Welcome back for Term 3! We hope that the holidays were an opportunity to rest and relax. It has been nice to hear different recounts from children of their holiday adventures. From movie days at home, to family bushwalks and even little trips away. The holidays are always a welcomed opportunity to step away from rushed morning routines and spend quality family time together.
Term 3 is set to be a quiet and productive term. Students and staff are focused on their quality learning and teaching. As has been the case last term, there will be very few interruptions throughout the learning day. This ‘quiet time’ is seen as an opportunity for students to continue to strengthen their positive relationships and work with focus on Semester Two learning goals.
Keeping across the latest information about COVID-19 seems to be the new normal. The health, safety and wellness of all in our St Joseph’s community is always the highest of priorities. Last week there was communication across ongoing practices here at school. This information is included below as a reminder. To add to this information, if your child has been tested for COVID-19 we ask that they remain at home until the results come back. Please be assured that if the school receives any updated information or if adjustments need to be made, we will communicate with you promptly. This will ensure clarity and understanding of any developing circumstances.
In order to keep everyone in our community safe and healthy we ask the following:
- All children who are unwell need to be kept away from school until they are well again. If your child presents as sick in the morning before school we ask that you do not send them to school with messages along the line of: “Just let your teacher know if you are still feeling sick or if you feel worse.” We understand that sometimes your children aren’t seriously ill and that this is an approach that successfully gets your children to school however in this current climate we cannot take risks. If children are sent to school with symptoms of illness we need to call parents and ask you to come and collect them.
- If your children are late to school or you require an early pick up you are asked to only come as far as the witch’s hat outside the Office. Speak with the office staff via the gate intercom on arrival informing them of your child’s arrival or reason for an early departure and they will put this into Compass.
- If your child has left something at home please only drop it off if it is essential for your child and their day at school. We ask that when you drop it off you use the intercom at the gate. Office staff will release the gate and will ask you to place the item inside the gate rather than coming into the office. We will then collect it and arrange for your child to get the item.
- Please regularly remind your children to take responsibility for their own lunchboxes, hats and jackets in order to reduce the amount of items in the lost property basket. If your child has misplaced something they are the only ones who can go through the lost property. No parents are able to come on site to do this.
- Hand sanitising stations are at each entry. Please remind your children to use these upon entry each morning. 6. Our bubblers and water filling stations are still turned off so please ensure your child brings enough water to last them the day. Thank you for your support in keeping our community safe and healthy.
Our Learning Support Teacher (LST) and Gifted Education Mentor (GEM), Belinda Pearson has been seconded by the Catholic Schools Office, to offer her expertise and support within another school community, for the first 5 weeks of Term 3.
Sally Chaston will be acting in the role of LST in Belinda’s absence. Sally has extensive knowledge of the needs and routines of our school community. Both her primary teaching experience and her background in psychology will ensure consistency for the students, parents and staff within our community. Sally will continue to work closely alongside our School Counsellor, Sharon Beckett.
Leah Temple will be acting in the role of Gifted Education Mentor (GEM) for one day a fortnight. Leah will continue to work on our school’s current Gifted Education Lead School (GEL) Action Research Project as well as liaising with the Virtual Academy students and educators.
Kiss and Drop
If you do need to assist your child, then it is advisable that you must not move more than 3 metres from your vehicle. To facilitate this, children should travel with bags in the car and not in the boot. Alternatively, please park in a designated parking area to do this rather than use the drop off and collection zone. Traffic officers have advised us that they will be making regular visits. We appreciate your support with the above as it also alleviates traffic congestion and frustration.
A reminder for all parents using the Kiss and Drop pick up Zones on Union and Farquhar Street. Please follow our pick up procedures within these zones:
- No parking in these zones between 8am-9.30am and 2.30-4pm on school days
- Please ensure your family name sign is displayed clearly on the passenger side of the windscreen of your vehicle.
- Please queue patiently behind waiting cars and progress to the safe pick up zones marked by the coloured cones. Staff will direct students to these cones, where they will wait for your car to come to a complete stop before accessing the vehicle.
- Please do not queue across intersections. Complete a lap of the block and return to the queue.
- Please do not cut into the queue at any time. This puts the safety of others at risk.
- Please do not beckon your child to approach your car if they have not been directed to a coloured cone by a staff member.
We thank you for your continued support and cooperation with these safety procedures.
Extra-Curricular External Providers
This week we happily welcome back several extra-curricular external providers to the school.
Band, Choir, Mandarin, Piano and Drama lessons have all resumed this week. We will continue to follow and adhere to current Covid-19 safe practices and recommendations as directed by the Catholic Schools Office.
We will keep you updated, should changes to these current plans occur.
Semester One Student Reports
St Joseph’s Merewether, Semester One student reports will be released via Compass on Monday 3rd August 2020.
As previously mentioned, these reports have been modified to reflect the changes to student learning throughout Term 1 and Term 2. Please see important information for parents and carers, provided by the Catholic Schools Office below:
Information for Parents and Caregivers
The 2020 school year has been like no other. During the educational response to Covid-19, students have been engaged in both school-based and home-based learning. It is acknowledged that this learning has been supported by the hard work and commitment of both teachers and parents/carers.
The opportunity to provide a formal report this semester is important, however, the report will look different because of the changes to learning so far this year and will focus on the learning that has happened both at home and school. It will focus on the outcomes taught and assessed. The purpose of this report is to help parents and carers understand how their child is going at this time and what can be done to support future learning.
All Education Authorities recognise the need for flexibility in usual reporting practices at this time so, based on the advice from the Education Minister, schools will report on student progress without the usual A-E or equivalent grading. This is for Semester One only.
- This report includes periods of full and part time home learning.
- Evidence of learning and behaviours demonstrated both during school and home learning have been used to inform all aspects of this report.
- The A-E Grade scale will not be used to report student achievement.
- Teacher professional judgement of student achievement relative to their peer group at this point in time will inform these reports.
- Only NSW Syllabus outcomes taught and assessed this semester will be used to measure achievement.
- In Primary schools, achievement will only be recorded for Religious Education, English and Mathematics.
- Teacher written comments will be minimal.
Unfortunately, at the moment we are unable to have our usual format of parent-teacher interviews at the end of Semester One. If you would like to speak with your child’s teacher please call the Office or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Class teachers will be informed of your communication and will be touch to organise an interview. At this point in time these will be held over the telephone or Zoom. Thank you for your understanding in regards to this procedure.
Semester Two Student Council
During Week 1, each class reflected on the qualities of leadership as they voted for their Semester 2 Student Council Representatives. We wish to congratulate the following students:
Year 2 Gold
Archie Doyle, Jersey Firman
Year 2 Blue
Gabriel Farrow, Grace Waddell
Year 3 Blue
Hugh Stathis, Addison Tutton
Year 3 Gold
Ari Azzopardi-Johnson, Frankie Long
Year 4 Blue
Edie Callinan, Spencer Smith
Year 4 Gold
Lucas Ponte, Leila Waddell
Year 5 Blue
Isaac Leonard, Ivy Jones
Year 5 Gold
Miriam Biswas, Peter Higgins
Year 6 Blue
Kolby Barr, Ivy Kiem
Year 6 Gold
Hannah Francis, Luca Pasvolsky
These students received their Student Council badges this afternoon. We look forward to a great semester working on a variety of initiatives together.
Thank you again to all our Semester One council members who represented both their class and St Joseph’s with great maturity, leadership and pride.
Australian Catholics Young Journalist Award
In Term 2, Year 6 students entered the Australian Catholics Young Journalist Competition. The theme this year was ‘Living It Up’. Students were asked to think of inspiring stories within the community and report on the journey of the people behind them. 2020 has been an exciting year for the competition as it was first time digital and photo journalism were added to the traditional print journalism category.
We are pleased to announce that five of our highly talented writers have received special recognition for their work.
In the category of digital journalism we congratulate -
Winner - Maddi Gill for her podcast interviewing Mike Campbell
Runner Up - Ivy Kiem for her video interviewing Richard Owens
Highly Commended - Nina Amidy for her video interviewing Genevieve Burke
In the category of print journalism we congratulate -
Runner Up - Will Boyle for his article sharing Grant Nickel's story titled Freedom Wheels
Highly Commended - Ava Williams for her article sharing Lynda Sorby's story titled Lynda's Story
To have so many students recognised from one school is truly impressive. Well done to all Year 6 students, but particularly our five mentioned above. We are very proud of you!
School Photos and Video
We have a new provider this year for our school photos, Newcastle School Portraits. Our school photos will be taken on Tuesday, 15th September (Term 3, Week 9).
Newcastle School Portraits produced a video for our school. It captures our school community in a very special way. Our Facebook page has a shorter version, but when you have a moment, please check out our school website for the extended version www.merewether.catholic.edu.au
Memorial of St Ignatius of Loyola 31st July
Today we celebrate the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, a Spanish saint who founded the Jesuit Order of Priests. Ignatius was a soldier who was severely wounded in battle and whilst recovering, his life changed when he began to read some religious books given to him. He gave up soldiering and began to study, gradually setting up a community who devoted their lives to God.
The Jesuits are especially known for their work in education.
We would like to thank you all, as members of our school community, who generously supported and donated towards our fundraising and food drive for the COVID-19 St Vincent de Paul Winter Appeal at the end of last term. We donated 65 very full bags of food items and the Winter Wooly day raised over $711. Thank you again for your generosity, we know it has been well received by the local SVdP society and those in need.
Liturgical Life of the School and Church Attendance Changes
Due to current circumstances with COVID-19 restrictions changing frequently and most importantly the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff, the CSO RE and Spirituality Team and Diocesan Liturgy Council, have made the decision for all schools to refrain from attending Parish Masses or Church services. Until further notice, classes will not be attending Parish Mass, nor will classes be able to visit the church for RE lessons. We do continue though to greatly value our school-parish relationship, prayer and worship, and the liturgical celebrations of our faith. As a school community, we will be developing new and creative opportunities to maintain these relationships with the parish, Fr Peter and Helene O’Neill as we continually develop as a faith community. We aim to see the positives in these circumstances and seize this time as an opportunity to nurture the prayer life of the school community in class and other smaller groups, and in ways that prepare students for more meaningful participation in the official liturgy of the Church when that is possible again.
Upcoming Feast Days
These important feast days will be celebrated by the school community through a classroom liturgy, prayer and activities.
August 8th - St Mary of the Cross MacKillop
August 15th - The Assumption of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sunday Gospel – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
Jesus feeds five thousand
When Jesus received the news of John the Baptist’s death he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick.
When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they answered, ‘All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.’ ‘Bring them here to me,’ he said. He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves he handed them to his disciples who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps remaining, twelve baskets full. Those who ate numbered about five thousand men, to say nothing of women and children.
Find out all about attending Mass at the St Benedict’s Parish website https://www.newcastlecatholic.org.au/
News from 6B
Since returning to school, 6 Blue have been working hard and learning new things. There is certainly a renewed appreciation for the collegiality and company that face to face teaching brings which has been evident in the engaging class discussions and the way in which every student has thrown themselves into learning tasks.
Literacy and Numeracy
We have been very busy in Maths and English recently. In English at the end of Term 2, we were looking at news article writing. Mrs. Temple creatively introduced the subject by pretending that she saw an alien on the school playground one night (we were not fooled). The teachers then got us to write an article on the extra-terrestrial experience. During the process, we learned the difference between fake and factual news and realised that not everything we read is to be trusted! Our learning on the topic lead us to publish our very own 6 Blue Newspaper called ‘Joey’s Journal’, which included many different events and experiences that took place during Semester One!
This term we have begun reciprocal reading where we must apply our skills of predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarising to comprehend more deeply the texts that we are reading. We are also looking at debating - look out parents! So far we have learnt strategies to plan a debate and how to rebut the oppositions arguments.
In Maths in Term 2, we were busy with many investigations that tested our skill and ability to explain how we got the answer. We studied chance and probability and had to create our board games that were biased to one player in a way so that they had the highest chance of winning. Year Six also learned about circles and their radius and diameter, we then used our learning to create patterns using compasses. As an extension task, we also looked at Pi and how to calculate the area of a circle. This term we have been studying integers which are positive and negative numbers that can relate to real-life situations such as measuring sea level, temperature, and counting money.
Art in Year Six has been very exciting for students and teachers alike. During Term 2 and 3 we have been exploring the creativity and expression evident in artworks. We have been looking at weird and wonderful ideas on how to present our art both digitally and on paper.
During Term 2, we looked at Surrealism. Surrealism is where you paint, draw or digitally create art that seems unreal and doesn’t quite make sense. It can be based on a dream, thought or memory that comes through your mind, that, most importantly, doesn’t have to make sense. During Covid-19 remote learning, students began drafting some ideas for their piece and thinking of meaning or message to go with them. When Year Six completed their work, they were asked to write a reflection on what their artwork symbolised, the different tools they used, what is surreal about the art and why they chose to do it in that way.
For the start of the new term, both classes will be doing something outside of the ordinary. Lino printing. Lino is most often used as a floor covering but Lino printing is where you carve out images using specified tools and use them as a stamp-like object, to create a mirror image to what you have etched out, There’s no doubt that our class will thoroughly enjoy the process of creating our own pieces.
In Science last term we studied sustainability. We had to research the most sustainable produce companies and explore what makes them successful. A sustainable company looks at the way their product is created and makes positive choices for the environment. For example, they should try to keep production or source materials locally so that transportation cost is low and to also look out for the types of materials used in packaging. The final task that we received was to plan a party using the most sustainable products available. We had to consider even the small things that we wouldn’t usually contemplate such as the carbon emission generated by transportation, how it is grown or made and whether the product is renewable or not as natural resources can be exhausted when the demand for the product is high. There was a wide variety of foods ranging from soft-shelled tacos to cauliflower-based pizzas!
This term we have been looking at Natural disasters and designing an extreme weather survival shelter so that if a disaster strikes the inhabitants will be well protected and prepared. I’m looking forward to molding different prototypes and seeing what works best against certain conditions.
After wrapping up an interesting History unit on Australia’s federation, democracy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and migration, we have moved on to explore the Geography of the World and in particular, the Geography of countries on the closest continent to Australia, Asia.
The Term 2 Personal Development and Heath Unit allowed us to explore diversity, equality and inclusion. Australia is a diverse nation which means that our community includes a variety people of different cultures, races and abilities. These differences should be celebrated! If there was no diversity in our world it would be very boring.
In groups, we were tasked with designing a playground that was inclusive of all cultures, abilities and ages. We had to consider things like equal access and how people with differing abilities would access our playground. For example, because studies show that kids with sensory issues or Tourette's Syndrome often find murals and visuals relaxing, some of us included colourful murals to our designs. Another idea was a swing for someone in a wheelchair, you often do see them around but the swings for wheelchairs are always separated from everything else and are basically isolated. To change that, we put a whole bundle of wheelchair swings, baby swings and normal swings together. This topic and project really helped open our minds to think of others and appreciate our differences a lot more.
So far in Term 2 we’ve been focusing personal safety. We’ve talked about times where you do feel unsafe and who would go to for help, security and support. For instance, you go to your parents, siblings, a close friend, a trusted adult or a teacher.
For music in Term 2, Miss Parker started teaching us about Body Percussion. We learned to make sounds with our body to play along with ‘Believer’ by Imagine Dragons and ‘Dance Monkey’ by Tones and I. Body Percussion involves hitting parts of your body or by clicking and clapping. In the last couple of weeks, Miss Parker brought in some cups and we learnt the cup song. It was hard at first to get the right speed, but every time we practiced, we improved. After a while, Year 6 perfected the song and most people could do the right cup movements.
This term, Miss Parker has been showing Year 6 how to use Boom Whackers. Boom Whackers are plastic pipe-like things that can be long or short. To use them, you need a good grip and bang them on the ground, so they make a sound. If they’re longer they make a deeper sound, but if they’re shorter, they make a higher sound. We are looking forward to using ukuleles soon because it gives us another way to ‘make some noise’. We think we will ask our parents for recorders for Christmas, what do you think?
FFL Season Launch
The First Lego League (FLL) season will launch next week. The theme for the 2020/2021 season is Replay! Students in Years 5 & 6 have been preparing for the launch of FLL come August 1st. During Robo Recess in Week 3 & 4, FLL teams will be finalised for the season and we will set up this year’s Replay board game. Students in FLL are encouraged to have a look at the Kick-Off Zoom event run by Team Bucephalus (Australia’s top team) next Saturday 8th August. More information about this Zoom event can be found at www.trybooking.com/BEDPX
Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! The Premier’s Reading Challenge is closing soon. 28th August, 2020 is the last day to enter books on your reading record.
Congratulations to these students who have completed their reading log: Finn Callinan, Paris Mavros, Adelaide Morton, Grace Waddell, Alexandria Mavros, Chloe Webber, Leila Waddell, Rhys Kelly, Jack Jones, Edie Callinan, Lucy Webber, Harriet Morton, Rosa Leonard, Isaac Leonard and Lachlan Mooney. Well done everyone.
Keep on reading!
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