Let’s get coding!

Have they cracked the code? It’s just the start for Junior School students, who recently began to learn all about coding. Niall O’Brien tell us more –

This term as part of the Digital Technologies Curriculum, Years 1 & 2 students are undertaking a 9-lesson coding incursion from ScopeIT Education. Each lesson runs for 40 minutes every Wednesday from Week 3 to Week 11. During these sessions, two ScopeIT Education educators will teach the students the foundational skills involved in coding, including programming a character to undertake a specific set of steps. Continue reading

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Middle School Marvels

Thank you to Shenel Raif for this report on what 3/4S and 3/4J have been busy with over the last term.

Helpful or Harmful?

Students of Middle School have been asking themselves this past term a very big question, are we as humans helpful or harmful? Continue reading

Look it up (the forgotten pleasure of encyclopedias)

When I was in primary school, we would work on a project each term. The project topics varied – natural disasters, animals, medieval history, flags of the world, weather patterns, the Olympics and so on. Regardless of the topic, the projects all followed the same format: weeks of furious research in the library, followed by the painstaking process of ruling lines on your poster, creating a spectacular heading using The Lettering Book, inexpert use of tracing paper to press maps and pictures onto your masterpiece and finally, the addition of your text.

My memories of these projects are a mix of satisfaction and frustration – the right layout or a misspelt heading or once, a spectacularly bad portrait of Captain Cook, seemed to separate the great projects from the ordinary. But what of the actual content? Continue reading

Coding in the classroom

When I was at school, speculation about “what we’d be when we grew up” was confined to a large but relatively unchanging list of careers (on my list was a psychologist, a librarian and an air stewardess, none of which I did but all jobs that still exist). In comparison, today’s students have a working life ahead of them that most likely includes jobs that haven’t been conceived as yet; a ‘physical workplace’  that is defined by technology; and multiple changes of career (these speculations make for interesting reading).

If you’re wondering just how different things might be in the future, and what that means in the classroom today, take a close look at the instructions on the whiteboard in the photo below – ‘Create three sprites (one drawn)’ and ‘Code your sprites with motion’ – what?!

Year 5 and 6 students are undertaking coding classes and share some of their experiences so far –

Continue reading

You found us how?

searchingLast week, I mentioned that I find blog statistics decidedly boring. Except the search terms. Because although you might assume that most people reading this blog have arrived here via the school newsletter, you’d be wrong. Actually, some readers are searching the world wide web for particular things and their search lands them in our little corner of the interwebs. And really, it’s a very, very little corner which is why the search terms they use are revealing, odd and sometimes funny. Continue reading

It’s the Kewriosity Show!

There’s been one particular school activity this year that my kids have been busting to tell me about (all four of them, every week) – Kewriosity.

Kewriosity gave kids in each year level an opportunity to learn about all sorts of new things from how to knit and build a robot to busting myths and making animated films. Weeks of Kewriosity activity culminated in the Kewriosity Showcase and Alex St. Claire was there to see all the wonderful projects that have been keeping our kids so busy.

While an event ending in tears doesn’t usually tell a joyful tale, the story of the Kewriosity Showcase does indeed have a happy ending.

It was the ill-fated French Queen Marie Antoinette who prompted tears when Isabelle (Prep) discovered her tiny doll frame ensconced on a guillotine to represent her demise during the French Revolution. Why anyone would kill a beautiful golden-haired queen whose only crime was marrying whom she was told and possibly possessing a penchant for cake?

Kewriosity 1

But this depth of feeling has led to lots of heartfelt discussion and that is what makes great learning experiences.

In fact, we had lots of at-home discussions around the Kewriosity showcase. Continue reading

I’ve got a new name for Voluntary Contributions and I’m sure it will catch on

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Right about now, you’ll be a receiving a reminder letter about Voluntary Contributions. It’s well timed (because June 30*, people).

I’d quite like to rebrand ‘Voluntary Contributions’. Yes, they are ‘voluntary’. Yes, they ‘contribute’ to the school’s budget. But what the name doesn’t reveal is this: that State Government funding does not provide all the funds needed to run a school. That the things that make a school a comfortable and fun place to be (such as new library books, cooling in the junior school building and the whiz-bang Apple TVs) rely on Voluntary Contributions.

So I’m thinking of an alternative name for Voluntary Contributions, something along the lines of ‘A Really Important Contribution That’s Put Toward Really Good Stuff for Your Kids and Although it’s Voluntary, it Would Be Really Good if You Paid it Promptly, Please’. I think it has a nice ring to it but accept it may require some editing… Continue reading