This year at Willmott Park there are some new and exciting changes to the Writing curriculum, with the introduction of the 6+1 Traits of Writing, The Writing Process, Jolly Grammar and Jolly Spelling.
The Six plus one Trait is a way of teaching, modelling, and assessing writing. The Six Traits of writing are Voice, Ideas, Presentation, Conventions, Organization, Word Choice, and Sentence Fluency. It creates a shared writing vocabulary that is common across the school and enables consistency from grade level to grade level. The Six Traits model allows teachers and students to focus on one or two elements of writing at a time creating a more manageable and effective way for students to learn how to write. It also is a means of providing specific feedback to students through the assessment of their writing.
The Writing Process shows students the process an author goes through to produce a piece of writing. Students are explicitly taught each stage of the process and by practising them they achieve success as a writer.
In Prep, students are undertaking Jolly Phonics which is an evidence-based, synthetic approach to learning phonics. Grade One and Grade Two students are undertaking the Jolly Grammar and Jolly Spelling program for four sessions each week. In these sessions, they continue to build their phonological awareness as well as various skills necessary for writing, such as, sentence structure and conventions.
This year at Willmott Park, our students will develop a growth mindset when it comes to Mathematics. We have all heard people say, ‘I am not a maths person’, or ‘ I was never good at maths at school,’. We have set a challenge at Willmott Park PS to change what we say and how we see Mathematics.
The beauty of maths is all around us. We see it in nature, through patterns and symmetry. We use timetables to organise ourselves at home, school and work. We will develop students understanding of Numeracy by using manipulatives. We are creating an environment where students are encouraged to take risks and mistakes that are celebrated. Yes! You read that correctly, mistakes are celebrated! As is it widely recognised that mistakes create pathways in our brains to understand what went wrong, how to correct it, so as not to make the mistake again.
Our Mathematical Program follows the Victorian Curriculum, and we create engaging activities that often involve students collaborating on a problem together. Within the curriculum there are Four Maths Proficiencies: Understanding, Fluency, Reasoning and Problem Solving. Teachers plan activities that encompass these, as it allows students to be able to learn new skills and apply them. The students are encouraged to explain and justify their solution to their peers. It is exciting to see a classroom where the students are leading the discussion by questioning each other and asking them to clarify their explanation.
One important aspect of Numeracy is fluency. Often when we hear this word, and we think of being the fastest one to solve the problem. At Willmott Park fluency is viewed as the ability to retrieve previously learnt skills and apply them to a different problem. Sometimes this may take some time and there may be errors. Our teachers skilfully question and scaffold the student’s learning to achieve success, when completing these problems.
Our activities are based on the ‘low floor, high ceiling’ model, which means all students begin the task with some independence and then there is adaptation or differentiation to ensure they are challenged and experience success. We encourage inquiry-based learning, where students are provided with activities which are open ended. This helps students to think deeper and more creatively.
We want students to see themselves as lifelong mathematicians and to inspire creativity and fun within their learning process.