At Macedon Primary School the focus of the English Program is to develop deep understanding and competent skills in our students in modes of Reading/Viewing, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Each classroom has explicit instruction in the important components of the English Victorian Curriculum.
Macedon Primary School implements the Victorian Curriculum F-6. The 3 strands of the English Curriculum are:- Language, Literature and Literacy.
Strengths of our English Program are:
- A daily literacy block
- Additional literacy support which complements the classroom literacy program for targeted students in need.
- Parental involvement in classroom literacy programs which fosters a positive teacher and parent partnership
- Consistent delivery of agreed instructional models in Reading and Writing
- Development of individual student reading and writing goals
- Ongoing professional development for staff
Whole School Writing
Over the past 2 years the staff have worked with writing consultant Ann Angelopoulos on developing our students as writers. Staff are enthusiastically implementing the new writing model. In this model students are explicitly taught writing strategies and devices. Our students learn about similes, power of 3, onomatopoeia and a range of figurative language commencing in Foundation. The children are taught how the writing strategies and figurative language can be incorporated in all text types.
Spelling is implemented during the Literacy block and is an integral component of the writing and reading strands. From Foundation to Year 2 a specific focus is given to teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding and segmenting along with spelling of the high frequency words. In Years 3 to 6 the spelling focus is on growing the student’s knowledge and understanding of word families, the 44 sounds of the alphabet and spelling rules. The explicit teaching of punctuation and grammar occurs in short focused mini lessons during the Literacy block. Building children’s vocabulary understanding occurs across the curriculum areas, developing their vocabulary understanding not only through literacy and numeracy. New and unfamiliar words and their meanings are discussed when teaching new topics such as Science, Humanities, ICT and Landcare. Topic word walls in classrooms support student’s vocabulary development and growth.
During the Independent Reading session, selected students partake in a reading conference with the teacher where a reading goal is discussed and agreed upon with the student. While the teacher conducts the reading conference the remainder of the students are reading a ‘just right’ book with a particular focus during their reading. A whole class mini lesson follows with explicit teaching and modelling of reading strategies concluding with students reflecting on what the students have done to make themselves a better reader. Teachers differentiate literacy tasks to cater for all students by carefully assessing their students using PM Benchmarking, Probe and ACER testing. Comprehension strategies are explicitly taught and modelled in the mini lesson. Children are then given opportunities to practise these during guided, independent reading and authentic reading tasks. Our aim is to develop students into independent, engaged and successful readers who self-monitor, question and make connections to the text.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening is embedded not only in the Literacy block but in all other curriculum areas. Children learn to communicate effectively and develop their oral language skills within and outside the classroom. Students participate in small and whole class discussions, guided reading, formal and informal presentations and in ‘turn and talk’ to share their thinking. From Foundation, our students are given opportunities to practise their speaking skills at our whole school assemblies. All our senior students are given a leading role at these assemblies presenting awards and announcements to the community on a weekly basis.
At Macedon Primary School our Mathematics Program is based on an evidence based whole school instructional model, with outcomes aligned to the Victorian Curriculum. Teachers plan extensively, with ongoing assessment and monitoring of the development of all students. This allows us to focus on continuous improvement and tailored programs that cater for ongoing growth in students.
The timetable is organised so that teachers are delivering a daily 90 minute session of Mathematics. Each session comprises of explicit teaching, whole class activities, skills and focus group instruction and whole class reflection about the day’s session. The development of student knowledge, skills and personal confidence is a core focus, with an emphasis on multimodal thinking and differentiation of learning tasks.
Instruction involves students:
- Becoming mathematically literate and numerate
- Being provided with optimum learning opportunities
- Applying numerous strategies in being able to problem solve
- Developing flexibility in their thinking and being able to articulate and apply their understandings
- Building confidence and an understanding of the importance of Mathematics in their everyday lives
- Extensively using concrete manipulatives and computer based resources to engage and support them in their learning.
- Exploring the use of concrete materials in all learning phases of Mathematics and the application of their mathematical knowledge in authentic, real world situations
- Developing an enjoyment for Mathematics!
A key focus in Macedon Primary School’s Strategic Plan School Vision is to provide comprehensive and innovative programs to enable our children to reach their full potential and to equip them with the skills and knowledge to become lifelong learners.
Integrated Studies at Macedon Primary School have a strong focus on building the student’s capacity to wonder, develop deep questions and to plan and conduct their own inquiries through an integrated approach to learning. We cover the content and skills from the following strands of the Victorian curriculum:
- Civics and Citizenship
- Economics and Business
- Environment Education
- STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
This is supported with the following capabilities that are embedded into our planning documents:
Ethical Understanding Capability – understanding concepts, decision making and actions
Personal and Social Capability – self and social awareness management
Intercultural Capability – cultural practices and cultural diversity
Critical and Creative Thinking Capability – questions and possibilities, reasoning and meta-cognition.
The units of work that are delivered over a two year cycle using a thematic approach with connections between year levels across the school. Teachers and students have the option to study both in their classrooms and at Middle Gully when studying inquiry learning subjects. The school has a strong focus on Environmental Education with Middle Gully Reserve across the road being the key resource for many Environmental initiatives.
At Macedon Primary School all students participate in weekly Indonesian language classes in a dedicated language learning space. Learning focuses on exploration and creativity and activities include creating and sharing stories, word and number games, role-plays and inquiry tasks.
Learning another language enhances students’ ability to think and reflect about the workings of language, and to develop mental flexibility and problem-solving strategies. Through the study of Indonesian language, students also develop the interpersonal skills and cultural awareness necessary to be successful global citizens.
Indonesian is the national language of one of Australia’s closest and most populous neighbours and is closely related to languages spoken in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. Learning Indonesian at Macedon Primary School provides a pathway to further Indonesian language study at secondary school and useful skills for travelling in our region.
The Performing Arts program at Macedon Primary School teaches students to have the skills and confidence to explore create and make music, dance and drama.
In the junior years (Foundation to Year 2) a focus is put on building self-confidence and interpersonal skills through song, dance, dramatic play and games. Weekly lessons will involve multiple disciplines, as one often supports and reinforces the others. Children are encouraged to pretend, to find their special imagination and are provided the freedom to express themselves as young actors and develop an understanding of practices including; Voice, Facial Expression, Movement and Space, Role and Situation. Our junior students are encouraged to give feedback to their peers throughout the year and in doing so, gives them an opportunity understand their own and others’ Performing Arts practice. Early music theory and skills are introduced and are explored further through singing, un-tuned percussion, movement and dance.
Students from Years 3-6 continue to develop Performing Arts practices by participating in a range of disciplines including; Drama, Dance, Multi-Media and Music. We reiterate the importance of developing interpersonal skills while engaging in various activities, dances and games. A significant emphasis is placed on improvisation, writing and presenting partner and small group dramatic presentations. Students are given the opportunity to explore ideas and extend the knowledge of the Dramatic Elements; Relationship, Tension, Time and Place. In years 3-6, students help develop the bi annual school production. Our senior students are given the opportunity for acting roles and all students are able to express themselves through music, movement and dance.
By Year 5 and 6, as is suggested in the Victorian Curriculum, students are encouraged to be adventurous and creative musically. With formal tuition there is also an opportunity to experiment with improvisation and composition.
The Visual Arts program at Macedon Primary School is designed to develop student’s understanding of the basic principals, techniques and cultures of the Art world. Each student is encouraged to use their imagination and is guided take risks and try new ideas when creating artworks. The program gives each student the opportunity to experiment with and explore a variety of mediums and techniques and to develop specific Visual Arts skills. The program provides students the tools to communicate their personal ideas, feelings and experiences. The program is also dedicated to supporting students to develop at an independent pace and they are encouraged to feel proud of their achievements.
Students are given the opportunity to work on both individual and group projects. Once a year all of the students exhibit a piece of their work in the Macedon Show Day Art Exhibition. They may also create floral displays and decorated cakes and biscuits at home to show in the exhibition. Each June, students from Macedon Primary School produce a collaborative artwork to exhibit in the Woodend Winter Arts Festival.
The Health and Physical Education Curriculum (P.E.) at Macedon Primary School provides opportunities for students to develop, enhance and exhibit attitudes that promote a healthy lifestyle through the development of skills, knowledge, team work and school values.
The children have opportunities to play, score, umpire and on occasions, coach younger students.
Our comprehensive program provides children with a wide range of physical and sporting experiences focusing on the sequential development of fundamental motor and locomotion skills, gymnastics, athletics, fitness and sport education.
To implement the P.E. program, we have access to excellent facilities including our JCB building, school oval, basketball/netball court and nearby Tony Clarke Reserve oval.
We also have an excellent range of equipment that ensures a variety of experiences for the students each session.
Our specialist Physical Education teachers lead skill based P.E. programs with Foundation-Year 6 children each week.
Children in the junior school will learn and practice the correct techniques for running, hopping, jumping, skipping, catching, throwing, kicking, rolling, balancing, twisting and turning.
Children in the middle and senior school will develop the capacity to link these skills into more complex and coordinated movement sequences. As students develop increasingly complex motor skills, they will be given opportunities to then apply these to appropriately modified games and sport-specific settings.
A strong emphasis is put on our school vales of respect, responsibility, integrity and being inclusive during our P.E. sessions.
KidsMatter Primary is an initiative that aims to contribute to improving student mental health and wellbeing. It was developed in collaboration with beyondblue, the Australian Psychological Society and the Principals Australia Institute. KidsMatter is about developing a positive school community and culture, where support for children’s mental health is promoted, and everyone is involved in proactive initiatives to ensure the KidsMatter philosophy is embedded into daily actions and attitudes across the school.
As a whole school we spend Monday afternoons working through our Social and Emotional Learning Program, which was developed by the KidsMatter team at MPS. There is specific focus on our school values, bullying, resilience, and social and emotional competencies.
At Macedon we have a number of initiatives we have introduced to promote the positive school community. These include:
- “Got Ya”: Raffle tickets are given out to children that are demonstrating the school values or motto, in the yard and classrooms. At the end of the week name/s are drawn out and the winners get to choose a special KidsMatter prize. They also receive an award and their photo printed in the newsletter.
- Every classroom has taken the “Every face has a place” statement from Component 1 and displayed all their student’s on the classroom door. The Staff and School Council are displayed in the school foyer.
- The “Alison Dudon Hub” has been fitted out with a Buddy Bench to help children find someone to play with, a picnic table and a range of activities for children to engage in. The activities include: giant chess, dominoes, tic-tac-toe, Twister, hopscotch, plus a tub of tools for the sandpit.