Cobham Newsletter

Christine Lambie |

June 15, 2023

Week 8, Term 2, 2023

Kia Ora, Talofa Lava and warm greetings,

Welcome to this newsletter edition.

Thankfully, the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) has settled with teachers, ensuring continuity of learning for our students. While the settlement does not solve all of the challenges facing teachers, it does mean that the disruption to families will abate.

On behalf of the school, I thank those who attended our writing evening on Monday. We are working hard to lift the writing standard for all students, and we appreciate your support. On Monday evening, we focused on two concepts: expansion and identifying twelve sentence types in an informational text. Expansion is a technique that can be used to add detail and interest to writing. The concept is that students write three or more sentences about the same idea before moving on to the next point. When students have a command of this skill, their writing develops more colour, detail, and interest for the reader.

There are twelve sentence types, each with its own unique purpose. By understanding these sentence types, students can write more effectively and communicate ideas in a varied, more engaging manner.

In a nutshell, expansion encourages students to build on an idea through three or more sentences before moving on to their next thought. Expansion is the precursor to effective paragraphing, and they build their ideas carefully by sticking to the subject.

An example of expansion

Steven Adams is an amazing basketballer. An excellent passer for his size, Adams is a fantastic team defender and rotates well. He really has a great feel for the game.

All sentences are about Steven Adams and are connected to the idea of him being a great basketball player.

As opposed to:

Steven Adams is an amazing basketball player. Incredibly Steven has 17 brothers and sisters. He likes to wear Nike basketball shoes.

All sentences are about Steven Adams, but sentences two and three are not connected to the idea of him being a great basketball player.

We shared this information report with those who attended. Together with parents, they highlighted or identified the various sentence types. Ideally, when writing a report, drafting a speech, or composing other texts, students should be able to use a wide range of sentence types. Doing so will significantly enhance their writing. Don’t be afraid to ask your child about their writing at home or ask how they include all of the appropriate sentence structures.

Maths interviews – I would like to apologise to some families who had difficulties with the booking system, particularly if your child was in a double-grouped maths class or the teacher had two maths groups. This was the first time using Hero for the maths interviews, and we have learned a lot about the system and our maths structures. We will be better prepared next time.

The number of families attending the maths interviews was high, our largest turnout yet. I trust they were worthwhile and that you and your child could identify progress and areas to focus on for the remainder of the year.

Earlier this week, I was invited to be part of a forum with three other secondary school principals. We discussed the challenges and opportunities within the education sector. One key anecdote I took away was that the secondary principals believe that parental involvement in learning and progress at the NCEA level is a strong indicator of student success. In other words, outcomes are enhanced if parents are involved in subject choices, content, study, and homework expectations. I encourage you to continue to be involved in your child’s learning. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher with any questions or concerns.

North West Schools’ Music Festival – after missing this event for several years, Miss Chilvers and her dedicated Chorale look forward to next Wednesday’s Festival. Cobham has performed exceedingly well in the past and has complemented the Burnside groups performing. We look forward to seeing parents and family next Wednesday night at the Aurora Centre from 7 pm.

The Aurora Centre will be in use again for Cobham’s Magnificent Medleys in September. Rehearsals for this year’s show started last weekend, and observing one of the two rehearsals was pleasing. The students were quick to learn; they worked well together, and, most importantly, they looked to be having fun. I have no doubt the final performance will be entertaining, something that will be enjoyed by the audience.

Cross Country – Good luck to those representing Cobham at next week’s CAIMS cross county. These events always allow students to test themselves on a bigger scale against students from across the region. Often a running race is over very quickly, and students quickly reflect on their performance and how they could improve on their next outing.

Yesterday we had a small but talented group of students represent us at the Canterbury Artistic Gymnastics competition. Our small team were exceptional, and we were pleased to be represented.

2024 enrolments – the online enrolment form is available on our website. Please share this information with families who are considering Cobham in 2024. Enrolments for 2024 are now open and close on Thursday, 31 August 2023.

A ballot will be held for out-of-zone enrolments during the week beginning 4 September 2023. Tours of the school are also available. The link to book a tour is available on our website.

Thanks again for your support of our school.