Today the staff returned to work for our first day induction and preparation for a wonderful 2014 school year. As a professional learning community we discussed the direction of the school, team work, student achievement and progression and how we would ensure all our student get the best possible education that they deserve.
After a busy and productive morning we came together to have lunch and to reflect on what we had been learning and discussing.
Our staff from left to right:
Maxine (4/5), Jane (Languages and EAL), Lucas (5/6), Felicity (Prep), Kerrianne (Art and Stephanie Alexander Program), Jason (3/4), Helen Wong (Education Support), Mandy (Language Support), Mohammed (Bilingual Arabic ES) , Susan (Library ES), Christina (Business Manager), Kirk (1/2), Nicole (1/2), Erin (Student Wellbeing Advocate) and Kerron (Teaching and Learning Coach). Khadra and Halima are not in the photo. And I am taking the photo 🙂
We are all looking forward to welcoming our students tomorrow.
Last year in October (2013), Penguin Education came to visit our lovely preppies to introduce to them a new app called Who Lives Here? Our preppies have iPads as part of the school’s iPad program so it was a great idea for our little students to test out the app.
Here is the last film created by our amazingly creative and inspirational Year 5/6 students. This story was written ans narrated by Hussein from Year 5. His story tells of his desire to fit in and be one of the boys. The film is heartfelt and captures the essence of good story writing. Thank you Hussein, and the rest of your class, for making such a great movie.
In the last week of term the teachers all attended an after school talk by John Hattie who was talking about team teaching and planning and the importance of helping student progress in their learning. The teachers at Debney Meadows School are dedicated to their work and want the best for the students. As the principal I was very proud to see all the teachers attend this session together. We celebrated the end of term by having dinner together after the talk.
Here is another one of fantastic films and stories created by our Year 5/6 students. Fadila wrote this story and explored the emotions of starting a new school. Fadila began st Debney Meadows in 2012 so her story is one of experience. Fadila’s classmates helped her recreate the story and bring it to life in film. The girls were the actors, whilst the boys were the film production team. Fadila is narrating.
In term 2. our Year 5/6 students were involved a project with The Centre for Cultural Partnerships, Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne University. The project, “Many Voices, Many Cultures” was an exploration of student voice and identity.
Our students worked alongside an inspirational artist, Shahin Shafaei and their teacher, Lucas Dredge, to write and publish their stories as films. They worked together to learn the skills of team work, cooperation, listening, supporting each other, trust and respect. These skills were imperative to create the safe container within which the students could tell their stories. Stories resonate with a wide audience and achieve the connections many of us look for.
Three films were created and they had their premier screening on August 17th in our library, in front of students, parents and community members. There was much excitement and one of our mums said she was surprised that students could create such wonderful movies. As I explained, given the opportunity, our kids can achieve amazing things.
Here is one of them…
Madina, a Year 5 student, wrote this story and the whole class contributed to its making. Well done Madina, and well done 5/6L.
This year, Debney Meadows is participating in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen gardens program. This program teaches our students to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, seasonal food. The program helps learners understand more about nature and science by observing where our food comes from and how our food grows. It also promotes healthy sustainable eating by teaching children how to prepare fresh food. The program provides a space where children can take ownership of their school by growing, creating and constructing their own environment.
But there isn’t just a focus on wellbeing, the program involves a lot of deep learning about how food and the environment work. The program is closely linked to the national curriculum and offers very strong ties to the following subject areas:
· Health and PE
· Civics and citizenship
On Monday 19th August the school staff will be having a full day focused on developing further knowledge and skills around Intercultural Understanding and what this looks like for the culture of the school, as well as the development of learning sequences across the curriculum.
We have been very lucky to be involved in a two year project with Deakin University and DEECD to explore four questions:
1. What facilitates/impedes Intercultural Understanding in children and adolescents?
2. What facilitates/impedes Intercultural Understanding in schools?
3. How can this be addressed?
4. How can we know what makes a difference?
Over the last few weeks at assembly I have been sharing my story of learning how to swim as an adult. I have persevered, put in lots of effort, and have made a commitment to swim each weekend. Over time I have become more confident and more physically fit, now I am able to swim 1km. I make an effort not to miss swimming because I know every day I go to the pool, makes a difference to my ability.
It is pleasing to know that many of our students put in a lot of effort to be the best they can be. Throughout the term, the teachers have been planning and providing the students with a rounded curriculum. Each lesson is planned to build upon the previous lesson and to develop the abilities of each student. Teachers monitor student progress and discuss strategies to effectively target their needs.
If our students miss a lesson, they will miss important information, knowledge and skills. Our teachers do the best they can to support students who have been absent, but it not always the same as being at school. For our students every day counts and every lesson counts. Being at school every day helps the students make good progress.