School Newsletter

We are excited to be back for Term 4 and we welcome Miss Georgia Allen who will be working in Year 4 as a fourth year prac student, guided by Mrs Bancroft. 

In Religion, Year 3 are learning about the Holy Eucharist and the parts of the Mass and Year 4 are focussing on prayer and the different ways we can communicate with God.

This term in English, we will be writing some wonderful poetry while looking at connotation and imagery. We have some excellent activities planned to explore the literary world of poetry and how authors use a range of language devices to create and enhance the imagery and connotation in their writing. We shared the book, Shapes of Australia by Bronwyn Bancroft, and the students had to use their imaginations to create an artwork combining several images from the book. Some of the Year 3 students’ work is featured below. 

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Miss Allen is very enthusiastic to be guiding Mathematics in Year 4 for the next four weeks. The focus will be on the Measurement strand. Year 3 learnt about grams and kilograms and finding the mass of objects and now are learning about fractions and mixed numerals. Below are examples of timetables created by Year 4 during their Maths lesson:

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In PDHPE, the strand Healthy, Safe and Active Lifestyles focuses on the interrelationship between health and physical activity concepts. Students develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to empower them to make healthy and safe choices and take action to promote the health and wellbeing of their communities. Students engage with a range of health issues and identify strategies to keep them healthy, safe and active.

This term, Stage 2 will be exploring dance as a creative avenue for expression, including cultural, contemporary and traditional styles. 

Dear Parents,

It is hard to believe we have already completed two weeks of Term 4, which is always a busy time in a school.

In this newsletter, we are sharing some housekeeping regarding accessing the parent portal which gives access to student reports being issued later in term 4. 

Currently, staff are undertaking training in new software to be used by the school next year which will provide parents greater accessibility and streamline the many online portals we are using. More information will be provided later in the term.

2021 NAPLAN results were sent home to the families of year 3 and year 5 students last week. 

Information regarding a possible Stage 3 (Yrs 5 & 6) camp was shared this week. We look forward to the possibility of taking our senior students away for an end-of-year excursion.

Regards

Jacki Moore

Principal

For your Information

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Road Safety

The Road Safety focus in Term 4 is on safe bus behaviour to and from school. 

For more information go to:  https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/downloads/keeping-our-kids-safe-around-schools.pdf

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GEOGRAPHY

Even though our learning in Geography has been disrupted this term we are pleased that the teaching of the units outlined below has now commenced, and will be the continued focus of our learning in Term 4.

We commenced our geography units with an indigenous focus that aligned with NAIDOC celebrations. The theme this year being Heal Country. The poster theme for this year – Care for Country, aligns closely with geographical concepts and the Catholic Social Teaching of Stewardship.

Kindergarten – People Live in Places

Within this unit, students look at places; their place, different places, special places, and places they belong to. They will explore how and why people look after places; the location of places and how they can be represented with maps and mapping skills will be investigated. The concepts of place, space and environment are addressed throughout the unit.

Stage 1 – Features of Places

The People Live in Places unit examines weather and seasons, features of places and how places are organised. Within these ideas, students learn about the weather and seasons in places, seasonal calendars and how activities change according to the weather. They learn about natural, built and managed features of places and how and why spaces in places can be organised.

Stage 2 – Places are Similar and Different

This unit explores the Australian continent, Australia’s neighbours, the climate of places, the similarities and differences between places and perception and protection of places. Within these ideas, students will explore different climate zones within Australia and compare those to our neighbouring countries. They will evaluate the impact of climate on the settlement patterns of particular areas and how it influences the daily lives of the people who live there. The significance of “place” to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and others is examined and consideration to how feelings and perceptions for a special place influence the actions of a community to protect the environment.

Stage 3 – Factors that Shape Places

This unit explores factors that change environments, how environments shape places, how humans shape places and the effects of natural disasters. Students examine the interconnectedness between the environment and human interaction. Students will examine how human decisions and actions influence the way spaces are organised and managed and they will gain an understanding of how communities can prevent and minimise the effects of natural disasters on the environment.

Science and Technology

Our postponed Science Week celebration was held this week with everyone participating in bee-related activities and exploring Augmented Reality (AR) in their lessons.

Kindergarten and Stage 1 students listened to a bush tucker story about collecting the sugarbag, danced along to the Waggle Dance, programmed Bluebots and explored how the Quiver app could bring their bee designs to life. 

Students in Years 3, 4 and 5 found out a little more about native bees, including the amazing fact that Queen bees lay 300 eggs a day.  They put on their design hats to create a label for a honey jar and were very excited to be able to explore AR with Merge Cubes.

Year 6 has been busily converting their Science Festival demonstrations to videos that can be shared with other classes under the current Covid-19 guidelines. In keeping with the Science Week theme of Food: Different by Design their activities include:

  • Making icecream
  • Lemon volcanos
  • Glow in the dark jello
  • Starburst slime
  • Sherbet
  • Plastic milk

The Beeswax Wrap kits have been sent home this week. The children really enjoyed printing their calico and I am sure will learn a lot from being involved in the process of making the wraps.  It has been a great activity to show the children how we can all make a difference in caring for the environment as well as reminding us of the importance of bees as pollinators. The level of support from families for this project has been amazing - thank you.

Happy (belated) Science Week!

Mrs Tricia Neithe

Dear Parents,

Thank you for your contributions towards student learning in term 3 and your continued support of our school community during difficult times. Our staff are grateful for the partnership approach to learning through the lockdown period.

We pray that you are all well, and wish you a happy, healthy and safe holiday.

We look forward to welcoming students back on Tuesday 5 October for Term 4.

Regards

Jacki Moore

Principal

The Long Way Home writing competition happens each year in May where students from Year 2 right through to adults have the opportunity to write a short story based on an annual theme, with the chance to be chosen to be published in a local book titled The Long Way Home, Short Stories from the Clarence Valley.

The competition is in its 4th year and the theme was Look Up. Many students from our school entered the writing competition this year, with their story being no more than 150 words. With over 240 entries from students around the Clarence Valley, we are very pleased to announce that 8 of our amazing students' stories have been chosen to be published in the book, due to be released in December this year.

Please enjoy reading these wonderful stories which are printed below.

'Look up'

by Charlotte Cheng Year 6

Her bright phone screen flickered in her hand,

As the video she watched played on.

She slowly and carefully went up to stand, 

But a voice in her head murmured, look up, don’t prolong.

Felicity refused but the voice kept pursuing,

Look up at your home, at it’s fascinating history.

She reluctantly looked up at the world still renewing,

We’ve been through a lot, thought Felicity.

Felicity stared down at her glowing device,

The voice spoke again, to her dismay.

Please look up, a minute will suffice,

So she looked up, without any say.

That second time, memories flooded into her mind,

Memories of bushfires, COVID 19.

Recollections of how floods were all you could find.

Then she put her device on her silver canteen.

So reader, look up,

Listen to that little voice in your head.

As it whispers on and on,

Look up, look up, look up.

'Look Up'

by Parker Bancroft Year 2

I look up at the bonfire stars blazing in the deep, dark night sky. I think about the galaxy and wonder how many more planets there are that no one has discovered yet. 

I feel tiny, like a bug trapped in a huge web and am unsure about the future. I notice the pictures and patterns in the sky that tell stories about our historical past. 

I see a rare sighting of a red moon and a shooting star and am filled with joy and excitement. I remember to make a wish and wonder if it will come true.

I find myself looking at the red moon and I'm mesmerized by wondering if maybe one day we could live there and how amazing it would be. 

I want to go there and discover all the answers to our problems here on planet Earth.    

'GAME OVER'

by Callum Cameron Year 4

Click! Boom! Ding! Game over! My sister yells for me to come outside and play. I say no because this game is a lot more fun.

As I lay in bed that night I think about playing outside. It seriously can’t be that good can it? The next morning as I am getting ready for school, mum tells me I have to walk. As I step outside, a cool, calm breeze brushes up against my face and the autumn leaves circle like a tornado. The warm, bright sun covers me like a blanket. It feels so good.

Once again my sister calls me outside but this time I don’t say no. I rush out the door to join her and begin breathing like a dragon. Today it is freezing outside. It's like a blizzard. I think staying outside is worth it because there is never a game over out here.

'A Lesson Never Learnt' 

By Solina Bendle Year 4

I wake up to the sound of hurdling waves crashing along the beach and walk down the hillside to the salty smelling sea. The sand squishes between my toes. I look down. My heart sinks. In the sand are tiny pieces of multicoloured plastic. I look up at my favorite tree. Its branches sway in the breeze. Then I see something, a plastic bag suffocating the leaves. I can't see the sky through the smoke. I look out at the water. In it are bottle caps and cans bobbing up and down. Angry tears trickle down my cheek. I am angry at the people from generations before me. They didn't look after our planet. I pick up a rock, underneath it are shards of glass. Frustration and fear take over and I wonder what else will happen to my home and my land?

'Look up'

by Jamieson Allen Year 4

I look at the stars and wonder how they got there. I slowly drift off to sleep. Where am I? Why are there no colours? I think I've come back to when only the stars existed. I hear a voice that tells me the stars have always existed. I go deeper into space. I see more. I feel more. I hear more. I start to drift deeper into space. A planet comes into view. A dark planet, full of unfamiliar things. I walk around and notice something light and furry. I try to get closer and realise it's a human. I wave, trying to be friendly but it disappears. Suddenly I realise I am a long way from home. Which way is home? I look up to what I assume are birds circling above me. I close my eyes. When I open them, I see the familiar morning sun.

'Sinking'

by Olivia Peppernell Year 4

I remember sinking, feeling weak like I couldn’t move, doubting myself. I felt my lungs collapsing on each other. My heart broke into little pieces. I knew I couldn’t see it but I could feel it and it was a killing pain, a stabbing pain. No oxygen, just deep, black, cold water as I sunk deeper by the second. My eyes were clinging shut as I knew they would burn from the salty water that surrounded me. I wanted to open my eyes. I really did. I was trying to be brave and build my confidence to look up. I knew that if I did I would be ok. My eyes slowly opened and I felt a great push against my back like I was floating on top of a whale. As I neared the surface I could see the clouds that seemed to form the words... just...look...up.

'Bird Watching'

by Stella Skeels Year 4

As I opened my eyes I suddenly remembered flashing lights carrying me away and then noticed the plaster cast on my arm and it all came flooding back.

I could hear the birds singing in the trees so I went outside to catch a glimpse of them. I decided to climb up into the tree. As I reached the top I finally saw the spectacular colours. It was breathtaking. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an eagle flew across my head. I watched it glide around above me. Hypnotized by the sight, I didn’t notice a rainbow lorikeet hopping towards me. The vivid colours shocked me as it landed on my shoulder. I watched it fly away into the distance to join it’s flock. From halfway across the block I heard dad shout “time for lunch kiddo”. The last thing I remember is replying, ”I’ll be there in a second”.

'The Clarence River'

by Sabrina Golding Year 5

The Grafton bridges overlook the Clarence river. The sun shines on the glistening water with its beauty. Mother nature at its finest. Golden hour has just arrived. The best selfies you could ever take with these rays shining on you. Everyone has to get the best snaps when it’s time. 

The sun has slowly sunk into the water and white stars make a zodiac sign in the dark blue sky. A pisces sign, the two fish swimming together. You could just imagine the fish swimming through the night sky. The train is passing. You see the carriages and the graffiti on them each. Its windows shine from the glow of the moon. My father told me that the Easter Bunny lives there. Look up at the moon and you can see her.

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Early Stage 1

Greetings to everyone in Kindergarten and a very special welcome to our new class member, Teddy Grayson!  We are missing you all very much and would like to pass on our thanks to all of our wonderful parents and carers for the way in which you have embraced and engaged with the different learning platforms over the past three weeks.

We have been delighted with the work you have been able to complete and it has been great to see families uploading work and pictures to SeeSaw so we can see what you have been up to. We have enjoyed listening to your retelling of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and there has been some great word building and reading using your sounds. 

Keep sending through your pictures and stories about any special gardening or craft projects you are undertaking. There are certainly some budding chefs in Kindergarten 2021!

We wish all of our Kindergarten dads and father figures a very special Father’s Day this Sunday. May you have a wonderful day with your family and enjoy your BBQ treat!

Stage 1

In Stage 1, we have been adjusting well to blended learning. At home, students have been working on their booklets, cooking, gardening, creating, painting and learning online. It has been great to see some of our students interacting with our Google Classroom and SeeSaw platforms where they have been sharing photos and videos of what learning looks like at their house.

At school, we have been working hard in the mornings and doing fun activities in the afternoons. Some of these activities have been going on adventures with our ‘flattened’ teachers, watching and listening to books, dressing up, creating and much more. We have also been videoing ourselves saying hello to our Stage 1 friends at home and posting the video onto our platforms.

Stage 2

Over the past couple of weeks, Stage 2 has enjoyed engaging in the online learning tasks set each day on the Google Classroom. We have been having a zoom meeting each week to check in on each other and see how we are all going and it has been wonderful to see so many happy and smiling faces online. 

Year 4 also welcomed a new class member last week, Ryan Smith. Ryan joined us for a zoom and was warmly welcomed by lots of friendly faces. We look forward to welcoming him in person in the coming weeks. Sadly, we also said goodbye to our favourite twins in Year 3, Annie and Elsie Austin, who have moved to Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory. We wish them all the very best for the future!

It is great that students are sharing what they are enjoying on their daily classroom slides and engaging so enthusiastically in their learning. A new slide is added each day to the Google Classroom with spelling, reading, writing, maths and religion tasks supplied, as well as some 'fun and games' to keep us all entertained. Don’t forget to pick up your new pack, and send in or share some photos of Mrs B and Mrs M doing fun things with you at home or out and about. 

Stage 3

Stage 3 has been enthusiastic and highly engaged with their blended learning. They have continued to demonstrate a commitment to their learning and are producing work of a high standard. The tasks presented have developed over the past weeks as the students have shared their ideas for things they wanted to see in the daily activities. We have aimed to include some brain breaks, well-being activities and items that are just for fun. 

Students created some beautiful liturgies and prayer spaces which they shared and celebrated with their families. They have explored the Catholic Social Teachings and considered ways they can incorporate these teachings in their own lives. 

Last week in Writing we were all about Monsters. This week we are focusing on the Paralympics. Stage 3 has a lot of exciting writing to share with you all. They have created a book ready for when we all return to school. Students this week have been creating posters about athletes and have even been able to write a personal letter to an athlete to encourage them at the games. 

Stage 3 have been very engaged with their rich maths activities, sharing their mathematical thinking on their daily slides. Tasks are set with a wide range of difficulty to cater for learners at all levels. Students are supported with recorded enabling videos to help solve problems. Others, if they choose, can extend themselves with more difficult tasks of a similar nature.

Our twice-weekly Zoom meetings are just one of the ways Stage 3 are staying connected as they continue to communicate through the Google Classroom platform. Although missing the daily interactions with friends at school, students are making the most of this extended time with family and have been enjoying some extra time with their fur friends who are filling in as study buddies. Overall, their willingness to pivot, seek clarification and have a go has been amazing. The future is in good hands.

In Term 3 there are a number of events that we have traditionally celebrated: the Anniversary of Long Tan, Grandparents Day, the Feast Days of The Assumption of the Blessed Mary, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Sisters of Mercy; as well as Father's Day. Due to the current restrictions we are unable to acknowledge these events as we would like, however they still hold a special place in our school culture.

This term we farewelled Ms Jansen who commenced her maternity leave, and welcomed Mrs Samantha Ford back to St Mary's Primary. We are sure Mrs Ford did not imagine her first few weeks at St Mary's could be so different! We look forward to welcoming Mrs Hannah Gorman in Term 4 as she teams with Mrs Ford in Year 2.

We thank everyone for their continued support of St Mary's. The restrictions and changes to our daily routine have been a challenge for all of us. In our feature article  we are sharing some news and images from each of our stage groups, ranging from zoom sessions to the enterprising activities devised by students. We are sure that you will enjoy seeing them as much as we did.

Finally, please continue to follow the NSW Health recommendations.  School updates will be provided via schoolzine.

For your Information

Dear Parents and Carers,
Re: Reflect and Connect Parent Gatherings
We are disappointed to announce that these events will be postponed. Lockdowns throughout the diocese and difficulties with presenters travelling have made the logistics of these events too difficult to arrange. The safety of our parent community is a priority and we want to make sure we can host these events in a way that ensures everyone's health and wellbeing.
We look forward to a time when we can re-schedule these events but until then, please sign up for 'Helping Our Kids to be Great Learners', a webinar by Andrew Fuller.  The flyer is attached below.
Warm regards,
Christine Morrison

Headspace

Helping Our Kids to be Great Learners - Andrew Fuller.pdf

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Brothers Cricket Club

Brothers Cricket Club is looking for Girls and Boys who would like to play Cricket in the Under 10’s, Under 12’s and Under 14 age divisions for the coming cricket season which commences in September.

When training commences it will be held on a Tuesday afternoons at the cricket nets in Ryan Street South Grafton.

The Under 10’s games are played on a Saturday Morning and other age divisions are played afternoons during the week.

Kids sports vouchers can be used for registration.

For further information please contact –

Andrew Kinnane  0419 986 924 or ajkinnane@hotmail.com

Judy Disson        0409037361       judy.disson@bigpond.com

In this newsletter we are sharing information regarding attendance, child protection and safety in regard to COVID-19.

For your Information

Connect Reflect Parent Gatherings Flyer 4.pdf

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100 Days 

This term we have celebrated 100 days of Kindergarten. It is a great achievement for the students and they all should be so proud of the progress they have made. We spent the day celebrating with all our activities linked to 100. Students had to compose a sentence on what they could and could not do when they were 100. We then raced to 100 using our number skills and collected 100 pieces of different items to see what 100 things can look like and compare them. 

Gymnastics

For Physical Education this term we have been lucky enough to have Ashley Albert Performing Arts come into the school to teach us gymnastics skills and movement. The students have enjoyed the variety of activities and even had a go when they were dressed as 100 year olds!

Maths- warm ups

During maths this term we have been focusing on ways to represent ‘teen’ numbers in many ways. The students have been using items such as counters, bead strings, playing cards and blocks to represent a given number. The students have loved being able to show us all the different ways they can create and represent a number.

English 

For writing this term the students have been looking at imaginative texts. We have been analysing the various characters found in stories and creating sentences to describe them. Last week we looked at the rainbow fish and the students compared the characteristics of the fish on the inside and outside. 

Religion 

We have been learning about the importance of family and introducing them to the story of Abraham and Sarah. This story allowed students to make connections to their own lives and experiences of moving away from loved ones and friends or making promises to others. Students have enjoyed being able to explore the story through drama and drawing. 

Survey Opportunity

Parents from our school community have been invited to participate in a survey investigating what parents think about the dentist, and what they know about children and the dentist. This research is being conducted by Cara Barone as part of her Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours, at Southern Cross University. Further information regarding the survery, including the link, can be found in the flyer below.

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Year 1 ended Term 2 with a send off party for our class mate Ella. This was a great experience as this term in stage 1 English, we are learning about procedures and will be involved in all things 'party related'. 

At the end of Term 2, Year 6 students 'turned' into teachers and visited our classroom to read picture books and teach us about them. The Year 6 students had even created us a worksheet or questions to complete. 

Last term in maths we were learning about positions and directions. This was a very exciting and challenging experience especially when we used what we had learnt to program the BeeBots. Year 2 created a map of the classroom, and then  a model of our room using lego.

In Mathematics this term Year 1 has been looking at 2D shapes and learning about their features. We have discovered that Indigenous people use lots of 2D shapes to tell stories within their artworks. This lined up nicely with celebrating NAIDOC week.

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Year 2 used the BeeBots in their first week back of Term 3. We are learning about full turns, half turns and quarter turns in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction. We programmed the BeeBots to move around on a big piece of paper.

In Religion, Year 1 has been learning all about the things in our lives that are precious and considered treasures. We are now learning about many of Jesus’ stories (parables) such as ‘The Treasure and the Pearl’, ‘Parable of the Yeast’, ‘The story of Joseph’ and ‘Moses and the Burning Bush’. 

Year 2 is currently learning about God’s goodness. In this unit, we are looking at different Saints and the 10 Commandments. 

On Wednesday the 14th July we had our 'Footy and Fairy' dress up day. We had a great time dressing up and eating fairy bread and meat pies. Go the Blues!! Well done to NSW for winning the State of Origin for 2021.

Continuing with the party theme this term, we are learning about and experiencing all types of dances in Creative and Practical Arts. We are also lucky to have Ashley Albert teaching us some gymnastics skills on a Wednesday for PE.

Survey Opportunity

Parents from our school community have been invited to participate in a survey investigating what parents think about the dentist, and what they know about children and the dentist. This research is being conducted by Cara Barone as part of her Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours, at Southern Cross University. Further information regarding the survery, including the link, can be found in the flyer below.

The start of Term 3 has been busy with additional requirements for families and staff regarding COVID. Just a reminder to wear a face mask when entering the school grounds, sign in with Service NSW and the school's app and avoid visiting the school if you are unwell.

The introduction of the canteen app in Term 2 was a huge success with many families utilising it.  The canteen always welcomes new volunteers.  If you would like to become a canteen volunteer please email the school and your details will be passed on to the canteen manager.

For your Information

Stage 2 News

This term, Stage 2 has engaged in learning about literary descriptions and how authors bring the setting and characters to life in texts. We have explored various excerpts from famous texts that describe different scenes and characters in detail. Some of the texts we have worked with are ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and the description of the chocolate room.  ‘Witches’ and the description of the Grand High Witch and Harry Potter and the description of the great hall. We have looked at the devices authors use that make the audience see, hear, feel, smell and taste what is going on in the text and are experimenting with some of these devices ourselves. 

Over the past couple of weeks, students have been working on writing their own literary descriptions and using similes, metaphors and adjectives to enhance their work. They have also illustrated their setting and character to support their description. 

“All of the blinding lights and colours boom in my face” Sienna Patricks

“Gossip’s liquid silver mane and tail flies behind her as they gallop” Emily Archer

“The mist was like snow in the early morning” Solina Bendle

“I run so fast my legs feel like spaghetti” Sonny Davies

‘And with a blink of an eye’ Isaac McAlister

‘Crack goes a twig’ Tomas Green

‘I live in a hole that echoes like a whale.’ Avah Whyte

In Mathematics, year 4 has been investigating what a square centimetre and metre are and estimating how many square metres different areas in our school are. We created our own square metre using newspaper, paddle pops sticks and straws and used them to find the area of the handball squares, the bus area and the court. We also tried to measure the area of the gaga pit, however this proved a little more difficult than first thought. We came up with a rough measurement using the square metre and considered ways that we could make this measurement more accurate.

We have also been investigating angles and comparing the size of angles to right angles. We used the corner of a book to help us categorise and compare angle sizes and were able to identify and locate different angles created out of masking tape. We brought back the bottle flipping craze while investigating the concept of chance and realised that it is unlinkey a bottle will land on its cap, however, it is possible to land a bottle upright with a bit of practise!

Year 3 Maths we have focussed on placing numbers on the number line and learning about mixed numerals for halves, quarters and thirds. We have been using the number line to help us count by halves, quarters and thirds as well. In multiplication, students had to choose a number of counters and form an array, draw it and write multiplication and division number sentences to match. We investigated a variety of strategies to use when solving problems involving addition and we learnt how to record analog and digital time to the minute. 

Stage 2 have been working together during Creative Arts this term with a focus on music and art. 

In Music the students have experienced keeping a beat with body percussion, shakers and drum sticks. They played the ukuleles and the angklung, an Indonesian bamboo instrument. 

In art we created a stained glass window for Pentecost and have been honing our drawing skills, following some directed drawing activities from various Youtube channels. The latest art project students have been working on is an illustration or artwork of their choice to go with their descriptive writing tasks in english. Students have had free choice of materials to use to ensure their creation complements their writing.

In PDH, this term we have focused on active play and community networks. The students enjoyed designing a park where the participants could be safe while actively participating using the equipment. They looked at their own physical activity diary and created a weekly exercise plan for themselves. We researched the facilities available in Grafton, such as soccer, tennis, hockey etc and who are the important people in their network helping them lead active lives.