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.


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!


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



Term 4, Week 9 – School Concert Week!

Congratulations to all GWPS students on their wonderful performance at the school concert last Thursday! You really wowed the audience with your dance moves, your smiles and also with the way you helped and encouraged each other. Well done!

Concert Reflections…

Last week, prep students reflected on the concert during Philosophy session. They discussed how they felt before and after the performance, touching on pre-show nerves and the sense of accomplishment and pride felt when they overcame these feelings. You can share in this thinking by watching the video below.



Transition to the Jpod…

Preps enjoyed two transition sessions in the Jpod this week. The first was a shared CAFE reading hour, the second session involved enjoying maths games together, followed by eating lunch with Jpod friends. As you can see below, prep students are already feeling at home and comfortable in the Jpod learning space, spending time with their future classmates. The next transition session is to be held this Tuesday.


This week, reading sessions were conducted as a whole group. Students shared two read alouds – ‘The Gruffalo’ by our focus author, Julia Donaldson and ‘You and Me: Our Place’ by Leonie Norrington. Following discussion about author purpose and making connections to previous Julia Donaldson books and Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, students had fun creating a crafty response to the stories.


Students played familiar games requiring the use of subtraction, addition and two digit place value learning. They also had opportunity to further explore the concept of ‘sharing’ while sharing a ‘You Tube’ story and acting it out using counters as cookies. You can share the story together below if you like.

This story begins with two children and 12 cookies, however, more and more friends keep arriving! Preps extended their thinking to consider what they could do to share the cookies once there were 12 friends and everyone had one cookie each and then ….. the doorbell rang again! They said they could break them in half! (Good thinking!).


Students were given time to complete the books they are making for a friend. We are all looking forward to sharing them with each other next week.


Well, the learning games for next year’s preps are really coming along! Teachers and students have been having so much fun trying out the games in order to offer feedback to the creators. We think the new preps are going to love these games. Stay tuned to see some of the finished products in next week’s blog post.

Things to remember…

Classroom Helper ‘Thank You’ morning tea is next Thursday (December 10th) at 11am.

There is no Milkshake Day next Thursday due to our wonderful helpers hopefully enjoying treats of their own at the morning tea!

Please remember to return your End of Year Excursion consent forms and payment if you have not already done so.

Have a great week!

The Prep Team

Term 3, Week 4, 2015

Last week was very full and exciting! Check out the video below for a quick look at some of the learning undertaken by students.



Our trip to Scienceworks went very smoothly and gave us all food for thought! Thank you to our two parent helpers for the day, Jess and Jeremy. Photos of the day will be posted soon.





Learning tips…

Here are some ideas you might like to try at home based on our learning last week:


  • practise skip counting together (start with 10s and 5s and move on to 2s if your child would like to)
  • talk together about the coins and notes you use when handling money during your daily activities
  • practise mentally ‘counting on’ by 1, 2 and 3 from a bigger number (for example: ‘5 and 2 more is….?’ or ’22 and 1 more is…?’
  • play ‘What is the number before/after?’ games
  • encourage your child to draw a number story and tell you about it (for example: ‘there were 4 snails and 3 more came along, then there were 7 snails altogether’)


  • encourage your child to listen and look for interesting words and ask about their meanings during story time, conversations and when watching television


  • encourage your children to write about things that interest them when at home (for example: shopping lists; household job roster; reader into the diary; Magic Words; experiences like play dates, weekend activities and exciting things at school they want to share with you)

Social wellbeing:

  • talk with your children about how we all experience different emotions throughout the day and strategies they can use to change the way they feel should they wish to do so

Well done on a great week, Preps!

The Prep Team.




Our Learning in T2 W1, 2015

We  have filled every corner of our first week back with wonderful learning! Here is a snapshot of Term Two, Week One.


We read to learn while we learn to read!


We started working in our new writing groups this week! Students wrote about their favourite holiday experience. Before writing they thought, drew a picture and said what they wanted to write. The skill of creating a simple oral sentence after thinking and drawing is a very important and celebrated part of the writing process for preps. They watched teachers use Magic Words, put spaces between words and use their phoneme fists and alphabet strips before writing. Each was supported according to their needs to assist students in attaining a sense of achievement and success. Here is some of their work.


Both numeracy groups focused on matching number names to numerals and numerals to quantities, according to individual student needs. We had lots of fun doing this, as you can see from the pictures below! We also spent one numeracy session outside as a whole group, playing movement based maths games designed around the above learning objective. We all agreed that we should do maths outside more often!


The whole class viewed this video as a stimulus, then broke into home groups for discussion.

Students in home groups briefly worked in small groups to formulate questions raised by the video, then voted as a whole group as to which question they would like to talk about. Some of their thinking is shown below.


Investigations will be a little bit different this term. We began our new inquiry focus this week. Have a look at the video below to find out more.

Well done preps! You have been great learners this week and settled back into your learning routines very well! The teachers are looking forward having fun learning with you this week!

The Prep Team.

Our GWPS School Beliefs

Our 4 core GWPS School Beliefs were recently highlighted in the ‘Link’ newsletter.

The students in our 1/2 area thought it would be a good idea to try and re-write the beliefs in a way that could be easy for our new prep students to understand.

The students did this collaboratively with the Jpod working together to produce 4 Y charts (one for each School Belief) attempting to show in pictures and words what each belief would ‘look like’, ‘sound like’ and ‘feel like’ at Grovedale West primary school.

Here is what the 1/2 students came up with

– We can all learn.
– A safe school is a happy school.
– We all look after each others things.
– We need to take care of each other.We need to be friendly to each other.

The 1/2 students shared these posters in our first whole school assembly and they have now helped to narrate a film to show to the preps.

The students will be watching the film in class but it would be great to watch it with your child so you can help them understand each of the beliefs.

It would be great to leave a comment to let the 1/2 students know what you thought of their work.

Many Thanks
The Prep Team

week 3 Philosophy

This week, we linked our philosophy sessions to our community learning and used an Aboriginal Dreamtime story to help immerse the students in some Aboriginal culture before our trip to Narana aboriginal centre next week. The students loved the story and we had some great conversations exploring the reasons why the frog drank all the water, whether it was right for him to do it, why he didn’t want to share and why the animals chose to make him laugh to fix the problem. There was so many relevant messages in the story for the students.

enjoy the video and hope to see you all at the spring fair tonight.

The Prep Team

The DOT – Philosophy session

The students enjoyed watching ‘the Dot’ for our philosophy stimulus last week.

What followed was a fantastic conversation around the virtues of believing in yourself, setting personal challenges , not giving up, trying hard and practicing to get better at things.

Nearly all the students participated in the discussion and then the students wrote what they had ‘learnt’ or noticed from watching the film.

It is amazing to see how the students thinking is developing through our regular philosophy sessions as they are beginning to look for deeper messages in the stimulus we present to them and show deeper levels of comprehension.

Philosophy for Children with Austen’s Butterfly

Austen’s Butterfly is an inspiring and though provoking film which demonstrates the power of quality feedback (peer critique) and persistence among other things in the pursuit of quality learning. It is certainly worth watching by anyone involved in education; teachers, students and parents alike.

We watched the film below as a staff recently and reflected on the power that this approach could have throughout the school; students seeing the need to re-work and re-draft based on feedback they receive from teachers and other students and the need to strive for excellence and show persistence with their learning opportunities.

Like the grade 1/2 team did early this week, we used the film today as a stimulus for our weekly planned Philosophy session and we were very impressed with the thinking and articulation of the students after watching the film. The short film made below was unrehearsed and the video of the students comments were taken without any prompting other than the comments and questions raised during the circle discussion.

We can certainly see the benefits of our regular philosophy sessions in helping the students articulate their thinking and strengthen and develop their speaking and listening skills.

We are looking forward to exploring the positive attitudes to learning shown in Austen’s butterfly further with the students. We can see the story of Austen’s butterfly being a great point of reference for students in Prep and throughout the school.

Philosophy for Children p4c

Across the whole school we are introducing Philosophy for Children (known as p4C) into our regular teaching programs. Philosophy for children fits really well with teaching practises already embedded in our school, designed to help students with their critical thinking skills and oral language. What p4C seeks to do is give students another opportunity during the week to use their critical thinking and language skills in a structured way, led and scaffolded by the teacher and other students. A typical p4C session would have the students sitting in a circle and being presented with a stimulus. This stimulus might be a book, a video, an artefact, anything that might stimulate some questions and discussion.

Last week the stimulus for the prep students were all Julia Donaldson books. Julia Donaldson is the awesome author we are exploring during our library session.



The students worked together in small groups to think of questions that they had about the stories; such as (In the Gruffalo) ‘I wonder why the mouse was so scary? The students then picked the questions they thought would be most interesting to talk about and had a conversation, sitting in the circle, about the question chosen. It was exciting to hear the student’s ideas and thinking and we look forward to building the students thinking and language skills as the year progresses.

This week the students looked at the picture below before coming up with questions that they ‘wondered about’.

Some of the questions were:

Where did the picture come from?
What is the boy doing holding a ring and a stick?
Why is Mrs Smith showing us this picture?
Do you think the children will play with each other?
Are they the only toys that the kids had?

The stimulus and the discussion that followed with the students sitting in a circle was very interesting. It led to students giving their opinions with reasons, agreeing and disagreeing (again with reasons), questioning whether a stick could be used as a toy, and if so how? They also shared thoughts and ideas about what toys were like in the olden days and why toys make us happy most of the time.

This is only the students second philosophy session but already we are seeing students taking part confidently, listening to each other, speaking clearly in the circle and importantly really enjoying the discussions.

Have a look at the photo below with your child and write a ‘wondering’ in the comments section of the blog.


10 house points for every wondering question posted.

The Prep team.