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Vol. 3 • No. 5 • Sep/Oct 2 011

Study & Assessment Special Testing for Testing’s Sake Stress Less for University Exams: Top Tips for Families Study, Assessment & Memory Exams & Assessment Learning the Multisensory Way Spelling Is Important!!

An Interview with

s i r u o B k r a M

September/October 2011 Subscription $6.60 AUD INC GST 05





INTERACTIVE FAMILY VALUE Discounted family rates 12 activity areas Fashion shows Free parking Celebrity chefs Free massages Free health checks Free Activate kids corner Jacob Ladder challenge Fresh produce market Free entertainment Over 100 stalls Free seminars & workshops Free entry children under 12 Food & wine sampling area Over 50 free workshops/demos

10.00am - 5.00pm 15 - 16 Oct 2011 Newcastle Entertainment Centre

Sep/Oct 2011


This Month’s



® 4



Giveaway Australian Reptile Park Family Passes


News Interactive Health & Lifestyle Expo


An Interview with Mark Bouris Photos courtesy of Yellow Brick Road.

Spotlight An Interview with Mark Bouris Study & Assessment


Testing for Testing’s Sake


Stress Less for University Exams: Top Tips for Families

Get Ahead Kids® © MAP Marketing 2011


Study, Assessment & Memory


Exams & Assessment

Publisher MAP Marketing ABN 38 003 493 007 Villa Franca, 2 Scott St. Newcastle NSW 2300 P: 02 4929 7766


Learning the Multisensory Way


Spelling Is Important!!

Managing Editor Maria Charlton MAP Marketing ABN 38 003 493 007 Villa Franca, 2 Scott St. Newcastle NSW 2300 P: 02 4929 7766 Graphic Design Katie Hurst MAP Marketing P: 02 4929 7766 Advertising Maria Charlton MAP Marketing ABN 38 003 493 007 Villa Franca, 2 Scott St. Newcastle NSW 2300 P: 02 4929 7766 Get Ahead Kids® is published by Marketing Advisers for Professionals Pty Ltd T/A MAP Marketing. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for the opinions, errors or omissions.

Health 20

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


Contact Lenses


Why Kids Don’t Need To Suffer Leg Pain News


New ICT Block


Newcastle Grammar Students Go on the Kokoda Track


A Family Exhibition Not to be Missed!


CCGS Website Wins Award


Initiatives by Central Coast Grammar School Fathers Group


The Grand Opening of the Newcastle Museum People in Focus


An interview with Andy Griffiths Reviews


The Launch of ‘Always Jack’ Coincides with Breast Cancer Awareness Week


Book Reviews


Advertisers Index


Activity Zone



The celebrity interview with Mark Bouris is an invaluable article for families interested in creating wealth and raising financially responsible kids. Mark’s book reviewed at the end of the interview is the best book I have read on family finances. This issue presents a great variety of articles on study and exams including helping uni students with exams, improving memory, learning the multi sensory way and the importance of spelling.

Don’t miss the informative health articles on ADHD and contact lenses. A special thanks to the Australian Reptile Park for their ongoing support of Get Ahead Kids® especially their generous giveaways to 5 lucky readers. Maria Charlton Managing Editor P: 02 4929 7766

to G5 Pas ive ses aw Va l u ed ay! $6 4.0

Baby Animals Galore at the Australian Reptile Park It’s a baby-boom at the Australian Reptile Park and during the spring school holidays there are plenty of reasons to visit. You’ll see brand new Tasmanian devil joeys, baby koalas, cute wombats and more.

The Australian Reptile Park is the hands-on zoo, and visitors have the chance to meet baby alligators, wombats, pythons and giant lizards up close during Snappy Hour which runs from 11am - 2pm.

You’ll even see quaint baby reptiles including American alligators, little turtles and even baby snakes.

Elvis the croc is the star attraction and is NSW’s largest crocodile! He’s fed at 1.30pm daily throughout the holidays. Families can also visit the Lost World of Reptiles, Spider World and Frog Hollow.

Another fun thing to do is the special Kids 2 Keeper program for aspiring 12-18 year old zoo keepers that runs during the school holidays. For those looking to have a devil of a time join the fascinating behind the scenes Tasmanian devil tour or if you prefer to go backstage at the Australian Reptile Park, come along to the VIP Behind the Scenes Tour.


Get Ahead Kids® Sep/Oct 11

Families can have their photo taken with lizards, alligators, giant pythons, koalas and wombats every day of the holidays.

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With special thanks to the Australian Reptile Park, Get Ahead Kids® has 5 Family Passes valued at approx. $64.00 each to giveaway! Each pass allows a family of 2 adults and 2 children (3-15 yrs) a wildlife experience at the Australian Reptile Park. Visit and click the giveaways link for a chance to win one of these fantastic passes.


Interactive Health & Lifestyle Exp By Alicia Vella It was a thirty three day solo trek across Spain that inspired one of Australia’s most interactive health, lifestyle and sustainable living expo’s. As a Registered Kinesiologist on hold, Alicia Vella developed a platform for HSC students to establish techniques supporting their study and reduce anxiety around assessments. Activate Expo was born, creating an outlet linking businesses in the health, lifestyle and sustainable living industries with people to further develop wellbeing in the community. At the Newcastle Entertainment Centre 15th and 16th October, families have access to significant resources supporting all areas of their life. Family, body, nutrition, home, leisure, goals and mind are the 7 main aspects of health and wellbeing explored through fifty workshops and demonstrations, over one hundred

stalls and twelve activity areas including the ActiveKids Corner. This area will be fully supervised by the Activate crew plus the childcare students from Advanced Careers College. Nana’s Weighted Blankets, Irlen Diagnostic Centre, Hunter Community College, Mullen Health Centre, Hey Dee-Ho Music, YMCA, Jungle Sports and Rudd Chiropractic Centre are just some organisations offering education, entertainment and support for children and teens. With free parking, children under 12 free entry, massages, wine appreciation, food samples and fitness workshops plus lots of show day bargains there is plenty on offer to keep the whole family entertained, happy and healthy.

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An Interview with

Mark Bouris What are the top 5 things parents should know about financial planning? 1. Set financial goals and stick with them! 2. Advice is invaluable, so don’t be afraid to speak to a professional about your situation. 3. Cashflow budgeting will keep your spending in check and will allow you to identify your spending patterns. 4. Tax can be complicated so talk to an accountant to make sure you’re making the most out of your money. 5. Know what kind of benefits and deductions you’re eligible for. It can save you big money in the long run. How can parents train their kids to be financially wise? Kids usually mimic the spending habits of their parents, and because money is such a hot household topic, kids become aware of finances at a very early age. The


Get Ahead Kids® Sep/Oct 11

piggy bank is a tried and true method because it teaches young ones the importance of saving. It also reinforces discipline and the value of a dollar. What are 10 tips for creating family wealth? 1. Set a budget and stick to it. 2. Pay off debt such as car loans and credit card bills as quickly as possible. Items that depreciate in value are considered bad debt, so you want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. 3. Put extra money into your home loan. The faster you pay your mortgage, the better off you’ll be. Put any bonuses, tax refunds and unexpected money right back into your loan. 4. Consolidate your loans so you’re not paying extra interest. 5. Write down all your monthly expenses and cut back where you can. Putting it in writing can be quite confronting, and it might make you more accountable.

6. Invest in advice. Financial planning is an investment in your future and the money you’ll save will far exceed the cost. 7. Open a high interest savings account and deposit any extra money into it. Many banks have kids accounts with no fees and great rates. 8. If you have more than $1000 in cash, consider a term deposit, which offer excellent rates for a fixed term. 9. Don’t have lazy money - if there’s extra cash in the wallet, put it to good use! 10. Stay active and healthy. Wealth is worth nothing if you can’t enjoy it! What are some creative ideas to help families save on everyday expenses? 1. Rather than driving to work every day, try carpooling, walking to work or taking public transport. 2. A $3 cup of coffee five days a week, 52 weeks a year is $780! The little things add up, so consider packing a thermos and bringing your lunch from home. 3. Leave the credit cards at home. Carrying cards will enable you to spend frivolously. Just take the cash you need.

Spotlight What do you think is the most important lesson that parents can teach their children about money? That it doesn’t grow on trees, and that you have to work hard to get it! Honestly, the value of a dollar is bar none the most important lesson for children to learn. What advice do you offer families for getting finance for a new home? Talk to a professional who can assess your current financial situation and put you on the right path towards achieving your goals. The most important part of getting a loan is showing your ability to repay, so establishing consistent savings strategies is crucial to get the process going. What is your role with the Sydney Roosters? I’m on the Board of Directors. What type of music do you enjoy listening to? All types, depending on how I’m feeling. How will the USA financial crisis affect Australian families? The financial crisis in Europe and the US debt situation could translate to a credit squeeze as the big investors pull back on European government bonds, creating a liquidity crisis. It could mean a reduction in business and residential lending which would mean the Reserve Bank of Australia would have to reduce official interest rates to encourage economic activity. We hear you have 4 sons what advice do you give families for raising sons? All kids have unique personalities, so allow them to be different. Consistency is a virtue, so once you’ve made a decision, stick to your guns.

What inspired you to set up the Yellow Brick Road? Success is a journey and one that requires advice and support along the way. Yellow Brick Road was created with one goal - to offer every Australian access to quality financial advice. Every person deserves to understand how to make their money work for them, which is the foundation of our business. Yellow Brick Road represents the path we all take toward achieving goals for our financial future.

Like most Australians, Mark comes from mixed ethnic heritage - his father is Greek and his mother is Irish. He credits his parents with instilling in him the discipline and values that would propel him from the workingclass Sydney suburb of Punchbowl to the boardroom of the largest companies in the world.

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About Mark Bouris Mark Bouris is an Australian businessman who is best known as the founder of two iconic businesses; Wizard Home Loans and Yellow Brick Road Wealth Management. Wizard Home Loans was founded by Mark Bouris in 1996 and was sold to GE Money in 2004. In 2007 he founded and is the Executive Chairman of the financial services company, Yellow Brick Road Wealth Management that offers a range of financial services and advice. Mark is a respected and prominent member of the community and the media. In 2004 he was appointed Adjunct Professor by the University of NSW. He is a board member of the Sydney Roosters, and has hosted the Channel 9 program ‘The Apprentice Australia’. He is a published author - his books are ‘Wealth Wizard’ and ‘The Yellow Brick Road to Your Financial Security’. Mark Bouris is a compassionate, articulate speaker and media presenter with a wealth of business and personal wisdom. He shares his expertise and experience on a variety of topics including business success, entrepreneurship, life balance, and financial and financial issues.

The Yellow Brick Road to Your Financial Security Author: Mark Bouris Mark Bouris has written a book that is easy to read and in simple language on his approach to investing for wealth, security and retirement. He informs us that for wealth creation you need to invest in property, superannuation and a portfolio of shares. Mark also weaves in invaluable advice about health, family life and financial planning. For parents, Mark offers an invaluable guide for raising healthy and happy children. He also provides useful advice for making kids financially accountable and responsible. Age Guide: Adults Extent: 256 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781741754216 Price: AU$26.95 Publisher: Allen & Unwin P: 02 8425 0100


Study & Assessment

Testing In Australia around 15-20% of the school population fail national benchmark tests in reading (Elkins, 2002; Louden et al, 2000 as cited in Woolley, 2007). Despite intervention, many children continue to experience significant difficulties during the early years of schooling and will continue to experience ongoing academic struggle and social difficulties (Fielding-Barnsley, Hay & Ashman, 2005). With many Australian children experiencing difficulty to read beyond year 3, it is imperative

for Testing’s Sake

that a framework for combining specific learning processes such as psycholinguistic and cognitive knowledge to literacy intervention programs (Australian Government, Literacy & Numeracy Innovative Projects Initiative, 2006). Tests are one of those tasks that will make some children fake stomach cramps, ignite diarrhoea at the drop of a hat, bring on uncontrollable tears and/or severe panic attacks. Testing, especially for children with reading disabilities is full of anxiety.

By Amanda Tocci Hence the question needs to be asked: “Is the test reflective of what has to be learnt and does it allow for remediation to take place or are we testing for testing’s sake?” The purpose of testing should not be to give a percentile rank of where a child is in their reading compared to other children in the same class, state or across the nation. The purpose of testing is clear and simple, “What do they know? What do they have difficulties with and how do we fix it?” There is a saying I often use when asked about testing by families, “You can’t fix what you don’t know about.” For children with reading disabilities testing is paramount for appropriate intervention to occur. Torgesen et al, (2001) suggests that many children receiving remedial reading support in schools are making little or no progress. Effective strategy instruction is essential in developing effective reading programs for children with reading difficulties. Kennedy, Birman & Demaline, (1986); Moody, Vaughn, Hughes and Fischer, (2000); Puma et al (1997); Snow et al (1998), have all documented the lack of effectiveness in providing reading instruction for children with reading disabilities. They reported that any gains that are made are lost when children leave the program (Birman et al, 1987). Elbaum, Vaughn, Hughes, & Moody, (2000) have highlighted the lack of research into the effectiveness of explicit and intensive instruction for children with reading disabilities after they have already exhibited reading failure.


Get Ahead Kids® Sep/Oct 11

Study & Assessment

If we use valid, proven and reliable testing measures which give the teacher detailed data of a child’s strengths and weaknesses, then appropriate intervention strategies can be put into place. If our education system fails to take data from testing and actually implement reading strategies for children with reading disabilities then such children will continue to fall through the gaps. Australian Literacy Clinic conducts extensive testing on over 250 children each 10 weeks. We use National and Global Standard Testing Measures at our initial assessment appointment and then consistently reassess the children in our clinics at the end of term 1, term 2 and term 3.

About Amanda Tocci Amanda Tocci is a Literacy Specialist and Managing Director of the Australian Literacy Clinic Pty Ltd. She is currently undertaking her PhD in Psychology at the University of Newcastle, investigating appropriate strategy instruction for children with working memory and reading disabilities. The Australian Literacy Clinic Pty Ltd is a specialist centre located in Maitland and Newcastle, working with families and schools in assessment, planning and intervention for children with reading difficulties. If you would like a Reading Checklist

Australian Literacy Clinic Pty Ltd Assessment, Planning & Intervention for Children with Reading Difficulties. Specialist Clinics Located in Maitland & Newcastle

P: 1300 869 905

then please visit

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ACN: 147 916 676

The test results are examined and the data is used to implement research based reading intervention strategies for each and every individual child. Testing is used for: 1. Learning 2. Reading 3. Improvements

Amanda Tocci Managing Director & Literacy Specialist Australian Literacy Clinic Pty Ltd. P: 1300 869 905


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Stress Less for University Exams: Top Tips for Families By Jenna Hanson

73% of higher education students report difficulties preparing for exams, and this percentage of reported study problems is consistent across the years, according to a 2007 report published by Chris Rachal in the Journal of Instructional Psychology. However, the University of NebraskaLincoln’s Ken Kiewra, an expert in study methods, has recently published research showing some hope for university students. Kiewra believes students tend to mindlessly over-copy long passages verbatim, take incomplete or linear notes, build lengthy outlines that make it difficult to connect related information, and rely on memory drills like re-reading text or recopying notes. A better study strategy, according to Kiewra, uses the method SOAR: Selecting key lesson ideas, organizing information

10 Get Ahead Kids® Sep/Oct 11

with comparative charts and illustrations, associating ideas to create meaningful connections, and regulating learning through practice. It’s often difficult for parents to step back from your children and let them do as they want. However, the point of a university education is to create independence; a person capable of not only learning new information, but also applying it to different situations. When it comes to studying for exams, everyone has their own method for producing the results they wish to achieve. However, moving from a high school to a university level of education may need a change of study plan. One way you may help your child is to research different study strategies, most of which are readily available on university websites. There are countless study guides available in local libraries or online from a range of other sources.

The following ideas are a guide to help parents manage the delicate balance between comfort and crowding. Checklist ❑❑ Be positive: Exams are stressful for everyone, regardless of what level they are studying at. By supporting your child and remaining positive, you can increase the amount of effort your child puts in to studying. ❑❑ Be interested: Try not to focus solely on what your child is studying. Ask about their activities outside of university, such as their friends, university groups and outside interests. ❑❑ Be involved: One of the best ways for a student to learn or solidify an idea is to talk it through and teach someone else. By listening and becoming a sounding-board for your child you can become an active part of their study strategy.

Study & Assessment

❑❑ Provide an escape: One of the worst things a student can do is study for long periods of time without a break. Generally, a short break after every hour of study is needed to refocus the student’s attention and consolidate the information just learnt. These breaks don’t have to be long and in some cases they can be used as a time to practice the information they just learnt in a real-life situation. ❑❑ Acknowledge success: Acknowledging success at university level is often overlooked. University lecturers rarely praise students in the manner high school students are used to. By recognising the positive achievements of your child, you can increase their confidence and release their anxiety over their academic performance. ❑❑ University is a time for learning, independence and building the necessary skills for your career and life. Exams are only one part of university life, albeit a stressful and difficult part. Parents need to support their children during this transition, providing a strong foundation and positive outlook.

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About Jenna Hanson Jenna Hanson is a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts (Honours) graduate from the University of Wollongong and a current Diploma of Journalism student at Macleay College. As a former university student and current college student, she has undertaken many exams and in the future hopes to influence the way science is taught in schools.

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Study & Assessment


5 Ni


Assessment & Memory The most common question I am asked apart from ‘How can I get my child to sit still and concentrate?’ is ‘How can I help my child remember what they have learnt?’ Converting information into longterm memory and knowledge that can be accessed on demand are real issues. If I was to ask you to tell me a memory – any memory from your life, what would you say? Would you describe your happiness and excitement as you walked down the aisle with your father on your wedding day? The wonder and amazement as you counted the fingers and toes after the birth of your first child? The horror and defencelessness as that motorbike came screeching around the corner, out of control, just before it hit your car? These memories are associated with a strong emotion. That is how memories are formed. An experience is really just a combination of sensory information such as sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch and balance. This sensory information is just fact, it is neutral, but as our brains attach feeling to it, it gets processed differently and enters long-term parking. Another way to get information into long-term storage is through repetition. Some things are hard to learn by understanding or experiments, such as times tables, spelling words and French verbs, and since these have no strong

12 Get Ahead Kids® Sep/Oct 11





By Dorte Bladt

emotions attached to them other than maybe intense boredom, rote repetition may be the only way. By repeating the same thing over and over, you are creating a new, specific pathway of the nerves in the brain, a pathway which can become a highway by frequent use. Nerves that fire together, wire together. So how can we use this knowledge of how memories are made and stored to our advantage when it comes to learning in a school situation? There are actually lots of fun little tricks you can use. It takes a bit of effort and preparation on the parent’s part, but is it not worth it, to see your child succeed?

Checklist for Learning ❑❑ Try to present the information through as many senses as possible Tell your child about the information, explain the logic of it. Let the child see it in pictures or words, let the child play with it, construct it, let them try to get their body to look like it. For example with a particular spelling word like ‘School’: talk about school and what happens there, get your child to write the word and let them draw a picture of it. Cut the word into individual letters and let them make it again, and play with the letters and make new words. Let your child play school, and position their body both like the shapes of the letters in the word and the building itself.

❑❑ Stimulate the other senses while trying to memorise information For example try introducing a smell like cinnamon, citrus or vanilla while practicing spelling or time tables. Eat something special and different, or enjoy having a back scratch or a hand massage while working. Each sensory stimulus will make an association that creates an emotion that will make it easier to recall. When the child is at school they can visualise the sensory pattern they were in and access the memory through this visualisation. ❑❑ Another way of creating a memory is making up a story My brother and I went for a walk. Our four cute little feet were stepping on the soft grass in the yard. Here they met eight little nasty green ants who were looking for food. ‘Look at all this food’ yelled the hungry green ants to their friends and they came to look too, so now there were twelve. They scrambled on to the cute little feet and took a big bite or two, sixteen painful bites all together. ‘Ouch’ my brother and I screamed and ran home and put all twenty little toes in the bath to make them feel better. ❑❑ Make a song Use your favourite tune to make a silly song containing what you need to remember. Whether it is the shopping list, the French verbs or the spelling list, this works a treat. And you don’t have to sing it out loud, humming in your head will do when you have to remember the facts at school.

Study & Assessment

❑❑ Write down what you have to remember in a single colour on different coloured palm cards Practice the task with your child using the palm cards. You might find your child keeps forgetting the ‘h’ in ‘night’. On a different palm card highlight or write in a bright colour the ‘h’ in night to trick the brain into paying extra attention to that one while you keep practising. ❑❑ I have mentioned this one before, it is my favourite Let your child do an activity while the task is practiced: bouncing a ball, skipping rope, jumping on a trampoline, balancing on one foot or even tapping a foot or a finger while practicing. The activity has to be simple, easy and repetitive enough for the child not to have to concentrate on the task, only what is being memorised. And most importantly, have FUN, make it enjoyable and light. No-one will learn anything when they are cranky, upset, defensive or sobbing. So let your creative juices flow making up new games, change them often and just love your child for who they are!

Finally you may wonder what is my role in memory? As a chiropractor I can help the brain and the nervous system function optimally. If a subluxation (misalignment) is present in the spine, it will affect the flow of information between the brain and the body, as well as the quality of information transmitted in the brain. Natural, safe and gentle chiropractic adjustments will improve the function of the spinal vertebrae and help get the right messages travelling in the nerve system.

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Study & Assessment

Exams &


By Rev. Dr. Kim Miller My son once said that his favourite vegetable was brussels sprouts. I had to stop and check for a smile to see if he was joking. Similarly, some people enjoy exam time at school. That can only be a joke, right? Exam time for me was always stressful, but then came report card time. A double whammy. It was like struggling up a hill of stress, and then struggling down the other side. And here we find one of the ironies of education. Exams can cause stress in the student, but the ‘hill of stress’ I have just described is a principal element of learning. The uphill and downhill of stress, the steady rise and fall of tension, are key learning times. A wise teacher will create this tension to enhance learning. I don’t mean tension that keeps kids nervous and on edge. I mean a rising and falling tension that focuses attention and enhances the capture of new information. It is on the uphill and the downhill of that tension that our kids learn best, not how long they are at the top of the hill. A creative teacher can build times of tension through the day by signalling a test or a prize or a competition, by pausing a story at the right moment, by holding eye contact. The effect of such tools in the teacher’s toolbox is to create a ‘hill of stress’. The students are taken up one side and down the other. And it is in the rising and falling of the tension, in the stressing and the relaxing, that the brain is most open to learn something new.

14 Get Ahead Kids® Sep/Oct 11

This does not work if stress rises quickly and stays up too long. The goal is not high levels of stress, but a gentle rise and fall. We do not learn well if we are under constant stress. Some people speak of ‘eustress’ (pronounced ‘you-stress’). The ‘eu’ comes from the Greek word for good. Eustress is good stress as opposed to bad stress which can make us fearful and close us down. A runner who is coasting will never win a race. Add a competitor and something changes. That is eustress. The student who is coasting does not learn anything new. Add some eustress and learning will happen. A teacher who can put suitable levels of eustress into the classroom will encourage learning. The eustress has to rise and fall gently and steadily through the day. When we cram for an exam we take ourselves to the top of the stress hill too quickly. We are still at the top in the exam room and we forget what we read in the cramming. We do not learn well on the top of the stress hill, that is the lesson of the cramming style of exam preparation.

In my teen novel, They Told Me I Had To Write This, the main character, Clem, is in school. The teacher says it is time to do a test but instead of setting an exam each student is to set his own question and then respond to that in front of the class. Clem chooses something that he thinks he knows. The trouble is, Clem gets lots of things wrong and in this test he finds out that he had the whole topic back to front. He learned it right way round on that day. The teacher was creating a stress hill and taking the students up it. What a great teacher. Your children’s teachers will sometimes aim at creating a gently sloping hill of eustress in the classroom. It is one place where kids learn well. But exam time can bring higher levels of unproductive stress. If you understand the ‘hill of eustress’ concept you will be in a better situation to help your kids along the learning path.

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Rev. Dr Kim Miller P: 02 5962 4774

Study & Assessment

They Told Me I Had To Write This Author: Kim Miller


‘They Told Me I Had To Write This’ is an emotional collection of letters written by Clem, a teenage boy who attends a school for troubled teenagers. The school provides a positive learning environment with teachers that are more friends and role models rather than authority figures. His motorbike enthusiast school counsellor, Rev asks Clem to begin writing letters to express his feelings and help him overcome life issues. Clem grows through the story, dealing with school, feelings of being unwanted by his father, falling in love, a friend’s death, fights and especially conquering the sexual abuse of his past.

This book recants the numerous problems faced by teenage boys and how to open up the communication channel between teenagers and adults. It provides a glimpse into the life of a troubled teen, who overcomes his past and embarks on a path that leads him to a more rewarding future.

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Learning the Multisensory Way

I’m sure you have all come across the following somewhere in your reading: Edgar Dale stated that we remember: • • • • •

10% of what we read 20% of what we hear 30% of what we see 50% of what we see & hear 70% of what we discuss with others • 80% of what we personally experience • 95% of what we teach others An old Chinese proverb says: “Tell me, I forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.”

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Multisensory learning is an extremely powerful strategy to engage your children and help them to grasp concepts they have previously had difficulty understanding. Incorporating sight, sound, touch and movement into their weekly spelling list or nightly reading can encourage better retention and recall, and often, spark motivation and enthusiasm to what is normally an excruciating ‘pull your hair out’ time of night that often ends in tears and anxiety. This doesn’t mean you have to incorporate all senses in every activity. However, simply saying/ tracing/reading and writing a word simultaneously is an easy way to turn a spelling task into a multisensory task. It’s easier than you think!

16 Get Ahead Kids® Sep/Oct 11

By Janelle East-Jeffs

Checklist There are many multi sensory activities and games you can do with your child. Surfing the web will open your eyes up to a myriad of ideas. Try some of the following and see how you go! ❑❑ Crawl to, hop on, jump over, bounce a ball or throw a bean bag onto large flashcards with sight words, single sounds, or blends. ❑❑ Jump on the trampoline, read and say their times table flashcards. Your child must say the times table as they bounce (e.g. 4 x 4 = 16 requires 3 bounces). ❑❑ Write letter formations in the air, or on their back and make them with play dough to trace correct formations. ❑❑ Finger paint, use shaving cream, draw words in flour on the kitchen bench or use sidewalk chalk in the driveway when learning sight words or challenging words they have come across in their reader. ❑❑ Play memory, snap and other card games with times tables and words. ❑❑ Use highlighters, textas, mindmapping, and models to revise concepts. ❑❑ Always read, say, hear, write/ trace when you do the activities to ensure you are engaging as many senses as you can. ❑❑ Providing your child with a dictaphone to tell their story is a great way to enhance their writing skills. They can rewind and replay to transfer it into a written format.

Study & Assessment

About Essential Moves The children at Essential Moves are more often than not, those children in the classroom who just don’t fit the education system. They don’t learn by being drowned in a sea of words with the teacher standing at the front of the room providing “chalk and talk” lectures. They need to visualize, move, play, imagine, touch, say, draw and engage as many senses as they can through the learning process. All children have strengths within the different senses. Some children are auditorysequential learners who think in

“It does not cost any more to help our environment at NCP Printing.” words, have auditory strengths and learn phonics easily. Other children are visual-spatial learners who think in pictures, are visually strong, however, learn whole words easily.

More Information Janelle East-Jeffs BA.Teach, BA.Ed Senior Teacher Essential Moves 2/33 Crescent Rd, Waratah 2298 P: 02 4967 1205

17 Arnott Street Newcastle West NSW 2302 Tel: 02 4926 1300 Fax: 02 4926 5557 Email: Web:

Cert no. SGS-COC-005911


Study & Assessment


Is Important!! By Dr. Joan Brien

Spelling can be a real problem for some people. With mobile phone text messaging and emails increasing, it could be argued that we are developing a different language where spelling is the least important issue! But, good spelling makes it easier for teachers and markers to read what you have written in assessments and examination situations, so it is worth trying to improve your spelling skills if they need it. While many teachers do not actively deduct marks for poor spelling, if it is difficult for a teacher to understand what a student is trying to say, it is hard to assess whether the student “knows” the work being tested, so could cost precious marks that may make the difference between a pass and fail. The Following, is an excerpt from my book “Can I Help My Child Learn? A Parent Guide Written in Plain English”, I explain a method that can help to learn spelling skills. “There seems to be a common perception that if a child can read, they should also be able to spell. This is not the case. Reading and spelling are totally different skills.

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When we are reading, our brain is looking for letter patterns in the text, which then allows us to work out what the words are. Reading involves recognition. When we are spelling, we are copying letter patterns from our brain, which then allows us to correctly spell the word. Spelling involves visual memory and listening skills.

To spell correctly, we need to remember: ❑❑ what the word looks like ❑❑ the letters in the word ❑❑ the order of the letters in the word In order for children to do this successfully, they need to “get a picture” of the word in their mind, they need to “listen” to the sounds in the word and also the “order of the sounds” in the words. Children do not always “listen” to the sounds in words and in fact don’t know that they SHOULD be “listening”, so this needs to be explained to them. Children need to understand that many words have “easy” parts and “hard” parts. To explain this, you can point out the “easy” and the “hard” parts in the word “cricket”.

cr/ick/et ❑❑ The first part “cr” is “easy” because we can “sound out” the letters separately and then put them together to make the blended sound. ❑❑ The second part “ick” is “hard” because it has only two sounds (“i” and “c” BUT it has three letters; “i”, “c”, “k”. ❑❑ The third part “et” is “easy” because we can sound out those two letters. ❑❑ Once your child has identified the “easy” and the “hard” parts, let them highlight the hard part with a coloured highlighter. This will help them to remember it.” This method can be used by people of all ages to help them to become better spellers.

More Information Dr. Joan Brien Irlen Diagnostic Clinic Suite 2/136 Nelson St Wallsend NSW 2287 P: 02 4955 6904

Study & Assessment DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE DIFFICULTY WITH READING? Some children experience reading and learning difficulties as a result of visual perceptual problems caused by


Can I Help My Child Learn? A Parent Guide Written in Plain English

Irlen Syndrome can cause Dyslexia and difficulties with Spelling, Writing, Comprehension Concentration

Author: Dr. Joan Brien B.Sc., Dip.Ed., PhD This is an excellent book that parents can use to help their kids acquire literacy and numeracy skills. It is written is a simple factual way so that parents can add value to classroom teaching and help their kids to understand their schoolwork. The topics include pre-reading, reading, writing, spelling, comprehension, story writing and basic mathematical concepts. It is a great instructional book that provides specific examples and strategies that can be used and adapted to assist kids of all ages and even adults with literacy issues. This is an essential reference book for all parents, carers and grandparents.

Dr. Brien currently operates a clinic that helps children and adults with a visual perceptual dysfunction called Irlen Syndrome/Scotopic Sensitivity, which can result in reading difficulties. Dr. Brien can be contacted on 0412 629 924 or or you can visit

IRLEN DIAGNOSTIC CLINIC Suite 2/136 Nelson Street WALLSEND 2287 Ph: 4955 6904 Email:

Age Guide: Parents Extent: 180 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781921791031 Price: AU$24.99 Publisher: Bookpal P: 1300 769 998


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Attention D eficit Hyperactivity D isorder

By Anthony Fraser & Matthew McKevitt

Have you ever focused so much on one thing that you have ignored, forgotten, or completely missed the things going on around you? Children affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) suffer from this misfortune constantly.

So What Is ADHD? ADHD is a common childhood condition that affects approximately 1 in 20 children. Boys are three times more likely to be affected than girls. ADHD occurs when the brain does not function as it should. Your brain normally uses chemicals called neurotransmitters to send messages from one nerve to another. In ADHD, there are low levels of two of these chemicals, dopamine and noradrenaline. Without them, parts of the brain can’t communicate properly with other parts. One part of the brain, the frontal lobe, is in charge of coordinating thoughts, making decisions and planning. In ADHD, it’s the frontal lobe that is most affected and unable do its job properly. As a result of this children with ADHD have difficulty paying attention. They find it hard to ignore irrelevant things that are happening around them. In essence a child with ADHD focuses on too many things at once, overwhelming the brain. What to Look For As the frontal lobe also controls some of the brain’s higher functioning (the ‘thinking’ of the brain), this neurotransmitter imbalance has other effects on a child’s life.

Children with ADHD can have problems shifting from one mind-set to another meaning they can get too focused on doing one thing and cannot move on to anything else.

The treatment options that are discussed here may not all be suitable for your child so it is important to discuss all options with your doctor.

They can have trouble organising themselves and their thoughts and therefore have problems planning their immediate future and anticipating what they need to do or should do next. Because the frontal lobe controls movement and speech, this difficulty in planning comes across as hyperactive behaviour such as moving around or talking constantly and when it’s not appropriate, in a classroom for example.

There are two main approaches; medications prescribed by your doctor and behavioural sessions with a trained therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. Most kids have a combination of both of these therapies.

Basically children with ADHD have a low level of attention but a high level of activity. This means that this activity appears haphazard and out of step with what is happening around them. Causes Presently, the cause of ADHD is thought to be genetic. No environmental causes have been identified, although there may be some links with problems during pregnancy (including smoking) and/or delivery, head injuries, toxin exposure, heavy marijuana use and family dysfunction. Tests to diagnose ADHD may include psychometric and educational testing. Children can undergo testing, and parents and teachers may be asked to fill out questionnaires on their behaviour.

Treatment Fortunately there are a number of relatively good treatment options for ADHD which can help a child with ADHD improve their concentration.

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Most of the medicines for ADHD aim to ‘wake up’ the frontal lobe and increase its activity, so the main medications that are used are stimulants. Other types are sometimes used dependant on the situation. Your doctor can talk to you more about these if appropriate.  There are a number of different types of medicines that may or may not be suitable for your child.  All medications have side effects associated with them which your doctor can discuss in more detail.  Most of the medicines used have been around for over a decade, and are generally considered safe to use. Behavioural therapies aim to teach a child with ADHD strategies to cope with or overcome their symptoms.  Relaxation and anger management techniques are taught along with tactics to help with attention and focus. Approximately half of all children with ADHD will have symptoms that persist into adulthood. Inattentive symptoms are more likely to persist than hyperactive symptoms.

Health Checklist Symptoms that May Suggest Your Child Has ADHD All children with ADHD may have some of these symptoms. They may have all three, just one, or a mix. Everyone will experience these things at some point in their lives, but in ADHD the symptoms are experienced often and interfere with your life. Hyperactivity ❑❑ Excessive fidgetiness or talking ❑❑ Difficulty remaining seated ❑❑ Difficulty playing quietly ❑❑ Frequent restlessness Impulsivity   ❑❑ Difficulty waiting turns ❑❑ Blurting out answers too quickly ❑❑ Disruptive behaviour ❑❑ Intruding or interrupting

❑❑ Academic underachievement ❑❑ Poor concentration ❑❑ Poor attention to detail Remember, a full diagnosis of ADHD can only be made by a paediatrician or a psychiatrist. If you have any concerns, see your GP.

About the Authors Anthony Fraser and Matthew McKevitt are final year medical students at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. They have a passion for making medical information easier to understand for the general public and have recently spent time training with Medikidz.

Rejoice in Your Kid’s Smile Providing specialist dental care for infants, children, adolescents and those with specialist needs.

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❑❑ Forgetfulness ❑❑ Being easily distracted ❑❑ Losing or misplacing things ❑❑ Disorganisation

What’s Up With ASTRA? Medikidz Explain ADHD Authors: Dr. Kim Chilman-Blair & John Taddeo Illustrator: Liquid Comics Astra is spending the afternoon with her friends relaxing and playing board games. But she just can’t sit still! Within minutes, Astra has disrupted the peace and quiet, ruined her friends’ board game and made a mess of Kate’s bedroom. Luckily the Medikidz, a group of five larger-than-life cartoon super heroes who live on Mediland - a planet shaped just like the human body, are on-hand to help Astra to understand what is going on by taking a tour of Mediland. At the end of this tour, Astra finds that the frontal lobe is like a conductor of a grand opera and it co-ordinates other lobes activities, organises all thoughts and decisions and puts

them in the right order. So someone with ADHD has a short attention span and is highly active. The book deals with ways of detecting ADHD and help in the form of medicine or therapy or both. As ADHD can be a major barrier to learning this book is an essential classroom reference for parents, teachers and students. Age Guide: 8+ Years Extent: 32 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781906935139 Price: AU$14.99 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers P: 1300 551 721



Lenses By Susan K Walton

Can’t see? Things are getting more blurry on the white board or smart board in the classroom? No way am I wearing glasses!! If this is your child, then why not consider contact lenses? Age is not a barrier. Quite young children can successfully be fitted with contact lenses with parental monitoring. Many are quite capable of managing these lenses. There are many very good reasons for children with more extreme prescriptions to wear contact lenses: • They may actually see better than they do with their glasses • More practical for dance and sporting activities • Feel more confident socially • And rigid (or hard) contact lenses have been shown to slow the rate of myopia (shortsightedness) The range and choices available now means that most, if not all prescriptions can be fitted with contact lenses.

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Soft Disposable Contact Lenses These are the usual types chosen, since they are extremely comfortable. Using disposable contact lenses means that a lost or torn lens (which does not happen too often anyway) is not a major problem. The rate of replacing with new lenses ranges from daily through to monthly, with the choice of one day replacement being a highly desirable option for children. It is now affordable to replace lenses daily and this removes the problem of the child (and parent) losing track of the length of time each pair of lenses has been worn as well as whether the lenses are being properly disinfected.

Orthokeratology What about the possibility of reducing my worsening myopia? Why not try Orthokeratology (also known as OK, Ortho-K or corneal refractive therapy - CRT). This is a clinical technique of corneal reshaping using specially designed rigid contact lenses. Studies at the University of NSW and also in Asia are showing that Ortho-K may help

slow down changes in prescription for some children by as much as 50%. So what is Ortho-K? Your sight correction is achieved with a custom designed Ortho-K lens similar to a contact lens. When placed on your eye, the Ortho-K lens floats on your tear-film and while you sleep the lens gently reshapes your cornea (the front surface of your eye) to correct your distance vision. When you wake up, you simply remove the lens and see, without needing to wear contacts or glasses during the whole day. Your vision remains good all day without the need for further correction. In some cases you may get good sight that lasts a couple of days. Most people experience a 50 to 70% improvement in sight after the first night wearing these lenses and usually achieve vision all day consistently within 2 weeks. As well as potentially slowing rates of myopia, Orthokeratology is great for people who are prone to allergies, suffer from dry eyes, or have developed an intolerance to soft contact lenses. How good would it be to see well while swimming this summer!


The latest research demonstrates that Ortho-K is safe when the lenses are fitted correctly. The lenses are made from high oxygen permeable materials designed to allow overnight wear, but because the lens is worn in the closed eye environment, it is very important that you stick to good hygiene when handling your lenses to avoid infections. Age is no barrier - from kids through to their grandparents. Initially available only for shortsightedness, there are now lenses available for astigmatism as well. Open up to the freedom and choice of contact lens wear for both full time or occasional wear for you and your children.

About Susan K Walton Susan has been in independent practice in the Newcastle area for 30 years. Her 21yr old daughter Hannah, works in the practice as a Vision Therapist. Susan gained her Bachelor of Optometry in 1981 and became an inaugural Fellow of the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometry in 1988.

She specialises in Behavioural and Neurodevelopmental Vision Care and also Sports Vision (having been a past National Chairperson), and is the only practitioner in the region fitting Ortho-K contact lenses for the management of myopia (or shortsightedness). She is the Australian Director of the Opening Eyes Program for the Special Olympics - a position she has held for some 16 years. In the above capacities Susan has attended both the Atlanta Olympics and three Special Olympic World Games in the USA and Dublin, Ireland. Locally, Susan is the Sports Vision consultant to the Hunter Academy of Sport and has advised in this capacity for fifteen years. She thoroughly enjoys, and is passionate about her profession.

More Information Susan K Walton B Optom FACBO Susan K Walton Optometrist 245 King St, Newcastle NSW 2300 P: 02 4926 4799


Open Days 10:00am - 3:00pm, Friday 30 September 10:00am - 3:00pm, Friday 7 October

Interested students and families find out about courses, tour the college campus, student residences, college farms and Tocal Homestead. Tocal has a proven reputation for training students for careers in agriculture and the horse industries.

Ring for a Tocal Prospectus 1800 025 520 | Facilities for Residential & Day Students. Only Agriculture College in NSW with Its Own Commercial Farms.



Why Kids Don’t Need To Suffer Leg Pain Many of us whose children participate in winter sports from netball to hockey to soccer and rugby will at some time hear our little weekend warriors complain of sore legs and feet. This may be after sport, a long day at school, on rising or even just a family excursion.

Focused stretching and suitable footwear, addressing poor lower limb function and biomechanics relieves these pains which can mask greater problems uncovered when correctly assessed by an experienced podiatrist frequently dealing with paediatrics.

Whilst ‘growing pains’ has been a term widely used to define these complaints, there is often underlying causes which when addressed result in the cessation of pain, along with no late nights rubbing legs and preparing hot packs. Hip, knee, foot and ankle pain in children is not a simple problem to solve.

Put simply, our children don’t have to ‘put up with’ their pain and assessment is a good starting point to a happy sporting hero.

About Newcastle Family and Sports Podiatry For with over 80 years, Newcastle Family and Sports Podiatry have focused on assessing and helping

treating foot & lower limb conditions for your kids & you

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By Adam Glascock children to walk, run and play better, without pain. Newcastle Family and Sports Podiatry have a strong paediatric focus from new born through teen years from amateur to world class athletes. It offers experienced advice and treatment for 0-19 year old children and professional athletes for problems of the lower limb including the hip, knee, ankle and foot.

More Information Adam Glascock Principal Podiatrist B App Sc Pod Newcastle Family & Sports Podiatry P: 02 4961 4411


New ICT Block After many years of planning and good financial management, Hunter Valley Grammar School is in the position to invest approximately $2.5M into a brand new information and communications technology block. The new building will include two levels and consist of five training/ classrooms each designed with a special purpose in mind and equipped with the latest technology. The building will also provide a sheltered outdoor seating area for students to enjoy. The new ICT building will be the School’s hub for teaching, learning, training and global communications. The block will include teacher training rooms as well housing the school’s professional IT technical support staff. This building will further enhance the already outstanding facilities that HVGS has to offer. 

More Information Susan Boyd P: 02 4934 2444

open morning september 9 • 9.30am-12 midday Classrooms from Preschool to Year 12 will be open for you to visit with staff on hand to answer your questions. Come and see our 32 acre campus with state-of-the-art facilities where the right balance of academic, cultural and sporting endeavours are on offer.

information evening for year 7-2012 • 5.30-6.30pm • September 12 • The Latter Hall The evening will be presented by Mr Trevor Norman, Head of Middle School and Miss Tara Fraser, Head of Year 7, who will discuss the benefits of educating your child at Hunter Valley Grammar School and also our new academic development program for Year 7 students. For further information phone the registrar or email NORFOLK ST ASHTONFIELD 2323 P 4934 2444



G e l t s Newca During the recent Mid Year 2011 holidays, fourteen students, 3 fathers and 2 staff members from Newcastle Grammar School took on an adventure of a lifetime when they flew to Port Moresby in readiness to walk the Kokoda Track.

udents t S r a m ram

Go on the Kokoda Track After more than six months of physical training and preparation for the 92km trek, the group began the 10 day journey on Wednesday, 29 June 2011.

They started the trek by flying into the village of Kokoda and then making their way back slowly along the track where the Australian Army conducted fighting withdrawals against a superior Japanese force during WWII. Part of the group’s mission was to visit a local school and donate books and sporting equipment that were given to the Menari School 6 days into the walk. Medical equipment donated by parents was also carried in and given to a number of needy villages on the way. The group travelled with the Kokoda Spirit Trekking Company who looked after each member of the group every inch of the way.

More Information Michelle O’Toole P: 02 4929 5811



9am - 11am WEDNESDAY 26


LIMITED PLACES ARE AVAILABLE IN SOME YEAR LEVELS FOR 2012 Newcastle Grammar School p: (02) 4929 5811

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A Family Exhibition Not to be Missed! The Mirror Exhibition showcases the unique collage illustrations of well-known Australian author/ illustrator Jeannie Baker from her latest innovative picture book of the same name. Some of the tiny three-dimensional framed pictures are backlit, heightening the sense of time and place. The exhibition is cleverly designed to be viewed to mirror the narrative of her book - the stories wrap around the room, one to the right, one to the left - to meet in the middle where you actually view yourself in a real life sized mirror! After a short introduction and authors note in both English and Arabic, the narrative is conveyed wordlessly.

The story takes place over a day in the lives of two boys and their families. An Australian family, whose way of life strikes a familiar chord, and a family from far away Morocco whose life is very different. As we read we discover the simple truth that despite these differences we are also similar. We are the mirror of each other. Jeannie Baker is the author and illustrator of a number of children’s picture books, including the awardwinning ‘Where the Forest Meets the Sea’.

‘Mirror’ by Jeannie Baker was honoured with Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award 2011. The exhibition is touring eight venues over three years. It will be exhibited next at Newcastle Region Library Nov 4, 2011 to Jan 15, 2012.

More Information Carol Edmonds Public Programs Coordinator Newcastle Region Library Laman Street, Newcastle NSW 2300 P: 02 4974 5324

An education kit featuring prints of six images from the book is available at the venues or through Books Illustrated gallery.



Initiatives by Central Coast Grammar School Fathers Group CCGS Website Wins Award The Central Coast Grammar School website was awarded the prestigious Centre for Marketing Schools Gold Award in Melbourne in a competition that attracts national and international entries.

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28 Get Ahead Kids® Sep/Oct 11

The Fathers Group at Central Coast Grammar School is doing innovative work creating a strong father-child culture in the school community. Their Innovation Challenge, promoting environmental sustainability at the school, was recognised in this year’s NSW Parents Council Awards for Excellence, where CCGS parents received 2 out of the 3 awards. These fathers encouraged House family groups of 20 students from Kindergarten - Year 12 to unite in a spirit of teamwork, creativity and even some competition to develop projects around the themes of

CCGS Fathers Group members Ramy Mezrani and Dean Wilkinson speak to the Ironbark House meeting at the launch of The Innovation Challenge

energy, conservation, community and environment. Each of the school’s 60 House families entered the competition and one winning project from each House was announced at the end of Term 2.

More Information Christine Hodgkinson P: 02 4365 8405


The Grand Opening of the Newcastle Museum Newcastle Museum closed in 2007 and for the past four years has been a hive of activity behind closed doors in readiness for their new home at Honeysuckle. People from far and wide came to celebrate the grand opening weekend of Newcastle Museum on the 6 - 7 August 2011. The weekend was filled with colourful entertainment from dancers and musicians to jugglers and stilt walkers. Characters from history came alive with World War I

soldiers marching the foyer and 1960’s beach beauties gracing the galleries.

And, the former heavy industries of the city, coal and steelmaking, are featured in “Fire and Earth”.

More than 8,000 visitors passed through the doors of the new museum now located in the historic Honeysuckle Railway Workshops.

Another family favourite is the “Supernova” science centre to trick your mind with optical illusions such as seeing a mini cyclone in action.

The museum features exhibitions which explore the history of Newcastle’s land and people.

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For example, “Newcastle Story” journeys from early Aboriginal life to present day through stories of war, immigration, sport and entertainment.

Open 10am - 5pm, Tuesday - Sunday Newcastle Museum Workshop Way, Newcastle NSW 2300 P: 02 4974 1400

come e b o t e you lik idays? d l u o Who w e school hol rator? A u thes r? seum c u cto r? A m ie dire a v t s o k m c A ro er? A erform p s u c cir

h tember wit lf this Sep e s rs u m o y ra g Transform holiday pro of school e .o g s n e it ra s r e u o www.liv t a re o m Find out

by to you n with t h g tio rou ssocia ival ams b Progr useum in a dren’s Fest l i M y Ch astle Sydne Newc d n a s te L!vesi

Newcastle Museum Workshop Way, Newcastle NSW 2300

Enquiries call 02 49741400

Free general admission Fees may apply for special events or programs

Open 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Open Mondays during public school holidays


People in Focus

An Interview with What was the first book you had published? I started making photocopied collections of my stories and selling them at shops and markets around Melbourne. At the same time I was sending these self-published books to publishers. I received many rejections over a number of years but I kept trying, studying and practising and eventually someone said yes! ‘Just Tricking!’ was published in 1997. How do you go about writing a book? What are your inspirations? The best story ideas come from a long slow process of thinking, reading, researching, pondering, experimenting, drafting, editing and lots and lots of re-working and re-writing. I get inspired from true events but then I exaggerate what really happened to make it a more entertaining story. How did you get into writing? When I eventually became an English teacher I met a lot of students who thought books were boring and I started writing little stories to make them laugh and appreciate that reading can be a lot of fun. What is your favourite book? Why?

Andy Griffiths

What do you consider your most important contribution to education and why?

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When I began writing I set out to write books that would capture the same feeling of fascination, joy, laughter and occasionally terror that I experienced as a young reader. Getting kids to fall in love with books has definitely been my greatest achievement... once a child has had a good experience with a book they’ll go looking for more: they have the key to the door of a lifetime of reading. What important messages do you want to convey to families? I don’t sit down to convey an ‘important message’ when I write, in fact, it’s the furthest thing from my mind. I’m completely focussed on trying to sweep the reader away in a compelling, funny, ridiculous story. I hope, however, that the stories and books demonstrate by example the importance of humour and playfulness in enriching our lives. At the very least I hope they leave the reader no alternative but to laugh, which is an important end in itself. What are your career highlights?

Too many to mention, but I’ll never forget the opening night of the play ‘Just Macbeth’ - a family friendly version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth - put on by the Bell Shakespeare Company at the Victorian Arts Centre in 2008. The theatre was Do you have any advice for young packed and I had no idea how it aspiring authors? was going to be received - I’ve never Practise as much as you can. It’s been sweated so much in my life! But the calculated that to become really audience started laughing right from skilled at an activity - whether sporting the beginning, the production went or artistic - you have to practise for off without a hitch, and the roar that around 10,000 hours, so the sooner came up at the end will be with me you get started the better. And read forever. as much as you can too! I always come to back to old favourites like ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by JD Salinger, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll and ‘One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish’ by Dr. Seuss.

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The 13-Storey Treehouse Author: Andy Griffiths Illustrator: Terry Denton Andy and Terry live in a 13-storey treehouse with a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a tank full of sharks, a games arcade, a giant rope swing, a vegetable vaporiser and a marshmallow machine that follows them around and shoots marshmallows into their mouths whenever they’re hungry. Then the fun and adventures begin. This is a quirky, interactive book with fantastic illustrations and a huge variety of tools for keeping young readers fascinated. Age Guide: 7+ Years Extent: 212 pages (paperback) ISBN: 9780330404365 Price: AU $9.99 Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia P: 02 9285 9100

Reviews The Launch of ‘Always Jack’ Coincides with Breast Cancer Awareness Week The launch of ‘Always Jack’ by Susanne Gervay coincides with Breast Cancer Awareness Week in October. In this book Jack deals with his mother getting breast cancer and the impact on the kids. HarperCollins, publisher for ‘Always Jack’, also announced that this book has won the 2011 Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature. Susanne Gervay, awarded an OAM for Children’s Literature and Professional Organisations, is recognised for her books on social justice reaching young people, families and communities. An award-winning Australian author, Susanne Gervay is a specialist in child development. Her much-loved and bestselling ‘I Am Jack’ has become a classic on school bullying, reaching adults and children alike.

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Always Jack Author: Susanne Gervay Illustrator: Cathy Wilcox Life is finally better for Jack; he has a happy family life, enriching friendships, inventing the ponto and the beginning of sexual awakening when he is with Anna. But trouble looms on the home front as Jacks’ mother is diagnosed cancer. This is a heart-warming tale on the effects of breast cancer on family life. Susanne’s gifted writing style allows readers to appreciate the seriousness of this disease without allowing it to become the depressing read.

Aspiring to become a space agent who helps to save the universe, Adelaide will need to complete missions, earning points to increase her ranking.

Star Girl #1: New Girl Author: Louise Park Adelaide Banks aka SC Star Girl is a 10 year student enrolled in the space agent program at Space Education and Action School (SEAS), a boarding school on the space station Edumax.

On her first mission she must find out what is causing the ice to melt on the planet Polare and help the alien inhabitants. Adelaide is excited about the mission, until she discovers that her mission partner is the mean and selfish roommate Valentina aka SC Supernova.

Thumbs up for Susanne who survived cancer and can write it in a highly readable way from Jack’s point of view. Age Guide: 8-13 Years Extent: 160 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9780732290207 Price: AU$14.99 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers P: 1300 551 721

This easy to read book covers problems and issues present within modern society and shows with a little perseverance they can be overcome. It is a great series for young girls. Age Guide: 7+ Years Series: Star Girl Extent: 72 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781420290295 Price: AU $9.99 Publisher: Macmillan Education Australia P: 02 9825 1000



Nanberry: Black Brother White

Wood Angel

Dinosaur Rescue Series

Author: Erin Bow

Author: Jackie French

Author: Kylie Mewburn Illustrator: Donovan Bixley

This highly readable tale deals with pioneer life, family, love, cultural conflict and heroic deeds. Nanberry is a memorable story that is recommended for parents and their kids.

Set in a time when magic was feared This series tells the stories of Arg, a smart and blamed for many misfortunes, plain Kate finds herself alone, sleeping Stone Age cave boy and the sticky situations he finds himself in. in an old set of drawers with her cat Taggle, wishing for a place to belong. These books are both disgusting and hilarious, young readers will love the Her father died from a mysterious descriptions of the cave family and illness and due to her gift for carving their antics. The brilliant black and white ‘lucky’ wooden charms known as illustrations bring another dimension witch-blade, she is cast out of her to the text, enhancing the reading village on suspicion of being a witch. experience. Exchanging her shadow for supplies from a mysterious stranger, Kate #1 T-wreck-asaurus leaves the village and joins a band ISBN: 9781775430193 of Roamers. She soon realises what it A T-rex is destroying the village and means to be without a shadow, and before someone gets stomped, Arg has decides to reverse her mistake. to find a way to help. This is a highly recommended book. #2 Stego-snottysaurus Drawn in by the beautiful cover, readers will be swept away into a well ISBN: 9781775430209 written world of fantasy. A terrible snotty flu is causing problems

Age Guide: 11+ Years Extent: 320 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9780732290221 Price: AU $16.99 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers P: 1300 551 721

Age Guide: 11+ Years Extent: 288 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781906427603 Price: AU $16.99 Publisher: Chicken House P: 02 4328 3523

Set in the 1789 new colony in Sydney Cove, Surgeon John White defies convention and adopts Nanberry, an Aboriginal boy, to raise as his son but cannot defy tradition to marry his beloved convict girl Rachel. With his white brother, Andrew, Nanberry observes the struggles of the colonists to survive the harsh Australian environment. This true story follows the brothers as they make their way in the world - one as a sailor, serving in the Royal Navy, the other a hero of the Battle of Waterloo.

More book reviews at Warambi

32 Get Ahead Kids® Sep/Oct 11

in the valley. It is soon discovered that the people flu can also be deadly to dinosaurs. Arg is on a mission to save the dinosaurs from the flu and possible extinction. Age Guide: 6+ Years Extent: 96 Pages (Paperback) Price: AU $9.99 Each Publisher: Scholastic NZ P: 02 4328 3523

Author: Aleesah Darlison Illustrator: Andrew Plant

This book is a charming tale of a young bat finding his way home. A great story for young readers.

When Warambi, a baby bent-wing bat is separated from her mother; she finds shelter in an unfamiliar and intimidating place. Warambi is scared by the noises and dangers that surround her- will she find her way home to her mother?

Age Guide: 5+ Years Extent: 32 Pages (Hardback) ISBN: 9781921504280 Price: AU $24.95 Publisher: Penguin Group (Australia) P: 03 9811 2400

Reviews Successful Essay Writing Author: Dr. Barry Spurr This book is an invaluable education tool for those writing their first essay or for those looking to perfect their essay writing skills. The author provides a step-by-step guide to writing a concise, effective essay and provides quality examples and activities. The book covers the essential points of essay writing such as opening and closing an essay and formatting the paragraphs in between to link to the topic in question. In addition, it includes “10 essential points to

Get Ahead Kids® Partners maximise your performance” that help to keep the writer on track, keep them thinking and keep them focused. Age Guide: 13+ Years Extent: 90 Pages (paperback) ISBN: 9781921042249 Price: AU $12.95 Publisher: New Frontier Publishing P: 02 9453 1525

hey dee ho music runs music programs for 1- 5 year olds. There are franchise opportunities in the inner Sydney suburbs & the northern suburbs of Adelaide.

Franchise Enquiries: (03) 9786 3104 |

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates Author: L. Pichon Illustrator: Chris Kennett Tom Gates has numerous excuses for not doing homework, coming to school late and non performance. But he is a great writer, artist and a torment to his grumpy teacher, Mr Fullerman, his sister, his parents, relatives and his school mates. This hilarious journal is filled with doodles and caricatures. Read it and be prepared to laugh out loud-one of the best books in that genre. Age Guide: 9+ Years Extent: 238 pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781407120690 Price: AU $15.99 Publisher: Scholastic UK P: 02 4328 3523

Riley & the Grumpy Wombat Author: Tania McCartney Illustrator: Kieron Pratt After discovering a grumpy wombat in his Nanny’s garden, Riley and his friends dash around Melbourne in his little red plane in search of the grumpy garden wombat. This fourth Riley title, is a great adventure tale that offers a fun introduction to the sights of Melbourne. Age Guide: 6-10 Years Extent: 32 Pages (Paperback) ISBN: 9781921665493 Price: AU $16.95 Publisher: Ford Street Publishing P: 03 9481 1120


Pilates, Brass Band, Choir, Chess, Table Tennis, Judo, Akido Kickboxing Boxing, Gymnastics, Circus, Dancing, Fencing

P: 4961 4493 |



Article Themes 2011 January/February

Advertisers Index

Back to School - Susanne Gervay Ad Booking Deadline Nov 5, 2010

Activate Expo 2

Editorial Deadline Nov 12, 2010

Australian Literacy Clinic Pty Ltd


Baby Ballerinas & Co 13

March/April Physical Education - Shannan Ponton Ad Booking Deadline Feb 2, 2011 Editorial Deadline Feb 11, 2011

May/June Languages & Communications George Calombaris Ad Booking Deadline Apr 8, 2011 Editorial Deadline Apr 15, 2011

Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College


Central Coast Grammar School


Doctors Home Visit Service


Essential Moves 17 Family Chiropractic Centre Charlestown


The Great Aussie Bush Camp


hey dee ho music 33 Hunter Valley Grammar School


I Can Read System


INParenting 33 International Child Care College


Irlen Diagnostic Clinic 19


KidsSmile 21

Learning Innovations & Technology -

Macleay College 11

Dr. Chris Brown

Mission Australia Early Learning Services

Ad Booking Deadline Jun 3, 2011

Natraspray Pest Control 19

Editorial Deadline Jun 10, 2011

NCP Printing 17


Newcastle Family and Sports Podiatry


Newcastle Grammar School


Study & Assessment - Mark Bouris

Newcastle Pregnancy Help Service


Ad Booking Deadline Aug 12, 2011

Newcastle Region Library 27

Editorial Deadline Aug 19, 2011

Newcastle Museum 29




Rosie’s Closet

Summer Learning - Layne Beachley 33

Ad Booking Deadline Oct 7, 2011

St John Ambulance Australia (NSW)

Editorial Deadline Oct 14, 2011 EDUC ATIN G

Vol. 3 • No. 6

• Nov/Dec 2




11 5

Stockland Glendale 15 Susan K Walton Optometrist


TAFE NSW Hunter Institute


Tocal College 23

For more advertising information please contact Maria Charlton | | P: 02 4929 7766

Advertisers media kit & booking form at

Celebrity Spotlight Layne Beachley World Champion Surfer Study & Assessment Issue out

November 2011 34 Get Ahead Kids® Sep/Oct 2011

Activity Zone

When I

Grow Up...

Do you know what you want to be when you get older? Below are a list of professions and a description of what they do. Can you match the professions with the description of what they do?


Makes and repairs locks

Arborist Mends shoes


Keeps or inspects financial accounts.


Decides cases in a court of law


Designs buildings and often supervises their construction

Electrician Provides massages professionally


Treats vision impairments through contact lenses or eyeglasses


Operates the flying controls of an aircraft


Makes and repairs iron things by hand


Installs and maintains electrical equipment


Prevents or corrects misaligned teeth and jaws


Sells fish for food


Provides hair styling, manicures, and other beauty treatments

Interpreter Studies the earth


Assists women in childbirth


Makes or sells lollies and other sweets

Pilot Translates speech orally


Treats diseased or injured animals


Repairs and maintains machinery

Cobbler Treats damaged trees

For more activities and answers visit





Get Ahead Kids Magazine Vol 3. No 5. Sep/Oct 2011  

Get Ahead Kids is an educational magazine for kids from 0-25 and their families. Full of quality educational articles and activities, design...

Get Ahead Kids Magazine Vol 3. No 5. Sep/Oct 2011  

Get Ahead Kids is an educational magazine for kids from 0-25 and their families. Full of quality educational articles and activities, design...