Year 11 Biology

Yesterday our Year 11 Biology students were using different tools (tweezers, chopsticks, bulldog clips and spoons) to represent different types of beaks.  They were then competing over ‘food’ (pasta, rubber bands, paperclips and toothpicks) to model adaptations and how they link to natural selection and ecological niches.

Students used the data they collected to determine which ‘beak type’ had the greatest advantage with different food types and make predictions about survival in an environment where all food types were available.


Year 10 Information Software Technology

Our Year 10 IST class are currently working on a unit based around 3D printing technology.  The main project involved is a real authentic learning experience designed to use the skills developed in the unit to improve the lives of others in our local community.

The first part of the unit looks at the basics of 3D printing and a little of the background to this new technology. From there the students move into learning how to use a CAD program. We will be using Tinkercad for this project. Once they are comfortable using Tinkercad we move to the main project.

The main project involves the students using their skills to improve the lives of others. We are going to focus on the Charingfield community. The students will meet and interview some of the residents to find out about some of the physical challenges they face in their everyday lives.

The students will then consider a possible solution to one of these challenges that can be designed and built using our 3D printer. The main project involves designing, creating and evaluating their solution to the particular problem.

Along the way we are constantly exposing the students to new and emerging technologies. Last week our ISO, Mr Ben Johnson gave the students a demonstration of our hand-held 3D scanner. There was a great deal of amusement when Mr Burden put his hand up to be scanned. Fortunately there was a brave student who volunteered and the group were impressed at the clarity of the image created and the possibilities this technology has for this project.


iPads in Visual Arts

In recent weeks some of our Visual art classes have been working with renowned artist, Loribelle Spirovski. The focus of each workshop has been to create portraits using the app Brushes Redux, referencing the British artist David Hockney. The use of the iPads is part of a broader vision to explore the possibilities of incorporating the iPad Pro and Pencil into the Visual arts classroom.

It was wonderful to see the students break away from the more traditional methods of creating portraits. As you can see from the video some of the work created shows the potential for this type of technology.

Great credit goes to our fabulous Art teachers, Mrs Tofler and Mrs Smith who are constantly looking to provide unique and inspiring experiences for our girls.

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Time to Reflect

At the Welcome Cocktail Evening last night a few of us sat back before the start of the evening and reflected on the last twelve months and how much we had achieved. We looked at all the wonderful improvements that had been made to the physical aspects of the College and how beautiful it looked in the afternoon sunset. Our College Principal made the comment that now the College looks amazing we need to focus on the learning that is happening in the classroom to make that just as amazing. This is our focus for 2018 and we look forward to sharing our learning journey over the coming months as we highlight some of the great projects we have planned for this year and beyond.

It was media theorist Marshall McLuhan who famously said we look at the present through a rearview mirror. This is what I am doing at the moment as I reflect on the last 498 posts on bluyonder. There have been some posts that were well-received, others critiqued and many that have been ignored. The blog was never going to […]

via The rearview mirror —

Technology in Schools

Another insightful post from the Executive Director of the Parramatta Diocese, Greg Whitby. The message coming from people like the Premier and the Federal Education Minister is similar to what I have heard from teachers and parents over the past decade. The simple answer is to ban devices and everything will be fine. The more difficult response is how can we harness the power of these devices to improve learning? As we all struggle with a fast moving and ever changing world it is important that are leaders look forward not back. The world will never be as it was even a decade ago. Smartphones have changed everything. In the not too distant future, the discussion will not be around mobile devices but around the how we manage technology embedded within students!

Yes, you heard it right. The Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham and NSW Premier, Gladys Berejikilian have suggested that schools lock up phones until the end of the school day to prevent students’ from being distracted. Naturally the comments generated a lot of debate on radio particularly among frustrated parents and teachers. I understand their frustration. […]

via Technology isn’t the problem —

Why 2018 needs to be the year of curiosity —

A great post by Greg Whitby on curiosity. St Clare’s is adopting this approach in 2018 as we explore two new major projects. One is an integrated project with our Year 7 students in conjunction with Sydney University’s STEM Acadmey. The other is a coding initiative where we are teaming up with Apple and the Coder Academy to explore app development using iOS.

Over Christmas I had a grandfather’s delight of reading Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to my grandson. The story follows the adventures of a girl transitioning from childhood into a never-seen-before world. Alice talks about her experiences in this new environment as ‘curioser and curioser’. It got me thinking about the importance of curiosity […]

via Why 2018 needs to be the year of curiosity —

Year 7 Religion

Our Year 7 students began a wonderful initiative back in Term 1. There goal was to capture some of the wonderful memories of the Poor Clare Sisters before they move to their new premises at Richmond.

One of the most important rituals our Year 7 students participate in is ‘The Garden Walk’ with Sr Louise. Sr Louise takes the entire cohort on a trip around our beautiful garden pointing out the significance of the statues and mosaics. She also recounts some of the great stories the garden has been part of during her time at St Clare’s. This is a wonderful tradition that we need to preserve.

A small group of Year 7 students spent time with Sr Louise talking about the garden and what it meant to the Sisters. They then spent time exploring the garden and gathering images of the statues and mosaics. From there it was time to research and gather images that would assist in telling the story of the garden.

Numerous meetings took place to refine the script and ensure the words did justice to Sr Louise’s vision. Once the script was finalised images were gathered to match the script. With six students each contributing to the project it was quite complex bringing it together.

The most difficult part though was finding time in Sr Louise’s hectic schedule to get her to read the script in front of the green screen allowing us to have the images in the background. After a number of ‘takes’ to get the timing right we ended up with almost the perfect match between script and images.

While not being perfect it is a great tribute to the Year 7 students involved that they have created something special that will help future Year 7 students appreciate the importance the garden has in the history of the College.


Over the past eighteen months classrooms across the College have undergone  significant transformation. The focus of this transformation has been to allow greater collaboration within the learning space.

The purchase of ‘writable’ tables has been significant in allowing this process to take place. We have seen numerous examples of classes across the College using these effectively and this is another sample of the great learning that takes place within the College.

Many thanks to our fabulous HSIE teacher, Keira Nightingale for sharing these images from a recent lesson.

Year 9 Market Day

Our Year 9 Commerce classes have been preparing for ‘Market Day’ for most of this term and Friday’s activities were the culmination of the hard work and preparation put in by staff and students.

Each class was divided into group with students choosing team members. Initially discussions centred around potential businesses that may be successful on ‘Market Day’.

Each group was given a template of a ‘business report’ from which they then built an outline of the potential business. This was then submitted to the teacher for review. Upon getting the green light for the business each group then started pricing items they needed to get up and running.

Each group had to purchase their own stock and was responsible for the ‘marketing’ of their product prior to ‘Market Day’.  Any profits were to be directed to one of the charities the College supports.

It was a great learning experience for all and another fantastic example of authentic learning taking place.

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