- Enrolment Tours (Term 2, Week 4)
- Community Council Meeting (Term 2, Week 3 & Week 8)
- Walk Safely to School Day (Term 2, 4)
- Year 4 Chrome Book Parent Meeting (Term 2, Week 5)
Please remember that the term dates are different across the ACT this year. Term 4 is 11 weeks long. Term 3 is 10 weeks long. The first day of Term 3 (12 July) is a pupil free day for professional learning for staff. Students do not attend school on this day. OSHClub will be available.
Please go to our school calendar on the website or SZapp for more details.
Welcome back to Term 2. Welcome to our new students and their families.
Congratulations to all of our students as they ran the Cross Country today. They were a perfect example of our focus this week to 'give our best effort'. Thank you to Rebekah Brown who coordinated the entire event and the many parents who assisted.
On Monday we undertook another full day of Professional Learning as part of Catholic Education's Catalyst program. One of the sessions was centred around High Impact Teaching Strategies. These are teaching strategies that have been shown through research to have a significant impact on student learning.
What has memory got to do with learning?
High Impact Teaching Strategies are based on a number of sources of research. One significant area is called Cognitive Load Theory (CLT).
CLT is simply the understanding that:
- in our learning environment there are limitless amounts of information for us to access and learn from, i.e. everything we see, hear, taste, touch, smell, etc.
- our amazing body and brain notices, collects and filters this into our working memory, a temporary holding space for processing the information - sorting it, connecting it to ideas, relating it to previous knowledge, etc.
- the problem is that our working memory is not limitless. In fact it can hold only 5-7 items in there at once as it processes them.
- learning happens when the information we take into our working memory is organised into larger concepts, understandings and complex skills and then moved into our long term memory. The long term memory is limitless.
- the real skill is to be able to retrieve these facts, concepts, understandings and skills when we need them and in some cases develop 'automaticy'.
How do I drive a car?
Have you ever driven home from work and wondered 'How did I get home? I don't remember that drive?' Well that is because driving is an automatic skill for you and the path from work to home is also an automatic path.
When you first learnt to drive you were consciously thinking of all the little things you had to do, e.g. check mirrors, change gears, operate pedals, remember road rules, etc. These were all separate aspects being processed in your working memory.
The more you practised, the more you started to develop patterns and order to your behaviours. You didn't have to remember separate steps, just one pattern of steps. You also developed a greater awareness about typical driver behaviours on the road, and the paths to get to familiar venues, enabling you to predict your journey and anticipate what you will need to do.Driving became automatic. Some of the journeys you undertook became automatic too. Especially those you took on a daily basis. You probably still recall journeys from years ago that you no longer take.
Why are we talking about driving cars?
The same theory of learning can be applied to everything we do at school, from reading, to sport skills, to music and maths. This understanding about learning helps us to shape highly effective teaching & learning experiences for our students. We ask questions such as:
- How many new ideas can we teach at one time to not overload a student's working memory?
- What knowledge and skills do the students already have with which to connect the new ideas and experiences to, enabling them to move it to their long term memory?
- What strategies can we use to help students practise recalling the information and skills they learn to help it become embedded in their long term memory and automatic?
The more we unpack the research, the more we realise that our genetics play a smaller role in our learning than we realise. It's the envionment, the opportunities and the learning we experience that has the greater impact on achieving our potential. It's also the belief we have in ourselves and the persistence and resilience we show in the face of challenging learning that also plays a major role.
Teachers keep learning too
Teachers study for at least four years to learn what they need to begin their professional journey including child development, health & well-being and the knowledge, skills and effective teaching strategies in each curriculum area.
Teachers then continue learning about new and updated research about how children learn and look to apply it in their classrooms. They want to know that what they are doing will have some impact.
Our teachers are undertaking a tremendous journey this year in learning about Cognitive Load Theory and other important research on learning. We're very fortunate to have such an engaged, positive and collaborative group of teachers to undertake this journey as we fine tune and re-shape some of the practices at our school to have the greatest impact on the learning of our students.
Term Learning Overviews
Our teachers have provided an overview of the learning students will cover in each year level this term. You can find them on our school website in the 'Teaching & Learning' section as well as using the 'Term Learning Overviews' tile on our SZapp. They have been redesigned to be succinct and brief and cover all of the necessary information.
The future of Catholic Education in Canberra
You may have read about the current process being undertaken to examine the continued viability of St Bede's Primary School in Red Hill as a result of the long term impact of changes to the funding of Catholic Schools.
I would like to assure everyone that St Bede's Primary School are in a unigue position due to a combination of the number and sizes of their classes and their demographic and location. This is the reason that the process is being undertaken. We are not in the same situation.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the St Bede's community who must undertake this difficult process together. They are well supported by our Catholic Education Office and surrounding Catholic school communities.
As we head into our enrolment period for 2022, Catholic Education continues to go from strength to strength in providing a high quality education for students and families while maintaining low and affordable fees.
Science of Reading
As Matthew discussed in the 'Principal's Corner', staff at St John's participated in a full day of professional learning on Monday. As part of this day, teachers learnt about the 'Science of Reading'.
What is the Science of Reading?
The term “Science of Reading” refers to the research that reading experts (primarily cognitive scientists), have conducted on how we learn to read. Researchers suggest that there is a simple view of reading and that learning to read requires two abilities - correctly identifying words (decoding) and understanding their meaning (comprehension). An extensive body of research on reading instruction shows that there are five essential skills for reading and that a high quality literacy program should include all five components.These are phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension.
- Phonemic Awareness - The ability to identify and manipulate the distinct individual sounds in spoken words.
- Phonics - The ability to decode words using knowledge of letter- sound relationships.
- Fluency - reading with speed and accuracy.
- Vocabulary - Knowing the meaning of a wide variety of words and the structure of written language.
- Comprehension - Understanding the meaning and intent of the text.
The sixth essential skill that many researchers also discuss, is oral language. Oral language consists of phonology, grammar, morphology, vocabulary, discourse, and pragmatics. The acquisition of these skills often begins at a young age, before students begin focusing on print-based concepts such as sound-symbol correspondence and decoding. Because these skills are often developed early in life, children with limited oral language can have challenges when learning to read.
A great website for parents to access about the Science of Reading at home is:
Today was a big success! Thank you to all of the students who participated, all of the staff who encouraged and all of the parents that volunteered.
Assistant Principal and Inclusion Coordinator
Year Six have begun their Confirmation journey!
Learning about Saints of the church is a wonderful way to expose students to the idea that being a Saint does not mean never making a mistake or bad decision, it does mean that the person made a sacrifice, often of their life, to God. Their faith stood above all of their faults.
In their breakout space the Year 6 teachers display about 30 quotes. Just the quote, not any information about who said it. The students were asked to choose 2 or 3 that spoke to them. We shared a few and discussed why they were drawn to them. Then they had to Google the quote.
They of course realised pretty quickly that all the quotes were attributed to a Saint. They were surprised, however, to feel connected to those who were part of Church history.
Here are some quotes chosen and reasons why they were chosen….
Nelson chose St Ignatius of Loyola who said “Hate what the world seeks and seek what it avoids”. Nelson reflected that it means to chase your dreams; if someone does something because they are your friend you don’t have to do the same.
Archie chose St Augustine who said “ There is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future”. He reflected that “It made me feel good about myself and that I don’t have to be perfect.”
Evie chose St Patrick who wrote the beautiful words:
“Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.”
She reflected that “God is with you and the Lord is always with you.”
Star chose St Elizabeth of Hungary who said “How could I wear a crown of gold when my Lord wears a crown of thorns and He wears it for me.” She reflected that “Some people would sacrifice themselves for you and that is how life works. People will do things for you without being asked and stick up for you.
What wise students we have. Please keep all of these students in your prayers as they prepare for the Sacrament.
(The disciples Peter and John running to the tomb on the morning of the Resurrection 1898 by Eugene Burnard.)
At the Staff Meeting this week we reflected on this striking image of John and Peter running the empty tomb on Easter morning.
What do you see? What are you drawn to? What symbolism do you see?
We discussed times in our faith we are running towards God (the empty tomb) but we don’t know what awaits us and what we are going to find but we do know that God will be there.
You may be interested in reading the article we shared as well.
We went on to reflect on the 40 days of the Easter story, that Easter does not “finish” with the resurrection.
Staff chose scriptures to explore with their class about the appearances of Jesus after the Resurrection.
Amazingly, this image is over 100 years old!
Catholic Life and Reflection
I have been thinking a great deal about the sort of teacher I want to be, which may seem odd considering I started my teaching journey in 1993. It was right here at St John the Apostle in a Kindergarten class with Jenny Cunliffe.
I know I have come a long way since then but despite my many years in the classroom it has only been in the last few years that I have swallowed my pride and understood the truth of what it means to be a teacher. The reality is that I will be shaping my craft until my very last day in the classroom.
I became a teacher because my own experience of school was lonely and isolating but I was a reader and I loved to learn new things. I have reignited that passion since arriving back at St Johns, to read, to learn, to consider and to question. Both in my faith journey and my classroom practise.
It is never too late to seek the truth. May the risen Christ be your guide and comfort.
God bless you all,
Religious Education Coordinator
Notices from the Parish
Happy birthday to Uasi T, Christopher C, Olive G, Zeke N, Jack R, Indiana E, Grace P, Olivia T, Sally W, Elspeth S, Mason W, Huon H, Jacob P, Izabella H, Lilah J, Hugo G, Keijo K, Samson S, Vincent N Awur A, Ameila F, Lewys C, Jordan D and Ronan H who all celebrated a birthday over the past three weeks.
Please note that we ask students to not bring home made cupcakes to share with the class for their birthdays. This is a precautionary measure for health and hygiene. The Canteen offers a number of options to share with the class. Purchases can be made through the QKR app.