Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Epro8 Challenge

Congratulations to our 2 St Albans teams who competed in the Epro8
Challenge this week. From left: 
The St Albans Circuits: Jinudhi, Charlie, Sophie and Ben
The St Albans Circuits: Lachlan, Bella, Harry and Stella

Both teams finished a very credible 5th equal competing against tough

competition and solving tricky challenges. They made St Albans proud by
competing in the spirit of the competition, showing excellent teamwork and
problem solving skills. A BIG thank you to our parent helpers and supporters.


.  .


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Epro8 Challenge

This week our 2 teams were preparing for their Epro 8 Challenge competition that they will be competing in next week.  They had 2 and a half hours to complete a variety of challenges.

Out teams include:
  • Lachlan F, Harry F, Bella Stella
  • Charlie, Sophie B, Ben and Jinudhi
At the Epro8 Challenge competition teams compete to:
  • build large sized structures
  • solve practical problems
  • engineer using pulleys, motors, gears, wheels and axles
  • invent machines that can complete simple tasks
  • undertake unusual and fun experiments.
  • construct basic electronic circuits.
  • solve interesting problems using practical maths
Each team of four will be based at a workstation containing an impressive 
assortment of easy to use parts and equipment. Teams will be given a booklet 
containing a number of challenges. All the challenges are of an entertaining physical nature.

Teams will choose which challenges they wish to undertake. The harder the 
challenge, the more points it is worth. There is not enough time to finish all 
the challenges - so strategy is required to know which ones to go for.

Here are some of our team members working on their practice challenges.
Challenge 1: Create a 4 wheel driverless scooter that can move without humans 
moving it.

Challenge 2: Create an alien with 5 distinctive 'alien' features that moves under a barrier without a person coming within 2m of the alien. These were great challenges that challenged creative thinking, problem solving and team work. 

NZ Children's Book Awards and Writers Workshop

This week 21 enthusiastic

writers attended the NZ

Children’s Book Awards which featured a selection of the finalists at St Margarets

College. We heard 3 writers

speak: Kirsten Slade writer of
The Mapmakers Race,

Sarah Pepperle writer of

Art-tastic and James T Guthrie
writer of Bulls Eye Bella. 
After the Book Awards session author James T Guthrie came back to St Albans to run
a writing session with our group of writers. The children had an awesome afternoon
learning more about the process of writing and of writing a book.  The activity they did was called the Writers Dice where the children created a table of words that had to be included in their story. This was challenging and created some very funny stories! Once the children had finished writing they joined James in presenting their creative writing to the group.

Some of the key learning to be an awesome writer was to persevere, to show not tell,
to edit, edit(rework/re-craft) and edit some more. It was very cool to work alongside a published

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

GATE Update

Over the next few weeks we have teams of children participating in the following events:

Monday 5th August- NZ Book awards and Writers Workshop with
James Guthrie author of Bullseye Bella.
We have a selection of children from Year 4-6 who are attending the
NZ Book Awards at St Margarets College. They will get to hear various
authors present their work. Following the awards they will have a Writers
Workshop with author James Guthrie to develop their craft of writing.
We are very excited to be working with James.
Tuesday 13th August- Epro 8 Challenge.  We have two teams entered in
the Epro8 Challenge which is a competition, an engineering and problem
solving race. Read more here about this event.
Saturday 24th August Robocup: We have two teams entered in this competition
in two events: Robo-Soccer and Robotic Rescue. These teams have been busy
building their competition robots under the expert tuition of Sam Pelham. A big thank
you to Sam for all her work with the team.
Saturday 31st August- Tournament of Minds(TOM): Tournament of Minds is an opportunity for students with a passion for learning and problem solving to demonstrate their skills and talents in an exciting, vibrant and public way.

Teams are required to work together on a Long Term Challenge for six weeks without assistance from teachers, parents or peers. They are encouraged to explore possibilities and experiment with ideas as they endeavour to produce their best possible solution. They develop a creative and original way to communicate this solution to others, working within predefined parameters such as limited materials, complex challenge criteria and the deadline of Tournament Day.The Tournament process provides a platform for excellence and equips participants with twenty-first century skills and strategies.
  • Provide the stimulation of real, open-ended challenges
  • Develop creative problem solving approaches and techniques
  • Foster cooperative learning and team work
  • Promote knowledge and appreciation of self and others
  • Encourage experimentation and risk taking
  • Expand and reward creative and divergent thinking
  • Stimulate a spirit of inquiry and a love of learning
  • Develop enterprise
  • Celebrate excellence
Our teams have been working hard over the past term developing
their creativity, collaboration, communication and problem solving skills.


ICAS will be online this year, with only ICAS Writing for Year 4 & 5 on paper.  
Registrations are now closed for the 2019 ICAS exams and Australian
Maths Competition. 
The dates for the 2019 examinations are below.

Australian Maths Competition- Thursday 1st August 2019Digital Technologies – Tuesday 3 September 2019
Science – Thursday 5 September 2019
Writing – Tuesday 10 September 2019
Spelling – Thursday 12 September 2019
English – Tuesday 17 September 2019
Mathematics – Thursday 19 September 2019

Good luck to all our teams competing over the next few weeks and to those that have opted into sitting the ICAS exams and AMC competition.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Welcome to our GATE BLOG 2019

2019 ICAS and Australian Maths Competitions

Each year at St Albans we offer Year 4-6 children the opportunity to participate in formal competitions
run by UNSW Educational Assessment, Australia.  The tests are called International Competitions and
Assessments for Schools (ICAS). These tests cover six curriculum areas and are designed to test and
report to schools and parents on a variety of skills within subjects.  A charge is made to cover each paper.
Papers are quite challenging so are best suited to learners showing a particular strength or interest in the

Our school has been participating in these tests for a number of years and we have been pleased with the
opportunities that the children have been given and the results that have been achieved.  Certificates are
awarded for High Distinction, Distinction, Credit and Participation. Parents are provided with a detailed
report showing strengths and weaknesses. For more information and ways to prepare visit

We have also taken part in a second maths competition run by the Australian Mathematics Trust. This is a
competitive paper and will be good for children who enjoy the challenge of problem solving in maths.  
This is a one off test where the children have 60 minutes to work through 30 questions. As with the
UNSW competitions, children receive a certificate and report indicating their achievement. Sample
questions are available online at: www.amt.edu.au

This year these assessments are not being run until September in Term 3. We will send a form
home at the beginning of term 2 for those children that are interested. At this time it will also be
advertised in the newsletter and spare copies will be available in the office.

Subjects offered include:
Digital technologies
Australia Maths Competition.

Any queries please see or email Mrs Lidstone
GATE Coordinator
Deputy Principal

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Congratulations to our Young Writers
Congratulations to the following St Albans Y6 young writers who have all become published
authors! Their poetry writing has been selected for publication in the ‘Write On’ magazine:
Issue 51.  These children attended the Young Writers Workshop in Term 3 where they had
the opportunity to develop their poetry writing skills and rework their various poems under
tuition from the School for Young Writers. We are very proud of our young writers. Please
enjoy the following poems which were chosen for the publication.

LEGO tower
Building, forever changing,
erupting from the ground,

into an unexpected thing
tall as a skyscraper, leaning,
red as fire, mini figures
yellow as the sun.

Cracking, collapsing,
smashing into the ground
like a wrecking ball.

Rising up, building, creating
something new, wide as
an airplane.

Playing, having fun,
until a voice shouts:
“Tidy up your room! I can’t stand this

By Lachlan Fletcher 2018, Year 5, St Albans School

The Old TV

Buzz, buzz, bizz!
Buzz, buzz, bizz!

The old TV goes
buzz, buzz, bizz!

The wind blows buzz
and the wind blows bizz!

And the old TV goes
buzz, buzz, bizz!


Written by Lachie Wallace, Year 5, St Albans School

The Poetry Team were a part of the  Poetry Pentathlon competition where they competed in
5 events. For this event the team were given a prompt- a disco ball, and then as a team, they
had 10 minutes to write this poem! Collaborating and creating under pressure!  Well done team.

Ode to a Disco Ball

Oh! Disco Ball,
You are so small
Yet you bring joy to the party
Big or small
Your tiles fall
In the blink of an eye
Nails elevate you higher in the sky
The parties you have seen
Gone and been
Oh! Glimmer Ball
The projections you cast upon the wall
Oh! Disco Ball,
You are so small!

St Albans School Y6 Pentathlon Poetry Team
Rory Forsythe, Cooper Gallagher, Erin Darnton, Olivia Donaldson and Magnus Telford

Monday, November 19, 2018

Young Writers Workshop

Last week some of our Year 3 and 4 students were selected to participate in a two day Young Writers Workshop. This workshop was run by Gail from the School for Young Writers.
On the first day, the students used metaphor, simile and other language devices, such as appealing to the senses, to write their poems. Writing list poems and persona poems, they learned about shaping words into line-breaks and stanzas.

On the second day, the students worked on some aspects of sound, namely using rhythm, repetition and onomatopoeia in their poetry. They also worked on re-drafting and publishing their poems, which have been sent to Write On magazine for consideration for publication.

This group of students were engaged and hard-working, and some wonderful creative work was produced.
Please enjoy a sample of the children's poetry.

AMI Stadium
The people just come in
and yell, scream, count down
the seconds. I can smell
donuts, chips and burgers
The people watch the All Blacks
play with the ball,
the Crusaders kicking, Hurricanes
versus Highlanders.
The people leave.
Nothing’s going on.
I get so lonely, but
the next night
it all happens again.
Archie McCormick, Year 4, St Albans School
Sam’s pet
Down the street, I was walking
with my pet, Speedy
the Cheetah.
People gazed at Speedy and
Speedy gazed right back.
“Sam, you forgot your lunch!!!” yelled Mum.
Speedy was spotted,
Monty wanted to race
Speedy. So did Tommy
and Jill.
Do you want to see Speedy?
My cheetah, oh please come,
come to me!
Olivia Walker, Y4,St Albans School
Scratch scratch
Go the branches on the roof.
Scratch scratch
Go the cat’s claws on the wood.
Scratchy scratch
Ollie Ellis year 4 St Albans School

The very hot, deserted island
What I need here:
A spare army of mosquitos
so the mosquitos on the island
don’t bite me
A heater to heat me on a cold day
A shovel to dig for gold
A bucket to make sandcastles
A plank of wood to
attack dangerous animals
A surfboard to go surfing on
An icepick to climb the ice
if it snows
A skateboard to have fun when I’m bored
Training wheels for the skateboard
An electric guitar
A cup to drink the salty water
Coffee to drink if I don’t l don’t like the salty water
Hot chocolate to drink if I don’t like the coffee
A flag so savers can see me
waving on the beach
Gus Strieker Year 4 St Albans School
Sydney Harbour Bridge
On high rocks
I stand astride
I see ferries, fishing boats and freights
sailing past me.
Trucks, Mitsubishis and two-wheel cars
cruise on and off me.
My best friend has enormous sails
but cannot float.
I love my life, but
I wish I were a car.
Bella Tume y4 St Albans School
The beach
The sand beneath my toes
a bed of feathers.
The waves and sea
cold as melted ice
when I dip my toes
in the water.
Monty Baker, Y3 St Albans School
The jacuzzi
The steaming air above me, the feel
of my jets, spying people
in my water, playing,or relaxing.
When night falls
I get switched off
And have a still sleep.
Monty Baker, Y3 St Albans School
Blowing bubble gum
Pop goes my gum
Pop pop goes the
Fireworks over
head as I lay
in bed
pop pop pop.
Audrey Worsley, Y3 St Albans School

Having a pet blobfish
I have a pet blobfish.
He is very blobby.
When I take him for walks,
people point and stare,
And then they say
“Look it's a blobfish, one of the top ten ugliest animals”
I feel sad for my pet,
but then I think
“what if he could be famous.”
Luciana Willmott Dalton Year 4 St Albans School

Going to the sun!

I need enchanted macaroni that cooks itself
in case I get hungry,
maybe a sun-bathing towel
so I can get a tan!

I will take my fire-proof bed
in case I get sleepy,
a wooden plank to stand on,
(which will burn straight away)
so I don’t get burnt!

I will take a trained penguin,
(it’s not trained)
to teach me how to keep cool,

I’m going to take a very light, light bulb
in case it gets dark!
(it’s the sun, it won’t get dark)

One last thing…
My house!!!

I’m going to live there!!!

Daisy Makin, Y4 St Albans School