Welcome to the senior school (Levels 5 and 6) where our supported and engaging learning environment encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning.
We believe that it is vital to encourage students at this level to become independent learners, taking responsibility for the quality of their work. The senior school fosters an environment where all students are encouraged to develop as young leaders, as well as extend their learning through determination and effort.
Assessment criteria are regularly used in the senior school across all learning areas to enable students to:
- Strive towards higher outcomes
- Apply high order thinking skills
- Accept responsibility for their own learning
- Clearly understand what is expected of them
- Enter into discussions about their achievements and justify their opinions against the set criteria
Students are also expected to set personal learning goals and regularly reflect on them throughout the year.
The senior school has developed an English program designed to strengthen students’ skills in the three major areas of Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening.
In Levels 5 and 6 students participate in reading groups as well as enriching Literature Studies tasks where they analyse the structure, language and purpose of a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. They participate in class debates, Socratic Seminars and frequently share and discuss opinions on a range of challenging issues.
Students in the senior school write a range of text types and apply whole school writing practices to each stage of writing. They are encouraged to independently develop their grammar, proof reading and drafting skills; and listen to, and offer advice on, other students’ writing. Additionally, students are given individual spelling lists and explore the notion of ‘Word Study’ by delving into etymology, base words and morphemes.
A variety of speaking and listening skills are also developed as part of the English program. Presentations of projects, research and stories ensure students become more aware of the techniques required to orally deliver their views and ideas.
Student learning of Mathematics in level 5 & 6 is focused on a range of big mathematical ideas that are central to the learning of mathematics. Students understand something when they see how it is related and connected to other things they know. Their degree of understanding is determined by the number & strength of the connections they make.
Students’ knowledge, skill and understanding are developed within three broad strands, Number & Algebra, Measurement & Geometry and Statistics & Probability. Using tasks that are rich in a range of mathematical concepts allow students to make multiple links between these strands. Students are encouraged to make connections between real life problems and how to represent and solve these mathematically.
Students learn and practice the process of working mathematically. Students are given opportunities to develop a range of strategies such as, look for a pattern, make a list and write an equation. These are used to solve a variety of problems relating to real life situations.
Student learning is supported by ICT through the use of iPads, laptops and desktop computers.Students are taught fundamental skills as well as ways in which they can express their ideas and creativity through technology. Students also learn basic programming skills and how to use technology responsibly and effectively in today’s world.
While all student at Blackburn Lake Primary School are expected to be leaders and role models, the Level 5 and 6students are given the opportunity to apply for leadership positions through a formal application process. Positions available include: School Captains and School Vice Captains, Student School Councillors, Peer Mediators, House Captains and a range of monitors such as ICT. Students are also provided with formal training programs to support their leadership development.
Senior School Units of Work
Students in the senior school experience a range of enquiry based units. Our units of work meet curriculum guidelines / standards; integrate subject disciplines, learning styles, higher level thinking skills, thinking tools, student self-assessment, information skills and technology to enhance learning and involve the participation of students in a variety of incursions and excursions. At Blackburn Lake Primary School we believe that by making the learning process explicit to the learner, greater ownership of the learning process can evolve.
Intraschool & Interschool Sport
In addition to their weekly Physical Education lesson, students in the senior school are involved in a weekly sport program. This program focuses on skills and game strategies and is timetabled for one hour each week. They take part in interschool sporting activities, as part of the Blackburn District Primary Schools’ Sports Association, which includes Summer and Winter sport, swimming, cross country and athletics. Level 6 students also compete in Hoop Time during term three.
Our sporting program has an emphasis on participation and enjoyment in an atmosphere of ‘healthy competition’. All senior school staff seek to encourage teamwork and good sportsmanship. Our PE program and our lunchtime training sessions are designed to develop our students’ skills and knowledge of rules and strategies.
Early in the school year Level 5 and 6 students participate in alternate year camps, with students from both levels attending together. Scheduling these camps early in the school year helps the student develop relationships leading to an improved learning culture in classrooms for the remainder of the year.
In ‘odd years’the students attend camps that link with the curriculum. The odd year camp to Beechworth,certainly complements the Our Heritage unit of study on Australia’s history at the time, with some wonderful real life experiences. In even year the students and teachers attend the alternate adventure camp at Coonawarra Resort in East Gippsland. Coonawarra is an adventure style camp.