Term 2, Week 5 - 19th May, 2022
From the Principal
Week 5 is here and we are at the half-way mark of Term 2! Time flies when you are learning and having fun.
I want to say "Well done!" to our Year 3 and Year 5 students who sat the NAPLAN tests last week. I was very proud of their positive attitudes and their persistence when completing the tests throughout the week. A week full of testing can sometimes be quite daunting, however I believe our students were very well prepared.
Students and parents can sometimes feel anxious whilst waiting for the results of the NAPLAN tests. Reports from your child’s NAPLAN testing are received by between mid-August to mid-September. You can reassure your child that even though the results do identify where they are compared to national standards, they are only based on the student’s skills on that day and in specific conditions and do not represent their ability overall. Once we receive the reports, a meeting can be organised with your child's teacher to discuss the results.
As a school, we will use the data from the Year 3 and Year 5 2022 NAPLAN results to support and build up students in areas of identified need.
Walk Safely to School - Friday 20th May
Walk Safely to School Day will be celebrated on Friday 20 May 2022. It aims to improve the environment and our daily exercise routines. Walking to school is the perfect way to start the day by getting some exercise and fresh air, ready to start school with a clear mind. Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy when you choose to walk to school.
- It offers a great opportunity to remind children about safe pedestrian behaviour and recap on the rules of the road.
- It creates a space in your day for mindful exercise. Walking and taking in the scenery around you creates a sense of calm that will set you up for the rest of your day.
- It will help to reduce the air pollution in your area or near your school. It will also reduce traffic congestion.
National Sorry Day - Thursday 26th May
National Sorry Day is a special day that occurs in Australia on 26th May every year. It is a day of remembrance and commemoration held to highlight the impact of past policies of forcible removal on the Stolen Generations, their families, and their communities.
We will be holding a liturgy to acknowledge National Sorry Day in the 3-6 classroom on Thursday the 26th of May at 2:30pm. All are very welcome.
Find out more about National Reconciliation Week by following this link About - National Reconciliation Week 2022.
COVID update - We currently have one staff member in isolation. No students are currently in isolation.
Winter Uniform - As the weather is now becoming cooler, I encourage you to send your child to school with a school jumper. School jumpers and jackets can be purchased from the St Maria Goretti uniform shop at the school. Please send your child/ren in our designated school uniform as it is warm and shows pride in our school. Please label all uniform items with your students' names to avoid these items ending up in lost property!
Staffing update - I am working diligently with the recruitment team at Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office to recruit a 3-6 teacher for Term 3 & 4. I am also continuing to work on recruiting a suitable candidate to fill the position of School Guidance Counsellor. I will continue to keep you updated.
Next week, I will be at Sacred Heart Primary school in Cunnamulla. I have been asked to be on the panel for the school review (SRIP) and Mrs Pollyanna Goodman's (past SMG teacher) Principal summative review. I will be involved in interviewing parents, staff and other community members and providing a written report to the school. I'm looking forward to meeting and spending time with Sacred Heart's school community and hearing about the wonderful things that are happening at another school in our Diocese.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Yours in education,
“Do not be afraid. Love one another and bear with one another and let love guide you in all your life.” (Mary MacKillop, 1909).
St Maria Goretti Primary School
At St Maria Goretti Primary School, we are deeply committed to ensuring our students learn to read-and read well! Reading is not only an essential skill for children to find success in school but to thrive in society as they grow up in our world. We are learning more about what research says about how children learn to read, how to make sure every student learns to read, and what to do when a child encounters difficulty with reading.
The new Australian school curriculum (Version 9) has recently been launched. It sets high expectations and standards for what all students should know and be able to do, and was endorsed by education ministers on 1 April 2022.
One of the significant changes in the curriculum reinforces the importance of using Decodable Readers in the early years and we are very excited to say that we are already on the bandwagon!
When We Know Better, We Do Better! (Dr Maya Angelou)
Code Emphasis in Primary Grades. This means that grades Prep-2 especially focus on acquiring the skills to 'crack the code' of our alphabet to the speech sounds in English. (There are 44 speech sounds in English and 150 ways to read and spell them!) Children must first learn to decode/sound-out words before they can understand the meaning of text, therefore, we emphasize instruction in ‘cracking the code’ in grades Prep-2.
Explicit and systematic phonics instruction. We have an order or continuum of phonics skills, progressing from simple to complex, which are followed throughout the early grades. Students will progress through the continuum as they master skills. In grades 3-6, word study will continue with more grammar, morphology (parts of words which hold meaning) and etymology (word origins) focusses.
Early intervention. Prevention is better than intervention! If we see any signs that your child may be struggling with the foundational skills of reading, we will not take a ‘wait and see’ approach; we will immediately implement interventions and monitor their progress. We have a strong learning support team at St Maria Goretti, made up of the school principal and curriculm leader (Casey), our learning support teacher (Maree) and the classroom teachers. We also have access to high levels of support from Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office staff. The best solution to the problem of reading failure is early identification and intervention and we believe that together, teachers and families will be a united team in supporting children. We have terrific intervention programs (including MacQlit, MiniLit, Learnasaurus and RAFTS) and have support to bridge the gaps for children who are having difficulty with their reading skills.
Phonemic awareness. This is the ability to identify and manipulate the individual sounds in words orally. While this skill is emphasised in grades P-2, we make sure all students at our school have this necessary foundation. Students in the middle and senior grades may need to practice these skills until they have firmed up this foundation of reading. It is possible that your grade 3-6 student could be working on phonemic awareness. This is an area that the research has indicated is hugely important!
Decodable Readers. Our early readers are working with decodable readers. These are books or passages that only include words that the students can ‘decode’ (sound-out) according to the skills they have been taught so far. Children need practice with the phonics skills they are learning, and these books and passages provide that practice.
We are working throughout the year to add to our resources in this area, so you will see more and more decodables as the year progresses. Thank you to our Parent Partnership Forum (PPF) for supporting the purchase of these Decodable Readers.
Knowledge Building and Vocabulary. Research has indicated that reading comprehension is closely connected to the background knowledge we have on a topic and by understanding the vocabulary contained in the text. Students have access to complex texts, often read aloud by their teacher, and in the process, gain more complex vocabulary. The research tells us that building knowledge and vocabulary contributes significantly to reading comprehension and should be taught beginning in the earliest grades.
Comprehension. The ultimate goal of all reading instruction is for students to understand what they read. The model of ‘The Simple View of Reading’ demonstrates that reading comprehension occurs only when students have both Decoding/Word Recognition Skills and Language Comprehension skills. Children need the essential skills to get the words off the page as well as knowledge, vocabulary, and a good understanding of how our language works in order to comprehend what they read. We must provide instruction that will help students achieve these goals.
Oral Language. Oral language skills are key to allowing children to learn across all areas of the curriculum. Enhancing children’s oral language skills and by targeting the other ‘Big 6’ areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary, we believe all children at St Maria Goretti will be able to read and succeed to reach their fullest and highest potential.
Please keep an eye out for more exciting literacy updates throughout the year, which will also include lots of ideas to help families support their children in achieving growth in literacy.
If you would like more information regarding Literacy learning at St Maria Goretti Primary School, please contact Mrs Casey Robinson at email@example.com or speak to your child’s classroom teacher.
P-2 Parent Info Session - Home Reading
As we move forward using Decodable Readers in the classroom, we have made the decision to purchase online access to these texts so parents are able to use them for home reading.
In Term 3, we will be providing all P-2 parents with login details so they are able to access an online library of decodable readers to use at home for 'home readers'. Mr Zahner will have the ability to assign readers to each student based on their skill level. Students will then be able to access readers at home to practice and reinforce the reading skills they learn at school.
To ensure this is a seamless transition, we are offering an Parent Info Session for P-2 parents. If you are interested in attending, please scan the QR code on the post below to RSVP.
Please see a video below that gives you a tour of the Decodable Readers Australia online library, which will be what you and your child will be able to access at home in Term 3.
- Casey Robinson
Life and Learning in the Library
National Simultaneous Storytime
This year’s National Simultaneous Storytime book is Family Tree by Josh Pyke and Ronojoy Ghosh. The Year 3 – 6 class are rehearsing some mime to bring the story to life for our younger students. The story will be shared next Thursday at 12.45 pm.
Browse and Borrow Time
Students make the most of their time to browse and borrow their free choice books. There is always excited sharing and chat about the books they have chosen or the books they are just enjoying when in the library.
This term’s inquiry question is; What can we discover about Aboriginal dance?
Students have posed their questions, listed keywords and been challenged to use these keywords when searching the text for facts that answer their questions.
Happy Reading everyone
Australia's Biggest Morning Tea at SMG - Social Justice initiative
A BIG Thank you to all who participated in our Biggest Morning Tea event. It was a huge success! Thank you for helping us to raise essential funds for people impacted by Cancer.
Special thanks to Naomi Smith, the 3-6 class, and the volunteers and businesses who put in so much time and effort.
More details and photos to follow on our Facebook page.
Australian Red Cross Pillowcase Program
Next week, students will participate in a disaster resilience education program run by Australian Red Cross, called the Pillowcase Program.
Designed to help children prepare for, cope with and respond to an emergency, the workshop will include a discussion about the importance of being prepared, as well as interactive activities to help students prepare their minds for an emergency and consider what to pack in an emergency kit. Each student will be given a pillowcase to decorate and take home, to start their own personal emergency kit.
Red Cross encourages all of us to get prepared for the emergencies that life throws at us. They have also stressed how important it is to not only make an emergency plan but to discuss and practise that plan with children.
Getting your household prepared:
Red Cross have provided a checklist of actions to prepare our households and children for emergencies. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to complete these as a household.
- All the children in our house know what an emergency is (a serious, dangerous and scary situation where help might be needed)
- All the children in our house know how to stay calm by ‘breathing with colour’ (slowly breathing in their favourite colour and then slowly exhaling their least favourite colour to regulate their breathing)
- All the children in our house know how and when to call for help (For guidance visit triplezero.gov.au)
- We have a safe meeting place outside our house and have practised how to get there
- We know who to call if we can’t find each other
- We have an emergency kit packed ready to go if we have to leave our house quickly.
MacKillop Way Focus Week 5-10
Students of the Week - Week 4
Students of the Week - Week 5
Sight Word Certificates
Parent Partnership Forum
Our Lady of the Southern Cross Parish - Mass Times
Sunday 22nd May - 9am - Mass
Sunday 29th May - 9am - Lay Lead Liturgy
Sunday 5th June - 9am - Lay Lead Liturgy