Thursday, 7 August 2014

Do you know ACARA's Mission?

As a Teacher Development School we develop workshops that always provide teachers the background regarding the development of the Australian Curriculum - and in a way the "chain of command"...who developed what and why?  We believe it is important for teachers to be informed educators - don't just take my word for things - WHERE did that information come from? WHY do you need to know this? WHO is responsible? When we present information we often remark, "This isn't the thought or opinion of our TDS, this information is located..."

Soooooooooooo to that end - WHY do we have a "national" curriculum? Wellllllllll it all began, (in very simple terms), with a meeting of Education Ministers in Melbourne where the development of the Melbourne Declaration in 2008 occured. If you have not engaged with this document, I would encourage you and your teams to do so as it sets out the background for WHY we have a "national" curriculum and WHAT is is trying to achieve. Talk about engaging a moral purpose! I have attached a link below for you to download the Melbourne Declaration of 2008.

From this declaration, a national curriculum was devised as part of the "call to action".

On 31 July 2014, ACARA tweeted a photo from their Twitter account, @ACARAeduau, with the statement, "Some reflections aligned to our mission, which is to improve learning outcomes for all young Australians". 

Here is the graphic, (click to enlarge):

We now have this framed in the Conference Room at Woodlands Primary School as a little reminder of a very important mission.

By the way, you can also follow Woodlands on Twitter @WoodlandsTDS !

Something else of interest might be that the Cross Curriculum Priorities are not a mandated part of AC! This is because they were selected as CURRENT priorities for young Australians BUT these priorities might change in the future if the goals change nationally! I did not know this until I heard ACARA reps speak at the WAPPA Conference in Perth this year.

I hope you found this information of interest and use.

Kind regards

Carlene Thorpe
Teacher Development School Coordinator
Woodlands Primary School

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Reading Text Types for Different Year Levels

This post is in regards to what type of texts are appropriate in terms of features and structures for teaching the content descriptions and assessing the quality of the achievement standards within the Australian Curriculum: English.

Let's first consider this aspect of the Reading and Viewing Achievement Standard for Foundation students:

"They read short, predictable texts with familiar vocabulary and supportive images, drawing on their developing knowledge of concepts about print and sound and letters."  

Teachers might have differing views on what actually constitutes a "short, predictable text". 

The information for the text structures and language features appropriate to Foundation students is clearly described in the Year Level Description. It states:

"Literary texts that support and extend Foundation students as beginner readers include predictable texts that range from caption books to books with one or more sentences per page. These texts involve straightforward sequences of events and everyday happenings with recognisable, realistic or imaginary characters. Informative texts present a small amount of new content about familiar topics of interest; a small range of language features, including simple and compound sentences; mostly familiar vocabulary, known high- frequency words and single-syllable words that can be decoded phonically, and illustrations that strongly support the printed text."

It is very clear from this description of the range of texts that develop beginner readers at this year level. In terms of the Achievement Standard, it is perfectly acceptable that Foundation students read caption based texts. There will always be a range within the Achievement Standard in terms of quality.

This information is contained at all year levels and builds developmentally.

It is also important that teachers view the Year Level Description and Achievement Standard information alongside the content descriptions that relate to reading.

The Year Level Description information can also be useful for teachers or schools when selecting texts for students to read and even texts for schools to purchase!

Woodlands PS has collated the information on to one sheet so that you can see the build and also have a quick guide to the scope of text structures and features.

Click HERE  for the scope document. This will allow you to download/view the document.  When you click the link it will open in Google Docs. When that screen opens, click on FILE and then DOWNLOAD.

Hope you find this information of use :-)

Kind regards

Carlene Thorpe

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Teaching Text Structures for Non-Fiction Texts!

Students need to learn a variety of text structures in the Australian Curriculum. The Content Descriptions merely state "text structures" but do not give detail of WHAT features to teach for different text structures.

The Language sub strand of Text structure and Organisation states: "Students learn how texts are structured to achieve particular purposes; how language is used to create texts that are cohesive and coherent; how texts about more specialized topics contain more complex language patterns and features; and how the author guides the reader/viewer through the text through effective use of resources at the level of the whole text, the paragraph and the sentence."

Students need to learn the text structures so they can study them in action in Literature and then create then through Literacy.

First Steps in Writing provides useful frameworks for text structures, (also very useful information about language features for the different text structures!). These could be used to analyse and teach structures. An example of this is below. You can click the photo to download from Google docs.

I found a fantastic blog with useful resources for teaching non fiction text structures:

Have you found any useful resources for assisting students to learn a variety of text structures?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Impact of the Year Level Description in AC:English

The Year Level Description within the Australian Curriculum: English should be the first step in planning with the content. It frames the range of contexts and opportunities for the content to be taught. The information contained in the YLD differs between year levels, however there are similarities between Years 3 & 4 and Years 5 & 6.

The second paragraph in each YLD frames the opportunities for students to communicate. This range impacts on content related to interacting with others, presentations, the sharing of texts created and even reading!

The third paragraph frames the range of texts that students need opportunities to engage with either through listening, viewing or reading. This impacts on content related to the Literature strand, the creation of texts and reading/viewing. It also describes the purposes students need to learn. It shifts at Year 4 from entertain as a purpose to aesthetic purposes!

The fifth paragraph describes the text structures and language features of texts students at that year level should read to support and extend them to become independent readers. This impacts on content related to reading and comprehension. It describes both imaginative and informative text types. Very useful when purchasing readers!

The last paragraph refers to text students should be given opportunity to create. Create meaning written, spoken and digital. This directly relates to any content descriptions where students create a text - sub strands such as Creating Literature, Create Texts and even Interacting with Others!

Have a look at the fantastic way that teacher, Tom Light from Geographe PS captured this information pictorially using "Sketchnote"!

The first photo represents the "Communicate" paragraph!

This photo represents the text types students engage with:

Thanks so much for sharing, Tom! We would love to see any other ways teachers have captured this information to assist with planning!