There is nothing more satisfying than teachers saying at the end of a PLD session, “I absolutely enjoyed that, it was fantastic – hard work, but loved it”. This was the type of feedback I have just received from staff who have spent the past three days released to design, build and shape our curriculum.
As I mentioned in my previous post Curriculum Development – it’s a journey I spoke of our school development formulating our own curriculum. Part of our curriculum plan was to design and build Progressions of Learning and Rich Concepts for Learning.
All teachers were placed into Vertical Curriculum Groups in Reading, Writing and Maths. The reasoning for vertical grouping, where teachers were grouped from Year 1 – Year 8, was so that teachers could build the Progressions of Learning (matrices) and understand the progression and next steps from Year 1 to Year 8. Therefore, each teacher had their own strength, knowledge and experience to bring to the design. No teacher could work mutually exclusive of the other – they needed to know what learning comes before a stage and and what learning comes after the stage.
Teams were released during school time, from 8.00am – 4.00pm over three days, such is the value I placed on this development. It was too much work for an after school staff meeting and too important to leave for a call back day in the term break. Yes it will be costly (reliever cost) but this is outstanding PLD where staff are working collaboratively to shape our curriculum.
The outcome of this development has been the creation of very clear and informative Progressions of Learning, which teachers AND students can use to understand their learning and next steps. It will be a formative tool, where students can understand what they have achieved and where to next and a tool they can use to support their peers with their learning. The Progressions of Learning will also become a reporting tool, where staff and children can talk to the parents about what the child has achieved and what next.
Along with this, the Vertical Teams also devised concepts for our Conceptual Curriculum and identified big ideas and rich questions to guide inquiry and learning. The teams also mapped these ideas and concepts to the curriculum learning areas (ie: science, technology, health and PE, the arts), where we can monitor the learning areas we are teaching.
The Teams worked incredibly hard and the outcome of these days has been phenomenal. They have developed an invaluable learning and teaching tool and visionary conceptual curriculum. Thanks Team.