Archive | November 2013


Today our OC attended an excursion to Jewells Public School to participate in Thinkfest.

Thinkfest is a creative problem solving competition for Opportunity Classes from all over the Hunter region. Our Thinkfest areas for investigation included sophisticated enquiries in the areas of English, Maths, Science and Visual arts. Students worked in groups to produce a script, dramatic skit, visual process diary, a key prop and backdrop.

Our students have worked tirelessly over the past few weeks preparing for Thinkfest and performed wonderfully today at the competition. Well done to our Maths group who were awarded best backdrop and our English group for best script solution.

A big thank you to Miss Beker, Mrs Sheehan and Mrs Cooper for all their hard work and help with Thinkfest!

OC Transition

Today we had our first transition session for students in our 2014 OC.

We began with some getting to know you games and activities where it was great to see students bonding so quickly with each other. Students participated in a shared writing task where they demonstrated some imaginative and creative ideas.

They enjoyed working in groups to complete an engineering challenge that involved designing and making a watercraft that could float and hold a certain weight.

After recess we had our first visit to the computer lab where students joined our 2014 Edmodo group and explored our class blog.

A big thank you to all our wonderful 2014 students for a great day. I look forward to seeing everyone again on Wednesday 4th December.

World’s Biggest Classroom

Last term students began a project with Miss Beker as part of the World’s Biggest Classroom Art Exhibition. This week their completed sculpture is being transported to Sydney for display.

The competition involved selecting a theme that showed the progression of technology from 1984 to now. The students created a visual sculpture of a human representing the past and all the technological progress since then to present society including the vision of the future.

Our sculpture will be on display at St James Train Station in Sydney. A big thank you to Miss Beker and all the students who worked so hard on this project.



CSIRO Excursion

Today the OC attended an excursion to the CSIRO Energy Centre at Mayfield to visit our class scientist Dr Graeme Puxty and his colleagues Dr Jenny and Dr Kendrick.

The day began with excitement when students got to enter the building through a revolving door and then made their way to the auditorium for a presentation. Dr Graeme explained all about the CSIRO and the role they play in science research and greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect. I was very impressed with our students and the terrific questions they had for the experts as well as how they answered some very challenging scientific questions.

We met Dr Jenny who explained all about the cost of technology and electricity demand. Several students were invited to experiment with Electricity Generation By Technology scenarios using the eFuture website.

Dr Kendrick then told us about next generation photovoltaics and students got to handle some precious metals including a piece of gold worth over $17,000.

We were then invited on a tour through the CSIRO where we got to visit some different labs and watch some science experiments. We also met some engineers, Alex and Will, who took us to visit the solar field of mirrors.

As you can see in the photos below, our students had a fantastic day and I would like to thank Dr Graeme and all his colleagues for their time and inspiration in allowing our students this great opportunity. We look forward to continuing our SiS partnership with Dr Graeme in 2014!

NaNoWriMo – half way there!

We have now passed the halfway point of our epic month of writing for NaNoWriMo! Collectively this year over 204,994,865 words have been written so far by young writers from around the world.

In the OC students have been spending time each morning at school plugging away on their novels and I know many have also been working on them at home which is fantastic! I’ve added some ideas below from the NaNoWriMo Dare Machine and a Pep Talk from writer Jeff VanderMeer to help keep the creative juices flowing as we enter the final weeks of the project. Good luck and keep writing!

Ideas from the Dare Machine:

  • Make a character cry!
  • Give your main character doubts about his or her mission.
  • Add a scene where a character stumbles into a secret room.
  • Write a theme song for your main character.
  • Make something blow up.
  • Introduce a character who only uses big words.
  • Write a scene that helps your reader sympathize with the villain.
  • Write a scene in which your villain comes up with a new name.
  • Your hero finds a mysterious bag on his or her porch…
  • Introduce a blackmail or bribery subplot.
  • Include something hidden under a rock.
  • Have one of your characters go missing for a chapter.
  • Have a non-important character say the most memorable quote you can think of.

More ideas from the Dare Machine can be found on the NaNoWriMo Young Writers website.

Click here for a pep talk from writer Jeff VanderMeer.


Future Leaders!

Congratulations and well done to Eva, Demaris, Rory and Ethan  from the OC who presented their student leadership speeches to the whole school last week. They did an amazing job making it very tough for all our voters. Good luck to all 6 students running for captain!


Mackenzie, Eva and Demaris


Ethan C, Rory and Joseph

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Super Maths Stars!

Today at our Principal’s Personal Best assembly many of our OC students were recognised for their amazing achievements in the Newcastle Permanent Maths Competition and the Australian Maths Olympiad.









This year over 18,000 students participated in the Newcastle Permanent Maths Competition. Congratulations to Cooper who achieved a High Distinction and placed 32nd in the Year 6 division. Well done to Chris, Frank, Allan, Mitch, Eva and Demaris who placed in the top 15% earning themselves a Distinction. Congratulations also to Heather, Callum, Ethan B, Samantha, Rory and Declan who placed in the top 30% achieving a Merit.

In this year’s Maths Olympiad over 30,000 students took part in the Junior Division. Congratulations to Cooper who was awarded with the highest individual score trophy, a top 10% achiever metal pin and a top 25% achiever cloth patch. Well done to Mitch who also received a top 25% achiever cloth patch for scoring in the top 20% of all participants. This year’s Encouragement Award was presented to Amy for her effort and improvement throughout the Olympiads. Well done everyone!

NaNoWriMo Begins!

This November the OC will be taking part—with classmates and over 300,000 writers around the world—in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It’s a fun, innovative creative writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days.logo

Novelists begin writing November 1 and must finish by midnight, November 30. The goal for NaNoWriMo’s adult program is 50,000 words, but our students will be participating through the Young Writers Program—which allows students 17-and-under to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals.

NaNoWriMo will require students to write as frequently as possible. Especially with your reinforcement, this hard work deepens student investment in the process (and their finished products). At the end of November, educators and participants also report improved self-confidence, creative writing skills, overall writing skills, and time management.

Our class will be using the online components of the Young Writers Program, you may want to review this step-by-step guide. Participants have individual profile spaces, plus access to forums and a private messaging system. These site features are not public, and can be viewed only by other young writers. In addition, all are monitored by NaNoWriMo staff for inappropriate content.

Happy writing!

Visit the NaNoWriMo website at