The Mathematics program at The Currajong School uses a whole school approach to the delivery of Numeracy lessons. We aim high to develop students understanding and build capacity in understanding, fluency, problem solving and reasoning.
Our teachers structure lessons based on a whole-part-whole approach. Teachers model and teach strategies explicitly to scaffold for deeper knowledge. Students regularly take part in focussed teaching groups, complete independent work and work towards their learning goals.
The Numeracy curriculum provides students with essential Mathematical skills and knowledge in Number & Algebra, Measurement & Geometry and Statistics & Probability. Students are constantly challenged to transfer their learning to become problem solvers and active mathematicians.
We use various maths programs, however we always like to stay well informed of new programs and initiatives to enhance the learning of our students we are currently looking at implement and trialing the following Maths programs and assessments at The Currajong School:
- Oxford Maths
- Essential Maths
- Sunshine Maths
At The Currajong School, our literacy learning program provides guided learning activities that encourage students to develop at their own pace and within their zone of proximal development. Our teachers recognise the need for programs to be delivered in a way that recognises individual student goals and needs with an emphasis on student centred learning.
English at The Currajong School follows the Victorian Curriculum and is categorised into ‘Reading and Viewing’, ‘Writing’ and ‘Speaking and listening’. Literacy and the development of speaking and listening, early reading and writing are designed around central ideas and the use of books and literature studies.
We have high expectations that all students will grow and achieve their full potential in their literacy learning. Literacy competence is a foundation for success in life, and we place a strong emphasis on explicit teaching and structured lessons. Our teachers work in teams to co-create rich lessons for Reading, Writing and Word Studies. Engaging multi-sensory activities are utilised in the lower primary years for literacy groups. Focussed teaching groups and Literacy rotations are used in the upper primary units.
We have a consistent approach to teaching and learning of English at The Currajong School. We use evidenced based programs, which cater to our student’s diverse abilities and learning profiles. We use a variety of teaching resources, which target reading, phonological awareness, comprehension, oral language, communication, and writing.
Moving forwards into the near future, The Currajong school will explore new innovative programs and assessments to add to the scope of learning in English for students. Some of these will include:
- The Writer’s Notebook
- Little Learners Love Literacy
- Colourful Semantics
- Handwriting without tears
- Essential English
- Reading Recovery
- English Online Interview
- Essential English Assessments
- Writing Assessment
The Currajong School adopts the process of our own guided approach to Inquiry Based Learning to engage the students in learning outcomes, enrich learning environments and aims to connect students learning to hands on, real world experiences.
At Currajong, we are currently designing and investigating how we can implement a whole school approach to inquiry-based learning every term. To build student and community connectedness, our hope is all classes engage in the same Unit of Inquiry (UOI), however the investigations, activities and learning outcomes are levelled, and age appropriately targeted to the students across the school. The units of inquiry will be planned to incorporate a rotation of the various learning domains from the Victorian Curriculum and have an integrated approach to include outcomes from multiple learning areas.
What is Inquiry Based Learning?
The Currajong School has developed its own authentic Inquiry-based learning program which can be a guided student centred or an active learning approach that takes, as its starting point, the natural process of inquiry, building on this to develop information processing and problem-solving skills.
The focus is on ‘how we know’ rather than ‘what we know’, with students actively involved in the construction of their own knowledge through active involvement. There is a shift away from a content driven approach towards one that provides students with the skills and resources to discover knowledge for themselves. Our students are posed a question and given the skills and resources to explore, investigate and search for answers. They are supported to plan and carry out their research, come to some conclusions and decide how they could make change happen. They convert information and data into useful knowledge. Ultimately, the importance of inquiry learning is that students become lifelong learners and learn how to continue learning.
At The Currajong School, we believe Inquiry is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and coming to know and understand the world. As such, it is a stance that pervades all aspects of life and is essential to the way in which knowledge is created. Inquiry is based on the belief that understanding is constructed in the process of people working and conversing together as they pose and solve the problems, make discoveries and rigorously testing the discoveries that students learn in the course of shared activities over the term.
To understand inquiry-based learning it can be viewed in several dimensions:
- The inquiry emanates from a question, problem or exploration that has meaning to the students.
- The inquiry study originates with an issue, problem, question, exploration or topic that provides opportunities to create or produce something that contributes to the student’s world of knowledge.
- The task/s require/s a variety of roles or perspectives.
- The inquiry leads students to build knowledge that leads to deep understanding.
- Students are explicitly taught, then provided with multiple, flexible ways to approach their learning.
- The inquiry unit encourages students to develop thinking skills and habits of mind that encourage them to ask questions of:
- Evidence (how do we know what we know?)
- Viewpoint (who is speaking?)
- Pattern and connection (what causes what?)
- Supposition (how might things have been different?)
- Why it matters (who cares?)
- On-going assessment is woven into the design of the unit of inquiry providing timely descriptive feedback and utilizes a range of methods, including peer and self-evaluation. Assessment guides student learning and teacher’s instructional planning.
- The unit of inquiry provides opportunities for students to reflect on their learning, and if possible, using clear criteria that they helped to set. The students use these reflections to set learning goals, establish next steps and develop effective learning strategies.
- Teachers, peers, adults from outside the classroom and the student are involved in viewing the assessment of the work.
- At differentiated levels and capabilities students are introduced to spending significant amounts of time doing field work, design work, experiments, interviews, studio work, construction, design etc.
- The inquiry journey at Currajong requires students at their level to engage in real, authentic investigations using a variety of media, methods and sources.
- The study requires students to communicate what they are learning with a variety of audiences through presentation, exhibition, website, wiki, blog, etc. This is done at the celebration of learning in the final week of term.
Connecting With Experts
- Through various units of inquiry students gain opportunities to observe and interact with adults with relevant expertise and experience in a variety of situations. This will be in the form of incursions or excursions.
- The tasks are designed in collaboration with expertise, either directly or indirectly. The inquiry requires teachers to collaborate with one another and with students on the design and assessment of the inquiry work.
- In various forms of communication and capabilities, students have extended opportunities to support, challenge, and respond to each other’s ideas as they negotiate a collective understanding of relevant concepts.
- With explicit scaffolding from teachers at The Currajong School, Students have opportunities to negotiate the flow of conversation within small and large group discussions.
- Students have opportunities to choose forms of expression to express their understanding.
- The inquiry provides opportunities for students to communicate what they are learning with a variety of audiences.
Critical and Creative Thinking
Young people are the future. They will be the innovators and problem solvers. They will be responsible for decisions that we are yet to dream about. For this to occur, young people need to be creative, resilient, flexible, intuitive, adaptable and willing to learn new skills when the job demands it. With this in mind, an essential component of teaching and learning at The Currajong School is to enhance the thinking skills of our students. Building the capacity of the students thinking abilities will be target by teachers, through implementing and providing a sequence of tools and strategies that can be used seamlessly through all aspects of the student’s education.
An explicit focus on thinking, and the teaching of thinking skills aims to develop students’ thinking to a qualitatively higher level which is key to 21st century learning. Students need to be supported to move beyond the lower order cognitive skills of recall and comprehension to the development of higher order processes required for creative problem solving, decision making and conceptualising. In addition, students need to develop metacognition- the capacity to reflect and manage their own thinking.
This can only happen if the school and classroom culture values and promotes thinking and if students are provided with sufficient time to think, reflect and engage in sustained discussions, deliberation and inquiry. At The Currajong School, we believe, students need challenging tasks that stimulate, encourage and support skilful and effective thinking.
We assist students in developing critical and creative thinking through the use of Graphic Organisers and structures such as Debono’s Six Thinking Hats, whilst explicitly teaching and guiding the students to continually develop and maintain a Growth Mindset.
At The Currajong School students work towards the achievement of standards in critical and creative thinking, they explore a wide variety of familiar contexts.
Three combined processes determine success in early stages of building individuals capacity in thinking:
- Input: obtaining, organising knowledge through sensory awareness and perception to confirm ‘What I know’.
- Control: thinking through a situation and making actions meaningful, Eg-Planning, decision making and evaluating.
- Output: Strategies for using knowledge and solving problems that combine ‘What I do’ with ‘What I Know’ Eg- remembering, thinking about and generating new ideas.
Outcomes for the Students
Through the use of a range of simple thinking tools to gather and process information, student’s progress in understanding that reflective thinking is a deliberate process, affected by emotions and motivations, and that it is used to develop and refine ideas and beliefs, furthermore, to explore different and new perceptions.
The learning intentions and student performance guidelines that underpin the framework of developing student’s capacity in working towards Victorian Curriculum outcomes for ‘Critical and Creative Thinking’ are that students understand the following:
- Those decisions about right or wrong choices are based on the agreed set of ethical principles.
- How to think about, describe and improve their own thinking and learning.
- That dialogue is essential in developing fair-minded positions.
- In what ways experiences, emotions, beliefs and cultural perspectives affect thinking and create differences between self and others.
- The importance of being open to new possibilities and perceptions, pertaining the ideas of self and others.
Students at The Currajong School participate in Food Technology sessions with a teacher in our functional kitchen. These small groups also have access to and utilise the produce grown in the kitchen garden beds.
Students learn basic kitchen skills, where food comes from, cooking around the world and how to grow food.
Students also learn about making healthy food choices. They learn about different tastes and eating your colours, nutrition and what people need to live a healthy life.
The students are proud of the skills they develop in Food Technology and always enjoy eating the delicious foods they make.
Students are granted the opportunity to express themselves creatively via the mediums of dance, music, games and song. These sessions are integrated through music therapy session, music club, and weekly dance lessons.
Outside of structured classroom lessons, there are numerous other opportunities for our students to participate in the performing arts.
- The whole school concert. This is held annually, and each class performs. The concert normally takes place late in Term Three
- Dance lessons
- Small group music lessons as determined by our Music Therapist
- Drama workshops
- Performances for peers and younger students
- Excursions and incursion
The Currajong Science curriculum aims to ensure that students develop:
- an interest in Science as a means of expanding their curiosity and willingness to explore, ask questions about and speculate on the changing world in which they live
- an understanding of the vision that Science provides
- an understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry and the ability to use a range of scientific inquiry methods
- an ability to communicate scientific understanding and findings to a range of audiences
- an ability to solve problems and make informed, evidence-based decisions about current and future applications of Science
- an understanding of historical and cultural contributions to Science as well as contemporary Science issues and activities and an understanding of the diversity of careers related to Science
- a solid foundation of knowledge of the biological, chemical, physical, Earth and space Sciences
Digital Technologies Curriculum provides students with opportunities to use Digital Technologies to enhance and engage in their learning. Practical applications of technologies allow students to develop dexterity and coordination whilst offering them a broad range of learning experiences which they can apply to home, life and the wider community. Cybersafety practices are taught as part of the Curriculum, educating students in the safe and expected behaviours regardless of their physical location.
At The Currajong School the students have access to 1:1 iPads as well as a laptop fleet. New software and applications are regularly purchased to allow students to access new and innovative programs whilst catering to their individual needs. Students engage in programs using Interactive Smartboards.
Students also have had opportunities to learn Coding through the use of Robotics and digital platforms. The use if IT equipment has underpinned our learning to engage students in inquiry learning, literacy and numeracy.
Physical education is integrated through classroom programs. In addition, each class also has a dedicated session of HPE each week.
Students’ progress from the development of basic motor skills to the performance of complex movement patterns that form part of team games.
They learn how developing physical capacity in areas such as strength, flexibility and endurance is related to both fitness and physical performance.
Students’ involvement in physical activity ranges from individual, non-competitive activity through to competitive team games. Emphasis is placed on combining motor skills and tactical knowledge to improve individual and team performance. Students’ progress from learning simple rules and procedures to enable them to participate in movement and physical activity safely, to using equipment safely and confidently.
Student’s participate gross motor and sports activity day and a semester long swimming programs are an integral part of the school HPE curriculum.
Other HPE programs offered throughout the year are Heavy Work programs, Gymnastic Sessions, Dance and Movement, Tennis Coaching Clinics, Cricket Coaching Clinics, AFL Clinics, and Bowling.
Visual Arts is integrated through classroom programs. In addition, the classes each have a specialist teacher who teaches visual arts to all students.
Students create and make art works involving imagination and experimentation; planning; the application of arts elements, principles and/or conventions; skills, techniques and processes; media, materials, equipment and technologies; reflection; and refinement. Individually and collaboratively, students explore their own works and works by other artists working in different historic and cultural contexts.
Students focus on context, interpreting and responding, criticism and aesthetics. It involves students analysing and developing understanding about their own and other people’s work and expressing personal and informed judgments of arts works. Involvement in evaluating meaning, ideas and/or content in finished products is integral to engagement in the arts.
In media arts, students create visual representations that communicate, challenge and express their own and others’ ideas, as both artist and audience. They develop their perceptual and conceptual understandings, critical reasoning and practical skills through exploring the world through the media arts. Students learn about the role of the artist and designer, their contribution to society, and the significance of the creative industries.
Media arts has the capacity to engage, inspire and enrich the lives of students, encouraging them to develop their creative and intellectual potential.
In media arts students make and respond using media arts knowledge, understanding and skills to represent meaning associated with personal and global views. Media arts engages students in discovery, experimentation and problem-solving, and the development of perception about visual images, sound and text. Students utilise techniques, technologies such as iPads, practices and processes with images, sound and text and become increasingly confident and proficient in achieving their personal visual aesthetic and appreciating and valuing that of others.
Design and Technology
Design and Technology is a unique learning area that offers students the opportunity to explore their creative instincts, and develop a broad range of real-life skills that they can transfer to life beyond school. Learning in every year level follows a rigorous scope and sequence where skills and concepts are explicitly taught. Students use Design Thinking in every year level to create unique products and solutions as they respond to project-based challenges using both traditional and contemporary technologies.
In this subject, our students design, make and appraise practical solutions that respond to opportunities, problems, needs or enterprising ideas. Using technology involves selecting and applying practical skills, techniques, tools and materials to create design solutions. It is based on the design process in which students are given design challenges and encouraged to think creatively about a range of practical solutions.