J Pod -Grovedale West Primary School

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

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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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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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:








Not Long to Go: Will You Be At The Great Games Expo?

The J Pod is currently brimming with excitement as our students begin to make their final preparations for the Great Games Expo which will be held in the J Pod next Friday the 21st of October. Families are more than welcome to visit the Expo between 9-10am on the day.

The students have been hard at work making some last minute modifications to their games to make them as enjoyable as possible for our lucky visitors on the day.

They have also been working hard during Writing sessions in which they have considered ‘what makes a good invitation?’ in order to create invites for our potential Games Expo visitors.











We hope to see you there, GAME ON!


The stick play area is now open…

Stick Play Area is now open.


Over the last couple of terms a group of Jpod students have been working on a project to develop part of the Jpod outside learning space.

There is more exciting news soon to come very soon about how this outside learning space will be developed this term, but the students are very excited to share the work they have done to develop an area where other students can use their creative and collaborative skills to build and create models using sticks and a healthy amount of imagination.

The students have made a video to share their work with the wider school community and other students in the school. As you will see from the video that the students have made, they have put a considerable effort into creating the area, making posters to support students who want to use the area as a play space, thinking about ways in which students can safely play with sticks and the sorts of things they can make and create.

The boys are very proud of their achievements and are looking forward to other students having the chance to use the area in the way they have planned.


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Getting very excited about the Games Expo…..

Much collaboration, creativity and critical thinking has been happening in the Jpod over the last few weeks as the students continue their preparations for our games expo next term on Friday 21st October.

THE BIG NEWS is that the schools we approached and invited to the Expo have all replied with excitement about our project. They were excited to be included in the authentic learning opportunity and have all offered to be involved in the project. So far, we have 98 prep, grade 1 and grade 2 students from Grovedale PS confirmed to visit on the morning of the Expo. Nazareth PS can’t come that day but they may come on another day so that their students can be involved. Finally, we might have students from a bit farther afield (from Anakie) visiting on the Expo day.

Our students are looking forward to having students to play their games and to have the opportunity to get feedback about their games and also to teach and inspire other students to have a go at making and developing their own games.

Over the last few weeks our students have been involved in the tricky phase of exploring their game types in more detail, planning and testing game ideas, reflecting on this and then re-working their plans and beginning to create and make heir games. They are working either in small groups or partners, so as they plan and reflect they are also developing their communication and collaboration skills, making decisions with others in their groups and seeking feedback from other students in the Jpod to enhance and help develop their plans and game ideas.


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All of the work we have done this year about collaboration and growth mindset have been invaluable to the students as the projects they are engaged in are certainly challenging both in terms of the new skills they are learning and the ability to work with others.

We are also seeing lots of the students creative skills in action and their willingness and ability to think critically and improve their games is also clearly evident.


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Developing games is something children do from a very young age in an informal way as they play with their friends, but the challenge of developing a game like a board game or card game that others will be able to play with clear instructions and aims involves students to think carefully and critically about how other will interact and understand their game.


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The students who have taken on the challenge to make Electronic games have been introduced to the concept and skills involved in CODING (or computer programming).

WHAT IS CODING? Coding is essentially writing logical instructions that a computer can follow so that a game or program will work as it is intended to. It is a new type of literacy. Just as writing helps you organize your thoughts and express ideas, the same is true for Coding, which in the past was considered too difficult for younger children. We have been using simple App’s with the students to introduce and teach them coding skills through ‘Block Coding’.

As students interact with these Apps they learn how to solve problems and use the device to express themselves, rather than just interact with it. The students are using and developing their maths and language skills in meaningful and motivational ways, which is why Coding is now forming part of the Victorian primary school curriculum.

We have been using ‘Light Bot’ and ‘Junior Scratch’ with the students to help them develop their games. They are both free App’s to download and we would recommend them for use at home to support what we are working on in the classroom. The students have been learning the skills of coding and what is possible and they are now planning and storyboarding their games (much like they would plan a sequenced story narrative) which they will next seek to create by coding the game to do what they want it to do. The best way to understand this further would be to download Junior Scratch to a device at home and ask your child to show you what they can do with it…or failing that….come to our games Expo to learn all about it!


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We hope all the students and families have a restful holiday and we look forward to seeing everyone back refreshed and ready for an exciting Term 4.


Collecting Data to help with our learning..can you help us?

The Jpod Games Expo is coming…..

You may have heard that J Pod students have been busy playing games during Discovery time – this is all for good reason as students are developing their perception of what a good game is and have been asked to analyse, evaluate and compare the features of different types of games. This has led to the students wanted to put their learning to good use and ‘create’ a new game for someone else to play.

In thinking about who they might design games for, the students thought it would be great to invite the GWPS community to try out their games and also to invite some grade 1/2 students from nearby local schools to come to GWPS to play their games, to both entertain them with the games and also to get some feedback on the games they will be creating. Why not have a ‘Games Expo’ the students thought but this time with other schools invited!!!

After using Google Maps to research and recording the distance of nearby schools, students have collaboratively designed a survey of questions using an online monkey survey to send to the other local schools. What a great use of their numeracy skills; reading and interpreting maps, measuring time and distance and developing questions to collect data.

They have also been using their Literacy skills too, drafting a persuasive letter explaining how they would like the other students to come to the Games Expo, giving them directions to walk to our school and asking them to complete the online survey. In drafting their letters the students had to think carefully about what to include in their text and also to revise and redraft their letters first in their books and then on loose paper that can be posted to the other schools.


Some students have used book creator to create electronic letters to send.




Without wanting to give too much away, our students have been given the option to choose their preferred game type they would like to create, including board games, card games, active games and electronic games. All the games will need the students to use their literacy and numeracy skills, critical thinking skills, communication skills, collaboration skills and have the character to take on a challenging project. The electronic games creation will also lead to the students exploring ‘coding’ skills as they develop the mathematical and literacy skills involved in understanding how electronic games and apps are created.

We are now in the beginning stages of researching further our chosen game type and together with our survey response questions we will begin the design and creation process. It’s a tricky challenge but the students are up for the challenge and its yet another  great way to build their ‘growth mindset’.

We are planning our Expo for Friday 21st October, so make sure you pencil in the Expo date as it is sure to be a fun, fantastic, exciting event for all ages!

We would also love your feedback on what you enjoy when playing a game and would love for anyone reading this blog post to complete our Jpod online Monkey survey (it only takes a few minutes).

These are the students questions, which were developed collaboratively with input from all the Jpod students. As we collect the data it will be great to look at this and analyze our results with the students, in that way they can hopefully design the sorts of games that audience members at the Expo would like to play. They will also be able to develop their numeracy skills in collecting, reading and interpreting data in a real and authentic way. The survey can be accessed by clicking on the following link or using the QR code if you would prefer.





We hope you can help and that you will be able to come and try out some of our games when they are ready.


Homophones rule!!

Some of the Jpod students have been finding out about Homophones during their recent Letters and Sounds and spelling sessions.

We started investigating homophones by reading the Gene Barretta book “Dear Deer’ together. This led to lots of interesting research and learning by the students, finding out about homophones (words that sound the same but are usually spelt differently and have different meanings, like hair and hare. We also found out about other words called homographs where words are spelt the same but pronounced differently with different meanings like, ‘Wind’ and ‘wind’ (the watch).


The students were inspired to create their own book of homophones. Each student has worked collaboratively with a partner to create an interesting homophone page which they have then illustrated and we published together as an electronic classbook book using ‘Book Creator’

We hope you enjoy listening to the Jpod homophone book.

We wondered what Gene Barretta might think of our book?

We would love to know what you think of our book and for you to share an interesting pair of homophones that you can think of?


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)



                                                      Subway Surfer (Digital/ Video Game)

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


                                      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.








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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