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Primary Matters, issue 22: Remote learning, May 2020

We hope this edition finds you all safe and well. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the education sector has had to adapt, and authorities are experiencing change of an unprecedented nature as they look to find their new normal.

It is important to acknowledge that schools themselves are on a steep learning curve here. This is uncharted territory and coming up with plans and curriculum support material and online learning tools to help parents in ways that take account of diverse home circumstances is not straightforward.” ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho

In this edition of Primary Matters, we look at some of the ways support can be accessed through state and territory education sectors, resources on the ACARA and Australian Curriculum websites, stories from schools, and links and tips from learning area specialists. It is important to note that many of the resources have been curated from existing materials, rather than specifically prepared for the current situation.

Please stay safe and stay connected.

The Australian Curriculum website has work sample portfolios comprising samples of student work. The work samples listed for each year level can be replicated in the home learning environment with or without the need for internet access. Visit the Australian Curriculum website to view the work samples for all learning areas.

 

 

 

Foundation

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

HASS: F–6/7 HASS

 

My special place

Then and now

My connections

Our class rules

Island map

Climate art gallery

Australia: your life so far

The Arts

 

Dance

Pairs: Seasons

 

 

Drama

Scripted performance: Goldilocks and the three bears

(adapt by choosing just one scene)

 

 

 

 

Media Arts

Animation: endangered animals

 

 

 

Music

Composition: animals

(adapt – use household objects and voices as instruments)

 

 

 

Visual Arts Sharing stories: picture book

Dance

Pairs: Seasons

 

 

Drama

Scripted performance: Goldilocks and the three bears

(adapt by choosing just one scene)

 

 

 

 

Media Arts

Animation: endangered animals

 

 

 

Music

Composition: animals

(adapt – use household objects and voices as instruments)

 

 

 

 

Visual Arts Sharing stories: picture book

 

Dance

Pairs: Seasons

 

 

Drama

Scripted performance: Goldilocks and the three bears

(adapt by choosing just one scene)

 

 

 

 

Media Arts

Animation: endangered animals

 

 

 

Music

Composition: animals

(adapt – use household objects and voices as instruments)

 

 

 

 

Visual Arts Sharing stories: picture book

 

Dance

Telling stories (adapt for a smaller group)

 

Drama

Scripted performance: Goldilocks and the three bears

(adapt by using another story)

 

 

 

 

Media Arts

Convict video

(adapt using a different HASS topic)

 

 

Music

Composition:  penguins

(adapt – use household objects and voices as instruments)

 

 

 

Visual Arts

Clay objects: connection to our coast

Dance

Telling stories (adapt for a smaller group)

 

Drama

Scripted performance: Goldilocks and the three bears

(adapt by using another story)

 

 

 

 

Media Arts

Convict video

(adapt using a different HASS topic)

 

 

Music

Composition: penguins

(adapt – use household objects and voices as instruments)

 

 

 

Visual Arts

Clay objects: connection to our coast

Dance

Ensemble: site specific

 

Drama

Readers’ theatre – Blueback

(adapt for two people – one actor and one narrator, use stories students are reading for English or leisure stories.

 

Media Arts

Blueback trailer

 

 

 

 

Music

Composition: penguins soundscape

(adapt – use household objects and voices as instruments)

 

 

Visual Arts

Cubism portraits

Dance

Ensemble: site specific

 

Drama

Readers’ theatre – Blueback

(adapt for two people – one actor and one narrator, use stories students are reading for English or leisure stories.

 

Media Arts

Blueback trailer

 

 

 

 

Music

Composition: penguins soundscape

(adapt – use household objects and voices as instruments)

 

 

Visual Arts

Cubism portraits

Technologies: Design and Technologies

 

Push–pull toy

Push–pull toy

Push–pull toy

Water

Water

Kitchen garden

Kitchen garden

Technologies: Digital Technologies

The beach

(at home – the garden)

The beach

(at home – the garden)

The beach

(at home – the garden)

Clean school

(at home – room/house)

Clean school

(at home – room/house)

Whole numbers

 

Whole numbers

Health and Physical Education

 

Rolling Rally

Creating Dance

Creating Dance

Food and Nutrition

Food and Nutrition

Gymnastics

Gymnastics

ACARA’s curriculum specialists have contributed some tips for continued learning at home:

English

Students can:

  • read each day – individually and with members of their family
  • make use of the environment, read street signs, advertisements or shop names when exercising. At home, read food packaging when preparing or eating meals
  • tell stories such as describing their favourite park or remembering a birthday celebration
  • look for opportunities to listen to the stories of older relatives, neighbours or friends, either in person with appropriate distancing or over the phone or video chat
  • re-read their favourite books
  • create stories about objects around their home; for example, a broom, a hairbrush and an umbrella.

Mathematics

Students can:

  • make different types of patterns that repeat, using shapes, objects, movement, drawings or sounds such as drumming or clapping
  • find shapes, symmetry, patterns around the home and in the garden. Activities could include: match plastic containers to their lids and discover ways to stack them in a cupboard, explore natural patterns such as how a plant grows its leaves, use a mobile phone or tablet to capture images of the backyard and trace the shapes they can see
  • investigate the different units of measurement for different household items. They could pose problems such as trying to move a couch through a doorway – how can they tell if it will fit? Or how can they compare the size of these two windows?
  • measure everything, exploring concrete and digital ways to measure. They can explore some apps that estimate measurements
  • when cooking, measure and weigh ingredients, use correct cooking times and temperatures, consider portion sizes
  • create a map of their house, room or outdoor space, or imagine that their house had more rooms and draw how it might look
  • redesign their bedroom, using a scale drawing and then recreate the room
  • use Google maps to explore cities around the world
  • estimate the cost of a weekly shop or create a budget to save for something special
  • disassemble packaging to examine 2D nets
  • use shopping brochures to plan a shopping list for a certain budget
  • investigate the mathematics in art and music
  • build a model from Lego and draw its top, front and side views.

Science

Students can:

  • observe changes in states of matter while cooking or bathing/showering. They could be looking at the type of surfaces where condensation happens. Why on some but not on others?
  • classify substances found around the home as either liquid or solid. They could be challenged to find substances that are not as easily classified, such as peanut butter, jelly or toothpaste. Students could then try to explain in more detail why they have classified it a certain way (e.g. toothpaste behaves as a liquid under pressure, but as a solid when pressure is released)
  • investigate the solubility of substances in water. In order to do this, students could:
    • use oil and water, which don’t mix, but if a small amount of detergent is added to the water first, they appear to. The focus of the task could be on describing observations in detail and speculate about the reasons for why this is happening.
    • sprinkle some finely ground salt and/or sugar onto the surface of water in a bowl and it will sink and eventually dissolve. Use finely ground pepper instead and it will stay on the surface. Students could speculate about the different properties of these substances
    • to extend the experiment, a drop of detergent solution can be added to the pepper powder on the surface observing how the pepper particles are pushed towards the edges of the bowl. A further step could be to observe what happens if a drop of water is used
  • construct a sun dial. It could be integrated with Mathematics by recording and relating the measured lengths and angles of the shadow to the time of day and constructing graphs of these relationships
  • build a Rube Goldberg machine (a machine intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overly complicated way), using household items
  • use mirrors to see around corners. They could choose two unconnected rooms in their home, measure and draw their layout; based on that plan, draw light ray directions and predict where mirrors would need to be placed in order to see from one into the other. The setup could also be tested with a strong focusing flashlight in the evening.

Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS)

Students can:

  • investigate how lives have changed over time –  by watching episodes from the two seasons of the series My Place through YouTube or via myplace.edu.au
  • think about what makes the place where they live special. They can draw a map of where they live and draw different maps to show their relative place in the region/state/world
  • think about ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. They could create a list of these categories that relate to their family
  • investigate ‘rules’ and why we have them. A task could focus on making a list of rules that help them and their family work from home.

The Arts

Students can:

  • make time to be imaginative and creative, with people in their home, with a friend or classmate online, or by themselves
  • attend an online exhibition or performance and write a review or a letter to the artists/performers
  • talk about their artmaking with the other people at home. What was the aim, how were they expecting their audience to respond, what might they try next time? What was noticeable about the work? How did it make the audience feel?
  • choreograph or compose dances and songs to demonstrate and develop skills and techniques they are practising
  • ask other family members to share their skills – dancing, singing, photography, editing, drawing, juggling, keeping a straight face no matter what or delivering a killer stare

Dance

  • Students can create and practise dance moves when changing from one activity to another or moving around – inside and outside; use prompts like slinky, slimy surprise as inspiration, join the moves to make a longer dance, choreograph a family flash mob

Drama

  • Students can create drama from everyday happenings or in response to stories; use household items as props and costume items, try sock puppet, shadow puppet, mask drama or freeze frames, or perform a word, phrase or sentence using gestures and sounds – vocal or body percussion.

Media Arts

  • Students can use available technology to capture what’s happening in their world. Ask them to draft a storyboard, plan scenes and shots to communicate perspectives and messages. They could use animation apps, modelling materials, paper and party supplies to make a stop-motion animation, or photograph a scene or object in the neighbourhood each day and create a sequence of images showing how it changes or even disappears

Music

  • Students can create a rap or a chant about daily activities or tips for staying safe and healthy, add body percussion and movement; make an instrument using available resources – recycle, upcycle. Use certain criteria such as an instrument can produce sounds at different pitches and/or with a range of tone qualities, it can be used in an ensemble – taking on one or more roles (melody, beat etc.) and it has reasonable durability and reliability

Visual Arts

  • Students can use available materials to create visual artworks. They could find objects to create environmental art; make their own paints, invent and name new colours; create found object sculptures, vegetable prints or paper cut-outs; keep an artist’s journal where they sketch ideas and write comments

Technologies (Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies)

Students can:

  • investigate the types of edible plants are growing in their community either native or introduced, for example fruit trees, olive trees, herbs and bush foods.
  • design a gourmet burger or pancake and ask their family to purchase the ingredients and help them prepare and test the recipe.
  • investigate the design of an appliance in their house. Why is it shaped the way it is? Why are the buttons where they are? What icons are used to simplify the use of the appliance? Can they make improvements to the appliance?
  • undertake a breakfast journey. Where were the ingredients for their favourite food grown? Read the package label, investigate online, and track the journey of the ingredients. Are they local to your state, to Australia or grown overseas?
  • interview an adult or sibling about something they wish you could help them find a solution for. Invent a solution, show them your idea as a drawing or a model or a play.
  • design and build something that involves movement from materials you have at home. For example, a marble run or a toy. Sketch your design and then build it. Take photos or record a short movie explaining your design idea and how you built it.
  • watch people in their house for 10 minutes as they watch TV or read. Count how many times they touch their face. Look up face touching as a way to infect yourself with viruses. Report your results.
  • walk around the house with a phone or laptop and see where the WiFi is best and worst. Colour in the best and worst areas on a floor plan of their house.
  • collect some leaves from the garden. Separate them into ones that have been eaten by a bug and those that haven’t. Sort the eaten ones into piles with the same leaf in each pile. Which is the most eaten leaf? Did you know you just did the same thing that a Google search does?
  • teach themselves how to make something, for example, origami. Write down the algorithm (step-by-step instructions) and test your algorithm with someone else following your instructions.

Health and Physical Education

Students can:

  • start the day with a walk, run or gym workout. They could share their workout with others
  • create a 'Health Hustle' to share with their family
  • create an obstacle course inside or outside the house. They can try to complete the course as quickly and safely as they can
  • design a game to be played outdoors
  • video themselves performing a specific skill, throwing, kicking or catching and reflect on the movement and where it could be improved
  • spend time talking to their family about games that were played when different members of the family were young. Then play them
  • spend time each day to be mindful, use a mindfulness app or listen to their favourite music
  • start a gratitude journal, write down three things each day for which they are grateful
  • set up a small vegetable or herb garden
  • examine the way that the information about COVID-19 is being communicated across the community.

Languages

Students can:

  • make language flash cards relating to things around the home. Display them for the family to see
  • watch age-appropriate movies, TV shows or cartoons in the target language with English subtitles to immerse them in language and improve reading
  • compare their own culture with that of the target language – have discussions with family members about the similarities and differences
  • listen to and read songs, rhymes and stories in the target language
  • create lists, word walls or labels for common items around the house
  • write a short skit or play in the target language and perform it in front of their family
  • subscribe to target language channels, students can have access to authentic material
  • use the Education Services Australia – Language Learning Space resources and services for students of Chinese, Indonesian and Japanese languages

          https://www.esa.edu.au/solutions/our-solutions/language-learning-space

Please click a button below to see the remote learning stories:

                               

The Digital Technologies in Focus (DTIF) team have been collecting and curating a host of resources to assist schools, parents and carers to support learning for remote learning.

The DTIF Wiki http://bit.ly/acarawiki has a special COVID-19 support area with:

  • advice for online and remote learning, including devising a school learning continuity plan
  • helpful videos, including tutorials for using technology and teaching learning area content
  • resources curated by topic and type, including a section called ‘Learning with no technology’ https://sites.google.com/view/dtifwiki/learning-with-no-technology with suggested activities to keep students stimulated and curious. This section has information on all kinds of learning and student wellbeing, as well as collected advice from state and territories about their learning at home websites and recommendations.

The DTIF ‘Resources’ page https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/resources/digital-technologies-in-focus/resources/on the Australian Curriculum website https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/ has a number of resources that teachers, parents and carers will find useful, including:

Using computational thinking as a framework for literacy and numeracy activities

By Sarah Atkins, Curriculum Officer, Digital Technologies in focus project

The Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies is not all about digital devices. One of the key ideas is computational thinking, a problem-solving method for creating solutions that can be implemented using digital technologies. It gives us a framework to align digital technologies with literacy and numeracy. The digital device is secondary to the thinking.

Computational thinking involves logically organising data, breaking down problems into parts, interpreting patterns and models and designing and implementing algorithms.

Taking a closer look, we ask students to use decomposition, which is breaking down of problems into parts, so they are easier to solve. Students then organise and analyse data through the use of pattern recognition to look for patterns to make sense of data. We encourage students to use abstraction to remove unnecessary details and focus on important data. Next, students use modelling and simulation to create models or simulations to represent processes.

Students then create algorithms – a series of ordered steps taken to solve a problem and apply them to create a solution.

Finally, students use evaluation to determine the effectiveness of their solution, generalise and apply their solution to new problems. Download our Computational thinking poster

The following example shows computational thinking used as a framework for a literacy activity with opportunities for numeracy practice to be included.

Task:

Create a recount of ‘a day in my school at home life’.

Step 1: decomposition – break the day into parts. For example, before school session, morning session, afternoon session, after school activities, family time.

Step 2: pattern recognition – look for easily recordable chunks of time. For example, record activity time in 2-hour slots: 7–9 am, 9–11 am, 12–2 pm, 3–5 pm, 5–7 pm.

Step 3: abstraction – focus on important details. The recount shouldn’t be a blow-by-blow account. Record main activities as dot points. For example:

7–9 am

  • eat breakfast
  • brush teeth
  • get dressed

9–11 am

  • English
  • HASS/Languages

12–2 pm

  • Mathematics
  • Science/Technology

3–5 pm

  • Music/Arts practice
  • Exercise

5–7 pm

  • play
  • eat dinner
  • shower and brush teeth
  • read

Step 4: modelling and simulation – organise dot points into a timetable, using pen and paper or a digital device. This way of presenting the data is easy to read.

Step 5: algorithms – create a series of ordered steps to tell a story in an interesting way. This gives students an opportunity to use some writing techniques such as a sizzling start, tightening the tension, adding a funny anecdote and ending with impact.

Students with access to digital devices could create a multimodal text using PowerPoint with hyperlinks or a visual programming language such as Scratch Jr or Scratch. This gives the student opportunities to incorporate decision-making and repetition into their recount.

Step 6: evaluation – as students create their recount, they can generalise, recognising repetitive code and reuse frequently used code sequences.

When the focus is taken off the devices and placed on the thinking process, it’s easy to incorporate literacy and numeracy into digital technologies. You’ll find more classroom ideas on the DTiF section of the Australian Curriculum website. We also have information on teaching remotely on our  DTiF wiki.

By Patrick Kelly, Curriculum Specialist, Student Diversity

During these times of remote learning, ACARA continues its commitment to the development of a high-quality curriculum that meets the diverse needs of Australian students, one that promotes excellence and equity. As such, ACARA continues to liaise with its advisory groups and external stakeholders to provide resources to support families and schools. The following resources have been provided by some of these groups.

The Raising Children Network’s new Coronavirus (COVID-19), physical distancing and children with disability, autism and other conditions is now live. This document provides some very timely advice to parents who are supporting their children with their learning at home.

Key points:

  • If you have children with disability at home during coronavirus (COVID-19), you might be dealing with child anxiety, daily care activities, learning at home, and sibling needs.
  • It can help to talk through anxiety, use routines, get organised with learning, and try to balance all children’s needs.
  • Looking after yourself and seeking support in this situation is good for you and good for your children.
  • By physical distancing and staying at home during coronavirus (COVID-19), you are helping to protect everyone in your community.

The Children and Young People with Disability and the Australian Coalition for Inclusive Education developed a resource for families Learning at home during a time of crisis: COVID-19. This resource supports key advice to families and schools on what children and young people with disability need:

  • clear communication with students and families about what is happening including what to do about keeping children and young people with disability safe and socially connected
  • a strategy to ensure social connectedness. Students who have been previously disengaged, not supported with whole-of-school communication approaches, experienced bullying or significantly impacted by COVID19 changes need targeted solutions and support
  • a spirit of collaboration that recognises that not all students have been fully included prior and that not all students feel safe and supported at home
  • clear learning plans for students with disability including making reasonable adjustments to curriculum materials and class lessons
  • flexible arrangements for accessing learning material, classmate and peer interactions and assessment, including need for accessible material and smaller group work online
  • no penalty for needing flexible arrangements, targeted support for classmate and peer connections or greater support because of educational or social inequality.

The Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented advises that, as the COVID-19 pandemic widens, feelings such as helplessness, isolation and fear can escalate along with genuine and deep concern for others as well as their own learning progression. Other gifted children may relish in new-found opportunities to explore passion areas to a greater depth and complexity, or investigate entirely new areas of challenge. 

There are number of considerations teachers can make to ensure that gifted and talented children are receiving a relevant and rigorous education during remote learning:

  • ​​provide opportunities for a learning scaffold ​within their zone of proximal development
  • ​​structure the learning to encourage use of higher order thinking skills and include opportunities to access the curriculum above the age level
  • ​provide options to present a range of expressions of their learning
  • ​connect them to opportunities for discussion of work and learning experiences with like-minded/ability peers and/or mentors
  • ​continue to monitor the level at which they are working, including the use and application of pre-testing and above-level testing. 

There are several online resources that teachers can share with families of gifted students. Whilst the list is exhaustive, and is often guided by the students' passions and interests, these resources may be helpful:

The Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA) is the national professional body representing teachers of English to speakers of other languages in Australia. ACTA suggests that teachers seeking additional resources and professional learning opportunities visit state or territory TESOL association websites and updates on resources.

 Some key points for supporting EAL/D learners during this time of online learning include:

  • choosing or making texts that are largely accessible to your language learners (comprehensibility)
  • provide opportunities to repeat reading, writing, speaking and listening tasks
  • share good examples of the kind of text (spoken or written) that you want your students/children to produce
  • communicate the EAL/D or learning support teacher of your/ your child's school.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a large number of Australian students learning from home, with many parents and carers keen for resources to support them in the learning.

As ACARA CEO David de Carvalho noted in a recent opinion piece, “Many parents of school-age children are now dealing with a new reality, trying to keep their children engaged in learning while not having the professional skills that trained teachers bring to that complex and vitally important task.

“Government education departments, Catholic school systems and independent schools have been working with remarkable speed and intensity to put in place or ramp up online learning mechanisms to help. They are preparing high-quality learning materials, linked to the Australian Curriculum, which help parents to keep their children engaged in learning under these most unusual circumstances.”

ACARA has compiled a range of resources and links to support parents/carers at this unique time:

                       

The full Australian Curriculum and related resources are published online, they provide accessibility for all users; however, it is important to note that the Australian Curriculum itself has been written for teachers, with the 'Parent information' section a streamlined version of this.

The complete list of resources can be found on the  ACARA website. 

The Australian Curriculum website continues to be updated with a variety of new resources.

Foundation – Year 10 Arabic work sample portfolios and the first illustration of practice for the Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages can now be viewed in the 'Resources' section of the Australian Curriculum website.

               

           

AITSL – Spotlight report https://www.aitsl.edu.au/research/spotlight/what-works-in-online-distance-teaching-and-learning

Broken Hill School of the Air's top 10 education tips for parents https://www.theland.com.au/story/6706419/school-of-the-airs-top-10-tips-for-parents/

Australian Special Education Principals Association (ASEPA) https://asepa.schoolzineplus.com/covid19

Australia Post https://auspost.com.au/content/dam/auspost_corp/media/documents/pen-pal-club-2020-teacher-guide.pdf?cid=soc:1915606:con:adhocsocial:271305151:130901826

The CSIRO website Double Helix CSIRO brainteasers

NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian - 'Digital Lunchbreak' https://www.digitallunchbreak.nsw.gov.au/activities

Puppet making videos – Spare Parts Puppets https://www.facebook.com/sparepartspuppets/videos/2605209769751399/

The Northern Territory Music school programs:

Vamp TV: http://www.vamptv.ntschools.net/

Rising Star: http://www.risingstar.nt.edu.au/

ABC Education https://education.abc.net.au/ has special programming on both their website and TV

ABC have some good resources and shows for young people https://www.abc.net.au/tveducation/programs/primary/

Playschool special episode about COVID-19 https://www.abc.net.au/abckids/shows/play-school/covid-19/12114308

https://www.childhood.org.au/app/uploads/2020/03/Talking-to-Children-COVID-19-Social-Story.pdf

Manuela Molina #COVIBOOK, available in different languages https://www.mindheart.co/descargables

Advice about supporting young people from Independent Schools Victoria’s Parents’ Website https://www.theparentswebsite.com.au/entering-anger-stage-strategies-supporting-young-people/

Narragunnawali Curriculum Resources: Use Narragunnawali’s early learning, primary and secondary curriculum resources to promote reconciliation and to strengthen children and students’ knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions.

The resources can be used as they are or adapted to suit the local community context.

Each resource encompasses elements of the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian Curriculum and aligns with Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Actions.

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