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Which Planet?

January 11, 2022
By
Jodie Long
Jodie Davidson

Which Planet?

Creative’s Name: Jodie Davidson

Creative Practice(s): Visual Artist

School: Camboon Primary School

Teacher’s Name: Jodie Long

Year Group: 5/6

MAIN CURRICULUM FOCUS

Science Year 5

• Earth and Space Sciences – The Earth is part of a system of planets orbiting around a star (the sun).

• Science Enquiry Skills - Questioning and predicting, evaluating.

• Science as a Human Endeavour - Nature and development of science, use and influence of science.

Science Year 6

• Earth and Space Sciences – Sudden geological changes and extreme weather events can affect Earth’s surface.

• Science Enquiry Skills - Questioning and predicting, evaluating, communicating.

• Science as a Human Endeavour - Nature and development of science, use and influence of science.

CROSS-CURRICULAR LINKS

Literacy Year 5

• Listening and speaking interactions, comprehension strategies, creating texts, oral presentation, purpose, audience and editing.

Literacy Year 6

• Listening and speaking interactions, purpose, audience and structures, text cohesion, oral presentation, language devices, editing, creating texts, use of software.

CROSS CURRICULUM PRIORITY

Sustainability

Collaborative practices developed during term 2 extended stories into games that merged Earth and Space with literacy. Prompted with the discovery of a new planet, the class of 30 year 5 and 6 students were taken on a journey of possibility, considering everything that they didn’t know about the planet. Where is it? Why is it there? What are its features? How will it be navigated? The building and creation of Earth and Space Science games including how geological changes can affect the Earth encouraging imagination, taking risks, making mistakes, imagination, working collaboratively with being curious. With dyslexia, ASD, hearing impairment, trauma, and cognitive weakness, it was vital to ensure that the processes used could accommodate all capabilities and the collaborative outcome involved each class member.

WHAT WE DID

Warm-ups were utilised as a way of discovering each person’s strengths. Successful groups were made up based on differences. It was important for inclusiveness to be achieved, that groups formed were based on recognising that others had alternate skills and how these are beneficial. Using teams for question-and-answer games stimulated curiosity, possibilities, and verbal literacy. In the case of designing and creating a board game, this encouraged the composition of groups that required a good thinker, drawer, organiser, and rule maker. This collaboration meant that each participant had a role that they were responsible for - questions, answers, moveable pieces, rules, game design and in turn developed understanding, recognition, and acceptance of differences.

Continuous reflecting on achievements allowed some students to self-manage. For others, they were able to come up with what could make it better but not what could be done to make that happen. Unfortunately, it seemed that the highly scaffolded and constantly instructed environment that this group works in resulted in them waiting to be given the answers or to be told what to do. The more academic students worked it out but for those who struggle and are constantly being reprimanded, they were still hesitant to risk thinking for themselves.

For discipline to improve, it was important for students to set goals. What did they want to accomplish and what were they successful with? Each student had to become a learning resource. Individual group members assigned themselves tasks to complete based on their distinct roles. They considered project planning by working out how much time they had and how many tasks needed to be done. They divided tasks and changed roles. Some groups decided that their role might need to be changed because another person was better suited to that role. To increase persistence, they needed to assess their work and achievements to determine how they could be better.

Incorporating cross curriculum sustainability was achieved by limiting resources, a conscious use of materials and an awareness of waste. Standing back and allowing student agency meant providing the students with the challenge of building a prototype game around the discovery of the new planet and specifying what needed to be included in the design. As the weeks progressed, students slowly began to demonstrate how far they had come in their use of the creative habits of learning.

They moved beyond initial guidelines, showing imagination and persistence as they progressed past a written materials list to cutting up boxes for board bases and moveable pieces; getting iPad to research planets and writing out their questions and answers all in a session that was originally scheduled for design development. They had stopped waiting to be told what to do next. They began to think for themselves.

“I don't mind the noise when they are working like this. They're not going to want to stop. It's also so good that they get such an extended period to work and focus because sometimes it can take them a while to get into it. But look at them now.” - Relief teacher

“I noticed there was hard work in other people’s group. We don't try enough.”

“We've done more than what we started on, but we didn't finish it. We need to do less chatting and more working.”

“I noticed people were helping each other.”

“We could improve on working as a group by better teamwork.”

“Next week we could get ideas from other groups.”

“I know a lot of facts about planets.”

(Year 5/6 students)

We noticed small changes for quite a few of the students. The role of the teacher became more about facilitation which encouraged students to draw on their own ideas, their peers, and others to source information. Whereas before they were always waiting for instructions, now they were thinking ahead. They were moving beyond the instructions and making decisions about what to do next. Slowly some students began to reflect on themselves and make changes. The groups began to work independently. The teacher and creative became the observer, the listener. Their ability to reflect and come up with explanations improved.

"Most of the time we get to choose what we do in Creative Schools. We get to have our own say. In school we normally just get a lot of instructions that we have to follow. This is very different. We make the instructions." - Student

Students liked that they didn’t think they had done reading, writing, or spelling yet when asked what subjects they thought they may have done they answered with science, maths, reading, HASS, art, space and English. The authentic nature of the activities, less textbook and more variety had evolved into a higher functioning classroom where students, through their own curiosity and initiative, were wanting to learn more, to research, to do, to make and to create.

"They are developing independent learning skills. They don't always develop it at home or through traditional teaching. Everything is scaffolded and structured with writing frames. They don't learn to think; they just learn to comply. I love the program because it forces them into situations where they have to become independent thinkers, and it forces me to shut up and to let them lead." - Teacher

"They decided what they need to do now. These guys couldn't decide things for themselves. Everything was done for them. So we are focusing on developing independent learning skills. They don't get it normally. They have designed games about science, and they've made all the decisions. Some teams even did some work at home, developing question cards. They were so engaged." - Creative Practitioner

"We love being part of the program. We have great creative practitioners, very different, but both great. I have already presented about Creative Schools to the Morley principals group. I collected quotes form the children before I went, to ask them their opinion about the program. For the older children it was really about getting out of the classroom and having more freedom and ownership in their learning.  The younger children could tell me all about the five creative superpowers they were learning. Now I'm looking how to embed it into our whole school. As a principal I was so I happy I found Creative Schools. I can see the benefit. It has built excitement and engagement in learning. This is something as a leader I believe in. It is in our new business plan, we want to invest further in it and grow it." - Principal