Last week, 20 Year 10 students commenced their 5-week High School Cancer Masterclass. Session 1 was on campus and we were able to be flexible and switch our learning environment to Zoom for sessions 2-5.
The HSCM program consists of five consecutive weekly tutorials designed and delivered by high-achieving university students studying biomedical science courses including the Bachelor of Biomedicine, Bachelor of Science, and Doctor of Medicine. During tutorials, tutors cover topics ranging from the basics of cell biology to the treatment and prevention of cancer.
Our ELC investigation this year “Crossing Boundaries” was chosen at the end of 2019 long before the challenges of 2020 had shown themselves to us. Shared research between adults and children is an everyday part of life in our school.
The professional development for educators, which results from the reflective practice of observation and documentation, provides the possibility for critical thinking and constructing new knowledge.
During this Covid-19 pandemic, there will always be a boundary of before and after. This experience has strengthened our awareness of how deeply we value relationships, of the jobs that are now recognised as essential, and of how we can come together to act in the interests of all. How would this time change and challenge our thinking as we embarked on a new experience of teaching and learning, as we embraced Digital Bialik?
We have had to consider:
What is different?
Are some of the processes we would have commonly used before, now calling for reflection? What changes are we noticing among the children, other educators, and families?
What are we doing now to ensure that we are moving forward perhaps in a new way and maintaining momentum in our investigations?
Are we rereading documentation and thinking about it differently?
Are we noticing things that were not evident before that we might want to investigate further? Are we documenting with different questions in mind?
What is the same and what is different?
As the context of teaching and learning has changed with Digital Bialik, how have your experiences with children been designed, organised, and planned? What processes have you found useful? Moreover, in kinder, how have you accommodated changing groups and protocols?
Has the climate of uncertainty challenged and informed your beliefs and practices during this time?
How have you supported dialogue, exchange and collaboration with children and adults?
How has the role of teacher as researcher supported, listened to, and documented the creative processes of children?
This is a time in history that absolutely supports Loris Malaguzzi’s thinking that; “rather than longing for predictability and regularity, he valued uncertainty, desired wonder and amazement, and loved to marvel at the totally unexpected”.
On Friday 31 July, eight students participated in the Bialik College Bible Quiz, competing from home and on campus simultaneously: Ashley B (Year 8), Mia W (Year 9), Jennifer B (Year 9), Madeleine B (Year 10), Eden G (Year 10), Dustin F (Year 10), Maya S (Year 10) and Adam E (Year 11).
This was an extremely complex competition requiring lengthy study and preparation. Students were tested, in-depth, on the biblical books of Ruth and Esther. All students volunteered to participate, studying in their own time, and should be incredibly proud of their efforts.
The competition was EXTREMELY tight, but ultimately, the two winners of the Bialik College Bible Quiz for 2020 were: Mia W & Maya S.
These two students will now proceed to the Australia-wide Bible Quiz. They will compete against students from Jewish day schools across the country. The two winners of the national round will then compete in the International Bible Quiz in Jerusalem on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) in 2021. This is a televised event, where, amongst others, the President and Prime Minister of Israel ask the questions.
Our annual Family Maths Games Evening is a highlight of the Primary school calendar. Thank you to our families and staff for their enthusiastic participation on 23 July as we held this event for the first time via Microsoft Teams. It was wonderful to see 60 of our Primary students and their families enjoying card games with a mathematical focus from home. The highlight of the evening was the game Boxed Cards which encouraged mental computation and strategy. All games from the evening can be accessed here to continue the learning at home.
The annual B’nai B’rith Jewish Youth Art Competition announced its winners yesterday and we are proud to share that three Bialik students won prizes.
Mazel tov to Tahni B (Year 11) – first prize for portraiture caricature, Samara S (Year 11) – second prize judges special commendation, Chloe H (Year 12)– third prize portraiture caricature and Sascha S (Year 7) – third prize for sculpture ages 11-13.
A Message from Dan Sztrajt, Assistant Principal and Head of Jewish Life
On Tisha B’Av we commemorate much more than the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, we mourn a seismic shift in Jewish identity, a period in time so fraught with rapid change that it altered what it meant to be a Jew for the next 2000 years.
This period was foretold in Deuteronomy, “In the morning you will say, would that it were evening, and in the evening you will say, would that it were morning”. The Talmud, in Tractate Sotah 49A, explains this as a cursed time when each evening we yearn for the next morning to bring better news, but in fact each day brings progressively more troubling news, “because their situation is continuously worsening” (Sotah 49A). The Talmud recognises that the destruction of the Temples themselves were not the most troubling element, but rather the uncertainty of such rapid changes for the community.
This year we are confronted with a very real understanding of what it is like to live through a period of constantly evolving circumstances. We wonder each evening what the infection numbers will be the next morning and how these may impose a different regime of restrictions on us. We are anxious with this uncertainty because it seems that our ‘situation is continuously worsening’. Just like the destruction of the Temples, it is not the existence of Covid-19 that worries us, it is this perpetual flux of changing conditions.
The parallels are even more pronounced when we read Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar’s Talmudic commentary on the same verse which says “since the destruction of the Temple… the taste and aroma has been removed from fruit.” While this may have been meant as a metaphor, it is almost eerie to consider this as analogous to today’s Coronavirus symptoms. We too now long for the sweetness of being in the classroom together and enjoying each other’s company on the playground at lunchtimes.
Having said all of this, what can we learn from these similarities? Perhaps we are now more able to appreciate the tragedy of Tisha B’Av, not only as destruction, but as prolonged uncertainty. On the other hand, we know Judaism adapted to its new reality and would eventually thrive becoming the religion we are so familiar with today. Some would even say that this calamity ultimately lead to the establishment of Rabbinic Judaism, democratisation replaced centralised control by the social elite, and individual prayer substituted gruesome sacrifices. What better lesson could we take from Tisha B’Av than the knowledge that uncertainty eventually ends, and things do get better. When we are challenged, we grow. We find innovative solutions to what once seemed like unsolvable problems. We develop new appreciations for what is really important to us and in the process, make our lives even richer than before. If we are still here thriving 2000 years after the destruction of our Temple, we will surely be here thriving after Covid-19 too.
Our Year 8 and 9 Etgar (Challenge) students have been continuing this exciting program during lockdown. This week, some of the participants joined with My Village Kitchen for some healthy, fun cooking all done in their own kitchens. Why don’t you try this easy recipe at home?
Easy ‘Choose Your Own Vegetable’ Frittata
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek or ½ brown or Spanish onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, peeled and diced finely
~ 500g of any vegetable of your choice (e.g. pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, broccoli, spinach, carrots, mushroom, zucchini)
½ cup grated cheese or fetta or any cheese you have at home
6 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
On Tuesday 21 July, the annual Mikolot Public Speaking Competition took place, this time online.
This is an inter-school competition, which saw Tali U (Year 11) and Megan S (Year 12) compete against students from The King David School and Leibler Yavneh College.
The judges were Mandi Katz and Josh Burns MP.
Students spoke about their visions for the establishment of new organisations within the Jewish community that would fill gaps in areas that are not otherwise addressed. Megan discussed her desire to create a new network which would facilitate communication between elderly members of our community and young people. Tali spoke about a digital interface that would assist Bar Mitzvah boys in learning their material and finding meaning in the experience.
Although our students did not win, they both presented brilliantly and did themselves, and the College proud.
In Term 2, the Year 8 STEM Elective students programmed a video game or musical instrument in Scratch and designed original game controllers using MaKey MaKey, a USB device that lets them replace the computer keyboard with any object that is conductive.
They developed their understanding of conductivity, design, collaboration, creativity, programming, construction and revising their designs as the went along.
We hope to show these games to a younger class, once we’re back at school.
Last year we showed the games and instruments to two Year 1 classes, who loved playing them.
Here we have Ella W and Ashley B’s racing car game and steering wheel. They also made a virtual guitar that played the real guitar sounds that Ella recorded.
Term 3 may not be unfolding the way we imagined it would, but there are still so many things to look forward to. All the usual excitement, activities and learning will take place in a suitable format and all our students, whether on or off campus.
Welcome back to the Creche and Kinder students, as well as the Year 10-12 students, who will be enjoying ‘business as usual’ on campus. And welcome back to our Year 2-Year 9 students — once again there is an amazing Digital Bialik offering in store for you.
Here are some photos of our Kinder students enjoying the first day of Term 3.