Cornerstones - Creative Curriculum
We are continuing to use the exciting Topic based curriculum ‘Cornerstones’. This curriculum is created by real teachers and supports the needs of our children and the national curriculum. Our children learn better when their interests and fascinations are allowed to flourish, where they are encouraged to explore subjects in a variety of ways and are viewed in terms of their strengths. Using this approach, Cornerstones developed the four-stage teaching philosophy: Engage, Develop, Innovate, Express. Each stage provides opportunities for our children to learn and respond in a variety of ways, keeping projects flexible and able to follow our children’s interests and needs.
Start with a memorable first-hand experience
Begin observations, research and setting questions
Fully engage with the new topic
Improve knowledge and understanding
Develop and practise new skills
Explore, make and do
Apply skills and knowledge in real-life contexts
Solve real or imagined problems through learning
Gain inspiration from creative activities
Become performers, experts and informers
Link learning back to starting points
Share and celebrate achievements
Our maths lessons consist of a Singaporean approach with the continuous use of the DFE recommended Maths No Problem scheme and the use of diagnostic questioning to delve deeper into a pupils misconceptions. We have tailored our lessons to follow a 5-part structure wherein we begin with a fluency arithmetic element each day to practice the core number skills needed to develop a sound mathematical understanding. We then use diagnostic questioning to pre-assess the pupil's understanding of a topic so we can ensure they will be suitably challenged throughout the lesson. These diagnostic questions have undergone detailed research as to how they can help to diagnose what element a pupil is having difficulty with which in turn informs teachers of what they need to address.
'Diagnostic Questions are a quick and accurate way of assessing your students’ knowledge and understanding of a key skill or concept, identifying fundamental misconceptions that they may have. In short, they provide meaningful Assessment for Learning (AfL).'M barton, Diagnostic questions.com
The responses from these questions then allows us to group the pupils according to their stage of learning so that the remainder of the lesson engages them in a productive struggle, where they work together to solve the given problems. Teachers can also then work more closely with the pupils who need more targeted support. Our pupils enjoy this lesson structure and the chance to voice their strategies and ideas to develop their understanding and explain their reasoning.
English in Early Years Foundation Stage
The Early Years Profile is followed to ensure continuity and progression from the Foundation Stage.
In the Foundation Stage communication, language and literacy is taught as one of the six areas of learning covering children’s physical, emotional and social development and is incorporated in each area of learning as set out in the ‘Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage.’ We know that children learn best when activities engage many senses, when they are happy and confident. A love of books, rhymes and poems, sounds and words is developed through planned and incidental work. Structured play activities provide valuable opportunities for children to:
- Engage in conversation with other children and adults
- Share music, songs, poetry, stories and non–fiction
- Experiment with writing for themselves through making marks, personal writing symbols and conventional script
English in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
English is delivered using a personalised English Curriculum based on the National Curriculum. This was devised in partnership with Chris Quigley (Specialist in Primary Education).
English is based on books from Year 1 – Year 6. The book itself, or themes from the book, are used to drive activities where objectives from the curriculum are met in composition, spelling, grammar and punctuation.
‘Books as Hooks’ captures the children’s imagination and encourages them to become fluent, thoughtful and creative writers.
Each unit starts with a ‘hook’ and then the children journey through the book completing different genres of writing with specific audiences and purposes.
Various Genres are taught regularly throughout the year appropriate to key stage 1 and key stage 2. Teachers use milestones 1, 2 and 3 to ensure objectives are taught and revisited on a two-year cycle.
APPROACHES TO SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Speaking; Listening; Group Discussion and Interaction, and Drama permeate the whole curriculum. Interactive teaching strategies are used to engage all pupils in order to raise reading and writing standards. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in readiness for later life. Children are encouraged to speak in a range of contexts and as they grow older, adapt their style of speak appropriately.
Children often work in a ‘Kagan’ groups to further develop their speaking and listening skills. This provides children with further opportunities to express their ideas, make plans and present ideas; thus encouraging them to work both co-operatively and collaboratively.
A Communication lesson is also taught each week from Year 1 to Year 6. Part of the session, children have the opportunity to explore a different book (e.g. modern or classic text) over a half term. This enables children to ‘share’ a book as a class which, in turn, provokes class discussion around the text. As well as introducing children to a variety of genres; shared reading enhances the teaching of comprehension skills and challenges children to explore a text on a variety of levels. This is used as platform to encourage wider reading, discuss themes, broaden vocabulary and answer relevant content domain questions.
The other part of the lesson is focused on speaking and listening. The teacher will use a real life event (current news) or a fictional event (possibly from a class book) to allow for the opportunity to reflect / debate / discuss a key question which is based on a spiritual, moral, social or cultural angle.
This lesson, along with English lessons, enables children to immerse themselves in reading.
APPROACHES TO READING
Shared Reading takes place regularly during English and Communication lessons.
Discrete comprehension lessons take place each week. A teacher led taught comprehension lesson takes place in which the 7 strands of reading are covered. This lesson is followed up by an application session. In this session children apply the taught skills they have learnt.
Children should have the opportunity to read every day and to share books at home. Teachers or teaching assistants will read one-one with children once a week within key stage 1.This also occurs in Key Stage 2 (as deemed appropriate). These schemes include Read, Write, Inc. Collins Big Cat, Rigby Rockets and the new Oxford Reading Project X.
Reading books are changed regularly and a child will only move on to the next level when the teacher or teaching assistant feels the child is completely ready. A child’s progress is recorded in a reading record.
Each class visits the school library every week. During these 20 minute sessions children can read, complete reading activities and take a book out on loan.
In addition, there are book banded reading books available (with a selection of fiction and non-fiction reading materials) which the children can choose from regularly. Classes also have the opportunity to use the School Library to further develop research materials for topics being studied in class.
Children are encouraged to read daily with their parents as part of their homework exercise and home-school liaison is achieved by having regular parental contact through the reading record book.
Each year Westleigh Methodist Primary School has a book fair from which children and parents are invited to buy new reading materials to develop an interest in reading.
Please click the link below for Oxford Owl advice for parents reading:
APPROACHES TO WRITING
All children have the opportunity to take part in shared writing, guided writing and independent writing tasks during English sessions. Guided writing is teacher lead and is an essential component of a balanced writing curriculum, providing an additional supported step towards independent writing. Guided writing is planned in regularly and is targeted towards groups of children according to their current targets or specific needs. It is used to support children during the different stages of the writing process.
In the foundation stage children are encouraged to use emergent writing and any phonics knowledge to write freely. The children see writing modelled by the teacher in shared writing sessions and phonics lessons. By the end of reception, most children should be confident in their alphabet sounds and using this knowledge to begin to spell simple words and write simple sentences.
Within Key Stage 1 and 2 children are taught to write in a variety of genres, for a variety of audiences.
Punctuation and grammar are taught discretely and within English lessons and link to the text being studied at the time. Additional grammar and punctuation sessions are planned in each week to reinforce learning and address any misconceptions.
Spelling strategies are throughout the week across school focusing on spelling patterns. These sessions are followed by a spelling test at the end of the week. The new National Curriculum Spelling Bank and Read Write Inc Spelling as a resource for this.
My Book Blog
Following the opening of our new library, we are excited to announce that my book blog is back up and running. You can access more information here.
My Book Blog will be accessible to children in Years 2-6. We have invested a lot of time and money into our library to ensure our children have access to high quality books written by popular authors in a welcoming environment. For children in Years 2-6 these books will replace the reading scheme books that they have previously used. We are confident this will help every child to develop a love of reading.
To generate interest and get the children asking questions, the staff have been working hard behind the scenes.
They have been reading in unusual places...
They completed a Mannequin Challenge
The classes will be challenged to read in unusual places and create their own mannequin Challenge over the next few weeks- Watch this space!
KS2 Mannequin Challenge
Read, Write, Inc
At Westleigh Methodist Primary School we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme.
Read Write Inc is a complete literacy programme for children 4-7 who are learning to read, and for older children who need to catch up quickly.
What the children will learn in reading:
- 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts
- To read words using sound blending
- Read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
- After meaningful discussion led by an adult children show that they understand the stories by answering questions.
What the children will learn in writing:
- Write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
- Write words by saying the sounds and graphemes
- Learn to build sentences orally using adventurous vocabulary
- Start with simple sentences and develop towards more complex ones by the end of the programme
- Compose a range of texts using discussion prompts.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG)
To stay in line with the new National Curriculum, new elements to the RWI programme have been added to incorporate the SPAG requirements in Key Stage 1.
The children are streamed according to ability, and taught by a fully trained member of staff. All staff are supported by the Reading Leader, who is a member of staff in school.
Assessments are completed by the Reading Leader every half term and groups are reorganised.
For children who need extra support where they make not be making the expected progress, they will receive regular 1-1 intervention, with specific targets based on their next steps.
Videos to explain RWI in more detail:
Cornerstones Curriculum - Science
To support the new and exciting ‘Cornerstones’ curriculum, we have taken on the ‘Love to Investigate’ Science units. Each unit is tailored to support each topic within the Cornerstones curriculum as well as covering the KS1 and 2 statutory requirements for Science.
The ‘Love to Investigate’ units are specifically designed in order to develop children’s investigative skills. They are also designed to get the children excited about science with a series of practical, exciting investigations. They cover tricky topics in new and unusual ways, including evolution, mechanisms and air resistance.
Every investigation develops key knowledge and is linked to assessment, covering specific programmes of study for 'working scientifically'.
Statutory Guidance KS1 and KS2 Science Curriculum
KEY STAGE 1
KEY STAGE 2