This term is flying by. There is only one more week to go! Our last day of school is next Friday 16 December. Schools never wind down but instead gear up for the end of the year! I have been out of action due to a fight with an oyster lease where my leg came out a very sorry second. I write this newsletter from my couch at home, hoping to back on deck tomorrow!
‘Tis the season to be generous
Thank you to families who have supported the REAP reverse advent calendar drive. Staff and students have been donating articles for the hampers. Christine Welsh who is the Sapphire Coast REAP coordinator will be in on 14 December to collect these hampers and then they will be distributed to needy families. I’m sure our efforts will make Christmas a little brighter for those who may be less fortunate than us.
We have been working hard on reporting to parents over the past few weeks. The reports will be sent home on Wednesday of next week.
Reports are extremely time consuming and we are continually reviewing how and what we report so that parents get the most out of the report, while still taking into consideration the Department of Education’s mandatory requirements around reporting. Our staff put a lot of effort into these reports and the collection and analysis of data used to report on students is a huge part of the process. Teachers continually assess learning as we teach. The days of big exams leading to reports (often the main assessment to ‘grade’ a student) are over. We continually plot students along a continuum of learning and set goals for our teaching according to where students fall on this continuum at any time. Students are continually moving and it is our job to know what each student can and can’t do in order to plan for the teaching and learning activities we deliver. As part of our three-year plan introduced last year, we have worked to better personalise learning, choosing to do this through student coaching and goal-setting. This is a process which we are still developing but we have come a long way since the beginning of 2015 when it was introduced. We have seen that students are more engaged in their learning if they have a goal to strive toward and know where they need to go next on their learning journey. They are a part of their learning and can become more self-directed learners as a result.
As students get older the goals become broader and it often takes longer for them to achieve the goal. For example, one student’s writing goal in Year 1 may be to ‘write 4-5 sentences using simple punctuation’ but for a student in Year 4, it may be to ‘write longer, more complex texts which show evidence of proofreading and editing’. The Year 1 goal is often achieved more quickly than the Year 4 goal. The Year 4 student is required to develop more complex skills in order to achieve the goal. This is why parents may have a child in the early years who appears to be ticking off goals more regularly than their older child. The end of year report includes student learning goals for Maths and English which they can take with them into the next year. As part of our school planning cycle, goal-setting remains a priority for the way in which we teach at Tathra Public School. We continue to work improve this and the way we communicate this learning to parents.
End of Year celebrations
Please come along to the end of term assembly on Monday. It is the final assembly of the year and we would love to see as many parents as possible to celebrate 2016. Year 6 will have their graduation evening on Wednesday night and their farewell dinner and disco on Thursday night. Year 5 students are involved in both evenings. The end of year school picnic is held on Friday. You will have all received notes about this by now. Please return them as soon as possible.
Volunteer/Grandparents Morning Tea
We had a great turn up for the volunteer and Grandparents day on Monday. Thank you to everyone who came. The students loved seeing you in the school. We thank all our volunteers for your contribution to ensuring our school is well supported and provides all the opportunities of a great school! We need the parents and community support and couldn’t do what we do without you! A special mention to our wonderful P&C. You have worked so hard for our school this year and we really appreciate it.
Peer Support Camp
Year 6, Mr Moses and Student Learning Support Officers Callum Bower-Scott and Deb Barker have been out at Bournda camping with the Sapphire Coast Learning Community (SCLC) public small schools. The camp allows students to meet others also moving on to high school next year from schools in the area. The students are involved in a range of wonderful activities such as sailing, kayaking, rafting, challenge games, bike riding, orienteering and sand and beach games. What a great experience. We hope they don’t get too wet tonight as rain is predicted.
Letters to Santa
Earlier in the week Kinder went on a walk to the post office to post their letters to Santa.
I have been very lucky to have read some beautiful writing over the past few weeks from some talented students. I thought I'd share just the beginning of two pieces of writing. The first excerpt is from Bushfire! by Tyson Abbleby in Year 1 and the second from The Adventure by Kirra Turner in Year 4.
Boom!! A spark erupted in a hot, dry bush in the middle of summer. Five hours later there was a red monstrous wall over the silent land. Everyone was frantically leaving. On the other side of the mountain in the distance there were some campers and bush walkers. Suddenly the wind changed direction. They saw the red monster rushing towards them. Fleeing to the car, packing only themselves...
A gentle breeze blew through the bush as the sun got ready to rise, leaving beautiful fingers of colour in the morning sky. Dew covered the wet grass like a carpet of silver and one million water diamonds decorated webs.
12 year old Karana was,as usual, gathering roots for her tribe. Nearby a majestic waterfall was flowing with fish and life. Karana was the Chief’s daughter. She had long wavy black hair, gentle playful brown eyes and slender shoulders. Her pet yellow tailed black cockatoo named Nara was on her shoulder...
Gymnastics is a program run by Gail and Gordon Dalziel after school in our hall two afternoons per week. On Tuesday a few of our students demonstrated their talents in an exhibition at school. There are some amazing gymnasts among our TPS students!