Mindfulness workshop for parents.

“Let’s Talk About Mindfulness”
When:  28 November 2017
Time: 8am-9:30
Where: LLAC
Presenter:  Cathy Ziengs, MBSR Teacher, Mindfulness Facilitator.
 Mindfulness concepts and practices being introduced into school communities to enhance well-being for the students and teachers. How can parents engage in this learning space too?
Please wear something comfortable, Cathy will have you do some practices  – lots of fun, lots of access to the learning.


Eviction Day!

On Friday morning the students were in for a surprise when they turned up to the classroom, for what they thought was going to be just another ordinary day.

But instead – the cubbies were taped up and had notices demanding payment of late rent from the landlord. Chairs were stacked on top of the tables and the pencil tins had been taken away!


Exclamations and questions from the students included:

  • I can’t put my bag in my cubby!
  • Who is the landlord?
  • I’m the landlord! Pay me the money!
  • How much does he need?
  • I have $20!
  • This is ridiculous!
  • I think we’re learning about how poor people live in our new unit
  • I didn’t know we needed to pay.

So our bags were put underneath the tables and we proceeded to go about our normal school day. We had a discussion about who landlords were and why they would be wanting money or payment.


It was great to see the reaction of the students to our provocation and a memorable start to our latest unit on ‘How we organise ourselves’. which is about the value and exchange of goods and services.

Next week we will begin our classroom economy. In other units, students have been scientists, inventors, engineers, designers, and advocates for healthy living. For this unit, we want the students to experience what it means to have an income and expenses first hand.

This simulation has been an effective way to get students to start asking questions about who we pay, what we pay for, how we get and spend money. Throughout the unit, students will be ‘earning’ a salary and  have opportunities to ‘spend’ their salary on ‘needs’ (rental of cubbies, tables and chairs) as well as ‘wants’. They will notice how prices may change due to supply and demand.  But that’s not all, this inquiry will also have students thinking about what is valuable, and how not everything has a monetary value.

As the students will be experiencing what it is like to keep track of their money, we ask that each student brings in a wallet or purse to school in order to keep their money safe.

On Monday – the bank opens for business!

Comprehension Strategies – Retelling and Summarising

This week the students focussed on two comprehension strategies – Summarising and Retelling.

Some of the students were quite interested in the story of Icarus, so during our ‘Shelter Drill’ on Thursday the students were read the Ancient Greek myth of Icarus. As the story had no pictures, the students had to imagine the pictures in their heads and make their own movies. After reading the story, they chose on part of the story drew a picture. Visualising, or picturing the story helps students to attend to details and also make their own connections to the story.

Then students then wrote a ‘summary’  of the story in their own words. The summaries had to be short but still tell the main idea of what the story was about. Complete with spoilers.

Later the next day, we followed up on the written summaries. We noticed that some summaries were incredibly detailed and long – so we looked at the difference between a summary and a retell.


As this was the first time many of us have written a summary, we identified features of good summaries and then looked at our own summary to identify points to grow.  We even looked at a helpful way to structure succinct summaries and used this to model writing a summary of Icarus.

Then we listened to the story of ‘The Golden Touch’ which stars King Midas. The students then orally co-created a retell with a partner to include as many details as possible. We noticed that it was much easier to retell a story as we use the skill of remembering. However summarising involves synthesising which is a high-order thinking skill which involves more brainpower, or stretching our brains.

You can help your child develop their comprehension skills by using some of these strategies. After they have been reading or even viewing a film – you can ask them to give you a summary using ‘Somebody…. wanted….. but….. so …. then….’ .  Or you could ask them to give an oral retell, with lots of details.


Primitive Technology

Today the students were introduced to the ‘Primitive Technology’ videos. They begged to have published on the blog so they can refer to it and share the wonder!
Primitive Technology is a youtube channel that documents how a man (John Plant) creates and constructs tools and products for survival in the forest. The students are fascinated that this man makes everything from scratch with only the materials he has available in the North Queensland rainforest.

First we watched ‘Sandals’ with the lens of the PYP Key Concepts to consider:

  • ‘What problems did he have?’ (Form: What is it like? )
  • ‘What materials were used and why?’ (Function: How does it work?)
  • ‘What techniques were used?’ (Function: How does it work?)

As there is no speech or sound track apart from the calming, rainforest noises, the students had to watch closely and make inferences about what was going on and why.

Once you’ve started watching one video, you want to watch another!


So we did.

To connect to our scientific inquiry into simple machines, we viewed how a cord drill and pump drill are made.


The Primitive Technology videos are surprisingly addictive and very informative. Some students were so inspired that they are ready to move to the rainforest and try a few things out for themselves!

If you are interested in watching some of these videos, here is the link to the youtube channel – Primitive Technology

There is also a wordpress site, with detailed explanations at primitivetechnology.wordpress.com

Science Museum highlights

Apologies for the time it has taken to upload to the blog, but here is a video showing some of the highlights from our field trip to the Science Museum.
The students loved the hands-on nature of all the exhibits and were so engaged for the whole time. We would also like to send a huge thank you to all the parents who accompanied the groups, it was certainly busy!

Coding with Scratch Junior

If you were to ask any student in 2C how they feel about coding, they are most likely to respond with

  • ‘Excited!’
  • ‘The most excited I have ever felt!’
  • ‘Excellent’
  • ‘Awesome’
  • ‘Happy’
  • ‘Cool’

With such positive responses you can get an idea of how successful the students, or should I say ‘Designers’  have been as coders. The program we have been using is Scratch Junior, which is a block coding app appropriate for children this age. Already a few children have downloaded it to work on challenges at home!

Coding has been meaningfully integrated with our our inquiry into ‘how humans imagine, construct and invent’ as it is a way for students to create and make their ideas concrete.   The students have used the  Design Thinking Model to guide the process, from finding out what games their classmates like and using this information to come up with an idea for a game that others would like to play. But then, Designers also need skills – which is where the amazing Makky Fung, our LTT teacher helps out!  The students had sessions where they learned specific skills which could then be applied when creating their game.

Today students began coding their games – there was a lot of excitement with the creation of buttons to move characters, bumping and moving onto the next level, there was also some frustrations – however these just pushed the students to really think about what was going wrong, and to ask their peers.

This ‘struggle’ only makes the learning more powerful and enduring for the students!

Parenting Talk – Sensory Processing Disorder

Does your child find everyday tasks challenging? Are they distracted by touch/sounds/lights? Do they find it challenging to sit still for a short while? These are just some of the symptoms which might stand out to you. In this parenting talk on November 15 from 8am-9:30 am in the LLAC, Lorena Kastner will provide an understanding of SPD and strategies for you to understand and assist your child. RSVP here.

Shapes, shapes, shapes

For the last week or so we have been investigating shapes and sharing what we know.

Today we watched this:

There were lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and delighted laughing at the antics of the triangles. Here are some of the comments:

  • ‘The triangles are dancing!’
  • ‘You can make anything with a triangle!’
  • ‘It breaks up and then makes another triangle’
  • ‘It’s a weird fidget spinner’
  • ‘Its the world’s easiest Rubics cube’
  • ‘I can see a diamond……a square…..a hexagon……a 3D cube…..’
  • ‘I don’t ever want this to end!’


Spotlight Update

2B and 2C had a great first rehearsal on stage in preparation for the “Connections” Spotlight on November 7 at 9:40am. Help your child prepare for this event by asking them what their “special jobs” are or singing the songs with them at home. You can find more information about this event here. You can find photos of our work in the theatre here.

Grade 2 Sports Day

October is a busy month, full of special events – but one that is particularly special for Grade 2 is their very own Sports Day.

This Tuesday 24 October,  the students will participate in a range of activities in the large gym on the 3rd floor from 8:40- 10:40am. With the upper school students away on their Experience Week trips, we have the luxury of the large gym all to ourselves.

Students will need to wear their PE uniforms on this day and bring a water bottle.

Some of the stations included are:

  • Scooter ball
  • Obstacle course
  • Bowling
  • Five ball soccer
  • Target Toss
  • Sack relay
  • Giant ball relay

Parents are invited to attend – especially as we will need all the help we can get to win the Tug of War at the end of the day…