18 Nov 2016

Faith Matters

Adoption
Adoption isn’t something you earn. It’s a gift you receive. Can you imagine prospective parents saying, “We’d like to adopt little Johnnie, but first we want to know does he have a house, money for tuition, a ride to school in the morning and clothes to wear every day? No agency would stand for such talk. They’d say: “Wait a minute, you don’t adopt little Johnnie because of what he has, you adopt him because of what he needs. He needs a loving home.”

The apostle Paul writes, “[We] have received the spirit of adoption… by which we cry out ‘Abba! Father'” (Romans 8:15). Adoptive parents understand these words. They know what it means to have an emptiness in their hearts, to hunt, set out on a mission, take responsibility for a child perhaps with a spotted past and a dubious future. And that’s what God offers us! Knowing full well the trouble we humans can be. Regardless of the past He offers us the right to call Him “Abba,” which literally means, “My daddy.”

Paul didn’t say we’ve earned the spirit of adoption. He said we’ve received it. Why is that important? Because if we can’t earn it by our efforts, we can’t lose it through our poor performance. If we can’t earn it or deserve, it’s a gift! Why does any parent want a child? To love and to share their life with – and that’s how God feels about you today!

Peter Morphew – College Chaplain

 

The Prep Shop

The Prep Shop is now selling the new style tracksuits. Samples are now available on the racks for boys to try on – these are quite different from the current ones.  Students will be able to wear their existing tracksuits for as long as you would like them to.
 
The Prep Shop’s last day for 2016 will be Monday 5 December, the second hand shop will also be open on that day.  Hopefully that will enable you to purchase everything you need before the first day back in 2017!
 
Opening times for January 2017:
Friday 27 January – 10:00am – 11:00am
Monday 30 January – 8:00am – 9:00am (usual opening)
Monday 30 January – 3:00pm – 3:35pm
 
I would like to thank all the volunteers who have helped in the Prep Shop this year, you are amazing and it is greatly appreciated.
 
I would especially like to thank Kylie Strawbridge for helping me with my transition into the role of Prep Shop Manager.  Kylie has been very patient and always ready to answer any question I have. Thank you so much Kylie, you will be missed.
 
Have a great break everyone!

 

Jennifer Kahn – Prep Shop Convenor

IPSHA Inaugural Speakers Challenge

On 10 November, Newington participated in the IPSHA Inaugural Speaker’s Challenge at Abbotsleigh Junior School.  The event included 27 schools and over seventy-five Stage 3 students.  Newington was represented superbly by Daniel Martin and James Blakeman from Year 5.  Nathan Sharp was also a valuable member of our team but unfortunately was unable to join us on the day due to illness.  

In the preliminary round, Daniel and James presented their three-minute speeches on the topic of ‘Heroes’ to a group of other students, teachers and parents.  Although not progressing to the finals, the boys displayed fine public speaking skills and presented speeches of sincerity, depth and conviction. We wish the boys well for their future public speaking opportunities and commend them on the fine way they represented Newington at this event.

Jo Zammit – Learning Enhancement

End of Year Concert Season

“‘Tis the season for the concerts – Fa la la la la fa la la la” (Sing to tune of Deck the Halls!)

Wind and Brass Concert

This is the concert where all the School Bands play and show what they have achieved during the year.  This concert was held on 8 November in the Don Brown Hall.

The Year 4 Band (or the Training Band) showed how far they have come by performing Mucho Mariachi as well as showcasing each section. The Year 4 boys have been showing their instruments to next years Kindergarten class each Thursday morning. Each section had to learn a Nursery Rhyme song that the new Kindy boys could sing along to.

This was the final performance for the Year 5 Band (Intermediate Band). This has been a huge learning curve for those boys that had done very little music and no instrumental playing when they arrived at the school. They got Funky Town only a couple of weeks ago and where able to play it well. It showed me what they could accomplish. It was well played and I am sure some of the parents would have been grooving in their seats to memories.

The School Band performed a couple of pieces showing the potential of what the boys could achieve if they chose to have lessons and continue learning on the instrument.  It was a great late afternoon concert.

Christmas Extravaganza

“Tinsel and Tea-towels” was a huge success. It was a beautiful evening for a picnic and to sit back and watch the boys as they sang and performed what happens to prepare for a school nativity play!

The songs were catchy and lots of teachers have been singing them around the school and I can also say probably in the cars on the way to work!  The boys did a wonderful job – the singing, dancing and acting all came together really well. A huge thank you to everyone who helped making this a wonderful success.

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String Concert

Year 2 started their instrumental journey this year and they have made great progress. They played some of their favourite pieces to show what they have achieved.

This is Year 3’s final concert on the String Instruments as a group. They played simple ensemble pieces as well as the Movie Suite in which each piece has a theme and a story to go with it. We have had lots of fun with the stories.

The School String Ensemble then showcased what is the next step. They played two pieces Spytime Rag which has lots of syncopation and Avatar which has a very driving rhythmic feature.

With only a few weeks left of school, all of the boys who have been part of or are still part of the instrument program (Years 2 – 5) have done a magnificent job of learning and playing their instruments. There has been lots of research published recently about what learning an instrument does to brain connectivity and general learning skills. These boys have a good head start. I look forward to seeing them all next year.

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Vanessa South – Music Mistress

 

Year K – Art

Early Stage One have spent the term engaged in their Unit of Inquiry ‘Our personal histories tell a story and help us to understand who we are’. During their art lessons, the boys have considered artwork from a range of artists and how families are portrayed. The boys were encouraged to express opinions on how families are portrayed in artworks. After reflecting on their classroom discussion, the students then drew, coloured and painted their family-portraits, which are now displayed proudly on the Art Room wall.

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The Kindergarten boys also created a clay face of a family member. They have modeled and carved a head, eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth and ears in clay. The students used various modelling techniques and tools whilst crafting their realistic human heads. The sculptures were painted using a variety of skin tones. We look forward to varnishing the completed work and developing the background of the picture by adding imagery from the memory of family events or from knowledge of their family’s history.

Stage One students have also applied their knowledge of how successful workplaces are organised and they have worked collaboratively to construct a mini theatre. The boys have created their own stand-up mini stage and invented a range of monster puppets, which will be used to emulate a working theatre. This week the boys will design props, created in modelling clay. Script-writing forms part of the mini theatre concept. The boys will have the opportunity to use the theatre with peers and collectively produce a theatrical based i-movie. I look forward to viewing the end product and seeing the connections made between an organised workplace and our attempt to generate a working mini theatre.

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Kylie Bain – Art Teacher

Year 6 Fair

The annual Year 6 Fair was held on Wednesday 9 November. For the organisers, the day started off with much trepidation as it had rained the night before and there were dark clouds looming overhead that morning, however, luck was with us, the clouds dispersed and the sun shone it’s benevolent rays upon us. Judging by the happy and excited faces scattered around the school grounds, the Fair was a huge success.                     

This year’s activities included; Nerf Warfare, Bottle Flip Mini Golf, Refreshments Stand, Ball Games, Soccer Target, Water Dunking, Crazy Hair, Bubble Wrap Wrestling and Obstacle Course. Many of these stalls appeared for the first time this year. All the boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves while participating in these various activities. The Year 6 boys had an equally enjoyable time preparing and hosting the fair.                       

The school community raised just over $2000, which will be the Year 6 boys’ ‘gift to the school.’ The money raised will be going towards enriching the College’s sustainability program. This incorporates buying new recycling bins, as well as educating the students further about recycling and its importance in our society.                       

On behalf of my Year 6 classmates, I would like to thank all the parents and members of staff for their support in preparation for the Fair and all their efforts on the day. It has been a privilege for us to have been given the opportunity to host such an event.        

Adi Apana – Year 6B Student

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Stage 2 – Provocation

“Get in. Sit down. Don’t make a sound!”

The boys entered a dark and stuffy room and were immediately stunned. This was not the typical Unit of Inquiry lesson they were expecting.

“This afternoon you have sport. This does, however, depend on whether you meet the expected working quota. You are to scrunch up the crepe paper in front of you and completely fill a plastic cup. These will be used for Year 2’s Christmas Craft.”

“You speak – no sport! You’re not fast enough – no sport! You complain – no sport! Your scrunches are not tight enough – no sport! You even ask to go to the bathroom – no sport!”

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After what seemed like a lifetime and at the risk of tears and parent emails, Miss Peterson and Mr Pollard yelled the words “HAPPY PROVOCATION”.

Some still unsure whether they were even allowed to smile, eventually joined the others in a wave of awkward laughter. “How could we not have known?”, “I knew this wasn’t right”, “No one could treat us like that”.

Our final Unit of Inquiry for Stage 2 falls under the transdisciplinary theme: ‘How We Express Ourselves’. The boys have been exploring the central idea: The rights of children can lead to empowerment and responsibility for themselves and others through the concepts of Perspective, Reflection and Responsibility. We used this ‘sweatshop’ provocation to start the start the boys thinking on what was fair and unfair. This then lead to a discussion about rights and which rights were taken away from them. It was a powerful and provocative start to an empowering unit of inquiry.

Since then the boys have begun to collate a series of rights children in Australia and around the world need and deserve. We will now compare these to the UN’s ‘Convention of the Rights of the Child’. From here the boys will use visual literacy strategies to create informative and persuasive texts. The boys will explore their own self awareness and the challenges they, and children around the world, are facing. This will hopefully lead to a sense of empowerment as the boys realise the responsibility we all have in fulfilling the rights of children.

 

Shayne Pollard – Year 4 Teacher

 

Year 1 – Structured Play

At the end of last term and throughout this term, Year 1 have been engaging in ‘structured play’ activities a couple of times a week with Mrs Bradshaw and myself.

Structured play is any activity that offers children a specific learning objective. It could be learning a certain life skill, soft skills such as teamwork, or working on physical abilities such as gross and fine motor skills.

Structured play activities and games are generally teacher led. We set the tone for the play and then help the boys to either meet their goals or review the learning objective. Some of the learning objectives we have focused on so far are those involving team work, sharing, cooperation, giving compliments and using the appropriate language when communicating with peers.

So far the boys have engaged in activities involving board games (Connect 4, Kerplunk, Tumbling Monkeys, Jenga), construction (Mobilo, Duplo, train sets, cars), dressing up and role-playing various scenarios.

Structured play is an activity that many of the boys obviously look forward to. It is typically towards the end of the school day when the boys have already worked hard throughout the day. Since the boys have started to engage in structured play, I have noticed an increase in the use of some of the ‘soft skills’ in the classroom and on the playground – communication, courtesy, interpersonal skills, responsibility and teamwork.

The boys now also have further opportunities to engage with these soft skills during lunch and recess times, as some of the activities are now on offer in either the library or on the playground. The uptake in boys across Junior Primary engaging with these activities during recess and lunch times has been high which I hope will continue into the future.

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Sam Watson – Year 1 Teacher

Let them play….

One of the joys of the playground is watching the boys engage in play. This is one of the most precious times as a child, in fact, play has been recognised by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.

The overriding premise is that play (or some available free time in the case of older children and adolescents) is essential to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.

Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers. As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges. Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.

Play is integral to the academic environment. It ensures the social and emotional development of children as well as their cognitive development. It has been shown to help children adjust to the school setting and even to enhance children’s learning readiness, learning behaviors, and problem-solving skills.

 

Aleca Bradshaw – Learning Enhancement

 

Milteer, Regina M., et al. “The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bond” Pediatrics 129.1 (2012): e204-e213.

 

 

A Message from the Head of Lindfield Campus

Practice makes perfect or does it?

We are constantly thinking about how we can improve the learning practices of our boys here at Lindfield. Our parents partner with the school to help with homework, reading, practicing music, sport and other skills. I know lots of mums and dads are really involved in playing sport with their son and helping them develop their skills and love of the games they play.  I recently read an interesting article from Doug Lemov. He sets out all manner of interesting ideas that are useful for parents and teachers alike around how we help our boys improve and develop their skills, thinking and motivation in their learning at school, in music and on the sporting field.

He argues that if our boys practice skills imperfectly we are encoding the wrong moves permanently. He used soccer skills coaching as an example. He said that coaches often don’t insist on the skills being practiced correctly and there is not enough checking in and follow up. He also advocated a very practical emphasis to all coaching whether by teachers, parents or coaches but says many coaches set drills that are too hard and so boys lose motivation or do them poorly.

If you are keen to help your son develop his skills and want to provide advice, you need to do it in a way that is fun for him and for you, helps him improve and motivates him to practice more often.

When he makes a mistake (which is a crucial part of the learning), it is really important to give him the opportunity to go back and do something again as soon as possible so he can improve. Often parents tell their children what was done incorrectly but don’t give them the opportunity to try it again and learn and celebrate when they ‘get it’.

If you are helping your son with his learning, his music or sporting skills, it is really important to model and describe what it is that you would like to see him doing. Now this may be a bit difficult if your son is a trumpeter and you have no idea about the trumpet. Maybe finding an appropriate video would be helpful.

If the skill you are trying to teach involves performance of any sort, using video is a great way to help your son learn. Video him kicking the ball, swimming, practicing his music, cooking.

Feedback is best given straight away. If you wait a day, or even ten minutes for the little ones, the opportunity is often gone. Remember give feedback, model and describe what should happen and then try it again.

Always focus on and build on what is right rather than what is wrong. But don’t give vague praise, make it specific and useful.

‘Good, Shayne, you moved your feet quickly and got behind the ball’

Well done, you read all the words accurately and fluently.

Well Done Pascal, you played that piece of music with correct pauses and a mixture of soft and louder sections.

Tame your inner expert. You don’t need to tell your son everything at once. Focus on one thing at a time. Focus on explaining what you want to see, not what is wrong. It is normal to make mistakes, that is how we learn, so make sure you convey that message.

You also need to show that you make mistakes, that you are willing to try and you make mistakes as well. ‘What is something that I could do better?’

The long and the short of doing things with your son is that it should be fun, if you are going to give him advice, it needs to be positive, specific and motivating.

Remember practice does not make perfect, perfect practice repeated many times makes perfect.

Ben