Category Archives: School Updates

2017-08-26 13.50.22

Snowshoe Expedition

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Saturday saw the sun shining on what was an amazing day for 10 of our year 3 and 4 students as we headed up to our ‘backyard’ in the Snowy Mountains. After an early departure from Googong, we set out from Guthega for our snowshoe expedition. For most of these students this was their first time on snowshoes so what a treat they had with a blue-sky day on some great snow.

This trip is part of the school’s outdoor education program and helps our students learn a wide range of new skills, work as part of a team and push themselves beyond their usual experiences.

Over the course of the day the students learnt many new skills and had a wonderful time experiencing the snow from a different perspective. After an initial walk along the trail to Guthega Dam where we learnt a few snowshoeing techniques we headed ‘off track’ towards the Rolling Grounds.

We walked to an area which had a deep stash of snow and learnt some snow craft skills from Mr Hewitt. Here we learnt how to: cut blocks of snow to build snow walls to protect us from the wind; make furniture in the snow so we could sit on a snow seat; and we even got to build a small snow cave which was amazingly warm and quiet.

The snow walls that we built came in very handy to hide behind during the snowball fight as well! Thanks to all of the parents who helped make this day possible. We all had an amazing day and certainly hope we can get out to do this again.

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Indonesian Independence Day Celebrations

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We’ve had a great day of celebrations to mark Indonesian Independence Day. This year has been particularly special for us as we have had Pak Adel and Ibu Titin from our partner school, SMP Katolic Rajawali in Makassar visiting and joining in our celebrations.

Our day started with a visit to the Indonesian Embassy where we were welcomed by His Excellency Mr Yohanes Kristiarto Soeryo Legowo, the Indonesian Ambassador. We then joined the Indonesian community for their flag raising ceremony.

Then to wrap up our day we had a great evening with our whole school community joining us for dinner followed by the students performing a number of traditional Indonesian songs and dances. The whole school sang Pelangi Pelangi which is a lovely traditional song about the rainbow being a creation of God. Then they performed Marendeng Marampa from Toraja, South Sulawesi. This dance is to motivate people from Toraja to be strong in their lives. They also performed Gemu Fa Mi Re which is a dance from Maumere, Flores to invite people to enjoy life and always feel happy.

To finish with our choir provided us with a great performance of the ‘Great Australian Bight’ to add a uniquely Australian flavour to the evening to enhance our intercultural understanding.

What a great way to celebrate with our Indonesian partners, on this their special day.

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Growing school, new uniform – 2018 here we come!

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2018 is fast approaching and it was an exciting time today when we saw our students in the new school uniform for the first time. This included some of our students in year 2 and 3 as well as one of our new students who will join us in year 7 next year.

Meanwhile, we have welcomed Eleisha Smyth who has joined us as the Senior School Teaching and Learning Coordinator. Eleisha is seen here with our Principal, Ian Hewitt and one our first year 7 students.

Eleisha is beginning the designing of our cross curricular projects which will encourage our students not only to be citizens who make a positive impact on their community, but lifelong learners who dream big, stretch themselves, and see their potential as world changers.

As we prepare for our senior school, Eleisha is preparing a rich and invigorating program to ensure our students will be stretched in their knowledge and application of the curriculum. Projects will develop a sense of pride for the students as they create ‘beautiful work’ to share and inspire others. This could be in the form of a performance, a creation, an innovation, a development – creatively presenting what they are learning in authentic ways. Learning this way creates meaning beyond the school walls and empowers learners to achieve at the highest levels.

Empowered Learners

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With our senior school facilities taking shape there is also a great deal of unseen work taking place in the background to prepare the learning that our students will be engaged with. For our senior school students, much of their learning will be centred around project-based learning.

As the students make meaning for themselves they understand how they learn and through this, they will become more confident learners. Through wide project based learning, self- discovery, connections with community members, trips to places of interest, and the relationships with teachers we are creating a sense of purpose for our learning. In creating successful learners we use Professor Guy Claxton’s approach which he calls Building Learning Power. He defines the 4 Rs of Learning Power as:

  • Resilience – being ready, willing and able to lock onto learning
  • Resourcefulness – being ready, willing and able to learn in different ways
  • Reflectiveness – being ready, willing and able to become more strategic about learning
  • Reciprocity – being ready, willing and able to learn alone and with others

Learning is not isolated, rather it is integrated and relevant to the world in which our students live. In addition to this, the students learn in real time and interact with the latest technology and have access to view and create on digital platforms.

The Anglican School Googong is a place where children know and discover, understand and dream, and grow in faith.

For some insight into project based learning and building learning power in schools, have a look at these UK schools who are leading the way in these areas:

PBL and Arts: Empowering Students to Craft Beautiful Work
See how School 21 brings cross-curricular, arts-infused project-based learning into every classroom.

XP School – Learning Expeditions
XP is a mainstream 11-19 secondary school in Doncaster, UK. This short film is about how our school came about, what it is all about, how we do things and why.

Landau Forte College – building learning power in action
This Learning at Landau video aims to provide an insight into the unique learning environment and what makes learning at a Landau Forte academy different.

2017-05-24 10.38.58

Senior School Building Update

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Our Stage 2 building program is well underway in preparation for our first year 7 students to commence in 2018.

In preparation for the commencement of the Senior School with year 7 in 2018, the expansion of the Junior School and the increase in staff numbers Stage 2 will comprise:

  • A number of flexible and specialist learning areas
    • 2 general learning areas
    • Shared/flexible learning area
    • Maker classroom (messy space for design technology and art)
    • Hospitality and textiles area
    • Science laboratory
  • New staff administration area
    • Reception
    • General office areas
    • General meeting room
    • First Aid room
    • Staff offices
    • Staff work areas
    • Staff amenities

Many of our students are enjoying the view of the construction activity from the playground. Like them, we too are excited about this stage of development and look forward to its completion in preparation for the commencement of the 2018 school year.

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Tree planting leaves three generations on a high as they come together for Founders’ Day at The Anglican School Googong

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While Canberrans were celebrating Canberra Day, just across the border students from The Anglican School Googong and their families were hard at work creating a new sanctuary to protect the vulnerable Glossy Black Cockatoo.

Together, they started planting trees on the highest hill overlooking the new Googong township. The hill, known as Nangi Pimble by its traditional Ngunawal landowners, provides a panoramic view across Googong and will be home to the town’s new water supply reservoirs.

Over the next four years, more than 3000 trees will be planted in a four hectare reserve that is being created to provide a passive recreation and educational space for the community and a salute to the area’s rich Aboriginal heritage.

The initial tree planting includes native species like the Drooping She-oak, the primary food source for the Glossy Black Cockatoo which is part of the school’s logo, and gum trees that will provide nesting habitat in the future.

The Denby Family was one of the first to pitch in as students from School rolled up their sleeves to help plant trees in celebration of the school’s annual Founders’ and Grandparents Day when they focus on their community.

Jacob (9) was in Year One when the school opened. This year he is part of the school’s first Year four class.

His parents Simon and Kathryn Denby and grandparents Reg and Norma Gee, from Watson, are regular volunteers at the school which is an important contributor with close ties to the new community.

“The school is inspirational,” Simon said. “The parents all want to be involved, not just for the good of their own child, but for the good of the school and the rest of the community.

“Even though it’s getting bigger all the time, the school still feels like a family – more like a close knit community of friends which is something you don’t often get in a bigger, more structured environment.”

The Denby family moved from their 250 acre farm at Bungendore so they could be more involved and juggle school activities with the pressure of two busy fulltime jobs.

After the tree planting, the Year 3 and 4 students joined the rest of the school community for fun, games and morning tea with visiting parents and grandparents, followed by a family picnic.

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Excitement in Year 4 as the Band Program Kicks Off

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Thursday morning was a buzz with excitement with our Year 4 students as they picked up their instruments for the first time as the Year 4 Band Program kicked off. In Year 4, every student is given the use of a school-owned orchestral instrument to study as part of the academic music program. For one of the three timetabled Music lessons a week, students will study their instrument in small groups with a specialist instrumental teacher. This does not come at any further cost to the parents for year 4 students, it is simply part of their music education at the School.

We hope that this year allows students and parents to have a taste of what it is to play an instrument in the hope that they will continue instrumental study in later years and join school ensembles as they are established.

Apart from the sheer joy we see on the faces of ours students as they make music, there are a range of benefits well beyond the music classroom. Learning music can help students’ self-confidence, self-discipline and team work. Music also helps students progress in other important areas such as numeracy and literacy. Music education classes at The Anglican School Googong use a musicianship-based approach to education, predominantly incorporating the methodology of Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodály. Kodály said that true musical literacy involves musical memory and the ability to ‘internally hear what you see and write what you hear’. This means that the musician needs to be able to do more than merely interpret the notation on their instrument. They must also be able to look at a piece of musical notation and hear it in their head without firstly needing to play it on an instrument and also be able to listen to a piece of music and notate it.

When a student can do all of this, they are truly musically literate. This idea of true musical literacy may be a new concept. Those who have had the privilege of learning an instrument may have been taught by interpreting the dots on the staff and associating each dot with a fingering to play. Slowly and with practise, proficiency on the instrument developed. However, many who learnt to interpret musical notation in this way struggle with being able to hear the notes on the page without having their instrument to play it for them and find it difficult to aurally dictate music.

Identifying symbols does not necessarily translate to having a true understanding of the language of music. Therefore, our goal is to encourage and educate our students to be truly musically literate, enhancing their musicianship skills, including their ability to create new music and perform with musical sensitivity.

For further information:

Music Education at The Anglican School Googong

If You Want to Accelerate Brain Development in Children, Teach them Music

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A Thousand Thanks to a Thousand Fans

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We’ve just reached 1000 likes for our Facebook page. Thank you to all our followers for your support. We launched our Facebook page in March 2014 and since then our school has been built and we welcomed our first students in January 2015.

Thank you for liking as well as commenting and questioning. We really love it when the conversation and excitement about what we are doing connects with you. Please share our Facebook page with your friends. Let’s get up to 2000 likes soon so we can spread the word about #GoogongLearning and #School22.

To our 65 students and their families – we have lots of friends who love seeing what you do!

Margaret Hansen

John Barilaro Excellence in Education Award 2016

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Margaret Hansen

Margaret has made an outstanding contribution to the performing arts at The Anglican School Googong since the school commenced in January 2015. In particular, as the music teacher, she has created a program for all students across the school which has developed their individual musical literacy. Her music classes are ones where there is always a plethora of activities in which the students become musicians.

Margaret’s goal is to encourage and educate the students to be truly musically literate, enhancing their musicianship skills, including their ability to create new music and perform with musical sensitivity. This is demonstrated on a daily basis in her music classes and across the school when you listen to the students sing. This singing may be in class, at assembly or in Chapel and is always a delight to hear.

In addition to her music classes Margaret has conducted the school choir which commenced this year and was highly successful at the National Eisteddfod where they received a gold award for their performances and as we saw on Sunday evening when the students led our school community in singing Christmas carols.

Margaret’s technical ability as a teacher, pianist and vocal teacher is outstanding. It is this obvious passion and technical capacity that makes her a truly outstanding educator and one whom we are delighted to have lead our music education program.

Authentic Assessment for Authentic Learning

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Our Principal, Ian Hewitt and Junior School Teaching and Learning Coordinator, Claire Dalziel recently presented at the AIS ACT Celebrating Teaching and Learning event in Canberra. This event showcased many of the unique teaching and learning projects and programs which have occurred in AIS ACT member schools in 2016. The title of their presentation was Authentic Assessment for Authentic Learning. This provided all attendees with a snapshot of our approach to assess and provide feedback to our students and their families using our ‘learner profile’.

At our school, the teachers say to their students that we’re looking forward to getting you stuck and then helping them, as learners, to work out how to get ‘unstuck’. We are a school like no other in this region where:

  • Learning how to learn is essential
  • Where there are no bells and we have long learning sessions
  • Learning is in our vocabulary
  • We can say ‘learning in action, learning for real’
  • We can say ‘Googong learning, learning for life’

With authentic learning at the heart of our school, we use our learner profile to assist each student in their journey as learners. This approach, after just 2 years of the school opening, has received tremendous support and some fantastic comments from our peers.

Comments such as:

  • People need to hear this presentation
  • Inspiring and innovative
  • I love the language of learning and the use of this with the students
  • Social and emotional learning is great for ‘future’ students