From Mr Hudson

Assessment and NAPLAN time

We are certainly into the swing of Term 1. So far this term, students have written personal goals stating want they want to achieve in the first semester. Students have completed the Pivot survey which provides feedback to their teachers about their teaching practice to make them the most effective practitioner. Students in Years 7 – 10 have also completed PAT testing in Math and English. All this data equips teachers with the information required to provide students with the best environment, allowing students to move forward in their learning. 

The next information students will provide is the NAPLAN testing for Years 7 and 9.

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is a point in time assessment of literacy and numeracy skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life. Students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 participate in the annual NAPLAN tests in writing, reading, conventions of language (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy.

Our school will be participating in NAPLAN Online between 11 and 21 May 2021.

In preparation for NAPLAN Online, our school will also be participating in practice tests on Thursday 25th March. The practice test is a trial-run and key preparation activity for NAPLAN Online in May. It is not an assessment of student ability and the tests will not be marked.

Excessive preparation for NAPLAN Online is not recommended. Students can use the public demonstration site to familiarise themselves with the types of questions and tools available in the NAPLAN Online tests.

Students are to have their own headphones with a 3.5mm jack for the tests.

If you have any questions about NAPLAN Online, please contact your Year Adviser or the Dean of Students Year 7-9, Mr Chris Smith.

This time of the term will also see all students completing assessment tasks.  Some tasks will involve class tests and other assessments tasks will be at home tasks. To assist families and students with these tasks, we held our first parents’ seminar for the year. Elevate presented to parents on study skill tips and looked at key research and skills, so parents can help their children navigate their final years of school.

Improving Brain Power

An article I found written by Carl Pullein, 7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power can also provide parents and students with some skills for this time of year. Pullein asks the question “So, how can we really boost our brain power?” His article states there are a few simple things you can do that will improve the function of your brain. He offers seven to get us started.

1. Do Your Most Difficult Tasks in the Morning

Our brains work at their best when they are fresh and energized after a good night’s sleep.

2. Get Enough Breaks

Our brains are not very good at maintaining concentration and focus for much more than an hour. Once you go beyond a certain amount of time, doing focused work, you will find yourself making more and more mistakes.

3. Read Books, not Social Media Feeds

There are no shortcuts to improved knowledge and you are certainly not going to improve your general knowledge about anything useful by reading social media feeds. Instead, make reading books a regular habit. When you read good quality books, you increase your ability to use the knowledge you learn to solve problems as your brain will apply the knowledge you learned to existing situations.

4. Exercise Regularly

We need to move. Our brains have evolved to function at their best when we are exercised. In his book, Brain Rules, Prof. John Medina explains when we exercise, we increase the amount of oxygen in our brains and this helps to sharpen our brain’s functions.

5. Get Enough of the Right Food

Eat a balanced diet. Keep some healthy snacks such as mixed nuts and dried bananas and when you feel a little peckish, eat a few of these.

6. Drink Enough Water

Your brain is made up of about 70% water, so without enough water, your brain will not function at its best. When you are not drinking enough water, you will find your ability to concentrate, make decisions and stay alert will reduce. You will feel sleepy and lack energy. The solution is to keep a large bottle of water and sip regularly from it throughout the day.

7. Don’t Deprive Yourself of Sleep

You probably don’t need a long scientific study to convince you that if you are not getting enough sleep, you are not going to function at your best. Six to eight hours is usually enough for most people so make sure you are hitting that number of hours per night as a minimum.

The Bottom Line

Improving our brain power is not difficult. All we need to do is develop a few simple habits such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and eating the right foods. These seven tips will go a long way to helping you to become more alert, able to focus longer and make decisions. All simple common sense tricks anyone can use.

I hope you found his article helpful.

Yours Sincerely,

Mr Anthony Hudson

High School Deputy Principal

Reference: Pullein, C. (2020), ‘7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power’, Lifehack (13 January). Available at: https://www.lifehack.org/828743/brain-training (Accessed on 17 March 2021)