Now that students have arrived at the last stage of Primary School learning it is time to incite adventurous experimentation with their writing. They have learnt a great range of skills in English up to this point and will enjoy the creativity that our Year 6 program offers.
At Chalkwall our students are given plenty of opportunities to become innovative writers applying different skills to produce original pieces of writing with a focus on purpose, deliberate word choice, sensory imagery and other literary devices.
We aim to support our students not only in their Primary School years but to ensure that they are equipped with a skill set that will assist them when they transition into High School. It is this component of our Intrepid Inquirer English program that gifts students with units of work that expose them to High School English topics. Our students benefit from this early exposure as they learn to utilise key features in their writing that are necessary in High School.
Students have arrived at their last crucial phase of learning in Primary School so the principle focus is to ensure that students extend their mathematical ideas and develop connections between the key topics to establish a solid foundation. In the Year 6 Mathematics program students consolidate understanding of topics that necessitate foundational understanding, knowledge and skills required for their next stage in their educational life. For instance, students need to see that percentages, decimals and fractions are different ways of expressing proportions and are interrelated.
A fluent understanding of Number and Algebra is essential for students to progress naturally and confidently to High School. By the end of Year 6, students should be fluent in written methods for all four operations and understand and use mathematical language. We aim to support our students not only in their Primary School years but to ensure that they are equipped with a skill set that will assist them when they transition into High School. It is this component of the program that gifts students with units of work that expose them to High School Mathematics topics. Our students benefit from this early exposure as they consolidate existing skills and apply new knowledge and understanding to new topics that involve new mathematical skills. This is a vantage point as students are a step ahead. The early exposure gives students a heads up and prepares them academically which is essential as transitioning to high school is already socially and emotionally challenging.
In the Year 6 Intrepid Inquirer program, students work to compose original pieces of writing to showcase their imaginative and unique writing voice. Each term students actively build on their ability to apply new vocabulary, language features and sensory imagery to produce writing that has purpose. Students continue to read and view texts where they are challenged to provide justification to support their interpretation and comprehension.
During class, students are taught strategies that they can use to independently plan for writing (including vocabulary skills, use of appropriate cohesive devices and inclusion of effective language features to achieve purpose). Time is given for the teacher to conference with individual students so that they are given constructive feedback that can be used in the editing stage of writing before the final text is produced. Our classes incorporate the instructional use of whole class and small group/pair work to maximise learning. At Chalkwall we accommodate for different learners through the inclusion of visual, audio and tactile learning aids so that students can use those experiences in their writing.
Effective programs contain opportunities to identify prior knowledge and skills before moving onto other concepts. Year 6 students are exposed to quizzes and revision sets to effectively establish prior knowledge, but also essentially examine what students have learnt. The introductory experiences drives the direction of the new lesson and ensures that students are guided and understand. Additionally, students are directed to sample questions and exposed to the different written and mental strategies to find possible solutions. Questions present themselves in numerous ways including worded problems to challenge students and engages them into investigation, prompting students to build upon and improve their current understanding. Outlined helpful pointers are also provided along the way to assist students and develop further their ability to solve a wider range of problems. The varied and frequent learning opportunities develop students’ conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge quickly and accurately. The program influences student engagement, depth of understanding and quality of learning.
Our teachers understand that students need to experiment with different language features to find and establish their own writing voice. They will assist students through the planning and editing stages of writing to help them build on and apply the necessary skills to compose writing that meets the intended purpose. The Year 5 teachers also aim to equip students with required skills to transition to High School with knowledge of and appropriate skills required for particular High School topics (e.g. visual literacy and creative writing).
Our teachers provide different teaching practices to help students become active self-learners. Learning intentions/goals are identified for each lesson and the teacher helps students centre on key understanding and make connections between concepts.
The Year 6 teachers expose students to ‘guided learning opportunities’ where students are encouraged and supported to take increasing control of new learning and ‘independent teaching’ which involves supporting students to consolidate, transfer and apply new learning. These practices help students make rich connections across mathematical ideas to continue developing fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving challenging problems.
Homework is distributed weekly ensuring students practice the skills learnt in class. It is collected and marked on a weekly basis then returned to the student. This enables teachers to assess their students’ level of understanding and focus on weaknesses.
Informal assessments are carried out during class where teachers observe students’ level of progress through class work and give written and verbal feedback.
Students are given two formal exams at the end of Term 1 and Term 3 and feedback is provided to parents/guardians. These results are used to determine areas of need and become a focal point for further learning.
Students are provided with a class workbook each term and revision booklets.
Student attendance, homework completion and understanding of content taught is recorded on a weekly basis for tracking purposes.