26 March, 2021


Cultures of Thinking

It is my opinion and pursuit to influence a thinking-based approach to learning throughout the Middle School.  Enabling students to think critically, to synthesise and analyse points of view, to think creatively and collaboratively in dynamic settings are key parts to the future needs of learning.  These ‘skills’ are all embedded in our SOC2035 Learner Attributes. The 2015 Worldwide Cultures of Thinking Project, led by Ron Ritchhart, as part of Project Zero at Harvard University, provides relevance and clarity around the impacts upon classroom and group thinking culture. Ritchhart identified eight cultural forces; opportunities, time, modelling, language, environment, interactions, routines & expectations.  Importantly, as a Middle School community, we need to continually focus on these ‘forces’ so we provide clarity on the learning ‘pulse’.

These ‘forces’ don’t operate in isolation, they are integrated and influence each other.  This week, our Middle School da Vinci decathlon teams, provided a great example of these culture forces in action.  Our two teams of eight competed in the State Finals, requiring creative and critical thinking skills to adapt their research and then present their conclusions.  These types of opportunities are wonderful ‘forces’ to embrace throughout the Middle School in the coming days and weeks.  The environment also provided a cultural force for our Year 6 and Year 7 students this week as they learnt outdoors in various pursuits, Year 6 in Hobart and Year 7 at Education Outdoors and SOC2City.  The environment this week challenged our resilience and our commitment to stay focused.  This challenge enabled learners to show their tenacity!  We can learn so much in reflection that we can ‘make our own weather’ if we have the commitment to a goal in mind.

Ben Green
Head of Middle School

Connecting as a learner through Time and Space

Look ahead, on Tuesday and Wednesday all Middle School families will have the opportunity to learn more about their relationships with parents and to express their gratitude for opportunities, in sessions with Bill and Lisa Jennings titled ‘Time and Space’.  The father-daughter session is on Tuesday 30 March, while the mother-son session is on Wednesday 31 March.  These workshop sessions will be in the Helix, commencing at 5.45pm.

Ben Green
Head of Middle School 

da Vinci Decathlon

The da Vinci Decathlon is an academic competition designed to challenge and stimulate the minds of school students, all students no matter their ability. Students compete in teams of eight across 10 disciplines: engineering, mathematics and chess, code breaking, art and poetry, science, English, ideation, creative producers, cartography, and legacy. In 2020, despite not running due to COVID-19, ‘Legacy’ replaced the General Knowledge task, with the focus being more on honouring significant people, inventions and events from the past and the present.

What began as a local competition for Australian public and private schools has grown to be a national and global phenomenon, involving thousands of students from Years 5 to 11. The growth has been enormous, and interest so high, that chapter schools have been formed in Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania.

Scotch Oakburn College has been very successful in this event in the past and this year was no exception. Our Year 7 team took part on Tuesday 23 March, at Mount Carmel College in Hobart and out of a total of eleven other teams, Scotch Oakburn College came third in the Science and Cartography challenges, first in the Ideation challenge and took out the first Rebus Recess Challenge leaving them in second place overall in Tasmania.

Our Year 8 team was at Mount Carmel College bright-and-early on Wednesday 24 March and did just as well coming second in the Engineering challenge, first in the English and the Legacy challenges, and third in the Science challenge. This meant they placed third overall in Tasmania.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the students that took part, gave up many lunchtimes and were inspirational in their participation. Moreover, I would like to thank the Year 7 team who, even though the majority were on Education Outdoors camp and some made SATIS Swimming Teams, remained dedicated to the team and its cause and gave up these opportunities for the sake of others in the da Vinci Decathlon and thereby showed the very definition of a team and teamwork.

Simon Dray


Year 7 students have been working on their basic sewing and construction skills to create a pencil case. How many of you still have the pencil case that you made in Year 7?

In Year 8 students have been working with clients from EL Hurd to design and create a toy from an original sketch. All students involved are having a wonderful time creating connections across campuses.

If you are interested in sewing, designing and creating, come along at lunchtime on Wednesday (Term 2/3) and join the SOC Sew-ciety! From beginners to experienced makers, all are welcome. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Julie Heggarty

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