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The Historical Importance of Children’s Literature

Term 3 No 2

Book Week will be celebrated at Gib Gate next week and the students from P-6 are excited about meeting much-loved visiting illustrator, Donna Rawlins, choosing books at the Book Fair, taking part in the Dress Up Parade and enjoying the greatly anticipated Book Week Theme courtyard ‘transformation’ and Morning Tea.

Chatting to a Gib Gate student recently about Book Week and our favourite books, I recalled a series I had enjoyed as a child – My Friend Flicka. I asked Gib Gate Teacher Librarian, Mrs Marsh, to see if we had the series in the Gib Gate Library and Mrs Marsh reminisced that she had also loved this series as a child. Upon finding it is now out of print, I ordered a second-hand set to add to the Gib Gate library. The books arrived last Friday and I excitedly unwrapped them, looking forward to quickly re-reading them before handing them over to the library. 

What a different experience I had re-visiting this favourite childhood ‘classic’ 41 years after the original reading. Surprise number one came within the first few pages as a horse named ‘Cigarette’ was introduced into the story. ‘Surely not’, I thought. Why on earth would author Mary O’Hara think this was appropriate? The second surprise was realising that the main protagonist in this classic ‘adventure’ novel was a boy and not a girl as I had incorrectly recalled, and the third was when the young boy, Ken, is surveying the land beyond the family ranch in Wyoming, describing it as wild and uninhabited rather the homeland of Indigenous Americans:

‘From here he looked west over a hundred miles of the greengrass; and south across the great stretch of undulating plateau land that ran down to Twin Peaks, and beyond that across broken crags and interminable rough terrain, mysterious with hidden valleys and gorges and rocky headlands.’ 

I stopped reading. Should or shouldn’t I be recommending this series to students? What other much loved classics in our fabulous Gib Gate library collection contain casually entrenched gender roles and expectations, support for the idea of terra nullius and political bias? The answer is of course, many. Whether old or new, Children’s Literature is representative of time and place and should be viewed in context as historical records of the cultural and social values of the time.

At Gib Gate, teaching children to be critically literate is core to our programme. Encouraging and supporting children to read widely, to question and discuss texts with others, to ‘peel the onion’ and look beyond the literal, to search for meaning and be conscious of perspectives. In a world where children are more than ever ‘positioned’ by social media, movies, music and other ‘texts’  the value of an education that actively engages students in the joy of reading and critical discussion cannot be underestimated.

Pictured: Frensham Schools' mascot, 'Tiny Tonaya from Daffodil Downs', competing at the Gib Gate Athletics Carnival on the Frensham Games Field.

Ms Sally Robson, Head of Gib Gate

Studies

SCOPEIT Programme for Term 3

The Digital Technologies strand of the NESA Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus provides students with opportunities to investigate existing technologies and create digital solutions. In this mandatory strand, Gib Gate students from Kindergarten to Year 6 are encouraged to become critical consumers of information and creative producers of digital solutions as they explore key concepts from computer science, information systems, software engineering and project management and develop their knowledge and skills in a sequential learning programme. This term, our expert digital technologies teachers from scopeIT, in collaboration with our Gib Gate class teachers, continue to provide interactive, hands-on lessons for 40 minutes each Wednesday.

This term, Kindergarten students have now moved into Kindy Coding 2. Learning to code with simple, click-in blocks develops their thinking and creativity and a range of cross-curricular skills including mathematical (focusing on position and movement), literacy (creating and interpreting stories) and key competencies including Problem Solving, Working Collaboratively, Creative Thinking, Evaluation and Computational Thinking.

Year 1 and Year 2 students are developing their technological skills in the unit, Snap-On Electronics. They are learning to build working circuits with simple ‘snap-on’ style electric equipment and how the individual components function together to make a system work. Weekly lessons focus on systematic thinking, problem solving, working collaboratively, developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and building from components.

Years 3, 4 and 5 have begun an exciting, hands-on unit of work called Exciting Electronics. Students will be working together to design and construct working electrical systems. The process involves creating a drawing plan, selecting appropriate components, constructing a working system, troubleshooting problems, and creating code to use the system. The combination of skills developed in this course develops many cross-curricular skills in Key Learning Areas that involve ‘systems with rules’ and multiple dependent components, whether that be in a science project or investigation, a maths equation, or a grammatically correct sentence in English.

Building on the coding skills Year 6 students have developed within the Semester 1 Coding programme, they are learning to design and create a website on the notable individual they have selected for their ‘Legacy of Leaders’ project. The websites will not be ‘live’ to the Internet, however they will be available for private viewing. The students will be instructed to learn the knowledge and skills required for success in this process in each 40-minute weekly lesson, while Mrs Williamson will continue supporting their endeavour throughout the week.

University of Wollongong Vacation Programme

Parents are reminded that applications for the UOW’s October vacation programme are now open and fill quickly. Learning Labs is an academic enrichment programme for high-achieving students from Years 1-6 and each workshop is designed for motivated and passionate learners in a particular area of interest. Workshops are challenging as well as fun and are held over one or two days. Students can choose one or two day workshops from Creative Writing, Art, Coding, Drama and Theatre, Mathematics, Robotics, 3D printing, Physics, Harry Potter and more! Please visit the following site for more information:

https://www.uow.edu.au/engage/outreach-pathways/learning-labs/wollongong-learning-labs/#d.en.60151

Ms Kate Chauncy Director of Teaching and Learning P-12 and Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Programmes

Sport

Athletics

Last Friday, Gib Gate held its Years 2-6 House Athletics Carnival at the Frensham Games Field. The weather was sunny and there were some excellent performances in all events with the day narrowly won by Wilson, with Jamieson and McCutcheon Houses finishing equal second.

A strong team of athletes was selected to compete at the SHIPS Carnival on Friday 16 August and a team will be selected to compete at the IPSHA Athletics Carnival in Week 6. We congratulate all the athletes selected and wish them every success.

Athletics training for selected students will be held at Frensham on Wednesday mornings from 7:15am and at Gib Gate at various times during the week.

Mr Michael Standen, Coordinator PE and Sport Gib Gate

Enrichment/Activities

Performance Opportunities

Gib Gate provides many performance opportunities for students during the year. The Friday Performance Assemblies are  a supportive opportunity for musicians to perform for the whole School while individual students from Years 5 and 6 are invited to perform at two Soirée evenings.

The Term 3 Soirée, being held this week, will include over 35 student performances on piano, violin, viola, saxophone, clarinet, drums, guitar, voice and cello. Students enjoy the opportunity to perform in the evening in this formal recital context. Tutors have noted the high standard of performances this year with many students preparing for AMEB examinations in upcoming weeks. There will be another Soirée in Term 4 on Thursday 21 November.

Book Week

Gib Gate’s Book Week celebrations are coming up. On Monday 12 August Preschool to Year 6 students  have a children’s book illustrator visit by Donna Rawlins whose best known work is My Place by Nadia Wheatley, which won the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award. Donna collaborated with Margaret Wild on My Dearest Dinosaur and Ten Little Known Facts About Hippopotamuses. Recent publications include Guess the Baby, Babs the Baby and Fog the Dog and Seven More Sleeps. Her latest books are What Will You Be? and The Firefighters  and Waves.

Students are excited about the Dress Up day on Wednesday 14 August. The character Dress Up Parade is for all students in Preschool to Year 6. The Parade starts at approximately 9:00am in the School Hall. Students are to come to School dressed as a character from one of their favourite books. There is a Morning Tea for the whole school that will be served in the courtyard following the Parade and parents are welcome to join us for the Parade, Morning Tea and the Book Fair. On Wednesday 14 August, the annual Gib Gate Book fair will be held in the Library from 8:00am-4:00pm. Books may be purchased for home and/or donated to the School Library.

Gib Gate Senior Musical

The annual Senior Musical Production was announced last week. Years 3-6 students are performing Peter Pan this year. Students are excited to be presenting a musical that is based on such a well-loved story and look forward to learning the script, songs and dances.

Mrs Anne Graham, Gib Gate Coordinator (Administration)

Preschool

From little things big things grow

Being inspired by the Punu exhibition at Sturt, Gib Gate’s youngest students created their own gallery in the hallway near Preschool. Creating an art gallery proved to be a rewarding experience and generated numerous questions and ponderings along the way. Preschool students have become very good at using the resources at hand to gain information, so when they had questions about schools in Africa, they asked Ms Robson for assistance.

Continuing their learning about Africa, Preschool students met Ms Chauncy in the library where she shared information about a school in Uganda, Katuuso, through a PowerPoint presentation. The students learnt that Annabelle Chauncy OAM, a Frensham Old Girl and also Ms Chauncy’s daughter, went to Uganda in Africa and decided the children there should have a school like she had as a child, and then she worked to make this happen. Annabelle saw there was a need and made her plan come to fruition. A globe and a map saw the children pondering over their own global knowledge and teachers showed them where Uganda is located in the world. The students noted that the houses in Uganda were different from theirs, the children wore clothes that were also different, their classroom used to be made out of dirt and sticks, and they had lunch made by a cook each day. It was also noted that there were many similarities including writing in writing books, looking at and reading books, playing outside and going on excursions. Preschoolers recognised that in Australia we are lucky as we have pipes that bring water to our house and we do not need to carry it to our house each day. The students told Ms Chauncy that they carry water to the animal watering stations at Gib Gate for the kangaroos and birds, and that this was rather tricky at times. The Preschool students are fortunate that in our Gib Gate community we can share topics of interest, and teachers and students share their knowledge with them.

Ms Chauncy and Preschool letter

Mrs Tinna Loker, Preschool Coordinator