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The concept curriculum at Halsey Drive School

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The vision at Halsey Drive School is to personalize learning and have authentic learning experiences for students. This means that students understand and can take responsibility for their learning and as a consequence are engaged in meaningful learning. to achieve this, they have developed a differentiated, concept-based curriculum which provides opportunities for students to gain a deep understanding of global concepts in a range of authentic contexts. The curriculum features a process of learning (inquiry) and a model of learning (SOLO Taxonomy).

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

Priorities for student learning

The New Zealand Curriculum states (p 37):

Curriculum design and review clarifies priorities for student learning, the ways in which those priorities will be addressed, and how student progress and the quality of teaching and learning will be assessed

  • Halsey St school reviewed their teaching and learning curriculum. What strategies did they use that would suit your own school context?
  • How could you put the above NZC statement into action in your school?
  • How do you support students in monitoring their own learning, that is, What am I learning? How well am I learning? and What do I need to do to get better?

Have you seen?

Strengthening local curriculum
This section supports school and curriculum leaders and professional learning and development providers with the process of curriculum design and review. It includes information, research, tools, suggested areas of focus, and inspirational stories to help schools make decisions about how to give effect to the national curriculum.


The concept curriculum – The big picture

At our school we use SOLO to help us in our learning and we use thinking maps to help organise all our ideas and it helps us communicate with each other.

Cheryl Davies-Crook, Principal
Over the past five years we have been developing a curriculum which embodies our philosophy of personalised and authentic learning. So we developed a concept based curriculum which is delivered through our process of learning which is our inquiry model, and we have a language of learning which is SOLO taxonomy.

Rowena Pearson
We devised a model which provides our children with a process they can follow when they are investigating different concepts and we personalize the learning through the use of the language of SOLO and as the inquiry develops the children devise their own questions which then they pursue individual inquiries that personalizes the learning even further.

Denise Ritchie
We had a teacher planning day where we were going to look at our overview for the next two years. We had a facilitator in to help us with this who we had been working with. The basis of this day was really to come up with about eight broad concepts that we were going to cover over the next two years. So virtually we were going to do one each term. At the present moment these big ideas, big concepts include things like identity, globalization, environment, invention and design, etc. We had to ensure that we had a balance across all the learning areas and that everything such as the AOs the learning intentions, learning outcomes and everything sort of balanced up. The context of those concepts would be determined by the teacher's knowledge of the children's needs and to a large extent by the children's interests and the path that they wanted to go along and we just had to ensure that the skills and competencies that we had already determined that we wanted them to leave our school with were covered in that time.

Bridget Casse
The teachers have definitely become more facilitators of student learning rather than being the person who gives the facts or sets up the experiences for the children. We are actually guiding the children through inquiring for themselves and answering their own questions, teaching them what to do in order to come up with their own answers. And to investigate things that they want to know. So definitely the teacher's role has become much more of a facilitator now. Probably the most important thing that we have noticed is that students are realizing that SOLO is a tool that can actually help them to identify their next steps. It is really empowering our students to be able to find that out for themselves. And of course the result of this review will inform our future focus for supporting quality teaching and learning here at Halsey Drive.

Published on: 07 Feb 2011