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John Colet School Academic success

20
May
2014

Enrichment Unit on Forensic Science

In this Enrichment Unit of Work John Colet School  students will learn about how the police catch criminals. The focus will be on learning about forensic science. This will involve studying things such as fingerprinting, DNA and handwriting analysis. It will be a project based unit of work. The students will create

their own crime mystery presentation where they give information about the suspects of the crime and show the evidence (e.g. fingerprints, shoeprints etc). The most creative and clever presentation will receive a prize.

Mr Wakeford is teaching it and it has just started in week 4.  It’s on Mondays from 2:50 –3:30 for 5th and 6th class students; Tuesdays from 2:50 – 3:30 for 3rd and 4th class students.

We understand that 3rd and 4th class students doing PISA training will not be able to join this group. We will move the Units around next term so 3rd and 4th are on Monday for the next Unit (whatever it may be).

Forensic Science will run for six sessions (even if the group misses a week, eg for the June long weekend). This means the Unit will run over into Term 3.

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

11
April
2014

Exploring the world of minibeasts

Our Year 2 students enjoyed an extremely interesting HSIE and Science excursion recently to Sydney Olympic Park. 2C and 2M enjoyed the discovery of tiny mini-beasts in shallow troughs reflecting what can be found in the Wetlands of the park.
They were also taken on a tour through Mangroves and a Dry Forest area by very entertaining and knowledgeable guides.
All in all, the trip enhanced the units studied throughout the term.

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

21
March
2014

New English syllabus gives more scope for creativity

The implementation of the new English syllabus, which JCS began phasing in last year, is going well for our teachers.  One noticeable change in the day-to-day teaching of the subject is that, while text types (such as narrative and persuasive writing) are still taught, the emphasis has gone off this and onto literature, giving teachers more scope for greater variety.  The teachers say this approach stimulates the children more, particularly in that visual literacy is given more of a focus and is an additional stimulus and a creative way to develop different skills in creating, comprehending and looking.
The teachers say the new approach brings books alive, encourages children to go off and read the same author in other books, and leads into more discussion.
In terms of how the new syllabus sits with JCS strengths of Shakespeare, drama, performance, debating and Philosophy, teachers say that grammar is more embedded in the study of the literature, but we continue to teach it separately as well.   Older classes often get a Philosophy discussion or debate out of the literature and even writing a drama based on the literature read.

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

19
February
2014

A Further Study into Problem Solving: Decision Making and Dealing with Conflict

There are lots of different types of problem solving and today we will be addressing two of them:

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

10
February
2014

Above The Line Behaviour

At John Colet School we want the children to be strong, courageous and resilient.  We want them to behave in a way that is admirable and a credit to themselves and to their parents.

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

10
February
2014

The Importance of Problem Solving With Children

Last time I wrote on the blog of problem solving as having two different meanings in a school context.  There is this sort of problem solving:

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

07
February
2014

Teaching problem solving

What are the 'problems' children need to learn to solve?

One of the key promises of the educational revolution, which ditched old-fashioned teaching methods and content, was that a more creative approach with open-ended questioning and child-centred learning would enrich the children’s learning experience, draw forth hitherto unexpected talents and teach them to apply their faculties in such a way that they would be able to solve problems as and when they arose.

I was thinking about this the other day when some graduates of John Colet, who were just entering Year 12, had a reunion dinner.  The talk was lively and free-flowing and the good humour and fellowship among these fine young men and women was delightful.  Their conversation covered a wide range of subjects, one of which was their astonishment that not only children from other schools, but sometimes even their high school teachers didn’t know basic Grammar and Usage – eg the difference between your and you’re; and there, their and they’re.

And they also spoke of issues of a more personal nature – ethical choices they were increasingly called upon to make.  Whether, in a position of leadership they were free to express their personal view, or whether they should be a mouthpiece for those they led; issues of friendship, how to intervene if a friend was making bad choices.  These and like issues presented them with genuine problems to solve.

I like to tell parents, and children, that the sort of “problem solving” which deals with the speed of trains leaving Sydney and meeting other trains from Newcastle, might need a new name.  Because they are not problems in the genuine sense of the word.  When someone insults me, when I have a difficult conversation scheduled, when I have hard choices to make and paths to travel – all of these are real problems.

And the question is: how do we teach children to solve this sort of problem.  How do we equip them for the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”?

Having raised the issue I see that I have reached the word limit so, tantalisingly, I will defer a consideration of the answer until next time.  I hope this does not present you with too much of a problem.

Gilbert Mane
Headmaster

 

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

02
December
2013

Positive behaviour interventions and supports

All schools face the common challenge of managing the behaviour of their students.  There are obvious reasons for this.  A quiet focused and studious child is going to absorb a greater amount of learning than a fractious, distracted and inattentive one.

 

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

15
November
2013

The emergence of Sanskrit

Sanskrit Department Report 2013

This year the teaching of Sanskrit has blossomed with the growing numbers of children in the school and the Sanskrit Recitation Competition Finals was a wonderful and inspiring morning.   Dr Jenny Cover (who has a Ph.D. in Sanskrit) and Mrs Naomi Smith were the judges this year and both were full of praise for the children’s recitations and command of precise pronunciation and understanding of the Sanskrit verses.

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

12
November
2013

A culture of high expectations

A few weeks ago Kevin Donnelly, writing in the Australian, said: “Teachers and schools also need to create a culture of high expectations with a disciplined classroom environment.” We looked briefly at the quiet disciplined classroom in a previous blog post.  Now let’s consider high expectations.

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

12
November
2013

Quiet, disciplined classrooms

In the Australian newspaper recently, Professor Kevin Donnelly noted the rather simple fact that children learn better in quiet disciplined classrooms.  We agree.

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

03
November
2013

Our talented students turn from Shakespeare to singing

Wonderful singing can be heard about John Colet School as we prepare for our next major event, Speech Night, which concludes the school year.

Bach is very much on the program, with the John Colet Choir singing the processional, a Bach Christmas carol from a text written in 1653, “Beside Thy Manger, here I stand” . As the opening piece they will sing “Heart and Lips, Thy whole Behaviour” from the Cantata for the Feast of Visitation (BWV 147).

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

25
October
2013

Shakespeare themes in John Colet School Festival

It’s crunch time for all our productions for the senior John Colet School Shakespeare Festival. Students are using their last week before Festival next Thursday 31st October and Friday 1st November at Glen Street Theatre to really polish their performances, fine-tune their handling of props (which range from a tray of hamburgers in one production to an elven staff in another) and work on their delivery.

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

22
October
2013

Great NAPLAN results a credit to our teachers and students

NAPLAN results are back and John Colet School children did very well again. An especially pleasing result was that students requiring support in some academic areas performed better than anticipated. This is a real credit to our teachers and to the students.

We don’t however, want to be a ‘hothouse’ NAPLAN-driven school. NAPLAN is a basic skills test which helps us keep a check on our progress as a school. And we are proud of the fact that our ethos and focussed approach to teaching and learning enable the children, on the whole, to perform well.

Categories: John Colet School Academic success

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NSW 2085 Australia

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