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From The Junior Secondary Head of Department With Ashtonn Shonhan

4/04/2019
From The Junior Secondary Head of Department
With Ashton Shonhan
 
 
Report Cards
Students are emerging from the busiest assessment period of the term, and teachers are working hard to get through their ever-growing piles of marking before the Easter break. You can expect to receive report cards for your junior secondary students shortly after the holidays. Parent/teacher interviews will follow and can be booked via an online system (information to be distributed with report cards). If you’re unable to make it to the scheduled interview session, please feel free to call or e-mail your student’s teachers to catch-up on how they’re travelling.
 
2019 NAPLAN Dates
Parents of students in years 7 and 9 should have now received a letter in regard to NAPLAN. The 2019 NAPLAN tests will be completed in week 4 of Term Two. 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 www.nap.edu.au 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.
 
Out & About in our Junior Classrooms
Some of our junior secondary students are featured below, working their hardest in the lead up to the end of term 1.


 
Dr Damien Kee-Indigenous Session
In week 8, some of our junior Indigenous students were upskilled in coding and robotics by our special guest, Dr Damien Kee. Their fantastic efforts even turned them into local celebrities and they ended up on 7 news! Thank you to Dr Damien Kee and QMEA for their continued support in exposing our students to a variety of STEM opportunities.


 
Gladstone Robotics Competition
On Friday, March 29th, 5 year 7 students participated in a Gladstone Robotics Competition at Clinton SS. These 5 female students made up two teams. This competition was the end result of an entire term spent building a robot and coding it to follow not only one mat but two! A fantastic effort from all girls, along with teachers and QAL engineer, Russell Stewart, who assisted them along the way. A further congratulations to Toolooa Team 1 (Tiah Vogler and Maddyson La Cioppa) ‘Guardians of the STEMaxy’ who were awarded GRC Champions (Grit, Resilience and Cooperation). Below are some pictures of the girls preparing for and competing in the competition.


 
Dr Damien Kee-STEM Squad
On Wednesday of week 9, we had the pleasure of another visit form Dr Damien Kee! This time to work with our STEM Squad. Students spent the day using LEGO robots and robotics software to create their own game and virtual pet! How awesome is that?! Thank you to Dr Damien Kee for an engaging day of activities and a special thanks to QMEA for their generous sponsorship. We look forward to Damien Kee visiting us again very soon.


 
Junior Leadership Badge Ceremony
This Thursday (4/4) we recognise our Junior Leadership team with a badge ceremony. Junior Leaders and their families have been invited to attend from 5-5:45pm in our school library. We look forward to celebrating the achievements of our Junior Leadership Team and will be sure to share photos from the evening in our first newsletter for Term 2.
 
Harmony Day 2019
Harmony Day was celebrated on Saturday, March 23rd and it is a day that aims to promote inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background. Ray Sneha, one of year 9 junior leaders, created a powerful speech for our week 9 full school parade that highlighted why living in harmony is so important and something that we at Toolooa must continue to lead the way with. Thank you to Ray and fellow leaders, Samantha, Oliviah and Sarah for presenting this speech at our full school parade.
 
In continuing to promote harmony, some of our junior leaders also created a card for our neighbours in New Zealand after hearing of the recent terror attack. Staff and students were offered the opportunity to write a message of respect and resilience, offering TSHS an opportunity to honour not only the 50 people killed in Christchurch last week, but to take a moment and honour every single life lost to hate crime. A very thoughtful act from our junior leaders and thank you to teacher, Zoe Davey for creating the artwork featured on the card. May we stand together at Toolooa and embrace individuality as something worth celebrating.


 
Harmony Day Micro Poetry Competition-Gladstone Regional Libraries
A BIG well done to Chante Riley, year 9 TSHS student, for winning the Secondary School Category for the Gladstone Regional Libraries Harmony Day Micro poetry competition with her poem ‘We Are Human’. Her poem is currently on display at the Gladstone City Library so be sure to check it out when you are there next!


 
2019 Indigenous STEM Camp
In week 8 we sent nine of our junior Indigenous students off to the Monadelphous CQU Indigenous STEM camp at Boyne Island Environmental Education Centre. The camp program included a day trip to Facing Island, STEM activities at CQU’s STEM Hub and an astronomy session to investigate the magic of our night sky. Thank you again to the generous sponsorship from Monadelphous and CQU in making this an all-inclusive camp.
 
It’s clear that our students had a FANTASTIC time!


 
Happy Holidays!
I would like to take this opportunity to wish our students and families a happy and relaxing Easter break. I look forward to seeing our students returning from the holidays on Tuesday April 23rd feeling refreshed and prepared for a massive term two!