Our Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) program was developed to cater for the large number of Poynter students identified as gifted. Approximately 30% of our Year 5/6 students are identified through PEAC testing as being gifted compared to the state average of 10%. With this fact and in line with the Department of Education Strategic Outline, we have a teacher working three days a week running a HOTS program for students from Years 1-6. This program runs in conjunction with Instrumental Music School Services (IMSS) for Year 3-6 students, Early Years Extension (EYE) for Years 1-3 and Primary Extension and Challenge (PEAC) for Years 5-6.
The HOTS program focusses on teaching critical, divergent and creative thinking skills through high level challenges across learning areas. The aim is to move students from being passive participants to becoming active learners. Some of the skills that are covered include the art of good questioning; applying knowledge to analyse and problem solve in the non-mathematical sense; synthesizing and refining thinking through meaningful collaboration and communication and evaluating our outcomes.
The program allows like-minded students to extend their thinking and achievements through Habits of the Mind, Six Thinking Hats and Philosophy for Children rather than offer extension where the words or problems become more difficult. Students from each cohort are selected using data from a variety of sources including school and psychologist reports, PEAC results, PAT testing, NAPLAN records, Brightpath Ruler, On-Entry data and teacher judgements. Individual student progress is continually monitored and groups can be fluid from semester to semester.