Junior Geographers Collaborate on Climate

The Trinity Building was abuzz with discussion about Australia’s drought crisis as 7.2 and 7.4 joined Social Science classes to investigate the causes of the water shortages facing Stanthorpe as part of the ‘Water in the World’ Geography unit.  Students worked in small cross-class groups to explore a range of climate graphs, tables, topographic and climate maps, and satellite imagery to examine the causes and impacts of the drought on the Southern Darling Downs.

As educators we are working to actively promote and apply 21st century learning skills of collaboration, critical and creative thinking, communication, flexibility and media literacy as we value these as essential tools for sustainable living in the world.

Students applied knowledge from previous lessons on how wind patterns and topography influence rainfall patterns in Australia, and how the variability of rainfall can lead to natural disasters, including drought and floods.  Teachers were impressed by the collaborative teaching and learning that took place as students took on the role of peer teachers as they explained the role of south-easterly trade winds and rain-shadows in determining rainfall patterns.

Our team of junior ‘climate scientists’ thought that the collaborative environment was a positive one that was engaging and encouraging and said that they would like to have more opportunities to work together in this way.  It is encouraging to see students working as collaborative learning partners as they make meaning from a diverse range of data sources to understand the problems we face in an ever changing world, and to develop solutions to these issues to shine the light of Hope into the world.

Tom Harvey – Head of Social Science

Design in Action @ SRC

Yr 11 Design students have worked in teams of 3 to further develop an initial idea in regards to our new learning precinct, Trinity building. By working in teams, students have the potential to stretch a concept and maybe take it in a different direction . It may also raise questions or options that were never considered. Once this collaboration has been completed students will then gather all information and feedback and move forward with the development of a solution. Design in Action at SRC. WE love it!

Maree Trims

Deputy Principal – Studies


Year 10 German Club

Our Year 10 German class have created their own German Club, meeting after school once a month.  They have planned a range of German cultural experiences such as cooking, reading, watching a German film and visiting some German establishments in Brisbane, such as a butcher and café. This week their task was to bake some German cookies, translating the entire recipe and then baking the cookies. It was an enjoyable afternoon filled with laughter and the girls are looking forward to many more German experiences.

Mrs Maree Trims – Deputy Principal – Studies


Weather station in Year 7 Social Science

Students in Year 7 Social Science learned how to read and construct climate graphs as part of their Water in the World Unit. In this activity, students were required to interpret data from different climate graphs and draw conclusions about the climate and geography of different regions. Students also constructed their own climate graph using weather data.

Mrs Maree Trims – Deputy Principal – Studies

Mathematics @ SRC

Year 7/8 Quiz

This Term our years Year 7 and 8 students participated in a number of Mathematics competitions.

Two teams participated in the Year 7/8 Quiz held at Nudgee College during Week 3 of this Term. The Quiz is held in a similar format to “It’s Academic” where students participated in teams in 5 rounds: Estimation, Speed, Written Problems, Individual Short Answer and General Knowledge. Our students performed well and finished 5th and 9th out of 14 teams.


All Hallows’ Maths Tournament

During Week 4, we had five teams of Year 7 students participate in the All Hallows’ Maths Tournament. This is an all girls school Maths Team Challenge where there are 2 rounds: A Team event and a Relay event. Our teams also performed well placing 8th, 9th, 20th, 25th and 26th out of 28 teams with not many points separating the 14th to 25th placed teams. Our sincere thanks also goes to the three parents who volunteered their time to supervise teams for this event.

Congratulations to all those who participated. We hope that you had a great time!

Mr Mark Ellingham – Head of Faculty – Mathematics

Year 9 Term 2 Religious Education Blog

The voices of those on the margins in Australia – refugees and people seeking asylum………

In Year 9 this Term, students are being challenged to embrace ‘the call to hospitality’ as they grapple with the plight and struggle of refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia.  Indeed, the voices of those on the margins cannot be ignored or silenced. The Catholic Church’s teaching on refugees represents a counter-cultural view in response to the current Australian political landscape. This view is clearly articulated in the Gospel of Matthew.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me”. (Matthew 25:35-40)

Furthermore, Pope Francis advocates “a ‘shared response’ to the world’s refugee crisis by the political community, civil society and the church. He said that effort could be described with four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.”1

In the College’s Year of Leading with Courage, students are encouraged to be people of conscience by standing up for the dignity of the human person, embracing compassion and seeking justice for those on the margins. The call to be Presentation women of action means to live compassionately and justly, welcoming the stranger into our local communities.  Such action is a moral imperative if we are to offer a sense of hope and build a future of peace in Australian society.

Ms Paula Manthey – Head of Faculty – Religious Education

Source: https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/02/21/pope-francis-protecting-worlds-migrants-and-refugees-moral-imperative

Year 10 Design and Technologies Class

Today I had the pleasure of visiting the Year 10 Design and Technologies class where they were working on their graphic design unit and creating hoodies. The students began the process by designing and creating their own logo, which needed to reflect their own personality or interest. Some student logos included trees, bicycle, lion and an infinity design. This design was created using the Adobe Illustrator. Next they transferred their design logo to the Embrilliance embroidery software program, where they needed to choose the colour and decide on the type of stitches to use. Each student is creating a sample of their embroidery work first, allowing them to make changes if necessary. One student, Maddy, explained me that she needed make her lavender flowers larger in Illustrator because when they were embroided, the flowers were too small. Lucy, needed to make her lion logo smaller, as she felt it was too big. Classroom teacher, Mrs Michelle Siddiqui, explained how this learning activity was allowing the students to see the entire design process for a product, from the design phase using Illustrator, through to the trial process of embroiding their design on a sample, to sewing together their completed hoodie jumpers.

Mrs Maree Trims – Deputy Principal – Studies

First Aid Qualifications in HPE

Over the course of Term 1, all Year 10 students are working towards attaining their First Aid Certificate in the subject of Health and Physical Education.  We work in close partnership with Binnacle Training and they provide us with the support and teaching resources required to effectively deliver the nationally recognised qualification HLTAID003 Provide First Aid (including CPR).  Students complete online modules each lesson after the content has been delivered in the classroom.  They are provided with digital course content, lectures and videos and upload their completed modules via Binnacle’s online learning platform. As part of the qualification, students have the opportunity to practise administering epipens, perform CPR on a variety of mannequins, from a baby to an adult, and use the AED. The students enjoyed all of the practical elements especially the bandages and slings. Individual assessment includes an exam testing their knowledge and Emergency Management Practicals including CPR demonstration in the format of scenarios.

What I enjoyed about the First Aid unit was being able to learn techniques which can be applied and used in emergency situations. Leilah

I enjoyed learning what to do in real situations. I also brought the skills I learnt into real life as my Dad got a blue bottle sting at the beach the other day and I could help him. Olivia

I enjoyed learning what to do in life-threatening situations, as it is essential to know what to do if you come to face one in real life. Monique

Mrs Trish Brennan – Head of Faculty – Health and Physical Education

Stanley Hall Visit

Year 7 students over the past few weeks have embarked on a journey into the history of St Rita’s College. Sister Elvera, as a past student and Principal, and now a Religious Education teacher in Years 8 and 10, has lead each of our Year 7 classes on a tour of Stanley Hall. As students entered Stanley Hall they gathered expectantly around Sister Elvera as she began to share some of the architectural feats and stories of the Hall from the past. From the beautiful stained-glass windows that shape the doorway through which students entered, to the polished staircase that winds to the top floor, the heritage character of the Hall has been retained.  Sister has also shared many stories of the people who have built and lived in this Hall.  From its foundation by John and Selina Forth (1885-1886) to Herbert and Selina Hunter (1885 – 1910) to Edward and Florence Blume (1910 –1926) and finally the Presentation Sisters who took up residence and established St Rita’s College in 1926.

Some of the Year 7 students have expressed their delight as they followed in the footsteps of those who have come before them.

“The things I liked about Stanley Hall was the beautiful staircase inside. I found the room with the uniforms from the past to now interesting”. Summer 7.3

”I very much enjoyed the tour of Stanley Hall… I also thought it was great that we got the tour from someone who actually experienced living there and someone who knew a lot about it.”  Poppy 7.3

“During the Stanley Hall tour I liked being able to go around and looking in all the rooms and learning about all the different owners.”  Sinead 7.3

Apart from engaging in the history of the College, Year 7 students this Term will be reflecting on how the stories of St Rita and Nano Nagle can inspire and shape who they are as young women.  Next Term, the students will learn about the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and the commitment of the Presentation Sisters and other members of the Presentation community to the College motto ‘action not words’. Students will also be introduced to the school-based social justice group called Virtute by exploring the range of social justice ministries (Indigenous, Environment, Presentation, Homeless, Wellbeing and Global Solidarity) that they are encouraged to participate in during their time at the College.  Finally, the students will investigate the eight House ministries that the College supports.

Ms Paula Manthey – Head of Faculty – Religion

Mathematics at SRC

In 2019, our first cohort of Year 11 students will be starting the new Queensland Senior Syllabus. In the past, students have had to prepare for exams that have been set on a Term’s worth of content. In the new Senior curriculum, they will be required to prepare for exams that are set more closely on a Semester’s worth of content, as well as a major exam at the end of Year 12 based on roughly one Year’s worth of content. It is obvious that students will be required to recall mathematics skills more regularly across multiple topics.

There are many different ways of helping students do what is essentially ‘continuous revision’ and one of those ways is through something called ‘Spaced Practice’. Spaced Practice is, essentially, students practicing more frequently, concepts and content that they have previously learned, rather than taking a ‘learn, test and then forget’ attitude. To help with this, the Mathematics Faculty staff have been setting weekly adaptive tasks in Mathspace for Years 7 to 9 that review work from the previous year. For example, Year 8 students will be doing practice on work that they covered last year in Year 7 Mathematics. Students are expected to spend up to half an hour on these tasks per week to hone their skills in Mathematics. This is work that will be built upon during the coming year.

Mathspace is both an instructional and self-tutorial based program that we are using here at St Rita’s College. Adaptive tasks in Mathspace step students through the program, from simple questions to more difficult questions. Upon the students correctly answering the simple questions, they are automatically progressed to the more difficult questions until they have hit the proficiency goal set for the task. If they are experiencing trouble on the more simple questions, they will receive more practice on those until they have shown an understanding and progressed to the more difficult questions. Students should be using the ‘hints’, ‘videos’ or ‘show next step’ buttons within the program to figure out how to resolve a question. This exercise will also help them become more self-reliant learners.

It is hoped through the Mathspace process that we will produce more self-reliant learners, and students who will be able to recall mathematical concepts and topics more readily in preparation for the new syllabus for which they will require these types of skills.

Mr Mark Ellingham – Head of Faculty – Mathematics

Science Week Drones

Today we had a visit from the Australian Army 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment School Initiative as part of Science Week. Major Wendy Wheadon was joined by Gunner Alexander Wickham  and St Rita’s past pupil, Gunnar Elona Stewart (2012). Our visitors brought with them a variety of unmanned aircrafts or “assets”, as they were commonly referred to. Major Wheadon spoke to the students about how the different drones are utilised in a variety of operations within the army and Gunner Stewart spoke about career opportunities in the defence force. There were several different drones on display, ranging in price from $50 to $70 000. The girls were very excited to experience flying the smallest drones, although it quickly became apparent that a great deal of skill is required to fly them accurately and to land on the required target.


Mrs Maree Trims – Deputy Principal – Studies

Year 7 English – The War That Saved My Life

This Term I have enjoyed reading the Year 7 English novels The War That Saved My Life and Wonder. Today I had the opportunity to join Miss Bradbury in her 7.1 English class. Our Year 7 English teachers have been working with Dr Lisa van Leent, our QUT consultant on improving the reading comprehension of our students. She has worked with our teachers to instil in our students the QAR strategy to improve their understanding of what they read. This involves a Question, Answer and Response strategy. The Year 7 students used the questions from this strategy to reflect upon a particular chapter from The War That Saved My Life.  After having the questions modelled for them, the next activity challenged the students to write their own questions to improve their understanding of the next chapter in the book. The QAR strategy is allowing our students to analyse the text they are reading more deeply, ensuring greater understanding of the book.

Mrs Maree Trims – Deputy Principal – Studies

Year 7 Ukulele Workshop

Our Year 7 Music students are learning to play the ukulele as part of the Year 7 Music class which makes up one of The Arts rotation subjects. They have begun to learn to play the ukulele and today I had the opportunity to attend their workshop with Cate Moren, a 2016 Graduate of St Rita’s. Cate is studying a Bachelor of Music at QUT and it was lovely to welcome Cate back to SRC and to have a former student lead the Year 7s in their ukulele workshop. Cate taught the students three basic chords, Am, C and G, the basis of the song Riptide by Vance Joy. As a workshop participant myself, it was very interesting to see how technical it is playing a musical instrument, especially when we added a strumming pattern into the mix, whilst playing the chords at the same time. The girls certainly had a lot of fun! There are many benefits to the development of the brain when learning to play a musical instrument and we often see a strong correlation between the music students and our high achievers at St Rita’s College.

Mrs Maree Trims – Deputy Principal – Studies

A German Day at the Zoo

70 Year 8 German students have participated in an excursion A German Day at the Zoo at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. The group arrived at 9:30am, greeted in German by the staff from Lone Pine as well as the Goethe Institute Australia. Our first activity for the day was a scavenger hunt around the zoo in German, which at first was a little difficult. With help from Frau Florer and Frau Anders students quickly regained their language skills and off they went discovering all about the animals at the zoo. In groups of four the students were able to work together as a team to solve the puzzles and translate the tasks.

Throughout the morning, the students were eager to solve the animal quiz, all in German of course. What animal is the biggest at the zoo? How much does a Koala weigh? Interesting as well as trivial facts were learnt while walking through the zoo and seeing all the animals.

The kangaroos were happy to see us when we entered their enclosure with each student carrying a bag full of kangaroo food. Once they were fed it was time for the group to chat together and share what they had seen and discovered.The zookeeper from Lone Pine with the help from the German speaking staff gave a presentation about three of their animals – a rare and beautiful frog, a turtle and a cuddly Koala called Strudel (I am certain it is short for Apfelstrudel!)  The German staff spoke in their native tongue about the animals we were about to see.

The final activity for the day was the opportunity to create our very own fictional zoo animal, giving them German made up names and writing up, in German, some ‘facts’ about the animal. Seven of our students were very creative and won prizes for the best designed animal, best German sentences and weirdest German name.

After spending all day speaking, reading and listening to German even our Japanese teacher Mrs Andrews was able to say some sentences in German.

Deutsch macht Spaß continues to be the motto for the German students at St Rita’s College.

Kupka Piano Workshop

Kupka Piano Workshop

Music students from Years 10 – 12 recently gathered in Trinity Hall to watch an amazing and unique performance by Kupka’s Piano, a Brisbane based contemporary music ensemble featuring St Rita’s own Percussion teacher – Mr Wilson. Kupka’s Piano are a band who reject the cultural norms of music and pioneer possibilities – using a wide range of instruments including piano, flute and several percussion instruments. One of the most interesting parts was the utilisation of a bathroom tile, which we had never considered to use as an instrument before. The performance also provided an insight as to what it is like to have a career in music and the many hours of dedication that goes towards practising and planning of pieces. The pieces Kupka’s Piano played obviously required great amounts of skill and technique and it was amazing to see such talented musicians create such unique music.

Evie Lyons and Lainey Spina (Year 11 Music students)