Walking around the Beaconsfield Campus I see our students engaged in different learning activities, using their environment in a variety of ways, and working with our staff positively. Staff and students are working towards having a community where students will enter into the learning partnership:
Most of our young people enter into their learning with this mindset and with these positive actions, and others we are working with to ensure they understand this is what we want for them and are expecting of them. I invite our parents to also find ways that they too can support their child to engage in these actions to support their learning.
Over the last fortnight we have seen some engaging opportunities offered to our students in their classes and beyond the classroom. It is always wonderful to receive feedback from St Francis Xavier College staff, as well members of the wider community, about how our students enter into their learning.
This week Year 12 VCAL classes received affirmation for their participation in the Goalball experience run by Ex-sight Sports staff. They commented, We always enjoy working with students who have a real interest in activities, and I was particularly impressed with the students’ enthusiasm and willingness to have a go… I was also extremely impressed with the quality of the play and the student’s quickness in picking up the game. I appreciated the excellent behaviour and cooperation from all the students… in helping to coordinate the games phases of the sessions. We hope that all the students got something out of the sessions and that it will be useful in their understanding of Vision Impairment and the barriers faced by the disabled.
Student Reflection on Wheel Talk & Goalball
On 21 February, the Senior VCAL classes were involved in an incursion by Wheel Talk, who are an organisation that focus on wheelchair sports and disability awareness. We were met by Peter and he took us through his life growing up in Nigeria when he was young. He talked to us about the struggles and challenges that he faced while living as a paraplegic. He spoke about his involvement in the Paralympic games and how he played all around the world competing in wheelchair basketball. After our group was spoken to, we all got a turn to use a wheelchair and play a game of basketball. The wheelchair experience was very fun and also challenging. Our group had a lot of fun and enjoyed the experience that we may never have had otherwise.
The following week we were visited by a group who specialised in the development and sports for the blind and vision impaired. We were given different spectacles that simulated the effect of different forms of vision impairments. This was an eye opener and made many of us really think about how lucky we are to not be affected by these conditions.
We then were given elbow and knee pads to put on for our safety, and then blacked out goggles. We got into pairs and underwent trust exercises that involved following the voice of our partner with our goggles on. After that we started learning about Goal Ball. Goal ball is a mixture of soccer and bowling. Each team has three players; a centre and two wings. We stand in a rectangle with raised lines on the floor that help to ground our position and know where we are on the court. To stop a ball coming at you, you have to slide on your side and stop the ball with chimes in it, to not let the other team score. The game was very fun and difficult, but it showed how those with vision impairments can still participate in sports and have fun.
I congratulate the students on the way they entered into this experience positively and respectfully.
Last Friday evening we held the Year 12 Formal at Marvel Stadium. 376 students and 37 staff came together for this wonderful social event. I congratulate all students in attendance on the way they entered into the event. They all looked fabulous, interacted positively with staff and their peers, and all were having a fun time. It was a true celebration and it was great to see our students enjoying themselves with their friends and staff. Thank you to the staff who attended the evening. It was great to have the range of staff – leaders, teachers, support staff – present as it indicated to students that they are supported and valued by all staff. It was heart-warming to watch the way students interacted positively with them. The evening was a clear example of the positive relationships that are forged at our College. I would like to acknowledge and thank our College Captains and Vice Captains, Kailey McAuley, Matthew Lawless, Susmitha Raju, Connor Hinds supported by Ms Nicole Boon and Ms Rosalynn Rechichi for their organisation and preparation of the formal.
Yesterday our Campus gathered for our Ash Wednesday liturgy. At Beaconsfield campus our student leaders led us in prayer and reflection. There was great symbolism in the liturgy and in particular, where our students shared in the distribution of ashes from one to another. Students were reminded that Lent is the season of Fasting, Praying, and Acting. Acting in ways that allow community to flourish through acts of kindness and generosity. Students were asked to in particular consider how they can act in our campus community on a daily basis, and look to be deliberate in these actions throughout Lent. Our Thomas and McDonagh student leaders also spoke to our community about how we can give, and how we give by supporting Caritas Project Compassion campaign. This is what our leaders had to say:
Every year, our Term One fundraising activity is to raise money for the Project Compassion campaign. Caritas Australia is the Catholic agency for international aid and development. They work in areas such as Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Pacific and Indigenous Australia. Their mission is to assist the poorest of the poor by helping them to develop and run life sustaining projects. For over 50 years, Caritas has ensured that no more than 10% of the funds it raises go into administration and fundraising costs.
The rate of 90% of funds raised going directly to places where they’re most needed, is one of the highest in Australia. Caritas is committed to using money it raises to empower people to help themselves, regardless of their ethnicity, political beliefs, gender or religion. Starting this week, your care group will receive a Caritas donation box to collect your donations during the Lenten season. The money your care group raises will go directly towards supporting Caritas in its mission.
Like every year, we need your help. But we want to make this year different to others. The call to action from Caritas this year is ‘Give Lent 100%’. If we could find it in ourselves to be generous with our donations, we could make a real difference in the fight to eradicate poverty from our world. This year we are asking you to ‘Fight poverty with 5’. If every person in this hall could donate at least $5 by the time we reach the school holidays, we will have raised a greater amount than we ever have before.
Let’s fight poverty with 5 together. Care Group teachers, care group captains, House captains, SRC’s – everyone! Help us get this message out today – ‘fight poverty with 5’. A bright future for the world’s poor can begin today. Join this campaign, and the others all around the world as we raise funds to raise more and more people out of poverty. We’ll have more to say about Project Compassion at our next assembly but until then, will you ‘fight poverty with 5’ this Lent?
This year, the Senior VCAL students will be creating the chocolate Easter Egg Hampers in their RE class to raise money for Project Compassion. Please donate Easter eggs to your RE Teacher or Miss Leo. Over the next few weeks the VCAL students, McDonagh and Thomas House Captains will be selling raffle tickets for these hampers during lunchtimes. The raffle will be drawn on the final day of term one.
I thank our student leaders, in particular our Liturgy and Justice Leaders – Chloe Jones, Luke Cranswick, Nejamin Shields and Jasmine Mamontov, and Religious Education Coordinator, Mr Lindsay Sant, for their leadership of our Liturgy. I also thank Cantabile and musicians for sharing their gifts in our campus liturgy.
Collaborative Learning in VCE Maths
Recently the year Unit 3 Mathematical Methods students were presented with a problem solving activity. The task invited them to work collaboratively in groups to deconstruct and solve exam style questions which were chosen with varying levels of difficulty and entry/exit points.
While this sort of activity is common practice, being able to undertake it in the new learning spaces of the GPFLA building provided students with a new experience.
Students were able to utilise the many writable surfaces (windows, doors, whiteboards, etc.), projection displays and the break-out spaces to reason through the various problems as a team, displaying their working and processes on surfaces which allowed them to alter and adapt their answers as mistakes and errors were identified, resulting in a stronger understanding of not only the content but the questioning techniques and style of VCAA exams.
The task was a huge success and the students thoroughly enjoyed the new opportunity provided by the design of the GPFLA learning spaces!