J Pod -Grovedale West Primary School

The J Pod blog – Year 1 and 2 learning at Grovedale West Primary School

What’s been happening in the Jpod?

on February 19, 2017

What a great first three weeks we have had in the Jpod. The students are well and truly settled back into their routines, getting to know their new home groups, teachers and making new friends.

During week 3 we have started to move the students into different groupings so they are now getting to know the expectations for their specific learning goals in reading groups, writing and letters and sounds, where the teachers can target the ‘just right’ learning for each student. Working in flexible groups is a great opportunity to be more precise with our teaching with students often moved and re- grouped as the year progresses. Groupings used in the Jpod are sometimes based around specific learning needs or sometimes formed due to students learning styles or social and emotional considerations.

The students have really enjoyed working with many different teachers across learning areas and we have enjoyed getting to know the students better too. Remember that your child’s homegrown teacher is always your first point of contact if you have any concerns with your child’s learning progress but the whole Jpod team will often be involved in discussing and planning for all the students learning.

HANDWRITING

Writing has many different complex components involved in it: such as thinking of ideas, constructing sentences, punctuation and spelling and creating different texts for different purposes.

Although we do type a lot now in everyday life, it has been shown that having fluent handwriting and forming letters in the correct size, orientation and direction can be very helpful in helping the other aspects of writing.

We have been explaining this to the students this week and helping them to understand why it is important to focus on handwriting to help them develop fluency with the mechanics of writing. If their handwriting and letter formation is coming easily and effortlessly then this will mean that their brain can be ‘freed up’ to concentrate on what they want to write and other issues such as spelling and punctuation.

You may have heard your child talking about Lazy 8’s as we have been doing these both as a mindful breathing activity and also as a handwriting warm up. The easiest way to explain the link between the Lazy 8’s and letter formation is through the video below:

This is something that you can encourage your child to do at home as both a mindfulness activity and also to help with their fine motor development and handwriting skills.

Lazy 8’s breathing

mindful lazy eights

Lazy 8’s handwriting outside

MINDFULNESS and GRATITUDE

You may have heard your child come home talking about mindfulness or noticed this on our weekly timetable. Mindfulness is essentially the practice of calming the mind to be ‘in the moment’ and there are many ways to do this, such as concentrating on breathing, taking a quiet moment to reflect, calm and peaceful activities such as coloring, drawing, listening to calming music or building with logo blocks.
We have been trying to incorporate short breaks for mindfulness during the day to help students to refocus and clear their minds.

Focusing on breathing and stillness

Buddy breathing

Daily mindfulness has been shown to help reduce anxiety in us all and can be used to help build a positive outlook on what is good in our lives. When mindfulness is combined with practicing gratitude and empathy it can have very positive effects. One of the gratitude activities we have been using is to regularly ask the students to reflect on what the best thing is that has happened to them that day, or at play time or simply during circle time to say what they are grateful for in the world or their life. We are finding that this is a good way to focus on the positives (rather than the negatives) and as students do this they should begin to see more positives and feel happier in themselves, which is of course a place that we all want to be and happy students = happy learners.

There are plenty of tips out their on the internet about how to practice mindfulness with your children and there are also apps available to help with this, such a ‘smiling minds’. Some simple activities to try might at home might be:

-Practise breathing buddies (see video below for an explanation)

-Make your walks mindful – Go on a “noticing walk.” Stroll through our neighborhood and notice things you haven’t seen before. Designate one minute of the walk where you are completely silent and simply pay attention to all the sounds we can hear.

– find 10 minutes for a quite relaxing activity such as coloring or listening to relaxing music.

mindful activity, creating with pencils

mindful colouring

DISCOVERY LEARNING

What was known as ‘Investigations’ in prep is known as ‘Discovery’ in the Jpod. In Discovery students are often asked to use their natural skills of Inquiry and Wonder to pose and answer questions about the world they live in with a focus on learning through authentic projects that can hopefully make a different to their lives and the lives of others around them.

In the next few weeks our focus for Discovery will be on developing Collaboration, Creativity and Character skills in the students and we will be using the Arts (drama, visual, media) as a vehicle to help the students use and showcase these important skills.

We started this week by exploring Collaboration and it was amazing to both see and hear the students explain what good Collaboration would ‘look and sound like’ and importantly watching them demonstrate these skills by working together in small teams as they did the learning. As the term unfolds we will explore creativity and the character of ‘growth mindset’ which is so important to help the students unlock their full learning potential.

Philosophy learning will compliment this by focusing on revisiting and building ‘growth mindset’ in the students through the fantastic Mojo films.

We are looking forward to another great week of learning with your children and we thank you for your support in keeping up the important home routines of reading at home and practicing magic words.

It was also lovely to meet so many families on Monday at our open classroom evening. It was great to see the students proudly showing off the school and introducing their families to their teachers. If you didn’t get a chance to come in then, we are alway happy for you to pop into the Jpod after school to have a look around or have your child give you a tour.

LIBRARY

Don’t forget LIBRARY DAY is Tuesday so please remember to return books borrowed so that your child can borrow another book.

Don’t forget to leave us a comment as we love hearing from you and always try to share comments on the blog with the students. Just remember our blog rules if you are leaving a comment and don’t use surnames please.

http://gwpsjpod.global2.vic.edu.au/2012/07/08/our-j-pod-blog-rules/

Many Thanks
THE JPOD TEACHERS


2 Responses to “What’s been happening in the Jpod?”

  1. Shelby says:

    Hi Jpod
    I really enjoyed learning about the lazy 8’s, what a great tool!
    Also I was very excited to hear about the mindfulness and gratitude practices, looking forward to seeing the benefits!
    Great start to the year Jpod!
    Shelby (Archie S’s mum)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi jpod! So pleased to hear GWPS has undertaken to introduce the practice of Mindfulness and Gratitude to you all! What a fabulous initiative!!
    I’m sure you will all reap the many benefits this beautiful practice will bring.
    I can’t wait to hear about your progress.
    Well done teachers and students .
    Leanne (Madi K’s Mum)

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