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Middle Team

Middles Newsletter – Term 2, 2017

After finishing Term One on a high note with CAMP SUNNYSTONES, the students have continued to develop friendly and respectful relationships with their teachers and each other.  Camp Sunnystones was a stimulating learning environment and we are grateful to Mrs Ashkanasy for leading the co-ordination of this camp, and the team of parents, teachers and camp staff that enabled the camp to be offered to your children. Thank you for allowing your child/children to participate in this experience.

Our school’s core value is RESPECT.  Part of showing Respect for Learning is being at school on time each day and ready for learning. Much time and planning is put into sequentially developing your child’s understanding and knowledge in all curriculum areas.  Students are supported and extended as needed for each individual.  Your child’s consistent ATTENDANCE at school is important to their successful understanding of learning.  If appointments and family holidays can possibly be made outside school hours that is greatly appreciated.

SCIENCE

The school Inquiry focus this term is SCIENCE.  Each year level has a different area of Science that they are focusing on.  In the Middle school we are focusing on Physical Sciences and expand students questioning, wondering and exploration about forces and motion. We are implementing a structured learning program called Primary Connections. In the Middle School we are focusing on the ‘Smooth Moves’ unit that links science with literacy in the classroom.  It provides students with the opportunity to explore forces and motion.  Through hands-on activities students identify forces that act at a distance and those that act in direct contact, and investigate how different-sized forces affect the movement of objects.

LITERACY

Improving Reading is approached in a variety of ways.  Students listen and learn through modelling and discussion as a whole class, families support their children with listening to and reading with their children, and within class students’ work independently and in small reading groups to improve their reading and comprehension skills.  In the Middle school years there is a very large emphasis on aiming to improve comprehension skills. Most of the students are competent readers, or working towards that level. A test of high level reading (beyond only decoding letters) is whether the students can understand what they are reading.  This is not merely general recall of knowledge, but a deeper level of thinking such as; exploring characters feelings, emotions and motivations, noting techniques that the author has used and using techniques such as inferring and making connections.

Expanding comprehension is something that can be developed further at home.  If you watch a movie or read a book together, it is a great opportunity to have a discussion with your child about the character development in the story, the way the setting was created and the connections that were made that linked the story together.

Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking have been expanded in our class learning activities throughout the term.  In Literacy this term all students participated in simple preparation for NAPLAN. By being prepared for the format, style and structure of NAPLAN, it helped the students to feel more at ease with the process.  All the middle school students are now well practised and should feel more comfortable and confident in the testing situation when NAPLAN occurs again in grade five.

Our Writing focus is consistent across the whole school. This term at NPS we are focusing on the text types of Persuasive and Explanation.  The students have shown development in their knowledge of the structure, planning and elements of these text types.  Fortunately this year the Naplan writing style was Persuasive, so this coincided well with our most current learning.

NUMERACY

The students have continued to explore the topics of Place Value and Addition in purposeful real-life maths tasks accompanied by specific skills teaching in areas such as algorithmic equations. Students work in groups that extend and challenge their mathematical thinking.  The teachers have worked very hard to create fun, interactive learning games that help students with their mathematical understanding.

Ensuring that your child knows their basic number facts by noticing and incorporating number skills into your everyday life will help support and strengthen their classroom learning.  This can include ensuring your child knows their ‘10’s facts (numbers that add to 10), or their ‘20’s facts and their ‘double’s facts’ (eg what are two 7’s or double 7?).  You can also support them to slowly learn their multiplication ‘tables’.  If you have a child who loves football, they should be experts on their ‘6 times tables’! Many mathematical questions can arise from this game! Hands on pouring, measuring and weighing when cooking assists in a much greater understanding of measurement. Therefore activities such as cooking at home are a great maths learning experience.

INTEGRATED STUDIES

Lots of interesting, exciting and varied learning has taken place this term in our classrooms, outside, on school camp and with special incursions.  Our MIDDLE SCHOOL ROTATIONS occurs once a week. All learning tasks link back to our whole school theme of SCIENCE.  Each grade rotates to a different middle school teacher for a 40minute learning activity.  Mr O’Meara is facilitating learning about PHYSICAL SCIENCES with movement and games outside.  Mrs Ashkanasy is facilitating learning about ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES and Biology as the students work in the school vegetable patch exploring the plants and animals and their part in the environment.  Mrs Bedson is facilitating continued learning in the Middle schools focus area of PHYSCIAL SCIENCE, by using the resources of the Library (books, internet) to develop and enhance our knowledge in this area.

The skipping ropes are currently in high demand as our school gets ready once again for JUMP ROPE FOR HEART day (May 22nd) and the fundraising organised to support research about Heart Disease. Don’t forget to register online for your child’s fundraising for this event at jumprope.org.au

From the ‘Middle Team’ teachers;

Nanette Ashkanasy, Patrick O’Meara and Kerrie Bedson

Permanent link to this article: http://newtownps.vic.edu.au/whats-new/middle-team/