Differentiation means tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. Whether teachers differentiate content, process, products, or the learning environment, the use of ongoing assessment and flexible grouping makes this a successful approach to instruction.” [readingrockets.com]
In keeping with SSHS priorities, including catering to students as individuals, we provide a couple of different avenues of learning for our gifted and talented students.
Reader’s Cup is an annual event for keen readers to pit their reading comprehension skills against literateurs from other high schools in the region. The district challenge is usually held in Malanda, the workplace of the organizer. However since Mrs Sellars’ transfer to Cairns High this year, our team of Year 7 students didn’t have nearly so far to travel. Congratulations to all the team who were excellent ambassadors for Smithfield High on the day. Read all about it…
On 5th June, Jack Chapman, Anika Weremchuk, Hamish Howieson, Josh Rueben and Hollie Culleton went to the Reader’s Cup. Even though only four formally participated, everyone enjoyed the interaction with the other schools. We especially loved the food that was brought! There were ten questions on each of the six books we were required to read. Spot questions were organised to win books for our schools and we won a futuristic book for the whole school to enjoy. Afterwards we feasted like kings, and were able to purchase books from the Cairns Books stall. A special thanks must be given to our District organizer, Mrs Sellars school organiser, Mrs Robins, and all the other volunteers and organisations that donated the books, funds and organised the event. Thank you! [Anika Weremchuk]
It was a Friday morning and Jack, Hamish, Anika, Josh and I were going to the reader’s cup to compete. I was the reserve but I knew that they were all pressured. The last 13 was the hardest book that we had to do. We were all relieved after 2 books to be coming 4th in the progressive scores. We scored 58 points, just 18 points from the winner coming 7th overall out of 17 teams competing. Everyone did a great job. It was fun and we were happy with the result. [Hollie Culleton]
Trinity Bay Writer’s Festival ~ Focus on Fantasy ~ July 30th-31st.
Annually, our best creative writers are invited to this worthwhile festival for aspiring writers. This year, Mrs White, T’Bay Teacher Librarian, is bringing a stellar line up of Fantasy authors to Cairns, including: Melaina Faranda, Martin Chaterton, Saffron Bryant and Richard Harland. The Focus on Fantasy workshops, will enable teenage writers to learn tips and tricks from professional fantasy writers and inspire participants to become published authors.
We encourage all students with an interest in creative writing, to register their interest at our SSHS library as soon as possible, preferably this term, because places are limited. At a cost of only $25 for two whole days of interaction with professional writers, this learning opportunity is not to be missed.
Lastly, research on memory & learning is reported by Glenn Whitman. He demonstrates by argument and by linking to John Cage’s famous composition by the same name, that our brains need 4 mins and 33 seconds of silence each day, to process what we have learned. Why not incorporate it into our lessons? However, judging by the disrespect the MCG crowd showed Wed night at the State of Origin match when asked to participate in a minute’s silence in memory of Ron Clarke, I wonder if we have the self-control?
Deb Robins – Teacher Librarian
Melaina Faranda cashed in university prizes for literature to wander the world. She has trekked amongst tigers and Himalayan bandits, nearly been swept off a cliff by a griffin, slept on cardboard with an incontinent Italian baby rabbit, lived in a tree house on the side of a Hawaiian volcano, in a yurt filled with crystals, and as a ghost in a grand old Hudson river mansion. Melaina's spirits have been crushed by Majorcan snails' tenacious dedication to lettuces, and she has narrowly avoided being stampeded by middle-aged German Chicken dancers and attacked by a Balinese monkey with a light bulb in its mouth. Far, far wilder -- she has enjoyed braving the asphalt gauntlet for over fifteen years as a trained English teacher in numerous secondary, Steiner, Special Needs and Primary schools throughout Australia. The desire to be popular and a horror of the riot act, led her to tell stories as a form of crowd control where henchmen students hissed - 'SHUDDDUPPP! SHE'S GOING TO TELL A STORY!' A love for these students led Melaina to establish personal development groups for teenagers and from there - to writing an international Young Adult series: The Circle.
Passions for quirky travel, random facts, bizarre science, wicked wordplay and swashbuckling global adventure come together in her children's series: Abacus Aardvark, written under the pseudonym: MJ Holiday (to be published by Pan in 2009). She will have eight books published in 2008 and 2009 including Young Adult novels: Big Sky (Allen & Unwin), Jack No Name, Avatar,The Glass Boy, and Stand Up (Heinemann) and Freeman's Feats (Pearson).
Melaina is a popular speaker - in demand for her passionate, generous and inspiring style as well as her familiarity with young people and understanding of what students and teachers want. With special interests in just about everything - oddities, the supernatural, eating disorders and body image, the environment, fairy tales, genetic science, animal heroes, bull-throwing, mythology, Venetian glass-blowing and anything else that can make classroom walls fly away and imbue the world with wonder - her presentations are as entertaining as they are educational.
View Melaina's School Information Flyer