Welcome to the start of the 2019 school year at Kyneton Primary School. I hope our students enjoyed a wonderful summer break and have returned re-energised and ready to start the new school year. A very warm welcome to all members of our school community, particularly to a number of new students and staff who have commenced at KPS. The new school year promises to be successful and positive. It was a joy for me to see so many happy and smiling faces as I addressed the community at our first assembly on Monday.
At the assembly, I spoke about one of the school’s high-level actions from our 2019 Annual Implementation Plan aimed at improving all of our students writing outcomes. The action involves whole school implementation of the Big Write VCOP program.
Big Write and VCOP is an evidence-based program designed to bring the fun back into writing, to make the children want to write and to be continuously challenged throughout the writing journey. Through games, activities, writing tasks, conversations and discussions, our students will learn not only where their abilities lie in a fun and engaging way, but also the steps they need to take, in order to continue to improve.
Big Write and VCOP is a methodology for raising the standards in writing across all ages and ability levels. Based on the premise that ‘if they can’t say it, they can’t write it’, we scaffold the learning to allow children to become articulate thinkers and speakers, who will then become articulate writers. It is a differentiated approach suitable for pre-writers, all the way through secondary school.
What is Big Write?
Big Write is just one, of our many, writing sessions in the week- ideally towards the end of the week. At KPS, this will most likely be a Thursday. It’s a special start/stop piece of writing, where the students ‘show off’ and celebrate all the skills they have been learning from the English and Mappen/Inquiry Curriculum that week. It has a special atmosphere to promote calm and creative writers and encourages students to reflect on their learning and how they can improve.
What is VCOP?
VCOP stands for vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation. These four elements quickly and easily enhance writing by creating the writer’s voice. Together with GHaSP (grammar, handwriting, spelling and punctuation)- the building blocks to correct and clear writing, VCOP adds the icing on the cake- excitement, pizzazz and flow to keep the audience engaged throughout the piece.
The implementation of Big Write/VCOP is a carefully staged and scaffolded process and teachers will be introducing the different elements of the program each week in their classrooms. The first Big Write session will be towards the end of Term 1 and this is where families will be asked to contribute via the Big Talk Home Learning Task.
The BIG TALK Home Learning Task!
This is where you can help! Every Thursday before a BIG Write, your child will bring home their BIG Talk Home Learning Task. This will simply be a short note explaining the topic of the next day’s BIG Write. As the title suggests, this task needs no writing, just talking. More information with suggestions on how to make this an effective and positive conversation will follow later in the term.
Cultural Team Building Dance Program
Next week our students will be involved in a Cultural Dance Program in the Multi-Purpose Space. During this program, our students will learn four dance routines that they will be able to present at the end of the program to family and friends on Friday 15th February at 2:25pm. These workshops aim to introduce students to various aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through dance. They are inspired by cultural dance moves blended with hip-hop to create a fusion piece. Students while learning this dance will also be exposed to information regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life. The time for this presentation will be confirmed closer to the date. Two of these lessons will include indigenous inspired dances moves and two routines will include dance moves inspired by the Torres Strait Islander community. The children will receive one dance lesson each day for the week as per the timetable below. There will not be a Monday morning assembly in Week 3, as we will assemble for the performance on Friday.
The cultural dance teacher, Pieta, grew up in the Northern Territory and has also studied at NAISDA, which is a dance college for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander children. She is very knowledgeable in these areas and the lessons are educational and lots of fun for all involved. They are a fusion of culture and hip-hop, which will be very engaging for students of all ages.
9am - 10am: Year 5/6
10am - 11am: Year 3/4
11.30am - 12.15pm: Year 1/2
12.15pm - 1pm: Foundation