St Christopher's - Airport West

Wurundjeri Walk by the Grade 5's

With the support and enthusiasm of our Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator, Sandy Skehan and the other Grade 5 teacher, Sarah Brown, we were able to embark on an Activity Based Inquiry that gave me, as an educator more of an insight to Ron Ritchart's 7 R's. The learning was relevant to the Indigenous community of Airport West and rich in content enabling students to make connections and develop a better understanding of the land. As we wanted to create a garden reflecting the Indigenous culture and meaning, we needed to involve members of the community and ask for their support and generosity. This resulting in us developing a working relationship with a local plumbing supplies company, PPS McCracken and the Moonee Valley Council. Action committees were also set up, such as a Landscaping Committee, The Arts Committee.

Before

After

When analysing the unit we discovered that our project based inquiry covered a number of areas associated with VELS. To record our journey, Contemporary ICT was explicitly planned. Students learnt how to download and resize images, podcast reflections of their learning journey and upload them to their Digital Portfolios.

Eg;

  • transactional writing; to companies in Airport West enlisting the assistance of people in our local community
  • developing students ability to reflect more explicitly on their learning journey
  • developing and refining ICT skills
  • introduction and use of podcasting in Garage Band
  • students being engaged as new learning experiences emerged
  • different learning needs were catered for and that all students experienced success
  • students multiple intelligences were taken into consideration eg Action Committees
  • seeing the benefits of the taking action phase of their learning, on a regular basis
  • having lots of photos taken of each stage of the project
  • enlisting in the support of our music and art teacher who developed their program incorporating indigenous culture
  • creating a special song and producing a CD about the garden using indigenous music
  • involving the whole school community to be a part of our taking action
  • our opening ceremony as distinguished guests were invited and attended
  • Wurrundjeri Walk was officially blessed by an elder of the Wurrundjeri tribe
  • having the garden opened by the director of Catholic Education, Mr Stephen Elder

 

One of the hardest challenges that this project presented was my ability to be flexible and seize opportunities that presented itself and to campaign for funds to enable us to take action. TIME was also a factor as we needed to prepare the fence before we could paint the indigenous images chosen by the students, prepare the ground ready for the delivery of soil and compost etc. We also needed to co-ordinate the organizations, that contributed their time and resources in order for our garden to take place.

  • students didn't receive any responses to the letters that were sent to a number of organisations, this was extremely disappointing
  • maintaining the interest of all students all of the time as certain committees were required at different stages of the project
  • recording all of the students reflection digitally
  • only devoting a number of pages for students to digitally record their learning quest which was embedded as part of their digital portfolio
  • to enable our taking action we, had to plan strategically and there were challenges we encountered

This was truly a very rewarding unit not only for the students, the staff involved in the implementation of the garden but also the wider school community.

Krystine Hocking