Advice on units
The sample units are designed to assist teachers in planning for the implementation of the NSW K–10 syllabuses. The units provide programming ideas for selected syllabus content.
The sample units demonstrate ways to present syllabus content and model a range of teaching and learning and assessment activities. They will assist teachers to:
- be explicit about the syllabus outcomes and content they are addressing
- adapt teaching and learning programs to students’ needs, interests and abilities
- have a sound basis for modifying future teaching and learning programs, in light of students’ needs.
Some samples have been included to demonstrate how teaching, learning and assessment activities can be adjusted to meet the needs of students with special education needs. A variety of adjustments have been included to meet a range of student needs.
Elements of a unit include:
- unit description
- syllabus outcomes
- stage or year
- range of relevant syllabus content
- integrated teaching, learning and assessment activities
- subject-specific requirements
- reflection and evaluation
- adjustments for students with special education needs, where appropriate.
1. Identify the syllabus outcomes that will be addressed in the unit
The K–10 syllabuses promote an approach to programming that has syllabus outcomes as the focus. During the planning process, teachers identify the syllabus outcomes that inform the organisation of content and learning experiences for each unit. The syllabus outcomes are central to decisions about the required evidence of learning. Links to syllabus outcomes in other key learning areas, particularly in Kindergarten to Year 6, may also be identified where appropriate.
2. Decide on the focus of the unit
For example, in Kindergarten to Year 6 the unit may involve outcomes and content from more than one key learning area in an integrated manner.
3. Decide on the evidence of learning that will be required, how students will demonstrate this in relation to the syllabus outcomes, and how this evidence will be gathered and recorded
As the syllabus outcomes form the focus of the unit, it is necessary to identify the specific evidence of learning to be gathered through teaching, learning and assessment activities. The evidence of learning provides the basis for the selection of content and the planning of the learning experiences within the units. This evidence will enable teachers to make judgments about student achievement in relation to the syllabus outcomes and identified content.
4. Select the relevant syllabus content for the identified syllabus outcomes to provide opportunities for students to develop required knowledge, understanding and skills. The examples below include but are not limited to:
- the processes of responding to and composing a variety of texts in a range of modes and media.
- Working Mathematically components that are integrated with content from the strands and substrands.
Science and Technology Kindergarten to Year 6
- the skills and processes of Working Scientifically and Working Technologically that are at the centre of teaching and learning. Working Scientifically and Working Technologically are integrated with content from the Natural Environment and Made Environment strands and substrands.
Science Years 7–10
- the skills and processes of Working Scientifically that are at the centre of teaching and learning and are integrated with content from the Knowledge and Understanding strands.
- historical skills and concepts that are integrated with content from the topics in Kindergarten to Year 10 and historical skills and concepts that are integrated into the overviews and depth studies in Years 7 to 10.
- geographical concepts, skills and tools that are integrated with content for each stage
5. Plan the teaching and learning experiences and assessment activities, including assessment for learning activities
Teaching and learning experiences should:
- build on prior learning
- be sequenced appropriately to provide opportunities for students to develop knowledge, understanding and skills, and to demonstrate achievement of syllabus outcomes
- provide authentic learning opportunities to meet the interests, abilities and backgrounds of students
- provide a sound basis for students to move to the next stage of learning
- include adjustments for students with special needs where appropriate and/or necessary
- take into account the resources available
- integrate information and communications technologies where appropriate
Assessment activities should:
- be valid and be based on syllabus outcomes
- include criteria to clarify for students what aspects of learning are being assessed
- enable students to demonstrate their learning in a range of contexts
- be reliable and free from bias and provide evidence that accurately represents a student's knowledge, understanding and skills
- enable students and teachers to use feedback effectively and reflect on the learning process
- be inclusive of, and accessible for, all students
- be part of an ongoing process where progress is monitored over time
Feedback provides students with the necessary information and direction to clarify:
- how their knowledge, understanding and skills are developing in relation to the syllabus outcomes and content being addressed
- how to improve their learning
When planning units, teachers should consider how a range of formal and informal feedback strategies will:
- focus on what is expected in the activity
- provide students with constructive and meaningful information
- provide opportunities for peer and self-assessment, and student reflection on their learning
7. Reflection and evaluation
Teachers evaluate the extent to which the planning of the unit has remained focused on the syllabus outcomes. After the unit has been implemented, there should be opportunity for both teachers and students to reflect on and evaluate the degree to which students have progressed as a result of their experiences, and what should be done next to assist them in their learning.
For example, there should be opportunities for teachers to:
- identify which teaching and learning experiences were effective and which require modification to be effective in the future
- suggest modifications for future teaching and learning experiences
- describe additional or alternative teaching and learning activities and resources that could be used in the future.
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