Curriculum

At Park Orchards Primary School, we aspire to provide a contemporary approach to teaching and learning in a purposeful learning environment.

Curriculum Overviews

The curriculum focuses on the development of strong literacy and numeracy skills, thinking skills, personal and interpersonal learning. Teachers foster the children’s love of learning ensuring learning activities are engaging, purposeful and individualised. Sitting at the centre of its work, the school believes in high expectations in all students and a commitment to hard work. The school aspires to provide a contemporary approach to teaching and learning in a purposeful learning environment.

POPS Teachers:

  • differentiate instruction according to student need
  • plan and provide for independent reading and writing time to enable students to practise what they know
  • dedicate a daily two hour literacy block to explicit literacy teaching and maximise the reciprocal relationship between speaking and listening, reading and writing
  • integrate the teaching of literacy across all subject areas
  • use a range of dynamic student groupings ensuring appropriate level of teacher support:
    • whole class
    • flexible small group
    • whole class sharing
    • independent activity

 

FOUNDATION Literacy Teachers:

  • engage students in speaking and listening tasks in English – telling a personal story, responding to and asking simple questions, retelling stories, listening to stories, giving and following simple instructions, participating in social interactions
  • teach phonological knowledge and phonemic awareness –awareness of the sounds in spoken language including individual sounds within words
  • teach reading of a range of simple texts–comprehension of texts; including prediction, identifying the storyline, the use of pictures, vocabulary, fluency and letters-sound relationships (phonics)
  • teach writing –composition of brief texts, introducing basic punctuation including full stops and capital letters, the formation of upper and lower case letters, spelling of frequently used vocabulary and strategies to attempting to spell words by writing one or more of the letters in words and matching letters with their common sounds.

 

YEARS 1 and 2 LiteracyTeachers:

  • engage students in speaking and listening tasks – contributing to classroom discussions, logically sequencing a small number of ideas in a personal story or retell, asking and appropriately responding to questions, listening to stories, giving and following instructions
  • teach phonological knowledge and phonemic awareness –awareness of the sounds in spoken language including individual sounds within words
  • teach the reading of simple texts–comprehension, including prediction based on semantic and syntactic information, identifying the storyline, the use of pictures and diagrams, vocabulary, fluency and letter-sound relationships (phonics)
  • teach writing –composition of personal recounts and simple and sequenced texts about familiar topics, including the correct use of capital letters, full stops and question marks, the formation of upper and lower case letters, spelling of frequently used vocabulary and strategies to attempt to spell unfamiliar words using frequently occurring letter patterns and letter-sound relationship

 

YEARS 3 and 4 Literacy Teachers:

  • teach the specialised and technical vocabulary, comprehension strategies, genres and critical analysis skills
  • teach the spelling of frequently used words, morphemes and less regular spelling patterns
  • teach speaking and listening skills that prepare students for formal interaction with an audience
  • teach higher order comprehension skills including critical interpretations, identification of stereotypes, figurative and symbolic language
  • teach composition of imaginative and informative texts containing several logically ordered paragraphs
  • teach strategies to read and respond to texts with some unfamiliar vocabulary and or textual features such as captions for illustrations

 

YEARS 5 and 6 Literacy Teachers:

  • teach the specialised and technical vocabulary, comprehension strategies, genres and critical analysis skills
  • teach multi-strategy approaches to spelling, including applying morphemic knowledge and developing understanding of visual and phonic patterns
  • teach speaking and listening skills that focus on the protocols of formal presentation skills, and the use of evidence to support an argument/debate and to differentiate between fact and opinion
  • teach reading and writing that focuses on the generic structures of different types of texts
  • continue to teach comprehension skills with a continuing focus on higher-order skills, including critical interpretations, identification of stereotypes, figurative and symbolic language
  • teach the composition of texts covering a range of different audiences and purposes
  • teach strategies to read, interpret and respond to a wide range of literary, every day and media texts

POPS Mathematics teachers:

  • dedicate a daily one hour numeracy block (as a minimum) to explicit teaching, focusing on important numeracy ideas and making the focus clear to students
  • use a range of flexible student groupings to provide the appropriate level of differentiated teacher support, including whole class focus, small groups, independent activities and whole class reflection and analysis
  • provide independent time so students can practise what they know and to act on reflection and feedback, giving opportunities to make knowledge and skills automatic
  • develop mathematical language by explicitly introducing new terms and symbols and expecting and encouraging correct use, making connections between language, symbols and materials
  • provide opportunities and resources for students to manipulate concrete materials
  • structure purposeful, authentic numeracy tasks that allow different possibilities, strategies and products to emerge and encourage higher order thinking skills
  • develop numeracy understanding through strategic questioning and feedback by teachers and explanation of reasoning and methods by students
  • explicitly teach students strategies to approach problems
  • engage students in discussion, reflection and active construction throughout sessions to extend their thinking by building on their contributions and questions and to resolve misconceptions

 

FOUNDATION Mathematics Teachers:

  • teach the counting of numbers (from 1–10, 1–20) moving from rote counting to oneto-one correspondence and making links between counting numbers (cardinal numbers) and placing objects in order (ordinal numbers)
  • engage students in identifying and creating different representations of numbers (1– 10, 1–20), recognising the concept of zero as a place holder
  • teach students to read and write numbers and to count, sort, order and label so they can identify when two sets are equal in size and one set is larger than another and to recognise that counting a collection (0–20) again will always produce the same result no matter how the numbers in the collection are changed or manipulated (trusting the count/conservation of number)
  • engage students in developing concepts about number without having to make or count the numbers (subitising) and in exploring patterns in numbers and space by manipulating objects according to simple rules
  • engage students in grouping together and moving apart given numbers, moving to addition and subtraction of the numbers 0–20 and teach ways of recording computations and use simple functions on a calculator
  • engage students in identifying and representing points, lines and curves, 2-D and 3-D shapes, including interior and exterior views, moving from recognising and visualising to comparing, sorting and matching shapes
  • teach students to describe the features, location and orientation of shapes and objects
  • teach the vocabulary and conventions when comparing measurements and engage students in tasks using informal units to measure the length, area, capacity and mass of familiar objects, and tasks to establish awareness of time such as the cycle of days in the week, hours in the day and season

 

Years 1 and 2 Mathematics Teachers:

  • teach students to model, represent and order numbers (0–1000), count forward and backward by 1s, 10s and 100s and skip counting by 2s, 4s and 5s from 0–100
  • teach students to recognise and form patterns, strengthen their visual images for mental computation through use hundreds charts and number lines
  • teach students to add and subtract one and two digit numbers, recording and mentally, by counting on and counting back (0–100) and using number facts (0–20) such as doubles, near doubles and make-to-10
  • teach students to calculate simple multiplications as repeated addition and to recognise that in adding or multiplying numbers (1–100) the order of the numbers will not change the answer
  • teach students to use a four function calculator to enter and read displayed numbers using place value, to check their own answers to mental and written computations, and to add and subtract numbers beyond their mental and written computational ability
  • engage students in describing simple fractions in relation to objects and collections
  • teach students to read, record and order money amounts and carry out simple money calculations
  • engage students in identifying and representing surfaces, planes, corners, boundaries and a range of 2-D and 3-D shapes and objects and tasks to classify shapes according to different features
  • engage students in identifying and using symmetry, asymmetry, congruence and transformation of shapes to complete pictures or patterns and teach location as a relative position (including left and right and on simple maps)
  • teach students the concepts of volume, mass, time, weight and temperature and to identify and use formal units for measurement (time, capacity, length) and use informal units to quantify mass
  • teach students to recognise key elements and patterns of time and to tell the time (reading the hour and reading the half hour) on analogue and digital clocks
  • teach students to predict outcomes of chance events and develop the use of qualitative terms and in tasks to collect simple categorical and numerical data (count of frequency) and present this data using pictographs and simple bar graphs

 

Years 3 and 4 Mathematics Teachers:

  • teach the structure and place value of whole numbers up to five digits, to skip count to and from various starting points using multiples (2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 100) and to round numbers up and down to the nearest unit (10, 100, 1000)
  • engage students in representing, finding, comparing, ordering, adding and subtracting simple fractions and decimals to two decimal places using physical models and multiple representations
  • teach the distributive property of multiplication over addition and engage students in tasks to use multiplicative strategies
  • build students’ understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to devise, describe, extend and test number patterns and sequences of decimal numbers generated using multiplication or division by 10, leading to the use of rules
  • teach place value ideas and the properties of numbers and operations to assist mental computations and problem solving strategies (including guess-checkimprove) and to check the reasonableness of the results of written and calculator computations by estimating the result
  • teach the application of all four operations to solve and record problems involving whole numbers, simple common fractions (tenths and hundredths) and money and engage students in tasks to apply number skills to everyday contexts such as shopping, with appropriate rounding to the nearest five cents
  • teach students to recognise that sharing into equal-sized parts (division) frequently leaves a remainder and to use number properties increasingly automatically, as they shuffle, split and combine numbers in ways that make calculation easier
  • teach the meaning of the equals sign (=) as equivalence and as the result of a computation and engage students in tasks to write and interpret number sentences to describe real world situations of increasing complexity
  • engage students in recognising, describing and representing properties (straight, curved, diagonal, horizontal and vertical lines) and to identify, label and measure common angles
  • engage students in using nets to make 3-D shapes and counting edges, faces and vertices and copying and making simple patterns that involve translating, rotating and reflecting multiple copies of a polygon (closed shape with three or more angles and sides)
  • engage students in estimating and measuring length, area, volume, capacity, mass and time using appropriate instruments and to accurately use formal units to estimate and measure length and mass
  • teach students to read analogue and digital clocks at five minute intervals and interpret timetables and calendars and engage students in using grid references and compass points to interpret and describe location and direction
  • engage students in conducting chance experiments that use the concept of fairness in events and teach the experimental estimates of probabilities (moving from the concrete to the abstract) and how to display the results
  • teach the recognition of different types of data including non-numerical (categories), separate numbers (discrete) or points on an unbroken number line (continuous)
  • engage students in using all possible outcomes of a simple chance event and recognise samples as subsets of a population and to use lists, Venn diagrams and grids to show the possible combinations of two

 

Years 5 and 6 Mathematics Teachers:

  • engage students in exploring differences and similarities in size and order of small (to one thousandth) and large (to 1,000,000) numbers and the use of decimals, ratios and percentages to find equivalent representations of common fractions
  • teach integers (positive and negative whole numbers and zero), common fractions and decimals; square, prime and composite numbers and how to calculate simple powers of whole numbers
  • teach students how to use factors for strategies for multiplication, creating factors sets for mental strategies for division, how to identify the lowest common factor for two or more numbers to create sets of multiples and how to find the lowest common multiple and the factors of a given number using systematic methods such as arrays
  • engage students in tasks to use mental and written algorithms for the four operations for natural numbers (whole positive numbers) and decimals (to two decimal places) and apply these in practical contexts, including money and teach the simple recursion rule and a function rule to describe, create or extend a simple number sequence
  • engage students in identifying and using arithmetic relationships within number sentences to solve problems without calculating and teach a repertoire of strategies – guess-guess-check (systematic trial and error), logical arithmetic reasoning and inverse operations to solve a wider range of number sentences
  • engage students in identifying relationships between variables – to describe them with words and symbols and form simple equations, to verbally describe straightforward relationships between sets of everyday and mathematical objects and to illustrate relationships with Venn diagrams and two-way tables as appropriate
  • teach estimation for computation and how to apply criteria to determine the reasonableness of estimates and how to develop and test conjectures, recognising that a single counter-example is sufficient to invalidate a conjecture
  • engage students in tasks to classify shapes and solids using the properties of lines, angles and surfaces and teach the use of scale to enlarge and reduce a shape and to estimate and measure time, capacity, angles, perimeter and area and to convert
    measurements between metric units
  • engage students in exploring relative location using size, scale and direction and tasks that show and investigate relationships and connections using network diagrams
  • engage students in tasks to describe probabilities of chance outcomes using words and fractions and decimals between 0 and 1 and teach the experimental estimates of probabilities (moving from the concrete to the abstract)
  • teach students to recognise and distinguish between different data types (discrete and continuous), represent data in appropriate graphical displays and calculate and interpret mean, median and mode for data
  • engage students in tasks to recognise and investigate the usefulness of numeracy in real world situations

 

Foundation – Level 2

Curriculum focus: awareness of self and the local world
Young children have an intrinsic curiosity about their immediate world. Asking questions leads to speculation and the testing of ideas. Exploratory, purposeful play is a central feature of their investigations.

In this stage of schooling students’ explorations are precursors to more structured inquiry in later levels. They use the senses to observe and gather information, describing, making comparisons, sorting and classifying to create an order that is meaningful. They observe and explore changes that vary in their rate and magnitude and begin to describe relationships in the world around them. Students’n questions and ideas about the world become increasingly purposeful. They are encouraged to develop explanatory ideas and test them through further exploration.

Levels 3 – 6

Curriculum focus: recognising questions that can be investigated scientifically and investigating them
During these levels, students can develop ideas about science that relate to their lives, answer questions, and solve mysteries of particular interest to their age group. In this stage of schooling students tend to use a trial-and-error approach to their science investigations. As they progress, they begin to work in a more systematic way. The notion of a ‘fair test’ and the idea of variables are developed, as well as other forms of science inquiry. Understanding the importance of measurement in quantifying changes in systems is also fostered.

Through observation, students can detect similarities among objects, living things and events and these similarities can form patterns. By identifying these patterns, students develop explanations about the reasons for them. Students’ understanding of the complex natural or built world can be enhanced by considering aspects of the world as systems, and how components, or parts, within systems relate to each other. From evidence derived from observation, explanations about phenomena can be developed and tested. With new evidence, explanations may be refined or changed.

By examining living structures, Earth, changes of solids to liquids and features of light, students begin to recognise patterns in the world. The observation of aspects of astronomy, living things, heat, light and electrical circuits helps students develop the concept of a system and its interacting components, and understand the relationships, including the notion of cause and effect, between variables.

Foundation to Year 4

Laying the foundations
As a starting point for learning students engage with their own experiences to help them understand the world around them. Students develop their spatial awareness through a consideration of the local community, the different groups in society and their place in one or more groups. By seeing and hearing about other places outside their experience, their sense of curiosity and wonder leads them to consider how and why other places are different from their own. Towards the end of Year 4 students distinguish and describe the natural and built features of the environments identifying and explaining changes. They make comparisons between a variety of places and develop their understanding of the geography of Victoria. They begin to develop an understanding of the interconnected nature of the world.

In these years students develop their knowledge and spatial awareness about where home, school and the playground are located and where they are in relation to one another. They extend their understanding to the geography of their local area and investigate and describe elements of the natural and human environments. Students develop a vocabulary to describe their observations and investigations.

Early in this stage students are involved in the drawing of simple pictorial maps of where they are in space in relation to other phenomena. Students develop increasingly sophisticated map skills enabling them to visualise and describe location and direction using grids and compass points.

Students explore how and why natural factors and human activities affect their lives. Beginning in their local environment, for example, selecting safe routes to schools (spatial concepts of location, direction and distance) they progress to group and collaborative tasks and consider environmental differences and resource management throughout Australia.

 

Years 5 to 8

Building breadth and depth
In these years with increasing cognitive development and experience, students begin to develop a breadth of understanding about natural processes and human activities beyond their immediate environment. They develop an expanded understanding of Australia and the region of which Australia is a part – the Asia-Pacific. Students begin to apply the more abstract cognitive processes to environmental issues.

Students apply their spatial awareness in a more sophisticated way to more complex questions and issues through the use of additional core concepts such as spatial interaction, movement, region and scale. Students identify patterns and processes in natural environments and human activities to understand increasingly complex interactions of physical and human phenomena within Australian and other environments and to generalise from particular contexts. They learn to use a process of inquiry that asks: What? Where? How? Why? What ought? They investigate environmental issues and analyse different perspectives and consider possible solutions to current and future challenges to enable sustainable use of resources. They describe and explain spatial changes through time from their own direct observation and by comparing maps, photographs and other visual media.

Students describe specific locations through reading and interpreting topographic and other large-scale maps. They apply their understanding of scale (distance), grids (location), compass bearings (direction) and legend to identify features and patterns and interpret trends when using maps as sources of information.

Foundation to Level 2

Curriculum focus: Awareness of family history and community heritage
Through experimentation, practice and play, children in these levels use their interest in people and how things work to make sense of their world. This history curriculum enables students in Foundation to Level 2 to learn about their own social context of family, friends and school, and the significance of the past. They engage with the remains of the past; develop a concept of time as present, past and future, and through role play use their imagination to speculate about the lives of others in the past.

 

Levels 3 to 6

Curriculum focus: Local/national history and use of a range of sources
Students draw on their growing experience of family, school and the wider community to develop their understanding of the world and their relationship to others past and present. In these levels, students begin to better understand and appreciate different points of view and to develop an awareness of justice and fair play.

This history curriculum seeks to target the distinct nature of learners in Levels 3 to 6 by including content about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies, democratic concepts and rights, and the diversity of Australian society.

In this way, students develop an understanding of the heritage of their community and of their ability to contribute to it. They become aware of similarities and differences between people and become more aware of diversity in the wider community as well as the concept of change over time.

AUSVELS

The learning objectives developed for each subject area at POPS are referenced by AUSVELS which is the Foundation (Prep) to Year 10 curriculum that provides a single, coherent and comprehensive set of prescribed content and common achievement standards. All Victorian schools use AUSVELS to plan their student learning programs, assess student progress and report to parents.

The Core Curriculum at Park Orchards Primary School:

  • Health and Physical Education
  • The Arts – Art and Music
  • English – Reading, Writing and Speaking and listening
  • Geography
  • History
  • Languages – Italian and Mandarin
  • Mathematics
  • Science

Assessment and Reporting

Assessment definition

Assessment is the ongoing process of gathering, analysing and reflecting on evidence to make informed and consistent judgments to improve future student learning.

Purposes of assessment

The primary purpose of assessment is to improve student performance. Good assessment is based on a vision of the types of learning we most value for students and how they might best achieve these. It sets out to measure what matters most.

The reporting system at our school involves:

  1. A parent-teacher conference at the beginning of the school year for all Foundation students. A parent–teacher conversation (’getting to know you’) for Years 1-
6 students early in the year.
  2. A written report and a parent-teacher conference in June.
  3. A written report in December.

Teacher parent conversations happen whenever required at parent or teacher invitation.

Summative Report
Personal and Social Development Report

Challenge and Support Programs

Challenge for able students is provided within the classroom through extension and individual learning plans. Individual Student Education Programs are developed with individual goals for all students in this program. The literacy, numeracy and challenge coordinators provide support, direction and consultation for teachers and parents of students involved. Students are also invited and encouraged to access programs provided including Maths Olympiad, Gateways, Tournament of the Minds Competition, lunchtime Chess Club and Wise Ones.

Students who need extra support have Individual Student Education Plans developed with individual goals for all students. From level 1 to 4, Education Support Staff provide support and consultation with the class teachers and parents of students involved. Reading Recovery is provided to eligible children in year one. The program involves a specially trained teacher working one on one daily in thirty minute sessions for twenty weeks to develop reading and writing skills.

Learning Technologies

At POPS our aim is to create learning environments where students and teachers use technology purposefully and flexibly to improve student-learning outcomes.

Our school is well equipped with a variety of digital ICT resources, such as digital movie cameras and web cams. All classrooms have multiple computers which are connected in a school wide curriculum network. Students also have frequent access to a well-appointed computer laboratory. The school also has six interactive whiteboards installed in every flexible learning space across the school.

Students use learning technologies as a tool for research, communication and to enhance learning in key learning areas. Exciting learning tasks are developed using the skills of research through the Internet and presentation of information through programs including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Students enjoy communicating with other classes, schools and countries through different projects.

Specialist and Support Programs

Programs which support the core curriculum.

Physical Education

Physical Education is provided through a specialist program with emphasis on Fundamental Skill Development. Students in years three and four are involved in a variety of sport activities weekly within the school. Students in years five and six participate in weekly interschool sport with other local schools. Students are also given the opportunities to participate in district, zone and state athletics, swimming, cross country and team sports. A house system is used within the school for athletics and cross-country school events. Swimming programs are available for all students.

Language Other than English – LOTE

Italian and Mandarin
All students receive a weekly session of Italian with a specialist teacher, students are involved in learning to speak and write Italian as well as developing an appreciation of the culture of Italy. An annual Cultural Day involves all students in a variety of activities including families celebrating their cultures by sharing stories, food and history. In 2014 Mandarin was introduced to interested students as an additional language on a weekly basis and this program continues to grow.

The Arts

Our Performing Arts Centre has visual art and music lessons in well-resourced and modern art and music rooms. A specialist visual arts program is provided weekly by an art specialist. All mediums are taught with an emphasis on student skill development and enjoyment. Students enjoy a weekly music program provided by a music specialist. The program involves music appreciation, percussion and music theory. An instrumental music program is also provided within school hours, students have the option of learning a variety of instruments. Students are also able to join either the Junior or Senior school choirs that rehearse weekly and regularly perform in the local community. Drama is conducted in classrooms and as part of the Music program through concerts and school productions.

Sustainable School Program

We are working towards being a Resource Smart Australian Sustainable School (AUSSI Vic), which is an accredited program through Sustainability Victoria. Projects associated with this initiative have included the vegetable garden and hens, recycling and waste reduction. All classrooms have recycle and compost bins and recycle bins have been placed in the canteen and safety areas. The key concept with this initiative is to give our students the opportunity to develop their understanding of how they can contribute to the sustainability of our planet and the importance of this for all members of our community.