where other people live with God.”
Calista: “and Jesus”
Rubyrose: “We could put it in new refreshing water.”
Ting Xuan: “You could bury it in our garden.”
Alex: “All my fish have gone to heaven.”
Kelly: “You can use a paper and draw a house and put it in there and the fish would like it.”
The children decided to bury the fish in the garden. June found a place in the garden and Charlotte and Gia helped her to dig a hole for the fish. June placed the goldfish carefully into the hole. Alex and Gia put dirt into the hole and covered the paper towel.
During Chapel with Reverend Creed, we often give thanks to God for different things in our lives. I asked the children if they wanted to go to the Chapel and say thank you to God for our fish and all the things we have in our garden from nature. The children responded with enthusiasm and wanted to do this. We went to the Chapel and the children had an opportunity to create and share their own prayers to God.
“Dear God, Thank you for all the beautiful plants and animals.” – June
“Dear God, Thank you for making everything – the plants, road, people and water – and everything you make and do is wonderful.” – Rubyrose
“Dear God, I thank you for the nice beautiful flowers. Amen” – Calista
“Dear God, Thank you for all the pretty flowers and trees. Amen” – Sage
“Dear God, Thank you for the beautiful families and things from nature.” – Charlotte
Through these types of experiences, the children are learning about nature, what it means to be living or not living and life and death – beginnings, living and endings. Through their participation in these experiences, the children are developing life-long dispositions for learning, for example, how to:
> listen with understanding
> think flexibly
> think about thinking
> question and problem pose
> apply their past knowledge to new situations
> think and communicate with clarity
> gather data
> remain open to continuous learning
The children are currently expressing their reflections through drawing and dialogue.
ELC 4 (Full Time) Teacher
Year 3 Scientists!
The Year 3 students have completed Semester One with flying colours. They brought energy and enthusiasm to all their learning experiences.
To further explore their understanding of angles, students created Rube Goldberg machines using a variety of materials such as dominoes, cardboard, MAB blocks and marbles. They used collaborative skills to design and develop a machine that incorporated at least two acute, two obtuse and two straight angles. Although not all designs were successful, the students demonstrated creativity and perseverance and a great knowledge of angles and their properties.
In our final STEAM session for the term, Ms Penny Dumsday organised an extremely fun experiment for us. Using a bottle or jar, vegetable oil, water, fizzing tablets (Alka Seltzer) and food dye we created bubbling lava lamps. Year 3 discovered that the Alka Seltzer reacts with the water to make bubbles of carbon dioxide. The water and oil do not mix and the oil does not change colour because the food colouring dissolves in the water. The bubbles attach themselves to the blobs of coloured water and brings them to the top of the container. The students loved participating in this experiment and had lots of interesting questions and observations.
Some of the Year 3 wonderings and observations were:
“I wonder who the first person was to discover these reactions?” – Georgia 3R
“The rising and falling reminded me of what we learnt about convection this term.” – Semaya 3R
“What chemical is in the fizzy tablet to make it have a reaction?” – Ruth 3L
It has been so wonderful to see the personal and academic growth Year 3 have made during this semester. The connections they have made to their learning and application in other contexts has been very impressive!
Rebecca Leondidis and Liz Ruffles
Year 3 Class Teachers
Year 5 Fun!
Year 5 have ended Term 2 with flying colours. The students have deepened their understanding of ‘What life was like in the colonial days of Australia?’. They completed a project about a specific person or cultural group that was significant in the 1850s. They were able to explore how this person or group lived, the food they ate, clothing they wore, how they were treated by the community, the challenges they faced and their successes. It has given the students a depth of understanding as to why migration was so high during those times in Australia as well as providing the students with great perspective as to how fortunate we are to live in 2020.
In Maths, the students have been highly engaged in their learning as we continued to explore Location and Transformation. The students created two-dimensional and three-dimensional maps of our classroom as well as growing their understanding of grid references, latitude and longitude, legend/key and compass directions through exploring maps of Neverland and Aladdin’s Kingdom and finding key landmarks and treasures through a range of directional clues.
Being together these past few weeks have brought connectedness to the classroom as well as allowed many friendships amongst the students to blossom.
Anjali de Quadros/Meagan Wilson & Fiorella Soci
Year 5 class Teachers
Reading and borrowing continued to thrive during our time away from school and it was fantastic to see so many students using the online borrowing system and eBook collections to access reading material. Since our return, Ormiston library has been filled with excited students, wonderful book conversations and shared stories.
ELC to Year 2 students were fortunate to be back at school in time to celebrate National Simultaneous Storytime on May 27thand we had such fun reading Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas and making our own microphones and tiara’s. This led into an enjoyable focus on author and illustrator Lucinda Gifford and a selection of her books.
Other highlights included:
> Year 3 students who focused on exploring a variety of indigenous stories, authors and illustrators.
> Year 4 students who used narrative non-fiction texts written by Mark Wilson to explore early settlement and convict life.
> Year 5 students completed a unit of work on colonial times and then delved into the book The Unlikely Friendship of Bennelong and Phillip by Michael Sedunary.
> Year 6 who complemented their Inquiry unit by investigating a number of titles with a sustainability focus and writing their own eco fable.Ormiston News, our library newsletter has also been very well received and has provided opportunities to share book news, interactive author and illustrator activities, book recommendations and book reviews with both students and staff.
Junior School Library Teacher
Music Magic at Ormiston
Ormiston campus may have been quiet at the start of Term 2 but this did not stop the music making taking place. The creativity of the girls at Ormiston lit up our screens as they shared their many talents including singing, dancing, instrumental performances, composing and home-made percussion just to name a few.
Since we have returned the music making once again fills our hearts and ears, as the music rooms are alive with the sound of music.
Focused on poetry and songs and finding a steady beat. We have been listening to Russian and Israeli lullabies and bouncing songs where the students played un-tuned and tuned percussion and rocked their babies in time to the music.
Foundation and Year 3:
Music classes continued to work on notation and rhythms of well-known songs.
Has been experimenting playing their songs with Glockenspiels.
Enjoyed composing and performing in groups their rhythms using body percussion.
Have recorded lovely solo recorder performances of pieces of music they have learnt as part of the class music program. Through investigating the lyrics of the song “Botany Bay” they have discovered the important role of folk songs as a means of passing on history. While learning to sing this song, they learnt interesting facts about Australian History in the times of early European settlement. Year 5 students answered a series of questions which related to the lyrics of “Waltzing Matilda”. It was very interesting to learn more about the life of people living in Australia in colonial times, while learning to sing this famous folk song. In composition studies students studied the elements of canon. Creating their own set of rhythms, they composed original canons and practised performing them with partners. Beautiful new melodies have emerged from Year 6 students who have created their own binary-form compositions. Their goal has been to perform their own compositions with accuracy and confidence. The new online Sight Singing School course has enabled all girls to work independently, developing their music-reading and aural skills.
Year 2 Super Strings:
Have been working via Seesaw from the beginning of Term 2, with a resumption of classroom string playing in week 7. It was fantastic to get together again and play “Jig”, “Sailing Home” and “Open String Czardas”.
Year 5 Concert Band:
The students were also entertained by Concert Band staff who presented instrument demonstrations prior to the students ranking their preferences – the students have now been allocated instruments to begin instruction next term.
Year 6 Concert Band:
Students explored student-led inquiry questions and will present their findings in the last class of term.
Junior School Choirs:
Have engaged in choral music in a very different way since returning to Ormiston. We have listened to various styles of music and allowed ourselves to be a critical audience – undertaking listening activities and music analysis tasks. A highlight has been the African choirs who have such joy and energy. Mrs Georgiev even taught us some dance steps that feature in many African choral pieces!
Nichole Adams & Penny Byrne
Junior School Music Teachers
I would like to remind parents that Term 3 resumes on Wednesday 15 July and take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and restful school holiday break. I hope all Ormiston families can spend some quality time together and are able to re-charge their batteries and be ready for a fabulous Term 3 combined with CGGS School 100 Years Anniversary.
Head of Junior School