Term 1, Week 9 - 24th March 2022
From the Principal
Week 9 is here! We have had a very busy Term 1 and the delayed start to school has not stopped us from learning. Last week, the teachers conducted reading assessments with the students to determine their reading levels, sound letter knowledge and phonological awareness skills. It has been wonderful to see so much progress over the last 6 weeks!
School Renewal and Improvement Process (SRIP)
In Term 3, our school will be participating in the second round of the SRIP process.
"The School Renewal and Improvement framework describes Toowoomba Catholic Schools’ (TCS) commitment and approach to progressive, incremental improvement. The framework describes a four-year cycle during which each school community examines its current achievements and performance, consults widely about its aspirations, establishes priorities for the foreseeable future and undertakes regular checks to monitor progress." (Dr Pat Coughlan: Executive Director of Toowoomba Catholic Schools).
The purposes of the TCS quadrennial school review are to:
- engage the school community in a process of self-reflection and continual renewal
- ensure the school’s focus is on the quality of teaching and learning
- provide the school community with an opportunity to participate in a thorough reflection on their school’s effectiveness
- provide community feedback gathered by an external review team, including findings and improvement strategies to affirm and improve teaching and learning.
Our last SRIP occurred in 2018 and the findings from the SRIP determined our strategic plan and areas of focus over the last 4 years.
I will be sharing some of the Improvement Strategies identified in 2018, and what work we have been doing in these areas in this week's newsletter and throughout Term 2.
1.1 Religion Curriculum
Improvement strategies - Continue to build early career teacher knowledge and capacity in the area of the teaching of religion by having experienced religious educators model teaching and provide feedback to them following lesson observations or classroom walkthroughs.
Our work in this area - We continue to support our classroom teachers to build their knowledge and capacity of planning and teaching religion through collaborative planning with other P-2 teachers, supported by the APRE and our Education Officer of Formation & Identity from TCSO. These planning meetings occur each term with a focus on incorporating high yield teaching strategies into religious education (RE). The meetings also include moderation of student assessment tasks to ensure that there is rigor in our RE assessment.
1.2 Religious Life of the school
Improvement strategies - Reconsider the regularity of the St Mary Mackillop awards to be presented monthly at assemblies.
Explore ways in which all staff can access prayer time so that they can participate and share the leadership with one another. Consider other ways in which students can outreach and connect via a social justice lens to a much wider community.
Our work in this area - Our MacKillop Way award has been refined and is currently presented twice a term on assemblies. Both teachers have taken on responsibility and classroom leadership in the area of planning and leading liturgical celebrations such as the Mother's Day liturgy and the Father's Day liturgy. Currently, our social justice intiatives are still school and parish based (e.g. Project Compassion, Mission Month.) and we are looking into ways to connect with the wider community.
2.1 Students and their learning
Improvement Strategies - Consult with the Reading coach and the RIS team on more Professional development in analyzing and interpreting the RIS data and how the analysis may contribute to decisions about focused instruction. Use this knowledge to determine focused instruction in guided reading and groupings and to monitor students who are on track with reading targets.
Our work in this area -We have implemented a very effective data analysis process that occurs each term in a PLC (Professional Learning Community) after reading testing is completed. In this process, the teachers, learning support teacher and Principal analyse current reading data, determine whole class, group and individual needs and set learning goals to move reading forward. The teachers use this data to formulate reading groups based on identified student needs. This type of review and response data meeting has also been occuring in Maths using diagnostic data collected.
Improvement Strategies - Consider innovative ways to support early career teachers as this will be an ongoing characteristic of staffing composition at St Maria Goretti School. In addition to the current schoolbased checklists and curriculum packages, establish personalised processes of professional support
with emphasis on optimal levels of modelled teaching, planning and the provision of feedback.
We believe this community has the potential to lead research in the establishment of early career teacher support.
Our work in this area - Since 2018, we have been lucky to have a few early career teachers at St Maria Goretti. The professional support process has been refined and personalised to ensure that the needs of all the teachers are met. The Principal/Middle Leader regularly models the expected and effective practices at St Maria Goretti (including modelling lessons in class for the Phonics 2 Spelling approach, RIS (guided reading, modelled reading, shared reading) and INSPIRE Maths). Feedback is provided to teachers regularly through participation in mini coaching cycles based on the identified needs of teachers. The Principal has a strong presence in the classroom and conducts regular walk throughs in the classroom and participates in "Learning Walks and Talks" with the students. The information gathered is then fed back to the teachers. The school has also been accessing support from Toowoomba Catholic Schools to assist with planning and coaching cycles. In 2021 and 2022, our early career teachers have been accessing support from other schools through particpating in the LINC collaborative online group - a group of teachers from 'like schools' that meet regularly to have professional discussions, participate in professional development, analyse data and moderate assessment. Personal and professional goal setting and reviewing is also an important process in developing our staff.
Math Mindset Message
Did you know that question-asking and classroom discussion is linked to higher levels of achievement?
The 3-6 classroom has been working on collaborative learning this term with a focus on questioning during group work.
“Discussion (and questions) are strategies that supports teachers in understanding what students already know and in determining what they still need to learn. In this sense, listening to students’ ideas in discussions can serve as formative assessment that helps teachers make decisions about instruction.” (NCTM, 2013)
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2013). Benefits of Discussion. Retrieved October 27, 2019, from https://www.nctm.org/Research-and-Advocacy/Research-Brief-and-Clips/Benefits-of-Discussion/
Project Compassion 2022
Third Week of Lent (Week beginning Monday 21st March)
We are now in the third week of Lent with the Project Compassion story of Janice, a Wagilak woman and traditional dancer who tells her family’s stories through movements handed down over generations.
Like many remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Janice’s faces a range of challenges – low employment and education, financial hardship, poorer health and lower life expectancy.
With your help, Caritas Australia supports Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation, which operates a centre for traditional and contemporary Aboriginal arts and culture, providing employment and generating income for local communities.
Janice believes that Djilpin Arts’ work is essential to create opportunities for young people to stay on-country, to share intergenerational knowledge between elders and the younger generation - to promote healing, and to keep culture alive.
Watch a short film about Janice’s story here.
Please support Project Compassion: lent.caritas.org.au
NAPLAN Online 2022
Below you will find a link with some information for parents and carers regarding the upcoming NAPLAN Online assessments for students in Year 3 and Year 5.
This year we will be running NAPLAN in Week 4 of Term 2. Student will begin practice tests next week.
A testing timetable will be distributed to parents early Term 2.
Recent School Updates
- Next week I have an interview with a candidate for the position of school guidance counsellor. We hope that we are able to find the right person for this position to support the social and emotional needs of our students.
- Parent - teacher interviews will begin next Monday. Please get in contact with your child's teacher or the school office if you haven't yet booked an appointment.
- Cross Country is at Yelarbon S.S next Friday. We will be returning to school at approximately 12:30pm. Please contact the office if you haven't organised transport.
- We currently have one teacher in isolation with COVID-19. 2 students are currently in isolation as close contacts.
Have a fantastic weekend and a great Easter break!
Yours in education,
“Be faithful in the least as well as in the greatest” (Mary MacKillop, 1873).
Life and Learning in the Library
We have enjoyed some wonderful displays which promote our books this term. Thank you Mrs Smith for your creative, engaging work which brightens our space and makes the students look closely at titles they may not otherwise see.
Enjoy some story time over the school break and have a blessed and restful Easter everyone.
From the Middle Leader - Curriculum
Reading @ Home Tips - Mrs Robinson
Ideas to help develop Phonological Awareness skills at home!
At St Maria Goretti Primary School, children are engaging in daily, grade level phonological awareness activities.
Phonological awareness allows children to recognise and work with the sounds of language. Children with phonological awareness skills can do things like identify rhyming words, count syllables and break apart compound words. Phonemic Awareness is a subskill of phonological awareness and relates to children hearing and manipulating the smallest sounds in words. For example, knowing ‘mountain’ starts with ‘m’ and ends with ‘n’. There is no print involved in phonological awareness, it is all about hearing the sounds. Language development is a naturally developing skill and there are a wide range of games and activities families can do at home to help their child develop awareness in a range of these phonological areas.
If you would like to help your child develop their phonological awareness, below is a number of ideas you might like to try.
By singing along to nursery rhymes, you are already engaging children’s phonological awareness. Exposure to rhymes is the easiest and first step to your child learning to manipulate sounds. If you would like to focus on your child’s phonemic awareness skills more specifically, you can encourage them to make rhymes by only the beginning sound in a word. For example, you could start with the word “rat.” Your child might reply with the word “hat.” On and on you can go together!
Helping your child distinguish what words do or don’t rhyme is an important introduction to more advanced concepts. This also helps your child recognise how changing the letter of a word can also change the sound and meaning. To play this rhyming game, a parent says three words, two of which rhyme and one that does not (you can make this as sensible or as silly as you like). For example, you might say ‘hit’, ‘bit’ and ‘frog’. Then ask your child for the word which doesn’t rhyme. Once your child gains confidence try and see if they can choose the words and you identify which are rhyming
To help your child learn to make their own rhymes, try saying a sentence and asking them to finish it with a word that rhymes. For example: In my bag, I have a ___ (rag). You can play up the fun in this activity by seeing which one of you can come up with the silliest rhymes. Because this activity is focusing on listening skills, the words you come up with don’t even have to be real!
Recognising the beginning and ending sounds of words is really important for beginning readers. Try saying three words that begin or end with the same sound and asking your child what sound they share. For example: m-mouse, m-money, m-mountain. You could also change it up by inserting a word that does not belong in the group of words and have your child identify which is the odd one out.
Creating and Associating Sounds
There are many variations of the classic ‘I-spy’ game that can help with these skills. Start by saying, “I spy with my little eye something that starts with a /t/ sound.” Your child should answer with something around you that begins with that sound. While you’re playing, remember that at this stage, you’re focusing mostly on sounds, not the traditional letter name. A further variation for blending sounds can include saying ‘I spy with my little eye a r-oa-d’ and have your child blend the sounds together.
Pretend you are a robot who has come to Earth and is trying to learn the English language. Ask your child for help with a certain word in robot-speak. Break down the sounds in a word and tell your child you don’t know what the word is. Ask them to repeat it in robot talk (example: /c/a/t/), and then ask them what word you are saying. This will help them practice blending different sounds together to create a single word with a single meaning.
Tongue twisters are a fun way to practise saying different sounds and identifying common sounds in sentences. Some tongue twisters you might like to try out could include-
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?
Black background, brown background (say it 5 times)
She sells seashells by the seashore.
Alliteration is when the sound being focussed on is repeated over and over again. It can be a fun way to provide practice with a given speech sound. You could try these with your child and work together to make your own. You could also see who could make up a sentence with the most words to start with the target sound.
- For M: Miss Mouse makes marvellous meatballs!
- For S: Silly Sally sings songs about snakes and snails.
- For F: Freddy finds fireflies with a flashlight.
Sound Scavenger Hunt
Choose a letter sound and time your child to find three things around your house that starts with the same sound. For example, ‘p’, your child could find a pencil, pear and picture etc.
Use Lego blocks to create a tower of sounds. Have your child add a block to the tower for each sound in a word. E.g. ‘duck’ d-u-ck (3 sounds), add three blocks to your tower.
These activities are meant to be fun and engaging. Be light-hearted, enjoy the games with your child and don’t panic if they are challenged. Repetition and practise go a long way! Make sure your child receives lots of praise and cheers for their efforts!
If you would like to read some extra information about Phonological Awareness and strategies to help your child learn to read at home, some helpful websites and free workshops are listed below.
Parent Resources- Five from Five Website https://fivefromfive.com.au/parent-resources/
FREE Parent Online Workshops by Literacy expert John Walker "Help your child read & write Part 1 & 2) John Walker | Sounds-Write literacy | Udemy
You can access the school calendar directly on our website www.inglewood.catholic.edu.au or from within the newsletter:
Students of the Week
Holy Week starting on Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022
Parent Partnership Forum
P-2 vs. 3-6 Coin Line Challenge!
Next Thursday at 2:00pm
The longest line wins!
All funds going towards Project Compassion.
Our Lady of the Southern Cross Parish - Mass Times
Sunday 27th March - 9am - Mass
Sunday 3rd April - 9am - Lay lead liturgy
Saturday 9th April - 5:30pm Mass
Good Friday - 15th April - 10am - Stations of the Cross
Easter Sunday - 17th April - 8am - Mass