The Concept Based Curriculum…
Nina Davis -Teaching & Learning in the Australian primary classroom
I wrote this post in January 2010 after an IBO workshop – The ‘Concept Based’ Curriculum. I remember carefully selecting Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement address to share, and support my educational philosophy. As teachers, and humans we need to reflect on our purpose, our goals and the footprint we leave behind. Steve Jobs’ footprint is amazing. The world lost an innovator, educator and ‘good bloke’ yesterday. Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011
“you can’t connect the dots looking forwards, you can only count them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future” Steve Jobs 2005
Original Post: January 2010
I’ve just spent three days at the IBO Asia-Pacific Workshop and completed the workshop – ‘The Written Curriculum’. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but on reflection it was far better than what I thought I’d be learning. The notion of the ‘teacher proof’ curriculum was introduced to me and now I…
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The school term is well underway and it’s busy. Each year I know my practise is changing. Having a clear understanding of what is explicit teaching and what is FUT (fill up time) enables me to clearly plan tasks which address the broad learning needs of this group (differentiate). Introducing WALT – ‘We are learning to’ and this week WILF – ‘What I’m looking for’ is ensuring tasks are planned to move my student’s learning forward. Our IB-PYP attitude focus is ‘confidence’, and being confident ‘to have a go’ is crucial for these young learners.
Confidence: feeling confident in their ability as learners, having the courage to take risks, applying what they have learned and making appropriate decisions and choices
Young writers (5&6 Year Olds) need confidence to put their pencil to paper and draw upon their existing understandings to record a simple recount. Taking the apprehension out of the task of writing requires discussion and trust on the part of the child that their effort will be valued. Constructive feedback is desired by this group. This age group continue to amaze me with their wise thoughts. They encourage each other, display persistence and ‘have a go’.
The writing examples provided evidence the transfer of learning. It’s the transfer of what has been taught that I am looking for. We are focusing on recounting an experience.
Who We Are
An exploration of the nature of the self; of our beliefs and values; of personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; of our families, friends, communities and cultures; of our rights and responsibilities; of what it means to be human.
Personal awareness of self and others helps develop self-identity
Form: The understanding that everything has a form with recognizable features which can be observed, identified, described and categorized.
Perspective: The understanding that knowledge is not constructed only from the perspective of a particular discipline, individual or group.
Lines of Inquiry
Physical, social and emotional characteristics
Recognizing similarities and differences between myself and others
This week my Preps were asked to draw a self-portrait. They had to think about what they looked like and use grey lead to sketch themselves. Their self-potraits are beautiful. At the end of our inquiry my Preps will be asked to complete another self-portrait to display their new understanding of form.
Today my Preps were given their first independent journal writing book. I could see the excitement… and apprehension on their faces. We talked about ‘having a go’, thinking about the sounds they could hear in words, looked at the alphabet tool card and revisted what a sentence, word and letter is.
We talked about riding their bikes and how they had to practise. Some still had training wheels and others didn’t, but if they practised they’d get better and better. I always tell them that I’ve been writing a long time and I’m still learning and getting better. This impressed them!
So knowing that they were going to have plenty of practise and that I would write out their sentence when they’d finished, every child had a go. I was impressed by their first efforts.
Last Monday my new Preps arrived at school excited and hoping they would go home reading and writing. I have to explain that it takes time, they’ll learn and I’ll teach them. I start right there and then.
Our first Language Experience sentence is: I am at school. It’s amazing how much they already know about letters and words. We look at books, find sentences, discover spaces and full stops. The first writing strategy I use is Shared Writing. Their knowledge of the group is pooled together, someone will know a sound, and another child will know how to write the letter. It’s wonderful to see their enthusiasm for learning and excitement!
Our first sentence is written on sentence strips and placed in the sentence board and on the velcro board. We read our sentence, sound words and the children illustrated the sentence on a sheet they take home to read to their parents.
The strategies used this week were Shared Writing, PrepD Student Led Interactive Writing, Modelled Writing, Read Aloud, Read to a Partner and Re-order the Text. Week 1 was very busy.