The Western Australian Curriculum: English Pre-Primary to Year 6 is built around the three interrelated strands of language, literature and literacy. Together, the three strands focus on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in listening, reading, viewing, speaking writing and creating. Learning in English builds on concepts, skills and processes developed in earlier years. Teachers will develop and strengthen these as needed.
Students engage with a variety of texts for enjoyment. They listen to, read and view spoken, written and multimodal texts in which the primary purpose is to entertain, as well as some texts designed to inform. These include traditional oral texts, picture books, various types of stories, rhyming verse, poetry, non-fiction, film, multimodal texts and dramatic performances. They participate in shared reading, viewing and storytelling using a range of literary texts, and recognise the entertaining nature of literature.
The range of literary texts for Pre-Primary to Year 6 comprises Australian literature, including the oral narrative traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, as well as the contemporary literature of these two cultural groups, and classic and contemporary world literature, including texts from and about Asia. Literary texts that support and extend Pre-Primary students as beginner readers include decodable and predictable texts that range from caption books to books with one or more sentences per page. These texts involve straightforward sequences of events and everyday happenings with recognisable, realistic or imaginary characters. Informative texts present a small amount of new content about familiar topics of interest: a small range of language features, including simple and compound sentences; mostly familiar vocabulary; known, high-frequency words and single-syllable words that can be decoded phonically; and illustrations that strongly support the printed text.
Students create a range of imaginative, informative and persuasive texts including pictorial representations, short statements, performances, recounts and poetry.
At Coolbinia Primary School, teachers design learning experiences to support students in developing functional and critical literacy skills. Staff are supported by administration in working to meet the literacy needs of all the students in their care.
When designing learning experiences, staff are guided by our shared English beliefs or ‘EDIT’
- Establish and sustain explicit expected standards.
- Demonstrate a developmental whole school approach and differentiation in teaching, learning and assessment.
- Integrate the curriculum to create authentic learning experiences.
- Teach according to the whole school literacy plan using the gradual release of responsibility model.
Coolbinia Primary School uses a whole school approach to Mathematics, focusing on improving numeracy outcomes for all students. Staff worked collaboratively to create the Whole School Mathematics Plan, used to guide planning and assessment. When assessing, team moderation sessions ensure that grading is consistent across every year level. To assist students in building their automaticity of learnt facts, each Mathematics lesson begins with a numeracy warm up, displaying flash cards of learnt concepts.
The Mathematics program for 2016 includes the launch of PRIME Mathematics, a world-class, whole-school program based on the effective teaching and learning practices of Singapore, the Republic of Korea and Hong Kong –
consistent top performers in international studies.
Coolbinia also provides subsidised licences for Mathletics – an online mathmatics program based on the Australian curriculum – enabling students to work at school or home on mathematics work set by their teachers.
Science is a learning area of particular interest and strength at Coolbinia Primary School, providing our students with ways to explore and gain a greater understanding of the world. Our Science programmes have an overarching theme of ‘Hands On. Minds On’. This theme highlights the importance of the students engaging in the learning area in order to expand their curiosity and willingness to explore and ask questions. This allows the students to then solve problems and make informed decisions, having taken into account any social and ethical implications.
In 2016, Coolbinia Primary School was once again chosen to take on a leading role as a Teacher Development School in Science. This involves the school providing professional learning to teachers from other schools all over WA. At times, we have teachers visiting the school to see our science teaching in action; at other times, we have groups of teachers come to the school to take part in workshops, tours of our amazing resources and presentations to develop their teaching of Science. In addition to this, teachers from Coolbinia Primary School receive invitations to attend other schools to share their knowledge, expertise and experience. Our involvement in the Teacher Development Schools programme ensures that we are presenting an innovative Science curriculum to our students. In addition, our school’s reputation as a leader in Science education has led to many exciting opportunities for the staff and students to take part in activities, meet experts and visit exciting locations.
Each term, we focus on a different area of the Science Curriculum.
Example: 2016 Term Two Science – Biological Sciences (Butterflies)
At the beginning of Term 2, students were alerted to an exciting upcoming whole-school science experience involving butterflies. In preparation, Dr Elaine Lewis worked tirelessly around the school grounds with her ‘Roots and Shoots’ team of students to prepare the gardens for this exciting project. New native plants were planted in the garden beds around the quadrangle building and new signage was placed in the garden beds to explain the importance of the plant species in the life cycle of local butterflies. Then classrooms welcomed insect enclosures with plants, butterfly eggs, larvae and chrysalises. Each class was allocated a species of butterfly to research and explore. Students were able to learn first-hand about the life cycle of butterflies and shared in the elation as eggs became larvae, larvae became chrysalises, and chrysalises finally hatched to release beautiful young butterflies.
In further exploration of this science project, the school’s annual art exhibition of student work at the end of Term 2 had a particular focus on butterflies. This was the ideal close to an exciting term of Biological Sciences.
The Digital Technologies program at Coolbinia Primary School has been developed to closely partner the WA Curriculum: Digital Technologies guidelines. All students from K-6 at Coolbinia Primary School are given opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding of digital systems. This enables our students to become innovative creators and effective users of digital systems.
The Coolbinia Primary School Roboclub is being progressively offered to all students from Year 1 to 6. This after-school club enables students to acquire and develop skills using Edison robots, gaining an introduction to coding using barcodes and computer ‘drag and drop’ programming. This club has proven to be very popular, with a large number of students attending each term.
In 2016, Mrs Greer and Mrs Creasy commenced the Coolbinia Coding Club. Here, students from Year 1 to 6 are given the opportunity to attend Coding Club at lunch time. Programs such as Code.org, Scratch and Scratch Jr have been introduced to the students. This club enables students to develop and acquire coding skills whilst working at their own pace with the support and encouragement of teachers.
In 2016, Bee Bots were introduced in the Pre-Primary and Kindergarten classrooms. Teachers are using the Bee Bots as part of their rotational activities in Literacy and Numeracy. Students work with the Bee Bots in small groups to acquire and develop coding skills, whilst attaining and developing literacy, numeracy and geographical skills.
Students seem to really be enjoying their work with the Bee Bot robots. They are particularly excited when the teachers explain that the Bee Bots are robots and they are programming robots in these activities. The engaging nature of these devices enables a multitude of skills to be reinforced.
Coolbinia Primary School is continuing to prove that it is a school at the forefront of education innovation. Students have access to a large number of iPads, laptops and PCs. These devices enable the students to further their opportunities to learn.
In 2016, Coolbinia Primary School strengthened its commitment to Technologies by being chosen to take part in the Teacher Development School STEM innovation, which incorporates Science, Technology, English and Mathematics. This is an exciting forum involving a select group of teachers from all over WA, along with internationally renowned experts, working to design the future for STEM education in WA.
Humanities and Social Science (HASS)
The HASS school wide plan demonstrates that Coolbinia Primary School is yet again ahead of the curve in implementing the West Australian Curriculum. The school is well prepared for full implementation of HASS in 2017. The HASS learning area is comprised of four subjects; History, Geography, Civics and Citizenship and Economics. At least one term is dedicated to each subject. The table on the right illustrates how the different subjects are taught across the school.
By studying Humanities and Social Sciences, students will develop the ability to question, think critically, make decisions based on evidence, devise proposals for actions and communicate effectively. These higher order thinking skills are highly valued at Coolbinia Primary School.
The Humanities and Social Sciences subjects provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to develop a broad understanding of the world in which we live and how people can participate as active and informed citizens in the 21st century.