Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Fun 10/4/09

Today is Good Friday, and it's nice to have made it to Easter and be enjoying the start of two weeks of holiday. At the start of this week I wasn't sure how I'd make it through to the end - with interviews every afternoon and a workshop to present on Wednesday. Fortunately, I'd built it up to be bigger in my mind, and as I approached things step by step, it was much more manageable. I'm now busy organising the clutter in my mind so that the steps are laid out for the next twelve weeks! But I'm racing ahead. Let's look at the fun for this week...

Dragon Art
Jonno organized a brilliant art activity for us - designing and decorating dragons with collage tails. Students used coloured oil pastels to colour the head and then alternated scaly strips in two colours for the body/tail. They looked really effective when they were finished. They represented a creative end to our unit on Rowan of Rin.

Cross Country Carnival
On Thursday, students in all grades did some running for our Cross Country Carnival on the school grounds. In Australian schools we have three major whole school sporting events each year: the swimming carnival, the athletics carnival and the cross country carnival. (Do these occur in other countries?)
At various quiet points throughout the carnival, one of the more experienced and enthusiastic teachers led students in high energy dances to keep them entertained.
I have been surprised this year to find how many students look for ways to avoid running in the cross country. Quite a few of my students experienced performance anxiety or complained of some form of illness. I wonder what can be done to prevent this occurrence next year. This year I ran the race with one of my ten year old girls. It was nice to share the experience together, and together we felt the sense of achievement at the end.
When I was a child, I had a hernia one year, and asthma another year. I think for myself, it was mostly an issue of laziness and an unwillingness to persist with a run for such a length of time. I didn't see the value in pushing through difficulties. This is something that I think I've learnt as an adult.

Never Give Up Attitude
This week we focused on the FRIENDS value: "Never Give Up Attitude". In Circle Time, groups created graphs about the difficult situations that students have had to face in life. The following lesson, students learnt about the story of Floppy Cat and considered situations in their own lives where they persisted through difficult circumstances. You can find out more about the story of Floppy Cat in the following videos.

Three-Way Interviews
As far as I was concerned, our three-way interviews were very successful. I was impressed to see how well students summed up their own capabilities and work habits. Most could explain how they were coping with the work and took ownership of their plans for next term. They shared any concerns they were having, and together we talked through solutions. I really like this form of interview as it represents a real team approach to learning and includes the subject of the discussion!
I even found that students were honest enough with their parents to own up to misbehaviour in class. It was much easier for me to have the student break the news, rather than having to 'dob' on them to their parents.

Assemblies and Visitors
Again this week we made good use of our school hall for assemblies and visitors. On Tuesday we had some players from the Western Bulldogs AFL team who came to talk to our students about their experiences with sport.
On Thursday we had a special FRIENDS assembly to acknowledge the work we have done on our FRIENDS values this term. Two students from each class received awards for following the FRIENDS values. We were also told that each class is going to be working on a name for each of the FRIENDS mascots.
After lunch on Thursday we had yet another assembly to find out the results of the cross country carnival and inform students who progressed to the next stage of competition.

Friday Fun will be taking a break until term starts up again. See you again next term!
Want more Friday Fun? Click here.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Penny,
    I live in California and teach elementary school. The closest thing we have to your Cross Country Carnival is a Jog-a-thon. The kids don't run that far, most less than a mile. How far is your run? I like the idea of the all-school athletic carnival.

    I loved the Floppy Cat information and will share it with my third graders. Thanks!



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