The Building Blocks of Literacy

Amy Woodgate | Head of Junior and Middle Schools

‘Literacy is … the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.’

Kofi Annan

Literacy development is a vital part of a child’s overall development.  It is the foundation for doing well at school, socialising with others, developing independence, and creating a living in the world.  The ability to speak, listen, understand, watch and draw are the building blocks for literacy that are nurtured and developed from birth through to formal schooling and beyond.

Students become literate as they develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to interpret and use language confidently for learning and communicating in and out of school.  Literacy involves students listening to, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating oral, print, visual and digital texts, and using language for different purposes in a range of contexts.  It also incorporates certain behaviours and dispositions that support students to become effective learners who are confident and motivated to use their literacy skills broadly.

A student’s literacy learning builds on concepts, skills and processes developed in the early years and then revisited and consolidated as they progress through their schooling.  Our students at SCOTS PGC are engaged in literacy-rich environments, not just in their English classrooms.  They encounter a variety of texts in all subject areas that require them to use their literacy skills to decode, make meaning and apply knowledge in different ways.

There is also no denying that we live in a technology-driven world, with an ever-increasing wealth of information available to us at the push of a button and it is important that we acknowledge the changing way our children access, interpret and make meaning from these digital texts.  Like us, our children are asked to read text in both printed and digital formats.  They encounter thousands of words each and every day that they need to decode, construct meaning from, use for a purpose or analyse.  Without going into the debate about ‘screen time’ and ‘how much is too much’, reading in print and reading digitally are both going to continue to be a part of our world.

Reading in print and reading digitally are mediums used by our children every day and each may require different literacy skills and be used for different purposes.

Reading PrintReading Digitally
• Helps the reader to focus and absorb information • Digital texts are a part of our technology-driven society
• The reader’s brain is stimulated • Digital texts are suited to browsing and scanning shorter articles
• The reader is able to grasp complex information more easily • Digital texts support multi-tasking as the reader is able to jump between pieces of information more easily online

Whether it is curling up on the couch with a book or your iPad, borrowing a text from the library or googling information about a topic, it is important that we acknowledge the place that both have in our world and in the world of our children. In a recent article for the National Library of New Zealand, author Lisa Allcott explores the topic of whether on-screen or print reading can make a difference to learning.  Through her research, she ultimately comes to the conclusion that ‘it’s not an either/or choice but a matter of how we get the best out of both’.  Screens don’t need to replace books, but perhaps we can find the right balance and provide our students with opportunities to experience both mediums.

Sitting down with a good book, following a recipe, writing a scientific report, reading the manual for a new piece of machinery or presenting an argument in an energetic debate all require our young people to be literate and have an understanding of language. We need our students to develop literacy skills that allow them to read for understanding, information and enjoyment and we guide them to create written and spoken pieces to explain, describe and persuade.   Most importantly, we want them to develop a love for learning that allows them to always aim higher.

BOOK WEEK 2021 – ‘Curious Creatures, Wild Minds’

This week’s celebrations for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book Week, with the theme ‘Curious Creatures, Wild Minds’, has highlighted the joy that comes from reading a good book and the worlds it can open up.

Some enjoyable moments this week have been our Senior students visiting our Junior School classes to share picture books, the ‘curious’ items on display in the LRC, the opening of ‘wild minds’ through Library activities and the fun of the Book Week dress up day for our younger students.  There is no doubt that a love of literacy has been shared across our College this week.

Year 6 Arrangements 2021 featured image

Year 6 Arrangements 2021

The College has decided to create two Year 6 classes commencing in 2021.  This proposal was supported and approved by our College Council. We’ve made …

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Year 6 Arrangements 2021

The College has decided to create two Year 6 classes commencing in 2021.  This proposal was supported and approved by our College Council.

We’ve made this decision due to the current size of the Year 5 cohort and the increased level of confirmed enrolments for next year.

Creating two Year 6 classes supports our Middle School philosophy by ensuring students have a core classroom teacher and smaller than average class sizes.  This initiative will enable our students to be well supported as they grow and prepare for the transition into Year 7.

The College will be seeking to encourage new enrolments for the Year 6 classes in 2021, so that families can be assured that their child’s place for Year 7 2022 is secure, given the fact that Year 7 is historically the time when we welcome many new students to the College.

As a result, the College will soon be advertising for an additional teacher with demonstrated experience in the upper Primary and Middle School years.

 

Girls Boarding featured image

Girls Boarding

Farewell to our Amazing Year 12s In Girls boarding there is a tradition that for the year 12’s last night in boarding year 11 organises …

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Girls Boarding

Farewell to our Amazing Year 12s

In Girls boarding there is a tradition that for the year 12’s last night in boarding year 11 organises a night of fun games and performances to send them off. This year the night started off with a heartfelt presentation put together by Hanaka Parker. The presentation was full of videos and pictures of everyone’s favourite memories of the girls and it got the emotions flowing. For the night. Jorgi Owers (Year 8)  then sang “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran for the girls and did an AMAZING job that brought tears to a few girl’s eyes. After Jorgi’s performance we played a game of ‘Never Have I Ever’ with the Year 12s and got tons of laughs out of it. Charmaine Wakpi (Year 9) then also sang “You are the Reason” by Calum Scott for the girls and also did an OUTSTANDING job at it. We then had a Q & A with the girls where they shared their favourite moments in boarding and gave everyone advice on how to get through all the ups and downs of high school. This was then followed by a speech from Lily Emmerton (Year 10) where she thanked all the girls on behalf of everyone for the amazing moments and incredible role models the girls have been for everyone. Mrs. Hart then handed the girls their custom bags full of letters written by the girls in boarding and this was then followed by an adaptation of “Riptide” by Vance Joy with lyrics filled with funny moments and hilarious inside jokes Year 11 shared with the Year 12 girls. Ms Clarke and Mrs Hart shared a few words of their fond memories of caring for each Year 12 for their entire journey in SCOTS PGC.  Mrs Fairleigh completed formalities with a presentation of gifts on behalf of all at Girls Boarding.

The night then ended with lots of tears and cake to celebrate the next chapter of the girls lives and the great things they will go on to do. Thank you, Year 12 girls, for filling this boarding house with lots of laughter and for always being there for every single girl in the boarding house. Even after COVID your grade has left big shoes to fill and it will be a struggle to live up to your legacy.

Thank you for everything, lots of love – Charlotte Jarvis (Year 11 Girls Boarder)


Dear Year 12s

You mill most definitely be missed by all of us, you are all really amazing people and we can’t wait to see what you do in your future. This place won’t ever be the same without you guys and we are so proud of you for getting through such an awful and tough year. You are all such inspiring people and are going to make a huge difference in the world. Thank you so much for everything and please come back and visit.

Written Erin Fearby | Year 11


Dear Year 12s

You’ve done it, you’ve finished this chapter in your life and have reached an amazing milestone. This year has been absolutely crazy, with Covid and all, but if anyone could have weathered through it, it’s you guys. You’ve done so much for us younger girls and made a huge impact in not only the boarding community but in our lives as well, it will never be the same without you. We wish you all the best and we can’t wait to see where life takes you and what amazing things you will achieve in the near future. Like we said in our song, “We love you, and we’re gonna miss you, but we’ve got your rooms now, so you are good to go now!”

Good luck and we love you all – Written by Lani Lavea | Year 11

 

 

 

 

Junior Boys Boarding featured image

Junior Boys Boarding

Main Photo: Cooper Bischoff (Year 7), pictures with Mr Bailey was awarded Junior Boy Boarder for 2020 Mr Stewart Bailey | Head of Junior Boys …

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Junior Boys Boarding

Main Photo: Cooper Bischoff (Year 7), pictures with Mr Bailey was awarded Junior Boy Boarder for 2020

Mr Stewart Bailey | Head of Junior Boys Boarding

Unlike any other year, 2020, has been a time when our boys have been challenged to produce an academic result, a sporting achievement, and a cultural performance whilst their everyday lives have been impacted by extenuating circumstances.  Their ability to achieve one or all of these challenges has provided focus on the lives of all our students.  Our academic students have excelled through a disciplined application. Our students, with God’s gift of abilities, performed with great distinction and our athletic heroes held centre stage during some epic battles on the sporting field. I would extend a heartfelt congratulations firstly, to our Year 12’s who are shortly embarking on their next chapter and I wish them all the success they deserve. Second, to our Boys’ Boarding “Band of Brothers”, especially our recent award winners, congratulations on your well-deserved accolades. Leading the way was our very own “Junior Boy Boarder of the Year” Cooper Bischoff. Well done gentlemen.

Regardless of any noteworthy performance, the overriding quest in our boarding environment is to do whatever is in our power to assist our students in their bid to find happiness. Dr Tim Sharp, wrote a particularly good article named “Finding Yourself”.  I quote the following passages from that article.

“To begin with, I’d like to address one of the biggest mistakes made by those wanting to live a better life and experience more happiness: some people simply try too hard! Further, if what you’re trying is not working then trying even harder is not likely to lead to a successful outcome either! ………….

I am encouraging you to think about the notion that happiness does not necessarily come to those who work the hardest but rather to those who work the smartest; and in the context of happiness, working smart often involves just being. ….. So rather than asking if you’re trying hard enough, try asking if you’re trying the right approach…….

And finally, happiness is not something you will ‘find’; ‘you’ cannot ever really be ‘lost’. If you’re not clear about what to do to achieve more happiness it’s more likely to do with you not acknowledging or not honestly facing up to that which you probably ‘know’. Happiness is inside you and happiness can only ever be experienced in the ‘here and now’; so instead of asking where can you find happiness ask instead, how can you create more of it”.

The relationships we have, as a boarding staff, with our residential students is very special. This relationship must be built on mutual trust and evolves over time. The link between a student’s happiness and their relationship with staff is a vital part of every individual feeling safe and secure in the boarding house. The bond between staff and students should also extend to our parents. When the link between student, staff and parents is complete we can be assured that the individual student will thrive and prosper in the boarding environment. This is one of our ongoing goals at SCOTS PGC.

 

Senior Boys Boarding featured image

Senior Boys Boarding

Main Photo: Ewan McFarland being presented by Mr Bolton with the boarding co-curricular award and Hawkins House boarder of the year Fraser Bolton | Head …

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Senior Boys Boarding

Main Photo: Ewan McFarland being presented by Mr Bolton with the boarding co-curricular award and Hawkins House boarder of the year

Fraser Bolton | Head of Senior Boys Boarding

Quite remarkably, we find ourselves coming to the end of another year – a year punctuated by Covid-19, external examinations for our Year 12s and all of the usual pressures facing our boarders. Despite all of this, 2020 has been a year to be celebrated. Our boys have shown the resilience that we have come to expect from them and have gone above and beyond across a range of areas at the College. This week, we had the opportunity to celebrate these successes and also acknowledge the contribution of our Year 12s at our annual Boarding Awards Night.

Josh Crow

Darcy Zammit

I would like to congratulate the Boarding Award recipients for 2020. These students have demonstrated commitment to boarding, either this year or over a number of years, and have achieved at a high level in their particular area of strength. They are to be commended on their efforts this year:

  • Vocational Education Award: Hayden Coleman
  • Academic Award: Joshua Crow
  • Sporting Award: Darcy Zammit
  • Co-curricular Award: Ewan McFarland
  • Hawkins House Boarder of the Year: Ewan McFarland

To our Year 12s – you are a great group of young people, who have worked hard to achieve your best. It is heartening to see so many of you finishing your schooling in strong academic positions, or well on the way with your vocational pathway. I look forward to hearing about your future successes and (for the immediate future) wish you well for your upcoming external examinations. Whilst this year has posed its challenges, you have worked hard to overcome the obstacles that have been placed in your way. Gandhi probably put it best when he said, “Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength”.

Book Week at SCOTS PGC featured image

Book Week at SCOTS PGC

This week has been very active in the library with Book Week activities, the highlight for most has been the Year 9 and 11 classes …

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Book Week at SCOTS PGC

This week has been very active in the library with Book Week activities, the highlight for most has been the Year 9 and 11 classes visiting the Junior School in the mornings for games in the playground and book readings.  There have also been a variety of activities that match our theme of Curious Creatures and Wild Minds with classes undertaking research activities focused on either inventors or inventions for the older primary students, while the younger students created their own imaginary creatures. Many were surprised by the inventions of Da Vinci and the many technology inventions of Australian scientists including; the black box and wifi.  Year 3 also created a cabinet of curiosities which included moon cheese, raptor teeth, witches medicine that lets you see the future and a mushroom from the weeping wood, along with many other creative ideas.

The Junior School assembly today was a chance for students to dress as their favourite book character with an emphasis on creative creatures or wild minds.

Casual Clothes and National Bandana Day featured image

Casual Clothes and National Bandana Day

Wednesday 28th October 2020 The College is once again participating in the National Bandana Day, organised by the Canteen Foundation to help families and young people …

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Casual Clothes and National Bandana Day

Wednesday 28th October 2020

The College is once again participating in the National Bandana Day, organised by the Canteen Foundation to help families and young people affected by cancer. Show your support by coming in casual clothes on Wednesday 28th October and bringing a gold coin donation or purchasing a bandana for $5. Prefects will be selling the bandanas in the morning before school on the Junior School steps, the Middle School crossing and walking around the Senior School tutors. If you miss out in the morning, never fear, they’ll be more opportunities during recess throughout the day to buy one!

Dress code:

No beach wear

No pyjamas or slippers/ugg boots

No inappropriate slogans/designs

Closed in shoes must be worn.

Shorts and skirts must be of a modest length

From the Co-curricular Desk featured image

From the Co-curricular Desk

Mr Tom Bradbury | Assistant Director of Co-curricular Activities Queensland All Schools Athletics Championship  In a COVID affected year that has seen school-based pathways cancelled …

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From the Co-curricular Desk

Mr Tom Bradbury | Assistant Director of Co-curricular Activities

Queensland All Schools Athletics Championship 

In a COVID affected year that has seen school-based pathways cancelled for several sports including Athletics, Queensland Athletics has recently proceeded with an All Schools Championship where athletes could self-nominate.

I am excited to report that four of our lads contested these championships and had quite a successful time in the process. Competing in their Darling Downs Athletics colours the boys achieved the following results and we are extremely happy and proud of their achievements.

  • William Gilmore – 2nd Discus – named in QLD Merit Squad
  • Tom Denny – 10th 100m
  • Nicholas Denny – 2nd 200m, 4th 100m, 5th 90m Hurdles – named in QLD Merit Squad
  • Cooper Seng – 8th Discus, 6th Long Jump, 4th Triple Jump

Congratulations lads and best wishes for a fantastic 2021!

 

U15 Boys 7’s Round Up

Tuesday night saw the U15 Boys South West 7’s Round 2 hit the pitch at Gold Park. After a win and a draw last week the lads were fired up and did not disappoint in their first match with a resounding win over Toowoomba Anglican School 49-0. By all accounts, the boys threw the ball around well and gave an excellent team performance.

Unfortunately, it appears a few refereeing errors may have affected the score against Highfields State College where our opponents brought us back to Earth with a thud winning 36-0.

Scott Taat loved the open space and really took it to the opposition both in attack and defence in both games, with sustained pressure from the kick-off and great vision. Before succumbing to injury, Will Turner was proving a handful for his opponents as he ran the ball fiercely into the breach. But by far the team performance was most pleasing to see from the coach’s perspective.

Best of luck next week boys in Round 3.

 

U15 Girls 7’s Round-Up

Our U15 Girls once again headed north to contest the South West 7’s on Thursday afternoon. Our girls lost their first game 22-5 against Fairholme in slippery conditions with Summer Jacks scoring the only try in the corner after multiple phases in possession.

The second game was a high-quality contest of two distinct halves with Glennie leading 17-0 at halftime. The second half started with some strong defence, forcing multiple turnovers and allowing Kaysan Miles to score a long distance try beating the covering defender with a right foot step and scoring under the posts.

After the kick off the girls turned it over and controlled the ball with patience allowing Summer Jacks to score her second try for the day. A third try came from a turn over midfield. The girls shifted the ball quickly to the wing which saw Erin Keogh outrun her defender and score under the post to level the game, unfortunately, the kick was unsuccessful.

From the resumption, Glennie composed themselves, applied some consistent pressure, and after a number of quick phases managed to breach the SCOTS line on the full-time whistle.  A truly courageous second half that demonstrated the girls’ never-say-die attitude at its best going down 22-17.

On a separate note, Shona McFarland has turned to the dark side trying her hand at refereeing and received nothing but praise from her mentors. Shona showed composure and confidence in both her games and will only get better with more experience officiating at a variety of levels.

 

Girls Futsal – Round 3 Report

Last night our Girls Futsal Team’s ventured forth again to Toowoomba for Round 3 of the competition. All Teams lost to older opposition but as this is a graded competition the competition is quite competitive.

SCOTS Team C comprising of nearly all Yr7 students put up a great fight and started playing some attractive futsal against a St Ursula’s team made up of players from Yr10 and older but of similar skills. The girls went down 7-4 with Stevie Collins, Mackenzie Taylor scoring one each and Ellyse Kruger bagging a double. Abbey Petersen dominated her goal space despite the scoreline and has shown great development since her time at the Queensland Invitational over the school holidays.

SCOTS Team B also made up of Yr 7 and 8 students faced an older Glennie team and went down 4-1 with Eleanor McFarland improving in goal and Phoebe Sellick playing an outstanding game in both attack and defence and scoring our only goal. New players Cassie White and Dusty Saunders are improving with every game and Matilda Nowlan supported Phoebe admirably around the court showing development also from her time at the Queensland Invitational.

SCOTS Team A was valiant in a 5-4 defeat against a full team of Yr12 students and their premier team. Our girls consisting of 3 yr 9’s, 1 Yr 10 and 1 Yr 11 student supported by Phoebe and Matilda were outstanding. Madison Kane and Emma Bradbury are really linking well in both defence and attack and created several opportunities. Madison grabbed a hat trick whilst Emma bagged one to round out our scoring. Molly-Rose Sinclair and Gabrielle Sellick are both developing well with improved trapping and passing creating opportunities for themselves and others.

Although not on the winning side of the ledger coach Derek Kane is very pleased with the skill level and team structures that the girls are starting to display. The harder competition is certainly causing our girls to lift their game.

 

Darling Downs 12yrs Hockey Representatives

We wish Lachlan Groves, Tanner Henley and James Bourke (pictured) all the very best at the Queensland School Sport 12yrs Hockey Championships being conducted at the Ipswich Hockey Centre as we speak. All three boys are a credit to the school and their families and I am sure will give a good account of themselves at this event.

We also wish Millie Groves the very best as she takes to the field as an umpire at these 12yrs and Under Championships. It is Millie’s first time umpiring at this level so we hope she enjoys the experience.

We congratulate once again Mrs Angela Groves on the continued development of our junior players here on the Southern Downs, via the Warwick Hockey Association, as the Darling Downs Team consists of more locals than just our three little champions. We await results from this event with bated breath.