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Catherine SchefferYear 12 Siena College, Camberwell
Along with six other Siena students and two teachers, I embarked on an immersion to South Africa for two weeks last year, living with a host family while learning of the history and culture of the country.
I noticed that despite all the hardships of the women of Kopanang, they were some of the happiest people I had ever met. The children stood out in particular for me; happy over the slightest of things.
For example, the other students and I brought balloons, pencils and stickers, which had them ecstatic for days on end.
This ability to draw happiness from poverty and quite often, hunger and pain, motivated me to produce a series of drawings under the title Happy Sadness which will be featured in the 2015 Visual Arts Display during Catholic Education Week.
A young boy named Tyron, who was a member of my host family, personally inspired me as he was always happy despite the conditions he lived in. I grew very close to Tyron, as well as having a strong connection to other children I encountered.
It was after my time at Kopanang that I realised how much we take for granted; food, water, safety, education and much more.
Without knowing the children it is impossible to depict their current state of poverty. These children’s facial expressions show us that money is not the key to happiness.
It is my duty to tell my Siena school community that ‘happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’
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Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM) Mathematics Services Unit, through
collaboration with schools and partners, aims to build system capacity to:
Strategic Support Mathematics
Strategic Support Mathematics is a partnership between the CEOM and participating schools for the intensive implementation of initiatives designed to deliver improvement in student
learning and performance. In 2014, 15 primary schools were supported onsite by
School Advisers Mathematics (SAMs) for up to four days a term. Teachers and
leaders also participated in two offsite professional learning days, focused on
best practice in the teaching and learning of Mathematics, and school
Mathematics leaders attended two professional learning days focused on the
development of coaching skills.
Purposeful Teaching of Mathematics
Teaching of Mathematics
(PToM) has been developed in partnership with the University of Melbourne. This
program is focused on promoting school improvement through challenging and
improving the practice of the PToM team and Mathematics teachers across the
school. It places particular emphasis on the development of teachers’ knowledge
of possible student misconceptions and the increased use of proven effective teaching
strategies. In 2014, teams from eight secondary schools attended two days of
professional learning and were supported onsite by CEOM project officers,
Number Intervention F–4
Number Intervention F–4 is a short-term intervention strategy focusing on number learning in the first
five years of school, with the aim to support the lowest attaining students in
number learning by supplementing the student’s classroom Mathematics learning.
In 2014, new and ongoing number intervention teachers attended professional
learning days – co-facilitated by Professor Bob Wright, alongside CEOM number
intervention tutors – and were supported and mentored by the tutors through
regular school visits.
Mathematics: Expert Teaching F–4
Expert Teaching F–4
was designed to support the development of teachers’ capabilities to meet the
learning needs of students in Years F–4. This activity was designed to supplement
professional learning occurring in school based Professional Learning Teams. The
professional learning days focused on the number strand in AusVELS. Additional
learning resources will be provided to support teachers to extend their
practice in the other content strands. A key characteristic of this professional
learning activity was the use of specific assessment tools and the trialling of
relevant teaching strategies to address identified student learning needs.
Mathematics: Expert Teaching 5–8
Mathematics: Expert Teaching 5–8 was designed to support the development of teachers’
capabilities to meet the learning needs of students in Years 5–8. The
professional learning days focused on key areas development in mathematical
understanding: Relational Thinking, Decimals, Fractions and Multiplicative
Thinking. Additional learning resources were also provided to teachers to
extend their practice in the other content strands. A key characteristic of
this professional learning activity was the use of specific assessment tools
and the trialling of relevant teaching strategies to address identified student
learning needs. Participants also had access to online SMART assessments that
have been designed to reveal students’ mathematical thinking.
Professional Learning Programs
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