GET TO KNOW OUR COLLEGE LEADERS
NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK
This week students and staff at the College celebrated National Science Week. This year’s theme was ‘Food: Different by Design’. This theme opened the opportunity for students to explore the importance of sustainable food futures. St Michael’s College is fortunate to have a group of dedicated staff and students who have done amazing work in developing our sustainable garden. During this week’s Science lessons, a range of Year 7 classes visited the garden where Mrs Robyn Palmer presented tours and explained how the College is currently producing sustainable foods. Students learnt how the Eco Squad uses organic waste from around the school to create compost. This compost is then used in the garden to give nutrients to the vegetables they grow. Students were excited to learn that the Secondary Campus will soon be home to some chickens!
Students also participated in an activity in the garden where they created their own Wicking Beds. These Wicking Beds were cleverly designed using styrofoam boxes that would normally end up in land fill – a great idea to try at home. Students then planted their own vegetables/herbs in the beds. These veggies will later be used in our food technology classes. Whilst in the garden students also had the opportunity to collect a variety of seeds to bring home and plant for themselves.
Throughout the week a range of other activities took place. Each morning Pastoral Classes participated in the Science Quiz which challenged students to test their scientific knowledge. On Monday, all Year 7 and 8 students were entertained by a show presented by SciWorld. Students learnt about Chemistry, Energy and Forces during the show which involved fire and explosions!
Students were also treated to a range of fun Science activities at break times. On Monday, some future astronauts fired rockets on the oval whilst other students preferred something a little sweeter where they made their own sherbet on Wednesday. It was fantastic to see so many different students getting involved in the activities and enjoying Science Week!
Thank you to all the staff who volunteered their time to assist during the week!
Mr Jack Alberton, Acting Head of Department – Science
YEAR 10 RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS (RAK)
During Term 3, each Year 10 pastoral class decided to come together to do a Random Act of Kindness (RAK) for our community. Ms Morcom’s class had a class lunch and donated the money raised to charity. They will also be writing positive notes and handing them out to our community. Mr Burns’ class have written “Notes of Kindness” to each other, and Ms Finlay and Mr Hanley’s class wrote a letter to a student and their family who had gone through a difficult time and wished them all the best and for the return of the student to College. Mr Winston’s class gave out positive affirmations and Mr Karnas’ class handed out lollipops with notes of positivity attached to them. The response from students was noted by Year 10 student Vanessa Campanale who assisted with the RAKs:
“During Term 3, the Year 10 pastoral classes were asked to show Random Acts of Kindness. 10PC-05 decided to hand out lollipops with positive inspirational messages attached to them such as, “a positive mindset brings positive things”, “miracles happen to those who believe in them”, and “don’t be afraid to dream big”. The reactions from students was great, they were smiling, thankful, appreciative, and said it made a positive impact to their day. This teaches students to always be kind to everyone they come across, even if you don’t know them”.
We look forward to the next five weeks of RAKs and letting our community know that we value and care for them.
Mr Andrew Spencer, Year 10 Director and Indigenous Coordinator
YEARS 7-9 LEARNING AND WELLBEING CHARACTER STRENGTH FOCUS
Week 5: Judgement
As I mentioned in an earlier article this year, judgement or open-mindedness is a strength which can help us know ourselves and others better and see the world through a lens which is less likely to be affected by bias. Usually when we are more open-minded, we are less likely to make decisions that become regrets later, because we consider all aspects of the situation and evaluate our attitudes carefully. We become more empowered critical thinkers and can challenge our own assumptions in a way that promotes our own growth as people.
The skill of listening effectively – being open-minded- and delivering practical advice can be so very helpful, especially amongst friends. As a result, judgement does help us to develop meaningful and lasting relationships, and we know how important this is to our health and wellbeing.
Science also evidences that as a strength, open-mindedness or judgement can be developed and improved. When we’re confronted with a new situation and need to make a decision or take a stance, our brains scan our memory for relevant information so that we can respond appropriately. This isn’t always the most productive approach. When we jump to conclusions, we can get stuck on one idea, or point of view and fail to consider alternative information that might just be helpful; as though we are wearing blinkers. In times of change (most days at the moment) using judgement can be helpful as it enables us to see beyond our preconceived ideas, and helps us to make decisions more effectively, being mindful of the influence of the manipulation that can exist across a range of communication mechanisms.
When we consider our collective and individual history, we notice that events can be viewed with a stronger open mind; stronger judgement. By being open to understanding the range of perspectives that have shaped people’s lives in the past, we can understand conflicting beliefs and ideologies, which is sometimes referred to as historical empathy. The Australian Curriculum affirms that such opportunities for development can nurture empathy which “promotes deeper understanding of ‘difference’ in the past and – where appropriate –tolerance and acceptance in the present”. Perhaps this might just help us, as people, to avoid repeating mistakes of the past; and position us better to move forward in hope and harmony.
At SMC this week, there have been many opportunities for students to develop stronger judgement, both in and out of class. One example is adjusting to different and new ‘normals’. Our adjustment to wearing masks and our consideration around disposing of them correctly is an important issue. Whilst wearing a mask is not always comfortable or convenient, we can adjust our thinking by reflecting on the hardships in other parts of our country and the world, so as to broaden our worldview. By reflecting on the long-term damage that incorrect disposal of disposable masks can cause to wildlife and the environment for decades, we can also dispose of our masks mindfully to minimize future impact.
Another example where students have had the chance to practice judgement was Wild Wednesday Lunch. Students present from Year 7-9 were privileged to listen to the life experiences of our guests in pursuing their dreams. This week we had two special guests Warren Tredrea (former AFL footballer and Sports Presenter) and Marlie Fiegert (Year 10 student and Port Adelaide Academy player), who shared a lot of interesting advice. Both Marlie and Warren, despite the different stages of their respective careers, spoke of the love they both share for the game, and the view that in life we just have to do our best, in whatever we do. If we just strive to be the best we can be, opportunities will abound.
As we are aware, in coming weeks students will also be making decisions around their subject choices for next year. Though Year 8 and 9 can seem a long way from Year 12 and post high school life, the impact of choices at this age can be significant. This is a perfect example of when judgement can be useful, as these decisions, which seem simple, can alter the direction of students’ sails in a big way!
In summary, if we take some time to be curious and reflect on our beliefs and worldview including what experiences have shaped them and consider with an open mind the perspectives of others, judgement can lead to more effective decision making, problem solving and stronger interpersonal relationships, all of which benefit the broader community.
The use of judgement can empower us to better know, value and care for each other across time and space, can support us in celebrating the uniqueness of each person and help us to be stronger learners and leaders for the world.
Wishing us all a healthy and happy Week 5 (Week 6, literally around the corner!)
Mrs Tonia Carfora, Year 7-9 Learning and Wellbeing Initiatives Leader