Prior to the current program of online learning, many parents and schools were already concerned about the amount of time that our students spend on their devices and screens. With the ever-increasing reliance on social media apps by young people, including Tik Tok, WhatsApp, Telegram, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Omegle, kik, Discord, Musical.ly, Pinterest among many, there continues to be concerns for the wellbeing of our students, including physical activity, socialising, developing relationships with others and of course, online safety. It can be a real challenge for parents and schools to keep up with this ever-changing landscape of the ‘app and online world’. From my perspective I certainly feel that I get across one of these apps, and another one pops up!
There are a number of things that parents and guardians can do to educate themselves and your children. First of all, stick to a routine where you can while we are in online learning. Try to have your child get up at their normal time and attend ‘school’ as they normally would. We have asked all of our students who are online learning to get dressed in their PE uniforms (or school uniform), to assist them to get in the right mindset. As best you can, have your child sit at a desk in a shared area. While I understand that this is not always possible, having older students working behind closed bedroom doors may mean that they are not as fully attentive to their learning as we would all like. It can be very easy to get distracted.
If you do not have a good understanding of social media (and really – what adult does!), it can be a very interesting process to educate yourself. A quick search of the Internet will often at least give you the language to ask pertinent questions of your son or daughter. Most social media sites are limited to those aged 13 years and older. You might want to ask them about their security settings, the number of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ that they have, and is their geolocation available to others on their social media accounts and posts (Geolocation and social media: do you know the risks? | ESET)
The safety commissioner (Parents | eSafety Commissioner) is a great source of information for parents and has resources and free online webinars. There are also many other good websites that can assist, for example, Safe on Social PARENT TIPS DURING LOCKDOWN (safeonsocial.com). The school wellbeing teams can also assist. If you have any concerns or worries about your child’s online habits, or questions about the amount of time they seem to be spending online, don’t hesitate to contact us. In this time of social isolation and working from home, while we want students to maintain their leaning and academics, we must also be conscious of their wellbeing and the impacts that time away from their friends and community can have on them.
COVID Fatigue and Your Mental Health - some helpful advice. Please click on the link below.
I look forward to meeting you all in person soon and the school returning to what it should be – a place of learning, fun, noise and interactions.
KEY DATES FOR THE DIARY
K - 6 Parent Teacher Interviews
Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Monday, 2 August 2021
Years 7 - 12 Parent Teacher Interviews
Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Monday, 2 August 2021
Please refer to the emails sent home or the notifications on the mobile app regarding the booking of interviews via Parent Lounge.
As I type this, I am sitting up in bed at home on a Thursday morning. Normally, I would have just finished 2 chapels in our school hall and be packing away chairs. With lockdown in full swing, I have no real clue as to how I caught a cold, but that I have managed to do so. In line with modern practices, I have had a COVID test at the Doylo (my first) and now wait in isolation for the likely negative result. The young lady who shoved the elongated cotton bud swab up my nose was super friendly and professional. I made sure to thank her for the great work that all our testers are doing.
My house, like yours is full of online learning (Years 8, 10 and 12) as well as teaching. During the day the girls will gather around the kettle and fridge at recess and lunch to swap stories about lessons, wins and frustrations will spill out and groans about workloads or laughs at what such and such did or said in a lesson will bring a giggle. There is always an opportunity for a conversation to take a life of its own and grow into a family bonding moment. Despite lockdown, there are still plenty of opportunities to build into existing relationships.
For example, my youngest loves taking our dog for a walk and we have been exploring some “out of the way” tracks that we hadn’t got to in the last lockdown. We have seen some magnificent scribbly gums artistically decorated by both grubs and memories of fires. We have witnessed an abundance of lorikeets, parrots and cockatoos. We live in an amazing part of the world and so many beautiful places are within 10 kilometres of home. We even saw a whale playing along the coastline during the holiday - spectacular. The opportunity to explore our immediate surrounds is a gift that I hope you have taken up where you live too.
Don’t get me wrong, I do get frustrated with the Central Coast being in lockdown, especially when we live right at the top end, mere kilometres from Lake Macquarie LGA. I can even walk to Lake Macquarie from my house, but if I focus on the frustration, I will likely lose sight of the opportunities that are before me. Opportunities to have increased family time, opportunities to get outside in our local area, opportunities to say hi to the neighbours during daylight hours and see how they are going. Opportunities to learn new ways to communicate and problem-solve. I hope and pray that for each of you, in whatever lockdown/online/mask wearing/socially distancing experience you are living at the moment, you may find new opportunities. And may you too contemplate a new opportunity to get to know our great God, who brings a peace that passes all understanding when we simply trust him. He’s pretty good at making the most of opportunities as well 😉.
WHOLE SCHOOL NEWS
SCHOOL DATA COLLECTION NOTICE
In 2021, our junior and senior students participated in the HICES debating competition. We have recently completed the regional rounds where a number of our debaters have been recognised in their division on the ‘Best Debaters’ list for the Hunter Region.
In the junior division we had Donald rank 2nd and Callum rank 3rd and in the Senior Division, Brook placed 3rd and Chloe 4th. In the Open Division Kasey placed 1st overall. This is a wonderful achievement for our students’, and we wish them well in their future debates.
Our Year 6 debating team has placed 1st overall in the Hunter Region. Unfortunately, the finals rounds that brings all regions in NSW together will not take place in 2021 due to COVID restrictions. We are disappointed to not have the opportunity to debate in the finals rounds but look forward to debating again in 2022.
HICES Year 6 Cohen Corey Donald Brianna Isla
High Potential and Gifted Education Co-ordinator K-6
JUNIOR SCHOOL NEWS
HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL
Firstly, an award that was missed at this week’s assembly, a certificate of recognition to all the parents and carers for their diligence in supporting their child/children’s learning at home this term! We are so thankful for your efforts.
I wonder if you’ve encountered yourself or your child at some point saying, “I just can’t do this”!
Some years ago now, terrific research by psychologist Carol Dweck in the United States gained a lot of attention, helping us all, in particular educators, be aware of the power of having a growth mindset. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the main points that this research shows us and how it can benefit us all, particularly at this time when again we are faced with new challenges. Your child may be already familiar with this from classroom conversations.
Understanding our brains have the incredible capability to grow can lead us to be empowered, more confident and resilient in the face of challenges.
We all have beliefs about our abilities and at the moment students learning away from their normal school structures, and parents supporting learning on perhaps unfamiliar topics or different methods of teaching, may cause us to feel a heightened level of stress and our brains can quickly descend into a state of, “I can’t do this” or “I give up.”
This is completely understandable. I’ve felt this same way myself whether it be in learning to surf or even having the patience to sit in traffic! This is called a fixed mindset; when we believe we are at our limit.
However, with coaching, time and persistence we can embrace challenges and with effort, keep going. We know that we can improve by progressing and believing in the power of ‘I can’t do this…. yet.’
A starting point when you observe your child’s fixed mindset creep in could be to take notice of it and reflect with them on what it is and why they feel stuck. What were they doing when they encountered a setback? What did you observe in their behaviour that led you to believe they were challenged?
Research into our brains and their capability to grow has shown we can change from a fixed mindset just by changing our words. As you sit alongside your child in their learning challenge, help them to choose a new script to tell themselves when they are encountering this challenge. This could be:
“I am not good at this yet, but I will learn”
“I will succeed if I put in effort and choose to a find a better strategy”
“Is it my best work, can I improve it?”
“I am in charge of how well I do, I can grow my brain by learning hard things!”
I’m sure you can come up with even more powerful scripts with your child and I’d love to hear them. They could make a poster and display them in their learning space!
Perhaps around the dinner table each night share moments in the day where a growth mindset was needed and what new learning took place. Examples from parents in their own lives can be a very powerful tool for children. Celebrate moments in the day when you saw your child display a growth mindset.
Encourage children to keep an eye out in books, television shows and movies for where characters choose to overcome challenges by choosing a growth mindset.
The internet is full of wonderful resources on developing a growth mindset. What I’ve shared here merely skims the surface. If you would like a starting place please let me know and I can share some further information and ideas with you.
Students looking for an extra project whilst learning from home might like to research neuroplasticity and the brain’s ability to change. A favourite book of mine is called Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch it, Shape It by JoAnn Deak. I would love to see any special interest projects on this that students might feel inspired to do.
The Bible is another helpful place to look when we need a reminder of the mindset God has of us. When we are telling ourselves we can’t, and aren’t worthy or capable, He is telling us we are known, loved, anointed, equipped, protected and blessed. When faced with disappointments and setbacks we can find peace in who God says we are. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” What a powerful affirmation to remind ourselves of when we face trials and setbacks.
Head of Junior School
Covid Premier’s Reading Challenge 2021
During these different and challenging times, a reminder that the PRC 2021 can still be completed at home. If students cannot get access to PRC specific books they can read an 5 extra personal choice books (10 in total).
Completed logs can still be emailed to Mrs Tennant for processing by either a scan or clear photo.
Our Term 3 author, Gus Gordon was due to visit our wonderful school on Friday, 13 August. This has now been rescheduled to Tuesday, 19 October. We look forward to his visit for K-6 then.
Junior School Teacher Librarian
SENIOR SCHOOL NEWS
HEAD OF SENIOR SCHOOL
Welcome to Term 3, although the start is not what we expected it to be like, we are all still here and teaching and learning is in full swing! Both our teachers and our students have been doing an amazing job. It is very lovely to hear from both parents and students how well online learning has been going for our students during Lockdown 2.0. We are particularly conscious of our Year 12 students at this time and although a little stressful for them, they have been absolutely amazing and are pushing forward to be ready for the upcoming Trial HSC examinations. We continue to pray that the latest outbreak will be brought under control soon and we will be back at school together.
To make sure we are still connecting with our students and taking care of their wellbeing we have organised specific wellbeing sessions during designated class time. Mrs MacLarty and the year advisers have been working to organise some engaging events to help our students step away from the intensity of learning online. We especially look forward to seeing the pictures of our students dressed in Green and Gold, as they get in the Olympic Spirit. Go the Aussies!
Senior school Parent/Teacher Interviews will be held via Zoom. Both sessions will take place from 4-7pm on: the following days:
Tuesday 27 July and Monday 2 August. Please refer to specific correspondence which gives details about how to join these conferences for each individual subject for your child.
Year 11 2022 Subject Selection Night
This week we ran our first Year 11 subject selection night via Zoom. It was wonderful to see a very large turnout from both students and parents. It is an exciting time for our students as they move from Stage 5 into Stage 6. It can also be overwhelming as well but please reach out if you have any questions about subject selection.
When we return to school we would ask if you or your child is notified by NSW Health as being a close contact or have attended an exposure site at the times specified by NSW Health, you also notify the school. This is to ensure we can take appropriate steps to keep our community safe.
HSC Trials and HSC Major Works/Performances
Although our HSC Trials were scheduled for week 4, we have currently moved these to week 5. We are hoping to have further advice from NESA in the coming days regarding when student marking will occur for drama and music and we will provide specific advice to our students when we are notified.
Acting Deputy and Head of Senior School
Well – what a start to Term 3!! Our students (and staff) have adapted so quickly to again moving online for schooling. Some people love it and some really don’t, but wherever you sit on this – it is a tough time. Tough for students and adults alike. We are all in this together, but we won’t all handle this in the same way. There are a range of resources out there to assist with coping through this current climate and I have included some here for you to look at.
A wellbeing session has been set up each week for students and staff – it is following along the theme that Matt has set for Chapel – The Fruits of the Spirit. Last week students in Years 7-9 were tasked with representing the fruits of the spirit in some way.
Years 10-12 completed a strength-based survey to determine their main strengths. They were then asked to share their strength and something they were planning to intentionally do to use their top strength. It has been a great way to get to know our students in a different way. This week we look at the fruit of the spirit character of Love.
Please don’t hesitate to contact your year adviser if you have any wellbeing or attendance concerns. We have been able to connect with families when needed with online meetings and have made many phone calls to help sort out issues and concerns.
Stay well and safe,
Senior School Co-ordinator of Student Wellbeing
GREEN AND GOLD DAY
Lakes Grammar secondary students are asked to get behind our Olympic athletes and support National Green and Gold Day on Friday, 30 July. To join in the fun students can:
Wear green and gold clothing to online lessons on Friday, 30 July.
Students’ clothing must be appropriate for online learning. If you have any questions about what is and is not appropriate, please email your year advisor. If students dress inappropriately, a call will be made to parents and students will be required to change.
Personalise your teams meeting background with a Tokyo Olympic theme.
Photograph competition: Decorate your study/window with an Olympic theme or memorabilia.
Look out for a tutorial on how to screen an Olympic athlete onto your t-shirt.
Posted on Year group team sites by Mr Sewell
Prize will be award points and treats once back at school. Winners announced late Friday afternoon 30July via year group team post.
Senior School Teacher
SENIOR SCHOOL SPORTS NEWS
Weekly Term Sport
Weekly sport has moved to an online learning experience for students using Microsoft Teams. Students have been emailed a link for this team and they are set weekly sport challenges to complete at home during normal sport time. A college competition is also taking place and students are encouraged to fill in the sports recording form on Teams to contribute to their college point score each week.
HRIS Secondary Athletics - Postponed until Thursday, 19 August