Dear Parents and Families,
A very warm welcome to Week 6 at St Mary’s. How the term is racing on. Despite the very wet weeks the students have been fantastic and managed to engage in imaginative play and activities during the wet days in class.
Mission Week was a great success last week as each class set about to raise money for the country of Thailand in a variety of creative ways.
Stage 1 made their own sock puppets and they did a wonderful job although there was lots of craft materials in classrooms for the students to clean up. The children loved making their puppets and then voted for their favourite creation with the winning puppet raising the most money.
Stage 2 students had a mufti day and painted a ceramic mug which they then sold to a family member with all money going to the Missions.
The students in Stage 3 had a fun pyjama day. They ran a trash and treasure stall, and watched movies with all funds going to the Missions. A very big thank you to all the families, staff and students through your generous support we raised $992.55 towards helping to make life better for many people in Thailand.
Year 4 Preparation for First Eucharist
The students in Year 4 are very excited to make their First Eucharist at a special Mass this coming Sunday. They have been preparing for this most important Sacrament for many weeks. All Year 4 students participated in their retreat day in the PAC today as a final preparation for Sunday. The students took part in a variety of engaging activities in relation to the Eucharist and enjoyed a BBQ lunch together. We especially thank Father George who has given so much time and support to the students this term and guided them at Mass and during practice.
The students would also like to thank Mrs Hampson, Miss McCormick and Mrs Kenny for teaching them about the great gift of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Classes at St Mary’s were able to pray for and listen to stories of bravery in past World Wars. We spent time praying and giving thanks for those who fought in wars and those who died fighting for the freedom we have today. “We will remember them, lest we forget.”
It’s that time of the year when St Vinnies need our help. If you could spare a grocery item or two to make someone’s Christmas a little happier it would be greatly appreciated. If you can help, we ask that each child brings something that would be enjoyed at the Christmas table and leave their gift with their class teacher by Week 8 thank you.
Operation Christmas Child
The organiser for Operation Christmas Child has made an appeal for St Mary's to contribute to their gift giving program to children in Third World Countries. Gifts for this charity are placed in a shoebox, blessed at Church before being shipped to countries in need overseas. Suitable items to purchase for the shoeboxes are small t-shirts, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes, soap, handballs, cars, small dolls etc.
The shoeboxes are due back at school by the end of Week 8 also, thank you.
Thank you as always for your kindness and support to those who find the Christmas season especially hard.
O God of truth and justice,
we hold before you those whose memory we cherish,
and those whose names we will never know.
Help us to lift our eyes above the sadness of this broken world,
and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm.
As we honour the past, may we put our faith in your future;
for you are the source of life and hope, now and forever. Amen.
Have a very happy and safe week.
In all things may God be glorified
Dear Parents and Carers,
At St Mary’s we are committed to ensuring that from the moment children begin school, they engage in exceptional learning in the subject of Literacy. In 2021, we began using a Kinder to Year Two whole-class Literacy Program named InitiaLit. This is a research initiative of Macquarie University which is based on 30 years of research undertaken by members of the MultiLit Research Unit. Since the inclusion of the program, we are observing our students thrive with their reading, writing, spelling and communicating skills.
Each class begins their InitiaLit lesson with an ‘On the Mat’ session. The teacher explicitly teaches reading, writing and spelling. The focus of these ‘On the Mat’ sessions include the following:
- InitiaLit–F teaches children that words are made up of sounds and sounds are represented by letters. Unlike learning to talk which children pick up naturally, children do need to be directly taught the relationship between sounds and letters. All children greatly benefit from the structured nature of the program, regardless of how many or how few skills they bring to the task.
- InitiaLit-1 builds upon the knowledge of the alphabetic code. Students learn that a letter or letters can make different sounds, and that two or three letters together can make a sound. They also learn key terminology such as ‘vowel’, ‘syllable’, ‘phoneme’, ‘grapheme’, and ‘digraph’.
- InitiaLit-2 By the time children reach Year 2, they should be able to work out most words they encounter for reading and spelling without guessing. The focus now moves to reading comprehension and spelling. There are four main teaching components in InitiaLit–2 spread across the week: comprehension and fluency, spelling, grammar and vocabulary.
Following the whole class sessions, the students participate in independent work and group activities. These include a range of activities which consolidate learning where the teacher has an opportunity to work with small groups and individual students. Finally, the students engage in a Storybook session. This provides opportunities for students to develop oral language, vocabulary and comprehension. Our teachers monitor student progress by regularly completing assessments.
The data below is a sample and represents student progress and compares InitiaLit assessments for each child in our K/1 class.
The first assessment was completed at the start of the year (SOY). The second assessment was completed recently (EOY). The second assessment was similar to the first, but included specific elements of reading, writing and spelling that the students had been focusing on. We are extremely pleased with the progress our students across K-2 have made this year through the InitiaLit program.
More information about the InitiaLit program can be found below. Or you can speak to your child’s class teacher.
God bless and take care
Southern Region Public Speaking
We wish the following students the best of luck next week as they represent St Mary’s in the Southern Region Public Speaking Competition.
Year 3 - Elka H & Felicity P
Year 4 - Asher B & Xavier H
Year 5 - Scarlett P & Samira R
Year 6 - Michaela F & Charlie G
The competition will be held next Tuesday 16 November for Stage 2 and Wednesday 17 November for Stage 3.
This week, registered students continued sitting the ICAS assessments for 2021. Below is a timetable of what assessments are scheduled for those students who have previously registered.
The following is a timetable of when each test will be administered at school.
Tuesday 26 Oct
Tuesday 2 November
Tuesday 9 November
Thursday 18 November
Tuesday 23 November
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
In English we have been focusing on building our writing skills to enhance our information report writing. Students know that a piece of writing only has about 60 seconds to grab the reader’s attention and that a great sizzling start is the perfect way to engage readers. We are learning how to use fascinating facts and sizzling start techniques to craft engaging introductions for our reports we are working on. We practised writing our sizzling start introductions using the Top 5 Sizzling Start Techniques: start with a sound, start with action, use a question, paint a word picture or tell an anecdote. We can’t wait to share our fabulous information reports with you.
We have been investigating how to use perimeter and area in everyday situations. Through hands-on learning, students were able to measure, record, compare and estimate areas using square centimetres. We used rulers and grid paper to measure and record area and perimeter to demonstrate our understanding of the concepts taught. We have also been focusing on Whole Number, through representing numbers in different ways and constructing number sentences using the four operations.
Last week, students generously raised funds for the missionary work in Thailand. We were able to view a 360 virtual reality experience, first-hand storytelling from partners and formation activities to fill students’ hearts with love and compassion for the people we are supporting. Students wrote a reflection about what life would be like for children in developing countries, what school would be like and what their home life would be like. We were able to compare and contrast the vast differences. Upon reflection, this compelled us to use our hands to take action, pray, advocate for, and financially support children in need, in whatever way we could. We decided to design and create mugs to take home to our family members as a gift. We also participated in a mufti day to raise money for the Missions. We thank the Stage 2 families for their ongoing support with the fundraiser.
Our big idea leading our Conceptual Inquiry focus is “appreciating the diversity of reaction inspires stewardship to build a sustainable future”. Students have investigated what creation means to them, what they feel when they are outside in nature and how they view creation and the environment around them. During our Geography lessons we were able to share some beautiful places and natural wonders in creation that we love and why we love them. From this love for these places, we started to explore how people have different views for places and the environment around us. We learnt that there are many different types of littering that can destroy these places and we created some posters to try and encourage people to look after our environment and live more sustainably. Over the next few weeks, students will have the opportunity to explore how and why people use places and environments more sustainably.
This term, Stage 2 students have been busy predicting and experimenting with processes to investigate which natural features of the environment make the best water filter. Students were able to share their own ideas about survival and how they would survive in the bush if they were lost. In class, we conducted a simple experiment, ensuring it was a fair test, to filter dirty water with a funnel, paper towel and some leaves from the natural environment.
This term, students have been exploring the works of Georgia O’Keeffe, a well-known artist. We have investigated and researched what makes the pieces unique and what techniques Georgia experiments with. Georgia is best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, skyscrapers and landscapes. Earlier in the term, the students viewed her flower artworks and the meaning behind them. Students viewed her artworks of landscapes and have created their own landscape concentrating on line, vibrant colour and detail. These were finished with a toothpick tool to create a feature in their art piece. This unit supports and connects to our Conceptual Inquiry unit about appreciating the diversity of creation.
In Japanese with Mrs. Wilkie, Stage 2 has been learning basic conjugations of the verb ‘to eat’. Tabemasu, tabemasen, tabemashita, tabemasen deshita. Additionally, students have been learning that the particle ‘wo’, usually pronounced “o”, marks the object of the verb - that is, the person or thing that the action is done to. Students in Stage 2 absolutely love working with Mrs. Wilkie and immersing themselves in learning about the Japanese language and culture.