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How did it happen?

Chronology of the process

Term 4 2001

A project steering committee was formed consisting of university researchers, curriculum writers, teachers and OBOS officers. Ideas for the project were generated, project schools suggested and initial planning undertaken.

Prior to the end of the year (2001), three schools were identified and a project outline and outcomes for the school and community were discussed with each principal. Agreement was confirmed and preliminary materials were developed and distributed.

Term 1 2002

The steering committee met early in the year to further refine the model for the project. One school withdrew from the project; another school was then invited to participate, but after some negotiation was unable to come on board.

A meeting with the city teachers and university mentors discussed their roles and responsibilities. A teacher mentor for Walhallow was identified, briefed by telephone and later met OBOS officers on the first visit to the school.

Once the draft syllabus was available, copies were distributed and an outline was prepared of the role and expectation of teachers and schools along with an overview of the funding for the teachers; this was in the form of teacher relief.

Initial visits of OBOS officers and mentors were made to the schools to meet teachers and community members, and to arrange for the first mentor visit.

Towards the end of Term 1 the first mentor visit provided an opportunity for all parties to clarify what was involved, begin to establish relationships between team members and start some initial planning.

Term 2 2002

The focus of Term 2 was the development of the units of work, further building of team member relationships and the exploration of strategies involved in working with the community. It was clear that the approach and involvement of the two communities would be different.

At Walhallow the elders and community members came to the school when specific activities were arranged and spoke informally about Mathematics and learning. Several also agreed to be interviewed as part of the project. The teacher mentor visits to Walhallow supported the development of a Mathematics unit that would be integrated into a unit on rainforests which was already planned.

At Crawford, the teachers and mentors were invited to attend an ASSPA meeting where they were able to talk about how they would involve community and parents in both the planning and implementation stages.

Following the ASSPA meeting the collegial discussion began with initial planning of the ideas for the units using mind maps. At Crawford, a structure which grouped students in Stage 2 for Number steered two of the teachers to focus on Measurement and Space and Geometry, while the third teacher chose to look at Number. Ideas shared at the planning meetings were further developed by the teachers and they began to involve the parents and students in expanding the ideas for the unit.

A major feature of the project was the first Sharing day. The teachers, AEAs, mentors and community members from both schools came together to share their experiences. This provided an opportunity for each participant to share their perceptions of the highs and lows of the project to date, and refocus on the primary purpose of the project.

The second mentors' visit to each school further refined the ideas for finalising the writing of the teaching units, and also focused on teaching strategies such as the use of group work and how parents could be most effectively used in the classroom.

Term 3 2002

During Term 3 the teachers trialled their unit of work. The final collection of all work samples, journals, video and photographs was undertaken with each mentor visit.

At Crawford the two mentor visits occurred earlier in the term. The in-class tutors had been arranged through the ASSPA committee and they worked with the groups that had Aboriginal students in them. These meetings provided further opportunity to refine teaching strategies and, in the case of the Number unit, make suggestions about how best to proceed with the structural issues which had arisen. It was finally decided that the unit should be taught to the home class of the teacher and not the structured Number group. The journals of the students and teachers provided an insight into how the class was progressing with the learning experiences and their reflections on their learning.

A second visit to Walhallow focused on the final implementation of the unit and a debriefing with the teacher, students and community members.

The second Sharing day brought the two groups together again as a celebration of their part in the project. Several group activities were undertaken on the day to collect data on challenges and successes, and to raise issues that needed to be addressed as the project developed. This also provided the Office of the Board of Studies with useful information that will inform the next project, which is to focus on Years 6–8 in two rural sites.

Term 4 2002

All units were completed and evaluated early in Term 4. The final collection of work samples was undertaken early in the term and the process of collating them for inclusion on this website began.

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