Welcome back for Term Two. I hope you enjoyed the school holiday period.
This term, our theme is “God is our Source, He wants us to be Resourceful.” We will be looking at ways to be resourceful, and how to use and re-use resources wisely. A unit overview describing our plans for the term will be sent home shortly. A calendar of events for the term is being sent home today. Remember, too, that details of all Living Way events can be found under “Upcoming Events” on this website.
Dress Up Day and Projects and Dessert Night
Our senior students organised a dress up day, with shared lunch, and then team competitions in the afternoon, at the end of Term One. We all enjoyed coming dressed up as movie characters. Thank you, to our Student Council, for organising this event. Thank you, also, to local businesses, “Celena’s Gifts” and “Nick’s Kebabs and Burgers” for generously sponsoring prizes for the day.
In the evening, we had a good turnout for the children to present their “Who’s Who in the Zoo” projects. Thank you, to everyone who came and made it such an enjoyable night. Below are the pastel art work pictures that some of the children did to supplement their animal projects…
Athletics Day, Centennial Park, Tuesday, 9 May [or Thursday, 11 May]
I thought we would have one last try at re-scheduling our annual athletics competition with Otamatea Christian School and any local home schooling families who would like to participate. Of course, we are well into autumn now and I see the field markings have all but disappeared from the Centennial Park running track, but I figure we can mark the track out with cones and have our competition next week, if the weather is suitable. I would be glad to know of any parents who would be available to help with transport and to help with running the day next Tuesday [or Thursday, depending on the weather].
FOS Meeting, Next Tuesday, 9 May, 7.30 – 9.00 pm
This is our next Friends of School meeting to plan fundraising and events. Our last meeting had only a small turnout, so we are asking everyone to make an effort to be there this time, please. It is important that we make progress with our plans for this year.
Inter School Soccer and Hockey Tournament, Thursday, 8 June [mouthguards needed for Hockey],
The Inter-School Soccer and Hockey Tournament will be on Thursday, 8 June, for Years 4 to 8. We will be practicing for this in our PE lessons over the next few weeks. All children in Years 4 – 8 will need to have mouth-guards to be able to participate in practices and the tournament. Year 9 and up also need mouth-guards if they wish to participate in the PE hockey sessions. Please make sure your child has a mouth-guard by next Monday.
Home-schooling families that would like to participate in the practices and teams for this event are welcome to contact me for details [my intention is to hold practices on Monday afternoons, from 2-3pm, weather permitting].
Top Ten Strategies for Evidence Based Learning
At the NZ ACE Educators Conference I went to at the end of last term, one of the sessions was based on research by NZ educator, Professor John Hattie, who identified ten important strategies for evidence based learning. The interesting thing about Professor Hattie’s research was that the A.C.E. method of learning clearly fits with eight of the ten strategies Professor Hattie identified. I thought you might find it interesting to read about these ten strategies, and how the A.C.E. programme already has most of these components in-built:
- Have clear lesson goals. Every A.C.E. PACE begins with a list of learning goals. Furthermore, the students set daily goals in every subject.
- “Show and tell” – students need to have new concepts modelled to them to show them how to do it. This methodology is used consistently throughout the PACEs.
- Question to check for understanding. Again, PACEs have this methodology in-built, as the students complete exercises, check-ups, and self-tests, and score each exercise to check for understanding.
- Summarise new learning in a graphical way. This is also a frequent occurrence in A.C.E. material, with diagrams, charts, and comic strips all used to illustrate the concept being taught.
- Give plenty of practice. PACEs certainly give children plenty of practice to ensure they grasp each new concept. Note that in a regular classroom, often a class will have to move on to the next concept, whether the student has grasped the concept or not.
- Provide Your Students with Feedback. With A.C.E., students get immediate feedback, not only when marking their work, but also with regular goals checks, check-ups, self tests, and PACE tests.
- Be flexible about how long it takes to learn. Again, this is one of the most significant features of A.C.E. methodology, but is much more difficult to accommodate in a regular classroom setting.
- Get Students Working Together [in productive ways]. Of course, this is one of the two areas that PACEs are not designed for. PACEs are designed for individual working. At Living Way, we look to provide for this collaborative learning in our afternoon programme with Bible study times, unit studies lessons, and teamwork activities.
- Teach Strategies, not just content. PACEs do teach children strategies such as word attack skills, or mathematical strategies, but we also do this when we work with individual students, tutoring them with strategies they need to study and learn new concepts.
- Nurture Meta-Cognition [teach students to think about their thinking]. This is the other area that the ACE programme does not specifically address. This deeper type of thinking is best done in dialogue situations, one-on-one, or in group settings. Again, we can do this when working with children individually, or in group situations, but is perhaps an area that we could develop more.
So, in summary, we can have confidence that the individualised, mastery-based, goal-setting model of learning used by our students is a highly effective method of learning, using eight out of the ten strategies described above. We have the capacity to utilise all these strategies within the context of our school, and will continue to seek how to provide learning that is highly effective for each child.