Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Holy Week - Breaking Open the Gospel

For the four days this week we have gathered as a school to retell the story of Easter. Holy Week is one of the most important weeks in the Catholic Liturgical year and began last weekend on Palm Sunday. 

We have used a resource called the Resurrection Eggs to help break open the Gospel readings for the children. Each day we have opened three eggs to find out the symbols inside - these symbols help us retell the story.

Thanks so much to our DRS Suzanne Newton and our Year 8 Special Character Leaders for organising these very special mornings for us.

Egg #1: Donkey Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. In times of peace, a king would ride a donkey. We celebrate this on Palm Sunday. 

Egg #2: Coins 
Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 silver coins. The Jewish leaders did not believe Jesus. They wanted him to die. 

Egg #3: Cup 
Jesus and his followers drank from a cup. They were together for the Passover meal. This was the last meal before Jesus died. It is called the Last Supper.                                                    

Egg #4: Praying hands 
Jesus went to a garden to pray. The garden was called the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was sad. But He knew that He must die.

Egg #5: Leather strap 
Jesus was whipped. They used leather straps to hit Jesus. 

Egg #6: Crown of thorns  
The soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head. 

Egg #7: Nails 
We do wrong things. We do not obey God. God is perfect. Jesus never did anything wrong. But, Jesus was nailed to a cross. Three nails were driven into Jesus’ hands and feet. Jesus died for us. He died instead of us. Now we can come to God – because of Jesus.

Egg #8: Die (Dice) 
Jesus was on the cross dying. The soldiers played a game using dice. They wanted Jesus’ clothes.

Egg #9: Spear 
Jesus was on the cross. Soldiers put a spear into his side. Jesus was dead. 

Egg #10: Linen
They took Jesus from the cross. Joseph was a follower of Jesus. He wrapped Jesus’ body in a linen cloth. Joseph put Jesus’ body in a tomb. 

Egg #11: Stone 
A very large stone was placed in front of the tomb. The stone protected the tomb. No one could get in or out. Some women came to the tomb early on Sunday morning. The stone had been moved!

Egg #12: Empty 
The women looked in the tomb. Jesus was not there! An angel appeared. He said, “Jesus is not here. He has risen.” He is still alive today. 

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Holy Week at St Francis of Assisi School

Next week is Holy Week. 

Click here for The Story of Holy Week

Holy Week is the week before Easter commemorating events in the last days of Jesus' life on Earth. It begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Monday.

Each day of Holy Week we will gather together as a whole school at the beginning of the day to break open the Gospel, share the Holy Week story with the children and pray.

Please join us daily at 9.05am next week - we would love to share this special time with you.

Jo Earl and Suzanne Newton

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Innovation in the Classroom

One of the big changes for me moving from my last school to St Francis of Assisi has been the amount of time I spend in my car travelling to and from work.

I have found a way to spend the time - listening to podcasts!

I came across this podcast - an interview with Dr Tony Wagner and as I listened to it I couldn't help thinking that this would be great for our community to listen to as we start to think about the vision we will have for our school and our students.

Dr. Wagner tells how teachers must change the way they view education in order to help students ready themselves for the careers of tomorrow.

You can listen to the whole podcast here.

Here are some of the ideas...

Dr Wagner talks about schools that are involved in a deeper learning initiative. We no longer live in a knowledge economy - we live in the innovation era and what does this mean for our students today?

There is no longer a competitive advantage to knowing more than the person next to you.

The world doesn't care about what you know - but cares about what you can do with what you know.

Those who are most likely to succeed are not those good at school and managed to get diplomas or degrees - the future will demand a very different set of skills and dispositions.

Children are going to need to: (this list is not exhaustive)

- learn through trial and error
- learn to take risks
- create
- communicate
- collaborate
- think critically

"It's an entirely different set of habits and dispositions. It's not skills instead of knowledge - Knowledge matters - academic content matters. That's the easy part. Skills matter more than academic content." 

And intrinsic motivation matters most - if you are intrinsically motivated you will continuously acquire new skills and the content knowledge you will need to succeed.

There is a challenge here to get people to understand our changing world, to have a different vision, we are living in the midst of the change and therefore it is hard sometimes for people to see past what they know. 

How do we shift that culture of "it worked for me and it should work for them?"

Dr Tony Wagner was involved in the creation of the film "Most Likely to Succeed."  one of the purposes of this movie was to create discussion around this topic - How the world has changed and what should be the education priorities around this change?

We need to be innovative, but innovative with good research behind us. We need to encourage our teaching staff to do the research and trial different innovative ideas.

Support this innovation with a budget. Work together to create these new practices. Encourage our staff to work collaboratively - isolation is the enemy of innovation. We need to encourage teams of teachers to work together to and take risks.

What does this mean for us at St Francis of Assisi Catholic School?

- We are challenged to share information about our changing world with our parent community
- We are challenged to have a good evidence based rationale for what we are doing 
- We are challenged to share research and evidence with our parent community
- We need to visit other schools that are on the same path as we are and unpack what they are doing that takes learning deeper
- We are challenged to evaluate our programmes in order to ensure that we are taking learning deeper.

Jo Earl