Last week our students were excited to learn for our visiting author, Samantha Wheeler. She talked to them about the books she has written Samantha has written six books, five of which are about children taking positive action to protect some of Australia’s endangered native animals. Samantha also gave the students ideas on how to use the imagination to create interesting stories. Sessions like that that bring the experts to the school provide valuable learning opportunities for our students, as well as lots of fun.
Samantha commented to me that St John’s students have wonderful imaginations and ask great questions. I was thrilled to hear this feedback as it demonstrates that our approaches to inquiry and creativity combined with the use of ‘visible thinking routines’ (talking about our thinking), are having a positive impact.
I attended the Science of Learning Research Centre Symposium held at the Queensland Brain Institute UQ on Saturday, 2 November to hear John Hattie and other well recognised researchers speak about evidence-informed school improvement pathways. John Hattie’s presentation emphasised the importance of moving away from the ‘engagement of doing’ and moving towards ‘engaging in thinking’ about learning. Often students can appear to be highly engaged in a learning activity but not necessarily be thinking about their learning or asking questions that stimulate deep understanding. The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program being implemented from K to 6 effectively engages St John’s students in deep thinking, providing them with what is currently considered to be best practice in education.
Assistant Director-General – State Schools, Ms Stacie Hansel also spoke at the Symposium, outlining the Queensland Department of Education School Improvement Model. She listed a number of strategies that State Schools are to focus on to improve student outcomes. Inquiry was top of the list, followed by Intentional Collaboration. It was pleasing to note that St John’s Primary teachers are already very involved in collaboration and that inquiry learning is firmly embedded into the teaching/learning program, through the International Baccalaureate.
Primary Swim Carnival
Thank you to our families for their understanding of having to postpone our Primary Swim Carnival this week. We are pleased to advise of a new date of Wednesday, 27 November 2019 at the Valley Pool, Fortitude Valley. Further information will be released to our families shortly.
The primary campus held a memorial service on Monday 11 November as a mark of respect for Remembrance Day and to thank the many men and women of the Australian Defence Force who have served their country. Three of our students who have parents involved in the Defence Force and who have had to manage while their parents have been deployed overseas received special medals on Remembrance Day. Congratulations to Layla and Oliver Allen and Erin Discombe.
We have a number of special events in the coming weeks and I encourage families to mark their diaries with the following dates:
Thursday 21 November Kindergarten Graduation
Friday 22 November Performing Arts Assembly
Friday 29 November Sports Assembly, 2.00pm and Early Years Night of Celebration, 6.30pm
Monday 2 December Leadership Assembly, 9.00am and Year Six Dinner, 6.00pm
Thursday 5 December Christmas Concert, 9.00am and Last day of Term Four
I look forward to seeing families at these special events.
Mrs Sandra Hawken
Head of Primary