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Newsletter 21 September 2018

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This Week's Conversation


One of the many many tasks of teachers is the marking of books; a hugely time-consuming but essential part of the learning process. It is our way to connect with the boys’ progress, motivate them, and provide opportunities for celebration, improvement and support. It is in fact an act of love! We have recently invested time into optimising our approach to marking, as effective feedback significantly improves learning. I would like to share some of the key features that you will encounter in your sons’ books

  • The main goal of marking is always to enhance learning, so our focus is on the quality of the feedback and not the quantity. We do not draw attention to every single error but focus on the key learning outcome: looking to see if it has been achieved or if further attention is needed.

  • Boys need to get into the habit of actively reflecting on their learning, otherwise the marking of books is pointless and there is no growth. When books are returned it becomes routine for the boys to seek out the feedback, and recognise their successes, as well as areas needing improvement. Teachers use symbols and comments to indicate achievement and areas for action. 

  • Boys are taught to check and edit their work before submitting - this is an authentic life skill. 

  • Teachers will not be fixing boys’ mistakes as this does not result in improvement. Learning happens when  boys do the correcting not the teachers.

  • Boys will not be expected to correct every mistake, teacher will prompt how best to address the weakness and provide appropriate support.

  •  All boys will be given time to respond to the teacher’s feedback. If there are no areas  requiring action, those boys will be given a challenge task to stretch their thinking.

  • Feedback is very specific, linking directly to the learning focus of that lesson, even though numerous skills are generally integrated into an activity. (eg: If the lesson focus is on using adjectives in Creative Writing, feedback will relate to that function, and punctuation errors will therefore not necessarily be highlighted) 

  • In order for boys to identify what action is needed when their books are returned, they know to look out for the yellow highlighted box - this has become the prompt for them to follow up.

  • The message is about motivating boys ‘to have another go’ and we regularly remind boys that mistakes are learning opportunities and their abilities are not fixed because learning is a continuum. 

When books are sent home, we encourage you to make time to ‘walk through’ the books together with your son. Let him point out his successes so they can be acknowledged and repeated, and let him also show you how he has learnt from mistakes. Feel free to add encouraging comments in the book, and also discuss concerns with the teacher. 

A would like to commend our teachers who invest significant time and thought into providing effective feedback because quality marking can double the speed of learning.




In the Gospel account of Matthew (25:35-40), Jesus teaches about the works of mercy and He calls us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison. These works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbour in their needs. Further in the text, Jesus alerts us to the reality that as often as we do these to the least of his people, we effectively do the same to him, and therefore he will remain with us.

This text inspired Timothy Schmalz to sculpture an image now known as the Homeless Jesus. Some of the staff members of St Benedict’s College came in contact with one of about 40 such sculptures around the world when we visited Holy Trinity Parish in Braamfontein during our day of recollection. The image depicts Jesus as homeless man, sleeping on a bench and covered in a blanket with only his pierced feet showing – in fact, that is the only indication that it is indeed Jesus. This for me is an excellent representation of who He is in our lives.

The exposed wounds on His feet are the part of the sculpture that speaks to me the most. For me, the wounds reveal in a powerful way the love, compassion, and mercy that Jesus has for us, especially those of us who are poor and marginalized. The wounds were inflicted on Him when He was nailed to the cross and freed humanity from the slavery of sin. On this sculpture, the same wounds continue to tell that beautiful story of love beyond measure, beyond condition and beyond pain.

This love comes to us from Him and He expresses it in an affectionate way because He knows that in the midst of our pain and brokenness only His love and mercy can heal us and make us whole again.

Mercy can be seen as a primary form that God’s love for the world assumes. It is God’s response to the neediness and brokenness of His people.  He hears us when we call and with compassion sees to our needs when the time is right. No pain or hurt of human beings falls outside the mercy of God. Not even ours. 


Thank you to parents, boys and teachers who wholeheartedly supported this worthy cause.  I think it was a good opportunity to reflect on our school and how grateful we are for what we have and to be given the opportunity to reach out to others.
The Grade 3 boys will be making their First Holy Communion on Sunday 14 October, 09:00 at St Therese and in preparation for this there are a few events leading up to it.  Next week Wednesday all the Gr 3 boys will be going to the Carmelite Convent to see how the altar breads are made and on Friday 28th the First Holy Communion boys will be making their second Confession.
We will be having a retreat for the Grade 3 boys on Tuesday 02 October.  The First Holy Communion boys will be at the Schoenstatt Shrine and the balance of the boys will have a day of prayer and reflection at the school.
Please keep these boys in your prayers as they prepare for this special Sacrament.
Pauline’s Bookshop is a Catholic bookshop and will have a table set up in the foyer on Wednesday 10 October to Friday 12 October from 8am to after school.  Should you be looking for a gift for a First Holy Communion, a prayer book for your home or a Rosary, please come and have a look at what they have to offer.



For the first time Bennies Bistro will be hosting a Poetry Picnic. On Wednesday, the 26th of September the Grade 2 boys will have a day of fun active learning, where they will have four sessions learning about four different poetry devices. 

At the first picnic spot, the boys will learn about alliterations. They will have fun with tongue twisters, as they create their own tongue twister selfie. At the second picnic spot, they will learn about how to create an interesting poem using adjectives. The boys will write a popping popcorn poem using all of their five senses. At the third picnic spot, the boys will learn about diamante 7 line poems. They will create their own diamante poem into some flying high kites. At the last picnic spot, the boys will learn about similes by creating their own silly similes sandwiches. 

The boys will then be wearing a Poetry Passport where their teacher will decide if they earn their badge to move onto the next session. The goal at the end of the day is to collect all four badges from all the activities. After the four sessions, the boys will celebrate with having a Grade picnic of the letter of their group. 

Each session will involve new learning, creativity and a craftivity. This event promises to bring the magic of poetry alive through fun-filled activities and some tasty treats.

The reasons why the Grade 2 teachers and Bennies Bistro have decided to host a Poetry Picnic is that Poetry “builds”. Poetry builds children’s reading, speaking and listening skills. Builds up their vocabulary skills, their creative thinking and most importantly poetry builds a love for reading.

Keep a lookout for our “Poetree” displaying all our boys craftivities outside the Grade 2 classrooms.


Last week, the Grade 3 boys participated in an exciting event called The Amazing Reading Race.  The day was filled with lots of challenges involving reading, problem-solving and working together as a team.  Thank you to the Teachers and moms who offered to help make the day a success! 

As the end of the year approaches, our Grade R boys need to start getting into the new routine of starting school a little earlier in Grade 1. 



This week, all the choirs across the school attended the CSO Choir Festival hosted by Holy Rosary. Our JP choir boys attended an interactive workshop where they were introduced to new warm up exercises and three new songs. After the workshop, all the schools joined together, and sang each song they learnt during their workshop and ended off with the CSO song We are the children of South Africa, sung in unison with the other Catholic School Choirs in attendance. The day was filled with fun, learning and it was a new experience for the boys singing with different choirs.


The Music Department is proud to present "A Celebration of Music" in the College Hall on Tuesday 2 October at 18:30.  The concert will showcase our soloists and some of our ensembles, and we look forward to welcoming you to this event.  There is no charge, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. An email with further details will be sent to the parents of boys in the ensembles that will be performing. Should you have any queries, please contact Mrs Chalmers on chalmersj@stbenedicts.co.za.



“ Collective character is vital to success. Focus on getting the culture right; the results will follow.” - Kerry James, Legacy

At Bennies we are always supporting the boys and encouraging them in the right way so that they may grow in character on and off the sporting field. Character and integrity first, then the results will follow.


GRADE R - 2 
Basketball skills - Current skills in focus: dribbling, game-play basics involving shooting, rules and teamwork. 

Gr 2: Field hockey skills - introduction to the sport and basic skills
Gr R-1: Basketball skills - evasion skills, dribbling, passing, shooting, game-play, teamwork.

Swimming for Grades R- 2 in Physical Education will commence on 1st October. Please ensure that your son has his swimming kit for his P.E. session: Navy Speedo, cycling shorts, or sunsuit to be packed in the school drawstring bag.


The Grade 1 and 2 cricket boys are playing their Inter-House Cricket matches next week. Please ensure that your son packs his house colour t-shirt on his cricket practice day.

Click here for more information.

Well done to all the hockey boys who played against The Ridge this past weekend! 



It is with regret that we inform you that this event will longer be taking place. 

Dates to Diarise

Monday  24 Sep  Heritage day 
Wednesday 26 Sep Gr 2 Bennies Book Bistro 
Wednesday 26 Sep  Gr 3 Outing to Carmelite 
Friday 28 Sep  FHC Second Confessions 
Tuesday  2 Oct  Gr 3 Retreat to Schoenstat 
Tuesday 2 Oct  Solist's Concert 
Wednesday 3 Oct  Sport & Class Photos 
Friday 5 Oct  First Friday Mass 
Wed - Fri 3 - 5 Oct  NEA Solist's Music Eisteddfod 
Tuesday 9 Oct  Gr R Chaplain's Chat 
Tuesday 9 Oct  FHC Practice 
Tues - Fri 9 - 12 Oct  Paulene's Bookshop Display 
Thurs 11 Oct  FHC Practice 
Thurs - Fri 11 - 12 Oct  Rockschool Practical 
Saturday 13 Oct  60th Anniversary Dinner & Dance 
Sunday 14 Oct  First Holy Communion 
Thursday 18 Oct  School Close at 11:45 for MIDTERM 
Fri - Mon 19 - 22 Oct MIDTERM 
Please see our Website calendar for future dates.


PADRAIG & DOMINEC JANSE VAN RENSBURG attained the level of Yellow 2 at the South African JKA Karate Association.
MATTEO ERASMUS took part in the Sumuri Cup All Styles Tournament and won gold for Individual Kata, silver for KUMITE and bronze for Team Kata.
LUKE CORBETT qualified to represent Gauteng Gymnastics at the SA Gym Games.


1A Giuliano De Dominicis Perseverance and improvement in written work.
  Kyacey Records Being a responsible and helpful classmate. 
1B  Dylan Jarman Reading with greater fluency and enthusiasm.
  Sebastian Oliveira An informative speech on the cricket. 
1C Nicholas Van Niekerk Always trying his best to work neatly and diligently.
  Dante Dietrich Improved work pace and applying himself well to all his tasks 
1D Adam Bobat Good numeracy skills.
  Padraig Janse van Rensburg Reading fluently and enthusiastically. 
2E Zhi-Ming Zhu Excellent work in formal listening activities.
  Bjon Gouws Always striving to do his best. 
2F  Kyle Selawe Outstanding fraction work.
  Nathan Grobbelaar Always producing beautiful written work. 
2G Joao Sequeria Reading with fluency and expression.
  Kupa Gara Understanding of multiplication and repeated addition. 
2H  Emiliano Van Heerden Excellent understanding in fractions.
  Mitchell Rodrigues Excellent work with fractions. 
3I Tavongaishe Kadzomba Quickly and accurately grasping the concepts of sharing.
  Jordan Lloyd Impressive work with mass. 
3J Diego Mendonca Creating a wonderful and special BFG Dream Jar.
  Michael Dos Santos Improvement in place value. 
3K Diego Damilano An interesting movie review on the BFG.
  Ethan Garcia Building a very realistic volcano. 
3L Kgosi Malema Improved spelling in his Creative Writing.
  Luke Corbett An excellent review of the BFG movie. 


Milan Franco
  Redirile Makgoro
3J Jarrod Wood
  Sean Nance-Kivell
3K Asad Martinus
  Jordan Savadier
3L Michele Rohrbeck
  Krish Vaswani


3L Evan Sheasby 3K James Wang
2F Seth Davis 2H Ryder Sullivan
2F Alex Lagopoulos 2F Mason Sinclair
1B Bradley Nortman  2H Emiliano van Heerden 
2E Liam Atcheson  1C Wisdom Ekwenze 
1C  Godwin Kaputu  1C  Lehuruse Sibidi 
1D Hayden Anderson  1B  Niral Harkison 
1B Rowan McAslin  1D  Alexander Sequeira 
2H Ye Li  2H  Khumo Motlhamme 
2H Declan Reynolds  1D  Matthew Perry 
3J Rafael Dos Santos  3J  Christopher Williams 
2H Christopher Geddes  1A  Christopher Nyarirangwe 


1D Tyler Woods 1B Matteo Patrizi
3K Brayden Compton


Grade R: We always start an RE lesson with a prayer.

    Grade 1: We are Coding champs. 

Grade 2: Chapter books are the best.  Grade 3: Siphuza Itiye - Making tea in Zulu.

Final Word from the Head

Wishing you a Happy Heritage Day; not only celebrating our #ProudlySouthAfrican tradition of bringing people together around the Braai, but also our rich and varied cultural heritage which has the power to  build our nation.




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Cell     082 783 8739
Email     warren@ritesure.co.za
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