Module 3 Planning

        I.            Look at the format of the Unit/Lessons document and note the different types of information that are included in this unit plan.


The unit plan consists of:

Year 8 Semester 2: Energy Types Unit Identifier – which year and semester and unit heading
Essential Question: What is Energy? Essential question gives us a summation of the unit and what is being explored (i.e. in this unit, identifying ‘What is Energy?’ is more about identifying the types of energy rather than measuring, producing, engineering etc. if the question was ‘Energy’)
Time Allocation: 4 weeks (12 x 48 minute sessions) Structure to outline 4 weeks, depending on the timetable allocation this could be 1 single and 1 double period over the four weeks, or 3 separate periods over the week depending on the school timetable structure.
Level 8 Science Achievement Standard: This statement appears in the Australian Curriculum and the relevant parts have in this example been highlighted where it is matched (see below) with the Australian Curriculum Code
Content Descriptions:


The applicable Curriculum Codes and description are colour-coded to verify the content
Lesson sequence: Energy Types This table outlines the content for the plan

(48 mins)

Numbered sequence of sessions for the four week plan


  Focus    What will students know and be able to do? This outlines what key outcomes from successful completion of the session. These can be used as part of the session’s introduction and conclusion.
  What are the main learning activities?        


Outlines the activities and how they are delivered within the session; includes links internal and external to the document.
  What are the assessment tasks? Outlines the tools used to assess the student’s understanding and gauge their learning (in meeting the planned outcomes through the activities).
Example worksheet Sample worksheets are attached for the use in the planned sessions.  Other work activities are hyperlinked throughout the document.




      II.            What are the similarities and differences between the Victorian and the NSW sample units?

Whist there are many similarities, the main difference with Vic and NSW sample units (using the Year 8 Science example from above) is the Elaboration for very similar code descriptions.  Compare:

Code Description Elaborations


Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge ·  considering whether investigation using available resources is possible when identifying questions or problems to investigate

·  recognising that the solution of some questions and problems requires consideration of social, cultural, economic or moral aspects rather than or as well as scientific investigation

·  using information and knowledge from their own investigations and secondary sources to predict the expected results from an investigation




Identify questions, problems and claims that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge ·  investigating how advances in telescopes and space probes have provided new evidence about space

·  investigating how the development of microscopes has changed understanding of cell function and malfunction, and how this has led to improved medical treatments for disease

·  investigating how knowledge of the location and extraction of mineral resources relies on expertise from across the disciplines of science

·  considering how advances in technology, combined with scientific understanding of the functioning of body systems, has enabled organ repair and replacement

·  investigating how land management practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can help inform sustainable management of the environment



Whilst the descriptions are almost identical (added “and claims”) the Elaborations are quite different.  In the example used above, the Victorian model is quite prescriptive whereas the NSW sample is much broader.

The Victorian model also includes other Descriptions not shown in the NSW model.


    III.            Record in your learning journal the stages of UbD and add a short description for each.


Understanding by Design is a fascinating concept as it turns traditional curriculum design on its head by planning around an outcome or goal.  The example given by Jay McTighe in likening our planning backward design to planning a holiday or building a house is an identifiable analogy as it requires a plan with multiple event and scenarios to take place to achieve the overall goal.   Whilst it is a great tool for teachers to plan, it still leaves room for the teacher to put their own abilities to task with their pedagogical stance and delivery methods but provides a strong structure within which to operate.

Stage 1:  Identify Desired Results

In this stage, we identify the knowledge and skills outcomes that students should obtain and/or develop as a result of completing the subject.  Knowledge is what the student should know (facts, processes etc.) and the skills component is what the student should be able to do with the knowledge (i.e. when to use it). (Howard, 2014)

As there is a wide range of parts to learn, a teacher planning the curriculum takes guidance from the Curriculum framework to create a plan within these parameters.

Once a general area has been identified, Wiggins & McTighe (2005) discuss the development of curricular priorities into three areas, 1-‘Worth being familiar with’, 2-‘Important to know and do’, 3-‘Enduring’ understanding’. As each subject area has a vast amount of content, not all are going to be critical but may be ‘worth being familiar with’ which could be looked into further if need be (and could be used as extension activities.  Secondly if it is ‘important to know’ (i.e. focussed upon in the direction of the curriculum – not everything can be included in every school’s curriculum for every subject) this too is included to help transmit understanding and the future use of the content.  Where the learning would be considered ‘enduring understanding’ (i.e. the fundamental principles of this subject and future understanding) it is included in curriculum as a mainstay of the subject content.

Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence

By designing the tools to collect acceptable evidence, we create subject content for a ‘real-world’ value rather than to complete an end of unit exam.  Whilst traditional tests, quizzed and exams may be used, there are other ways a teacher can assess the progress being made by the student (i.e. using the knowledge in an appropriate context) collecting evidence of the progress over the period of the subject.


Stage 3: Plan Learning Experiences and Instruction

Here is the final stage –this is now the vehicle we as teachers need to drive to meet the identified ends (the transfer of understanding for the students).  It is here that specific tasks, activities, projects etc. can be developed to determine the level of understanding from both formal and informal assessments.


    IV.            Make a note of the headings you would use in your lesson plans. You could develop your own template and include it in your journal (not compulsory). You will need to bring your suggestions for a lesson plan to the Intensive.


I looked through the samples provided in our course material and found that Template #4 was most suitable for my use.  I am familiar with planning using matrices so this format was recognisable and for me easier to follow than others.

I would include the following headings:

LESSON IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION Quick reference guide for identifying and sorting lesson plan
Name;  Topic;  Lesson No;  Subject;  School;  Duration;  Date;  Year level; 
Learning Purpose/Rationale: Motivation for the lesson and why we’re doing it
AusVELS or VCE focus Matching with curriculum standards and codes
Learning outcomes: Related back to the expected outcomes from the relevant curriculum area
Assessment: How assessment is going to made
Procedure Identify how the session is to be run and what activities the teacher provides and what activities the students will be undertaking/completing.
·         Timing;

·         Teacher activities; (including the Initial engagement into the session, the procedural steps for the lesson to flow, and conclusion)

·         Learner Activities

Teacher’s resources: Notes as to the planned resources
Catering for inclusion: Any special requirements
Students’ resources: Note of any special student resource requirements
Extension activities:   For early finishers/ further understanding
Learning space set-up: Usually as per classroom but may be altered for discussion etc.
Self-evaluation: including: Reflection on the lesson and how it can be improved.
·         What did students learn/achieve through this lesson?

·         What evidence is there that learning occurred and did it match your learning outcomes?

·         How could it have been improved?

·         How has the assessment informed your teaching (e.g. pace, direction) in this lesson and future lessons?)

Mentor’s comments:   Tips and critique from teaching mentor
ACTION: Identify any urgent action outcomes to be addressed.



      V.             Will these types of lessons have a place in your teaching practice? Explain your response.

·        Blended learning

Technology is exciting for most school-aged students, the ‘digital-natives’ who have grown up with ICT at their fingertips.  By using this to improve the learning experience, I see value in being able to present ideas and concepts for students to research themselves and solve problems.

Blended learning takes the emphasis off the teacher as a lecturer and can spend that time instead of lecturing, on working more closely with the individual needs of the student.  This includes the learning styles and the range of method used to delivery subject content.

·        Flipped classroom

One definition of the ‘Flipped Classroom’ is completing the homework in class whilst doing the introductory learning beforehand (i.e. by watching a video or pre-reading)  (Bergmann, J., Sams, Aaron, & Ebsco, 2012).  I like the concept as the interest has already been initiated outside the classroom and (usually) in a comfortable environment (such as the family home).  I liken it to the enthusiasm and the depth of recall of a class discussing the previous night’s TV show compared to the enthusiasm to discuss homework.   The TED Talk given by Salman Khan (2011) outlines his philosophy for creating the Khan Academy and his conviction that it actually increases social interaction within the classroom.  I like the idea as it generates a way of thinking where the information is available for students to access at any time (before, during and after in some cases) online to allow each student to learn at their own pace but to also be ready when the class begins.

·       Collaborative learning

It is rare and unusual for adults to solve problems with work etc. on their own.  Humans are social beings so Collaborative learning is a valuable tool.  The opportunity for students to share their knowledge, understanding and values with other members of the group is an important way for students to not only gain understanding of the topic but to build the inter-personal social life-skills so important in our society.



Jones, Karrie A., Jones, Jennifer, & Vermette, Paul J. (2011). Six common lesson planning pitfalls–recommendations for novice educators.(Report).Education, 131(4), 845.
Khan, S. (2011): Let’s use video to reinvent education [Video file] Retrieved from:

Module 2 Curriculum

        I.            What are the three most outstanding things you have learnt from your exploration of the Australian Curriculum?


National focus – there has been state parochialism in the defence of many areas under state government control and this includes state education systems.  By introducing a nationwide approach, this allows for the best practices to be adopted by states and incorporated toward the goal of a world-standard curriculum.  The national approach assists in the transferability of students from state-to-state with the advent of a more readily transportable population.

Fits in with community purpose in that it’s not simply for the subject’s sake – one of the overall principles is to not only create an education system to reinforce the importance of single subjects but the importance for the future of Australia students “become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.” (ACARA, 2012.1)

Development of levels (e.g. years) increasing the breadth of understanding – the suitability of the content for each year level is important, meeting both the student’s needs and developing their knowledge and understanding as they progress.  The inter-relation of the ‘General Capabilities’ that run through all subject areas is important in a more in-depth understanding and doesn’t pigeon-hole skills and knowledge from one area (i.e. only developing numeracy skills during maths classes, ICT during computer classes etc.)

      II.            Make note of some of the information available in your subject area on the the ACARA website.


Civics and Citizenship is designed for students to become aware of what it means to be a citizen in contemporary Australia.  It looks at the functions of our political and justice systems comparing our history and other models with the current structures.

Interestingly, it includes focus on nurturing the students’ rights and responsibilities under the Australian democratic, equity and judicial systems.  That is to say that it’s not only about learning what Civics & Citizenship means but promotes a subscription to these values.  The intended outcome from completing this subject is to provide the Australian community active and informed citizens.

Reading through the Draft Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship Consultation Report (ACARA, 2013) where stakeholders provided feedback on the proposed curriculum, there was general consensus and agreement with the majority of the draft curriculum components (Overall agreement based on survey results).


    III.            What are some of the considerations you need to keep in mind when designing lessons for students in Years 9 – 10? You should comment on general capabilities, cross-curriculum priorities and diversity of learners. You might like to add a glossary for any terminology you are not familiar with.


Years 9 and 10 are classified as the ‘Pathways Stage’ – this is where students are planning their senior and post-secondary study areas in contract with the Foundation stage (Years F–2) and Breadth stage (Years 3–8).

Therefore, in Civics and Citizenship, year 10 Students build on their existing knowledge and can make informed decisions and choices, analyse systems and factors (such as cultural diversity) affecting their own rights and responsibilities but those of Australia in a wider context.  The incorporation of differing perspectives and including ambiguities in the subject material for the young adults of year 10 to develop their own attitudes and ideas for the subject.


    IV.            Make a note, with short explanatory notes, in your learning journal about the types of information that are available to guide you in your teaching.
Not all curriculum areas are structured in exactly the same way, but you should include rationale, aims, structure, concepts, scope and sequence. Include any other information you think is important.


Civics and Citizenship

The Rationale

The reason for ‘Civics and Citizenship’ is to introduce the Australian systems of political and legal systems with increased breadth and understanding for students as they progress through their secondary school education.  The idea of Civics and Citizenship is to build knowledge and understanding within students so as adults, they can make informed decisions and participate within our community and its systems.  Understanding what and how the systems work enable students to value and contribute to their and our contemporary society.

The Aims

The aims of Civics and Citizenshipis to understand, appreciate and operate within the values, principles, institutions and practices of Australian democratic government functionality and the roles the various groups and bodies play within that.  It aims to acknowledge the historic pathways which have brought about the current structures of government and legal systems to help understand their role within that.

The Structure

The structure of Civics and Citizenship is about initially providing an strand of knowledge and understanding (what it is, how it works) and one of inquiry and skills (why does it do that, how can I be a participant).  By understanding the content of Civics and Citizenship, students are then able to make informed decisions, collaborate, discuss, give their views on selected topics, use problem-solving techniques, planning for action etc. as an Australian citizen.



      V.            (Study Design and Resources link)  Make a note, with short explanatory notes, in your learning journal about the types of information that are available to guide you in your teaching.


From the VCAA website:

Civics and Citizenship: Curriculum-specific advice

Introducing the curriculum

Gives a summary of the content of the curriculum and provides a link to a PowerPoint presentation further outlining the aims, structure and key messages of the subject

Curriculum planning

Provides information as to how to incorporate Civics and Citizenship into a school’s curriculum planning and has links to the VCAA Curriculum Planning Resource – a complete guide as to how to incorporate the four layers of school, curriculum area, year level and unit/lessons.

This page also provides template for curriculum mapping.

Assessment and reporting

This information hasn’t yet been published but the website indicates that both Progression Point Samples, and Student Work Examples will be posted some time in 2016 (currently these are available for other subject areas).

External resources

There are links in this section to government and non-government organisations relevant to Civics and Citizenship such as the Australian Electoral Commission which itself has many education resources aimed at school students.

Frequently asked questions

The FAQ section responds to relevant concerns to the curriculum with the incorporation of Civics and Citizenship into the school’s current and planned curriculum



Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, (2012.1) The Shape of the Australian Curriculum Version 3; Retrieved from:
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, (2012.2) The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship Retrieved from:
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, (2013) Draft Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship Consultation Report Retrieved from:
Hawker Brownlow Education (2013) “What is Understanding by Design? Author Jay McTighe explains.” [Video file]. Retrieved from:
Howard, K. (2014)  “Understanding by Design” [Video file]. Retrieved from:
Science Curriculum (2015) Retrieved from:
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority  HOME > Civics and Citizenship: Curriculum-specific advice  Retrieved from:
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (2014) Retrieved from:
Wiggins, G., McTighe, Jay, Association for Supervision Curriculum Development, & Ebook Library. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed., Gale Reference). Alexandria: ASCD.

Module 1 Later years students

I.            What do you think are the most definitive characteristics of later year’s students? Identify these in five words (or less). Then add one sentence to describe each characteristic.


Adulthood – there is an increased exposure through peers, media to more ‘adult’ activity both legal and illegal.

Inexperience – limited understanding of the effects of their actions and decisions on other people

Independence – creating their own style and personality

Career – developing a strategy to follow a career path such as subject selection

Responsibility – planning and committing to study and managing extra-curricular activities such as work, sport, groups etc.


      II.            What implication/s will this have on your teaching of later years students?


I enjoyed observing the views of the experienced teachers – some with years, others with decades of experience in teaching later years students.

In common with each of the stories was a positive attitude toward the cohort with an understanding and appreciation the students were taking, not only in their academic but in their personal physiological and emotional development to adulthood – albeit at times wobbly.

Supporting these ‘new adults’ to optimise the best outcomes from their later years formal education has an impact on the teacher’s love for their career – and that the satisfaction of working with such a group.

The understanding that whilst there are signs of emotional and physical maturity, there was mention that the later years students in some ways were ‘still just kids’ especially when faced with heightened anxieties associated with VCE and not necessarily having the skills and maturity to deal appropriately with the emotional demands of VCE.

Another general theme to come out of the videos was the general ‘acknowledgement’ of the presenters in how there was ‘stages’ of development as opposed to a ‘learning curve’ with some being as explicit as the changes occurring over the transition from year 10 to year 11 and again into year 12.  Whether this development happens in such stages or gradual growth is an interesting observation – is it only when the presenters have stepped back and reviewed (i.e. over the summer break) is growth and development noticed?  I’d suggest this is a general observation with the age cohort based on the variable rates of maturation of physical, emotional, academic and social aspects of each student.

The final main point from these videos was to provide enough support by providing a structure within which students can work but also to further challenge and expand their understanding with flexibility.


    III.            What are two things you can do in your teaching to actively encourage lifelong learning?


Teach for understanding beyond the exam requirements.  Ignite the idea that the learning process is not about ‘what’ but the how and why we learn and build a relevance into their lives.  Create an attitude towards learning to challenge their values, knowledge and attitudes.  These ‘metacognitive skills’ are important life skills for future aspects of their lives –whether it be helping to decide which career path interests them through to making plans and decisions for a holiday.  Being confident in approaching new or uncommon issues allows students (and therefore the adults of tomorrow) to develop methods to deal with and develop a plan and solution.

Students ‘apply knowledge’ through problem-solving – don’t give away the answer too quickly, allow the students to come up with solutions.  Planting the seed in students to explore and find out for themselves – to be inquisitive and ask not only the ‘how’ and ‘why’ but ‘is there more to it?’  Students will benefit from developing the learning tools outside the subject traditions but applicable across many aspects of their lives – time management, problem solving, reflection, collaboration, communication skills to develop techniques for creating a response, rather than simply one answer to one question.


    IV.            As you read, note down ideas that you may be able to incorporate into your teaching of later years students.


The goal is to keep all students engaged and participating because only the person who thinks, learns. – Wills, p56

The above statement has rung true for me more than many others.  Most teachers, students and education stakeholders (i.e. parents, community etc.) would have a similar understanding of the importance of having students engaged and participating as it is key to the learning.  Those without a great formal education experience could agree that they did not like school and they were bored – however with their work and/or pastimes, have found that they have learned because they were engaged and participated making them think.

I found it fascinating reading about the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mechanism we humans share with other animals affects us as students in the classroom.  (Willis, p50)  It makes sense that our brains are subconsciously ‘protecting’ students during times of stress or fear – fear of being embarrassed when delivering a speech to class or stressing about under-performing in and up-coming test.   To overcome this, Willis suggests ways to alleviate the stresses and anxieties within the classroom, challenging some of the traditional methods of ‘chalk and talk’ to create a more welcoming and less confronting environment.

I particularly enjoyed the concept of adding novelty to the classroom – something that I have previously done even with adult learners to, with regard to the quote at the top, keep them participating and engaged.  I use colours, diagrams, daggy drawings and cartoons to help with the enjoyment of my students and boost their dopamine levels in line with Willis suggestions.



Bryce, J. & Withers, G. (2003) ‘Engaging secondary school students in lifelong learning’ Retrieved from:
KidsGrowth, (2004) ‘Stages of Adolescent Development’ Retrieved from:
Sousa, D. (2010). Mind, Brain, & Education: Neuroscience Implications for the Classroom (Leading Edge). Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.
Willis, J The Current Impact of Neuroscience on Teaching and Learning In Sousa, D. (2010). Mind, Brain, and Education Neuroscience Implications for the Classroom (Leading Edge). Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.