Turning the tables – homework for parents

As Year 5 nears its end for the class of 2018 it is good time to reflect on the year’s learning.  This is a worthwhile habit that we have encouraged the girls to reflect on all year and now, as part of this fortnight’s homework, your daughter will be asking you to read this blogpost, leave a comment, and answer a brief survey.

Mrs Miller and I hope that we have offered your daughter a safe and happy learning environment, rich learning experiences in which your daughter has been encouraged to be more independent and a sense of belonging in a (usually) cohesive peer group.  When difficulties have arisen academically or socially we hope that we have helped assist your daughter by encouraging resilience, persistance and practical methods for solving problems.  We hope that we have encouraged your daughter to explore ideas, to think of others and above all to be kind and respectful. As well as to work well in a team, to begin to look outside the familiar and to develop good habits for life long learning.

We are also interested in your perception of how we are communicating to you. Do you enjoy reading this blog? Have you read the notices coming to you via edmodo? Are you now addicted to Twitter? Are you hoping your daughter continues to blog next year? Have we challenged you to think and learn in new ways?

We welcome your comments about the year that has been Year 5 for your daughter. Please feel free to raise issues of concern as well as satisfaction. Some particular areas for comment would be learning experiences, student progress, work habits, learning support for individual needs, parent involvement etc…  Please feel free to comment via this blog or, if it is more suitable, an email to Mrs Miller or myself would be fine.

The issue of homework is always a vexed one for students, parents and teachers.  We are always striving to achieve the right balance. We would very much appreciative your feedback about homework via this brief survey. Please click on this link. Click here to take survey Thank you for your support and assistance.

Reflections on the break from school that wasn’t quite what I had planned…

On Monday 26 September when I woke up with a tummy ache I thought I had my usual school holiday illness. (This often happens to teachers because they work very hard for a term and the body says “relax” in the holidays). But things progressed and I had my appendix out on the Thursday, 5 days in hospital and now I am recuperating at home.  The point of this post is not to have you worry or fuss over me at all but I want to tell you what has been happening during the holidays when I haven’t been able to get out the door.

It is an amazing world we live in.  I was meant to speak at the ASLA conference with Mrs Miller on Tuesday but joined in with what was going on there via Twitter and edmodo. I would have gone to another great IWB conference called ‘See Share Shape’ on Thursday and Friday with 5 teachers from our school but again I could follow what was happening via Twitter from my bed. All this via my iphone.

As well as my own professional development needs being met I have been able to link in to what many of your have been doing in the holidays. I have done this in a few different ways.

  • Our various edmodo groups have been visited regularly by a few girls who have been extending their learning through the holidays. Some of your have joined the new Global Classroom 4-6 group and have been introducing yourselves to students in the USA and NZ.  This is like an edmodo pen pal group with the aim of students getting to know one and chatting about things that are important to you.
  • My google reader keeps bringing to my attention the many students who are blogging regularly about what you are up to in the holidays; there have been posts about things we’ve done at school, reflections on your term and more.  All of this is unprompted by any teacher which makes me realise that you must like blogging and are using it as a tool to create your own learning.
  • I was thrilled to see many of you mentioned in the Blogs to Visit post at the edublogs Student Blogging Challenge.  This means that edublogs thinks that your entries in the variety of challenges on offer are good ones and are being recommended for others to read! Well done to those girls who have a mention.
  • Our Quadblogging buddies have also been busy reading and writing comments for us and I was delighted to receive this tweet from Mr Gagnon at Stratham Memorial in America. He said ” Whenever I want high quality blog comments from my class all I have to say is Australian style comments. LOL :)” That is great to hear that your comments have been so well written and are great examples of what comments should be.
  • The Blogger’s Cafe is continuing to receive many hits and comments from students around the world, as does our own blog here at year5rc

It is indeed an amazing, connected world in which we live.  I think back to my school holidays when I was in Year 5.  I probably didn’t go away, I might have gone to see a movie and had a friend over to play. Most of the time I would have been hanging out with my brother at home.  (Speaking of my brother look and see what he has been doing these holidays.) In 1970 we had a television, could listen to music on records or tune in to the radio. Don’t get me wrong these are good things to do as well and I would encourage you to go outside and play but in 2011 there are so many choices available to you. What I really hope is that Mrs Miller and I are helping, teaching and guiding you in sensible choices for a balanced and enriching life!  I look forward to seeing you all back at school for more creating, learning and growing together!

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Welcome back to Term 3

I hope that you are feeling refreshed and relaxed after your winter holidays.  We are ready to start another busy term. I really enjoy the break from the rush of my life during term time and I find that I have more time to think and to read, to talk with family and friends, and to catch up doing lots of good things that don’t get done in term time, like going to the movies. I also know that I have missed being at school and being part of your learning journey.

I know some lucky year5rc members have been overseas and interstate and others have stayed at home like me. I hope you are all ready to travel back to Antarctica to continue our learning about that amazing continent.  We are continuing are investigations about microorganisms in Science, launching into the new term’s novel study, venturing out to the Art Gallery of New South Wales and much more.  There is plenty on the horizon so the beginning of term is a good time to look at how far we have already come in 2011.

You have all been taught lots of things but I wonder how much you have learned?

My challenge to you this term is to really take seriously the idea that you can take control and be in charge of your own learning. No-one else can do it for you. There are plenty of people to help you along the way but actually it is up to you.  Will you take on my challenge?

Reflecting on term two

At the end of Term 1 all Year 5 girls looked at their learning goals for the year and decided on some that they hoped to work towards during term two. Some were short term goals and others were longer. Some were related to schoolwork and some were about friendship. In each case girls were encouraged to think about steps they could take to achieve these goals.

As the end of term approaches it is a good time to stop and think about what you have learned this term and to what extent you worked towards achieving your goals. As a homework task this fortnight please comment on this post (or write a post on your own blog). Reflect on your learning and write about the things that you have enjoyed and the things that you have found challenging. Think about whether you have achieved your goals.

Next week we will also look at the setting goal section in our diaries, as it is important to continue to set goals and to think about our learning for the rest of this year.

Here are a few questions to start you thinking, if you are not sure where to start. You do not have to specifically answer them but you can if you want to.

  • Which do you prefer to write fiction (stories) or factual texts, like the persuasive texts we have written about healthy eating, why do you think that is so?
  • Do you like learning about and with new technological tools such as Glogster, tagxedo and Spelling city? Would you like more or less time on your net-books?
  • Do you think the class blog adds to the enjoyment of Year 5?
  • What do you think of using edmodo in year 5? Justify your answer and tell us why?
  • What have you learned about in Science and HSIE lessons this term? Have the lessons raised questions that you want to explore further?
  • Do you think you are getting better at using your time wisely in the classroom?
  • What would you like to learn more about?
  • What can we do to help you meet your learning goals?

Make sure that you print a copy of your reflection and glue it into your homework book (at least half a page please). Perhaps your parents may also like to leave a comment on this post.

Mrs Thomas and I look forward to reading what you all have to say. But right now I am off to reflect on my own teaching and learning in Term 2…

What does a good student leader look like?

Of course I don’t want to know what you actually look like!

but rather what a leader looks like on the inside, what qualities and characteristics does a young leader have?

We have reached the time in our school year when we turn some of our attention towards the election of school leaders for 2011. All year we have focused on qualities that are important to develop in ourselves; notably, respect, responsibility, resilience and strong relationships. Today we participated in leadership day. We came to school in mufti, we participated in some fun team building exercises, we thought about the Biblical idea of ‘servant leadership’ and we discussed what makes a good leader.  Our principal challenged us to look at the leadership demonstrated by Aung San Suu Kyi.
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We learned that leaders need to ‘Speak Up’, ‘Plan Ahead’, ‘Take Responsibility’ and get involved in ‘Teamwork’. Much of what we did today comes from the Student Leadership program from Michael Grose and Sue McAdam
Our day has raised many questions…
What did you learn today?
What do you think makes a good leader?
What is the culture of our school and what sort of student leadership is needed?
How will you cope with the disappointment if you are not chosen?
If you are elected, how would like to be remembered?
Who are your role models?
Have you discovered areas in yourself that you can work on?
We would love to hear some responses both from inside our school and also from outside.
Can you tell us what happens in your school?

Photo by Stephen Brookes used with permission

What has the term been like for you?

At the beginning of Term 2 all Year 5 girls set some learning goals that they hoped to work towards during the term.  Some were short term goals and others were longer.  Some were related to schoolwork and some were about friendship.  In each case girls were encouraged to think about steps they could take to achieve these goals.

As the end of term approaches it is a good time to stop and think about what you have learned this term and to what extent you worked towards achieving your goals. As a homework task this fortnight please comment on this post (or write a post on your own blog).  Reflect on your learning and write about the things that you have enjoyed and the things that you have found challenging.  Think about whether you have achieved your goals.

Here are a few questions to start you thinking if you are not sure where to start.  Answer them if you want to.

  • Do you prefer to write fiction (stories) or factual texts (like the expositions we have written about homework and Antarctic tourism? And why?
  • Do you like learning about new technology tools such as Glogster, Wordle and Xtranormal?  Would you like more or less time on the laptops?
  • Do you think the class blog adds to the enjoyment of Year 5?
  • What have you learned about in Science lessons?  Have the lessons raised questions that you want to explore further?
  • Do you think you are getting better at using your time wisely in the classroom?
  • What would you like to learn more about?

Make sure that you print a copy of your reflection and glue it into your homework book (at least half a page please).  Perhaps your parents may also like to leave a comment on this post.

Mrs Miller, Mrs Munro and I look forward to reading what you all have to say.  But right now I am off to reflect on my own teaching and learning in Term 2…