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Donwood Elementary School
River East Transcona School Division

Annual Initiatives

Early Intervention Project

In an effort to meet the diverse needs of children in Early Years, the Donwood support team in conjunction with classroom teachers has developed a structure for students to be regrouped within their classrooms into homogeneous learning groups. Several teaching interns have been hired to work along with classroom teachers providing specific literacy instruction to students in these small groups. This intensive support is scheduled on a daily basis to meet the varied needs of Early Years children. 

Schoolwide assessments are done twice a year as a basis for creating these groupings and also to determine the specific learning goals for each student, or groups of students. This format ensures that students are receiving instruction at their level of ability and challenged appropriately to extend their learning. Since the inception of this program in 2006-2007 the number of chidren reading at grade level has improved, students interest in reading has grown and more students see themselves as readers. For more information see the community report on the Parent Association page.  

A second part of this project has been focused on building bridges and supporting families in the Donwood community. In order to facilitate this goal, additional social work support has been accessed to offer families in need resulting in an increase in the success and positive environments for children.

Phonological awareness intervention

The term phonological awareness refers to an individual’s ability to hear and reproduce the sounds within words. A child’s phonological awareness skills are strongly associated with success in children’s reading and writing . At a determined time in the school year, a series of literacy activities are designed to help our kindergarten and Grade 1 students develop and build on their phonological skills of rhyming, segmenting, blending and sound isolation.

Non-fiction writing

Students in kindergarten to Grade 6 explore and apply the different purposes for non-fiction writing. They will be integrated into a content area to create a real context for the learning the purpose of the writing and its relevant form. A whole class exploration of the selected form leads to a students’ independent writing of the form being studied.

Math-on-the-go

"Hands on" kits were developed in each math strand for classroom use. Children may use these kits under the direction of the classroom teacher. They will be working in co-operative groups to explore patterning, graphing, numeracy, measurement, data management and problem solving.

I Love to Read

The Literacy committee plans a variety of schoolwide "I Love to Read"  activities to promote lifelong reading during the month of February – DEAR, Writing the Winter Way, Reading Man, book draws, celebrity guest readers, etc. throughout the year.

Conflict managers

Donwood’s conflict managers consist of a group of Gr.5 and Gr.6 students who are trained to mediate playground conflicts. Conflict managers give up at least one of their recesses a week to be available for help with mediations.

Bonspiel

This annual community event is held in the first week of February. Students in grades 4, 5 and 6 all participateto participate in this curling tournament. Approximately 160 students enjoy this "rock fest" each year. Parent volunteers have a huge role in the event, managing the canteen, preparation of food, distributing door prizes as well recording results at the record keeping tables. Up to  50 or 60 parents contribute to the success of the bonspiel each year.

Intramural sports

Donwood intramurals is an inclusive sports program for all students from grades 1-6. Every year each grade 1-6 student is placed on one of three intramural teams. Students contribute to their teams by collecting participation points. Attendance at morning or noon hour clubs as well as noon hour team games is how students earn points. Attending an activity once is worth one point.

The objective of the intramural program is to provide physical activity and socialization that is positive fun for all. As well students are encouraged to enjoy regular physical activity and to develop various sports skills.

Play leaders

Play leaders are a group of students who voluntarily give up some of their recesses to play traditional playground games with younger students. Positive play between all students develops while children have fun during their recesses.

Social responsibility

Donwood School invites our school community to join with us in developing a socially responsible community. This includes 4 key aspects: working co-operatively with others, solving problems in peaceful ways, valuing diversity and taking responsibility in a democratic society. We strongly believe that schools are to be safe and nurturing environments for all. One of our focuses at Donwood is to model, teach and practice universal values such as co-operation, empathy, respect diversity and fair play. To facilitate this effort we have implemented a schoolwide K-6 cross-grade house group system where students meet regularly for social learning activities. Our goal is for all students to be aware of social expectations and take ownership for their behaviour and meet or exceed these expectations.

Home reading

Home reading is an important element for a child to develop the appreciation for reading and reinforce literacy skills. In kindergarten through Grade 6, we strive to make reading a habit for our students. We encourage all students to read daily for a specified amount of time, dependent upon their grade/age level. We recognize participants in various ways throughout the school. By encouraging our children to read, parents and teachers work together to assist them to become more successful learners.

Technology

Staff and students at Donwood School use technology regularly in our learning. Multimedia projects and inquiry-based learning are two examples where technology is integrated into the curriculum. Donwood has a 28-station computer lab which is accessed regularly by classes. As well, all learning areas have networked computers for staff and students use in daily learning and teaching.