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From The Junior Secondary Head of Departement With Ashton Shonhan

From The Junior Secondary Head of Department
With Ashton Shonhan
2019 NAPLAN Dates
The 2019 NAPLAN tests will be completed in week 4 of this term. It is an expectation that all eligible year 7 and 9 students sit NAPLAN; however, parents are encouraged to contact the school if they have any concerns or questions regarding the tests. While students aren’t able to study for NAPLAN, they are being prepared at school through the constant teaching of literacy and numeracy skills. Please reassure your child that these tests are simply used to see how far they’ve progressed and assess their skills on a nation-wide basis.

Demystifying NAPLAN for Parents
For students in years 7 and 9, sometimes the perceived pressure of NAPLAN can become all too much!  At Toolooa SHS, we view NAPLAN as a test that can give us an idea of just how far our students have progressed.  We also use the results of the tests to inform our own practises, which helps students to continue to improve in the five core areas of reading, writing, spelling, numeracy and language conventions.
Across the three testing days, students participate in five different tasks. Firstly, they complete a language conventions test, which assesses their spelling, grammar and punctuation. This is a 45 minute test that is mostly made-up of multiple choice questions. Also on the first day, students complete a writing task. The stimulus and genre for this task will be unknown until the day of the test. On day two, students complete a reading test where they are given a magazine with reading stimuli and they are required to complete a range of comprehension questions within a 65 minute time period. Finally, on the third day of testing, students participate in two numeracy tests – one with a calculator and one without, a total combined time of 65 minutes. Throughout the afternoons of these testing days, students go to their classes as normal.
If you want to help your child to do their absolute best in NAPLAN, and improve their general core skills, take a look at the following tips:
Read together – Have your child read a text to you.  It may be a novel, a newspaper, a website, a magazine – whatever your child is interested in. Explore the text together by discussing what you think might happen next, or why a character made a particular decision.
Encourage your child to write – In this day and age of technology, writing seems to be becoming less and less frequent. Wherever possible, get your child to write.  It might be something as simple as a shopping list, or as complex as a narrative. Proof-read your child’s writing with them so they can get used to using strategies that you use as an adult.
Do everyday maths together – Maths is everywhere in life, but sometimes, adults take it for granted. Children can be involved in simple tasks such as estimating how much your shopping will cost, or calculating how much flour will be needed for a recipe.  You could also get your child to help you work out how much mulch to buy next time you’re doing the garden, or have them help you calculate the cost of fencing an area of your yard.  Children are much more inclined to get involved with maths if they see it as helping their parents.
Alternatively, feel free to visit for information from the National Assessment Program governing body.
Remember, NAPLAN is designed to assess what your child knows and what they need to improve on; it should not be viewed as something to fear. We are looking forward to seeing the progress that your child has made since joining us at Toolooa SHS.
NAPLAN at TSHS-Celebrating Success
During the Easter holidays, a Gladstone News publication celebrated the strong achievements of our 2018 NAPLAN data, focusing on the year 7-9 improvement rates of our current year 10 cohort (Year 9 in 2018). Thank you to Gladstone News for celebrating this very proud achievement at a community level and we look forward to analysing our 2019 NAPLAN data during semester two.

Out & About In Our Junior Classrooms
In week 10 of Term 1, I stumbled across Mrs McDonald’s FRW classes working on hot potato group stories based on dystopian themes. What a way to end the term!

Junior Leadership Badge Ceremony
On Thursday April 4th, we recognised our 2019 Junior Leadership team with a badge ceremony. Junior Leaders and their families attended this ceremony in our school shelter. A HUGE thank you to our school P&C for providing us with a fantastic cake to celebrate this occasion. Congratulations Junior Leaders on receiving your badges and thank you to our families for their attendance and support.
Our Junior Leadership Team was also represented during the school holidays by our Year 9 Captains and Vice-Captains in a Gladstone News publication. Well done, Poppy, Ismari, Taneal and Darcy!

STEM Squad’s Visit To CQU

On Wednesday, April 3rd, the TSHS STEM Squad visited CQU’s STEM Central from 8am-4pm for a day of educational activities. Students worked in rotational groups, engaging with coding and robotics through Ozobots, circuits, drones and Spheros, learning through visual art by using the Quiver App and producing a variety of visual effects by using an interactive green screen. Phew! What a fantastic day! Thank you to Dr Linda Pfeiffer at CQU for organising the activities. We thoroughly enjoyed a day outside of school, using new and interesting equipment to extend our STEM skills. We look forward to visiting STEM Central again in the near future.
Thank you also to Mr Fry for visiting us at CQU and capturing some professional photos that were then featured in a Gladstone News publication during the school holidays. Pretty cool!

Thank you to all staff, students and families that represented Toolooa State High School at the recent Gladstone Region ANZAC Day parades. I was proud to see a strong participation from many of our junior school students. Lest we forget.