Increasingly we are looking for ways to ensure that students have a greater say in the way they learn at KPPS, to ensure relevance, ownership and engagement in all areas of the curriculum. So in term 3 each year students work closely with a team of teachers on a Connected Curriculum planning day combining their ideas and opinions for the school-wide curriculum for the following year. The Connected Curriculum looks to provide connections for students so they are able to transfer their learning in an interdisciplinary format. For example concepts learned in Science can be applied to HASS, English can be used to communicate ideas which are directly related to technological ideas, coding can be used to solve a geographical problem etc. By uniting areas of the Australian Curriculum under big questions and their subsequent big ideas we enable students to use critical and creative thinking to provide deeper, richer learning experiences across many areas of the curriculum. By linking these big ideas to dates/events that are important to the local and wider global community we can provide greater community engagement and purpose.
The first task of each planning day is to consider each term’s big non-Googleable question to drive the connections across the Australian Curriculum. We take different themes/subjects as our lead learning area. After looking at each of the Australian Curriculum strands, the team gets to work on brainstorming key verbs/nouns to use in our big question for each term. Much student and teacher discussion takes place via whiteboards, Padlets and small group discussions to ensure that the big questions which are devised are broad enough to use as a lens with which to view other areas of the curriculum while still enabling individual year groups/classes to create sub-questions to match their specific focus. In turn, students will then be able to use these sub-questions to drive their own investigations (Foundation to year 2s) or ERPs (Education Research Projects – Years 3-7) following the Walker Learning Pedagogy.
Examples of previous big questions:
- Collaboration and Communication: How does communication help us to connect?
- Self-regulation: could societies survive without it?
- Problem solving: What can’t you solve?
- Knowledge construction: Who are we and how do we know?
- How can sustainable environments impact the future?
- Is change a constant?
- How do actions cause reactions?
- How can communities live long and prosper?
- Can all living things flourish?
- What causes change?
- Why does the universe work?
- What if the force was with you?
Once the big questions have been constructed, the connected curriculum team of students and teachers then begin the task of matching key content areas from the Australian Curriculum using a Trello – an online planning resource. Specific dates and events which match each term are then added. Our collaborative teaching teams then use these unit plans to drive student learning incorporating the specific learning intentions and clinic groups (small learning groups led by teachers, SSOs or students) required to ensure students are given different explicit learning and relevant assessment opportunities.