My third-year placement was in a Year 6 class at a mainstream school in a high socio-economic area. The most beneficial element of this practicum was my mentor teacher who wanted me to “hit the ground running”. During my first week, I was advised that I would be planning and implementing a geography unit plan (3.2). He advised that the unit plan would be an assignment to be completed over the term and needed to include cross-curriculum content including math, English, ICT and science (2.6, 3.4). The unit plan would be handed over at the end of my practicum so my mentor could continue and finish it after I had practicum had been completed.
The geography assignment was going to cover various areas of the curriculum. Following curriculum guidelines, I created a “Travel Expo” assignment that required students to choose a country within Asia and plan an exhibition table that would normally been seen at a travel expo (2.1). The travel expo would be held toward the end of term and students from other classes and parents/caregivers would be invited to attend. My unit/lesson plan was designed to assist students to achieve ultimate success. The first few lessons were setting expectations, showing examples, research tips and general investigation about their country. Moving forward, students could use a variety of methods to present their final work.
To begin the unit plan, I asked the class if they could name all the countries in Asia. Once we had completed the list, students were broken into pairs to have a quick discussion about which country they would like to investigate further. Once the students had decided which country they were going to investigate, they needed to notify me and begin.
By offering a travel expo, it allowed me to differentiate to suit the learning needs and skills of all the students in my class. Students were strategically paired up to allow new working partnerships to be created, skills sets could be combined and students who needed assistance were partnered with those who they could turn to in need.
Students were required to choose an Asian country and investigate culture and history (including food, language and indigenous history/relationships), finance, imports and exports, entertainment and tourism (2.5). Students also needed to compare the relationships and differences between Australia and their chosen country.
In order to engage my students, I put together a "Fun Facts" presentation about Asia and some of the items I would like the students to think about when putting together their presentation. This presentation gained the full attention of the class and got the students excited about what they would be doing for this assignment. One student said "This is not going to be boring at all!"
The travel expo would allow students to present their final work in a form that best suited their skills sets. Students could present verbally, through PowerPoint, create a brochure or any other form that would allow the rubric to be fulfilled (3.4, 4.1).
Lesson Plan - Lesson 2
Fun Facts Powerpoint Presentation
By starting the assignment by asking students to name all the countries, they immediately became engaged (3.5). Initially, they did not know that they were about to embark on a large group assignment, however they kept questioning why they were naming countries. This provided me with the element of surprise, kept all eyes on me and students remained engaged.
Using ICT and library resources (3.3), students began their investigation and using worksheets I had created to guide them through the process. By allowing students to choose some of the content for this assignment, the students remained fully engaged and excited about the project.
A rubric was created for the students to follow and allowed for easy assessment at the completion of the assignment (5.1). Throughout the weekly process of this unit plan, I provided regular verbal feedback to students to ensure they were on the right track (5.2). At the beginning of each lesson, I would answer any student questions, provide a suggested timeline for their work and gave ideas that they may wish to use for their end presentation. It was tough to hand this back to my mentor teacher when I left my practicum, however my unit plan was laid out in full, with simple steps for my mentor to follow. I kept in touch with my mentor and when the students were finished and ready to present, I went back to the school to view the end work.
Returning to the school and seeing the excitement on student faces as they presented their final work and showed off their travel expo displays made me proud of their work. Upon reflection, I feel I may have expected too much from the students and may have asked them to gather too much information. However, my mentor and I discussed the student’s journey through this process, and he felt that the students handled the assignment appropriately. He offered additional feedback that will assist me in creating an improved travel expo assignment in the future for my own classroom.
2.1 - Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.
2.5 - Literacy and numeracy strategies.
2.6 - Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
3.2 - Plan, structure and sequence learning programs.
3.3 - Use teaching strategies.
3.4 - Select and use resources.
3.5 - Use effective classroom communication.