“Traditionally we have thought about literacy as the skills of reading and writing; but today our understanding of literacy encompasses much more than that. Literacy includes the capacity to read, understand and critically appreciate various forms of communication including spoken language, printed text, broadcast media, and digital media.
Numeracy is not limited to the ability to use numbers, to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Numeracy encompasses the ability to use mathematical understanding and skills to solve problems and meet the demands of day-to-day living in complex social settings. To have this ability, a young person needs to be able to think and communicate quantitatively, to make sense of data, to have a spatial awareness, to understand patterns and sequences, and to recognise situations where mathematical reasoning can be applied to solve problems”
(Source – Department of Education and Skills – ‘Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life 2011)
Literacy and Numeracy has been a key strategy of Loreto the Green since it was the focus of our School’s Self-Evaluation Plan for 2013-2014. This is a plan which all schools were required to carry out under the Department of Education and Skills (DES) Guidelines. A Literacy and Numeracy Committee was formed, comprising a selection of teachers and staff, to co-ordinate the strategy. They introduced a number of very successful initiatives including; regular reading time through our DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) initiative; Book Box initiative, wherein 1st and 2nd Year classrooms have been provided with a box of novels, suitable to their particular age group. Students can use these books during a free class or Dear time. In addition, Parents were involved in the strategy and were asked to encourage their child to be an active user of the School Library and join the Book Club. They were asked to check their daughter’s spellings of key terms and encourage her to recheck all of her written assignments, before submitting homework.
In 2015 a Student Literacy and Numeracy Committee was formed and students from all years were invited to apply. Their main task was to create awareness of how literacy and numeracy are all around us; in all of our subjects and in our daily lives. They set up separate Literacy and Numeracy boards to help generate interest among the students. They incorporated words of the week, interesting articles from newspapers, reviews of favourite books and films, recipes, crosswords, maths problems and important dates and financial news. These boards continue to be updated on a regular basis.
Since then the Student Committee has grown from strength to strength with new initiatives being introduced each year. Some of their more notable ones are:-
- In collaboration with the Maths Department to celebrate Pi Day, posters were designed and a bake sale was held selling a variety of different Pi cakes.
- “Did you know?” campaign. The Maths department found that students could do better at estimating so everyday objects, places and famous people were used to illustrate weights, distances and heights.
- Digital Literacy. Ms. Siobhán O’Sullivan from the PDST delivered a course to the Committee on the importance of responsible research and being able to validate and authenticate our research (this course is normally reserved for teachers). Girls learned many new ways to research, different search engines to use and the importance of citing and accrediting information when necessary.
- The Committee then shared this valuable information with the 1st and 4th year computer classes.
The Committee hosts a number of competitions throughout the year including Pop up Poetry, Wonderful Words, Christmas Card design, Easter Kahoot Quiz and Bilingual Bingo.