J Pod -Grovedale West Primary School

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

JPod Discovery Learning update

During our planning time today the JPod teachers were reflecting on the number of skills that the students have been learning this term during our Discovery learning sessions.

The primary focus for our learning has been to foster and develop students skills of collaboration, creativity and growth mindset.

We have approached this through the arts in our Discovery learning sessions and through our Philosophy for Children sessions, by exploring the Mojo films that help students to develop a growth mindset for learning.

By using a combination of visual, dramatic and media arts with the students over the last 6 weeks, the Jpod students have all been involved in the following learning opportunities:

Media Arts:
working collaboratively and creatively to:
create a simple movie with images on the iPad
add voice over and sound effects
create an animation using paper/card figures

Visual arts:
working collaboratively and creatively to:
use shapes and size to create characters
chose and explored appropriate materials to create paper mache characters
explore colour and textures when painting
use visual images to create accurate models of characters.

Dramatic arts:
working collaboratively and creatively to:
use body language and voice to express a character
Be confident to have a go at drama
explore how a script is useful when acting

It was great to have the chance to reflect on the number of skills they have had the chance to develop and consolidate and we are now looking forward to the students putting together all these skills in the final weeks of the term.

We have an interesting ‘So What’ challenge brief coming for the kids which will certainly give them a chance to show us what they have learnt about collaboration, creativity and growth mindset and also to use and apply the skills listed above.

We will share the ‘challenge’ on the blog as soon as we have shared it with the students.

The students have been enjoying creating paper mache characters from the Mojo films, developing their drama and expressive skills and using the iPads in creative ways.

We hope you will enjoy some photos of the last few weeks and stay tuned for the coming ‘Jpod Challenge’ which will bring our terms work to a conclusion over the next couple of weeks.

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Gratitude cards to fill others buckets and our own buckets!

In a time of the year where are all reminded of the need to give to others, it was lovely to encourage the students today to make gratitude cards to thanks others in their lives and around the school community for the things they do for them. The students made cards for the crossing helpers, the school cleaner, the after school care staff, the ‘project C’ who provides our fresh fruit every week, and others in our community.

The students really enjoyed taking a moment to think about others and we discussed with them how doing things for others can help to make others feel happier and also to make ourselves feel happy.

When we fill someone’s bucket of happiness , we also fill our own happiness levels!









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Exploring Growth Mindset in Philosophy

In 1978, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck made a profound discovery: children who believed their intelligence could grow did better in school, and better in life. She called this basic belief about intelligence “growth mindset.”

In 2016, Carol Dweck’s lab at Stanford, PERTS, partnered with ClassDojo to bring this important lesson to classrooms everywhere through a five episode video series.

We have been using these short videos during our weekly Philosophy for children discussion as a stimulus for the students thinking about their own ‘Growth Mindset’.

We have had some very interesting conversations with the students who are hopefully beginning to see how the way they approach learning from their mistakes and being positive can help them to build the neurons in their brain.

You might want to watch some of the video’s together with your child at home and discuss with them what they can learn from the messages in the films. See if they can add a comment to the post about a time when they have used a growth mindset to help them learn something new or challenging.

We would like to know if there has ever been a time when your Growth Mindset has helped you learn to do something challenging that you thought you might not be able to do?

What do you think about the power of the word ‘yet’ when it comes to your learning?

The Jpod Team


Week 4 Recap and Week 5 Learning Focus

Week 4 Recap


How fantastic it has been to see the J Pod student’s collaboration and creativity flourish as they embraced their artistic sides within Discovery this past week. Whether it be in the form of a paper mache animal, a musical score or a theatrical display; all children shared in some memorable creative experiences in which they had a great deal of fun.

Drama Theatre

Julia Donaldson’s, ‘The Gruffalo’ got the Broadway Treatment last week as all students had the opportunity to add some creative and dramatic flair to the celebrated children’s novel by presenting it in a live play for their peers. The students particularly enjoyed practising their roles in our newly acquired outdoor learning space which will be developed and utilised more frequently throughout the year.




Paper Mache Creation

What a great job the students have done using nothing but newspaper, balloons, glue mixture and simple craft supplies to recreate some of their favourite characters from ‘The Gruffalo’. Paper Mache art in itself is quite a complex and time consuming task, but the students have taken this in their stride; with each of the three Discovery groups working collaboratively to complete a shared body of work.






This week in Philosophy we continued to unpack what responsibilities and qualities a great Junior School Council (JSC) Representative would have. Students discussed this with one another and decided that a great JSC Representative would be someone who is: – helpful to others
– a good team member
– has great ideas
– speaks well in front of a group
– a good role model for other students
– a good listener
-responsible and sensible

Students then had to consider which of these qualities they possess which would make them a suitable Junior School Council Representative for their homegroup. Following this, each homegroup had an opportunity for students to show an expression of interest in being a representative this year.

Next Monday (Week 6), these students will have the opportunity to present a short 1 minute speech to their homegroup which outlines a few of their key strengths or qualities which they think would make them an exceptional council representative. The child’s homegroup will then cast a vote to elect our Junior School Council Representatives for the year.




Week 5 Learning Foci


This week students add another CAFÉ reading strategy to their toolbox as we learn to ‘Back Up and Re-read’. This strategy encourages students to monitor their reading to identify moments when something they have read doesn’t make sense. At this point they are then able to stop, ‘Back Up and Re-read’ in order to identify any potential errors they may have made, and to clarify what it is they may have misunderstood. See below for the second installment of our CAFÉ instructional videos which will explain the strategy in more detail.



What a ball we have had exploring ‘The Arts’ to open up new creative avenues for our students within Discovery learning. It had been great to see the J Pod’s collaborative and creative skills continue to develop and we look forward to strengthening them further as we explore another Julia Donaldson masterpiece, ‘Room on the Broom’.



This weeks artistic exploration tasks include:

            -Creating a character from ‘Room on the broom ’ using paper mache.

            -Soundtrack production for a scene from ‘Room on the Broom’ using musical instruments our voices and body percussion.

            -Planning and presenting a ‘Room on the Broom themed theatrical play which presents a scene form the story.

If only the witch in the story had as much room on her broom as we do in the J Pod to explore all these fantastic creative activities. Looking forward to another great week of Discovery learning!



Our writing will continue to focus on our handwriting in order to improve letter formation and placement on dotted thirds. Students will also be learning to write a reflective recount on their Discovery learning with a particular focus on accurate punctuation and interesting sentences.


Maths will see students continue to develop their mental strategies to assist them with their addition and counting skills. In addition to this, they will be taking part in a range of engaging and hands on tasks to build their knowledge of Place Value.


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Amazing student collaboration and creativity

What a fantastic week the students had as our Discovery focus continued around collaboration, compromise and creativity. The students had frequent opportunties to work in collaborative groups in a range of creative tasks. All students had a chance to experience the following activities:

Polyglot inspired creations using paper and tape.

The Polyglot theatre, from Melbourne, have been around for many years making amazing creations and building students imagination. Inspired by their paper and tape workshops (where students create using just paper and tape) the Jpod students were challenged to work in groups of 3 to design and create an animal or a plant that can be found in the forest.




Soundscape creation using Movie maker.

Using the same theme, students explored the sound effects in Movie Maker, drew a forest picture using their imaginations and then selected sound effects to compliment their pictures. We were amazed at both the students skills on the ipads and also the choiced they made with their sounds matching their pictures. This was real critical thinking in action.

Forest animal creation using Make -do.

Building on the Polyglot theme, students worked in groups of 4 to design and build a forest animal. There was some great compromise and creativity on show with students creating many imaginary animals that incorportated ideas from everyone in the group.





Here are some quotes from the students which really demonstrate the way they are learning about working together in teams, collaborating, making compromises and using their creativity.

Collaboration, Compromise and Creativity

Gil and Brayden wanted to make a spider and Billy wanted to make a snake so we compromised and made a spider snake. It has the long body and tongue of a snake and it has eight eyes and legs like a spider. It has the part that shoots out the web too.
Gil, Brayden C, Billy
Madeline wanted to make a tree, Kaleb wanted to make a snake and Fynn wanted to make a spider.  We compromised and decided to make a spider snake on a tree.
Kaleb, Madeline H, Fynn

We all agreed to make a snake. We all worked as a team. Jossi rolled up newspaper to make the body.  Zhaoyang scrunched newspaper to make the eyes and Archie helped by having the sticky tape ready. We improved our snake by making it coil around. That was Archie’s idea.
Jossi, Archie M, Zhaoyang

We all agreed to make a snake. First we were going to make a snake each but Jessie said that’s not a good team. So then we thought we could join our snakes to make one long snake. We wanted to make our snake look real so we decided to make scales for it. Cooper was cutting out the scales, Jessie was taping them on and Coban scrunched paper to make the head.
Cooper S, Coban, Jessie

Lachlan had the idea of making a monkey and Toby didn’t mind what he made so we decided to make a monkey. We both worked together to make different parts of the monkey. We had a problem of how to make the belly so we looked back at the plan on our whiteboard. We looked at the shape and then thought how we could make the newspaper into that shape.
Toby M, Lachlan Str
Ronak wanted to make a rabbit. Hannah R wanted to make a snake. Hannah M wanted to make a parrot. So we compromised by making a flying rabbit with a snake’s tail.
Hannah R, Hannah M, Ronak
We all agreed to make rabbit.We all agreed which part of the rabbit we were going to make. Tarryn made the head by scrunching newspaper, Zak made the tail by scrunching newspaper and Olivia made the body. Then we joined it all together. We all helped each other and worked well as a team.
Olivia H, Zakiya, Tarryn


The Little Book of Compromise

All of this learning tied perfectly into our philospohy discussion last week about the meaning of ‘compromise’. These discussions led to the making of this book, which was also shared with the Jpod students during Discovery sessions.




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Term 1, Learning for the coming week 3..

Welcome to week 3 in the Jpod.

Here is a brief overview of our learning foci for the week ahead.


With CAFE routines established this week’s CAFE focus will be on ‘Getting our Knowledge ready for reading’, by connecting with the text, making predictions and using SEE THINK WONDER.

We hope you enjoy the first of our CAFE instructional videos below which hopefully helps explains this very important strategy for readers. We also hope this video will give you some help with ways to tune in your children to their reading and to discuss their reading with them to help develop their comprehension skills.

This week will also see students begin their small group guided reading workshops.

Students have 1-2 of these workshops in a very small group with a teacher every week, which allows teachers to explicitly coach and support students with the next steps needed with their personal reading goals.


Writing this week will focus around drawing labelled plans and writing about ideas for how we might develop our new outdoor classroom space. Students will also refresh their letter formation skills and writing fluency.


Maths will focus on counting and mental strategies that students can use to help them with their addition and counting. For example, estimation, counting on, using known number facts, doubles and bridging to ten.


Continuing on from last week the focus will remain on developing students Collaboration skills through working in groups on creative projects using hand on materials and technology.

We will also be helping students understand what it means to compromise with others and what being creative really means.  You can give your child a head start with this learning if you watch and discuss the video below with them. We will be using this as a stimulus in class to explore compromise and creativity.


This week’s philosophy session used the photo below as a stimulus for students to discuss. We used the thinking routine SEE THINK WONDER to discuss what might be happening in the photo, why it might be happening, how the students in the photos might be feeling and to help our students develop strategies to help them stay positive and resilient in group situations.


Finally, just a little message to remind each student to bring into school a box of tissues. We really need a good supply of these to prepare ourselves for the winter months.

Looking forward to a great week from the Jpod teachers.


Our School Beliefs

Our 4 core School Beliefs were recently highlighted in the recent editions of the ‘Link’ newsletter.

We decided to discuss the 4 Beliefs during our Philosophy for Children sessions this term. As a result of our discussions the students thought it would be a good idea to try and re-write the Beliefs in a way that could be easy for our prep students to understand.

We did this collaboratively with the Jpod working together to produce 4 Y charts (one for each school Belief) attempting to show in pictures and words what each belief would ‘look like’, ‘sound like’ and ‘feel like’ at Grovedale West Primary School.

Here is what the 1/2 students came up with

– We can all learn
– A safe school is a happy school
– We all look after each others things
– We all need to be take care of each other. We need to be friendly to each other.

The 1/2 students shared these posters in our first whole school assembly and they have now helped to narrate a film to show to the preps so that they can further understand the 4 school beliefs.

We hope you enjoy the film and we can’t wait to hear what the prep students thought of it and whether it helped them with their understanding. The film will be shown to them soon and posted onto their blog as well.

Great work 1/2’s in helping to build such a great community through our school.
The Jpod Teachers

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