- 29 August 2017
Last week’s Book Week must be one of the best community focused events I have experienced for a long time. The activity which has really stood out for me was the Book Blanket reading activity which took place last Thursday. To see the whole school engaged in a reading based activity, which was being led by a number of our Year 5 and 6 students, was a true testimony to the strong culture of collaboration and co-operation which is being fostered in the school. The students need to be congratulated on how they embraced the week, which came with a layer of activities, of extra reading time and focus. Thank you to our Teacher Librarian, Mrs. Morris, for leading the way in putting together the program for the week.
Thank you too for the wonderful support last week of our annual Book Fair which was organised and managed by our Library Technician Mrs. MacMillan. The Book Fair was very successful again this year, totalling sales to the value of $5337.35. Our commission totalled $1601.21 taken in resources to benefit the students, staff and wider community of SPLPS. Books remain one of the most important and precious gifts which we can buy for our children.
Last week Friday saw St Paul’s host a record number of 270 grandparents as part of our annual Grandparents’ Day. Once again it was wonderful to see the high quality of engagement and interaction between the students and their grandparents. Thank you to the staff and tuckshop helpers, ably led by Mrs. Lois Kube and Mrs. Jenny Venier respectively, for all the organising and planning which went into making this community event such a huge success. The following email, received by the school yesterday, sums up the event so well, “Just a quick note to say that my mother-in-law was so impressed with Grandparents’ Day. She thought the agile learning and classroom program were fantastic. She was still gushing about it on Saturday during netball.”
Father’s Day celebrations at St Paul’s:
Tomorrow our P&F will be hosting a Father’s Day stall during which time the students can purchase a gift for their parent or grandparent. This will culminate in the school hosting a Fathers and Daughters’ Afternoon on Thursday, from 4:00pm – 5:30pm, which will be attended by around 136 fathers and daughters. Some of the activities planned for the afternoon include Go-Karts, “Daddy Dos” and a food making activity – enjoy! Our Kindergarten will also be hosting a morning tea on Friday. I look forward to seeing many of our dads at these events.
Flexible Learning at St Paul’s:
This week I will be sharing with you about the importance of Ergonomics. Why in the adult workplace have furnishings been fitted to enhance productivity, yet students have been completely neglected and still operate and “get taught” in classroom environments to regurgitate large amounts of information in environments which haven’t changed for decades? There may be a number of reasons for this:
There is no commercial [money] return for efficiency with students.
A simple lack of understanding of the impact of improved furnishings and ergonomics on student performance.
Further, there is a structural problem, a real lack of data on today’s sizes of students. The growth charts currently being used are now almost 30 years old! Both anecdotal and observational evidence is that students at each age are taller and heavier than at any time before. Inactivity in children, as we all know, leads to poor behaviour, poor academic performance and low self-esteem. Students benefit from using a range of furniture options to increase movement, improve learning and ultimately improve student learning outcomes – which data and anecdotal observation now being made at St Paul’s are showing. Lead study author Karl Minges of Yale School of Nursing in the USA says that, “In schools, children spend over 50% of the school day sitting – travelling to school, during class, at morning tea and lunch, travelling home after school etc. While one cannot easily reduce sitting time at lunch or during transportation, changing the classroom environment to be more conducive to standing [and moving around on a regular basis] is a no brainer.”
Research and evidence suggests topics which depend on efficient and effective executive functioning of the brain, such as Reading and maths, are subjects that are most influenced by a student’s activity levels. Both the Daily 5 [English] and now the Daily 3 [Maths] learning frameworks used at St Paul’s have the students engaged in rotational activities which have them moving every 20 minutes.
Standing at work is not a new idea. Although workplace standing desk initiatives have grown in popularity, that same growth is not evident in school classrooms. This might be that many educators still believe that a “sit down and pay attention” is the best way for a student to learn new material even though research is telling us otherwise. Imaging studies on the brain have demonstrated that movement can enhance and improve the ability of students to learn new concepts. Students at St Paul’s are being offered the opportunity to sit and stand easily, re-group desks, collaborate with class members and improve the concentration of students as they make guided choices about what part of the learning environment fits [suits] them best. Check out https://www.furnwareaus.com/articles/help-shape-our-research for more great research.
Congratulations to our Robotics students on stepping up to the plate on Friday as they competed in our Robocup Robotics Competition. Thank you to Mrs. Stanhope, Mr. Josh Witham and their team of dedicated helpers for the leadership and work being done behind the scenes to ensure the ongoing success of this outstanding opportunity and program. [Please see Robotics report in the newsletter.]
One of our Senior School students, Amber Vivian, recently competed in the State Short Course Swimming Championships. Congratulations to Amber who is now ranked 12th in Queensland for the 100m butterfly. It’s great to watch her hard work and dedication paying off as she continues to swim personal best times at the various competitions. We are all very proud of you Amber!
Included with this week’s newsletter [see attachments] are copies of the school’s Draft Strategic Plan 2018 – 2020 and Draft Annual Plan for 2018. Thank you to those members of the school community who met a few weeks ago to work through and update these important documents. You are now asked to please read through these documents and provide any further feedback to my office by Friday 8 September. Please do not hesitate to contact the office if you would like a hard copy of these documents.
Wishing all our Fathers and Grandfathers every blessing for Father’s Day on Sunday.
Yours in Christ