It’s hard to believe we are heading towards the halfway mark of the school year, and there’s a lot to look forward to as we head into Term 3. But before we look too far ahead, let’s take a moment to celebrate all the meaningful and uplifting education news that made headlines. This week on School Stream, crack out your Kleenex as we bid farewell to Term 2 with heartwarming news from Australia and around the world.
We’ve got good news when it comes to school comms! Take a look around our new website and see how we can streamline and simplify communication between home and school.
1. Harry Styles gives a shout-out to his first-ever teacher
Teachers make a big impact on our lives, and we all remember the ones who made a difference. Even mega-pop stars like Harry Styles, who stopped a stadium show in Manchester when he heard his “first-ever schoolteacher” Ann Vernon was in the 74,000-strong audience.
“How are you? I heard you’re retiring,” he called out to the person he thought was (Ann) Vernon. “I’d just like to thank you for everything in those formative years. And yeah, thank you so much, it means a lot to me that you’re here tonight.”
He went on to dedicate a song to her, adding teachers everywhere to his perennially enthusiastic fanbase in the process.
2. Yaralin’s First Bike Club
Yaralin is about as remote as it gets in Australia. The tiny Indigenous community (population: 293) is making news with this feel-good tale about how a fledgling bike club is transforming the town. It’s hard to believe that a year ago, there were no working bikes in Yaralin. When Dennis Dean moved to Yarralin to take up a teaching position last year he brought a collection of bikes with him and let the kids have free rein – but they soon wore out as the kids took to the treadlies with gusto. A few emails later and a donation of bikes from Queenscliff in Victoria means that all the kids are enjoying a taste of two-wheeled freedom. School attendance is up, kids are connecting with country and culture, staying fit and the community is buzzing.
“Ever since we’ve started doing that our attendance here at the school has been absolutely fantastic because the enthusiasm and desire to use the bikes is so overwhelming in the kids. It’s a chance for them to explore their country. We’ve been out on 10km, 12km rides, and they are getting to see places that are very special to them.”
3. How a second-grade writing activity helped boost adoptions at an animal shelter
Prepare to feel warm and fuzzy. A second-grade teacher in the US mentored her class of eight-year-old students to write persuasive letters on behalf of hard-to-place dogs in a local animal shelter to help bring them to the attention of the community.
“The idea just came to me to connect persuasive writing with these adoptable pets that need a forever home,” she said, explaining that she thought it would be “a way that I could make their writing real for [the students], and actually make an impact on the world and our Richmond community, specifically… They took the project very seriously and wrote carefully crafted letters that used descriptive words they learned in class to persuade potential adopters.”
4. Fish School: How students in South Australia are helping save an endangered fish
“Are we learning?” asks a Parafield Gardens primary student suspiciously. Yes, you sure are!
A handful of schools are working with not-for-profit Aquasave and Teach Fish SA founded by school leadership and teaching veteran of 40 years, Gerry McCarthy to bring the southern purple-spotted gudgeon back from the brink of extinction. This is the kind of story applied education enthusiasts dream of: increased attendance, sustainable food production, real-life examples of science, maths and English, and saving an endangered species? It’s a yes from us.
“Coming in here and having the data there live instead of printed on a page… it’s living, it’s breathing, they’re more interactive with it, and that just builds a better learning experience for them,” numeracy coach Matthew DePalma said.
Read more at the link above or click here for a short video.
5. Dates for your calendar for Term 3
There are lots of familiar events taking place in Term 3. Here are some of the big dates to add to your calendar:
- NAIDOC Week runs from 3-10 July this year with the theme ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’. All the 2022 resources, as well as those from previous years, are available online now.
- August is a great month for all things STEM. National Science Week runs from 13-21 August. This year’s theme is “Glass: More than Meets the Eye”. We also reach the business end of The National Mathematics Talent Quest.
- Book Week runs from 20 to 26 August and the 2022 theme is ‘Dreaming with eyes open…’. Keep your eye out for our annual guide to easy costumes you can pull together in a jiffy. You can see our previous guides for early inspiration here and here.
- Celebrate Indigenous stories and language on Indigenous Literacy Day. It’s on 1 September this year and there are loads of resources and activities for schools and teachers on their website.
- Finally, RU OK Day on the 8 September is a reminder for all of us to check in with each other. There are lots of resources on their website covering mental health for all ages and stages, including a dedicated section for educator wellbeing that is well worth a look.
We wish you all a restful and restorative two weeks. We’ll see you all in Term 3.
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