A focus on strong literacy development is at the heart of what we do at William F. Davidson. The ability to read and communicate effectively is key to our students’ success as they move through their schooling and into their adult lives. They learn these skills in a way that lets our learners communicate effectively and think critically about our world and their lives.
Embedding the Core Competencies into the learning plans and activities has been embraced by all staff. There is collaboration between teachers to ensure continuity across grades and classrooms. Communication is an all-encompassing focus in the school: classrooms, learning supports, integration planning and implementation. We are passionate about discovering and developing each student’s talents and interests. Evidence of our learners many gifts, attributes and competencies are highlighted below.
Our learners understand that everyone can be a reader and a writer. They can comprehend using personal experience and knowledge to connect to texts and make meaning.
Through literacy experiences our learners read and write by exploring and creating different types of texts. Learners develop skill sets to help them connect to reading and writing and their personal experiences and knowledge by visualizing, connecting, inferring, questioning, and transforming their thinking and understanding.
Our learners use appropriate reading, listening, and viewing strategies to make meaning.
Working together in a group setting at the carpet or at tables, students participate in various programs designed to improve phonological awareness and gain confidence in manipulating language. Students also engage in word work, read aloud stories, choral reading, shared poems, and daily modelling of a love of stories and books to engage students in literacy and help them gain the confidence to read and explore books. Phonemic awareness is the key to reading.
Our learners know that language and stories are a source of joy.
Through drama, students are exploring the love of language, stories, and reading. Reader’s Theatre provides an example of a structure used to inspire young learners to comprehend deeply and bring own voice to texts in order to bring them alive.
Our learners understand that stories help us learn about ourselves, our families, and our communities. They engage actively as learners, viewers, and readers to develop understanding of self, identity, and community.
Students worked on the question "Who am I?" and created a "Book Creator" project to further explore their identity and understanding of self.
“Stories can help us learn about our culture and our communities. We learned many things about the first peoples culture like how the moon phases affects how people live. We learned about the 13 moons of Wsanec from reading the moon cards. I made connections to my own culture.”
-Gr 3 Student
“Stories teach us about history and the past. They can help us learn about a lot of new things. I made connections to my culture from the book “Planet Omar”. It was about a muslim boy who was not excited about school. When I came back from my trip I was nervous about coming back to school too.”
-Gr 4 Student
“Stories and picture books help you learn about different families and cultures. In the books I read this year I made a connection to my own culture when we read about Chinese New Year. I eat moon cake an do chores around the house like the character in the book.”
-Gr 3 Student
Our learners understand that learning takes patience and time. They are supported to try new ways of doing things, ask for and accept support, and to believe in themselves.
Our students are developing perseverance, and resiliency. They are learning to take pride in engaging in the learning process and reflecting on the growth they have made on their learning journey.
Our learners engage in a variety of learning experiences where they are communicating, reading, writing, and engaging in social emotional learning each day. Our educators develop curricular and social experiences designed to engage, empower, and support learners in each of these domains.
Literacy development is a focus because we understand the ability to read, write, speak and think in a way that lets our students communicate effectively is key to our student’s success as they move through their learning journey. This will be done through the three learning goals listed below:
1. Supporting the Big Ideas 'Listening and speaking builds our understanding and helps us learn' and "Playing with language helps us to discover how language works" early Primary teachers will continue the daily practice of phonemic awareness. This interactive whole group activity has been embedded into the daily routine of all primary students at our school.
2. Engage students in a balanced literacy approach to increase the number of students that can comprehend and connect. Our learners will continue to participate in daily literacy activities to foster a sense of community that empowers them. Teachers use a variety of strategies to build students comprehension skills, improve accuracy, fluency and expand their vocabulary.
3. Story workshop provides a safe, secure, interactive and creative environment for all our young learners to develop literacy and social skills. It provides students with an authentic experience to imagine, play, write, edit, revise, publish and share their stories. Story workshop also provides opportunities for teachers to model, focus on vocabulary, literacy elements, oral language, writing skills and focus on a variety of different literacy skills through mini lessons to support our balanced literacy program.
Reading is an all-encompassing part of daily life. Students read in every aspect of their learning. They read for information and entertainment. As readers, students need to have strategies to decode, interpret, analyse, make connections, and create deep understanding.
Writing and Communicating
Writing and communicating are vital parts of communication. Our learners engage in writing to convey information, tell stories, communicate digitally, and express themselves. They also communicate through a variety of other types of text including oral stories and visuals such as posters, memes, and photography.
Social Emotional Learning
Every day, our learners are presented with opportunities to practice and demonstrate their Social and Emotional Learning skills and capabilities. Our team of educators provide our learners with these essential skills to set them up for success in today's rapidly changing world.
The SEL competencies we focused on in relation to "responsible decision making" include:
Identifying solutions to personal and social problems
Evaluating the consequence of actions
Developing an understanding of the role of personal decision making in promoting community well-being.
Evidence of our students' learning demonstrates that our literacy focus is positively impacting the cohorts of learners. When assessed and asked to communicate their students' progress using the provincial assessment scale, teachers from all four cohorts indicated that all students demonstrated growth in relation to our goals highlighted below.
Use age-appropriate ways to read, listen to, and look at various forms of information. We can predict, connect, reason, ask questions, and discuss what we learn respectfully.
Understand how language can be used to create our personal and cultural identities. We are aware that our identity is a result of the language we use, whether it is recorded or retold.
Make meaningful connections to our own lives and to the world around us through oral, written, visual, and/or digital information.
Evidence of learning can be seen in the September-May proficiency scale comparisons in the graphs below.
Social Emotional Learning Goal
Our learners have great capacity and increasing resiliency. Through literature connections and direct SEL instruction students are increasing their ability to be aware of themselves and others. Next year we will continue to focus on the following 5 Social Emotional Learning Goals.
1. Self Awareness
2. Social Awareness
Sharing circles: Being mindful of one’s place in the group, connecting with others
Social Justice and Reformation
Equity and Diversity
3. Responsible Decision Making
Problem solving strategies
4. Relationship Skills
School Wide Events
Building Healthy Relationships
5. Self Management
Soft Start: morning circle, mindful strategies, gradual entry activities
Brain and Body Breaks
When surveyed and asked how students demonstrate resiliency using their Social and Emotional skills, we noticed the following strategies below were identified.
What are some strategies you use in the classroom to ensure you are ready to learn?
“Sometimes I will go outside and get some fresh air which is calming and makes me feel good.“
-Grade 4 Student
“I could talk to someone and ask for help. That is what I would do when I am stuck. Help me understand, but do not tell me the answer.“
-Grade 4 Student
“I give myself time to complete things and write down the things I need to do so I am prepared.“
-Grade 6 Student
At William F. Davidson, we are proud of the incredible progress our students have made in literacy and their social emotional development of self regulation and resiliency.
Based on evidence of students' progress in relation to our learning goals, our next steps will include:
We will continue embracing the science of reading and actively using instructional strategies to decode letters and words. We will continue to intentionally teach strategies to improve of reading and writing skills.
We will go deeper by reading a variety of genres to help students learn text structures and language that students can confidently transfer to their own literacy skills and social and emotional development.
We will be working with the literacy helping teacher to delve into literacy and assessment while incorporating a variety of genre and mediums.
We will be starting next year reading an Indigenous picture book that embeds First People's Principles of Learning in rich text and illustrations. Throughout the year there will be many opportunities to explore the connection between these principles and literature.