- 05 September 2017
Dear Parents and Caregivers
What an incredible week we had last week celebrating Fathers, Grandfathers, our Senior School Chess Team and a group of very talented athletes!
It was wonderful to host and be part of a gathering of 140 Fathers and Daughters last Thursday afternoon. We definitely have a group of very talented Father Hairdressers at St Paul’s! We hope that you enjoyed attending this memory making time as much as we enjoyed hosting it. Thank you to the St Paul’s and Caboolture Men’s Shed team who helped to make this community event such a huge success.
Congratulations to our Senior School Chess Team of David Bogaart, Taylah Herson, Harry Cope and Nathaniel Van Lonkhuyzen on winning the B-Division at an inter-school tournament held at Nundah last week. These students dedicate at least one lunch time every week to keep fine tuning their craft and sharpening their chess skills under the watchful eye of Pastor Mike and our Business Manager, Mr. Bloxham – and we all thought that they were only pretty faces! These students will now begin preparing for a local inter-school chess tournament to be held in Term 4.
Four athletes from St Paul’s represented both the school and Caboolture District at the Regional Athletics Championships held on the Sunshine Coast last week. I am proud to announce that two of these athletes, Hayley Smith and Oyin Oguntoyinbo have qualified to compete for the Sunshine Coast Region, at the upcoming QLD State Athletics Championships. Hayley won the 100m for her age group while Oyin came first in both the 100m and High Jump for his age group. Well done to both of you – what an outstanding athletics season it has been for our students!
Have you bought your tickets? Looking for a wonderful night of entertainment? The sounds of sweet singing, beautiful costumes and dress rehearsals, happening around the school, have caught my attention over the past fortnight. I am now looking forward to seeing the Senior School musical “Safari” in its entirety on Thursday night. You are warmly invited to join me at this colourful event. Ticket sales will be available at the door on the night. See you there!
Last week Thursday every student brought home a letter providing information about the first ever St Paul’s Colour Run which is to be hosted by the school’s P&F Group next term – Friday 3 November. All families are warmly invited to attend this event with their student on the day. Please remember that your and your child's RSVP to attend this event need to be returned by next week as the school has to place its order, during the upcoming term break, for the correct amount of glasses and paint.
Flexible Learning at St Paul’s:
This week I will be sharing with you excerpts from an educational publication called TeachStarter.com about Flexible learning and classroom spaces.
What is flexible seating in the classroom?
Flexible seating ditches the traditional notion of “rows of desks facing the teacher at the front” and instead provides students with a variety of seating options so they can choose the one that is most comfortable for them. This type of classroom ‘un-seating’ aims to create a learning environment that more truly reflects the nature of the hyper connected, ever-changing, globalized world that we now live in; a learning environment that inherently requires students to master skills such as flexibility, creativity, problem-solving and collaboration.
“Not permanently stuck at a desk. Your get better furniture. You get choice about how to learn.”—Year 4 student St Paul’s.
To understand the philosophy behind this student– centred approach to the classroom setup, it can be helpful to think about how an early learning setting often features different ‘zones’ for children to engage with, such as a reading nook, an open floor space and a “home corner.” Providing these zones in day care kindergarten classrooms encourages each individual child to play, explore and learn in the way that appeals the most to them.
“We don’t have desks and dull depressing colours.” Year 4 student St Paul’s.
In essence, flexible seating in the classroom allows students to form their own micro-climate, where they can exercise some control over the physical and mental “conditions” in which they learn best. “Flexible seating guru” Kayla Delzer suggests that some of the benefits that students experience when using flexible seating include:
• Increased metabolism
• Increased oxygen flow to the brain
• Burning extra energy
• Improved core strength and posture
• And increased motivation and engagement.
These benefits combined, are linked to higher academic performance, better health and improved behavior.
“ Learning in the agile learning lab accommodates to everyone’s levels and abilities. There’s many more choices for everyone’s preferred style of learning and it’s generally more comfortable physically and in terms of learning.” Year 5 student St Paul’s.
The best ideas, tips and tricks from teachers who have made the change from a traditional, teach-centred classroom environment to a flexible, student– centred one.
Like any new process or routine, the success of flexible seating lies in setting up, clearly communicating and following through with expectations. Students will need time and support to learn the new skills required of them in a flexible learning space. Some common “rules” include:
1. The teacher can move a student at any time. “We can sit with our friends as long as we are on task. Sometimes we have to sit in our Collaborative Learning groups for some activities, but it still is comfy no matter where we sit.
2. Students select the seating option that they know helps them to work best for the activity they are completing. “I really like reading on the lounge. I am comfortable and can enjoy reading and really focus on the book.”
3. Set up a clear process to settle arguments over seating. For example, if two students would like that same spot they could play “scissors, paper, rock” to determine who gets the spot. Alternatively, the teacher can decide where both students will sit or may remove a specific seating option for a period of time.
4. Establish familiar attention grabbers. This classroom management technique is important in any classroom, however agreeing on whole-group attention grabbers with your students as you transition into a new classroom environment will help!
“It is pretty exciting everyday there’s lots of things we could be boing and I feel really motivated because I enjoy the agile learning lab!” Year 5 student St Paul’s.
Some commonly used flexible seating options include: bath mats, yoga mats, exercise balls, cushions, fold out couches (lower grades), milk crates with a thin cushion or bath mat seat, wobble boards, low stools, high stools, chairs, standing desks (with no seating), bean bags, a small couch or sofa and clip boards or lap-tables.
Teachers are freeing up floor space by allocating cupboards, shelves or boxes for students workbooks and folders and pooling student equipment, such as stationery and other materials, into shared stocks that are brought out when required. Rather than being time-wasting, this actually speeds up transition times as students are no longer digging through messy desks trying to find their own materials.
Moving Against the Tide
In systems that are increasingly dictated by structure and expectation, more and more teachers are seeing flexible seating as a means to incorporate more student-centred, autonomous and responsive philosophy and pedagogy in their classrooms. While still meeting the day to day obligation of curriculum and assessment requirements, teachers taking this approach see their student’s soft-skills develop in a way that requires little scaffolding beyond the initial transition to this new way of working. This is in turn is supported by learning frameworks such as the Daily 5 (English), Daily 3 (Maths) and Inquiry Learning across all year levels as St Paul’s.
Date claimer: Term 4
This year, for the first time, the whole school [Prep – Year 6], will be part of a combined Closing Service and Awards Night on Tuesday 28 November at 6:30pm. As we go through a rite of passage with our Year 6 students each year at their closing service, we feel that the time has come to share this rich tradition with all our students and their families as we celebrate and acknowledge both the students and the school’s achievements, for the year, on the same night. We look forward to all our school families joining us for a night of celebrating in November. More information regarding this event will be sent home early in Term 4.
Wishing every family a safe week.
Yours in Christ