It was wonderful to see, on television,  Bianca Sumich, Year 10, reading at ANZAC Service On the Gallipoli Peninsula on ANZAC Day.  As the WA winner of the Simpson Prize, Bianca travelled to Turkey and participated  in the ANZAC Centenary celebrations in Gallipoli.  Her travel itinerary included a range of wonderful opportunities.  We are looking forward to her sharing her experiences with the College community.  

LifeLink Launch
On Tuesday I attended the launch of the  2015 LifeLink by Archbishop Costelloe. The launch was attended by students and staff from Catholic school, including some of our student leaders,  Archbishop Costelloe spoke of the story of the Good Samaritan, posing the question of who is the Good Samaritan today? He also noted that we can't' always help those most in need but we can equip others to help.  In raising funds for LifelLink our students assist in resourcing Diocesan social welfare agencies. The College SleepOut this term is our big fundraiser for LifeLink and also an opportunity for students to learn about issues facing the homeless.  

Senior School students are in the middle of their exams. Preparation  for exams is something that student need to do on a consistent basis and during the exam period they need to ensure they are fully focused on consolidating their learning.  Senior School Reports will be available  in Week 5 and parents and students  will have an opportunity  to meet with teachers on 20 May to discuss progress. I encourage all parents to attend.  

Students and staff are walking along different sections of the Camino Salvado during these first two weeks of May,  The pilgrimage trail which runs from Subiaco to New Norcia commemorates the life of Dom Rosendo Salvado.   During their time at HCC students will walk the Camino Salvado, arriving in New Norcia on foot for  their Year 12 Retreat.  Year 9 students walked from Bells Rapids to Lower Chittering on Friday, a beautiful hike through Walyinga National park.  On Thursday Year 8 students will cover the first section of the trail from Subiaco to Guidlford and on Friday, Year 9'students will continue their walk through the Chattering Valley.  We will be getting Camino passports made up so that students can have a record their walks, as they do on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.  Walking the Camino Salvado is a pilgrimage journey on which students have opportunities to encounter God, nature, others and themselves.  The day of hiking also gives them an opportunity to build resilience and perseverance, to interact without technology and to overcome challenges.


Miss Melissa Croswell, Head of Junior School, Mrs Jacinta Tucker, Kindergarten Teacher, presented at this year's Future Schools Conference in Sydney.
The presentation for Digital Play in the Early Years  can be found at the following link.

Please download the .zip, open/extract it on your computer and then run the appropriate file. "" for Mac users and "Prezi.exe" for Windows users.

Other resources from the workshop sessions can be found in the posts below.

Big Ideas - Year One ask "What's Your Car of the Future?"

The Year One Big Ideas unit asks the students to design a car of the future. They will design and construct a model of their car. The only requirement is that the car needs to be able to 'roll’. 
The unit incorporates the General Capabilities of Critical and Creative Thinking and the Science strand of Chemical Science as the students explore how certain materials are effective and ineffective to use during their design. They will present their findings as an iBook. 

Big Ideas - Year 9 Teacher Talk

2015 marks the centenary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli. The Year 9 Big Ideas project has been designed against the backdrop of remembering this important historical turning point in Australia’s history. Over 15 weeks, students will be engaged in exploring the big question: What is the ‘Great War’ of the 21st century?

In order to establish a strong connection between our project and the Anzac centenary, we launched the task with an excursion to the Western Australian Army Museum where students were able to tour the extensive displays depicting the Australian involvement in war, including a tour of the replica trench gallery. This gave the students a broad introduction to the nature of the warfare in World War I and the realities of life in the trenches. The students then visited Monument Hill Memorial, Fremantle, one of the oldest World War I memorials in Western Australia. Here the students created their own tribute to the Anzacs by forming a human ‘1915’ for an aerial photograph.

The following week saw the students move their attention to the present day and they were provided with the opportunity to explore the ‘great wars’ facing humanity now, in the 21st century. The students explored a range of interactive displays dedicated to a range of social justice issues and they were challenged to ‘race to 100’, collecting 100 interesting facts, quotes and statistics about the various ‘great wars’ they encountered.

With an overall sense of the ‘great wars’ of the twenty-first century, the students were then introduced to their project. They have been encouraged to make the connection between the courage, resilience, mateship and determination of the Anzacs with the values they will need to uphold in order to do something about one of the great wars of the 21st century and make a difference.

The students have been divided into ‘Army Corps’ within which they have formed ‘platoons’, with a like-minded group of approximately 3-4 students who collectively wish to focus their project on a particular ‘great war’. The platoons are set to go into battle against wars such as ‘the war on climate change’, ‘the war on obesity’ and ‘the war on poverty’. Upon selecting the ‘great war’ they wish to battle, each platoon has been presented with a certificate representing an historical Anzac in whose honour they will undertake their project.

Pedagogically, the project takes the shape of Challenge Based Learning. We have utilised ICT to support the delivery and student-centered approach to the project through the use of iTunes U. Our iTunes U course outlines the steps in the process of undertaking authentic inquiry about their chosen great war to the platoons identifying, proposing and implementing a real-world solution to make a difference to the ‘great war’ they are focusing on.

In order to undertake their challenge in respect to their chosen great war, the platoons have first generated their own big question on which to focus their challenge. They will be challenged to undertake meaningful research to establish the nature and severity of the issue and help them to generate possible solutions to the extent that they, as young Australians, can make a difference in this ‘great war’. The students are asked to take the research and data analysis skills they have learnt in Geography and Science beyond the classroom and undertake research through such methods as telephone interviews with experts and surveys of students and people in the local community.

Upon collecting and analysing their research data, the students will utilise the skills learnt in English with making info-graphics to formulate their own info-graphic to illustrate the magnitude of their great war and why potential solutions are viable. They will use their info-graphic to support a proposal for a solution that they will present at a “Solution Summit”. Upon their solution being approved, students will once again be provided with opportunities to take their learning outside the classroom as they endeavour to implement their solution at a school, local or global level. Solutions could take the form of initiating a fund-raising activity at school, developing a campaign to raise awareness about the issue in the local community or developing global awareness through utilising social media such as through maintaining a Twitter feed.

Challenge based learning is about taking action as well as reflecting on action. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on their learning as they move through the challenge by maintaining and contributing to a collaborative blog shared by the members of their platoon. The blogging exercise will provide students with a forum for reflecting on and engaging with their learning as well as sharing their experiences and successes with teachers and their peers. The project will provide students with a real-world platform through which to connect with the spirit of Anzac and employ the values of the Anzac legend, as young Australians of the 21st century, to stand up for what is right and make a difference in the “Great Wars” of today.

Miss Karen Taylor
Year 9 Innovator

Big Ideas - Year 8 Teacher Talk

Summer Term in Year 8 Big Ideas takes the form of an interactive, situation-based game in which students take on challenges that mirror the complex issues that exist in the real world.
The World Communities Game was developed as a means of encouraging students to consider the relationships and interactions that take place between nations, whilst addressing a variety of both General Capabilities and subject-specific achievement standards.

The game divides students into nations and each student is assigned a role - Government/Dictator, Banker, Ambassador to the United Nations, National Media - which they keep for the duration of the game. The roles carry different responsibilities and students are required to carry out different tasks according to their role. Each country group inhabits a circle in the space, the size of which is dependent on their nation’s population density. Countries are then assigned tokens (both positive and negative) that correspond to that nation’s situation in the real world. This initial token distribution is paired with both information and discussion around the uneven distribution of resources such as food, water and advantageous commodities such as oil. Students are able to access the ‘Trading Floor’ at specific points during the game, each country attempting to rid themselves of their negative tokens, such as disease, whilst increasing their positive holdings. The development of trading partnerships and also with wider alliances between countries force students to develop negotiation skills extremely quickly! Some of these negotiations also take place via Twitter, which is the medium used by each country’s National Media - sometimes with some very entertaining results!

As well as the ongoing activities of trading, ‘Opportunity Cards,’ and ‘Situation Cards,’ - disasters befalling individual countries - the students all participate in a super-challenge each week. These large scale disasters both test and develop the students’ problem-solving abilities and offer the opportunities for connections to be made between the game and the content of specific subjects.

The Challenges:
Following initial set-up and token distribution in Week 1, each week has seen a new challenge confront the students.

Week 2: The Ebola Challenge.
Students were faced with an outbreak of the deadly virus in several nations, and were given a time frame in which they had to act to prevent the disease spreading. Every twenty minutes during game play, the virus would spread to three new nations. Ebola could also be contracted if someone traded with an infected nation - the disease being represented by pegs added to the player’s badges. This challenge provided an opportunity to not only reflect on the world’s response to a crisis, but also to link to the Religious Education syllabus’ focus on ‘belonging.’ It became clear very quickly that when the students had to choose between charitable treatment of an infected country versus protecting their own nation, that their loyalties were divided. Interestingly, this challenge saw the students make decisions that were in the greater interest of the world community, rather than those that would only benefit themselves. The students who form the United Nations used the International Monetary Fund to purchase vaccines for those nations who were most stricken, whilst other nations opted to ‘share’ any vaccines they managed to purchase. The sole exception to this display of generosity was the trading floor, where those students displaying an Ebola peg were assiduously avoided - truly the modern-day equivalent of the biblical leper!

Week 3: The Energy Crisis.
Week 3 focused on the cross-curricular priority of sustainability, which also links closely with both Religious Education and Science. Students were offered the opportunity to trade in their Oil tokens at inflated rates. Once many of them had taken advantage of this offer, they were informed that the world was running short of oil, and only countries with means of sustainable energy would survive. Countries had to maintain certain levels of Infrastructure and Sustainability tokens by specific points in the game, or face sanctions imposed on their other tokens. They were given the opportunity to earn these tokens by firstly coming up with alternative energy suggestions to present to the panel of ‘scientists’ or by managing to assign responsibility for global warming to another nation by means of a media campaign. Meanwhile, the United Nations were given the task of regulating the world’s oil supply. They were informed that each country had to meet a certain quota of Oil Tokens by the end of game play, and were faced with the task of redistributing the oil supplies. This required these students to weigh their options carefully and forced them to balance their loyalty to their individual nations with their task of catering for the greater good. The increasing threshold required for sustainability and infrastructure tokens created the game’s first refugee crisis. In order to remain a sovereign nation, each country must always hold a minimum of one food, one water, one healthcare and one infrastructure token. If they do not have these, then the country is disbanded and the players become refugees, dependent on the whims of foreign governments for their survival. Following the energy crisis, eight countries failed to meet the threshold, but were rescued by the goodwill of others in the world community, who donated tokens so that these countries could maintain their status as nations.

Week 4: Religious Division and the Threat of Terrorism.
In week 4, the students explored the different religions of their countries and how these can cause both unity and division. Initially, the students were limited to trading with other countries who had the same dominant religion as them, which proved difficult for those with less common religious preferences as they were left with no opportunities to trade. The countries could re-establish trading partnerships by purchasing ‘Acts of Charity,’ which could be given to a country with a different religion, along with positive tokens. Conversely, they could contribute to a divided world community by purchasing an ‘Act of Terror,’ which would land their chosen nation with a high proportion of negative tokens, and would not create a trading friendship. The United Nations met for their challenge, where they were informed that an unknown terrorist group had placed a bomb in The Dome of the Rock, and was demanding a ransom of 70% of the world’s wealth to defuse it. This caused intense debate, with the result being that the United Nations would not negotiate with terrorists. Rather than paying the ransom, they assembled a large proportion of the world’s military tokens, and used these to overcome the terrorists - an outcome that had not been thought of in planning the challenge, but which developed as a result of the student’s discussions and cooperation.

Week 5: Age of Empires.
Week 5 saw the introduction of imperialism to the World Communities Game. Sixteen new, unpopulated nations were added to the game, and existing countries were given the chance to colonise these in the hopes of collecting the new nation’s resources and eventually building their own empire. In order to colonise, existing nations had to purchase ships to take them to their colony, settlements to establish their presence and had to build a city in their new land, before they were able to collect the resource tokens outlined in the country’s ‘Profile Card.’ Any country that colonised more than three new nations would claim an Empire Card - something that would prove to be advantageous in weeks to come. At the same time, the United Nations were given the task of creating their own Declaration of Human Rights. After exploring the real version, the students became focused on exploring the meaning of the idea of equality, and the first draft of their declaration focused heavily on the idea that individuals deserve equal treatment in spite of their different circumstanced. Several members of the United Nations wanted to take this further, and establish a more extreme economic equality by redistributing tokens fairly, but faced with an explanation of communism, this faction was defeated. The colonisation challenge is an ongoing challenge, with countries able to continue to build their empires throughout the remainder of the game.

Upcoming Challenges:
With three weeks of game play left, the students will first face the division of Palestine, which will see the establishment of Israel as a country with it’s own identity. Following this, Week 7 will offer the opportunity for nuclear armament before the game ends in Week 8 with a spectacular apocalypse scenario.

The Task:
The World Communities Game is very much a hands-on experience, which we have found to contribute to a high level of engagement. In order to assess students’ understanding of the concepts covered, each group is required to create a weekly vlog (not a spelling error) responding to a series of prompts corresponding with each week’s challenge. The prompts include practical questions about the game itself, but also require students to consider the real world situation that relates to that particular challenge. The students will be marked on three of their vlog submissions, with the marks for the task feeding into Religious Education, Geography and English. This project offers opportunities to address numerous General Capabilities under the headings of Personal and Social Capabilities, Intercultural Understanding, ICT Capabilities and Critical and Creative Thinking. Numeracy is also addressed, with students required to make purchases, trades and account for token levels on a continuous basis.

This is the second year that the World Communities Game has been played, and it is a project that generates a great deal of excitement for both students and staff. The opportunity to bring elements of play into the experience is one that has visible benefits. The majority of students are highly invested in their country’s success, and look forward to hearing their new challenge each week. The students who comprise the United Nations enjoy the chance to debate each other’s views on topics that are not usually discussed with students their age. They also respond to the fact that staff are acting as facilitators and that they are largely responsible for determining the outcome of the game. To that end, conflicts between group members are their responsibility. Staff run the game and ‘fine’ students who break either game rules or school rules, however the outcome of the game and the success or failure of challenges lies with the students.

It has been a wonderful beginning to the term in Year 8 Big Ideas, and the staff are looking forward to watching the students face the challenges that we have in store for them over the coming weeks.

Miss Emilie Reynolds
Year 8 Innovator

Assessment Rubric Example

Big Ideas - Year 7 Teacher Talk

This term in Big Ideas, the Year 7s have been getting to grips with the technology that they will come to use on a daily basis at Holy Cross College. We presented them with the big question, ‘Is I.T. a friend or foe?’ Over the nine week term, the students will be investigating how I.T. and technology can help them, but also how it may cause issues or problems for them. This is in connection with a whole school transition programme and a digital citizenship imperative.

To start the term, students were asked to invite their grandparents in. We had a good response with several grandparents, aunts, uncles and even a few parents coming in to talk to the year group. Students had spent some time devising questions to ask the visitors. The aim was to find out what older generations thought of technology. Some of the students were quite shocked and surprised by some of the things they found out.

We used the feedback from out visitors to identify what older generations thought to be the main issues around technology. These were:

- Younger generations aren’t as fit and healthy as we used to be, because they don’t play outside as much.
- Technology and the internet can be unsafe, in terms of people hacking information and keeping passwords safe.
- There is lots of information available on the Internet, how do you know what to trust?

With this feedback in mind, we spent the next three weeks investigating each of these issues, with a different teacher leading the weekly sessions. The big question, ‘Is I.T. a friend or foe?’ was broken down into smaller questions that would be easier to answer. Keep in mind that we are working with a new cohort of sevens, who are not used the Big Ideas model so we are also stepping into the model slowly with them.

In the first week, we asked the students: How can I.T. be a friend or foe when I am researching and doing my homework? Students were given a list of tasks to do, those which must be done, those which should be done, and those which could be done. We know this as 'Must, Should, Could'. These tasks increased in difficulty. Students completed these tasks at their own pace, by scanning QR codes to access the different tasks they needed to complete. This work progressed alongside a Humanities assessment, in which students were being asked to analyse the reliability of the sources they found online. The Humanities assessment asked them to answer a question about why the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb was so important.  This work was submitted electronically, using Edmodo.

In the second week, we asked the students: How can I.T. help me to make friends or foes? The focus of this week was staying safe online and safe social networking. Once again, the students completed self-paced work, as the must, should, could activities were set up within an iTunesU course. Students brought their work for checking to the teachers, and were able to move their faces up a progress board so we could see who was at each stage of the task.

This week we will be asking: How can I.T. affect my health and fitness? Students will be asked to complete activities on their iPad, such as reading an iBook, playing an electronic game and they will be asked to complete activities without the use of technology, such as skipping and reading a book. They will review how the activities make them feel through a video diary, which will be used to create an iMovie.

The students will be asked to review all of the work carried out over the weeks for their final assessment, which will be marked for English. For their final assessment, students will be asked to evaluate how I.T. can be their friend or their foe, by creating a persuasive piece of writing to be presented either as an iMovie or a keynote. There will be differentiation in terms of using language such as 'evaluate'. But at the end, we hope all students will have some relevant reflection on the question friend or foe.

At this point, we have begun to scope and sequence the skills we would like our students to have by the end of Middle School. In Year 7, we want to focus on helping them understand the inquiry model. Another focus is on the time spent teaching year seven to work as a part of a team alongside critical skills in learning how to pace themselves in terms of their own accountability to their class mates and to the task. A lot of work has to go into maintaining some structure in the first term of Year 7, as they get to learn slowly how Middle School works. 

Miss Laura Wallace
Year 7 Innovator 

A way to Explain Everything!