Preparing for the New School Year 

Preparing for the New School Year 

At the start of every school year, parents and students alike are often in the dark about what is coming in the year ahead. When students are in primary school, this does not feel so overwhelming. However, once a student reaches high school the thought of a new year’s content can become more and more overwhelming particularly as they reach the ATAR years. As parents or students, it is incredibly important to prepare correctly for the school year ahead. There are a number of strategies that people can use to prepare for the new school year whether in primary school or in high school. Here are my top five favourite strategies for preparing for a new school year to ensure academic success.

Number 1: Checking the Syllabus

Every year, teachers will create a learning plan for your child based on what is required of them by the Australian curriculum. Copies of the Australian curriculum for each year group and each subject can be found at the ACARA website. My recommendation is to search on the website for the appropriate year and understand what is going to be taught in the year ahead. Once you know what your child will be learning, it becomes a lot easier to frame your daily conversations and your daily questions to the appropriate year level that you were looking at. For example, you can find out on the year three science syllabus that children are going to learn about how liquids and solids respond to changes in temperature, for example water changing to ice, or melting chocolate. Once you are aware of this it becomes much easier to prompt conversations about this topic in everyday life. Children’s brains make connections to things that they already know or things that they have already heard. By establishing an understanding of the concept that they are going to learn in class will be much more engaging and they will be much more likely to hold on to all of their learning in the classroom.

Number 2: Lesson Plans or Unit Outlines

In primary school, teachers will often set units based on collaboration with other teachers in their school. Therefore, we know that teachers have some kind of understanding of the subjects or that in areas that they will be teaching in a particular term. It’s a great idea to reach out to your child’s new teacher at the at the start of the year and kindly ask for a very brief breakdown of what they will be covering in class that term so that you can reinforce different concepts and create different questions in your everyday life that will develop more enhanced learning in the classroom. For high school students, teachers are required to deliver a unit outline or assessment outline for each of the subjects that your child will sit (teachers of elective units may not be required to do this) and they should be accessible on your parent portal for school. Alternatively, teachers will likely give students a copy of this unit outline on the very first day of each of their classes for the year. Prompt your child to bring these home and make a copy of them so that you could have a copy at home. This is particularly important for year 11 and year 12 as sometimes these assessments will fall sooner than expected due to the sheer amount of content that is being taught at any one time.

Number 3: Note Keeping

Daily study is a little bit excessive for primary school. However, it makes sense for students to have somewhere that they can keep notes that they will likely need for tests. For example, if your student has studied Greek history in their humanities class, have them jot down four or five of the main points that they were taught in that class. They can keep this in a folder at home and this will prompt them when they are then practising for their test or if they forget important information to remember key lessons that were delivered as part of the unit. Once a student reaches high school, it is fundamentally important that note keeping becomes part of their habits. Having files at home where children can come home and do a weekly or daily dump of all of the key lessons that they talk about will help them recall what they learnt in the day; this will also serve as a useful study resource when it comes to test time. If this habit is practised every week students will find themselves in a much better position when it comes to exam time later in the year.

Number 4: Yearly Testing

It is a good idea to do a quick google search of the yearly tests that are expected of students as they progress through different years. For example, in year three, year five, year seven and year nine, students are expected to do the NAPLAN test. However, certain schools have requirements for students every year with tests such as the PAT test or the gifted and talented test. Understanding the different standardised testing that is going to be done through the year can reduce test anxiety as they are not sprung on the students without forewarning. It is good to discuss these tests and discuss that they are really useful in providing a picture of where students are out but not to worry too much about what happens with the results. It’s all about understanding what additional resources your child needs to help them in their learning. This could also be useful for students who are looking to enter selective schools as you will keep abreast of the selective testing that is done in yearly intervals.

Number 5: Getting in the Right Headspace

One of the biggest challenges that students have when it comes to starting a new year can be the anxiety of what the year will bring for them. The start of the new year can be a really effective time to create some mindfulness practices in a child’s life. Breathing exercises are really useful for students to self regulate when it comes to tests or things such as oral presentations. Meditation is another fantastic way that students can become more in tune with their emotions and learn to self regulate rather than let school overwhelm them. When discussing mindfulness with your children it should be made clear that all students no matter how intelligent they are have concerns about their abilities. This is a normal part of schooling and should be discussed as such. The more that we can destigmatise stress and make it a normal experience the better life will become for students everywhere.

I hope these tips help you in preparing for the New Year. Please reach out if you have any that I have not included in this list.

Compare and Contrast Language

Compare and Contrast Language
Despite that
As well asAlthough
At the same timeMeanwhile
Compared toOn the other hand
CorrespondinglyOn the contrary
In additionHowever
In parallelNonetheless
Just asIn contrast
MoreoverEven so
Same asConversely
SimilarlyEven though
Both authors take the same approachWhile this is the case, in...
This is mirrored in...This is contrasted in... equally significant in both contrasted in both texts.
This can also be seen in...This is not the case in....

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Narrative

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Narrative

Narrative writing is something that many of my students find particularly difficult because they believe that they do not have a creative person in their body. 

However, creativity is something that doesn’t occur naturally but something that we craft and perfect over time. You will find that some of the best writers in the world often have the same self-doubt that you do when you’re writing a narrative text. The good thing about this situation though is that they have time to research ruminate and consider elements of the plot structure. 

You, however, have one hour to complete this, which can be particularly difficult. The first thing that you must do when you are writing a story is to consider brainstorm. The brainstorm is a very important part of story writing particularly when you receive a prompt that you need to respond to. When you look at the image or the phrase write down the first words that jump into your mind and do that process for a few minutes or 30 seconds so that you can work through all the ideas that you have in your head. 

What you must then do is follow a very precise process that will be laid out here. 

1. Planning.

Planning is the most important part of your story writing and most people miss this part because they believe it takes too much time to plan. However, by creating a story arc you will be able to tell where you were going to take the first part of your exposition right through the rising action through to the climax, the falling action and then the resolution. Down below you will find a typical plan for a story that you should follow every time you start writing. 

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam Narrative

2. Choosing a Narrator. 

The second most important decision that you need to make when you are starting to write a story is to decide who will tell the story. The author is the person who writes the story and the narrator is the person who will tell the story. You are the author who is the narrator. You can either tell the story or you can either have a first-person narrator who says “I, we, our, us” or a third-person narrator who says “he, she, they”.

3. Tense

Choosing the tense in which you write your story is fundamentally important for the story itself and one of the biggest mistakes that students make when they are writing a story is that they change between tenses. If you start your story with “I jumped, I ran, I flew” then you cannot switch to “I run, I jump, I fly”. Make sure you stick to your tense. 

4. Keep it short. 

When you only have one hour to write a narrative please do not attempt to write a narrative that takes place over days, weeks, months or even years. Your story should take place over one hour, one day or one set in order to make sure that you can address each of the parts of the text in detail. When you are planning your story ensure that the point of climax happens within that same setting day or hour. 

For more help on how to write a narrative, contact Perth English Tutor.