Reading and Viewing
At GWSPS we follow a whole school approach to Reading and Viewing. All classes use Independent Reading as a framework to focus on explicitly teaching Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expanding Vocabulary strategies. The lessons include; explicit modelling of the reading strategies, time for independent reading and teacher conferencing with students. The 2 Sisters’ CAFE reading model is a resource for all teachers.
All students are exposed to various modes of media including fiction and non fiction texts, video clips and films. The students are taught the skills to analyse and evaluate the multimodal texts and to reflect on their own learning and share their knowledge and understandings.
Students participate in reading workshops which can include teacher focus groups, word work activities, reading responses, comprehension activities, literature circles, ICT activities and literacy games.
During regular planned student- teacher conferences, each student and their teacher will collaboratively set individual learning goals for students to work towards. These goals are regularly reviewed.
Students’ Reading and Viewing are assessed according to the Victorian Curriculum and the GWSPS Assessment Schedule through informal and formal methods. These can include student-teacher conferences, running records, observations, PM Benchmarks and Fontas and Pinnell assessments.
GWSPS implements a whole school approach to the teaching of Writing. This approach is based on Lisa Keskinen’s model of the Writer’s Workshop.
Across the levels from Foundation-6, explicit teaching focuses on a range of writing genres, including the structures and grammar of the English language. These genres incorporate imaginative, information and persuasive writing styles.
Students follow the 7 conditions for effective writing:
- Room structure
Writing sessions include explicit teaching and modelling, independent writing, group and individual differentiated tasks, student conferences and reflection time. Sessions include a mini lesson of approximately 15 minutes where the explicit teaching occurs. Students then engage in independent choice writing followed by editing time. To conclude each session, students are given the opportunity to share their writing by participating in Authors’ Chair.
Throughout the year students can choose to publish their writing pieces to present the final product of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing).
Students are encouraged to utilize a Writer’s notebook as a tool to assist and prompt the writing process. Their Writer’s notebooks include a variety of images, prompts and words that can help to inspire writing pieces.
Student conferences are used to support and extend students’ individual learning needs. They can occur individually or with a small group of students. Students receive constructive feedback on independent and moderated writing pieces, which aims to continue developing their writing skills.
Moderation writing takes place twice a term, after multiple teacher modelled sessions that are genre specific. During student conferences, teachers collect evidence to support and extend students’ learning. This may take the form of checklists, observation notes, photos or work samples.
Students also receive peer feedback during Authors’ Chair time, including positive and constructive feedback. Students use these writing conferences and feedback to develop personal learning goals, which become their learning focus during writing sessions and aims to improve individual writing skills.
Students’ writing is assessed according to the Victorian Curriculum and the GWSPS Assessment Schedule.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and Listening refers to the various formal and informal ways oral language is used to convey and receive meaning. It involves the development and demonstration of knowledge about the appropriate oral language for particular audiences and occasions, including body language and voice. It also involves the development of active-listening strategies and an understanding of the conventions of different spoken texts.
At GWSPS Speaking and Listening is embedded within all curriculum areas. We provide students with opportunities to develop and practise their skills in Speaking and Listening through both incidental experiences and through more formal planned activities.
Some whole-school tools and teaching approaches used to encourage students at GWSPS to develop their Speaking and Listening skills include:
- Author’s Chair: Students share their written work to class and receive constructive feedback from their peers.
- Regular group discussions: Turn and talk, think-pair-share
- Team activities: Participate in activities that promote students to share their ideas through turn-taking and clear communication.
- Reading Responses: Students listen to and respond to various texts.
- Reflection time: Students engage in regular reflection of their learning at the conclusion of each lesson across all curriculum areas.
Foundation-Level 2 Speaking and Listening
- Chatterbox Corners: Students bring in an object of their choice to present and discuss with a small group. Students have the opportunity to ask each other questions.
- Listening post activities: During Reading Rotations, students participate in activities to practise their listening skills.
- Reading Workshops: Students listen to and respond to texts using technology
Level 3 and 4 Speaking and Listening
- Speaking and Listening Activities: In Literacy Rotations, students target their speaking and listening skills through a range of activities by working independently, in small groups or as a whole class.
- Reading Workshops: Students listen to and respond to texts using technology
- Oral Presentations: Students are explicitly taught how to present speeches to the whole class, focusing on body language, voice projection and clearly articulating their information.
- Toastmasters: Students will engage in oral presentations and be provided with constructive feedback from their peers. The purpose of this program is to refine their oral communication skills.
Level 5 and 6 Speaking and Listening
- Formal and informal speeches: Students present speeches about a chosen topic that they have independently researched and gained knowledge about. Students are taught to deliver their information in an engaging manner, focusing on body language, voice projection, clearly articulating their information and connecting with the audience.
- Literacy circles: Discuss literature that students have read and share within a small group. Students take on a specific role in the group including the Summariser, Connector, Passage Master, Investigator, Manager or Discussion Director.
Students’ Speaking and Listening are assessed according to the Victorian Curriculum and the GWSPS Assessment Schedule.
Spelling and Grammar
In Foundation, Spelling, grammar and phonological awareness are taught according to our school Spelling Scope and Sequence. Students commence learning single letter names and sounds, followed by diagraphs ie sh, ch, th etc
These spelling patterns are explicitly taught during weekly word work sessions and are followed up incidentally during reading and writing sessions.
Assessment tools assist tracking the students’ knowledge and understanding of letters and sounds.
In the Levels 1&2 the students also have explicit “Word Work” sessions focusing on blends eg bl, cr, pl diagraphs. Homework reinforces these patterns and correct spelling of high frequency words.
In independent writing, students are encouraged to use their phonemic knowledge to attempt to spell unfamiliar words.
In levels 3-6 the students are trialling a spelling framework. The Single Word Spelling Test (SWST) suggests the differentiated approach to whole class teaching of spelling.
Following a SWST spelling assessment; the students are placed in differentiated groups.
Each group is given a new spelling target each week and a list of spelling words from their appropriate level.
Students use these words in their homework and a weekly spelling assessment occurs at the end of the week.
Students are reassessed every semester.
Literacy and Numeracy Tips for Parents
The Department of Education released a helpful resource, 'Literacy and Numeracy Tips to Help Your Child Every Day' which provides handy tips and ways you can help your child develop literacy and numeracy skills. It provides fun, inexpensive, accessible and practical activities you can do with your child at home.