Sunnystones Day 2 and 3

Here’s another batch of photos from the evening of Day 2 (talent show), and Day 3 (breakfast, wildlife, and Survivor Game). Enjoy!


Spelling Workshops

This term we have introduced some short and sharp spelling workshops in addition to our normal literacy lessons. These workshops are designed to target spelling by increasing the profile and practice of a range of spelling techniques. These groupings are fluid with the intention of up skilling selected who can then filter the information on as experts. This practice reliably supports the students who have a need of a small intensive group arrangement because it gives them the ongoing practice that comes with being a teacher and expert to others.

Literacy is a language in it’s own right and as a semi-phonetically based written language, English is incredibly challenging to learn unless you use ALL strategies cohesively.

The strategies that best support reading and writing are centered around the following structures:

Phonetic – The attachment of a specific sound to a letter or a combination of letters.

Phonemic- The identification and awareness of separate sounds within a word.

Phonological- The identification and manipulation of units of oral language such as words, syllables, and onsets and rimes.

In addition to these structures, visual recognition, repetition, comprehension and an understanding of grammar and punctuation help to form a strong foundation which supports and enables students to extend themselves, successfully predicting the spelling of unknown words.

In the gallery below you can see the current group identifying words within words on the board and also some of the self editing and memorizing techniques in their workbooks.


Looking Into Literacy

This being a brand new blog and all, we thought you might like to have a peek at some of the literacy happening in Su Nei Cieli.

Narrative is by far the most popular form of writing and even more so with young people! Teachers across the universe are besieged by mountainous piles of workbooks filled to bursting with never ending adventure monologues, ever so slightly reworked fairy tales and re imagined video games!

And so the three teachers met, all covered in webs                                                                           And dust and ink from centuries of marking.
They kicked over their chairs and gasping for air cried                                                             
“These drafts are sending us barking!!!”

“As mad as we are, this has gone too far.
Student drafts going on, on and on!
Where’s the beginning? The middle?
The conundrum? The riddle?

We must focus on planning for greater understanding
of the publishing world at large
We want detailed story boarding and vocabulary hoarding,
Character profiles and a thickening of plot.
We need evidence of thinking, editing and linking
In draft one, and draft two and draft three!
And once the drafting is done, we shall publish at once!
As professional as we can be.

So there you have it, our hearts set on narrative.
This last bit’s not part of the rhyme!




Ethics Inquiry

Next year, the Victorian Curriculum will be introducing the teaching of Ethics as a subject. Our school is lucky to be one of schools who will be contributing to the Department of Education’s knowledge of the teaching and learning of Ethics as a subject. As a result, we have begun our Ethics Inquiry to best determine how to teach and most importantly assess Ethics.

Our Ethics Inquiry began with a bang! Students were asked to create groups or “countries” based on the colour of their clothing, create a secret handshake, come up with five group values and design matching passports. Each group is assigned to a certain area within the room which they cannot yet leave.

“But where are the ethics?” you ask.

Well consider the wildfire of conversation sweeping through our Learning Community! Groups of students forming allegiance, others rebelling against the majority, students debating decisions and plotting escapes to more favourable countries.

And shall I tell of the bone shuddering noise made when the political structures for each country were being designed? The entire building shook with the roar of the republics, the justifications of the monarchs, the crumple and tear of the democratic voting papers, the shaking fury of the dictatorship and the simmering rage of the oppressed.

Or, shall I tell you of the whispers of civil war as breakaway groups plot against the governments, of the clandestine recordings of our spy network or of the sidelong gazes that cross borders, fraught with promise and hope?

The exploration of ethics is not supposed to be a comfortable experience. By shrinking the world into one small room and the population into a small group of people it is our hope that, faced with the very real challenges of today’s world, experiencing the discomfort, uncertainty and reasoning of solving the ethical dilemma, our students will begin to develop and consolidate their own ethical behaviours and apply them to an ever broadening range of contexts.

Alas, at this point in time, there is little more I can say except for this: The road ahead may be fraught with danger.  A notorious government will be disbanded and exiled, fleeing across the border. But where will they go? Who would want them? And how are they going to get anywhere without their passports?

Click on the images below to view the gallery