Guided Investigations – Personal History Focus

Hi everyone, 

Congratulations on your first full week of school, Preps! You all did a great job by trying your best each day and taking care of each other. Well done!

This term during Investigations, students are being guided to explore personal identity and history. In the first two weeks of term, they were asked to think of something special about themselves that they could share with classmates. They were introduced to the idea of planning before creating and sharing. Their plans consisted of drawing ideas, thinking about materials needed and explaining this to a teacher before creating through building, drawing, painting or writing. Teachers supported students to consider their plans as ‘instructions’ to be used when creating. You saw this work when students took it home at the end of Week Two.

Some interesting questions were generated following this process:

  • Why do babies need milk?
  • Why can’t babies talk like us?
  • Why aren’t babies very strong?
  • Why do some people have twins?
  • Why is Ava so helpful?
  • How do we go from small to big?
  • How do we grow up?

Last week, to further stimulate questions about their own and others’ families and cultures, students paired up to explore information books and find interesting pictures. Afterwards they were supported to extend themselves by choosing a different medium to share a fact from their book with others.

Layla composed a song to tell others about her family. Jay and Charli collaborated by providing music and dance. You can view their performance below. (The second video was recorded in a quiet room so as to hear Layla’s words).

 

Like last term, Preps will be supported to develop essential learning capabilities (the 6Cs) while exploring their identity and history. The development of skills in the areas of character, citizenship, communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking and knowlegde construction, gives students the tools they need to become lifelong learners who can adapt with flexibility and optimism to an ever changing world.

Have a great weekend and see you next week!

The Prep Team

Term 4, Week 11, 2016 – Final post for the year

Hi everyone,

 

The last full week of school has flown by, full of friends and fun. The teachers have enjoyed sharing lots of special end-of-year experiences with the Preps before we send them off for holidays and then into Year One. We have delighted in sharing the learning journey of each and every Prep and we are so proud of their achievements this year. We especially congratulate students on the hard work they have put in to develop the characteristics of good learners. These important qualities (like being curious, talking about their interests, asking open questions, choosing research tools relevant to their question, using resources carefully and caring for the environment) will provide a springboard into learning next year and also for years to come.

Below are a selection of moments from your child’s last full week of Prep, 2016. 

Maths games

Preparing for our excursion

Investigations

Christmas cooking

Mindfulness

Several days this week have also concluded with mindfulness activities. Practising mindfulness helps students find inner calm and learn to regulate their emotions.

Christmas craft

Thank you

Thank you all for the support you have given your child’s learning this year in so many ways – reading with your child at home, writing and responding to diary communications, staying in touch with classroom learning via the blog, prep newsletters and take-home notes, helping in the classroom, helping on Milkshake Days, Kids’ Kitchen and excursions, attending assemblies, attending special presentations of learning like Book Week,  Mulitcultural Day, the School Concert and the Prep Performance.

We know you and your children will feel right at home in the Jpod next year!

We look forward to seeing you at the whole school assembly tomorrow (commencing at 2.15pm) and at the Family Picnic (5.30 – 7pm) if you are able to attend.

We wish you all a very happy and safe holiday season!

The Prep Team

Term 3, Week 4, 2016 – Investigations Learning: Developing a sense of audience

Developing a sense of audience

Last week Preps continued to be supported in identifying their audience when presenting learning undertaken during Investigations sessions. Having an audience in mind gives purpose to learning. Asking themselves the questions ‘Who would I like to see my learning?’ may help them in this.

Term 2, Week 7, 2016 – South African Cultural Safari

Hi everyone!

Taj the Zebra dropped in on us last week from his home in South Africa. After meeting him, we wondered what it is like to live in South Africa. Here is some of what we found out, using teacher-selected pictures and videos to find answers to our question.

Entertainment…

Citizens of South Africa like to dance and to sometimes wear colourful jewelry. Some students explored traditional dance and everyone investigated popular styles of personal adornment.

Food…

South Africans like to eat meat! We learned about four distinctly South African dishes:

  • ‘Bunny Chow’ (a big favourite with the Preps because of the name and because you can eat the whole thing, bowl and all, seeing as it is made out of bread! Please note: there are no actual bunnies in Bunny Chow!)
  • ‘Boerwors’ (another favourite, because the shape of this popular sausage caused a lot of giggling)
  • ‘Biltong’ (some students were fascinated that the strips of meat must hang for 2 to 3 days in the drying box in order to become crunchy)
  • ‘Bobotie’ – like a three layered Shepherd’s Pie minus the potato (first layer is rice, second layer is mince, third layer is egg).

We were interested to find out that while the dishes are different to what we have here in Australia, the ingredients are the same as what we use to make the things we like to eat (for example, we use mince meat to make spaghetti bolognaise; we like sausages but ours are straight).

Students practised showing their learning to others by making posters. A good poster has an easy-to-read heading, pictures and facts to match the pictures. All Preps experimented with the medium of collage when creating their posters.

Everyday life…

Students uncovered facts about everyday life in South Africa and showed their learning by working with a partner to create a group information text (one per home group). These will be on display in our classroom for you to have a look at with your child. A good information book has a title and author(s) on the front cover. Each page has a picture with writing to tell a fact about the picture.

They found out that some things about life in South Africa are the same as here (for example, children go to school) and some things are different (for example, some houses look a lot different to the ones in which we live).

So What????

As you know, our school is involved with the ‘New Pedagogies for Deep Learning Global Partnership’. This approach to learning focuses on assisting students to develop the skills they will need to become life-long learners. These skills can come under the headings of the 6Cs – Character, Citizenship, Communication, Creativity, Collaboration and Critical Thinking & Knowledge Construction.

Our investigations this term have encompassed a strong element of Citizenship by fostering an awareness of the differences and similarities between individuals, families and various cultures. We have aimed to help students develop an appreciation that diversity makes our local community, our country and our global community a stronger, better, more interesting place to be. As students continue with their education and their lives, it is hoped that they use this understanding of their own and others’ cultures to consider global issues in relation to diverse values and worldviews.

Writing…

Next week we go on excursion to Ecolinc! During the excursion, Preps will focus on adding to the learning about plants that they have been undertaking in Science Specialist classes this term. Part of this learning will take place in Ecolinc’s vegetable patch. To this end, we tuned in to thinking about vegetables during writing sessions last week. Teachers found that the Preps already knew the names of many vegetables and displayed a wonderfully positive attitude to this important food group during our discussions.

Following a walk to our school vegetable garden, home groups made their own ‘gardens’ – drawing some of the vegetables they saw, then using Letters and Sounds knowledge and/or copied writing to label their creations before ‘planting’.

Later in the week, Preps practised descriptive writing skills while engaging in ‘partner writing’. Each pair chose a vegetable photograph, orally described it in relation to colour and shape, then wrote together to create a page in their home group ‘Vegetable Book’. Ruby T and Rokhsar wrote ‘The cauliflower is white and looks like a cloud’. This learning linked to numeracy as students used their recently acquired knowledge of 3D shapes to describe their vegetables. The books will be on display in our classroom.

During the week’s final writing session we all engaged our sense of taste before participating in a rich writing task . That is, a writing activity that encouraged students to use the writing skills some of them have acquired so far (like using Magic Words when writing, writing left to right, top to bottom, leaving spaces between words and using Letters and Sounds knowledge) while being supported by teachers with use of a ‘word shower’ to write tricky words (like specific vegetable names and descriptive words).

Here is some of their work:

Reading…

We consolidated our three focus strategies:

  • point under every word
  • use the pictures
  • use first sounds – get your mouth ready to read

During Whole Group time, Preps focused on what it means to ‘Read-To-Someone’:

  • sit elbow to elbow and knee to knee
  • sit still to read
  • look at one book together
  • use reading strategies
  • use quiet voices
  • read the whole time

Assessment…

Teachers have been spending time assessing students over the last week during Reading, Writing, Letters and Sounds and Numeracy sessions. This information is used for reporting purposes and also to ensure students are exposed to learning opportunities that fit their individual needs.

Buddies…

On Friday afternoon after lunch the atmosphere in our classroom was one of generosity and good nature when the Year 5 Buddies came down to visit us for a session. They brought with them some carefully selected picture story books and read to the Preps. Afterwards they talked about the book together and drew pictures as a response to the book. The consideration of the older children towards the younger ones was wonderful to witness. For example, one Buddy went back to a favourite page several times at the Prep student’s request; another Buddy went on a tour of the room led by a Prep, culminating with meeting her favourite soft toy that had been brought to school that day for playtime; some Buddies spent time with several Prep students whose own Buddies were not at school that day.

Thank you, Year 5s!

Things to remember…

Please return your consent forms for the Ecolinc Excursion if you have not yet done so.

Milkshake Day – Wednesday June 1st.

Junior Assembly – Friday June 3rd.

Have a great week!

The Prep Team.

 

Term 2, Week 6, 2016 – Brazilian Adventure!

Hello everyone! We are so happy you can join us on our latest virtual journey to Brazil…

Investigations

During Luna the green tree frog’s visit, Preps practised their growing skills in how to find answers for our questions and also in showing learning during Investigation Inquiry Based Learning sessions. Students collaborated in research, using teacher-selected sources of information via books and the internet. They worked together to communicate their learning using mixed media of construction (paper/feathers/play dough); dance (samba) and electronic information texts (My Story app).

Students are showing increased confidence in presenting learning and thinking in a variety of ways. They are encouraged to try new media, ask for help when needed, learn from and teach their friends when trying new things and to take great pride in the effort expended in putting new skills into practise.

 

Writing

Recount

Following the exciting visit by two of the Geelong Cats football players, Preps wrote recounts. They ‘kicked goals’ also, by remembering to write left to right, top to bottom and to put spaces between words. We also talked about adding more detail when writing a recount (eg. ‘Who? What? When? Where?)

Passports

Writing skills were also put to good use to create passports to enable safe travel to and from Brazil.

Descriptive Writing

It’s important to provide learners with adequate time to practise newly learned skills. To this end, we enjoyed a read aloud of ‘The Gruffalo’ by Julia Donaldson and then created a ‘word shower’ in our home groups before creating an oral sentence and writing. We have done this previously when describing our mothers prior to Mothers’ Day.

Reading

Students focused on a new reading strategy this week: ‘use first sounds – get your mouth ready to read’. They continue to use the two more familiar strategies we focused on last week: ‘point under every word; use the pictures’.

During Guided Reading Groups teachers ask students to talk about which strategies they are selecting for use during their reading. If students can talk about the process of reading (eg. choosing a strategy, seeing if it works and if not, choosing a different strategy) they are able to take a systematic, problem solving approach to reading. They are also empowered to help their friends during ‘Read to Someone’ – when one student helps another with his or her learning, they are likely to both become stronger in that area.

Maths

We had a measurement focus in numeracy sessions this week: ‘Capacity’. Students explored the meaning of ‘capacity’ as a whole group and spent the week measuring the capacity of different objects using a variety of informal units of measurement.

Grandparents’ Day

Thank you to all the wonderful grandparents, great-grandparents and other special people who visited our classroom last Tuesday. It was so lovely to have you with us! The children enjoyed your company greatly and we hope that the conversations you had together while working on your take home gift warmed your hearts.

Things to remember…

Thank you for returning your School Nurse forms. If you have not returned yours yet, please do so this week.

Ecolinc excursion consent forms to be returned.

Kids’ Kitchen is on this Friday, May 27th.

 

Have a great week!

The Prep Team

 

Term 2, Week 2, 2016

Hi everyone! Here are some of the moments that encapsulated the preps’ learning this week…

Investigations

Guided Inquiry: ‘Personal Identity – My Family’

As you saw during Week One, students discussed and shared some of the things they like, that help make up who they are. Last week, students began to think and talk about some of the very special people in their lives – their families. One of the ways they shared this information with the prep learning community was through creating videos. In order to do this, they tuned in to the technical aspect of operating the video camera on the iPads, worked together to film each other, edited and revised their work and shared it with their group. This experience involved negotiation, persistence, feedback and a sense of audience, relating to three of the 6Cs – collaboration, character and communication. You can see a sample of their work below:

Maths

The numeracy focus last week was on reading and writing numerals, the verbal counting sequence and accurately counting a collection of objects by counting each object once. A variety of games and learning activities offered different ways to engage in these learning foci. One popular game not pictured below was the ‘Number Treasure Hunt’ – pairs took turns to hide a laminated numeral outside; the partner then had to find it, with tips like ‘warm….hot….boiling!’ and ‘cool, cold, freezing!!’; once the numeral was found the seeker read it out loud, getting help from his/her partner if needed. This would be a good game to play at home!

Reading

Our focus author during Library sessions is Aaron Blabey. We read ‘Sunday Chutney’ in Week One and ‘Pig the Pug’ last week. While enjoying the read aloud, students note rhyme, Magic Words in the text, starting sounds and pictures and discuss the books’ themes like belonging, treating others as we would like to be treated, sharing and regulation of our emotions.

Each reading session during the week now encompass a mix of:

  • Guided Reading with a teacher
  • Read to Self
  • Read to Someone
  • Listen to Reading
  • Work on Writing
  • Word Work

Students have been doing a wonderful job of transitioning between their different learning experiences during reading sessions, making the most of their learning time.

Writing/Philosophy

In preparation for our Whole School Assembly Anzac Service last Thursday and Anzac Day coming up on Monday, students tuned in to the meaning of Anzac Day in an age appropriate manner. We read ‘Anzac Ted’ together and teachers explained that many Australians offer assistance to others during unsettled and sometimes dangerous situations (for example, during times of fighting/war and natural disaster, like flood or earthquake). Sometimes, the helpers may be injured themselves or feel a bit frightened while they are helping others. On Anzac Day we think of the people who go to help others even though it might be scary or uncomfortable. Thinking of their hard work, on Anzac Day, is a way of saying ‘thank you’.

Letters and Sounds

Students continue to enjoy a wide variety of short, game based learning experiences during Letters and Sounds sessions. These include:

  • short songs with actions
  • rhyming games (eg. ‘Doggy, Doggy, Who’s Got The Bone’ and ‘I’m thinking of something that rhymes with bed, I use it to think, it is my ….. (head)’
  • starting sounds games (eg. ‘I spy something/someone starting with …… (the sound, rather than the letter name – eg. ‘Sssss’ for ‘Sally)
  • Magic Words games (Snap!; Memory; Treasure Hunts; Word Sorts; putting the word in a sentence; finding the word on the Magic Words list when the teacher calls it out)
  • oral blending (eg. asking students to pass the ‘h – a – t’; students blend the sounds together, say the word ‘hat’ and pass it)

Things to remember:

  • No school on Monday April 25th – Anzac Day Public Holiday
  • Next week, please send a photo of your child with some family members ready to use next Friday (April 29th). If possible, they will need to be able to keep it and attach it to their work
  • The last session of Kinderlinks will be held next Friday (April 29th) from 1.30 to 2.30 in the Prep Room. The theme is ‘Music Fun – Beat the Drum’ with special guest drummer Mr Ramage!

We hope you have a safe and happy long weekend and look forward to seeing you all next week!

The Prep Team

Fun Learning Tips for the Easter Holidays!

Hi Preps and Families!

We hope your holidays are going well!

If you would like some fun learning activity ideas to try in your holidays, have a look below!

Memory Games

Prep students depend on their memories a lot as they begin to learn to read and write. For example, when learning Magic Words, when connecting sounds with letters of the alphabet and when writing letters and numbers. Here are some memory games you can play together:

‘I went shopping…’

You may remember this game from when you were small – it’s an oldie but a goodie! It’s easy to play when you are in the car. Just in case you haven’t played it before, this is how it goes:

  • play in a pair, or with the whole family
  • take turns; the first person says ‘I went shopping and I bought a ….. (choose anything you like, one word choices work best) cat’
  • the next person says ‘I went shopping and I bought a …. (must mention all previously bought items in order) cat and a (chooses a new item) ball’
  • the game continues with the next person ‘I went shopping and I bought a cat, a ball and a … cake’

Feel free to help your child if s/he can’t remember an item. Play for as long as the child is having fun, (or as time allows!) stopping if they are not enjoying it. Any amount of time spent playing this game will help develop their memories.

What’s missing????

Ask your child to select five objects to place on the floor/table between you. Spend some time naming the objects together, then ask your child to turn away and close his/her eyes. Remove one object and place it behind you. Tell the child s/he may turn around, look at the objects and tell you which one is missing. Then swap roles – you turn around, close your eyes and your child removes an object. If this is too easy, gradually introduce some more objects. As above, play while it is fun, stopping as soon as it isn’t.

Magic Words Memory

Thanks again to Mr Ramage and his son Banjo who have given permission to use this video filmed a few years ago when Banjo was in Prep. It’s important to take note of what Mr Ramage says regarding using about five Magic Words when you play this game, consisting of three your child knows well and two they are a little unsure of, giving lots of opportunity for success while building on their learning.

Oral Language/Reading/Writing

Geography/Citizenship

Holidays are a great time to encourage children to think and talk about their local environment, seasons and daily weather. Here are some conversation starters/activities based on three of the key questions (1. What are places like? 2. What makes a place special? 3. How can we care for places?) found in the Victorian Curriculum Foundation to Level 2:

  • How can we tell (Nanny/Poppy/Dad/Mum/) about our visit to the (pool/park/skate park/bike track/movies/library/beach/bush)? What was it like there? Encourage your child to think and talk about what s/he could see, hear, smell, touch, taste. Did it take a short time or a long time to get there? Did you walk to somewhere close or drive to somewhere further away?
  • Talk with each other about special places you visit. What makes them special? Is it the people, the natural features like the sea, the activities you can do there or how you feel when you go to that place?
  • Look at a map together if you are going on a trip. Read familiar place names to your child and point to them (eg. Geelong/Melbourne etc). Talk about different lines/colours on the map (eg. blue for rivers, red for big highways, black for smaller roads; lines marking state boundaries)
  • Draw a map together including special features of your street (eg. my house, post box, corner shop, park, friend’s house)
  • Talk about the ways you ‘look after’ the special places you visit. For example, when we visit the bush, skate park or beach, we take our rubbish home with us or put it in the bin; if we go hiking, we walk on the track so as not to squash growing plants; at the library we treat the books and computers with care.
  • Look for autumn leaves when you go for a walk; name the other seasons
  • Describe the weather to each other (what can you see, feel, hear?)

Reading

Enjoy lots of stories together! Take some extra library books with you when you visit relatives and make the most of those other willing story tellers (Nans and Pas, Uncles and Aunts…)

Writing

Part of our learning last term focused on developing an attitude of gratitude, as John Butler sang about in our Juniour Assembly item song ‘Better Than’.

  • Talk with your child about the things in your lives for which you are thankful and draw a picture together of some of these things
  • Make a ‘Thank You’ card for the Easter Bunny! Your child will probably need you to write any words down for copying
  • Construct a useful item for the Easter Bunny using Lego, blocks, play dough, kinetic sand. You could make Easter Bunny a house, a turbo charged car or a nice deck chair for relaxing after all that hard work!

Maths

  • Play ‘Simon Says’ using ‘location words’ (eg. ‘Simon says, “Stand in front of your brother/behind the chair/on top of the hill” etc)
  • Location words students tuned in to during Term 1, Week 9 were: left, right, above, below, on top, underneath, over, under, middle, next to, beside, forwards, backwards)
  • Practice verbally counting from zero to 20 in order (or to whichever number your child can accurately count from memory; if s/he has difficulty with any of the numbers between 10 and 20, you can help)
  • Play ‘What’s the number before/after, one smaller/one bigger, one more/one less than ….. (between zero and 20 or zero and 10 if your child finds counting to 20 to be difficult). If your s/he can count in sequence to a higher number than 20, play the ‘before/after’ game up to that number
  • Make a hungry ‘ Monster’ (or an Easter Bunny; Alien; Crocodile; Transformer; Dinosaur; Unicorn; Fairy) out of cardboard and a box; take turns to throw small items (scrunched up scrap paper/blocks/balls/uncooked pasta pieces) into the mouth, counting as you go. When you miss the mouth, it’s the other person’s turn. See how many you can get into the mouth before you miss it! Start off aiming for accurate counting of each object entering the mouth from one to 20; move past 20 if your child is keen to do so, helping with the oral counting sequence as needed
  • If you’re talking about rainy days, why not try this numeracy craft activity?

Science

For the dinosaur loving student, remember that the Melbourne Museum has both a special exhibition ‘Jurassic World’ and a regular free entry exhibit ‘Dinosaur Walk’ which you may enjoy visiting with your family! You can find out more by clicking on the links below.

Jurassic World: The Exhibition

Dinosaur Walk Melbourne Museum

We hope you enjoy these ideas for some of the ways you can talk, learn and have fun together over the holidays!

Please remember that these suggestions are not homework, but just some ways you may enjoy learning together at home if you have the time and inclination.

The emphasis is on relaxed and fun! Enjoy!

The Prep Team

Term 1, Week 8, 2016 – Learning for Life: The 6Cs

As you know, learning at Grovedale West Primary School is linked to the ‘6Cs’: character, citizenship, communication, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking/knowledge construction.

The special events of last week gave opportunity for Preps to develop and strengthen some of the personal qualities and skills necessary for their roles as confident, compassionate and responsible global citizens.

Fun Run – Character

Wow! What an amazing effort! Students approached their first Fun Run with with a positive outlook and enthusiasm and they all did a fantastic job on the day! Well done Preps!

In addition to promoting good health and providing an enjoyable way to raise money for their school, the Fun Run experience helps students  develop an understanding that grit, tenacity, perseverance and resilience are important in life, work and the world. For example:

  • determination during practice runs in PE in the lead up to the day, built stamina
  • stamina enabled them to keep going and give the run their best shot even though the day was hot
  • resilience and good sportsmanship were discussed and practiced before, during and after the run
  • students supported each other through the challenge, looking out for, encouraging and congratulating each other.

Clean Up Australia Day – Citizenship

Congratulations to all students in Yellow House on winning ‘The Golden Bin’ trophy for the most rubbish collected (by weight).

After discussing the effect of litter on the environment and exploring the ‘Clean Up Australia’ website with a teacher, Preps actively engaged in making a change by participating in the clean up of our school. Preps also show a keen awareness each day of their own responsibility to avoid littering – they unwrap and dispose of any packaging present in their lunch boxes before they leave their eating circle inside the classroom. Many students are also bringing ‘Nude Food’ to school, that is, food without any wrapping/packaging.

Classroom Monitors

Commencing last week, students were given special jobs to help our learning community run smoothly. These roles will be rotated among students each week and will provide both a reward for good learning choices and the opportunity for learners to demonstrate personal responsibility.

 

Investigations

During Investigations sessions last week, students continued to identify personal areas of interest, either independently or with assistance from a teacher. They put into practice their learning about perseverance by seeing projects through to completion. Here is some of their work!

During pack up after Investigations, students showed respect for their resources and classroom environment by putting materials back into the correct places. This leaves the room tidy for everyone to use next time and also prevents waste.

Reading/Philosophy

Reading for fun and learning forms part of each day in prep. For example, we often enjoy:

  • a read aloud story before Letters & Sounds sessions and as part of Library session
  • digital texts to get us thinking (before writing, philosophy or maths)
  • ‘Read to Self’ for short periods
  • using pictures to help us learn new things in Investigations
  • finding Magic Words in our Readers before the bell goes in morning home group circle

The ‘Charlie and Lola’ digital text below helped us to think about what it means to be ‘a good sport’ before we participated in the Fun Run. Later we made posters to show our learning (pictured above in this post). You can also see them on display in our room!

Magic Words – Learning Magic Words will help your child to read and write!

We love to hear about the fun ways you learn your Magic Words at home! Matilda’s Mum took Matilda and her brother outside to play a game! Great idea, Tania! Click on the ‘Learning Tips’ tab on the right of this page if you would like some more ideas about fun ways to learn Magic Words at home! Remember we all learn Magic Words at different rates – just do your best!

Maths

Last week in Maths we learned about the numbers and words that help us put things in order (ordinal numbers). Students drew pictures of themselves and their friends racing in the Fun Run.

Later in the week students listened to a story which included ordinal numbers.

Afterwards they put this learning into practice.

Writing

Students completed a writing sample last week.

Things to remember…

Monday March 21st – Whole School Photos

Thursday March 24th – Last day of school for Term 1

  • Whole School Assembly in the gym commencing at 9am
  • Easter Raffle Drawn at Assembly
  • School finishes at 2.30pm

Have a great week!

The Prep Team.

 

Term 1, Week 7, 2016 – Building character

Hi everyone!

Thank you for coming to Junior Assembly last Friday afternoon! Students and teachers loved having so many families present to celebrate some of the learning that has taken place in Term One. I’m sure you’ll join the teachers in congratulating Prep and Jpod students on being both an awesome audience and fantastic presenters/performers! The teachers were all proud of the consideration students showed to their classmates by sitting quietly and giving their attention to those who were speaking or performing. The Jpod students who ran Assembly were awe-inspiring in the way they spoke with such composure and confidence and the Preps gave a wonderful, enthusiastic dance performance! Well done!

If you couldn’t make it, here is a rundown on the learning represented through dance by the Preps at their first Junior Assembly.

Positive Mindset

Prep students have spent a lot of time this term learning about how they can make the world a better place for themselves and others through the things they choose to think, say and do.

This learning has taken place through:

  • Puppet Shows – two student puppets, Gwen and Dean, helped students experience what it is like for their friends when someone chooses to make poor learning choices in class and also how good it feels to change your behaviour when you realise you are not making a good learning choice!
  • Shared stories‘Have You Filled A Bucket Today’ by Carol McCloud is referred to almost every day by someone in the Prep learning community. This story teaches us that when we say or do something kind or helpful, we make other people and ourselves feel good (filling our invisible buckets with good feelings). However, when we choose to do the opposite, we dip into our friends’ buckets making them feel sad and our own buckets get holes in them through which our good feelings leak out. This book provides young children with a powerful mind picture of the effects that our words and actions have for good or bad on the ourselves and the people around us. ‘The Grouchy Ladybug’ by Eric Carle was used to start a discussion about our emotions. What makes us feel grouchy inside? What makes us feel happy? When we choose to see other people as friends and treat them kindly, like the Friendly Ladybug, the world is better for everyone.
  • Social skills strategy teaching – ‘The Six Finger Rule’ empowers students to take control of social encounters that may not be going the way they would like, giving a range of positive actions & words to work through before seeking help from a teacher if needed, resolving the issue and moving on.
  • Music appreciation – The song ‘Better Than’ by John Butler helped bring all of this learning together for students. This song speaks about living ‘in the moment’, enjoying the things you are doing and the people special to you today and not worrying about things that have already happened or might happen in the future. Students spent time identifying the things and people they appreciate in their lives and discussed the importance of leaving resolved problems or challenges in the past, enjoying today and facing the future with a positive outlook.
  • Dance – The Performing Arts feature prominently in the new Victorian Curriculum. In preparation for giving their performance at Assembly students: explored and created their own dance moves; worked with a teacher to represent their moves with a symbol on a flashcard; decided as a group on the sequence of dance moves; used props (streamers) to enhance their performance and practiced engaging the audience with eye contact and smiles

In other learning last week…

Developing character traits for 21st century citizens! – Investigations

While students identified and found out about their individual interests this week, they tuned into the importance of developing the personal characteristic of ‘perseverance’. We discussed how this means trying our best, not giving up, keeping going until we finish something even if it takes a long time or is sometimes a bit hard. We talked about how good we feel when we practise perseverance and finally feel proud of our achievement! Teachers enjoyed hearing students relate this learning to different areas of their lives, like practising for the Fun Run or doing their best dancing for their special people at Assembly. Below are two of the of the stimuli viewed by students before discussing and putting perseverance into practise for you to watch at home together if you like.

Here are some examples of how students persevered in Investigations last week:

Indigo created a wonderful story and drew pictures to match. Working with a teacher, she rehearsed the story, took photos of her illustrations, put it all together on the ‘My Story’ app and finally published her work by sharing it with the class on Friday. You can enjoy her story too! Well done Indigo!

Ava and Ruby T made a stage set, home-made puppets, rehearsed and presented a puppet show for the class this week. The show was about a sad butterfly who didn’t have any friends until one day she found a friend and felt happy. Perhaps inspired by this story, Jack also created his own ‘set’ and puppets to perform ‘The Sad Possum and Ladybug Show’ for his classmates. He worked with a teacher to sequence his story, carefully introducing his characters and the story setting, the problem (possum was sad because he had no friends and everyone he asked to be his friend said ‘No!’ until he asked Ladybug who said ‘Yes!!!’). In his ending, everyone lived happily ever after. Alexia has been working with a teacher to make a puppet theatre to go with her tree puppets. We look forward to hearing her story! Well done Indigo, Ava, Ruby T, Jack and Alexia – you showed perseverance last week when you kept going with your work, rehearsing and improving it until it was your best work.

Philosophy – team work skills

Small teams were ‘thrown in the deep end’ when teachers asked them to move four balloons to a set point without using their hands or letting the balloons touch the floor. Following the first attempt, home groups work shopped the result: What worked? Why? What didn’t work? Why? What should we do next time?

Following this, small groups of cross-legged students were challenged to see how many ‘taps’ of a balloon their group could have before it touched the floor (keeping bottoms on the floor). Later we discussed our experiences. We found out that it’s really important to use a friendly voice when you work in a team because people are more likely to co-operate with you. Also, if everyone works together towards the same goal you can achieve more. For example, if someone liked to hit the balloon really hard and made that their own goal, the group couldn’t achieve a very high score. If everyone worked together to get a lot of small taps, they group could get a high score.

Reading

Book Boxes – students received and filled their book boxes with a selection of books (one each of picture story & information books and three readers).

Read to Self – they were introduced to an important reading routine, ‘Read to Self’. Before reading sessions, students will be given the opportunity to read to self for very short periods. This involves collecting their book boxes, finding a comfortable place in the room by themselves and quietly looking at their book for the whole time. At this stage of the year, most students enjoy independent reading by looking and thinking about the pictures and looking for Magic Words in readers. During this time, teachers read with individual students.

Writing – writing with purpose

What’s in a name?

Werribee Zoo is running a competition to name two of their new Maremma puppies! These puppies have a very important job to do – they protect the endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot from animals that might eat it, like foxes and cats. Without these Bandicoot Bodyguards, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot may become extinct (like the dinosaurs)!

Name Our Guardian Dogs

The Maremma breed of dogs are intelligent, strong and independent and the zoo is looking for names which reflect these character traits. During writing session last week students talked about this initiative, drew pictures of the puppies, told each other what they would like to call them and copied their names down. Teachers will enter the names into the competition and maybe our class will win a prize!!! Anyway, win or not, we are proud to be a part of what Werribee Zoo is doing to look after our native animals!

Lists

We all know lists are a great way to help us remember things! Lots of students have helped with shopping lists at home. Last week, we learned that lists need: a title, dot points and we need to use a new line for each item.

Students put this new learning to use when they created their own lists about ‘What good dancers need’!

Maths – subitsing

Last week students were guided to see small collections of objects (to six) as a group and use this as a basis for ordering and comparing collections of numbers. They played a variety of games with their teachers and friends using materials like plastic animals, play dough, Numicons and counters to build this skill.

Play at home – playing games that require dice (like ‘Snakes and Ladders’, ‘Monopoly’ or other board games) will help your child develop confidence in trusting the patterns they see.

Things to remember

Easter Raffle 

  • Tickets cost 50 cents each
  • Raffle drawn on the last day of Term One (March 24th)
  • Lots of great prizes including a hamper!
  • Thank you for donations you have made to this raffle so far! We are still accepting donations if you would like to contribute to the raffle prizes

Monday March 14thPublic Holiday (no school)

Thursday March 17th – Clean Up Australia Day Buddy Activity 

Thursday March 17thFun Run (on the Oval). Remember to ask your friends and family to sponsor you!

  • Prep Girls run at 12.30pm
  • Prep Boys run at 12.40pm

Friday March 18thKinderlinks

  • ‘Let’s Make Music’
  • 1.30 – 2.30pm in the Prep Room

We hope you all enjoy time together this weekend and look forward to seeing you back at school on Tuesday!

The Prep Team