J Pod -Grovedale West Primary School

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

Queenscliff Marine Discovery Centre …on Monday

We are all looking forward to continuing our learning about the environment with our visit to Queenscliff Marine discovery centre on Monday.

The students will take part in ‘its our coast to care for’ learning activities at the centre and then do some exploring along the coastal environment.

Please make sure you arrive at school On Monday morning nice and promptly as the bus will be leaving at 9am.

We will be outside for part of the day, so please make sure your children are dressed appropriatley for the conditions and a coat would be advisable.

Children should bring their own healthy snack, lunch and water bottle.

We will be sharing a social story with all the students to help them feel prepared for the excursion, If you want to read this again with your child together you can access the story from the link pasted below:

Queenscliff excursion-zr6icb

Looking forward to a great day on Monday.

The Jpod Teams

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Welcome to Term 2…Environmental Discovery Focus

Hi all Jpod families,

It is great to be back in the swing of learning and despite the set backs of the school flood the students are back building their skills and focusing on their learning opportunities.

Look out for our level newsletter which came home this week.

Discovery Learning
Our Discovery focus for this term is beginning to consider the impact that we, as humans, have had on our environment. We are hoping to explore with the students how our environment is changing and look at issues that affect our environment such as waste, recycling and simple ways that we can help look after our environment.

We began our Inquiry by looking at the fantastic picture story book ‘Window’ by Jeannie Baker. Jeannie Baker produces her books from amazing collage pictures and they often stimulate thinking about environmental issues. This book has no words but tells the story of the development of a local environment from the perspective of a view from the window of a house. The story begins with a house surrounded by the bush and eventually the family find themselves surrounded by a town or city. With our ever developing local Armstrong Creek community, this is certainly something we can all relate to.

The students have been really interested in the book and have been identifying the changes to the natural environment in the book and thinking about both the ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ impacts of these changes. We have considered things from different perspectives, for example the positive impacts of more houses being built for people to live in as part of a community, might not be so ‘positive’ for wildlife displaced by the building of the houses.

We are excited to see where our Discovery focus will take us over the next few weeks and what the students will decide to do to take some action or make a difference to an environmental issue that they identify or feel connected to.

See Saw portfolios

In other news, we have started to use our new See Saw digital portfolio with the students. We hope to be able to connect you as parents to your child’s portfolio in the very near future, as soon as the students have had a chance to put some examples of their learning onto the portfolio for you to see. For those of you interested in finding out more about See Saw, the video below might give you more of an idea as to how the portfolio will work and how it will connect you to your child’s learning journey at school.

Parent help with our magic words program

If you are interested in helping with our sight words ( magic words) program and are able to help in the classroom between 9-10 am on either a Monday, Wednesday or Friday then please let us know. Look out for a note coming home soon about this or pop a note in your child’s diary if you are interested in helping.

Many thanks from the Jpod teaching team.

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Term 1 Discovery Learning came to a wonderful conclusion on Friday

Our term 1 Discovery learning came to a wonderful conclusion on the last Friday of term as our students worked in their collaborative teams to present their episode of the ‘Mojo’ growth mindset films to explain to their audience what it meant to be in the learning dip and how to get out to the learning dip with the power of ‘I CANT DO THIS YET!”

click her to watch the DIP episode

The students had worked together in the week to use all their skills developed during the term to collaborate in developing characters, making puppets, creating scripts and story boards and using their drama skills to bring to life their characters. This whole process was a great way to reinforce and use their skills and also was yet another way to help the students understand the important message of maintaining a growth mindset in all they do, especially when learning new or challenging things.

We were very impressed with the students collaboration, creativity and growth mindset skills as they brought to a conclusion the ‘Challenging’ work of the term.

We can’t wait to see what challenges and learning our term 2 discovery learning will bring to the Jpod.

We hope you enjoy the photos below of the students in action on Friday.


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Mindfulness and Gratitude Practise

As we approach the end of term 1 we are still incorporating mindfulness and gratitude as part of our daily program in the Jpod.

We are using short sessions to help the students think positively about themselves and the world around them and to help give them opportunities to calm themselves and regulate their behavior.

Below are a couple of clips which we have listened to with the students. After students listened to the ‘Story Tree’ meditation they were asked to draw their own special ‘Treehouse’ and some of the amazing pictures they drew are under the video clip.

The second clip came to us from the ‘smiling minds App’ and is one of the characters from the recent Trolls movie speaking to the kids about how to find happiness within themselves.

We would love to hear some comments from the students about what they think of their mindfulness sessions at school.

Or if parents have any good ideas to share with us about how you help your children to be mindful while at home, we also love for you to share those with us.

The students seem to be enjoying the mindfulness times of the day and hopefully the benefits will develop in helping them become happy, resilient learners.

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JPod news Feb 2017

We hope you enjoy Jpod News which was shown in our whole school assembly last week.

Well done to all the students who took part in our first assembly of the year.

Just a reminder to please send in a box of tissues with your child as we need to stock pile some tissues to see us through all the winter months (not to wish away the lovely weather)

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What’s been happening in the Jpod?

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.


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


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


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.


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.


Many Thanks


Welcome to 2017….what a fantastic start!!

Welcome to the Jpod blog for 2017.

The blog is one of the ways that we keep you informed about what is going on in the Jpod, in addition to our regular newsletters, assemblies and diary communication and notes. We regularly use the prep blog and the Jpod blog in the classroom with the students to help them remember previous learning experiences and build on them during their time at GWPS.

For those parents new to GWPS we would recommend that you remind yourselves of the rules that we adopt in using the Jpod Blog. You can find these on under the ‘blog rules’ category on the right hand side of this page or at this link


We love it when we receive comments to the blog and we encourage you to comment when you can as the students (and teachers ) love to know that the blog is being enjoyed and valued by the wider school community.

The students made a fantastic start to the new year. Our program last week was based around a balance of time in our home groups getting to know each other, meeting other teachers and friends and moving into different areas of the Jpod and mindfulness activities to encourage the students to be calm, reflective and help them to develop gratitude and empathy for the world around them. Students enjoyed many hand on and creative activities where the focus was on working alongside their friends. They were also able to use the new outdoor learning area for a range of activities, including interactive storytelling, drama and playing the djembe drum. It was fabulous to see so many students getting along together so well and enjoying and appreciating the great learning spaces that the Jpod and the whole of the GWPS has to offer them.

Thank you to all the parents for supporting your children so fantastically during our first week. We were amazed by how effortlessly the students handled new routines. All the teachers and other staff in the Jpod are really looking forward to getting to know your children better over the coming weeks and developing learning opportunities which will help them move forward with their learning in the best possible way.

Looking forward to a fantastic 2017!


Anglesea Bush Walk and Beach FUN!!

What a fantastic day we had today in Anglesea. The students were a credit to themselves as they enjoyed a bush walk, beach play and park play in the wonderful Anglesea (where the bush meets the sea!)

When we got back to school the students reflected on their day and it was so lovely to hear a range of appreciations for their day:

‘I appreciated the bus and the bus drivers for taking us safely there’
‘I appreciated my friends for playing with me and having so much fun’
‘I appreciated the teachers for organizing such a great day for us’
‘I appreciated Mrs Lynch for letting us go’
‘I appreciated the bush walk because it’s something I don’t do that often’
‘I appreciated the beach because we are so lucky to have such a lovely beach near us’
‘I appreciate Katie for making me such a special tasty lunch box today for my day out’ (Mr Ramage)

All the teachers in the Jpod have had such a pleasure this year working with your children and today was such a lovely way to enjoy a celebration with them of the fantastic year they have had.

We hope you enjoy a few photos of our lovely day.

































Update from Rizq about the mini library project

We were so thrilled to revive some photos and a video from Rizq and his family with an update about the mini library project. Rizq has now found a good venue for the Library and are setting it up , hopeful that it will be open in the next couple of weeks.


There have been some other exciting developments and some other organisations in Malaysia that are interested in the mini library concept so we might have more news soon about other possibilities.

We watched the movie below with the students yesterday and they were so pleased to see the books they had sent and made being organized for the library. It really was great for them to see what a difference they had made to the lives of other children in another country. The authentic learning that has come from this project has been beyond our original expectations but this is always possible with an ‘authentic learning opportunity’ and why we value these at GWPS so much. It is so important for children to see that through their learning and hard work that they can make a real difference to the world around them and to the lives of others.

Rizq and his family are so grateful for the support they have received from all of the GWPS school community and they tell us that they miss us all.

We will continue to share any other exciting news that we might get from this wonderful project.

If you have a message for Rizq and his family please share them on the blog. We know his family follow the blog and we will also pass any messages from the blog onto them by email.

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JPod Movie night…

The teacher and the students had lots of fun tonight at the Jpod movie camp night. The students arrived excitedly, some in PJ’s with bean bags and sleeping bags. After some fun games outside in the lovely evening sunshine with the teachers, including a HUGE soccer match it was inside for the movie.

Two super wide screens, complete with surround sound were set up in the rooms for the full movie experience.

The teachers then served the students popcorn and warm milo as they relaxed and enjoyed the movie.

Hopefully the students won’t be too tired in the morning!!

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