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Teaching and learning

Balanced Literacy:
Current research recognises consistent exposure to speaking, writing, reading and listening tasks will support students to develop their oral and written language skills. Further to this we believe that all students are able to be supported in differentiated programs to access literacy learning at an appropriate level of the literacy continua. 
At Mount Ommaney Special School we utilise a balanced literacy approach to our practice which involves reading to and with students, providing opportunities for them to read by themselves, writing for and with students and ensuring they have opportunities to write by themselves. For some of our emergent literacy learners it also requires explicit teaching about the alphabet and sounds, with conventional learners working on their word knowledge.
Communication is seen as an integral component of all facets of a student’s learning and is central to the literacy continua within the Australian Curriculum.  The school is committed to identifying appropriate support systems for students to reach their potential in communicative competence as this will impact on their lives within and beyond their schooling life.  We are very lucky at our school to have a committed support team with the Speech Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists working closely with all of our teachers to ensure the students can access literacy learning with appropriate resources.
Students at Mount Ommaney Special School are all accessing numeracy programs which draw on the Australian Curriculum.  Students who are operating in the early stages of the literacy continua will still be assessed on their literacy goals though a numeracy context, with students being exposed to the different strands of mathematics (Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability).
We acknowledge the important role language plays for students to access their numeracy lessons and as such is a focal point for our teachers when they carry out their planning.  The school supports teachers in this area with curriculum support materials being available for teachers which specifically address the needs for students with disabilities to access numeracy lessons.  Classes are also provided with wonderful numeracy kits which contain tremendous concreate materials for engaging learning activities.
Students access numeracy learning from P – 12 in varied approaches dependent entirely upon he individual learning needs of each student.  Our goal is to support students to be as numerate as possible so they can apply this knowledge contextually to their lives beyond school.
Health and Physical Education:
All students at Mount Ommaney Special School participate in The Australian Curriculum subject Health and Physical Education (HPE).
Health and Physical Education is split into two strands
1.  Personal, social and community health
2. Movement and physical activity.
All activities are modified to suit the physical needs of the individual student so all students can participate. When participating in the ‘movement and physical activity’ strand, students ‘practise fundamental movement skills and movement sequences using different body parts’. Students demonstrate these skills by participating in bike riding (including adapted bikes), ball skills, swimming, hydrotherapy, team games and sports day.
Students at Mount Ommaney Special School have the opportunity to participate in various inter school sporting activities with local special schools. These include such activities as soccer, tennis gala, lawn bowls, cricket, fun run and more. 
Explicit Teaching:
Explicit Teaching has been described as a “structured, systematic, and effective methodology for teaching academic skills” (Archer & Hughes, 2011).  It has been widely used across the world since the 1960s with multiple studies reflecting the powerful effect it has on student outcomes.  The model requires teachers to consider all aspects of the teaching and assessment cycle and chunk curriculum content into manageable amounts of learning, and then deliver this in a systematic and sequential manner to the students. 
Explicit Teaching supports the highly differentiated instruction which is required for students with a disability.  Teachers carefully and consistently assess, reflect and adjust their lessons, how they teach the individual students as well as how they assess their knowledge.  The model strongly supports the Individual Curriculum Plans which we create for students and places a great focus on the individual learning goals each student requires in the core curriculum areas of literacy, numeracy, science and health and physical education.
When utilising explicit teaching the teacher always models what the student is to learn before carrying out learning activities with the learners.  When a student is ready they are requested to carry out the learnt tasks independently and provided explicit feedback on their learning.  At times you may hear people refer to this model of teaching as “I do”, “We do”, “You do”.