In the Primary Sector, our Literacy is directed by the Victorian Curriculum Standards. Teaching teams reference the Fountas and Pinnell Literacy Continuum to create learning experiences that build student’s Reading, Writing and Spelling understanding.
Mentor texts are used to scaffold students in building the multiple strategies they need to read text fluently. Students are supported to learn a repertoire of word reading skills – decoding strategies. Students build their ability in self-monitoring, ensuring they are understanding what they read. Through rich discussions and targeted questioning, students construct understanding of texts which grows in sophistication as they advance through primary school. Students are given many opportunities to demonstrate their understanding and justify their thinking.
Mentor texts are also used with great effectiveness within the writing sessions. Students explore and experiment with author’s craft through discussing and recreating known texts. Teachers support students to develop their writing skills through targeted teaching, feedback and modelling the thoughts and processes a writer goes through when creating genres of writing. Students learn through a range of different learning experiences to support their idea development.
Students carry their writer’s notebook alongside them during their writing sessions to inspire them with their idea development and experimentation of style and craft.
The writer’s notebook is a rich resource – it is where the writer stores ideas, language, images, drafts and notes, feelings, and descriptions to revisit later.
In it, writers can ‘gather seeds’ – collect ideas and quotes, make sketches and diagrams, or even write quick pieces on any topic. The writer’s notebook can be revisited as a resource for ideas.
Manor Lakes College uses a phonics based approached for the teaching of spelling. SMART Spelling is a highly directed spelling program that teaches targeted letter/sound patterns according to a student’s years in school. Spelling sessions are carried out daily and weekly spelling tests help both teachers and students track their progress.
What is Writing Enrichment?
The Primary School’s most talented writers have the opportunity to hone their skills in the Writing Enrichment program.
The program, which complements regular in-classroom writing sessions, caters for 70 students from Grades 2 to 6. (Grade 2s were introduced to Writing Enrichment in Term 3.)
The aim of the program is to enhance the students’ writing skills, to further stimulate their creativity, and to build their confidence in sharing their work and ideas – skills that are transferrable across all subject content.
Students are chosen based on their academic results, as well as the quality of their writing samples and teacher recommendations.
In normal circumstances onsite, 13 small groups of students gain the benefit of two sessions each week during school hours. During lockdown, they have completed one shorter session each week.
Writing Enrichment is run by Ben Collins, a bestselling author with more than 20 years’ experience in the media and publishing industries. Ben works closely with students in Grades 2, 4, 5 and 6, while the Grade 3s work under the guidance of Madie Walters, a former Manor Lakes P-12 College student who is in the last year of a teaching degree.
We’re passionate about providing our students with the opportunity to have their stories published so they can reach a broader audience. Check out some of their finest work here:
Here’s what some of our Writing Enrichment students have said about the program.
Ishaan, 3D: “I enjoy Writing Enrichment because you use your imagination to write cool stories while you improve your writing skills.”
Haider, 4A: “It’s a lot of fun and it’s a nice way to learn how to write better. In normal writing classes we’re usually told what to write about, but in Writing Enrichment we can choose the topic ourselves. We also do fun stuff like writing different kinds of leads, or if someone hasn’t got an ending for their story the rest of us can suggest one, which is really cool.”
Tehzeeb, 5B: “I love Writing Enrichment because I get the chance to write a lot, and I love writing. I like Ben’s writing prompts and we can be as creative as we want to be. I also like that there’s not this uniform thing where we have to write non-fiction, or we have to write a narrative, or we have to write a persuasive text. We can write whatever we want and I like having that freedom. We also discuss each other’s work, which is a good way to learn.”
Haasini, 6A: “I enjoy getting the chance to express my feelings. For a long time I had an idea for a story but I never had the guts to say anything about it in my class, but when I came into the Writing Enrichment program Ben encouraged us to write about whatever we wanted, so I finally got the guts to write that story – and it felt great … Writing Enrichment is different from a normal class because it’s a smaller group and we don’t always have to put up our hands to speak. And Ben is always open to discussing our ideas for what we’d like to do.”
Each year, School Captains are selected via a written application and interview process with the Principal. They are presented their badges in the final assembly of the year by the current School Captains. As the leaders of our Primary, their role is to run assemblies, tour new families and special guests around our school and be a role model for all students at all times. Throughout the year, our School Captains can be seen working on extra projects, such as the Sustainability Project with Werribee Zoo, as well as leading the JSC and Peer Mediators (See below).
Our Junior School Council aims to develop student voice, which is proven to enable more self-directed and independent learners.
We involve our House Colours, Specialist Captains (Art, Music, LOTE, Sport) and Class captains to make up our councillors each year.
Councillors meet each week to discuss ways to improve our school, usually focusing on recess and lunch times.
Their most important job is to ask their peers lots of questions and listen to what other students may be requesting.
Our councillors often create posters, help run fundraisers and are trained to speak at assembly as part of their role.
Each year, a small group of Year Five and Six students are selected for Peer Mediator training. They work with Greg Mitchell and using the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships curriculum, role play how to best solve minor issues that sometimes occur in the yard during recess and lunchtime. Once they’re ready, they are rostered on for duty! Peer Mediators are easy to see in the yard, as they wear bright orange vests. They enjoy working in partners together and helping younger students learn how to use our Manor Lakes Values of Aiming High, Showing Respect, Valuing our Community and being Safe.
At Manor Lakes we teach children to adopt a positive, long term attitude towards physical activity. Every year level participates in weekly Physical Education (PE) – involving a range of skills, lessons about health and activities throughout the year.
Prep-Year 2 students participate in activities based around fundamental motor skills which involves students developing a range of fine and gross motor skills.
Year 3-6 students participate in minor and major games and activities, which focus on sport-specific skills. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a range of extra-curricular activities including:
- Swimming Carnival
- Athletics Carnival
- Cross Country
As part of the local interschool sports program, Year 6 students have the opportunity to compete against other schools in our Werribee District, with sports including football, soccer, basketball, netball, t-ball, softball, bat tennis, volleyball and kanga cricket.
In swimming, cross country, athletics and Year 6 Sport Gala Days, students have the opportunity to progress from a school level through to District, Division, Regional and State competitions. Students can also individually try out for state teams in netball, football, hockey, soccer and basketball.