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The 3 Degrees

January 12, 2022
Annie Wittenoom
Miles Openshaw

The 3 Degrees

Creative Practitioner: Miles Openshaw

Creative practice: Theatre and storytelling

School: Fremantle Primary School

Teacher: Anne Wittenoom

Year group: 6

Main Curriculum Focus


Measurement & Geometry - Scope and Sequence - Shape / Geometric Reasoning / Location & Transformation.

Cross-curricular Links

English Literacy - listening and speaking interactions, oral presentations, purpose, and audience and use of software.

Digital Technologies - digital implementation

HASS - Civics & Citizenship - Australia’s system of government and citizenship.


Fremantle Primary School is an independent public school in the heart of the City of Fremantle, Western Australia.  The school has a student population of about 290 and prides itself on its sense of community, offering a genuinely inclusive and nurturing learning environment with a rich and embedded values program.

What We Did

Over the course of Term 3 this Year 6 class, alongside creative practitioner Miles Openshaw and Year 6 teacher Annie Wittenoom, have been working with angles, mixing it up with measurement and getting to grips with geometry.  Exploring their own surroundings for evidence of the size, shape, position, and dimension of things and using this knowledge to design, draw and build their own urban setting.  We’ve also made sure to play some silly games, devise angled dance moves and practice our presentation and interview skills.

How did we make the curriculum come alive?

We have asked the students to look around them this term and see how mathematics forms a part of their environment; whether that’s designing a flag, playing angles bingo, exploring urban design, or looking for the angles in the cracks in the pavement.  We have asked them to respond, create and reflect on a variety of challenges using a range of creative approaches, visual, textual, and technological, to deepen their own understanding of this curriculum area.

How did we make the Creative Habits of Learning come alive?

In our sessions we have focussed on three of the 5 Habits of Learning - collaborative, persistent and disciplined.  Our warm-up games and activities were designed to give students opportunities to experience these habits in shared, meaningful, and reflective ways: from classic playground games of an egg & spoon race or tunnel ball to designing measuring courses for other teams to complete. Our approaches have enabled students to actively engage with these habits of learning each session to develop a deeper understanding and experience of them.

How did we activate student voice and learner agency?

We engage different forms of leadership and encouraged discussion of roles within a team. One of the highlights was to discuss and reflect on how all roles are vital to the completion of tasks and activities. We encourage students to embody their roles and amplify their voices.

We gave students more discussion time to explore and develop their ideas. We set up tasks and activities this term with time included for groups to process, discuss, negotiate, and prototype in order to hear other’s perspectives and deepen understanding on a topic. We wanted the students to be captivated so we made sessions stimulating and relevant to the development of agency.



This term the students have collaborated really well. They have sometimes chosen people to work with but more often than not were allocated a group or team. It has been great to see how these group dynamics have developed over the course of the term and how this has allowed classmates to get to know each other better or differently. They are ‘looking out for each other more’ and recognising the value in working alongside different people with different ideas and skills. It has made them ‘friendlier and more confident’ and improved their ability to negotiate, discuss and reflect.  


I teach two days in a Year 6 tandem and two days in Visual Arts. I was interested to see how Creative Schools would work with other subject areas that are not generally viewed as creative. I observed some of the quieter students being given roles by other classmates and saw their confidence grow. Students were able to motivate one another, and this kept the focus on the task. While the noise levels exceeded the usual levels, the dialogue and activity largely indicated that they were being productive. I learnt that students can be directed to work creatively and use collaborative skills, and that they enjoy being in charge of the path their learning takes them. The Five Learning Habits will continue to be part of our class.

The students were generally reluctant to go into groups without their chosen peers at the start of the program which led to session times not being utilised appropriately.  Gradually, most of the students became used to working with different classmates and started to focus on the task and not one another. They began to notice peer’s strengths and used this observation to delegate tasks to ensure their finished map/model/flag would be successful. Students enjoyed working in small groups and this allowed them to contribute their ideas because everyone’s ideas were put forward. Videos made during the final week showed collaboration, better preparation, and a strong desire to make a quality short film. Many groups showed persistence by filming interviews multiple times to enhance the final product. I feel the program has assisted the students to work collaboratively, with different people, to achieve a common goal.

Creative Practitioner

Unpacking a curriculum area that I am not overly familiar or confident with has taken me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to think hard about how best to present the activities in a way that maximises the learning for the students. I have learnt a lot during the term and felt that I have improved my planning and facilitation of this particular curriculum area.

“Creativity is... something you do that lets out what is inside you. Like sport, art, music… it’s what you do and what makes you happy. Creativity is making a new thing that’s just from you.” - Student

What have you noticed while you are doing Creative Schools?

“I’ve noticed that all my classmates are getting along better since Creative Schools. We’ve been working in teams, and it’s made us work with each other and get better at working together which we weren’t good at in the start of the year.” - Student

What are you learning? What skills are you learning?

“I’ve learned how to be persistent and imaginative. So basically, Creative Schools has taught me to think outside of the box and be more imaginative. I’m more persistent too, like some people have been different to work with but I’ve learned to be persistent and deal with it.” - Student

What are you learning? What skills are you learning?

“Collaboration, inquisitive and persistent.  You have to keep trying even if you feel you aren’t doing well. Like in my origami I got the angles wrong, so I unfolded it and redid it and got it right the second time.” - Student

Have you noticed a change in any of the kids in your class?

“They are a lot happier. Lots of kids here don’t like doing the more boring type of work. This way they are more involved in their work. Because it’s not a bother to do Creative Schools you want to do it because it’s fun.” - Student

What have you notices during Creative Schools?

“Creativity is really important, because you need new ideas, and you need to think of all the possibilities.” - Student
“I am definitely learning a lot more about rights and responsibilities and angles, and the five habits of learning. The five habits of creativity are really important. I am just really happy that I have learned about them. We have never done that before at school.” - Student
“Annie is an art teacher, so she has that creative head. It has allowed her to free think, much more. I allowed her to pick the bits of the curriculum she wanted to do more creatively. It has been a really easy process of co-planning and collaboration between us. We really unpacked things together at the start. The team teaching has been great. I felt like we have both been in it together with an ease of planning together.” - Creative Practitioner
It has been interesting to see the dynamics, and to see the students who don't normally contribute, getting much more involved. I have learned more about the children and saw more sides to the personalities. I could observe them and interact and engage more. They are all engaged in the learning task. It is good to see what they come up with. It is good to see what they think about. You don't normally get to know, and talk about, and learn what the children think about in normal style of teaching.” - Teacher
“This is the sign of a healthy classroom. They are all engaged.” - Adriano Truscott, Principal