Program of Inquiry
Last term as part of our inquiry ‘Toy Story’, the children designed and made their own toys. To support this we taught the Primary Science Connection’s ‘On the Move’ unit. The children have learnt about how toys move and what makes them move. This was complimented buy two incursions focusing on toys- Sean from the CSIRO and Professor Bunsen.
We also looked at the socio-economic aspect of toys. At the beginning of our Inquiry, Captain A from the Salvation Army visited the children and spoke about how she helps families and how toys can bring joy into the lives of children who have very little. It was a powerful talk and these very young children understood and showed great empathy.
To celebrate their success and to give our students the opportunity to share their understanding with others, the Preps held their own Toy Expo. Many parents and students came and asked questions or admired their designs and toys. Visitors were requested to bring a gold coin donation with the money collected being given to the Salvation Army. The children raised $ 214 which was fantastic.
Our Toy Drive was equally successful with boxes filled to capacity. On the last assembly for Term 3, the Prep children presented the collected toys and money to Captain A from the Salvation Army.
Eight Prep students (from across all grades) spoke at assembly. During the term a total of thirteen Prep students presented information at assembly. This is an area the Prep Team is keen to develop. The local newspaper came and photographed the children with Captain A which was wonderful. The Preps have been supporting the Salvation Army for a number of years.
The central idea for our Inquiry this term is ‘Living things have certain requirements in order to grow and stay healthy’. The lines of inquiry which will define the scope of our inquiry into the central idea are:
- Sorting living and non-living things
- Characteristics of animals and plants
- Needs of living things
Our program follows a series of lessons planned using the e5 planning sequence. The e5 program consists of lessons which are designed to Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate. The children will be exploring our local beach and school ground in order to discover the answers to the following questions.
What do we already know about living and non-living?
What is living and non-living?
What do living things need in order to survive?
The Dolphin Research Organisation will be conducting a series of lessons. B who worked with our students in 2008 is returning. His lessons will include developing the children’s’ understanding of the needs of living things taken in the classroom, followed by a ‘hands on’ exploration of the rock pools at our beach. Initial base-line data has been collected to enable the children’s understanding to be assessed during and at the end of the Inquiry.
This term we will continue to develop our student’s writing by incorporating strategies which scaffold composition i.e. the ability to plan, edit and strategies which enable the children to extend their ideas. Interactive Writing – teacher and student led, Shared Writing, Modelled and Guided writing are being used across the unit. Sharing ideas as a team is valued and wherever possible this is happening.
Reading, comprehension and text analysis is incorporated into our Early Years Program. Our program emphasises the importance of reading for meaning, with all students across the unit being delivered a program which develops the skills necessary for deeper levels of comprehension. The context of what is read is discussed, which then leads to discussion centred upon characters, mood, setting etc… Oral discussion and group activities are used along with individual responses to text. Guided Reading, Modelled Reading, Shared Reading and Read Aloud teaching strategies are incorporated into planning and programs. Student reading development is regularly assessed with teachers working collaboratively to cater for different groups across classrooms when required.
Opportunities to broaden student vocabulary are incorporated into programs. Conversation as a grade and in small groups is intrinsic to all learning situations. Opportunities for children to talk to a wider audience are incorporated when relevant to our classroom program.
Our numeracy program this term will build upon our students understanding of Chance, Data, Patterns, Sorting –Venn Diagrams, 2D Shapes, Location, Time, Money, Mass, Volume and Capacity. The program will also cover number facts to 10/20 and beyond, doubles and near doubles to 20, addition and subtraction to 20 plus. Open ended activities have been planned to cater for the needs of different students. The Early Years Numeracy instruction model is implemented in classrooms.
The Prep students are completing the new ‘Online English Interview’ assessment. This appears to be a very worthwhile assessment tool but is also a time consuming assessment program. We are trying to implement this assessment with as little disruption to our teaching program; however, it is inevitable that there will be some minor disruptions if we are to assess each student within the timeline provided.
Once again the Prep Team are looking forward to an exciting ‘jam-packed’ term. Transition will be an important focus as we prepare our students for the Junior Unit in 2010.
The Prep Team
Cheers Nina – I hope you find this interesting.