7 Steps to Writing
At SCPS we use the 7 Steps to Writing Success program to develop students writing skills as well as invoke a passion for writing and skilful communicating. The program is broken down into seven clear and easy to remember steps:
Step 1: Plan for success
Step 2: Sizzling starts
Steps 3: Tightening tensions
Step 4: Dynamic dialogue
Step 5: Show, don’t tell
Step 6: Ban the boring
Step 7: Exciting endings
We encourage students to experiment with each of the steps through a variety of dynamic, engaging and open-ended tasks and have seen great growth in students writing capabilities and enthusiasm across a range of text types including narratives, information reports and persuasive writing.
In grade 5/6 spelling is explicitly taught using the SMART Spelling method. This involves teaching the meaning of words to expand student’s vocabulary and then breaking the words down into syllables, sounds and letter patters (graphs, digraphs and trigraphs). Students are engaged in explicit sessions using the SMART acronym:
S – Say the word
M – Meaning: use the word in a meaningful sentence
A – Analyse the word (identify the letters, sounds and syllables in the word)
R – Remember: which is the tricky part you might need to remember?
T – Teach: students teach the words to each other or the teacher
Using the SMART spelling method allows students to choose words that meet their individual needs, ranging from simple to complex.
In order to target student’s individual needs and ensure all are working towards a personal goal, the grade 5/6 students engage in numeracy workshops as well as explicit teaching sessions. During workshops, students take initiative in choosing a focus group that they feel they need more practice with.
At SCPS, the grade 5/6 students engage in the workshop model for literacy rotations. These rotations are targeted at student’s individual reading and comprehension needs, as well as the Victorian English curriculum. Through the workshop model, students participate in the learning cycle in small groups guided by the teacher. This is a great opportunity for students to share their learning and work collaboratively on tasks.
Problem-based learning (PBL)
Problem-based learning is a student-centered approach to teaching where students discover a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem. Students are given real-world problems and through PBL process (Define, Dream, Discover, Design, Deliver, Debrief) learn the concepts and principles of a topic. PBL is a fun and creative way for students to develop their critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities and communication skills.
Individual Student Goals
At SCPS, individual growth and development is a priority for all students. Teachers in grade 5/6 are dedicated to improving students learning capabilities and target individual student needs during goal time. Students are allocated 1 hour a week where they work on specific goals in reading, writing and numeracy that have been co-created with the classroom teacher. During this time, teachers work one-on-one with students, providing guidance, work examples and further explanation in areas of need.