LPS eNews

30 July 2020


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Principal's Message

Thank you to everyone who attended Parent-Teacher Meetings this week, after what seems like a long time since teachers connected individually with parents. Teachers definitely appreciated your kind thoughts and positive feedback on Learning from Home.

It's a pleasure to congratulate two of our teachers, Louise Rambaud and Jacqui Purcell, on completing the Create Leadership program. Both teachers began this in 2019 and adapted the focus of their Create projects as remote learning began. Although these projects are a lens for developing their leadership skills, they also had benefits for our students, as both Jacqui and Louise explored student perceptions of Learning from Home. You've heard about our LFH parent survey; now what did students think?

Jacqui started reviewing some student data gathered from the Mathematics Online Interview and Essential Assessment (Maths). Considering what the data might not be indicating, Jacqui then asked 137 students in Years 3 - 5 about their engagement in Mathematics at LPS and what they'd like to see more of, and in LFH. Here are their most popular responses:

The top five things that students liked about Maths:
Fluency games, working with a partner or in a group, addition, Essential Assessment, solving problems.
Top five things the students didn’t like:
Division, fractions, decimals, worksheets, working by myself.
What they would like to see change:
Start at my level and less repetition, more challenge, more group work, more time to explain, gradually getting harder and fun activities.


Since then, Jacqui has worked with the Year 3, 4 and 5 PLC teams to provide Professional Learning on engaging Maths content for LFH. These include open-ended tasks, use of ClickView and MyNumeracy and additional problem-solving resources for the LFH 2.0 program. There's also a continuing focus on counting and place value in Year 4, which the data suggested.

Louise was interested in learner agency during LFH. She led Professional Learning for her team on opportunities for student agency and how these could be included in learning tasks and programs. 

Louise surveyed 65 students in Years 2, 4 and 6, asking them questions about their experiences during LFH. The areas they liked most were Webex, Maths fluency tasks and Reading, especially Epic! 

Generally, the students surveyed valued the opportunities for learner agency that LFH provided, making comments like these about choice:

  • I mainly chose the tasks and books I read, I liked the map choices, creating my own characters, I liked choosing each day (Y2)
  • I chose what time I wanted to do subjects and which ones to do (Y4)
  • Able to choose when to do the set tasks, what I wore, to have lunch when I wanted, got to take more breaks and when I start work (Y6)

Interestingly, Louise found that older children thought they had more agency in their learning as, in the words of some Year 2 children, their parents were making decisions for them about their LFH tasks. This could be something to reflect on as families plan their week - are there ways your child could have more choice during LFH? Year 6 students also wanted more opportunities to clarify tasks with their teacher; additional Webex sessions (especially Check-in) now provide this.

As well as sharing this data with other teachers, Louise and the Year 2 team have made modifications to the Year 2 LFH pages this term, so that students can take more control of their learning if they'd like to do this.  

Louise and Jacqui recently made their final presentations to principals and other school leaders at the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership. Congratulations to you both!

Finally, another enormous thank you to those parents who are doctors, nurses and front-line health workers during this crisis. With the recent escalation of cases, our thoughts are with you. We certainly appreciate and admire your commitment and hope we can all support you by staying home and staying safe

Take care,

Our Vision:    Learn   •   Thrive  •   Contribute 


Student Leaders

Hello everyone! Hope you all enjoyed your holidays and are settling into Learning from Home again. Laburnum has made a few changes to LFH this term based on our feedback. One of which is that our daily WebEx meetings have more of a focus on our work, meaning each day we are looking at a different subject, or activity. This ensures our peers are 100% confident and successful with everything our teachers have set in place for us over this period of time.
I wish you all the best with remote learning!

Another thing about WebEx is that we are attending more meetings than before. I feel as if the work we are doing is very similar to when we are at school. The WebEx meetings, including two or more meetings per day, are an opportunity to discuss anything we might need to ensure we are learning to our full potential. Adjusting back into our routines and ways of learning from home has been different for all of us.
Laburnum students are doing a great job!

Additional changes include the addition of a few new websites and some apps to help us learn such as using ClickView and Bug Club. On websites such as these, students are able to learn new things, from reading books, to watching videos. We are all looking forward to growing as learners in these times and these resources are definitely helping.
Keep well and stay safe!

During LFH, we have been able to submit work to our teachers using the Sentral Parent Portal. This is great because they can give us feedback. Some teachers are also looking at Google Classroom. They have participated in training and in the coming weeks will teach us how to use it. This will make sure that everyone is completing most tasks and ensure we are still learning, improving and thriving no matter what the circumstances.
Looking forward to seeing you all again soon!

Although this situation is not ideal, all four of us have high hopes for the outcomes of the Learning from Home experience.
We send you all our best wishes and can’t wait to see you again at LPS.

Curiosity  •   Respect  •  Integrity  •  Resilience   


What's Happening?

From the Assistant Principals, Kathy and Jo

The start of Term 3 has seen teachers and students generally becoming 2-dimensional virtual figures, jumping in and out of Webex sessions and striving to meet the demands of a challenging time. Kudos to them all as we navigate these ever-evolving waters!

Whilst the playground has been relatively quiet, we have taken advantage of the lull to tick off some maintenance jobs and refresh our learning and play spaces. Our grounds team have been busy, ensuring all playground areas are topped with free fall mulch, sandpits refilled, trees trimmed and shade sails inspected, along with the general upkeep of our schoolyard.

The new deck outside the Laburnum Laboratory is shining…ready and waiting for the sounds of budding scientists, learning in the fresh air; let’s hope that this comes around soon! Check out this exciting new learning space below!


Our Vision:    Learn   •   Thrive  •   Contribute 


The Learn School Improvement Team leads school-wide improvements in English and Mathematics. During LFH, our School Improvement Teams have modified their 2020 plans to focus on supporting remote learning.


At the end of last term, when students briefly returned to school, teachers undertook a range of Maths assessments. These included Essential Asssessment Pre-tests and MOI (Mathematics Online Interview).

Essential Assessment pre-tests are available for each area of the Maths curriculum. MOI assesses growth points, which are key 'stepping stones' to mathematical understanding. These tools provide teachers with online dashboards to track student progress. Teachers can view both student and cohort (class or level) results.

Working with their PLC teams, teachers use these assessments to determine next steps in learning.  The information is guiding the focus of Learning from Home tasks and one-on-one sessions with students during Webex Extra and Plus.

Some teachers have been using MOI with students this week in some Webex Extra sessions. As well, teachers have been working individually with students to target their learning and complete further Maths assessments to identify their needs. 

Jacqui Purcell


At the end of last term, teachers introduced a new digital literacy resource known as Bug Club to their students. This library of books provides students access to a range of fiction and nonfiction books, which are allocated by teachers based on individual needs.

You might have noticed some teachers using these books during Webex Plus and Webex Extra sessions for guided reading and reading conferences.

In these sessions, teachers explicitly teach reading strategies and set future reading goals. Reading goals usually address an area that requires focus. For example, you may have noticed work across the school on Fluency strategies, as fluency affects reading comprehension.

Students are asked to read a Bug Club book each day as part of their Home Reading to reinforce and practise their reading fluency. They can then independently reread the same book and complete the Bug Club quiz. (This is because 'repeated reading' of the same text is a strategy that improves fluency). This resource also allows teachers to monitor student progress with their reading.

Mandy Ryan and Glenda Kelly

Our Vision:     Learn   •   Thrive  •   Contribute 



This eNews has a focus on Visual Arts opportunities during LFH, from Ms. Farlow.

Alebrijes are brightly coloured Mexican folk art sculptures of mythical creatures. The first alebrijes, along with invention of the term, originated with Pedro Linares. Linares often told that in the 1930s, he fell very ill, and while he was in bed, unconscious, he dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. There, he saw trees, animals, rocks and clouds that suddenly turned into strange, unknown animals. He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head, and all of them were shouting one word, "¡Alebrijes!, ¡Alebrijes!". Upon recovery, he began recreating the creatures he saw in cartonería, a papercraft consisting of strips of paper and glue on a frame, like papier mache craft.

Click here to enter Alebrijes: the international drawing contest.

The Lions Peace Poster Competition is open again for entrants aged 11 to 13. The theme this year is “Peace through Service”.

Details for entry, links and previous winners can be found here. Please forward entries to me by the end of October 2020.


If you would like to see your work exhibited online, OzKids is an online magazine is the arena for you. This is where you will find literary and art works produced by young Australian children. Entries for publication are available to all school age, children. Stories, poems, drawings, paintings, photographs, and computer art can be submitted online. Closing date is September 18th 2020.

I’m looking forward to Year 6 portrait collages in response to the Art lesson online. These works will be the start of their collaborative contribution to the Class of 2020 Graduation Artwork.

Curiosity  •   Respect  •  Integrity  •  Resilience 


Contribute: Parents Group & Community News

Parents Group News will be found here soon...


Click on these links for Community News or information:                     

Click on the OSHClub logo (left) to read this week's OSHClub news.

OSHClub - please register your child - it's free to register and you'll always have that option for childcare, even in unexpected circumstances.

ICAS tests for Years 4 - 6: register before 5 October for English, Mathematics and Science


Scholastic Book Club Online orders for July - click here


Our Vision:    Learn   •   Thrive  •   Contribute 



We're delighted to present three Superstars @ Home this week. During Learning from Home, they are using their time well!

Year 1 student MB (above) has adopted the perfect, comfortable Independent Reading pose, photographed by mum Bec. We're so impressed with your reading and concentration, M, even if your dog appears to have other ideas!

Our next Superstar @ Home is IW in Prep, who has been practising her singing of 'We Go Together' from the LFH Music program. She's learned all those tricky lyrics beautifully. Check out this delightful video, which Mrs Lienert was thrilled to receive:

Finally, Jude B. has been composing music while at home. Click on the video below to see and hear 'An Isolation Composition', written and performed by this Superstar Year 4 musician. Jude should be proud of his persistence and creativity - Jude's Got Talent!

Curiosity  •   Respect  •  Integrity  •  Resilience 

Parenting Tips: 7 Ways Parents Can Help Their Kids with Maths


By Danijela Draskovic

I’m a mother of a cheeky, curious and gorgeous 1-year old boy. Naturally, his first toy was a wooden abacus much to his mummy’s delight. At the moment, he picks up his abacus, rattles it around, and throws it onto the floor with a shriek of delight when it makes the crashing sound. I have to practise my patience with my desire to show him the beauty in mathematics, as perhaps he’s just a little bit too young.

However, I have been thinking about it for a while now. A lot of the time parents assume that their children will learn mathematics almost exclusively from school. I completely disagree and, in fact, wholeheartedly believe that both school and home learning are equally as important and should complement each other as best as possible.

Now you don’t need to be ‘good at maths’ yourself to foster mathematical thinking in your children. In fact, you don’t even need to have any of the answers. Parents need to just recognise opportunities for mathematical exploration and need to practice asking good questions. It is up to the child to discover the answers.

So here are my tips for parents. Parents should try to involve their children in as many life decisions and day-to-day ‘adult’ tasks as possible. Notice, throughout helping them with their mathematical reasoning, parents will be simultaneously helping their children with life skills. Surprise surprise! Maths really is all around us.

1. Give your young children some pocket money and encourage them to manage it. You may even lend them some support in creating a budget. Do they have a goal to purchase a certain item? Let them save for it! How much should they put aside each week so they can buy their item in 3 months’ time? How much general spending money do they need? The discussions around their budget could be very powerful and could reveal some interesting areas for exploration.

If the child is a bit older, you may discuss with them budgeting for a household. Perhaps let them create a weekly or monthly budget for running the entire house based on what they think the expenditures are. Then reconvene and have a discussion once they have finished. You may be surprised as how much they underestimate, and they may need to readjust the figures. A teenager may also be ready to consider borrowing or investing. This is a wonderful opportunity to discuss interest rates and make comparisons between different types of loans or savings accounts.

2. Cook with your children. Cooking, as well as being an enjoyable and creative activity, also involves a variety of maths skills. Ask your child to amend the quantities of that pancake recipe that serves 6. How much flour would they now need for 3 servings? Or 2 servings? How about a tricky 7 servings? Through cooking we are forced to consider ratio and proportion, fractions, volume, time, addition, division and many more. Added bonus: your children will also appreciate meals more if they have been actively involved in creating them! Budgeting can also overlap wonderfully with cooking and parents are encouraged to take their children grocery shopping as well. 

3. Grocery shopping. The shops are filled with opportunities to ask your children important mathematical questions such as comparing the value of buying items in smaller amounts to items in bulk. For example, which product offers best value for money: 250mL of yogurt for $1.95 or 1L of yogurt for $7.50? How much will an entire meal of Pad Thai cost to prepare? What will be the cost per portion? Is it financially more efficient to buy ingredients and cook this meal at home, or is it more economical to have that same meal from a restaurant?


4. Meaningfully involve children in planning for a holiday. Vacations offer rich opportunities to explore mathematical concepts such as distance, time, changing time zones, currency exchange rates, budgeting (again), purchasing travel insurance (comparing different policies), comparing costs of rent-a-car companies etc. Road-trips are great for estimating the time it will take to get from A to B. Do your kids understand the unit of km/h?

With only a couple of questions you will know the answer to that. ‘If we drive at an average of 80km/h, how many kilometres will we travel in 3 hours?’ ‘How long will it take us to travel 120km?’. Speed, distance and time are important concepts in maths/science and need to be understood in meaningful contexts, not just taught out of a textbook.

5. Building? Renovating? Landscaping? Creating a veggie-patch? Whatever hands-on project you may be working on, involve your kids. Get them to draw a floorplan of their ideal family house (give them some restrictions otherwise you may end up with an indoor go-karting hall attached to a 100-seater cinema room right by the indoor wave pool). Discuss scale and proportion, units of measurement, materials, area, perimeter, shape. Allow them to help you make the herb-garden and work out the volume of soil needed to fill it. They can then go to Bunnings to buy that amount of soil. As a parent you can watch to see their delight if they have gotten the quantity right, or if not, watch them revisit the problem and check where they went wrong. Remember, it’s not necessarily important to get it right. They will learn more from their mistakes.

6. Incorporate maths-based games, problem-solving activities and puzzles into family time. Make them fun, challenging, accessible at many levels so that everyone in the family can enjoy it. Think ‘low floor, high ceiling’ which means that it should be easily accessible even with low-level math skills (low floor) and that it can be extended or adapted for those who are mathematically capable (high ceiling). When giving kids riddles or problems to solve, avoid giving away the answer too soon. You are robbing them of discovering it for themselves. Instead of feeling the thrill and accomplished that they have worked on a problem and found a solution, they will feel the let-down of not having had enough patience and determination to reach the solution themselves.

Let the child have ample time to consider, ponder and grapple with the problem. If they start to give up, give them a little clue to nudge them in the right direction. After solving any maths problem, ask the child questions about it: ‘How did you arrive at your solution?’ ‘Could there be more than one answer?’ ‘Is there another way to solve this problem?’ ‘Do you see any patterns?’ ‘Does your answer make sense?’

7. Open the lines of communication. Allow your child to come to you when they do not understand something and empower them to ask for help. Make sure your child understands that nobody is born knowing everything and that marks and grades do not define them. Do not tell your child off for a low grade, instead have a discussion as to why that grade is as it is and how to improve it. Teach them to value the process of learning, and not only that final result on their report cards. If your child embraces learning and develops a love and passion for it, you have set that child up for life. Even when they leave your protective nest and go forth to TAFE or University or the workforce, you will know that they are motivated internally and value education not just the end product.

Finally, I would like to stress that although I believe all people can enjoy mathematics to some degree, not all of us are designed to be mathematicians. Just like not all of us are built to be NBA players, or have the long, dainty fingers to become pianists. Therefore, it’s important not to pressure a child to be something that they are not made for. Nurturing mathematical thinking is important for all people. But whether they use that mathematical thinking to become engineers, or use it to become better business owners, or more efficient chefs, or simply more competent members of society, either way, they are better off.

                                                © Mathematical Association of Victoria 2020

Curiosity  •   Respect  •  Integrity  •  Resilience 


What would you like to see in eNews?

To start with, we've planned these pages:

  • Principal's message
  • Student Leaders
  • What's happening? (from the Assistant Principals, Kathy and Jo)
  • Prep, Junior School, Middle School, Senior School, Specialists (with a learning focus, from our PLC Leaders)
  • Learn - what our Learn School Improvement Team is working on in English and Mathematics
  • Thrive - what our Thrive School Improvement Team is working on in inquiry and Wellbeing
  • Contribute - Parents Group and Community News, including OSHClub
  • Parenting Ideas - from Michael Grose and other experts
  • Superstars - recognising high achievers
Every page is translatable and we've added calendar dates on the front page.

What else would you like to see? Email laburnum.ps@education.vic.gov.au with eNews in the subject line