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Red Creek School English Program

SUSTAINABILITY: DROUGHTS & WATER


CONSERVATION
YEAR LEVEL

Year 3, 4, 5.
Picture book narratives are the focus of this program, providing
students of varied age and ability the opportunity to engage in
multimodal text analysis. The text chosen for the independent
construction is inclusive and accessible, ensuring all students may
engage in an authentic exploration of meaning making, developing
skills across the three interrelated strands of language, literature and
literacy stipulated in the Australian English Curriculum (McDonald 2013,
p. 160).
The following program was designed with the understanding that the
students have a foundational knowledge of typical narrative
conventions. In previous programs, students have explored the
functional model of language, with a specific focus on circumstances,
processes and participants. The understanding and application of
these terms will be expanded upon throughout this program, during the
critical analysis of texts.

RATIONALE

The program is expected to be implemented during the earlier stages


of the academic year and therefore there will be an emphasis on refamiliarizing critical metalanguage. This provides opportunities to
determine existing knowledge and understanding, offering mini-lessons
and additional scaffolding support and extension where appropriate.
Cooperative learning is integrated throughout the independent
construction phase, enabling students to develop, use and expand
their metalanguage in a social context (Hill 2013). Through grouping
students of varied reading abilities, students learn how to support
peers needing additional assistance (Seely 2014, p. 254).
As the school is situated within a rural area, English units are designed
to incorporate parent/guardian involvement. This fosters a sense of
community and provides additional support to struggling readers and
writers. Subsequently, guardians will be invited to the final student oral
presentations.

CLASS
CONTEXT

The school is located in a rural farming community, 300km north of


Adelaide. The focus class contains 25 children with 8 Year 3s, 7 Year
4s, and 10 Year 5s. 3 children are reading at level 10, 1 child reading
at level 14, and the remainder reading over level 20. Class has access
to smartboards, and an approproate amount of desktop computers,
laptop computers and iPads for sharing amongst students.

Groups for the independent construction phase have been formed by


CLASSROOM
allocating students of various years and abilities together. The intention
ORGANISATION
is that higher year levels within each group can help foster
AND
metalanguage. This also allows for differentiation, as students are able
MANAGEMENT
to provide peer support across different levels of ability.

THEMES

AUSTRALIAN
CURRICULUM:
ENGLISH

The theme of the program is drought and water conservation. Students


will be encouraged to draw connections from their rural life, allowing
them to develop a greater understanding of this particular theme. The
focus of the English program will be on analysing a picture book
narrative, and presenting findings to the class. This links directly with
the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability through the
development and sharing of knowledge related to an ecological
system, ultimately promoting social justice (ACARA 2015a). Students
will also develop the general capability of Personal and Social
Capability by using English to develop communication skills, empathy,
and social skills and behaviours (ACARA 2015b). The program naturally
lends itself to the knowledge and skills content of the Humanities and
Social Sciences Geography strand. It is therefore expected that
Geography lessons on drought and water conservation would run
concurrently with this program.
Language Text structure and organisation sub-strand
Year 3: Understand how different types of texts vary in use of
language choices, depending on their purpose and context (for
example, tense and types of sentences) (ACELA1478)
Year 4: Understand how texts vary in complexity and
technicality depending on the approach to the topic, the
purpose and the intended audience (ACELA1490)
Year 5: Understand how texts vary in purpose, structure and
topic as well as the degree of formality (ACELA1504)
Literature - Responding to literature sub-strand
Year 3: Draw connections between personal experiences and
the worlds of texts, and share responses with others
(ACELT1569)
Year 4: Discuss literary experiences with others, sharing
responses and expressing a point of view (ACELT1603)

Year 5: Present a point of view about particular literary texts


using appropriate metalanguage, and reflecting on the
viewpoints of others (ACELT1609)

Literacy Interacting with others sub-strand


Year 3: Plan and deliver short presentations, providing some
key details in logical sequence (ACELY1677)
Year 4: Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations incorporating
learned content and taking into account the particular purposes
and audiences (ACELY1689)
Year 5: Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations for defined
audiences and purposes incorporating accurate and sequenced
content and multimodal elements (ACELY1700)
Curriculum Integration
HASS
Year 3: The main climate types of the world and the similarities
and differences between the climates of different places
(ACHASSK068)
Year 4: The use and management of natural resources and
waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainability
(ACHASSK090)
Year 5: The environmental and human influences on the location
and characteristics of a place and the management of spaces
within them (ACHASSK113)

Phase One
Picture book: Water Witcher by Jan Ormerod (contains
teaching opportunities for text structure and conventions of a
narrative)
Series of photographs and pictures surrounding drought and
water conservation
KEY TEXTS
AND/OR TEXT
PRODUCTION

Phase Two:
Picture book: Water Witcher by Jan Ormerod
Teacher will informally construct an example analysis of the
Water Witcher
Phase Three:
Picture book: The Lost Girl by Ambelin Kwaymullina
Students and teacher will informally construct a joint analysis of
The Lost Girl, developing knowledge of key aspects of picture
book narratives (contains detailed illustrations, traditional
conventions, and allows for alternative ending)

Phase Four:
Picture book: Drought by Tricia Oktober
In small groups, students will formally construct an analysis of
Drought, focusing on a key aspect of narratives (Plot structure,
point of view, setting, characterization, description, register)
Analysis will then be orally presented to the class

CONTENT

APPROACHES
TO
ASSESSMENT

Conventions of a fictional narrative, focusing on


characterization, structure and setting
Expanding upon the functions of language, particularly
processes, participant, and noun groups

Formative assessment will be used throughout the program to measure


student prior knowledge and progress (Seely 2014, p. 325). This will be
primarily conducted through class discussions during Phase One to
Three, and observations during Phase Four. During small group
discussions, the responsive listening assessment tool will be used to
gather a better understanding of the additional support students may
need. The use of formative assessment will allow for immediate
feedback to students, the ability to monitor student interests, and the
opportunity to adjust the program where need be (Seely 2014, p. 328).
Additionally, conducting formative assessment across a variety of
phases and activities will provide a greater picture of the students
abilities and knowledge (Seely 2014, p. 330). This follows a reflective
cycle that focuses on the needs and learning of individual students
(Seely 2014, p. 333).
Summative assessment will be used to assess student knowledge and
learning during the oral presentation in Phase Four. Assessment will be
focused on student progression towards the relevant Australian
Curriculum content descriptions for English, and the overall
achievement standard for each grade. Summative assessments,
particularly observation and discussion notes, will also contribute
towards the formative assessment to ensure authentic assessment is
conducted. As this is a composite class, it is important that each
students expected achievement level is also considered when
assessing.

PEDAGOGICAL
APPROACHES

A constructivist pedagogical approach will be used throughout the


program, by emphasising students active participation in constructing
knowledge in a social environment (Woolfolk & Margetts 2013, p.322).
The program considers that students will be in a concrete operational
stage of development, and aims to cater activities towards the abilities
and characteristics of this stage (Woolfolk & Margetts 2013, p. 84).

READING AND
WRITING
WORKSHOP
OVERVIEW

INDIVIDUAL
AND
INDEPENDENT
OVERVIEW

Modelled Writing
- During Phase Two, the teacher will model and demonstrate
analysis writing, and vocalize the processes (Seely 2014, p.
153).
Modelled Reading
- Mini-lessons with small groups will be conducted
throughout the program, focusing on appropriate topics that
arise from teaching.
Shared Reading
- During Phase One, shared reading will be conducted to
engage students and gather prior knowledge.
- During Phase Two, the same text from Phase One will be
analysed.
- During Phase Three, shared reading will be conducted to
provide students with the opportunity to analyse a text with
the teacher.
Guided reading
- Guided reading will be run concurrently with the program,
with groups separated into reading level abilities.
- Text choice will also focus on narrative to support student
learning throughout the program. A particular focus will be
on the students in level 10 and 14.
Individual reading conferences with students will be conducted with
each student during the independent construction stage to assess
student strengths and also identify areas for further development (Seely
2014, p. 159). The guidelines for responding to students will also be
used as a basis for discussions with students about their progress.
A reading center with revolving texts of different text types, focusing on
the theme of droughts and water sustainability, will be used for
independent reading.

Red School Creek English Program


PHASES
Teaching and Learning Cycle

Phase One: Building


knowledge of the field

Phase Four:
Independent
Construction

Phase Two: Modeling


the genre

Phase Three: Joint


Construction

(Derewianka & Jones 2015, p. 45)

Phase One: Building knowledge of the field


This phase of the teaching and learning cycle is critical to engage students, whilst
developing a sense of their existing understanding of the topic. It is imperative that
activities and discussions throughout this stage, maintain a degree of informality to
maximize student interest and participation. However, educators begin to develop
and extend students specialized understanding of key terminology and concepts.

Phase Two: Modeling the genre


In this phase, we ultimately want students to understand that knowledge about language is useful for
interpreting and constructing effective texts (Derewianka & Jones 2013). In particular they will
understand the language features specific to a narrative as compared to an information report.
Additionally, they will be aware of the skill of the author in using literary features such as structure,
setting, characterization and point of view. Another aim is to establish a meta-language a shared
language for talking about language (Derewianka & Jones 2013) - that students will draw on in this and
subsequent stages of the learning cycle.

Phase Three: Independent Construction


This phase focuses on joint construction during both the text analysis and production
activities. Joint construction involves students and teachers working together to
develop meaning and understanding from the narrative text type. By this stage
students should be familiar with the literary conventions, structure and language of a
narrative. A designed-in scaffolding approach will be taken which accounts for prior
knowledge and experience, uses a focus text and provides an environment for
interactional scaffolding (Derewianka & Jones 2012).

Phase Four: Indepdent Construction


This phase is the culmination and application of knowledge students have gathered
through the previous phases. Students are provided with explicit criteria and
prompting questions, to guide the analysis using language that students have been
exposed to (Derewianka & Jones, 2013). Guided by this template and drawing from
prior knowledge students are able to analyse the text looking through the lens of a
particular aspect. The final oral presentation will display how the students have
developed an understanding of their particular feature of the narrative.