16 October 2017

Homework - what can be a life lesson for boys

From my experience Homework and School Uniform are the two topics most guaranteed to polarise a school community and generate conversation at parent meetings. Uniforms aside, I'd like to share an observation about a homework task last week. Homework as a much grumbled about entity has been around for generations of students, and parents. If homework were a pure science, like mixing paint for example, we'd have an answer on how much a student of a certain age or year level should be doing each night. Unfortunately it is not. Whilst generalisations are frequently made, homework can be as individual as the number of students in a school. Widely accepted though is the notion that homework is about maintaining or improving skills and knowledge that can then be put back into the classroom or a learning setting, much like sports training prepares the player for a game. Like most things there are facts and nuances, or tangibles and intangibles.

Last week I chatted with a Year 6 student who sat beside his family tree project and with great pride detailed the dimensions of his family, as he now knew it, and how he'd put his project together. It was obvious this student had received help, from his dad as it turned out. Whilst the extended knowledge of his family tree was an obvious outcome, so too was the unstated realisation and appreciation that his father was prepared to sit with him, show an interest and talk about his work, setting aside his 'dad' tasks for an hour each night over a week to be with him. It isn't one of the big measures of a homework routine however it is one of the subtleties, an intangible. This boy demonstrated to me as he sat beside his project, a greater confidence and willingness in being able to turn to his dad for help. He knows that he may not get all the answers each night, but he will certainly get the time, support and maybe some helpful strategies from his family. Unfortunately this outcome will not be graded on the assessment rubric for the Family Tree project however it will feature on the bigger assessment piece.

New Norica

Reverend Wright and Madame Tierney and nine lucky boys returned from our first ever Spirituality and Service Tour to New Norcia held last weekend. Staying at the Benedictine Mission the boys met with the nine resident monks, toured the monastery precincts and in glorious winter weather worked in the garden and orchards. Highlights of the trip being High Mass in a packed Chapel with all of the bells and smells of this ceremony and the old favourite, Spotlight on the Friday evening. Look for this tour being offered next year and the possibility of a parallel tour for parents interested in spending the weekend at New Norcia as well.

Music Camp

The Middle School Music Camp is being held this week, over Tuesday and Wednesday at school. In previous years the camp, designed to be an intensive rehearsal period for the Autumn Concert has been held off site. This new arrangement maximises rehearsal time with boys being released from class for their ensembles and groups and returning to class afterwards. A highlight this year is the percussion workshop Bash the Bins. The Autumn Concert will be held Friday 20 June in the Dickinson Centre commencing at 6.30pm.

Inter-House Cross Country Carnival

Our Inter-House Cross Country event will be held this Thursday afternoon with the Year 6 race commencing at 2.00pm, followed by the Year 7 race at 2.30pm. The Cross Country event begins and finishes on the oval in front of the Gooch Pavilion with the circuit taking the runners around the edge of Lake Claremont, through the bush of Driveway Hill, back down through Cresswell Oval then home. Year 6 and 7 boys run a 2.5km course. The race is a Blue Chip timed event with every runner scoring points for their House. The House with the lowest number of points is the winner of the event.

Work Share and Year 7 Information Session

The Middle School student led work share is scheduled for Thursday July 3 from 8.00am-9.00am. Typically the work share will run for approximately 20 minutes as your son talks you through his working environment, curriculum areas and samples of his work.

Following this will be a 40 minute information session for Year 7 parents on how our inaugural Year 8 will look for 2015. This session hosted by the Head of Middle School will be held in MacKellar Hall. This session will be repeated on Tuesday 29 July at 6pm. Information about Year 8 uniforms, Arts and Design Technology subject selections, Camps and Outdoor Education, Houses and Sport will be featured.

Year 7 International Immersion Week

Immersion Week is the last week of Winter Term, 22 - 26 September. During this week we close down the regular Year 7 timetable and offer the boys a week long immersion opportunity in one of the following activities.

  1. Singapore Tour, places on this tour have now closed.
  2. Singapore @ School Tour, a parallel tour that explores the history, culture and contemporary issues of life in Singapore and Asia. No Cost
  3. French Immersion Week, 5 days of French speaking activities. Cost $75.00
  4. Indonesian Immersion Week, 5 days of Indonesian speaking activities. Cost $75.00

Richard Ledger

Head of Middle School