Learning of the program at an English Teacher conference, Pauline, the Head Teacher of English and Drama at Burwood Girls High School, tells us how WordFlyers has significantly improved the students’ literacy skills, making all the difference at her school.
Burwood Girls High School: WordFlyers has made a difference in our school
Burwood Girls’ High School heard about WordFlyers at ETA, we trialled it in term 4, 2014 and then subscribed to the program in term 1, 2015. Our year 7–9 students use WordFlyers at least once a fortnight in an 80-minute lesson. During this time, students work through the lessons at their own pace. This gives the teacher time to work with each student to look at and discuss their progress, for the teacher to analyse the student’s results in the WordFlyers reports and to discuss which topics may need to be revised or focussed on.
Some students also complete lessons as homework. Happily, from recent NAPLAN results, we’ve seen a significant improvement in students’ literacy skills. In particular, students’ results in reading, spelling and grammar have strongly improved from 2015 to 2017. WordFlyers has made a difference in our school.
Pauline Hageman, Head Teacher, English and Drama
Burwood Girls High School, New South Wales
Unley High School
For Unley High School, the flexibility of WordFlyers as a digital literacy resource is what made it the ideal solution for achieving their school literacy goals, and differentiating students learning. Little did they know they’d be using WordFlyers to do so much more!
Unley High School: Meeting the diverse needs of students and teachers
In response to our school’s Site Improvement Plan, which has improving literacy outcomes for students as one of its goals, we needed a program that differentiated on the literacy needs of students, as it was difficult for a teacher to meet the diverse needs in a classroom without support. We made WordFlyers a compulsory part of English in Years 8 to 10, and since then our students ask more questions about grammar and we have seen students with low skills improve in their standardised testing.
Our students complete a minimum of 5 lessons a week which is easy to monitor through the reports. They are given some time in class to complete lessons as well as homework time. Students work individually depending on their skills, and some work at a much higher or lower level than their year group, which we like.
For some teachers, lesson selection is driven by what is being taught in class, others work with students to get them to focus on areas where they may have weaknesses. EAL teachers also use it for ISEC (Intensive Secondary English Course). Some teachers use WordFlyers to introduce and reinforce concepts with the whole class on data projectors, and then work through some lessons together on the student’s iPads. We also use the downloadable PDFs for relief lessons. I put them on Google classroom, then students complete them, and I mark them when I get back.
We use WordFlyers to give us information about students’ literacy skills and development, which we can share with parents. We also use the reports for our own report writing to gauge student engagement, as consistent use of WordFlyers indicates that a student is committed to improving their literacy skills.
In the future, we’d like to use WordFlyers along with NAPLAN and PATR (Progressive Achievement Tests in Reading) to help map literacy skills for students. I am also interested in mapping growth, so we can see what is effective and develop interventions that help students. This will be part of our whole school literacy agreement.
Sue Wendt, English Teacher
Unley High School, South Australia
Para Hills High School
As the coordinator of English, Humanities and LOTE at Para Hills High School, Jenny knows what it takes to achieve good literacy results. That’s why after an extensive search, she knew she found the right tools to enhance their school’s Assessment outlines in WordFlyers.
Para Hills High School: School literacy strategy leads to improved NAPLAN results
At Para Hills High School there has been a whole school focus on raising our literacy and numeracy levels for a number of years. We are a school in a low socio-economic area and have a number of refugees and student whose first language is not English.
We trialled a number of literacy programs and decided that WordFlyers was the one most suitable for our students. WordFlyers activities have now been incorporated into our Year 8-10 Assessment outlines. Students are expected to complete a minimum number of specific lessons across various content areas. E.g. In Term 1, Year 8 might be required to complete a minimum of 4 punctuation, 3 grammar and 2 writing activities.
We have also designed support documents for students explaining what units to work through if they have a problem in a particular area e.g. the use of commas. As well as this, I have charted all levels of WordFlyers into a simple chart so that teachers can, at a glance, find which activities to use on a particular topic or skill.
For a school to achieve good literacy, all teachers need to focus on this. This is why I ran a session at a whole school staff meeting showing other faculties how to use WordFlyers in their subjects and I provided them with a chart I drew up explaining which units suit various topics in other subjects. By encouraging teachers of other subjects to use WordFlyers, students see that literacy is important not just in English.
My English teachers incorporate WordFlyers activities into their lessons. If we are looking at how a narrative is written for example, then we use one from WordFlyers and have students do the various activities. Sometimes this is set as homework. If I find that a lesson is too easy or too difficult for students, I will move them between Journeys or even Gates.
Students across all year levels enjoy using WordFlyers, and this year our NAPLAN results for Year 9’s overall improved in reading, spelling, grammar and punctuation. This is in part I believe due to the use of WordFlyers, because we are now into our second year of using the program.
Jenny Fantinel – Coordinator of English, Humanities and LOTE
Para Hills High School, South Australia
Livingstone Christian College
For Livingstone Christian College, the digital, engaging and interactive content is what made WordFlyers the idea resource to replace students’ skills workbooks. Little did they realise there’d be so many teacher benefits to the program as well!
Livingstone Christian College Replacing student workbooks with WordFlyers
We subscribed to WordFlyers to replace student workbooks that we used for practice and the development of skills. It has provided a regular practice time of English skills that we do not get time for in the classroom.
We wanted to have a homework program that was relevant, easy to use and high interest. Our students use it several times a week; for homework as well as in class time and for NAPLAN preparation.
I Iike the different levels of difficulty, the ease of getting online and how easy it is to check students’ achievements through class reports. Students are motivated by the points and travel, and the visual way they can see how much they have done.
Students prefer the website to a book because it’s interactive and they love the visual stimulus. They like it because it is using technology, they can see how much they have done (it’s measurable), it’s individual, they can hear the instructions (and the text if necessary), they can do more than the set minimum and go ahead if they wish.
Checking the marks of several classes on WordFlyers is easier than marking three classes of work books, so it has a bonus for the teacher too!
Vivienne Mohr, English teacher
Livingstone Christian College, Queensland
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Differentiated activities that reinforce teacher lessons
Increases engagement and empowers learning
Strengthen students’ literacy skills
Instant feedback on student progress and achievements