Their teacher, Teresa Sweetman, works with each student to help them develop an individualised learning program where together, they design a project which enables them to develop a deep understanding of the topic, the related concepts and content of a range of subject areas.
“We aim to use each of the 21 CLD dimensions of; collaboration, knowledge construction, real world problem solving, use of ICT and skilled communication. The students are in a Big Picture Education inspired class, where the goal is to be individuals in a community of learners.”
Sweetman has seen the way the students are focused and engaged by their learning.
“The excitement for learning tasks is palpable. Each student knows exactly what they need to do and have developed learning skills far beyond their expectations," she says.
One student, who has a passion for sport and fitness designed a booklet for younger students which suggests ways they can be more active.
“I expect them to record their daily physical activities. Each activity milestone is rewarded with fruit and a certificate,' she adds.
The student hopes the program will be her legacy when she leaves the district to attend college. She says this innovative program has taught her, “To be organised, to work alongside a range of people and has totally engaged me in my learning, this is my best work, ever.”
Another student is developing an app for his peers which will help them to calculate scientific equations more readily. He is passionate about programming and feels this real life application of his skills will challenge him. He says he is learning more than he expected to.
“This project took me into the world of computing and enabled me to construct knowledge and with the help of a mentor, my communication and ICT skills have really improved," he says.
A student who finds writing a particular challenge loves the idea that his project will show other students what he is capable of. He is planning a sculpture the school grounds. Made of metal, the sculpture will harness his love of design and metal fabrication.
The 16 students in this class support each other to create projects which are authentic, will benefit others and are academically rigorous.
Each student submits a proposal, outlining how the achievement standards of the Australian Curriculum are met. Families are involved in the project by offering support and expertise throughout the process and through to production.
“My son is interested in school, he knows his learning goals and is being mentored by his teacher to achieve them," one parent says.