Friday, 24 January 2020

The Shift Has Arrived - Chaos Ahead!

Throughout 2019, we were in groups of 6 to create an integrated unit for 2020. I briefly explained in this post what my PLG's initial ideas were. The last two CallBack Days have been dedicated to meeting who we will be co-teaching with, and getting comfortable with the units we will be teaching. It's crazy how far we have come - we are starting to teach the units next week!! 

Our school is having quite a shift this year, and it's super exciting. Not only are we integrating curriculum areas at Years 9 & 10, the timetable is also changing and we are introducing Mai Time and Ako teachers. Moving from 5 periods days and a 10 day cycle, to 4 blocks a day and a 5 day cycle means we actually see the students an extra half an hour per week (Juniors and Seniors), which is great! Mai Time and Ako blocks are included in the timetable for Juniors - given the same amount of time as curriculum units. Put simply, Mai is an opportunity for students to be physically active and also time to create their own passion projects/inquiries. Ako is a mentoring system designed to support students with self management, how they learn, and progress towards goals (kind of like School Mum!). Later in the term I'll blog more detail about Mai and Ako, as they grow a little more.

The unit my PLG developed comes under the umbrella value of respect, and is the sexuality unit for Health integrated with Digital Technology and English. There are 5 modules (Hāuora, Pubertal Changes, Communication, Relationships, Drugs & Alcohol) throughout the course. Students will have checklists for each of the modules full of resources and tasks to complete. Ultimately, by the end of Week 12, they will have created a 5 page website to demonstrate their understanding of the content/skills/tools within the checklists for all 3 curriculum areas. Throughout these 12 weeks, we (the 3 teachers) will be floating around 75 students to give them feedback and have learning conversations, and host mini tutorials - the onus is handed over to the kids entirely!

Week 13 we have calendared a 'catch-up' week. As we are assessing against the achievement objectives (see 2019 trail here) frequently throughout the modules, by this point we should have a good understanding how the students are progressing. This week is to encourage students to increase their levels for their achievement objectives (for any or all of the curriculum areas), and to determine the final 5 weeks. 

If students are sitting at a Level 2 - Level 3 of the curriculum, they will be required to review their website pages to increase depth and demonstrate greater understanding. If they are a Level 4 across the board, the students will be given an extensive list of inquiry ideas they can choose to investigate (which will supplement learning in a curriculum area of their choice). Our most academic students who are already a Level 5, will design their own inquiry project. The project will need to be related in some way to one of the 5 module topics previously explored, and the students are required to explain which 2 achievement objectives their project will demonstrate.

I would be lying if I said I am feeling 100% confident. I'm honestly feeling a little apprehensive. What if the kids don't do anything with all of this freedom? What if I clash with my co-teachers? What if there are students who fall through the cracks? What if they aren't getting depth in their learning? Am am void now?? BUT I am also incredibly excited to be involved in this shift, I think it's an amazing opportunity for the students AND the teachers. We will be learning new skills and content from the other curriculum areas, and also further developing skills including collaboration, empathy and problem solving. Bring on the organised chaos!


  1. This sounds like a great idea. I hope the students do use their freedom wisely and this is something you can continue through the year. It will be interesting to see how it goes for you.

    1. In theory, as you say, it is an exciting concept and has great potential for learning opportunities! Fingers crossed they use the freedom wisely! Certainly will be interesting - I'll try update as much as I can.


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