Middle Years Literacy Project
Sorell School, Dodges Ferry Primary School and Dunalley Primary School are currently involved in the Middle Years Literacy Project, which aims to improve the quality of Literacy teaching in the Middle Years, by developing the capacity of teachers through coaching and professional development. The Project is targeted at those students in Grades Five through Eight, and is a Department of Education initiative aimed at addressing the increasing demand on students’ literacy skills as they transition from Primary to Secondary schooling.
As a student moves into Grade Seven, the change to a new school environment can be challenging and may have a negative impact on a student’s academic achievement. Educational research indicates that in the middle years, students often experience a drop in motivation to participate in the core Literacy activities of reading and writing.
Sorell, Dodges Ferry and Dunalley have been gifted with the name ‘tientawattara’ by the Parradarrama Pungenna Aboriginal Community, a word which means ‘exchange’ and refers to the exchange of ideas, knowledge and skills occurring across the three schools. The three schools are known as the tientawattara Association and all three schools are focussing on the teaching of Writing.
Dr. Michelle Waldock (PhD) was appointed as the Middle Years Project Co-ordinator in March 2019. Her role is to support and lead professional learning with staff from all three schools, with a focus on building teachers’ capacity to teach effectively the skills and craft of writing. She works alongside the Literacy Coaches at each school to design, deliver and evaluate professional learning opportunities for teachers to increase their repertoire of teaching strategies. Michelle describes her role as “immensely rewarding” and she is looking forward to continuing to work with staff across the Tientawattara Association until the Project’s completion at the end of 2020.
In the spirit of exchanging knowledge and ideas, Grades 5 and 6 students from Sorell visit Dunalley Primary and Dodges Ferry Primary once per term to share their writing in Writer’s Cafes and a Writer’s Camp with the author Lian Tanner is planned for Term 3 2020.