Red Beach School is a community empowering lifelong learners to achieve and make a difference
Ko te kura Onewhero he kokōna he whakamana i nga akonga kua pākari ki te poipoi i te hua-roa
Red Beach School Curriculum - Ara Poutama - Our pathway to learning
The following is an account of how we interpret and implement the NZ Curriculum. As we continue to explore our own ideas and those of the wider community and reflect upon their actual implementation, this document will be amended over time. We are on a journey in 2019 to change the way in which we record and communicate students’ learning pathway through Linc-ed. The desired outcome will be that the learning environment is managed in ways that support participation, engagement, and agency in learning.
The Purpose of our School Curriculum
The purpose of the Red Beach School Curriculum is to ensure that each and every student at our school is positioned at the centre of their own learning pathway. The learning needs of each individual are paramount.
The core business of our school is learning and it is the school’s responsibility to ensure that each student is engaged in learning that is appropriate, progressive and relevant to both the student’s needs and the world of the future.
In reflecting the needs of each individual student, this school curriculum will also reflect the Vision of Red Beach School, which has been developed collaboratively by the staff and the community as a collective expression of the overall purpose of our school. Similarly the School Curriculum will also reflect the direction provided by the New Zealand Curriculum (2007).
The Red Beach School Vision
Our Vision was developed over time. Our continual question in developing this vision was, and still is, “What is the purpose of our school?” Out of these discussions, 5 key concepts were identified as being important in the provision of education at Red Beach School:
These concepts are encapsulated within the visual image of our Vision as follows:
The vision summarizes how we want our school to be and provides the direction for all teaching and learning programmes. We believe that by “living the vision” at Red Beach School, then our students will become “confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners.” (NZ Curriculum 2007)
Our Core Beliefs/ Principles - (as implemented at Red Beach School)
Inherent in our school vision are the following beliefs or principles:
“Values are deeply held beliefs about what is important or desirable. They are expressed through the ways in which people think and act.” (NZ Curriculum, 2007)
At Red Beach School, we value:
Our aim is that all of our students will be able to describe, understand and apply these
values in their own lives both inside and outside the parameters of the school day.
Teachers make specific explicit connections for their students e.g.
‘when we help each other out, we are caring for that person.” This happens both incidentally within all curriculum contexts and also as one-off lessons. Our aim is that the use of these values will become internalized and habitual in each of our students.
Our vision is “to be a learning community empowering lifelong learners to achieve and make a difference.” We focus all the time on the core business of the school which is learning. However, to be a learning focused community, we all need to behave in ways that allow each and every one of us to learn.
As a community of students and staff we have mutually agreed that if everyone applies the school’s values, which we call the RICH Hearts, then we can all be together in an environment where learning will flourish. Every member of the Red Beach School Community is expected to meet these behavioural expectations. We have also agreed that if we do not meet these expectations there will be consequences.
In support of this we have adopted the school wide Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) principles and strategies. When children make positive choices they will receive a Gotcha, which is a token that can be used to purchase in class rewards that have been decided by the children and will vary from class to class.
The Key Competencies
The NZ Curriculum identifies 5 Key Competencies :
Using language, symbols and texts
Relating to others
Participating and Contributing
People use these competencies to live, learn, work and contribute as active members of their communities. At Red Beach School, we view these competencies as the key to learning in every learning area. We believe that these competencies describe and define the “competent person” we aim for our students to become as they develop and move through our school. Although our school terminology is different from that described in the NZ Curriculum, our overall intent is the same. Our school curriculum will be the means by which our students become competent citizens of the future world.
At this point in time, through intentional teaching, we have implemented the following in our journey in developing such students:
The Qualities of a Lifelong Learner
At Red Beach School, we have identified our own “lifelong learning qualities”, depicted in the metaphor of the shell on the beach of the vision.
It is our intention that all of our students can identify, describe, explain and eventually internalize these qualities as being the most important aspects of learning that they utilize in their lives both at school and in life. This is being achieved by the constant use of these qualities in learning conversations in our classrooms. Teachers,
children and now also parents are referring to these qualities in all contexts, curriculum and authentic situations. Our teachers spend time valuing the importance of these conversations, in the knowledge that to enhance lifelong learning is of ultimate importance at Red Beach School.
The Powerful Learning Process
Embedded in the third wave of the school’s vision graphic, is “Thinking to Learn”. A graphic commonly referred to as the “Get it, Sort it, Use it” cycle has been developed to help students work with information, investigating wonderings etc.
We believe that learners need to participate in some sort of authentic “Immersion” experience to become “hooked” into that particular learning context. Just as adult learners somehow become entranced and even captivated with a particular painting, a scientific dilemma, or a practical problem to solve, which leads into a whole area of learning, so too our children need to be involved in such immersion type experiences. At our school, teachers utilize such experiences as trips outside the classroom, expert speakers, items of current events, set scenarios etc to provide for this immersion.
Once hooked into the learning area, it is important that our learners have many opportunities to ask questions within the context. The ability to question and to value the questioning process is a vital step in our powerful learning model. Often at this stage a “big question or provocative statement” that the class want to investigate becomes obvious. This question is usually open and will lead to learning that will make a difference to the child’s understanding. It is often a good idea that this big question or statement undermines the learners’ prior knowledge or experience. Such examples are:-
After this big question has been clarified, the learners move into the “Get it” stage where they go about defining, collecting, observing etc as much information as possible, making connections to any prior knowledge or understanding. At our school, it is vital that all learners have as many opportunities as possible to reflect on their learning, be involved in lots of dialogue and feel free to question themselves, their peers and the knowledge they are gaining. Teachers at our school take as much time as is necessary to ensure that all of the learners are participating in this learning process at a cognitive level. Many learning conversations include such aspects as “We are learning how to….”, “What learning have we been involved with today?” or “What difference has today’s activity made to our learning?”
Once the learners have gathered some information, it is important that they know how to sort this information, using their own thinking processes. This will involve such aspects as classifying, comparing, contrasting and connecting. Once again the learners need to know what they are learning how to do, how they will know whether they have learned it and why they are learning this in the first place.
Once information is sorted, it can be used to create new knowledge, which will hopefully make a difference either to the life of the learner or to the lives of others. At this stage many learners use this new knowledge to either design, create or problem solve in an authentic manner.
It is important to understand that the stages of this powerful learning model are not set steps, rather our learners can be moving in and out of the model simultaneously within the context of a 20 minute class discussion or within a 5 week investigation. However, it is important that we can all (teachers and children) identify what we are doing and where we are at, as we engage in powerful learning.
Effective Pedagogy-Teacher Actions Promoting Student Learning
As the NZ Curriculum states “while there is no formula that will guarantee learning for every student in every context, there is extensive, well-documented evidence about the kinds of teaching approaches that consistently have a positive impact on student learning ”p.34. At Red Beach School, our aim is to emulate these aspects as part of our teaching practice:
Creating a Supportive Learning Environment
Learning is inseparable from its social and cultural context. Students learn best when they feel accepted, when they enjoy positive relationships with their fellow students and teachers and when they are able to be positive and valued members of the learning community. Effective teachers foster positive relationships within environments that are caring, inclusive, and cohesive. They also build good relationships with the wider school community, working with parents and caregivers who have unique knowledge of their children and countless opportunities to advance their children’s learning.
Ensure Clarity for All.
If our students are going to be truly empowered and engaged learners then they need to be very clear about what they are learning, why they are learning it and how they will know when they have been successful. Our teachers stay focussed on the process of clarification so that the students are motivated and able to self-regulate their learning. Students and teachers make effective use of the school’s Learning Progressions to ensure clarity for all.
Encouraging Reflective Thought and Action
Students learn most effectively when they develop the ability to stand back from the information or ideas that they have engaged with and think about these objectively. Reflective learners assimilate new learning, relate it to what they already know, adapt it for their own purpose and translate thought into action. The ability to reflect effectively is one of the Red Beach School “lifelong learner qualities” and features in the Powerful Learning Process “hub”.
Make Connections to the Relevance of New Learning.
Students learn most effectively when they understand what they are learning, why they are learning it and how they will be able to use their new learning. Effective teachers stimulate the curiosity of their students, in an environment where the relevance of what they are doing is continually made clear. When students understand this relevance they are more empowered and therefore, more engaged in what they are doing.
Share Learning Journeys with the Students
Teachers encourage this process by cultivating the class as a learning community, where everyone supports each other’s learning. In such a community everyone, including the teacher, is a learner; learning conversations and partnerships are encouraged and challenged, support and feedback are always available. Our students are very much the drivers of their own learning journey, as seen by their ability to totally lead a student-led conference whereby they share where they are at with their parent/caregiver/whanau.
Make connections to Prior Learning and Experience
Students learn best when they are able to integrate new learning with what they already understand. When teachers deliberately build on what their students know and have experienced, they maximise the use of learning time. Teachers also help students to make connections across learning areas as well as to home practices and the wider world.
Provide Sufficient Opportunities to Learn
Students learn most effectively when they have time and opportunity to engage with, practise and transfer new learning. This means that they need to encounter new learning a number of times and in a variety of contexts. Our “conceptual” approach to the learning areas enables our students to have sufficient opportunities to deeply understand the same concept through many different contexts.
Involve Learners in Monitoring of the Learning
When students are empowered to be part of the learning process, they are more engaged and therefore more successful. At Red Beach School, we have discovered the worth of listening to the student voice when they comment upon their learning, their environment and what makes learning effective. By listening to our students, we are able to make truly authentic judgements about the effectiveness of our programmes.
Our Conceptual Curriculum
At Red Beach School, the staff have worked together to develop the key understandings or concepts that we believe are important for our students to deeply understand as they move through our primary school. In 2008, there were 8 chosen concepts which were organized into a 6 year plan for the school. In 2014, after a Concept Team was developed, these were rationalized into five main concepts: Science, Technology, Social Science, The Arts, Health and PE.
Each year, the school focuses on the concepts which we link together using a theme. Teachers and students co-construct relevant contexts through which to develop a deep understanding of the concepts. The Powerful Learning Process is constantly utilized to discover, investigate and make connections back to the over-arching concepts.
Horizon programme - (enrichment and extension for Gifted and Talented students)
The Horizon programme provides extension and enrichment to our students who show a particular talent in an area. The programme operates Monday to Wednesday from 9.00am-12.20pm. Programmes are chosen based on the current needs of our students. Children are selected from achievement data, teacher consultation, and where appropriate, parents. The Horizon teacher collaborates with a DP to create suitable groups each term. They meet on a regular basis to discuss student progress and evaluate each group. Students develop dialogue and collaborative skills and participate in group-based learning activities where they draw on individual strengths to complete group tasks.
These programmes cater for enrichment and extension of students beyond traditional subject areas. We design programmes to cater for the students’ needs. We look to extend, not only our children achieving well above expectations, but also those that have potential to be stretched from achieving the expectation to above, and above the expectation to well above. We are deliberate about involving different children in the programme, but also ensure those that are identified with particular gifts and talents are catered for. We have also included programmes to support the strategic focus areas, for example, STEAM (engagement), Outdoor sculpture Art - Po of our RICH Hearts in Māori to feature at the school frontage (PB4L), Garage Band (Digital Technologies) and Performing Arts.
The rigour and enrichment that the Horizon teacher provides is also evident in the outcomes that the children produce for example, the stunning Dewey Decimal artwork that is displayed in the Discovery Hub. We offer in-class support to teachers through a weekly booking system so that the Horizon teacher can model, support, and advise on how to extend learners in class in order to improve teacher capacity in extending learners.
Students reflect and evaluate their own progress at the end of each programme and this is fed back to teachers and parents. As we move to continuous reporting through our new student management system (Linc-ed), the school community (students and parents) will have easier access to view learning.
“The primary purpose of assessment is to improve students learning and teachers teaching as both student and teacher respond to the information that it provides.” (NZ Curriculum).
At Red Beach School formative assessment is very much part of the overall learning cycle.
We believe that the student and the teacher are partners in the process of accurately assessing where the student is at in their learning, both in the core areas of literacy and numeracy and also in their overall growth in such aspects as lifelong learning and the application of the school values.
Assessment occurs with the student present, with both partners being actively involved. Students at Red Beach School understand the tools of assessment such as progressions, rich literacy tasks and numeracy snapshots and want direct feedback from the teacher as to what their results mean and what they need to do next to move their own learning forward. Students’ formative assessments are recorded in a variety of ways, sometimes formally within the teacher’s records and at other times within such student material as modelling books and the students own books. These support the teachers overall teacher judgments for summative purposes. Wherever possible assessments occur as a natural part of the school day, within teaching and learning programmes. We are interested in not only the children’s progress and growth in literacy and numeracy, but also in the areas of the key competencies. As a school we have developed our own methods for assessing and monitoring growth in these aspects.
Our students are also being taught the specific disposition of reflective thought, so that they can self-assess their own learning and offer effective feedback to each other.
The use of the Linc-ed learning progressions which show clear learning goals to support the student and their teacher in knowing the next learning step. Linc-ed’s personal learning profile will become an effective tool for reflective thought.
At set times, students also participate in nationally-normed assessments such as PATs. This provides students, teachers and parents with normed results, which helps monitor progress and make overall teacher judgments. Summative assessments are made at least twice a year and recorded in the school’s student management system. These reflect the teacher’s overall judgment against the curriculum expectations, utilizing all of the formative and normed assessments implemented. Our summative assessment data is used in many ways:
As a part of the school’s overall self-review programme, we also make use of the practice of sampling. This is where teachers or school leaders will randomly choose a small number of students to either assess via traditional methods or interview to capture their student voice. We are finding this a most successful method for reviewing the impact of our programmes.
Capacity Building and Sustaining Improvement 2016 - 2020
"Mā te huruhuru ka rere te manu"
Give the bird feathers of knowledge so it may soar
Major Curriculum Focus
Minor Curriculum Focus
Capability and Collective Capacity
(Major in bold)
Accelerating Māori and Pasifika Learners
Teaching as Inquiry
AFL - Bringing clarity to the learning
LLL - Resilience
Digital Tech Review
Play Based Learning
Tier 2 PB4L
AFL - Bringing clarity to the learning
Numeracy -CaAP (outwork it)
Play Based Learning
Te Reo Aspirations
PB4L - ABC’s
Pause Breathe Smile
Looking at Progressions (Linc-ed)
New Digital Technology
Te Herenga Waka o Orewa Marae connections
Literacy (Yolanda Soryl Y1)
Pause Breathe Smile
Linc-ed in line with the Curriculum - Learning Partnerships
Te Herenga Waka o Orewa Marae (with students)
Literacy (Yolanda Soryl Y2)
Te Reo Aspirations