John Colet
26
November
2012

Toga party for youngest Latin lovers

Some of our Infants students manage to squeeze a Latin lesson into their busy school week and this week they had their Christmas party.  It was togas, grapes, silver goblets and laurel leaves all round...


Categories: Chess & Clubs, John Colet

21
November
2012

Headmaster's Weekly Comment: 26/11/12

One of the reasons for starting John Colet – aside from teaching Grammar, Spelling, Times Tables, all of which had been jettisoned in the 60s and 70s – was to give the children simple, easy techniques of self-awareness.  But why?  And what do we mean by “self-awareness”?

Self-awareness has a shiny, positive, hooray sound; but it often entails a little effort to come out of self-unawareness.  To help our understanding the wise refer to this as waking and sleeping.  Shakespeare is characteristically apt. 

In The Tempest Antonio, suggesting evil deeds to a reluctant Sebastian asks:  Do you not hear me speak?  And Sebastian replies:

I do, and surely it is a sleepy language, and thou speak’st out of thy sleep…. This is a strange repose, to be asleep with eyes wide open – standing, speaking, moving – and yet so fast asleep.

I think all of us can identify with this state of waking sleep – with eyes wide open, and yet so fast asleep.  Where we feel guilt for an unchangeable past, or anxious about an imaginary future; and we therefore miss what is happening in the present moment.

So at school we encourage the children to be present; to see what is in front of them; to hear what is being said; to taste what they are eating.  And why?  Mainly because this is Reality.  It is true, in the sense of being what is actually happening.  And usually, good hearted children who are “awake” will then respond naturally to the need of the moment – to comfort the unhappy, to tidy up, and to attend to their friends.

 

Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

21
November
2012

From the Stage Coordinators: 26/11/12

Our core values of Care, Respect and Service are all embodied in the practice of good manners.

It has been quite obvious around the school that the children are practising last week’s direction relating to speaking to others:  amongst other things, addressing people by name, looking at them, speaking clearly and not interrupting.   “Please” and “thank you” also go a long way!  It would be excellent to support this at home and abroad.

This week we will target standing aside for adults at doorways.  This little courtesy requires wakefulness, and the respect it engenders helps everyone to be more mindful of one another.

Rehearsals for the Christmas Celebration are going full steam ahead.  The performance of the Nativity and carols will be held upstairs in Shakespeare House on Tuesday 27th November, from 9.00 to 10.00 a.m.  We are looking forward to a delightful presentation.  This is also the occasion when children are invited to bring a Christmas present (unwrapped) for the underprivileged.  The Treasure Chest into which they go (they are then delivered to the Smith Family) will be outside the Office on the day.

Unfortunately both Mistresses will be away from School on that day attending an In-service Course at the Association of Independent Schools about the new Curriculum for schools.  The Headmaster will be your host!


Angel by Iona, L 1st M


Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

19
November
2012

Orang-utan fundraisers visit

William and Daniel Clarke, the Terry Hills teenagers who are raising funds to buy and protect orang-utan habitat, spoke to the students at school this week.    The children were utterly enthralled to meet the boys whom they had heard so much about over the past many months at school. 

Daniel and William explained why the orang-utan are under such serious threat  - mostly because of the demand for palm oil - and that there may be only ten years left in which to save them from going extinct. 

But it wasn't all serious, the children  laughed hearing about how playful and mischievous young orang-utan are, and cheered when they heard how much the school had raised (more than $8000!) towards the boys' fundraising goal.

As well as having a mufti day for the cause, each student spent many weeks creating an artwork, on canvas, of an orang-utan or other animal from the vulnerable rainforest habitat.

These paintings were exhibited at Art Focus Gallery in Brookvale and were available for sale.

It has been a very successful consciousness and fundraising project, and most importantly perhaps,  has given the children a great example of young people stepping up to a challenge.



Categories: Art classes, John Colet

16
November
2012

Communication science continued

This term 4th class learnt about communication and last week we learnt about the history of sound recording.  We listened to a portable grammophone that belonged to the teacher's  grandmother and was about 100 years old.  You wound a handle and the disk would start turning.  After that you would put the arm that had a speaker and a needle onthe disk and it would start playing music.
By Nathaniel and Xavier.



Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

16
November
2012

Headmaster's Weekly Note: 19/11/12

In the course of any day at school there are innumerable interactions amongst the children.  Most go by largely unremarked.  Many are wonderful – acts of kindness and courage; of intelligence and care.  And we like to reward these in some suitable way.

But a few of these interactions are less happy.  The teachers are all devoted to helping the children meet and resolve these challenging incidents; and, most are dealt with relatively easily as part of the unfolding drama we call life.

One concept which helps the children to resolve their difficulties is above-the-line and below-the-line thinking.  If we think of a horizontal line, we have, below the line:  Blame, Excuses and Denial.  Above the line we have: Responsibility, Acceptance, and Action.

One our aims in building character is to encourage the children to stay above the line;  to take responsibility for their actions, to accept events as they roll out, and to act reasonably and appropriately in the face of those events.  And, on the other hand, to leave behind blame, excuses and denial.  After all, taking an extreme example, say a child out of weakness or malevolence says or does something mean or hurtful to another child.  The teacher will, of course, do their level best to prevent a repeat occurrence, and a good way of doing this is to open the eyes of the perpetrator to the effect of his or her actions and, if necessary to surround them with some reasonable disciplinary boundaries.

But the “victim” often has a task before them as well.  If they find themselves locked into blame, and excuses and denial of their, perhaps minor part in the drama, they need help to move above the line into the realm of responsibility, acceptance and action.


Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

16
November
2012

From the Stage Coodinators: 19/11/12

This week’s major event was the Primary Intra-School Chess Competition:  35 children entered which was wonderful.  They battled it out over six rounds and the winner will be announced.  Thanks are due to the generous Mrs. Heather Berlee and the redoubtable Miro:  their enthusiasm and commitment are what carries this event along.  Next week on Thursday we have the Infants version and we are expecting some serious contests!

Manners:  following on from our theme last week, we will target manners in speech this week:

·         Always speaking the truth

·         Addressing one another with respect and clarity

·         Using names as appropriate

·         Looking people in the eye and engaging with focus

·         Not interrupting others when they are already engaged

·         Modulating the voice as required

Let’s all give it a try!

Christmas cake candle holders by 2nd class W

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

16
November
2012

Plant science 101

Where does the water go when a plant is watered? Jack and Zander from 2nd class W  were very pleased to show off their class experiment for the week,  discovering for themselves how essential the functions of roots and stems are to plant growth.


Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

16
November
2012

Primary Chess Competition

Our primary aged students had their all-day school chess competition this week.  Open to all students in the age group whether or not they belong to chess club.    Next week, the infants get their turn.

  
   

Categories: Chess & Clubs, John Colet

14
November
2012

The science of keeping in touch

4th class studied the telephone in Science recently. We looked at the basic inner components of a telephone.

We all got to try making a call on a “brick”  analog phone from the late 1980s. We also made simple telephones out of string and plastic cups.  Headmaster even had a go and they worked surprisingly well.
 

Categories: Science & Maths, John Colet

09
November
2012

Indoor Football Tournament at the German School

Last Saturday Jarod, Ben, Xavier, Dominic and I went to the German International School to play in the indoor football tournament.  We played 4 games of soccer and won all 4 games.  Our 4th game was the grand final for year 3 and 4 teams.  We won the Grand Final 3 – 0 against Sydney Japanese School.  The man of the tournament for our team was ... everyone!  Our 6th class boys came third equal in their tournament.

-      by Ryan, 4th class

Thanks to the German International School for organising such a fun event. 

Categories: Chess & Clubs, John Colet

09
November
2012

Mufti Day for Tears in the Jungle Campaign

Students and teachers enjoyed a mufti day this week, dressing in oranges and reds to show support for Northern Beaches boys Daniel and William Clarke's campaign to raise $1 million to buy and protect orangutan habitat. 

This weekend sees the launch of an exhibition of more than 200 paintings by John Colet Students which are being sold to also raise funds for the campaign. 

The exhibition is on at Art Focus Gallery, 1 Powells Road, Brookvale until Wednesday 14th November. The official opening starts at 3pm this Saturday. 



Categories: Art classes, John Colet

09
November
2012

More from the art room

Often art classes start with a simple drawing exercise before the children move on to the planned lesson. Recently, Upper First T children were asked to choose their favourite picture from the art book they had chosen to read, then copy it.  There was only time to photograph three of the wonderful efforts - see below.
by Samsara

  by Aidan

  by Maggie



Categories: Art classes, John Colet

09
November
2012

From the Stage Coordinators: 12/11/12

The Shakespeare Festival is over and now it’s preparation for Speech Night and also our Christmas Celebration:  Carols, Bible Readings and the 2nd Class Nativity.  The school reverberates with the sound of music.   We can look forward to two wonderful events as theChoir Mistresses and 2nd class teachers prepare their magic!

It is worthy of comment to say that there has been a noticeable improvement in manners about the school:

·         Children standing aside at doors

·         Opening doors for others

·         Greeting teachers

·         Waiting quietly whilst teachers and others finish conversations

·         Stopping ball games when adults are passing and in danger of being hit

Please do encourage the children to transfer this consideration for others to out-of-school contexts.  Remember the old adage “Manners maketh Man”!

Please also encourage your children to leave school dressed properly – most of them arrive at school wearing full uniform, shoes done up and shirts tucked in, hair neatly done.  Given there will be a little wear and tear, let’s help them to leave school also properly dressed.  Many thanks.

  Wreath by an infants art student.

Categories: Coordinators' Comments, John Colet

09
November
2012

Headmaster's Weekly Comment: 12/11/12

There is a lovely but curious story which Shantananda Saraswati tells several times:
A holy man was offered a room in a house where he could devote himself to prayer and meditation and study.  The four year old son of the householder used to go in quietly and sit with the saintly man, and without any instruction, used to copy him.  The boy learned stillness and meditation and grew up to become a Mahatma – a wise man.

To me this story has many layers of meaning but one of the most humbling, for a teacher, is that who we are has more influence on the child’s character than what we say or do.  Although what we say and do is important, they are only effective if they line up with who we are.

I have occasionally walked into a lively classroom, and have found myself insisting loudly and agitatedly that the children be quiet. If I am lucky I will wake up to the obvious disconnect between my state (agitated) and what I am demanding (quietude). 

I then usually apologise to the children, and ask them to be patient while I become still and quiet.  And then I ask them to join me.  Much more effective, and pleasant, for everyone.

 

Categories: Head of School Comment, John Colet

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