Literacy at Upwey South Primary School is based on current research understandings about how children best learn to read and write. Our goals in Reading are for students to learn to make appropriate choices about what they read, draw on a variety of strategies to help them understand texts and ultimately become proficient and independent readers. We want students to be able to engage in rich conversations about the texts they read and to become thoughtful and motivated readers. In Writing our goals are for students to learn the conventions of writing and how to write for a variety of purposes and audiences. We want students to develop skills in planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing their writing and to spend time thinking and talking about what they do as writers. Digital literacy is a key element of Reading and Writing teaching and learning at all levels.
Teaching staff have gradually and systematically implemented a Workshop approach during the 1 hour daily reading session. This begins with a whole class mini-lesson in which a specific reading strategy is modelled. Students then work individually or in pairs to practise the modelled strategy. During this time the teacher will have an individual conference with 2-3 students per day. In the second part of the lesson students will work in groups, pairs or individually to work on specific individual reading strategies. The teacher may also work with a small group at this time. All teachers at Upwey South use the CAFE menu as the basis for teaching and developing each individual student’s reading strategies. CAFE stands for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expanding Vocabulary. These are the four key areas of reading instruction and learning and individual and whole class strategies are selected from the CAFE menu each week.
All teachers use a workshop approach to Writing during the daily 1 hour writing session. Specific writing strategies will form the focus for whole class and individual learning. Ideas, Organisation, Voice, Word choice, Sentence fluency, Conventions and Presentation are the focus areas of the Writer’s Menu and for the explicit teaching of writing strategies. Students use a Writer’s Notebook to record and expand their ideas for writing. They spend time every day practising writing for their own purposes and audiences as well as using the strategies modelled by the teacher. Spelling is a specific focus area of Writing at Upwey South Primary School. Teachers are committed to the belief that the explicit teaching of spelling is essential and scheduled daily. Spelling lists are individualised and based on student needs and personal errors. Processes and procedures associated with the daily spelling program are practised until they are internalised. Students learn how to check their writing for spelling errors and use a Have-a-go spelling book or Spelling Journal to practise the words they are learning to spell. Access to the software program, Spellodrome encourages independent learning and the development of critical spelling awareness. An array of interactive and fantastically engaging games make learning to spell fun and highly motivating for students.
We are most fortunate at Upwey South to have strong home-school partnerships and the literacy learning of our students is supported on a daily basis at home. Communication via the class newsletters or in person keeps everyone involved in the learning process on a regular basis. High level literacy skills are critical for learning in all areas of the curriculum. At Upwey South we all strive for every student to have a strong sense of achievement and enjoyment in their literacy learning.
Our students have at least 5 hours of explicit teaching of Numeracy every week. Children spend two days working in mixed ability groups each week on open ended investigative tasks which provide an entry point for all students and a challenge and stages of success for all. Three days a week children are grouped in matched needs groups to take advantage of targeted teaching to stimulate and challenge all students.
Mr Gary Monopoli is our Numeracy Co-ordnator and Mrs Julie Hall is our Primary Maths Specialist. In 2012 we were involved in the Maths Talent Quest and the Australian Maths Competition. We aim to promote deeper levels of understanding at all levels and always try to link our maths learning to practical situations that are ‘real’ to our students.There are strong numeracy links to other areas of our curriculum particularly our Inquiry Units.
During Literacy and Numeracy Week 2012 all levels shared their learning at our assembly via group presentations by representatives from every class. Our parents are our partners as we develop the numeracy skills of our students and aim for both personal ongoing improvement and school improvement at each year level.