We hope your weekend is a really happy one for you all and that despite the busyness of transporting children to various sporting and other commitments, your families (and our school) continue to be ‘a safe haven’ for your children – a place where they can really grow and flourish!
This week staff attended a professional learning opportunity facilitated by a CEWA literacy consultant. These days are essential to the ongoing investment we give to improving a teacher’s professional knowledge and skills and to aligning our whole school beliefs and practice.
The day was a very worthwhile opportunity and your children will of course be the beneficiaries! Throughout the coming months we will continue to share ideas and information about how you can support your child’s spelling at home.
I received a wonderful visit by two hard working Year One’s this week so we celebrated their great writing and spelling efforts together!
On Monday staff spent the day at Newman Sienna Centre in Doubleview, engaging in professional learning in the teaching of Spelling, where we :
- revisited the four forms of spelling knowledge: phonological, visual, morphological and etymological;
- reinforced the importance of explicit and systematic teaching, along with modelled, guided and independent spelling;
- and explored useful spelling strategies along with spelling-related skills such as proofreading and editing.
English is an alphabetic language; we use letters to write words but it is not a phonetic language: there is no simple match between sounds and letters.
We have 26 letters, but we have around 44 sounds. Sounds – or phonics – are very important in learning to spell, but they are insufficient on their own.
just as important are the morphemes in words. Morphemes are the meaningful parts of words. For example, “jumped” has two morphemes – “jump” and “ed”. “Jump” is easily recognised as meaningful, but “ed” is also meaningful because it tells us that the jump happened in the past.
Only about 12% of words in English are spelt the way they sound. Growing research is therefore pointing teachers to helping children learn more about the the origin of words to support their spelling knowledge and this is now reflected in the new WA English Curriculum from the early years through to high school.
As a staff we are re-examining our Spelling Scope and Sequence and, in the light of current research, continuing to challenge some of our beliefs about the teaching of spelling so that we can continue to support student learning in the most effective ways we can!
Some staff members also attended a workshop supporting the teaching of children with complex communication needs. In this workshop staff learnt more about:
- how to access different communication tools for students with complex needs
- developing a shared knowledge of the key concepts of disability and the importance of children’s mental health and well-being
- how the KidsMatter Framework can be used to support and promote self-care and wellbeing.
Life-long learning is a clearly articulated value in our school Vision Statement and the professional learning opportunities that staff receive, supports them to continue to adjust teaching practices in light of current research.