Teaching & Learning
Our Reader’s Workshop Approach
‘We can’t learn to swim without swimming, to write without writing, to sing without singing, or to read without reading.’
Reader’s Workshop is a framework for reading instruction that provides children with authentic reading experiences that focus on the strengths and needs of each individual child.
The basic philosophy behind the Reader’s Workshop approach is to allow children to spend an extended amount of time reading authentic (self choice) texts that interest them on a daily basis and to provide opportunities to talk about literature and to develop a life-long interest and passion in reading.
Readers Workshop empowers children to;
- view reading as a meaning-making process, as opposed to one about words and word parts
- identify and talk about many beloved titles, authors, and genres
- independently choose books of interest at their reading level
- self-monitor for understanding and use fix-up strategies when necessary
- engage in meaningful reading for a sustained period of time
- discuss and think about books with others
Knox Park Primary School’s Readers Workshop Lesson Structure
Time allocated to each element of a typical Readers Workshop lesson at Knox Park Primary School.
Our Writing Approach
‘If they can’t say it, they can’t write it.’
At Knox Park Primary School our writing framework consists of a range of proven elements that when combined, create a rigorous and engaging foundation for the teaching of writing. The building blocks of our approach consist of utilising Big Write and VCOP, as well as Writer’s Notebooks to generate ideas.
What is Big Write and VCOP?
Big Write and VCOP is a fast paced, fun filled writing program that is based around talk. At the heart of Big Write is the development of the writing voice. Big Write and VCOP creates a positive ethos towards writing for all students. Writing improvement is achieved through a series of highly motivating, differentiated lessons that embed all the basic skills and knowledge that children require to be successful and to continue to improve. The use of the Australian Criterion Scale ensures consistency of assessment between and across grade levels.
The Big Write methodology is; ‘if they can’t say it, they can’t write it.’ With talk and communication, an imperative element of the program, it directly appeals those who are reluctant writers.
Our children are encouraged to be ambitious, up-level their work and focus on the elements of VCOP in their writing. By highlighting these areas as and independently using the Student Criterion Scale, our children are empowered by understanding the simple and successful ways to improve their writing.
Through the use of VCOP children will develop 4 main aspects of their writing
V – Vocabulary – Words that make you go ‘WOW’
C – Connectives – Words that connect sentences together
O – Openers – Effective ways to begin sentences
P – Punctuation – Power punctuation
Our Spelling Approach
At Knox Park Primary School our children are trained ‘code breakers’. Beginning in Foundation, children are explicitly taught the 70 Australian phonograms or codes that make up the words used in the English language. They use their knowledge of the codes to segment unfamiliar words into sounds when they read and also apply their knowledge of the codes and spelling rules to accurately spell words.
As children move through school they extend their understanding of the strategies to problem solve when trying to spell unfamiliar words by doing a sound check, code match, rule check and blend. This is a consistent method taught throughout Knox Park Primary School and an opportunity to make sure our high achieving children are extended and children who encounter difficulties are identified, monitored and supported to ensure mastery.
Our approach to spelling uses the elements of the Write 2 Read method which is based on current research that proves children cannot spell by using memory alone but must problem solve by using explicitly taught codes and rules and how to apply them.
Our Numeracy Approach
Numeracy complements literacy and is sometimes called ‘mathematical literacy’. Both skills are needed in order to function fully in modern life. Being numerate means being able to reason with numbers and other mathematical concepts, applying these in a range of contexts to solve a variety of problems.
At Knox Park Primary School our children develop mathematical understandings and skills in order to function effectively in society. Becoming confident and competent with mathematics will enable our children to be able to reason, solve problems, demonstrate understandings and link mathematics to everyday life.
Our Mathematics program builds on the child’s interests and experiences, allowing them to make meaningful connections to real life situations and enable them to see a purpose for all concepts and skills being taught.
Mathematics sessions include; practising number skills such as times tables and automatic number facts, explicit teaching of mathematical concepts, mathematical investigations and challenges and authentic projects.
Numeracy Support and Extension
We support children who are struggling to understand mathematical concepts with targeted point-of-need teaching and small group instruction.
Our targeted teaching approach provides plenty of opportunities for extension. Individual interests and abilities are catered for as teachers provide small group opportunities for our high achieving children to thrive.
Our Digital Learning Approach
‘Digital Learning aims to empower students to move from confident users and consumers of digital systems and technology to being discerning and creative problem solvers, equipped for an increasingly knowledge-based economy and society.’
Aims of the Curriculum:
The Digital Technologies curriculum enables children to become confident and creative developers of digital solutions through the application of information systems and specific ways of thinking about problem solving.
Children acquire a deep knowledge and understanding of digital systems, data and information and the processes associated with creating digital solutions so they can take up an active role in meeting current and future needs.
The curriculum has been designed to provide practical opportunities for children to explore the capacity of information systems to systematically and innovatively transform data into digital solutions through the application of computational, design and systems thinking.
The curriculum also encourages children to be discerning decision makers by considering different ways of managing the interactions between digital systems, people, data and processes (information systems) and weighing up the possible benefits and potential risks for society and the environment.
- Computational thinking is the main focus of the Digital Technologies curriculum. Children will develop problem solving skills when creating digital solutions.
- Children will learn various programming languages (coding) to purpose-design digital solutions to solve specific problems.
- Children will develop the ability to apply programming skills (coding) to control robots according to a set purpose.
Knox Park Primary School uses a range of technology devices, including laptops and iPads. Our children use locally accessed software and online applications to support their learning across all areas of the curriculum. We ensure that we remain at the cutting edge of Digital Learning through regular reviews of our Digital Learning curriculum and our approach towards the use technology as a tool for teaching and learning.
Our Science Inquiry Approach
“If you tell a student something, you’ve forever robbed them of the opportunity to discover it for themselves through inquiry.” Curt Gabrielson
Science is a high profile subject at Knox Park Primary School which is in line with recent announcements by the Australian Government regarding high-quality Science and Mathematics education. There has been a push to implement new initiatives aimed at increasing the focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in Primary and Secondary Schools. In line with this new focus, Knox Park Primary School has implemented weekly Science lessons from Foundation to Level Six exploring the fields of Biological, Chemical, Earth & Space and Physical Sciences.
At Knox Park our children gain a good grounding in Science and related Inquiry skills through our Science program. Our focus is on curiosity and immersion. Each class uses our designated Science lab to observe, investigate, analyse, reason, question and seek solutions using the Primary Connections innovative approach to teaching and learning as a framework. This approach is based on a guided inquiry teaching and learning model. Children use their prior knowledge to develop explanations for their hands-on experiences of scientific phenomena, whilst also being given opportunities to represent and re-represent their developing understanding. They are engaged actively in the learning process with teachers taking on a facilitator role.
Optional STEM classes are also run weekly during lunchtimes. In these sessions, children have the opportunity to complete hands on activities and investigations with peers of all ages and abilities.
Guided Inquiry Learning
Our Guided Inquiry Approach
At Knox Park Primary school we follow a guided inquiry teaching and learning approach.
Our Humanities and Health curriculum is aligned with the Victorian Curriculum and is designed to actively engage children in the learning process. They begin to develop their capacity to take an active role in their learning as well as develop investigation skills and an understanding of the curriculum content.
Through rich and flexible inquiry units, our children are provided with challenging and stimulating learning experiences which allow them to build on their knowledge and understandings.
Hallmarks of our Guided Inquiry approach are;
- Strong emphasis on process not the final product.
- Evidence of student voice.
- Children actively involved in constructing their understanding
- Learning that takes place in a social context – children learning from each other.
- Prior knowledge is ascertained and built upon.
Teaching and learning progresses through five phases: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate. These phases of learning also mirror the learning process that children undertake when exploring Science.
Each unit begins with a lesson/s that mentally engages students with the curriculum content. It captures their interest, provides an opportunity for them to express what they know about the concept and generate questions of inquiry.
Students carry out hands-on activities in which they can explore the concept or skill. They grapple with problems while being provided with direct teaching of the subject matter. This phase allows children to acquire a common set of experiences/understandings that they can use to help each other make sense of the new concept.
After students have explored the concept or skill the teacher (or student) provides explanations for the line of questioning. The significant aspect of this phase is that explanation follows investigation.
This phase provides opportunities for children to apply what they have learned to new situations and so develop a deeper understanding of the concept. It is important for children to discuss and compare their ideas with each other during this phase.
The final phase provides an opportunity for students to review and reflect on their own learning and new understanding and skills. It is also when students provide evidence for changes to their understanding, beliefs and skills.
Music and The Performing Arts are highly valued at Knox Park Primary School, with all students participating in one hour weekly sessions. Each session is designed to engage, inspire, enrich and excite our children’s imaginations and encourage them to reach their creative and expressive potential. Lessons focus on the areas of music, dance and drama and these skills are utilised in a school wide musical production staged every second year.
Children also have the opportunity to take part in Choir sessions, practising weekly and performing regularly. Knox Park Primary School also offer externally provided dance group sessions and instrumental tuition.
The Visual Arts program is highly regarded at Knox Park Primary School with all children participating in one-hour weekly sessions. Children explore visual literacy by communicating observations, personal ideas and experiences. Their art production encompasses a focus on the art elements, with a variety of influences from traditional and contemporary artists and art movements. To provide a well-rounded art education, Knox Park Primary School aims to expose our children to a diverse range of materials and techniques, including painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, DSLR photography and printing.
At Knox Park, children are encouraged to express themselves in an innovative manner, to plan and refine their ideas and appreciate the artwork of others.
Knox Park Primary School hosts a biennial Art Show in which children have the unique opportunity to exhibit their artwork. We always look forward to seeing the marvellous original compositions and creations by our children.
Physical Education is an important aspect of your child’s education as it helps children stay physically active, develop interests in different types of physical activity, build teamwork and other social skills and improve focus and academic performance.
The Physical Education Program from Foundation to Year 2 is based on Fundamental Motor Skills, which include– catching, kicking, running, jumping, throwing and batting. These skills are the building blocks for the more complicated sport and movement skills that are common to the community.
Children from Year 3 are encouraged to further enhance their Fundamental Motor Skills and use these to participate in minor and major games. Years 5 and 6 students are involved in summer and winter interschool sports teams. Years 3- 6 students are able to represent the school in swimming, cross country and athletics at competitions beyond the school.
Emphasis is not placed on competition in Physical Education but rather on providing opportunities to develop skills that are then applied in major game situations. At Knox Park Primary School we have a strong emphasis on teamwork, giving things a go and doing your best.
The Mandarin Program at Knox Park develops language skills sequentially and comprehensively from Foundation to Year Six. All children have a one-hour lesson each week. Our program endeavours to provide our children with useful communication skills and cultural awareness so as to prepare them to become enthusiastic and caring global citizens.
A wide variety of activities involving listening, speaking, reading and writing are carefully designed and differentiated to cater for different abilities, interests and backgrounds. These include:
- Singing songs
- Chants and dances
- Language games and competitions
- Class discussions
- Research and Inquiry Projects
- Real-life language text analysis
- Hands-on cultural experiences
At Knox Park Primary School children are encouraged to use the language they have acquired whenever possible. This may be in informal situations both at school and at home. There are also whole-school events and excursions that involve learning Mandarin in a broader, out-of-classroom context. Specific information will be provided closer to these events.
The camping program at Knox Park Primary School offers our children the opportunity to expand their learning and social skills in alternative cultural or outdoor environmental settings. The program encourages social interaction and interdependence, promotes independence and self-sufficiency in environments different to the classroom.
At Knox Park Primary School our camping program extends from Year 1 to Year 6, with children participating in a range of camping experiences from a games and movie night in Year 1 through to four night adventure camps in the senior school. The camping program is built around a rotational planner in order to align with the curriculum.