We aim to have the core knowledge outlined in meticulous detail.
After the 'Hook', a congruent, structured set of thematic lessons will be developed to build children’s schema of knowledge. This should allow students to form a coherent understanding of a theme e.g. ‘The Victorians’, rather than pockets of information on the topic remaining isolated, helping them to commit knowledge to memory: it will help to ensure children not only have the trees, but a view of the forest (Willingham, 2017).
Retrieval Practice will be cumulative and daily (for core subjects) and weekly (for foundation subjects). Knowledge retention will be checked every half term via ‘Sticky Quizzes’.
Clear and sequential skills progression map has been written from EYFS – Year 6 so that skills are being embedded and enhanced throughout the key stages.
The skills that the children will acquire will be contextualised within a theme whilst still maintaining the integrity of the subject itself.
It will ensure children’s knowledge and skills are deepened as they are drawn upon throughout the theme to apply in a variety of contexts as thinking about meaning helps memory– we are planning for connected and relational learning between concepts (Hyde and Jenkins, 1969) within a theme.
Building a knowledge-rich curriculum whilst developing children’s core skills means that teachers must also plan for what skills are to be taught and developed within the theme. This will be done in our year group’s ‘Learning Map’.
For our students, we will build on existing knowledge gradually and incrementally, and help forge and consolidate connections as they are applying both knowledge acquired and skills developed; the more connections we have, the more comprehensive and refined our understanding becomes, and the easier is it to access in the future (Mccrea, 2018).
Rich, memorable learning experiences are an important aspect of our curriculum to enable all children to not only enjoy their learning, but to develop a clear context for learning. They also contribute to making learning irresistible by hooking and engaging the pupils. However, it is our intention that these memories will serve as ‘cues’ to trigger learning locked in their long term memory; knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience. Teachers carefully plan these experiences into their sequences and subject leaders plan whole school opportunities to ignite passion for their subjects.
Without experiences, children are also unable to comprehend fully and they serve as a vital part of our vocabulary teaching. We appreciate the value of experience and understand how a strategic, rich and varied diet can contribute to success, without detracting from the knowledge.
Vocabulary is the secret power to success.
All of our teachers will outline the key vocabulary for the units they are teaching during the planning phase since every subject has its own ‘language’, and this ‘code needs to be communicated to our novice students if they are going to flourish academically’ (Quigley: 2018).
‘The ways of words, of knowing and loving words, is a way to the essence of things and to the essence of knowledge’ (John Donne).
We aim to develop word consciousness in every child and in our classrooms, fostering a curiosity and interest in words that sparks deep, rich learning. We do this by digging down to the etymology of this key vocabulary—ensuring that children know where the word comes from so that they are equipped with the knowledge to make future connections. We cannot ignore that ‘90% of the vocabulary of academic texts in school has Latin and Greek origins’ (Quigley: 2018) .
By explicitly teaching 300-400 words a year, we can foster an annual growth of around 3000-4000 words (Quigley: 2018).
‘Education is the process of preparing us for the big world, and the big world has big words. The more big words I know, the better I will survive in it.’ (Crystal: 2007)
In light of the studies identified in Bringing words to life (Beck et al: 2002), we endeavor to plan our explicit vocabulary instruction following a three-tiered hierarchy for words. Tier 1 being basic words of everyday talk, tier 2 being the valuable words across the curriculum yet are not typical of everyday talk, and tier 3 being subject-specific words. We appreciate that tier 2 words are the key to ‘cracking the academic code’, and we must ensure that our instruction pays attention to the ‘word depth’ that it deserves.
Our working walls will display our explicit vocabulary foci for the week, in addition to knowledge organisers.
The connections within a curriculum commonly show themselves in the vocabulary used to describe new concepts through metaphors and comparisons. For students to acquire the vocabulary that underpins all learning, they must experience it in a variety of contexts. Using Coxhead’s Academic Word List[i] and a list of the 2000 most commonly used words in the English language[ii], we have made a list of around 500 ‘tier two’ vocabulary that are likely to inform the connections between various aspects of the curriculum. The words identified in red are among the 2000 most commonly used words in written English.