Strong Girl – Balit Liwurruk
After a year of preparation, the VCAL students and three Year 10 students worked with St Martin’s Youth Theatre to produce an amazing performance entitled Strong Girl – Balit Liwurruk. The performance is about a rite of passage from girl to woman.
It is the story of 12 girls who turn the classic myth of Hercules inside out stating their own strengths as young women through the telling of their stories about personal tests of strength. It is also about the connection the girls feel to Country and the depth of this connection in shaping who they are and how grounded they feel.
It was an incredibly powerful performance that took intense commitment to the process and the ability to work with industry professionals. From the performance and its process, students who were lacking in confidence have come to shine and to find their voice. There is a greater sense of confidence in the group and a clearer sense of purpose and meaning in that which they do. By completing the project, students participating achieved a number of VCAL course outcomes in the areas of Oral Communication, Reading and Writing as well as Personal Development Skills. It was a demonstration of how important applied learning that connects our students with their community is as they make their way in the world and life after secondary school.
Here are two quotes from the performance.
“A girl’s strength is hard to describe. The impossible task is holding the sky up on your shoulders. No one can take my sky, my tree and my red earth from me.”
“It’s like you’re holding something really old but when you carry the language, you’re carrying the land and you’re carrying the people with you. No matter how much time goes by, it’s still going to be there, inside of us. Nobody knows what’s inside of us but us.”
– Mary Cruz
This term Sports Academy completed the Indigenous Leadership Program with Priscilla Smith from Athletics Australia. Every Wednesday students undertook a theoretical and practical session on different aspects of leadership and coaching. Sessions focused on communication, training beginner athletes, being a leader, making connections and teamwork. Students concluded the course by conducting the Grade 3 and 4 physical education classes at Haileybury College in Keysborough. The students delivered a well thought out program for the junior school students, which included gathering and setting up equipment for the activities.
The goals of the Indigenous Leadership Program are to instil confidence and self-respect, promote resilience and create foundations for future leaders in communities. The students in Sports Academy delivered a planned program for the primary school students demonstrating the skills they learned over the term proving that they were becoming respectful, empathetic and responsible citizens.
Worawa Kookaburras are Premiers
To finish the winter season of basketball our U17’s Kookaburras played an outstanding game against the Collingwood All Stars. They all played with great teamwork, making use of each other and playing to their strengths. The game was head to head the whole time, keeping us all on the edge of our seats.
In the end, the girls proved they were the greater team and were able to hold their position in front winning the game 34 to 26. Lizzie’s was named most valuable player for the game, her natural skill and ability to drive the ball down the court with speed and agility was brilliant to watch and she scored a sensational 3 pointer. We’re all so proud of all the girls for all their efforts this season and grateful to our brilliant coach of four years Andrew Ermel.
Data and Maths
In Mathematics during Term Three, the students in Years Seven and Eight have been learning about data by way of investigating fun-size packets of Smarties. Each student gathered two sets of data and was required to record their data in the format of a table, as well as representing their data as a graph. Eating the ‘data’ was the fun part.
Having collected two sets of data, the students were asked to write statements based on the comparisons of their data sets. They were able to compare the number of Smarties from their first packet to their second packet and were able to identify which packet had more in them, and the difference in the distribution of the colours.
We had a range of questions: Are fun-sized Smarties packets fair? Do they have an even distribution of colours? Are there any colours that are more common? Are there any colours that were the least common? We needed to combine all of our data to find the answers. To do this, students extended their IT skills and loaded their data onto a Spreadsheet. Now we could easily see the answers to our question.
This is what we discovered:
- The average number of Smarties in a box is 13. This meant that some boxes had 11, while others had 14. It was decided that this is not fair.
- The most common colour in Smarties packets is purple.
- The least common colour is brown.
- The highest number of any one colour was five, while there were several times when a colour was completely absent.
We also learnt that one packet by itself did not give us enough information to answer our questions, we needed more in order to answer our questions factually.
Maths and Numeracy
This term, as part of an intense program preparing students for the last two years of high school, the Year 10 students have been studying and practising skills of working in a shop. In the Worawa Economy system that runs throughout the school, the students earn Worawa Dollars which can be used to buy real objects from a quarterly catalogue or in the sales held twice a term. The Year 10 students have stepped up and single-handedly ran the first sale of this term. In pairs, the students arranged their merchandise for their set table, assisted other students with their choices through giving recommendations and successfully calculated the transactions. Notably, the students remained calm and confident throughout the sale, despite the excitement of the other students and any challenges presented to them.
Over the weeks following the sale, the students discussed what worked well at their set table and any possible improvements to be made for the sale at the end of the term. As part of this, they created a written proposal of recommendations including explanations and reasons for opinions. The Year 10 students have been excited to take responsibility for their table and to be involved in the planning of what the students can buy.
‘Drawing from Within’
Manipulating & Applying Art Elements and Concepts
Students in Art experiment with visual arts conventions and techniques, including exploration of techniques used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, to represent a theme, concept or idea in their artwork. Students develop ways to enhance their intentions as artists through the exploration of how artists use materials, techniques, technologies and processes.
In Art this term, students developed ways to manipulate materials, techniques, technologies and processes to develop and represent their own artistic intentions. We focused on developing design drawings to be the starting point for large-scale paintings to be completed throughout the term. The students were introduced to many techniques and processes using mixed media including drawing inks, paints, ink pens, paint pens and calligraphy nib pens to consider, apply and incorporate into their design and their painting. Once the design drawing was completed, we then explored a range of techniques to create interesting abstract backgrounds, focusing on how colour can and does convey feelings, moods, emotions and more.
The environment within the Art Room/Studio is one of engagement, creativity, focus, expression, colour and success. The quality of the work being produced is excellent. It is creative, expressive and contemporary, whilst still incorporating traditional and personal symbolism, personal stories, imagination, design, and artistic expression. The end of the year Annual Student Art exhibition for 2019 is going to be an Exhibition not to be missed.
Civics and Citizenship
This term in Kombadik and Baggup we have focused on how laws are made in Australia and around the world. We explored the process of a Bill becoming a Law. One of our other topics was Restorative Practice. This is a process that we use at Worawa that is also used in the justice system. Restorative practice allows all perspectives of an event or incident to be heard and considered before coming up with a plan that all persons involved agree to and work towards repairing the relationship or situation that occurred.
Other topics we explored include the levels of government in relation to the laws they control and services provided. We also looked at how modern technology is impacting laws regarding privacy, where data about people is kept and how it is stored, protecting consumers, laws regarding home ownership and rental properties and our rights and responsibilities as citizens in the broader community.
This term in English our unit focus was autobiographies and biographies, where skill development has been taught in context. Throughout the term Fluency has been completed daily at the start of each lesson and spelling was a weekly activity, where students focused on a set group of words to help expand their vocabulary and use of words in their writing.
Each week students have focused on a significant Aboriginal person, where we have completed aspects of the Reading to Learn Accelerated Literacy Program, participated in group activities and practised speaking in front of the class. The students’ individual research project saw them selecting a person from the Worawa History Walk or another Aboriginal person who they were passionate about researching. At the completion of this project, students presented their work to the rest of the class, which was a great way to conclude our autobiography and biography unit.
Marngo Design Futures ‘Fasheaming’ with Lyn-Al Young
This term 11 students participated in the Marngo Design Futures ‘Fasheaming’ Project with emerging fashion designer Lyn-Al Young. Lyn-Al is a proud Gunnai, Wiradjuri, Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta woman who imbues her designs with personal symbolism, stories and goals influenced by her dreaming. Lyn-Al introduced the students to the use of art and design to visualise goals and develop personal empowerment.
During the 2 day project, the students created silk bandanas representing current goals they are striving towards, created empowering personal digital posters using ProCreate on iPads and jewellery reflecting their Aboriginal heritage. The project culminated in a fashion show and photoshoot where the students displayed their silks and jewellery to one another. It was an inspiring, creative and incredibly fun project and we all look forward to collaborating with Lyn-Al in the future.
Community Services Certificate II Studies at Worawa
This year the VCAL students have been studying for a Certificate II in Community Services. The students have been focusing on studies involving Work Place Health and Safety, First Point of Contact, and Communication in the Health and Services Sectors. Class time has allowed us to discuss various aspects involved in keeping a workplace safe for everyone. We have paid attention to the rights and responsibilities of the employer and every employee regarding health and safety in the workplace.
It is imperative the girls are aware of this legislation, to keep themselves safe at work. They enjoyed being part of two mock Work Place Health and Safety Meetings, where they, each as a representative of their work area, had to bring a safety/health issue to the table to be discussed. The girls now realize how something as trivial as a rip in the carpet or a dangling power cord can be hazardous.
As part of our communication subjects, we have spoken about the importance of preparation for a job interview and how to present themselves in the best possible way. Part of our discussions involved hygiene, formal business clothing, the correct language to use, the importance of eye contact and body language as well as a firm handshake and a beautiful smile. With a little research about the company concerned and a few questions to ask, they will go into the interview confident and looking good.
Respect is one topic we keep coming back to. The girls are learning no matter where you are from or who you are, we should all be treated with respect. In community service environments the girls will be helping and working with people from all walks of life with varying ages, abilities, different places of birth, cultures and language groups. It is one of life’s great lessons to treat others as you would like to be treated.
Next term as we finish off our studies, the girls will be refreshing their First Aid skills and considering the relevance of cultural safety in the workplace.
We have had three great terms and it will be exciting to see the girls presented with their certificates at the end of the course.
Caring for Country
This term during Caring for Country, students have been focusing on the units ‘People and Places’ and ‘Geographies of Human Wellbeing’. In year 7-8, students research and plot data from their countries and communities into a range of maps and graphs, gaining the ability to compare and contrast. Students draw conclusions on the spatial size of areas, the difference in populations, distances from major cities and journeys taken to goods and services. Additionally, students have begun to increase their global knowledge exploring features of neighbouring countries such as India, China, Japan and Indonesia.
In the year 9-10 Caring for Country program, students have been focusing on challenging global perceptions. Using evidence to form opinions, students access world statistics such as the Human Development Index, Bhutan’s National Happiness Scale, life expectancy, income, gross domestic product, and mean years of schooling. Students have created a report titled ‘Geographies of Human Wellbeing Evidence Report’, where they have reported on their own perception of what deems human wellbeing, the spatial variation between two of their chosen indicators and the perceptions of social development. Students use evidence and examples for every opinion.
Students have also focused on ‘recording information about Country’ and interpreting information’. Students have researched information including distributions of plants, water sources, Aboriginal historical and sacred sites and different climate zones. Students have made connections between the different sets of data in order to find trends and draw conclusions. Additionally, students have collected data on different plant species found on the Dreaming Trail located on School grounds. Students have sequenced the information in order to inform others of the traditional plants and their uses.
The interest and career aspirations of students has been researched as students investigate what they may like to take after school as well as how they may get there. Students have explored what it means to be a ranger in terms of employment responsibilities and duties as well as the cultural importance of Caring for Country.