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Primary Campus


The Portfolio Conference Evening Semester 2, 2021

We know that it is important to talk about learning and that this is best done face to face. Traditionally at the Primary Campus, this has taken the form of a Portfolio Conference Evening. Unfortunately, this year as we began to plan this event, the COVID situation was very precarious. Rather than not having the opportunity to talk about your child’s learning, we switched to an online version. We named this approach a “learning conversation”.

In the lead up to “learning conversations”, each student, alongside their teachers, prepared aspects of their current learning they wanted to talk about. In the background, our admin staff and IT crew ensured that each family could access the technology. Parents were required to book an appointment, read the letters sent home and be prepared to talk about learning. The research is clear on the crucial role parents play in how children see themselves as learners, and we are sure that the time and care taken by so many of you to focus on this important part of learning is of enormous value.

What is the impact?

Firstly, talk time helps students process their learning. Thinking and talking about content helps students integrate information into personal knowledge. In other words, talking about and explaining concepts out loud to someone else solidifies the learning in our minds. So, the learning conversations reinforced the new knowledge, concepts, and ideas brewing over the semester. Language, in other words, is how we think. It is how we process information and remember. It is our operating system. Vygotsky (1962) suggested that thinking develops into words in several phases, moving from imaging to inner speech to inner speaking to speech. Tracing this idea backward, speech—talk—is the representation of thinking.

Learning Conversations can happen every week! Sidestep the sometimes unhelpful “What did you do at school today?”, give yourself a heads up using SEQTA, Showbie or SeeSaw, where you will find an outline of the week’s topics, then ask specific questions. Here is an example:

Secondly, how we talk about learning matters. When you change your words, you change your mindset. When your child is faced with a challenge, the image below shows how to help them turn a fixed mindset statement into a growth mindset statement! A growth mindset does not just reward effort, and no one can be positive all the time. However, if you use positive language, it is much harder to feel or be negative. We have talked to the students about the power of YET, they understand it. Here are a few more positive spins…

There are many resources for educators or parents who want to teach their children about growth mindset, What is growth mindset? Here is another link that includes animated video clips, discussions, and questions.

Our hope is that this week’s conversations for you and your child were enjoyable, and you were able to see clearly, the progress and learning journey that your child is on. In a week, when the papers will be full of NAPLAN results, it is important to remember that all children are capable and competent learners. There are a hundred languages of learning. This week, you played a crucial role in that journey. Reggio Emilia Approach

That being said, we look forward to returning to the Portfolio Conference evening with the exhibition of learning and a chance for us all to be face to face again.

Mrs Joanne Gilmore, Director of Teaching & Learning – Primary


Much is made in the media of the NAPLAN results, and this week, Years 3 and 5 parents will receive individual results for their child. Testing was completed in May and provided a snapshot of where students were at that point in time. It is useful data but is only one piece of the puzzle.

As a primary school we followed the national trend with growth in Reading, Spelling, Grammar and Numeracy in Years 3 and 5, with writing remaining steady. Progress indicators for Year 5, where the ‘value added’ becomes apparent, were pleasing, with 81% of students demonstrating medium to high levels of progress in Reading (Australia 76%) and 83% for Numeracy (Australia 75%).

In Year 5, average scores in all areas were higher than the 2019 data (no NAPLAN held in 2020 due to unprecedented times), with the most improvement in spelling. In Year 3 this was consistent with the highest level of improvement in Numeracy and Spelling compared to previous cohorts.

The test itself was slightly different this year; online tests for numeracy, reading, and grammar were delivered in a staged adaptive design. Students were presented with different pathways through the test – depending on their performance to that point. This allows students to engage with questions that are targeted to their level of achievement. As a result, not all students will have seen the same questions in these tests.

Although all students have not seen the same questions, the test design ensures all results can be placed accurately on the NAPLAN scale. In fact, the targeting of test questions to student performance allows this to be done more precisely than with a single fixed test.

The data is useful and will be further analysed and used to pinpoint resources, further develop teaching strategies and support all of our students. If you have any concerns related to NAPLAN, please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s class teacher or contact Mrs Joanne Gilmore, Director Teaching & Learning, via primary.admin@smc.sa.edu.au

Mr Damian Patton, Deputy Principal – Primary and Mrs Joanne Gilmore, Director of Teaching & Learning – Primary


Podcasting has been a feature of Primary Campus life in 2021, and today we held a special celebration to acknowledge the students across Year 5 and 6 who had completed the Level 1 Start Caster programme with ARCH D Radio and Podcasting.

With the steady hand of James Meston at the wheel, our podcast crew have learnt many new skills and had the chance to create short podcasts about anything they wanted. The students have learnt how to script and storyboard, use sound effects, edit, and work to tight deadlines in a team environment. The results are informative, hilarious, and very entertaining.

Congratulations to the following students:

Group One (The OG’s)Group Two
Finn McEvoyLuca Montagnese
Jack StevensRiley Bell
Gurshaan ParmarMarco Didyk
Lucas StrelanDiego Hernandez
Tavian FraserZac Mullins
Charlie Santos TaitNikola Radic
Frank MarinoEmmanuel Thessalonikeous
Matthew FrancisOliver Van Dommele
Kailan Stone
Alexander Gardiner
Jeremy Bowling
Sebastian Krol
Benjamin Abraham
Hunter Marr
Louie Staltari
Oliver Rowson

Listen to the podcasts from Group One by clicking here, Group Two’s podcasts are due to be released shortly.

Level 2 begins next term, and we look forward to more technical know-how combined with superb creativity.

Mrs Joanne Gilmore, Director of Teaching & Learning – Primary


On Wednesday 22 September, the Primary Campus held a Dance Concert in Founders Hall. This term all classes across the campus had been working on dances in their Music and PE lessons. The theme for this year’s concert was Music Through the Decades and the dances were taught by teachers, Mrs Holly Dineen, Ms Annabel Lampard and Miss Talia Gaertner-Jones. Each class performed their own dance with the earliest coming from 3B with their tribute to the Harlem Globetrotters with the 1925 song Sweet Georgia Brown, through to 4M having a backwards pants dance battle to Kriss Kross’s Jump!

Music Through the Decades would not be complete without spreading some GIRL POWER! The Primary staff joined in to create their own rendition of the Spice Girls song Stop featuring their very own Spice ‘Girls’, Ms Vanessa Morelli (Ginger Spice), Ms Annabel Lampard (Sporty Spice), Mrs Erin Stanborough (Baby Spice), Mr Mitchell Boulton (Scary Spice) and Mr Aaron Sayers (Posh Spice).

Well done to all students and staff involved in this event!

Miss Talia Gaertner-Jones, Music and Performing Arts Teacher – Primary


Everyone knows recycling is good for the environment, but too many of us have old mobile phones just sitting in drawers never to be recycled. Mobile phones are made from many materials, including precious metals which can be reused, and through recycling we reduce the need to mine and take less from the earth.

With this in mind, the Youth Environmental Leaders (YELs) decided it was time to promote the great work of Mobile Muster and make it easy for our community to recycle their mobile phones, chargers and batteries. Of course the best way to do this is by having a challenge! We called it our ‘Spirit Recycling Challenge’ with the winning team gaining points towards this year’s Spirit Cup.

Thank you to everyone who brought in their electrical waste for our challenge. We are proud to announce that we recycled 50 mobile phones, over 100 chargers and other electrical items, and way too many batteries to even count! It was a great success with all of these items being recycled, instead of going into landfill.

The winners of this recycling challenge are yellow!

Please note that you can continue to bring in your old batteries and small electrical items into our Admin area for recycling.

Youth Environmental Leaders


On Monday 20 September, eight Youth Environmental Leaders from the Primary Campus and 14 senior Eco Squad members joined forces to assist conservation efforts at the Monarto Zoo. It was a cold spring day, but that didn’t stop us from planting over 40 native trees.

These trees were planted in the ‘Wild Africa Park’, a new park being established within the existing Monarto Safari Park. The trees, once established, will not only provide shelter for the animals and increase biodiversity in the area, but also help shield the manmade structures, providing a more aesthetically pleasing experience for future visitors.

It was wonderful to see our senior environmentalists working alongside our younger students in such an incredible conservation activity, providing the many volunteers of Monarto Zoo with much needed assistance.

I wish to personally thank the hard work and dedication of all of these students, in providing both campuses with wonderful environmental initiatives.

Mrs Robyn Palmer, Sustainability Support Officer