Literacy and numeracy are embedded in all faculty areas across the school. This strategic focus is essential as literacy and numeracy underpin student success in all subject areas. In the junior school, lessons start with either a literacy or numeracy ‘warm up’ depending on the subject area. Teachers of all junior classes also provide students with a Vocabulary Booklet in which key terminology is ‘unpacked’ and students complete activities to deepen their understanding of essential vocabulary. Teachers also provide differentiated numeracy and literacy instruction to students under their care based on a range of data sources. Literacy and Numeracy Coaches develop and monitor the success of the programs that have been introduced.
Research based literacy approaches have been trialled and implemented. These approaches are aligned with the school’s pedagogical framework – The Art and Science of Teaching. Teachers currently use spelling approaches such as Sound Waves or the Four Spelling Knowledges Approach. The introduction of the Seven Steps to Writing Success program into the junior school is at the core of our writing improvement agenda. The latest research based reading comprehension strategies have also been adopted in an attempt to improve student skill in this area. Staff have undertaken professional development sessions in relation to all of the above initiatives.
Staff in the Maths and Science faculties have also undertaken professional development to enable them to incorporate ‘best practice’ numeracy strategies into their teaching. Teachers have been encouraged to use alternative techniques such as the Singapore Maths model and Thinking Blocks to ensure that basic numeracy concepts are consolidated. The focus is on utilising ‘hands on’ concrete materials to improve student engagement, understanding and enjoyment.