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From the Director of Digital Resources

Shillitoe TonyIn every moment there are challenges. 2020 has presented us with a unique challenge to deliver learning remotely and I was excited when it seemed we would use online learning for an extended period during Term 2. The skills and resources available to our community through technologies would come into their own as core to the learning and teaching experience. Staff and students and parents applied communication technologies (like Teams, Zoom and email) and management systems (like SEQTA, Managebac and Showbie) and flipped learning technologies and skills (Teams/Stream, YouTube, OBS, Screencastomatic, video creation and editing). Despite uncertainty and nervousness at working within an online environment for all daily learning, the creative energy and qualities of commitment, resilience and perseverance – the passion and desire to learn – emerged and dominated the Concordia community’s response to the unique circumstances.

Fortunately, the online connected strategy was only needed for a couple of weeks.

Recently, I walked around the two campuses to see how we were settling into ‘normality’ now the College is no longer required to deliver learning online. A teacher was conferencing on Teams with a group of students, one who was at home and three at school. Another class was highly engaged in using a website their teacher originally built in preparation for Connected Learning but is now using as the ongoing unit resource. A relief teacher was supervising a class where the teacher at home was able to connect in remotely for a ten-minute instructional update. In another space, students and the teacher were engaged in a discussion over a video the students watched overnight in preparation for the lesson. There were all small, significant moments, showing how effectively we engage every day with modern learning technologies and techniques.

The COVID-19 experience has been a unique challenge. What is evident, though, is we can all adapt to meet a unique challenge and remain a highly connected community.

Tony Shillitoe
Director of Digital Resources

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Generating Some Jazz

With the cancellation of the much anticipated Generations in Jazz event this year, Concordia’s jazz musicians took it upon themselves to generate some jazz of their own in the Media Studio on Wednesday this week.

Big Band 1, Big Band 2, Big Band 3, InSync (Jazz Trio) and Low Key (Jazz Trio) spent time each recording one of the pieces they would have performed in Mt Gambier in a special live recording session.

Working with some outstanding Media students who operated the cameras, recording equipment and A/V components, each ensemble worked hard to produce something we hope our community will enjoy once mixing and mastering is finalised. 

Stay tuned for more sessions like these in the future, as they highlight the outstanding facilities our talented students have available to them.

Many thanks to the ensemble directors, Chrissie File (Head of Media) and the unflappable Simon Kuchel for their passion and dedication.

Mat Noble
Director of Music

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Inter-school Chess

On Friday, 15 May, Concordia College’s Senior School chess teams took part in the first two rounds of this year’s inter-school chess competition. With many extra-curricular activities cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, we have been very pleased to be able to continue with both Chess Club and the inter-school competitions; a number of students even used the site LiChess to take part in a virtual Chess Club in Week 11 of Term 1. The inter-school competitions have also moved to an online platform this year, with students challenging their opponents through a secure forum run by the South Australian Junior Chess League. This year we are fielding two teams in the Division 3 secondary school competition, containing students from Years 7 – 12, and both teams had a very successful night, navigating the intricacies of the online competition environment to record a total of 10 wins and 4 draws (from 16 games). 

The students “met” on a Teams call before the first round and returned to the call as they finished their games. It was very pleasing to see them helping each other with technology, and encouraging each other throughout the evening. There was a definite atmosphere of excitement and positivity despite the inevitable technology-related challenges, and we are looking forward to the next two rounds of the competition, which will take place this coming Friday. 

Ms Judy Harris
Inter-school Chess Coordinator

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Focaccia Art in Food Design

The Year 8 Food Design class has recently creating the latest food trend which took the isolation world by storm, ‘Focaccia Art’.

They really enjoyed some creative thinking with herbs and vegetables. Well done, Year 8s!

Belinda Zanello
Food Design Teacher

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Year 8 Seed Writing Battle and Meme Creation

Soaking up the last of the socially distanced sun, our Year 8 Language and Literature students engaged in the first inter-class ‘Seed Writing Battle’. Seed Writing is a foundational aspect of our Year 8 Reading Re-engagement program where for ten minutes each week, students are given a topic to write about without fear of it being corrected or scrutinised. The pedagogy that underpins this is that students will continue to develop confidence and proficiency in their writing and not be fearful of making a start. This activity sits alongside of our ‘Screen Free’ lesson, which involves recreational reading. A recent example topic given to students was ‘Sheep on a Tuesday’, with Cale’s (8SSPA) beguiling tale being voted by his peers as the eventual winner! A wonderful way to reconnect our Murtoa student community.

There are multiple modes and literacies through which understanding can be communicated. On the surface, a Meme appears to be just a ‘cheesy’ joke or pun, accompanied with a humorous image… and not something you would immediately associate with Year 8 Historical Studies on Shogun Japan. However, to create one, the author must understand content, context, inference and satire in order for it to be effective to the audience. Our students did a magnificent (and very funny job) of showing their understanding of social structure and significant events during the Shogunate Dynasty.

Vanessa Narino-Terry
Year 8 Teacher

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'Intentional Concordian' Workshop Series

This Wednesday during their Pastoral Care time, Year 8s began a series of workshops targeting a set of identified needs around their affective, spiritual, and academic development. In creating the series, we considered the College’s Strategic Plan and Unlocking Futures initiative, and the research of Catherine Johnson from Flinders University into student wellbeing.

Over the course of six weeks, students will be armed with information and strategies in the following areas:

  • Sleep Hygiene: Linda Weddell – the importance of sleep and healthy sleep promoting practices that work
  • Understanding Anxiety: Rachael Williamson, Briony Carman – the good, the bad, and how to handle it
  • Spirituality and Connections: Dale Gosden – what local churches have to offer and finding a spiritual home within your local community
  • ICT Up to Date: Tony Shillitoe – making the most of ICTs and avoiding pitfalls
  • Maxing the Planner: Joanne Wegener – how to use the strategies in the Planner for learning and life
  • What is the IB MYP? Emily Johnson – what’s unique to the MYP approach but common across subjects and why those aspects are significant. 

While helping to anchor Year 8s with important information and strategies, these workshops are a great opportunity for them to get to know some of the people who support them behind the scenes such as our School Pastor, Counsellors, Heads of School and ICT, and Middle Years Programme Coordinator.

Louise Thomas
Year 8 Pastoral Leader

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The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Today we celebrate the achievement of two Year 10 students Annabel 10BZAN and Elijah 10EJOH. Our Principal Mr Paul Weinert presented them with their Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Bronze, to coincide with National Volunteer Week. As part of her Award, Annabel created handmade toys to donate to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. She undertook this with her grandmother, and has continued this beyond the completion of Award requirements. Elijah completed his service component through St John Cadets – undertaking over 100 hours of training and volunteer first aid last year.

Concordia College is very proud to deliver this valuable program. Mr Nigel Currie has managed the program over many years. In 2020, Mrs Emma Rieger has taken on this role. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is offered in over 130 countries with over eight million young people having participated worldwide. Over 775,000 young people have participated in the Award in Australia since the program began. Each year, many Concordia College students volunteer in a wide range of roles. Our College community is grateful to the extensive network of volunteer mentors and assessors who guide our students through this program each year.

Congratulations Annabel and Elijah on your commitment to self-development and service to others.

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