By Peter Jowett
I had the privilege of attending the JNF tour at the beginning of 2020.
It was a very special couple of weeks, which opened up my eyes to the wonderful diversity of the country of Israel, with its rich culture and modern thinking working together.
The amazing team at JNF guided us through many inspirational experiences, from the spiritual and religious traditions of Judaism, to the stories of wars and victories won.
From the importance of caring for the natural environment, to the state of the art sustainability projects which are ensuring the that resources of the land are here for future generations to come.
Being a horticulturist, I enjoyed any opportunity to immerse myself in the natural landscape, and learn about the work of JNF in the many national parks and farming projects.
As I am also a Bible student and have a strong belief in the promises given to Abraham, I found a special connection with the ancient history of the nation of Israel and the land as it is today.
To visit the very land that patriarchs such as, Abraham, Moses and David walked in, was a moving experience for me.
A connection to the land, or to country, is a deep rooted belief in many societies and communities around the world, and in Israel it is no different. The traditions of Judaism are closely connected to the land of Israel and its people.
I wanted to build a garden, which can be an educational space for the Bialik community to enjoy and learn about Jewish life and traditions, both old and new.
I have included the seven spiritual plants of Israel, along with other trees, shrubs, and groundcover plants, which each have a special meaning or are mentioned in Hebrew texts.
The sandy dry riverbed design celebrates the fact that much of Israel’s natural landscape consists of desert regions. But I hope it also emphasises the importance of water courses and water preservation.
By seeing and touching the different types of plants that have grown in the land of Israel for thousands of years I hope that visitors to this special garden can feel a connection to it, and find joy in what it represents to them.
I am certain too, that the Jewish life studies at Bialik will be impacted in a positive way, with the opportunity to learn about the plants, land regions, and natural resources that Israel holds.
My hope is that students, teachers and families alike can experience in some small way, the beauty of the land of Israel, and find a connection for themselves to its history and culture, and realise the importance of preserving such things into the future.
Hawthorn principal named one of Australia’s best educators
A Hawthorn principal has been recognised as one of Australia’s most outstanding educators at Futurity Investment Group’s National Excellence in Teaching Awards.
Bialik College principal, Jeremy Stowe-Lindner, is one of only three educators in Victoria to win a NEiTA Award this year.
Jeremy has steered the school community through the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic with care and professionalism, allowing the school community to not only survive, but thrive. During the lockdowns, the school was able to run every class as scheduled online with students experiencing as ‘normal’ a school day as possible, even running every music and performance event on-schedule and on-line. “I wanted to ensure that students did not miss any part of their learning during an otherwise disruptive period, and as a result we found our demand spike and more enrolment enquires than ever before.”
Jeremy passionately champions student wellbeing and has also fostered a relationship with Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, enabling the school to benefit from the latest research in Cultures of Thinking.
Jeremy said it is extremely humbling to receive a NEiTA Award and accepted it “on behalf of our outstanding team of educators and support staff.”
“My favourite part of the week is standing at the school gate and greeting children running into school,” Jeremy said.
“It is all about relationships. If we get the relationships right, then everything else falls into place.”
With the challenges of COVID-19, Jeremy said ‘pivot’ has been the word of the year.
“Whether it has been reorganising camps at short notice, responding to the ever-changing health regulations or finding new and creative ways to engage children in person and online – we have all grown in ways we never expected,” Jeremy said.
NEiTA Chairman, Allen Blewitt, said educators like Jeremy display outstanding resilience, passion and creativity every day.
“These qualities have become all the more important during the pandemic,” Allen said.
“Teachers have been at the frontline, adapting to the pressures of lockdowns and virtual teaching, while caring for student wellbeing.”
Reviewing Jeremy’s nomination, it was clear his passion for education is infectious. It is not only his students who benefit, but the broader school community.
“The NEiTA Awards were established to recognise inspirational teachers in the community. We understand the potential of education to change lives, but it is our teachers who effect that change.”
The National Excellence in Teaching Awards started in 1994 in Australia and 1996 in New Zealand. Since inception, nearly 40,000 teachers have been nominated by the community in the two countries. More than 1,075 teachers have received over $1,000,000 in professional development grants and prizes.
Welcome to the ETGAR Newsletter!
By: Gabriella G, Celine R & Ruth P
What is the most important part of a Shabbat dinner? The Challah of course! If you are in need of some delicious Challah, come and buy some right here at Bialik! In the Challah For Hunger ETGAR group, students together to make you your very own Challah!
Before we discuss that, what is ETGAR? Etgar is a wonderful opportunity for Year 8 and 9 students to work together on Friday afternoons for the whole year. This helps them develop their interests, skills, and competencies in new and untested areas. The focus is to create opportunities for students to explore and improve real life skills that they may have not identified before.
So back to Challah for Hunger, there are many flavours such as white chocolate, chocolate chips, and many more! But not only that, all profits made are donated to a charity. Over the years Bialik students have donated over $3000 to charities across Melbourne, to charities such as the Lighthouse Foundation.
“Etgar” means to challenge yourself, says a year 9 student. The concept of ETGAR grows with the positive and effective involvement of students across years 8 and 9. Electives such as Challah For Hunger make it possible for young students to embrace newly found situations and interesting scenarios. The element of donation or charity work ties in with the Jewish values of Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam, teaching students to positively influence the world around them. Over the 2 years, students have come to experience various new opportunities.
Challah for Hunger teaches students many valuable skills. Skills such as sales, cooking and money managing abilities come very easily throughout the program. It allows students to step outside of their comfort zones when they must sell Challah quietly and quickly as to not disturb the learning of their peers. The skill of silently and efficiently completing a task given can be used for many things later in life.
Don’t forget to tune in next week to see a close-up of some more wonderful aspects of Etgar!
A Deeper Look into Entrepeneurship
Welcome back to term two of the college notices!
Before we begin, here is a quick recap of what ETGAR is all about:
Every term, students from year 8 and 9 get to choose new electives from the many choices there are. Each elective can give you benefits for your future, and you get to have tons of fun while doing them. On the last 2 periods of every Friday, the year 8’s and 9’s band together and take part in the elective that they have chosen.
Entrepreneurship is one of the 16 elective choices that provide lots of fun and excitement on Friday afternoons. Guided by Amy Ho, students from year 8 and 9 every term get to have an experience to learn about public relations and marketing.
Entrepreneurship prepares students well for future jobs, such as being a salesman or anything to do with writing or presenting. Entrepreneurship is one of 16 choices, but it expands with-in. The students get allocated to a portfolio, with about 2-3 students in each group. College Notices, Instagram, Assembly, Marketing with the Middle school, and marketing with ETGAR. There was also a bonus portfolio this term, making a song.
In the College Notices portfolio, you get to have 2 hours every Friday to write an article about any ETGAR elective of your choice. If you choose to do Instagram, you get full access to the Bialik ETGAR page (@bialik_etgar). If you get to choose Marketing with the Middle school, you get the opportunity to help Karen Glanc with issues if she needs you, including things like organizing Health and Wellbeing days, it is similar to Marketing with ETGAR. Marketing with ETGAR gives you the opportunity to go around to each ETGAR elective, and help the students and teachers with anything they need throughout their elective. Making a song involves coming up with lyrics to do with the Bialik ETGAR, recording you singing them, making a music video and having fun with it!
Entrepreneurship is just one of the many electives that can give you confidence to help people when they need it, or get a job in the future. The ways you can remember these Marketing and Public relations skills are infinite, and they can be useful if you ever need to engage a large audience into anything.
By Ruby and Gabriella
A Deeper Look into ETGAR in Lockdown
Following the extension of the current lockdown in Victoria, the year 8’s and 9’s ETGAR choices were kept online for this week. Some of the choices you have already read about were not able to be done, such as barista. Not many year 8’ and 9’s would just have a coffee machine lying around their house, so the teachers have changed the electives! There was one add-on to the list of online ETGAR’s. Instead of 16 choices, there are now 12 choices, but they are all as fun as the normal ones! Some of the electives have stayed the same if they were still able to be done, such as Extreme Sports and Cooking For a Cause. The new electives were introduced, but only for a temporary time. Some examples of the new ones are Roadset and some Zen Gardening!
The year 8’s and 9’s got to choose 2 electives to participate in, as for this Friday, they only run for one hour each. The classes were all fun, and they were still teaching things that could be used in the future!
Zen Garden with Sally Elliot, the option is only available for the year 8’s. In Zen Garden, the students get to design their own pattern from any powdery material in a bowl or tupperware. They get to design the things that they feel is right for them. The students can create their own personal garden the whole lesson, drawing lines, placing stones and decorations where it feels right for you. You would also get a brief history about Zen gardening and where it is from!
For Extreme Sports since it is a lockdown at the moment, the Extreme sports is similar to a normal sport lesson, but better! Led by Daniela D’Amelio and Mark Robinson, The Extreme sport students have a choice of doing what they want from these three; A Workout, The 500 and going for a walk with Strava. Going for a walk with Strava for 30 minutes, and then you can go outside and breathe the fresh air while moving yourself! In the 500, you get extremely active through the lesson while doing 100 push ups, 100 crunch sits, 100 burpees, 100 star jumps, and 100 squats. And for the work out, you will find a workout clip on youtube, participate in it and do it yourself.
There are more fun choices such as Film analysis. Led by Brad Rychter, the students got to watch an episode of their choice and answer a few questions in a worksheet. Some examples are “what did you enjoy about that episode?” “ What did you dislike about the episode?” and “ what would you rate the episode out of 5?”
Tune in next week, to learn more about ETGAR, and stay safe!
The Bialik College Parents’ Association wishes everyone a speedy and healthy extended ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown. If you are currently queuing for the Pfizer vaccine or are still stuck on hold to the hotline, here are a handful of ideas to help pass the time:
Some good free DIY escape room puzzle ideas include:
5. For a limited time, The Melbourne Theatre Company are offering their plays to viewers online, including ‘Berlin’: https://www.mtc.com.au/plays-and-tickets/whats-on/mtc-digital-theatre/
6. Plan and get creative with your leftover vegetables in the fridge to make a hearty winter soup (Calling to mind the folktale about the Magical Stone Soup https://dltk-teach.com/fables/stonesoup/mtale.htm).
We will get through this together. Stay safe and well and see you soon!
An insight into learning in lockdown from our very own Director of Learning.
Our current generation of students have been labelled, wryly, as the ‘COVID Generation’. A generation of students who have navigated the disruption of the global pandemic with agility and resilience, utilising technology to meet their learning needs. These ‘generational’ attributes were evident as our students recently transitioned from the traditional classroom setting to Digital Bialik 4.0.
Whilst individual students may have had different experiences in the remote learning setting, our collective experience has been extremely positive. Our teachers have generated digital learning experiences that have ensured a rigorous continuum of learning from Prep through to Year 12. Learning has been targeted to meet the demands of the Victorian Curriculum and the needs of our students.
Our remote learning experience has shown that students demonstrate greater agency and independence as learners. Students have certainly been active participants in their learning, they have monitored their daily schedule, communicated with their teachers, and they have utilised a range of digital platforms, including Seesaw and MS Teams, to communicate and document their learning. They have also been adept at troubleshooting any technical issues that may have emerged.
Whilst we are physically disconnected during remote learning, Bialik has put into place wellbeing initiatives to ensure that students feel a sense of belonging. Students are invited to participate in the following opportunities as a way of staying connected with community members: lunchtimes with the Jewish Informal Team, Enhanced Homework Club, and the Feel Good Friday program. Increased collaboration in digital breakout rooms has also increased within the learning context to maximise student communication and interaction.
We are extremely grateful to our parents and guardians who have played an essential role in juggling their own commitments to ensure that their child’s home learning experience has been successful. Please continue to monitor correspondence from the College for the latest information concerning assessments, reporting, and a return to onsite learning.
Director of Learning
A Deeper Look into ETGAR in Lockdown
Because of the current situation in Victoria, the year 8’s and 9’s ETGAR choices were switched up a bit for this week. Some of the choices you have already read about were not able to be done, such as barista. Not many year 8’ and 9’s would just have a coffee machine lying around their house, so the teachers have changed the electives! Instead of 16 choices, there are now 11 choices, but they are all as fun as the normal ones! Some of the electives have stayed the same if they were still able to be done, such as Extreme Sports and Cooking For a Cause. Many new ones were introduced, but only for the temporary time. Some examples of the new ones are Drawing and some study skills!
The year 8’s and 9’s got to choose 2 electives to participate in, as for this Friday, they only run for one hour each. The classes were all fun, and they were still teaching things that could be used in the future! In Drawing with Carol Andrews in Period 5 and Miriam Ryan in period 6, the students learnt how to draw using tones, and then practiced drawing lips, a nose or eyes, it was your choice. Learning to draw with tone can help if anyone wants to become an artist in their future, or even if they just enjoy drawing!
For cooking for a cause, since it is a lockdown at the moment, the cause is your hunger! Led by Belinda Lee and Ian Poyser, the cooking for a cause students had to join the call, but others who wanted to try it out were also able to. The students were emailed recipes to choose from, and were able to cook what they chose. Many chose desserts such as choc chip cookies! Cooking for a Cause ran for both Period 5 and Period 6, but it was great to be able to try your delicious desserts after they were finished!
There are also educational elective choices such as learning about Cryptocurrency! Guided by Amy Ho, the students who chose to do Cryptocurrency learnt about an 18 year old man, Erik Finman, a Bitcoin Millionaire. Just at 21 years old, he is the youngest self-proclaimed bitcoin millionaire. The students also learned about blockchains, what they are and how they work! We also looked over the details of what a digital coin was, and some good ones!
Tune in next week, to learn more about ETGAR , and stay safe!
A Deeper Look into First Aid
First Aid is one of the 16 elective choices that provide lots of fun and excitement on Friday afternoons. Guided by Frank and an instructor from the official Victoria first aid program, students from year 8 and 9 every term get to have an experience to learn about level 2 first aid.
“First aid is very educational and Frank teaches us a lot about first aiding” Nathan H.
“Doing first aid is an enjoyable and interactive ETGAR choice that will provide you with very useful skills for the future, and may even save lives!” Helena M.
First Aid prepares students for any emergencies, as they would have learnt the basic steps of level 2 first aiding. The things that are taught during the lessons are how to treat an open wound, fainting, anaphylaxis, help with a seizure, strokes, hypothermia and more. The students get hands-on interactive practice on musically approved dummies. At the end of the term, the students complete government official tests, and if you pass it, you will get a certificate to prove that you have become an official level 2 first aider.
First Aid is just one of the many electives that can give you confidence to help people when they need it, or get a job in the future. The ways you can remember these steps is great, and with level 2 first aid skills, you will already have a head start from others if you want to apply for a job in paramedics, and you will be able to help your friends and family with the things you have learned.
Tune in next week, for information about another elective, see you then!
By Ruby, Sunny, and Gabriella
A Deeper Look into Emmy Monash
Welcome back to Term 2 of the Igeret!
Before we begin, here is a quick recap of what ETGAR is all about:
Every term, students from Years 8 and 9 get to choose new electives from the many choices available. Each elective can give you benefits for your future, and you get to have tons of fun while doing them. On the last two periods of every Friday, Year 8s and 9s band together and take part in the elective that they have chosen.
“This is a great opportunity to bond together, and learn about their (residents) life experiences and how they got here (to Emmy Monash).” Eden said.
Emmy Monash is one of the 16 elective choices that provides lots of fun and excitement on Friday afternoons. Guided by Lindy Broadfoot, students from Years 8 and 9 every term get to leave the school premises and go to the Emmy Monash Aged Care Centre, to interact with the residents. Every week, each student gets paired with a different resident. They get to meet and interact with different people every week.
This provides an insight to the daily life of the residents and what they went through to be living in Emmy Monash. Many of the residents arrived after they found out that they would need some sort of help, many have dementia or other disease/illnesses, which give the students exposure to things they may not have heard much about before. The students get to hand out Challah and greet the residents by saying a Shabbat Shalom. After the students arrange flowers, the residents of Emmy Monash choose whether to play Bingo, Rummikub, or do another activity that has already been arranged each week for them.
Emmy Monash is just one of the many electives that can give you confidence to meet new people and interact with them, or assist with getting a job in the future. The way you can connect with them is endless, doing anything will help these people learn more about you. You can also learn about the people living in Emmy Monash. The residents can talk to you, and you can let them know about things that are happening recently they may have missed out on.
Tune in next week, for information about another elective, see you then!
By Gabriella, Ruby, and Sunny