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?

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

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The Great Games Expo!

Wow! What an amazing turnout we had the J Pod Great Games Expo! The miserable weather certainly threw a spanner in the works but you wouldn’t have known had you experienced the buzz and excitement of this excellent event. Thankyou to all those students, teachers, parents, friends and families who gave our students an audience to share the games they have been working so hard to create.  They truly appreciated the amount of people that attended and were excited by the opportunity to seek feedback on their games. We are really proud of what they have achieved throughout our focus on Games in Discovery this term and it was clear to see that they too are proud of the games they have created.

We hope that everyone enjoyed the great array of games the J Pod provided. Whether it was in Board Games, Outdoor Games, Card Games and Electronic Games; all students used their collaborative and creative skills in order to produce a game that people could come and be entertained by; and boy were we ever! Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the Games Expo is that the J Pod now has a set of Board Games and Card Games that can be utilised during wet-weather timetables this year and into the future. Not to mention the outdoor games that can now be played and taught outside during recess and lunchtimes! The whole process has been highly rewarding for the students and it’s with great pride that we can add another successful JPod Expo to the list. Well done kids!

Below are some shots from the Expo and a small video clip which captured some of the excitement along the way:

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Discovery Learning Focus – ‘Game On!’

As we move on from what has been an amazingly successful Discovery focus on unique and interesting areas of the Geelong region; we can’t help but be excited about what our students will create and accomplish during the remainder of the year.

With the Olympic Games running during the last two weeks , it seemed only fitting that we turn our attention to the world of ‘games’ and explore what it is that actually makes something a ‘game’, as opposed to a ‘toy’ or ‘play activity’. As students begin to develop their perception of what a game is and to analyse, evaluate and compare the features of different types of games, they will realise the potential that games have to build their collaborative, creative and critical thinking skills. There are also many valuable educational links to be made in the coming weeks as students explore data collection and analyse statistics during Maths classes; or write Procedural Texts that outline instructions for some of the world’s most famous board games.

 

The following photos show some of the games that students have been exploring and analyzing. After playing each game, students had to consider the ‘enjoyment’ and ‘difficulty’ levels of the game and whether they considered it to be a game of ‘skill’ or ‘chance’.



IMG_4690                                                   Chase the Ace (Card Game)

IMG_4693                                                   Connect Four (Board Game)
IMG_4695                                                   Draughts (Board Game)

 

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                                                      Subway Surfer (Digital/ Video Game)

IMG_4698                                                   Students make a leaderboard of their highest Subway Surfer scores. 


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                                      Student evaluation of ‘Chase the Ace’ (Card Game)

Each student has considered what degree of skill or chance played a part in the game as well as what they enjoyed about the game. They then gave it a difficulty rating out of three stars.

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With the 2016 Olympic games and the overwhelmingly positive response to the Geelong Expo still fresh in the motivated minds of our young creators; what better time than right now to channel that enthusiasm into the Discovery of something that everyone enjoys! Term 3 couldn’t look any more promising than this, and as far as we’re concerned in the J Pod, it is well and truly ‘Game On!’

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Week 7 Learning Summary in Photos

DISCOVERY

How brilliant it has been to see our students begin to make links between their different Discovery rotation groups as they continue to build upon their collaboration and creativity skills. We have seen children becoming more confident to express themselves (and their feelings/emotions) through the use of music, art and dramatic play. Take a look at some of their fantastic artistic work below:

Kandinsky’s Circles

Wassily Kandinsky was an influential Russian artist who  could see colors and images whilst listening to music and replicate them in his artwork. He was credited with the first works of ‘abstract art’ in the 1900’s.  The children below can be seen creating Kandinsky Circles in response to different types of music. Don’t they look fantastic?!

 

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Exploring Emotions through Music

What a great time students had using the guitar and body percussion to explore the musical concepts of Pitch, Volume and Tempo. Students considered each of these musical concepts and how they could be altered to change the feel or emotion of a particular piece of music.

Some of the children pictured below even altered the pitch of their guitar by twisting the tuning pegs. When asked why they had done this they explained that they wanted to lower the pitch to make it a ‘deeper and more angry sound’ for their performance. How fascinating and inspiring it is to see the children use their collaboration and creativity when experimenting with instruments they have never used before.

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BELOW: Three girls tap their elbows to make a high pitched percussion noise while the other creates guitar tones to match a specific emotion.

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Dramatic Voice Dubs

Take a look at this talented bunch of students who were able to create a silent film which mimed/ acted a particular action, and then added sound dubs over the top to create some truly impressive dramatic works. This is a great example of higher-order thinking that requires a great deal of creativity and improvisation from our students.

Fun in Letters and Sounds!

-The kids of the J Pod have been really enjoying their letters and sounds activities to finish off the end of their school day.

Below are some children who have  worked collaboratively together to make list of words that contain the many spelling options for the long ‘ee’ vowel sound.

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Junior Assembly

Wow! What an amazing turnout! Thankyou so much to all our wonderful families and friends who turned up to our first Junior Assembly for the year. The J Pod and Prep students were all very excited to share some of their wonderful learning with you all. We hope to see you all again next term when we share some more of our exciting learning with you.

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BELOW: The Preps putting on a fantastic performance to the tune of John Butler’s, ‘Better Than’.

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Cross Country/ Fun Run

This Thursday March 17th will be our school’s Cross Country/ Fun Run event. Students are encouraged to wear their house colours on the day which will begin with the Junior School students at 12:30pm. All J Pod students have received a notice which will contain further details about the event including running times for each age group as outlined below. Parents and families are more than welcome to come watch the children run and we hope to see many of you there tomorrow.

EVENT TIMES:

LEVEL 1&2

12.30p.m  Prep Girls—400m

12.40p.m  Prep Boys—400m

12.50p.m  Year 1 Girls—600m

12.55p.m  Year 1 Boys—600m

1.05p.m. Year 2 Girls—800m

1.15p.m.   Year 2 Boys—800m

Please remember to bring your hat, drink bottle and to wear your house colours! Don’t worry if you don’t have anything of your house colour, as long as you wear something you can run in. 

 

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The great Jpod bake off….

This term all the students in the JPOD will have the opportunity to learn some new and important skills in our wonderful kitchen.

Over the next 4 weeks students will be working in small groups to create their own ‘resplendent’ pizzas. No more sub-standard pizzas in the Jpod!!

This will involve making pizza dough and then creating interesting toppings, before cooking, sampling and hopefully making at home for families!!

We are sure the students will enjoy this opportunity and hopefully develop a passion for cooking!

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J Pod is going completely nude…. Nude Food that is!

This term we have been learning all about sustaining our environment and ways we can help reduce, reuse and recycle.

On Thursday 17th September our aim in the J Pod is to have as much nude food in our lunch box as possible.

 

Some lunchbox tips and ways you can help reduce and reuse:

  • Nude food- means food items that require no wrappers; like fruit, they have their own wrapper
  • Reuse snap lock bags
  • Use containers instead of wrappers
  • Purchase in bulk and put portions into small reusable containers

 

 

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Exploring Serendip Sanctuary and the You Yangs!

What an exciting way to end the year – exploring Serendip Sanctuary and the You Yangs! (A great place to visit over the holidays)  We had a great time learning about Australian animals. We discovered many animals on our nature walk at Serendip and when we were hiking up to Big Rock at the You Yangs, we even spotted a wild koala! The J Pod staff want to say thanks to all of our amazing students…We have had a wonderful year! Rest up, have fun and enjoy the summer holidays 🙂

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Melbourne Museum Excursion

Hi there everyone!

We had an amazing day at the Melbourne Museum yesterday. We saw so many interesting things which really made us think and wonder about History. We visited the ‘First Peoples’ exhibit which was about Indigenous Australians. We visited the ‘Melbourne Story’ exhibit which showed us what life in olden day Melbourne was like. We also saw the ‘Wild Things’ and the ‘Bugs Life’ display, which was really fun and linked to our Science learning. We hope everyone had an awesome time. Us teachers sure did!! Maybe you could comment on this post and share your favorite part of the excursion?

Bye for now! The Friendly J Pod Teachers 🙂

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Happy Easter!!!

Wishing you a fantastic Easter and holiday.

See you after my Hawaiian adventure. Aloha!

From Mrs Teague

A tropical paradise!

 

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More Amazing Reflections

The J Pod students continue to reflect on their learning, thinking about how they went about the Discovery process and what areas they could improve next time. Here are some more wonderful reflections on individual Discovery projects.

Taylor’s Pharlap Project

Amber’s Pharlap Project

Taylor’s Money Project

Tayanne’s Obi Bookmark

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