Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Climate justice, Laudato Si, Catholic Social Teaching, Global Goals

As the year draws to a close, the students from Middle Matters have completed their amazing inquiries into Climate Justice.
This brief snapshot of presentation slides gives a glimpse into how they've made the connections between the facts,the Global Goals, Catholic Social Teaching and the papal encyclical, "Laudato Si."
Furthermore, they have raised awareness amd discussed possible actions that can be taken, even as a primary student!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Nature's Close - Ups - our favourite artworks in 2015!

Our inquiry asks, "How are we Called to Care for our Common Home?" As we look at the call of Laudato Si and its implications for sustainability and the stewardship of creation, we take time to look at and paint some of the wondrous things in our world!

Friday, October 23, 2015

SOCKTOBER - Crazy Socks Day!


Today, our school held a fundraiser for Sock-tober to help children in Madagascar, through Catholic Mission. We wore crazy socks to school and brought a gold coin donation to help support this great cause.

 The day was a success and everyone was happy!
-Stephanie and Jamie        
 (Social Justice leaders)

Friday, October 16, 2015


A wonderful aspect of fourth term is seeing a year of learning come to fruition. So it was when the senior classes recently

researched  aspects of geometry in expert groups. Over three to four days, the students presented their learning while their peers took notes and gave feedback. Here's the student feedback! Great to see the pros dominate!

Expert Groups for Maths
Show what we can do ourselves
Diverse learning levels
More fun to design own learning
Some explanations from presenters mightn’t be clear
Fun and learning at the same time
Not always equal contributions of the team
Learning at own rate

makes us more independent

Get to see how others work

Variety of topics

Enjoy doing own research and teaching others

Everyone gets a turn compared to normal class

Worked with different people

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


What does Pope Francis mean by a "throwaway culture?"
Today we reflected on part of Chapter 1 in "Laudato Si," highlighting what spoke to us and annotating some responses.

 Ciaran: his message is clear-to respect what you have and don't just throw it out when "it's time!'
Ben: we used to repair a lot of things but now we just buy something new-we are not upcycling well.
Joe: we over-package, we don't upcycle and we always want "new" things!
Angus: these days we even make things to be thrown away!
Maria: we don't take care of things properly-we take things for granted and don't bother to repair things anymore.
Jamie: Pope Francis means that we always want new things even though the things we have work. If we upcycle, people can use things we don't want!

Thursday, October 8, 2015


CHLOE WRITESIn the grasslands of Kenya there has been an amazing discovery about the Olive Baboon. An anthropologist has been studying the baboons for 42 years and say that that is not enough time to thoroughly see the baboon's natural habits.  The baboons have been suffering due to the human population doubling and climate and environmental change. The baboons then had to readjust their lifestyle when they changed their habitat. They then also had to change their diet to the prickly pear.
While other animals eating the fruit suffered the consequences like mouth and gut ulcers and internal bleeding caused by the hairs on the fruit, the baboons knew how to cope. The baboons rub the prickly pear in the dirt to get the hairs off and in the dry season the males would squeeze the juice out of the fruit and eat the skin after.Since they changed their diet to the prickly pear they have become healthier.The Olive Baboon is such a smart animal! 

Angus explains: In Kenya there has been a long term study on Papio Anubis. You may know Papio Anubis as the Olive Baboon.Baboons have been in trouble from land hungry humans doubling in around a decade,but climate change is also playing a part in the decrease of Baboons. As parts of Kenya were degraded the Baboons were pushed to their limits and started to eat Prickly Pears.When other animals eat Prickly Pears  they get stomach ulcers and internal bleeding, killing them, but baboons have adapted a technique to roll the fatal hairs off the Prickly Pears in the dirt.

This is Marvelous story of evolution…

Ciaran notes: A unique species of primate has recently adapted to eating the harsh fruit in the boiling grasslands of Kenya…the Olive Baboons.
A patient anthropologist in Shirley Strum has been closely following these animals for a long 42 years. She has seen the dramatic changes to the outskirts of the towns and how degraded they now are. Against the odds, the baboons have demonstrated pure genius to overcome the dangers of such a powerful…fruit! The prickly pear is one of the toughest and roughest creatures around. If eaten, it viciously kills you. The intelligent baboons roll the dangerous fruit onto the dirt to scrape off the prickles. However, the baboons wouldn’t have had  to modify their diet if it wasn’t for us greedy, land hungry humans. The population in Kenya has significantly grown. In the last two decades Kenya’s human population has doubled. Our sometimes silly and disgraceful actions to purchase and take land we don’t need, nearly wiped out this beautiful species.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

LAUDATO SI...on Care for our Common Home...a new term begins!

A new term always brings great excitement and anticipation. So it was today when the students walked in to see the new inquiry question...How are we called to care for our common home? The language in our rich question is based on the words of the latest Papal encyclical letter on ecology and climate.

Today we participated in a Silent Word Wall where we reflected on the meaning of four words or phrases: "our common home," "creation,", Stewardship of creation" and "ecology."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Today we revisited our hexagonal thinking posters and we noticed that we had made a few errors when placing the hexagons last time. After our term of learning about Australian history, focusing particularly on the gold rush, we now know much more about the significant events of Australian History. A particular group we changed was the gold rush and topics surrounding it because we learnt that it was an important part in Australian history because the Eureka Stockade was Australia's first claim of democracy. A visit to Sovereign Hill supported our learning around this topic.

We were also able to create more links around immigration, culture, story and identity as a result of our experiences at the Immigration Museum. Immigration stories were an important focus that day, but we also engaged highly with the "Identity: Yours, Mine and Ours" exhibition.
By Alexandra and Stephanie

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A True Person: student reflections

A True Person- Gabiann Marin

Stephanie: "A True Person" is a powerful, meaningful and hopeful book with illustrations that use vibrant colours to enhance and bring text to life. The writing style was focused on Zallah’s thoughts and emotions throughout the book and used short and sharp sentences to really capture the essence of being held captive, unable to be free and being rejected. I believe that this book is much more than just a story. This book tells an important message to all who read it and leaves them in amazement and awe. The moral of this story is to never lose hope. The author was also protesting against the cruelty of Australian laws and how they are unjust and unfair.

Jamie: This story was a reflection on how Australia can be so cruel to immigrants and refugees who come here for a better and safer life.

I thought this book really connected to real life problems that happen to people in our world. The illustrations in the book were really powerful, such as the way the girl’s face appeared up close, because you could see her emotions when she was on her way to Australia hoping for a new life.

The story of A True Person had hidden messages.... never stop believing in yourself and that the governments may be cruel and unfair to immigrants and refugees that come to Australia.

Grace: In this story of "A True Person" I think that the illustrations go beyond the text because of the emotion that they show. In close ups of Zallah’s face especially, you can see the tears in her eye.

Reading this book made me feel disappointed because of the way that the governments treat asylum seekers. This also made me feel sad.
This story gave us an insight of the harsh reality In our sometimes cruel world. It is horrible to think that behind the scenes, people treat others in a grotesque manner. The book ‘’A True Person’’ really nailed how inhumane this system is. Sending people to crowded camps isn’t  impressive and doesn't make Australia look good.  We can’t ignore this issue, it is a growing problem that must be stopped.  As a nation, Australia needs to understand and realise the fortune these people have. This story explains how life is for a large quantity of people. It shows that they need help and wisdom.



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

PJ Day - Raising Awareness

Today we dressed in our PJ's to raise awareness of homelessness in our society. We also collected money for the annual aSmith Family Winter Appeal.

Alex writes: Homelessness is a huge problem and it isn't just in Australia. It is a problem all over the world, But it is a huge problem in Australia. In Australia more than 100 thousand people under 25 are homeless. There are many helpers helping this problem but some outstanding helpers are St Andrew's kids who are sorting food, boxing food and sending food to homeless people. Some reasons why homelessness is a problem: 1. Family issues 2. Not able to afford a home 3. They have a home but can't afford to pay their bills.

Elisa wrote: Have you ever wondered how people become homeless? Today homelessness is one of the biggest problems in Australia and all around the world. In Australia more than 100 thousand people mostly under the age of 25 are suffering because of homelessness. People become homeless today because of family issues, loss of their job and much more. Today at our school we are having a pyjama day to raise money and awareness for the homeless. If everyone in our world helps this situation we could stop homelessness which could change someone's life and future. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Making Connections @ the Immigration Museum

Steph: I enjoyed the film of the new arrivals where we focused on the the emotions. It was amazing to compare all the different reasons migration occurred. I connected to the story of my parents' migration caused by war and conflict.
Alex: I really connected to the worrying issue of racism on the tram because racism is all around us right now.
Elisa: I enjoyed comparing past and present sites and  I was amazed by the differences
Grace: Racism on the tram concerned me because it proves that little things, like not sitting next to someone, can be really hurtful
Eden:  I connected to the boats stories because of all the unexpected animal arrivals…but we are rather like those animals in that we also ruined the world of the first Australians.
Ben: I saw how people don’t mind their own business and choose to single someone out racially.
Dylan: I connected to the tram video when it pointed out how we judge people by certain categories
Joe: I was shocked by the outrageous sign from the USA about segregated drinking taps
Adam: I connected to other people’s points of view on the tram-seeing how people view things so differently.
Jack:  I connected to a picture of the T shirt “Australia Full” showing don't want certain people in our country...while those with money are acceptable.
Will:I was shocked by the comic strip of the outback with the policeman saying, “No room for refugees.  Australia’s full!"
Kitty: I connected to the Sorry sign  and I remembered how Australia had been named, “Terra Nullius.” If we hadn't done the wrong thing in the first place, we wouldn't have needed to say sorry.
Angus : I connected to the emigration stories especially John Cotton's who migrated form Britain and had a great passion for birds
Ciaran: I was disappointed to learn of the Government's reaction to aboriginal communities
Tessa: I connected to the feelings of others who were new in this land and how hard it was for them
Chloe: I enjoyed going out and seeing the differences in our city from one hundred and fifty years ago and now.
Jamie: : I connected to the emotion  of those who had to leave war torn countries
Brandon: Because of my own migration story, I connected to those who leave their homelands
Joe: Our trip also raised our feelings of compassion to the homeless.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Eureka Stockade

From Angus: 

The Eureka Stockade was a dramatic Australian history event taking place in the 1850’s in Ballarat,Victoria. The miners or diggers had come, from all over the world, to Ballarat to mine for gold.

There were people from China and America mining for gold alongside the Australians. The diggers needed a licence to mine for gold.There were police officers who would go on a licence hunt asking people to show them their licences. If miners were found without a licence, the officers would tie them to a log for the whole night until they paid the fee but if it was not paid by morning they would be sent to prison.The diggers were sick of this and one night they all came together to take a stand for freedom and burnt their licences. This is what started the Eureka Rebellion- the short war where 8 officers and twenty two diggers died.This battle was fought on the 3rd of December 1854. The diggers eventually and finally won their freedom and they were freed from the unreasonable rules.

Original Eureka Flag
From Dylan:

In the 1850s, people from all around the world came to Ballarat to mine for gold, but it wasn't easy as they thought it would be.
The Government saw what was happening and told the miners that they would to pay 30 shillings for a licence. Each month they would have to pay a fee of 10 shillings, if they did not pay this they would be tied to a log till they got the money. But in 1854 the miners stood up to this by raising their own flag to show that they didn't want to pay anymore.It was followed with a big fight and the  miners building their own wooden stockade. Twenty two miners and 8 soldiers died in the fight. Three years later the miners had the right to vote. The miners were able to mine in peace without the government down their throats.

 From Eden: 

On 3rd December, 1854, occurred a very dramtic event in Australian history.The gold miners had become agitated with how much they had to pay to mine, considering how little some of them found. Thousands of miners gathered and flew the Eureka flag, a blue flag with a white cross and five stars to symbolise the Southern Cross. The redcoats were alerted and, following the flying of the Eureka flag, there was a short but bloody battle where twenty two miners and eightof the police were killed. The battle didn't stimulate immediate change, a;lthough three years later the government granted all men the right to vote.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Visual Literacy for Learning: Samuel Taylor Gill prints teach History

S.T Gill: Diggers on the Way to Bendigo-State Library Vic.

Courtesy of The State Library of Victoria, the Seniors classes have been inspired to make use of the lithographs of Samuel Taylor Gill and other artists to assist their learning about the Goldrush. Using a Core Routine of Visible Thinking: See, Think, Wonder- a routine especially effective for exploring artworks, the students examined a series of Gill's lithographs to prepare for their imminent trip to Sovereign Hill.

SEE: old and young, no women, grassy trail, fishing rod, panning trays, kettle, hats, bags and a dog!
THINK:  walking to look for gold, it's humid and hot because of the light sky and clouds, they are tired because their backs are not straight when they are walking, clothes all seem clean so they are "going" not "returning"
WONDER: What's in the bags? Why have they brought a dog? Are they carrying their food? How long was the trip to the gold fields? Did anyone die on the journey?

 Elisa and Ciaran
Charles A. Doudiet: Eureka Riot 1854

SEE: the Eureka Hotel, town, wind, fire, dust, soldiers, crowd, hills, rioting
THINK: The hotel has caught fire!  The townspeople are angry because of what has happened! There's a battle going on!
WONDER: What's happening here? Who has caused this? What are the soldiers doing? How did the fire start and why is there rioting?