Find My Balance with Olympians Ash Brennan and Steph Moorhouse
Junior School Physical Education Teacher
Exploring S.T.E.A.M through literature.
This year in Library the classes, ELC to Year 6 have been exploring the principles of S.T.E.A.M through literature. Library lessons provide a nurturing learning environment, catering for individual needs and interests. Each class has the opportunity to borrow text according to interests, genre and passion. Examples of these S.T.E.A.M-led experiences are:
- Year 3D designing their own robots using reclaimed materials in response to the text, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown,
- ELC students making farms, cities and mazes out of LEGO and imaginative play toys,
- Year 3A designing board games in response to The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, and
- Year 1 making electric, flashing circuit fireflies in response to The Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle.
In addition to the above experiences, across the year levels students are engaged in open-ended thinking opportunities through tasks designed to foster a Culture of Thinking, specifically, focussing on student risk-taking, empathy, connection and collaboration. Library online lessons during lockdowns continue to promote reading as well as continuing to foster these essential social skills.
Currently, with the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book Week awards to be held in August, Library classes have been reflecting, responding to and comparing the selected shortlisted text. Students have been voting for their favourite, designing a new CBCA medal as well as completing specific learning experiences according to themes raised in each book.
For the continuation of 2021 Library will focus on building connections to home, school and our community, crucially and excitingly, through literature.
ELC to Year 6 Library teacher
Year 4 Girls
In Year 4 at the Girls’ Junior School, two classic novels have been read, discussed and loved for many, many years – The Secret Garden and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Having a great story to analyse as a class allows for great opportunities in developing sound reading comprehension skills. In addition to that, the right book choice can ignite a passion for reading that continues throughout and beyond school life. This is why I decided to balance the old and with the new, keeping the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic but replacing C. S Lewis’ novel with a new book only published a few years ago. ‘When The Mountains Roared’ by Jess Butterworth is an excellent story of courage, new beginnings and adventure. It shares the story of Ruby, a young Australian girl who is uprooted unexpectedly from her life in Australia to set up a hotel with her dad and grandma in the mountains of India. The book thus far has been a great success, with one of the Year 4 girls exclaiming, “I just can’t stop thinking about it since we started”.
A great book is key; however, it is essential to have an engaging story and provide thought-provoking learning activities to accompany it. So far this term, the girls have used their comprehension skills to answer questions of both a literal and inferential nature and used the story’s descriptive language to visualise and illustrate various scenes with great detail. They have analysed characters, identified their personality traits, and extended themselves by comparing and contrasting the protagonists from other novels, noting their similarities and differences.
During a Remote Learning lesson, we recently discussed what a theme was and identified the ones present in our novel. The girls recognised these as the story’s main themes: starting over, family, loss and curiosity/adventure. The girls had to create a Haiku poem based on the themes identified. See a selection of these poems below:
“Memories of Mum
The car crash. Her funeral.
Playing on repeat”
-Riya Yogesh Kumar on Ruby missing her mum.
“Rugs coated in dust
Disgusting flies lay dead. Yuck!
Nothing paint can’t fix.”
–Linna Yue on the abandoned hotel her family is taking over.
“Finally on land.
The eyes of police on me
My heart beating fast”
–Adnana Thienpont on Ruby’s nerves going through security with Joey.
We look forward to exploring this fantastic novel and participating in some more great learning and literature throughout the year.
Year 4 Girls’ Junior School Teacher
Year 6A have been working tirelessly to plan, draft and publish their very own picture story books. Throughout this process students were able to explore what it is like to be a real author, editing their writing to reflect the audience and illustrating the text to ensure for high engagement. The effort that has gone into these books is astronomical and the girls are looking forward to sharing these with the school community in the coming weeks.
Naomi De La Pierre and Maya Dass
During the last few weeks 6A have been writing and illustrating book our own hard cover picture books. We have been going through the process of draft, typing, illustrating, and publishing. Our audience is the younger kids but they’re so good anyone can read them and have a good time. Every book has a great moral that would prove useful later in life. We have been creating the books as close to as real life and making them hard cover. Some of the books are Charlie the Cheeky Dog, How Big is the Forest? and the Girl Who Cried Boohoo! Coming up is our book launch where parents can come and see our work.
Last term, one of our projects was writing a real picture book. We had to think of a short story, then illustrate it and turn it into a real book. The books were exactly like the books you would see in a shop, with publishing details, blurbs, and ‘About the Authors’. Our class really enjoyed writing and illustrating them. We are planning to launch them at the Book Launch, where we will present them to the Preps and Year 1s. Ms Flint will even make a book themed cake.
Junior School Year 6 Teacher
100 Days of Prep
On Monday 2 August our Prep students celebrated 100 Days of Prep.