Our Programs - UPPER SCHOOL

There are six Upper School class groups and the 2017 Upper School team consists of Mrs Melissa Heath, Ms Whitney Watson, Mr Craig Beamer, Mrs Maryanne Skeen, Miss Ashleigh Hamilton, Miss Stephanie O'Sullivan, Mrs Belinda Bird and Mrs Lily Strnak.


UPPER SCHOOL BUILDING

The Upper School building was purposefully designed to provide a flexible learning space for Middle Years students. It allows opportunity for children to move around the learning space without the restriction of walls. This allows a greater flexibility with learning groups, provides opportunity for teachers to collaborate in team teaching and allows furniture and spaces to be manipulated to suit the learning activities. Additionally, within the building are two withdrawal learning spaces where small groups are able to work closely with teachers.

ENGLISH
Literacy groups and activities vary according to student's learning needs and interests.

Reading
In Reading, students compose, comprehend and respond to an expanding range of texts in print and audiovisual and electronic forms that contain increasingly unfamiliar concepts, themes, information and issues. To address this the Upper School reading program has 3 components:

  • Just Right Reading - involves students selecting a novel to read appropriate to their level and working towards achieving specific learning goals to improve their reading ability. They will conference regularly with a teacher to discuss their progress, provide evidence of their work towards achieving their goal and plan for future improvement.
  • Reciprocal Teaching - involves students working in needs based groups to improve their reading comprehension whilst being guided closely by a teacher. They read a variety of texts and use the Reciprocal Teaching process of prediction, reading, clarifying, questioning and summarising, to understand these texts.
  • Literature Circles - are student-led book groups that develop students? ownership and responsibility for their learning. During Literature Circles students form groups based on their book choices, where they read and complete an assortment of comprehension roles and use these to generate discussions within their group.


Writing
Students write texts for a range of purposes that demonstrate their developing understanding of the way imagery, characterisation, dialogue, point of view, plot and setting contribute to the meaning of written and multimodal texts. They use their developing knowledge of the generic structures of different types of texts as the basis for composing an increasing range of written and spoken texts.

  • Choice Writing – In Upper School, students are offered the opportunity to select writing workshops based on their learning goals, needs and interests. Students select from a variety of Writing Skills and Writing Genre workshops which focus on the rules of language, grammar, the conventions of writing, as well as the language features and structures of a variety of text types.
  • Words Their Way- This is a developmental spelling, phonics, and vocabulary program. Words Their Way teaches students to examine words to discover patterns and conventions of the English language to help promote stronger reading, writing and spelling. They complete differentiated weekly word sorts set at their level of need.
  • VCOP - Upper School students are provided with a variety of strategies to help improve their Writing. VCOP focuses on four main aspects of the writing process and gives students the skills to improve their own writing through self-assessment. VCOP stands for Vocabulary - promoting the use of ‘WOW’ words, Connectives - creating longer sentences by joining pieces of information together, Openers - the different ways we can begin a sentence and Punctuation - using a variety of punctuation to improve pieces of writing.

Historical Speeches
Grade 6 students write and present a Historical Speech on either an aspect of the local community or the history of a family member. Children will need to gather information about their topic in readiness for writing their speech in the classroom. The speeches are part of a competition run in conjunction with The Yarrambat Historical Society. The written structure and presentation of a speech are important learning outcomes within the English program and provides an experience for children that is unique to Yarrambat Primary School. Grade 5 students present a speech in a less formal forum in preparation for their Grade 6 Historical Speech.

MATHEMATICS
Number Fluency - At the beginning of all maths lessons students participate in number fluency activities to develop their automatic recall of times-table and number facts.
• Maths Investigations - Students will also be given the opportunity to make decisions with their maths learning by engaging in a variety of real life, open-ended, authentic maths tasks and investigations.
• Earn & Learn - A highlight of the Maths program is Earn and Learn. Earn and Learn is based around the establishment of a mini economic community within the Upper School building. This involves establishing a community where students earn wages, pay bills, pay taxes and generally engage in budgeting and banking exercises that they will be using in the future. During this highly engaging program students learn to manage their own basic finances. It makes maths meaningful and involves real life problems. Earn and Learn also covers the Economic requirements of the Victorian Curriculum.

EXTENSION PROGRAMS
In Upper School we offer a range of extension programs to support and extend our students in their education. The extension programs that we offer are:
• University of New South Wales Testing
• Tournament of the Minds
• Maths Olympiad


INQUIRY
Throughout the year students will participate in a variety of Inquiries to explore the real world. The Inquiry process involves students forming questions and using a variety of means to develop understandings about real world issues and concepts across all key curriculum areas.

PERSONALISED LEARNING
As well as offering personalised learning opportunities across all areas of the curriculum where students are provided with opportunities to set goals and make choices for their own learning, students are offered the chance to participate in Discovery where they are able to develop skills in a wide variety of areas not covered by the traditional curriculum. These experiences have been highly engaging and involved students in developing skills in some of the following areas of sewing, knitting, wood work, construction, photography, science, jewellery making, computer programming, graphic design, health and fitness, origami, animation, drama, cooking, gardening and many more. Students work in multi-aged groups based on like interests.

ICT

As students work towards the achievement of Level 6 standards in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), they apply known ICT tools for visualising thinking in new ways to make links between existing and new knowledge. Students use ICT tools to produce information products that demonstrate their knowledge and skills for all areas of the curriculum.

HOMEWORK
The expectation in Upper School is that children read for an average of at least 30 minutes, three times a week. Students record their weekly reading into their school diaries. A homework grid is handed out every fortnight on a Wednesday. Each homework grid contains a variety of activities, including a maths sheet that is tailored to the level of each student and a spelling activity that requires students to learn words from their individual spelling word sort. It is expected that homework is viewed and signed by parents. From time to time students may also be required to undertake additional homework tasks relating to specific topics of study or class work.

GRADE 6 LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
Children in Grade 6 participate in the Leadership Program. This program allows students to:
• Attend a leadership conference at the beginning of the year.
• Support a Prep Buddy during their transition into Primary School.
• Work with peers to plan and conduct a whole school assembly.
• Undertake a week of office responsibilities.
• Provide positive role modeling to the younger school community.
• Develop public speaking skills when they compose and present a Historical Speech.
• Represent Yarrambat in the Interschool Sport program.
• Earn the 9 badges of leadership by completing a range of tasks and displaying the qualities and values expected of leaders.

 CAMP
All Upper School children will be provided with the opportunity to develop their independence, teamwork and leadership skills when they attend a 3 day adventure camp.

 

We encourage parents throughout the year to contact any member of the Upper School team if they have any questions.
Parent helpers are always welcome in the classroom!