It’s punctuation class at Mitcham Primary School and students are throwing punches in the air, snapping out leg kicks and shouting out strange sounds in unison - Kung Fu Punctuation is kicking in.
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Kung Fu Punctuation - where all punctuation marks are given corresponding kung-fu-style actions with accompanying sounds - is proving highly effective in teaching the intricacies of commas, semi colons and full stops.
Year 3 and 4 Coordinator Deb Williamson says Kung Fu Punctuation allows the children to 'actually feel what it’s like to do the punctuation'.
'They have a series of moves and it’s just to get that kinaesthetic awareness of what punctuation is as well, and we can see that they know,' she says.
'Even in prep they know what the punctuation is and what the symbols mean and they are experimenting with that punctuation.'
'They also learn to speak with that type of punctuation through the Kung Fu Punctuation as well, and then they start to introduce it into their writing from an early stage.'
Prep student Jack says: 'My favourite punctuation is exclamation mark because it has feeling in it.
'So if you said ‘I’m very excited’ with an exclamation mark, you should say ‘I’m very excited!''.
Literacy development at Mitcham Primary School
Kung Fu Punctuation is one aspect of a literacy development program the school has implemented. Each class and year level consistently focuses on vocabulary, connective words, openers and punctuation.
Every classroom has reminders of these displayed prominently, in the same colours across the school, with examples of words and punctuation appropriate to their year level.
The focus on literacy is reaping results - 2016 NAPLAN reading, writing, spelling and grammar and punctuation results for Years 3 and 5 were all above average.
Assistant principal Heather Wood says the consistent whole-school approach to reading and writing means students can build on their learning every year without having to learn a different method.
'The feedback has been really positive and we’ve already seen differences in the children’s writing and even in the language they are using' Ms Wood says.
Victoria’s new Literacy and Numeracy Strategy
A strong foundation in literacy and numeracy is vital for every child and young person - the skills underpin their ability to reach their potential.
The Department’s Literacy and Numeracy Strategy provides schools with the latest evidence-based teaching and learning resources and gives teachers the support they need to help all students excel.
The strategy will help schools reach Education State targets of more students reaching the highest levels in reading and mathematics and breaking the link between disadvantage and education outcomes.
For more information on the strategy and to access the Victorian Literacy Portal and Victorian Numeracy Portal, see: Supporting Literacy and Numeracy