With our focus on the recently released HSC reforms and NAPLAN Band 8 minimum standards, embedding a school wide approach to literacy is at the forefront of 2017 school improvement. On Wednesday, the Bethany College Literacy Working Party met for the first time this year to discuss the implementation of faculty action plans designed to ensure that our students are exposed to a range and variety of metacognitive reading and writing strategies. Below is a list of these approaches, excluding the Mathematics faculty as their attention will be upon improving numeracy;
ENGLISH: Grammar and Punctuation/Thinking Note Keys
HSIE: RAFT and Converting Text to Diagram
PDHPE: TEEL and POWER
LOTE: TINA and POWER
RE: Three Level Reading Guide
SCIENCE: Think Box/Vocabulary Charts
VA: Vocabulary/Thinking Note Keys/Three Level Reading Guide
Whilst Bethany is committed to addressing literacy across its Key Learning Areas, it is widely accepted that the greatest effect is to be had in the home. Beginning at a pre-schooling phase and continuing into the primary years, children who regularly read and have parents read to them (and with them) demonstrate greater ability in the literate domains. Professor Gordon Stanley (Honorary Professor, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney and former President of the Board of Studies NSW), presented on this very concept in October 2016, and believes the home to have a continuing significant impact on the literacy rates of students in their adolescent years. Parents are advised to ensure their teenagers are wide reading appropriate texts that will improve grammar, punctuation and vocabulary (and general academic literacy) rather than allowing their teenagers to be glued to social media, for example. Having said this, other uses of technology can have beneficial effects, such as websites like http://www.pearsonschool.com/index.cfm?locator=PS2xI6 containing engaging games to assist in vocabulary development.
The Year 7 students are currently participating in their Laptop Bootcamp, an instructional workshop where students are taken step by step through the key IT platforms required at the college. These include Sentral, Google Drive and GMail and the Papercut web app for printing. The girls have been provided with a digital and hardcopy version of the manual and therefore should refer to this as a first point of reference whilst still familiarising themselves with the new technologies.
A reminder that next Wednesday 1st March, all Bethany College staff will be participating in an extended professional learning workshop on interpreting the Common Grade Scale, ways to encourage ‘stretch’ of both the core curriculum and Scientia extension, as well as addressing consistent teacher judgement when assessing students through both formative and summative assessment. This afternoon will assist staff in their work towards reducing summative assessment across the college.
Leader of Pedagogy