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Curriculum

About the curriculum

The Australian Curriculum sets out the core knowledge, understanding, skills and general capabilities that are important for all Australian students. It identifies what all young people should learn as they progress through schooling, and is the foundation for high quality teaching to meet the needs of all Australian students.

Students across Australia will have a consistent curriculum in english, mathematics, science, (and history in 2013), and these will be the four core learning areas every young Australian will study during their education from Prep to Year 10.  The other Curriculum areas will be introduced in the coming years in accordance with mandated timeframes and will respond to the QCAR Framework by teaching Essential Learnings through a variety of Ways of Working.

Within all learning areas, there will be a focus on developing seven general capabilities of students. The capabilities include skills, behaviours and dispositions that students need to develop and apply to content knowledge, and they will help them become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens. Throughout their schooling, students will develop and use these capabilities in their learning across the curriculum, in co-curricular programs, and in their lives outside school.

Incorporated within each of the four key subjects and the seven General capabilities, are three cross-curriculum priorities. Students will learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia, and Sustainability.

For each learning area, the Australian Curriculum includes content descriptions and achievement standards.  The content descriptions specify what teachers are expected to teach at each year level. An achievement standard describes the quality of learning expected of students at each year level.  The Australian Curriculum also provides examples that illustrate each content description through content elaborations, and student work samples to illustrate the achievement standards.

Curriculum cycle

Teachers work and plan collaboratively to create units of work for students drawing from the QCAR Framework and considering the specific needs of learners. All KLAs are covered and reported on in a semester. Units are supported by quality resources. Planning days are allocated to teachers for the purpose of planning and designing units of work. In addition to these days, Student Free days and nominated staff meetings are utilised to attend to the planning process. Teachers initially plan with the assistance of the Teacher Librarian, the Technology teacher and the Deputy Principal.

 

Pedagogy

Hilder Road State School acknowledges that optimum student learning occurs when learning is integrated and connected to the real world, is intellectually challenging, recognises differences in individuals and groups of students, is negotiated with students and is carried out in a supportive classroom environment.

An emphasis is on explicit teaching, a constructivist approach, inquiry and cooperative learning.

  • Focus on effective teaching strategies is ensured through:
  • Cooperative planning sessions
  • Planned professional dialogue in and across year levels
  • Networking with other Cluster schools
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Mentoring and action planning
  • We also incorporate Higher Order Thinking skills into the daily flow of the classroom and Professional Development sessions. The use of Graphic Organisers assists with the grouping of thoughts and ideas for analysis and interpretation.

Differentiation and intervention

Background

An immense challenge for teachers is being able to differentiate or adapt instruction to respond to the diverse student needs found in inclusive, mixed-ability classrooms.

At Hilder Road State School we believe that it is imperative for each student to be catered for so that can achieve to their fullest extent. We utilise a 'Differentiation Placemat' adapted from the 'Maker Model of Differentiation' incorporating 'Kanevsky's Identification Tool Tabs'. Staff utilise this placement to differentiate in terms of content, process, product and environment. To further assist with planning for differentiation, all teachers can also access a list of Lo-Prep Differentiation and Hi-Prep Differentiation strategies by Carol Anne Tomlinson (1999).

In a differentiated classroom, the teacher uses:

  • a variety of a ways for students to explore curriculum content
  • a variety of sense-making activities or processes through which students can understand and own information and ideas
  • a variety of options through which students can demonstrate or exhibit what they have learnt.

Purpose

To promote multiple and varied opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning.  By doing this;

  •  students take ownership and responsibility of their learning
  •  students become more independent thinkers
  • students become problem solvers
  • students are more motivated and engaged
  • teacher becomes a facilitator of learning

 

Additionally, teachers prepare an Intervention and Extension Plan for highly capable students or students in their class who require support. Individual needs are articulated along with targets and strategies to move students forward in their learning. These targets are shared with students so that they are aware of expectations and goals.

At Hilder Road State School we utilise our Intervention Policy to guide the support of students experiencing difficulties. The Student Support Committee meets every fortnight to respond to referrals form teachers and parents. Intervention varies from Minor to Extensive. We access the knowledge of experts (G.O., ST:LaN, AVTs, SEP teachers) to ensure the best possible intervention is provided to the students. Their assistance is particularly important in developing IEPs and EAPs.

As well as students who are formally referred to the Student Support Committee, other pre-emptive interventions are carried out in the Early Years. Examples include Phonological awareness, Differentiated Skills groups in Prep, SKILL and Reading Friends. 

Intervention carried out by volunteers, Teacher Aides, Teachers, the Key Teacher or Support Teacher is recorded in the student files for ease of tracking (Years P-7 Intervention Overview).

Embedding ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) 

At Hilder Road State School we value computer literacy and the use of ICT as integral to learning. Therefore ICT are embedded into all parts of the curriculum. We believe children's learning is enhanced when digital technologies are integrated across the curriculum. They allow children to access and manipulate information as well as develop creative skills as they make movies, web pages and digital presentations. Each block has a digital camera and at least one digital projector, interactive whiteboards and several computers, as well as other technologies to allow for equitable access to technologies for all students.

Reporting

Parent teacher conferences

An initial Parent Information evening is held early in the school year to allow teachers to communicate expectations, clear curriculum goals and assessment procedures to parents.

Teachers will provide a formal face-to-face conference with parents and carers during the year. This interview occurs at the end of Term One. Teachers will also offer an opportunity for parents to attend a face-to-face conference at the end of Term 3.

Teachers are encouraged to contact parents and carers and invite them to a meeting to discuss their child's progress (academic and social). This is also an opportunity to clarify aspects of the Progress Report for parents (if necessary) and to outline future goals and strategies that will be implemented to further the child's learning development.

Parents are encouraged to participate in these conferences.

It is expected that throughout the year, informal reporting will occur with parents and carers as the need or opportunity arises at mutually convenient times. This is to provide incidental feedback, strengthen school/community ties and to ensure that parents are well informed about their child's progress. Teachers are also encouraged to contact parents each term to provide positive feedback about their child's academic, social or behavioural achievements.

Written reports

All students in Years 1 to 7 receive a written report twice each year, at the conclusion of each semester in June and December.

Teachers report on student progress using a five-point scale of A-E.  The reports are computer generated using OneSchool.

Specialist Teachers (Class Music, Instrumental Music, LOTE, and Physical Education) are responsible for providing the details required for their particular curriculum area on the reports.

Moderation

Moderation is an essential process for ensuring the quality and consistency of teacher judgments of student performance. Moderation builds on the principles of assessment and involves teachers working together to review the evidence of student performance against the outcome and indicator statements.

A consensus model

The main feature of moderation is the collaborative, peer review of evidence in student evidence files and the judgments made about that evidence. Agreement or consensus is reached through a process of comparing the features of the evidence against the band levels. Moderation is most effective when teachers use collaborative protocols to guide the process to authentic consensus.

Benefits

The moderation process is:

  • one that guides teacher judgments so that judgments given are accurate reflections of students' levels of achievement;
  • a consultative process where teachers come to a common understanding of the requirements for particular achievement levels;
  • an opportunity for teachers to gain the skills required to apply assessment standards consistently utilising collaborative protocols; and

  • an opportunity for professional learning.

Moderation involves:

  • samples of student work

  • task marking guides

  • groups of teachers

  • protocols