Junior School News - August 2019

Junior School News - August 2019

Junior School News – August 2019

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Term 3 is well and truly underway and amongst the busyness, teaching and learning remain our priorities. This stage of the year is often an exciting time in the classroom, as growth occurs and the girls really begin to understand and establish themselves socially and emotionally within their classes. At times, this phase can be fraught with change and movement between social groups, as children grow and develop at different rates. The key to surviving this change is communication and connectedness with each other, teachers and family – all critical elements of their development as learners and decision makers. Our social and emotional framework aides in highlighting these skills and teaching the girls effective ways to connect with each other to ultimately be more effective learners and team collaborators. The below points of reference are taken from the You Can Do It – Social and Emotional program developed by Michael Bernard. This program forms the foundation of our social and emotional framework from Years 1-6 and is well-researched in aiding to promote positive outcomes for students, parents and educators as they grow and develop.  The below list may help to prompt conversation at home and at the very least I hope it shares the integral skills we are all teaching our young learners.

Modelling social emotional skills for kids  

  • Instil a sense of security and identity
  • Identify and name feelings
  • Recognise other people’s feelings and viewpoints
  • Show empathy
  • Demonstrate how to deal with strong feelings
  • Praise our kids when they practise appropriate skills
  • Talk taking turns, sharing, caring, getting on
  • Put things into perspective
  • Practise perseverance and resilience
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Maximise teachable moments
  • Model setting goals, achieving goals, celebrating success
  • Teach strategies for time management and organisation

Without social and emotional skills, kids can’t learn as effectively and can’t make the most of their learning. Children who have good feelings about themselves and about others and who know how to express their emotions and relate to others will be more effective learners and achievers.

(Bernard, Michael. “Why It Pays to Teach Social and Emotional Skills to Our Kids.” You Can Do It Education, youcandoiteducation.com.au/pluginfile.php/2428/mod_label/intro/Positive-Parents-Children-5.pdf.)

I would like to take a moment to remind you of the uniform requirements for Term 3. All students are required to wear the navy winter panama to school as part of the uniform each day. If required on the cooler days, the girls are permitted to wear black opaque stockings with their formal uniforms. If the girls choose to wear their stockings, a spare pair of socks is recommended as the girls often change at midday when the weather warms up. Could I also please encourage all parents to check in with their daughters and confirm that they have their red play hats for break times. The girls are enjoying receiving ‘Spot On’ acknowledgement for wearing correct full school uniform, including hair ties, socks, jumpers, hats and correct sports uniform.

There is much to enjoy in the final weeks of Term 3 including the Junior School Disco and our Father/Grandfather mornings, to mention just a few events. Thank you for your continued support of the school and the girls. I wish you all a wonderful and engaging end to the term.

Mrs Melissa Wilkins
Acting Head of Junior School

From Prep

Term 3 is the dream term in the lives of Prep teachers and their classrooms. It’s the time where everything comes together academically, socially, and emotionally. The results of all the hard work of preparing the soil, making perfect growing conditions can be seen. That’s not to say that all growth looks the same on the outside for each student. We rejoice with parents as progress is evident for every girl.

We celebrated 100 Days of School this term. Some one-hundred-year-old “Groovy Grannies” came to share their wisdom and joined the illustrious occasion of being 100 days brighter with lots of ‘100’ activities.

Kimochis are an integral part of the Prep Social-Emotional learning at St Hilda’s School. This term we have been focusing on identifying different feelings, i.e.  brave, frustrated, curious, left out, silly, hopeful and proud. This includes self-regulation of their own feelings and acknowledgment of others. The word Kimochi means “feeling” in Japanese. The girls have delighted in getting to know more about their feelings with the help of the Kimochi plush characters and feelings pillows which look like toys but are effective communication tools to assist in managing feelings in a positive and successful way.

A highlight this term was the Mukogawa students visit, spending time making Japanese toys and origami with our Prep girls. They loved the challenge of making spinning tops called Koma, and using string and paper to make a spinner.  Some girls got to experiment with a Kendama. Trying to get the wooden ball onto the stick proved to be very tricky.

Kindness is a value that underpins and is relevant to all of our community at St Hilda’s. Throw kindness around like confetti is our reminder to sprinkle kindness everywhere and to everyone. Writing encouraging notes to our friends and our Year 6 buddies was one way to spread kindness around this term.

Micah 6:8 reminds us act justly, love kindness and walk humbly. Colossions 3:12 encourages us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. It’s wonderful to see the Prep girls spreading kindness everywhere and beginning to show random acts of kindness to others.

From Year 1

The Year 1 cohort has started Semester 2 with great commitment to and excitement for learning. We welcome to the Year 1 community, Amelia, Karen, Alexandra, Addison, Angelina and Alicia. The Year 1 students have invested thoroughly in curriculum experiences in order to optimise their skills and knowledge. Non Nobis Solum was alive and well as 1C, 1H and 1F explored texts from a range of cultures and collaborated to retell the traditional yet colourful story of How The Birds Got Their Colours at the Prep – Year 2 Assembly in Week 3.

Whilst routines and traditions are well established and respected, the Year 1 students have embraced silent reading in order to increase reading fluency. Marilyn Jager Adams (page 5, 1990) postulated that “if we want children to read well, we must find a way to induce them to read lots.” The reading bug has hit hard in Year 1 and voracious reading is now a regular procedure.

Involvement in class chess lessons continues to be a favourite activity for the cohort and aids in developing creative thinking, strategic planning, abstract reasoning and problem-solving skills.  Opportunities to engage in daily playtime chess tournaments are a reality thanks to Mrs Curtin and Mrs Fitzgerald who organized the purchase of a giant chess set.  Flexible groupings in spelling and maths continue as data is interrogated to inform teaching and learning. Classroom shops are capturing the imagination of all students as they learn to recognize, describe and order Australian coins according to their value.  The term holds space for Chris Collins’s author visit in Week 5, the Big Bang Science excursion exploring concepts of light and sound on 3 September, and a visit from Fathers and Grandfathers on 10 September. The social and emotional framework G.R.O.W remains an integral component of enrichment lessons and students have explored the ideas of personal growth through the lens of a friend, daughter and learner.

Hasbrouck, J. (2006). For Students Who Are Not Yet Fluent, Silent Reading Is Not the Best Use of Classroom Time. American Educator, Summer 2006, 30(2).


From Year 2  – Drilling down on teaching English

As educators in the early years of primary school, the teaching of English and literacy is one of our priorities. Being literate forms the foundation for all other areas of learning in school, as does being a global citizen. Therefore, we thought it may be of interest to parents to know exactly what we teach during English lessons and how we teach it.

Our weekly spelling words are individualised to match the spelling stage that your daughter is currently on, and a particular speech sound is focused on weekly. Whilst there are six focus words, we spend a great deal of time in class investigating numerous words that follow the same spelling pattern and the rules related to them. Reading takes place in many forums. The main vehicle for teaching decoding and comprehension skills is through the sharing of a weekly class text in small, differentiated groups with a teacher where explicit skills are taught. These skills are then practiced in other forums including using Wushka to read and complete comprehension exercises online, and silent reading to encourage reading stamina.  Explicit lessons on grammar and punctuation take place each week and the concepts taught are practiced during writing tasks.

During Year 2 we have a strong focus on narrative writing and we follow a program called Seven Steps in order to teach the story writing process. You may be familiar with terms from this program such as sizzling start, tightening tension and exciting ending! This term we are bringing many of the skills taught throughout the year together to enable your daughter to write a story with a clear beginning, middle and end. One such skill is enhancing sentence structure with the use of adjectives and adverbs while also including a variety of punctuation such as speech marks, commas and exclamation marks.

Whilst this details the basics of our English lessons, there is so much more that takes place that cannot fit into one small article. From poetry, to drama, to presentations, as well as much lively discussion and debate!  As always, if you wish to know more our Year 2 team are always happy to talk to you and we welcome your feedback.

From Year 3

Hard to believe that we are already halfway through Term 3!  It has been such a busy term already and there is still so much more to come.

The girls loved their excursion to Jellurgal Cultural Centre and the walk around Burleigh Heads National park.  We had a guide who shared a lot of information with us and It was incredible to hear of the amazingly clever ways that Indigenous people lived off, cared for and respected the land and all that it provides.

This term we have been extending our flexible groupings in Mathematics to three times a week.  The girls have really been enjoying working with other friends and have benefitted from the targeted focus on specific skills and areas that need consolidation and extension.  These groups are very flexible with a cycle of teaching, learning and assessment occurring.  The Year 3 teachers are constantly examining the data and progression of the student to ensure they are in the right place for their learning.  We have discussed the reasons for taking this approach with Maths with the girls and they certainly seem to enjoy it.

  • Maths is fun when I work with other Year 3 girls. – Eva, 3L
  • I like going to Maths Groups because I think I am learning so much more in Maths and I am making new friends.  I like sharing and hearing new ideas as well.  – Lucia, 3L
  • I like that we are learning more about maths and I finding it really useful.  I have already learnt how to tell time and I think I am now really good at times tables.  India, 3L
  • I think working with people from other classes is lots of fun.  Finlay, 3S
  • It is great to have a different experience with different teachers and I like that I am making new friends.  Ella, 3S
  • I like how we do fun games, but we are still learning because they are maths games.  Addie, 3V
  • I like Maths groups because I learn so many new things and then I like sharing the new things I have learnt with other people.  Lucy, 3V
  • I like that we are all working together on the same maths topics.  Maya, 3S

Another key feature of the day in Year 3 classrooms is guided reading time.  Guided reading is integral to the reading process.  As teachers we are able to focus in on specific skills, enhance comprehension, highlight key features of reading and encourage our students to become passionate and lifelong readers.  We have been very excited by the recent addition of our new tables that facilitate guided reading in the classroom.  They are whiteboard topped and the girls and teachers have loved drawing all over them during lessons.

We are only halfway through the term and there is still so much ahead of us, including a very exciting joint adventure with the Year 3 boys at TSS.  More information on that coming soon.

On an administration note, we have noticed that a lot of panama hats and red play hats are becoming mislaid. We would really appreciate if you could check any hats you have at home to ensure that they belong to your daughter and also to check that they are named.

As always, we appreciate all your support and thank you for all that you do.  Enjoy the rest of the term and if you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to let us know.

From Year 4 – Teaching and Learning Initiatives in Term 3

The Year 4 girls have been participating in a wide range of learning experiences. Our cohort’s flexible groupings include spelling, comprehension and maths and have continued to enable learning to be targeted and individualised.

In English, we are immersed in Emily Rodda’s quest novel, Rowan of Rin, exploring and deconstructing the character development of Rowan. Rowan is the main character and joins the other six heroes of the village in their quest to solve the mystery of the missing water supply.  Rowan begins as a small, weak child who is nothing more than a skinny little rabbit, and keeper of the ‘bukshah’. In support of our novel study, the girls are purposefully using technology through the app Minecraft EDU to recreate the novel, highlighting the main ideas that occur throughout each chapter. The girls will then develop their own script to demonstrate their comprehension of the text.

Mathematics has seen the girls investigating decimals and developing an understanding of tenths and hundredths and how they are linked to fractions. The girls have also investigated money and how tenths and hundredths can be linked to cents that make up a dollar. They have also completed problem solving tasks involving money. Our next unit of work looks at time and timetables.

In Science and Design Technologies, the girls have been investigating forces and how they work. To demonstrate their understanding the girls will be creating their own pin ball machines and are very much looking forward to this hands-on task.

In History, our focus has been early Australia starting with the first Australians and then looking at European discovery, Captain James Cook, The Industrial Revolution, First Fleet, Convicts and the Impact of European Settlement on the Indigenous peoples of Australia.

In GROW we have been looking at what makes a leader, resilience and how to be mindful.

Sporting Success

Two students from Year 4 represented St Hilda’s proudly at the Australian School Swimming Championships in Melbourne with amazing results.

Holly Warn finished 2nd 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke and 4x50m freestyle relay, 3rd 4x50m medley relay (swam backstroke), 4th 50m freestyle and 5th 50m butterfly.

Holly said, “The experience was really fun. I was really excited when I found out I had won a medal”.

Sienna Lea’aetoa finshed 3rd 4×50 medley relay (freestyle), 4th 4×50 freestyle relay, 4th and 5th 100m freestyle.

Sienna said, “It was a really good experience. I met a lot of other great swimmers. Holly and I cannot wait til next year.”

From Year 5

The beginning of Semester 2 in Year 5 has been extremely busy.  Staff and students have plunged into the second half of the year with vigour and determination. The students have been involved in sexuality classes, a Brainstorm Production to focus on bullying and standing up for ourselves, the annual Gala Concert and a half day YLead programme which focused on the leadership skills the students will need to become the leaders of Junior School in 2020. In August, the students also travelled up to Brisbane to watch the show Storm Boy which they will be studying in Term 4.

In Pastoral Care this term, the students have been focusing on well-being. They have been learning how to recognize their emotions and to explain the influence of emotions on behaviour, learning and relationships.  In addition, they have become familiar with the four attributes of resilience:

  1. Stay calm when faced with challenges and difficulties
  2. Choose not to fight or withdraw when very upset
  3. Calm down within a reasonable period of time
  4. Bounce back to doing schoolwork or being with others

“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

― Nelson Mandela

In Year 5 this term we look forward to developing our resilience, making our connections to each other stronger and learning together in a safe, happy environment.  We continue to thank you for letting us work with your beautiful girls and value the time we have left with them this year.

Making damper on our Eureka excursion at the end of Term 2.

Learning about the correlation between capacity and mass during Maths lessons.

Learning to be a good leader with the YLead programme.

From Year 6

We are in the full swing of Term 3 and the girls have been working very hard across a number of subjects. So far this term we have investigated various sources of energy such as coal, hydro, solar, wind and nuclear and learnt how these are produced. We have explored the need for renewable energy sources and used this information to produce a multitouch presentation and a simple app for younger students. We have examined the CARP Design Principals and applied these to our projects.

Another interesting project that we have been exploring in Year 6 is to provide specific time for students to learn new and creative ways of showcasing their learning through a series of workshops using Apple’s “Everyone Can Create” project files. These have been wildly popular with the students and have given them skills that we are now seeing in their class work and assessment, including a great task the students are completing for our class novel, Mahtab’s Story.

In Mathematics, we have been exploring the wide world of angles with students expanding their prior knowledge. We have studied interior and exterior angles and used this knowledge to solve a range of complex problems. We then explored supplementary angles, consecutive interior angles, alternate interior angles and other diverse angle classifications.

From Year 5/6U

Throughout Term 3, students in 5/6U have been immersing themselves in our current unit of study Too Tough of an Adaptation to Handle. Students have been investigating the impact of humans on our local aquatic ecosystems and applying this knowledge to the impact humans are having on our oceans and reefs.

5/6U have had a thrilling time learning new and exciting material in our ecosystem unit. We have been very busy diving into learning opportunities such as testing water from Loders Creek and studying the samples under microscopes in the Senior School science laboratories. Our class has been going into further detail of our worlds’ ecosystems, its components and how they interact with each other throughout the ecosystems. With this information we will determine a way to change the actions of our school and save our wonderful ecosystems.

By Josephine Hermann and Eva Salmon

5/6U have had the wonderful opportunity to learn about marine ecosystems. An ecosystem is made up of multiple organisms that have important roles and interact with each other to survive. We also rely on these ecosystems though, little do most of us know, we are directly impacting these vital ecosystems. This term we took a dive into what the importance of ecosystems are and even applied these real conditions to other fields of learning such as technology. We have made keynote animations as representation of what is happening that we do not notice. We have also used Wix, a website designed to make your own website, to publicly inform others of our impacts to the environment, and used augmented reality to make our own ecosystem.

By Lily Fell and Sophie Hirabe

Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope, Grace