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Unit of Work: Under the Big Top!

Introduction
In Under the Big Top, students will engage in a variety of creative activities to extend their
knowledge of the circus. They will work as individuals and collaboratively. Students will have
the opportunity to research their area of interest, design unique costumes and work
towards creating a fictional recount.

Our class
The class consists of 24 children (13 girls and 11 boys) grade 3/4 students from a low socio-
economic background. There are five students with special needs: three students who have
English as a second language and two students with behaviour learning difficulties.

The students are generally well mannered, co-operative and enjoy working together in
groups as they are hands on and visual learners, who like animals and sport. Students have
short attention spans and like to be engaged through creative activities and learning
experiences.
The unit of work Under the Big Top is based on the circus. Children have some prior
knowledge on this topic as a Circus School recently visited.

Suggested Duration: Four 50 minute periods.

Assessment
This unit provides opportunities for students to demonstrate achievement of elements of
level 3 standards in the domains the arts, English, thinking processes. Students are assessed
on their ability to:
Use a range of technology to conduct research.
Generate own questions to inquire.
Demonstrate a range of design skills, techniques and processes
Correctly structure a fictional recount
Provide and respond to feedback
Complete tasks in a short timeframe
Victorian Essential Learning Standards
Under the Big Top, provide opportunities to assess students against elements of Level 3
standards as detailed below:
Strand Domain Dimension Element
Discipline-based
learning
The Arts Creating and
making
create and present works that
communicate ideas

use a range of skills, techniques, and
processesmaterials, equipment and
technology

refine work in response to feedback
and self evaluation.
English Writing Write texts containing logically ordered
paragraphs,include ideas and
information about familiar topics.

...order information and sequence
events

...combine verbal and visual elements
in the text they produce.

...meet the needs of audiences...
Interdisciplinary
Learning
Thinking
Processes
Reasoning,
processing and
inquiry
...collect information from a range of
sources to answer their own and others
questions.

...apply thinking strategies to organise
information and concepts...

Teaching Learning and Assessment Activities
The unit focuses on furthering childrens knowledge of the circus.
The required prior learning is:
children will have attended a circus school incursion.
awareness of the difference between fiction and non-fiction sources
awareness of authorship of information sources; for example, who wrote the
information and what is their background

Activity 1: Research poster (Lessons 1 and 2)
Reasoning inquiry
Writing
Creating and making
In this activity children will be working cooperatively in groups of two to four students
according to their own interests. Students will use a variety of reliable sources to find
information to answer their own and others questions. The poster they will create will
incorporate appropriate text and visual elements and be presented in a logical and
engaging format.
Activities Supporting the Activities Assessment
Students brainstorm with
teacher their prior knowledge
of the circus.


The students will work in
groups to research a topic of
their interest around the
circus.Groups will be required
to come up with 5 questions
that they need to answer by
researching books, internet,
Use an interactive
whiteboard to create a
mindmap of childrens
brainstorming.


Children can have
opportunity to choose the
topic they want to
research, however the
teacher can coordinate
the groups to make sure
Assessment as Learning:
Talk with groups about the
challenging nature of their
chosen questions, and see if
they have chosen questions
they don't know the answer
to. Talk to students about
their choices of research
resources and why they have
chosen them, this can help
assess whether numerous
resources have been used.
newspaper article etc.
Students can fill out a
worksheet that shows their
questions and research.






Students will then create and
interesting and engaging
poster that represents their
acquired knowledge around
their specific chosen topic.
there a 2-4 children in
each group.
A worksheet can be used,
which the teacher will
model how to fill out, can
help them logically order
the information they have
researched.
Teacher may also need to
model how to research
books/ internet.


The teacher will provide
colourful paper and
encourage the children to
make the poster
engaging/ informative as
well as logically ordered.
Posters are then to be
displayed around
the classroom.

Advised to mention that
children will not be
assessed on their spelling
and grammar, but on
their ability to think,
inquire, find relevant
answers and set out
information logically.
Ask students how they will set
out their poster, and why they
will set it out that way.

Assessment of learning:
The worksheet can be used to
assess whether research has
answered their own and
others questions. This can also
be used to see whether they
understand how to organise
information.
Posters can be used to assess
whether thinking strategies
have been used to present
information in a way that
makes sense.
Activity 2: Creating a circus costume (Lesson 3)
Creating and making
Reasoning
In this activity students will work individually using a range of equipment, technologies and
materials. Students will work on their design skills as they draw on prior knowledge to help
them design for their specific purpose and audience. Students will develop their evaluation
skills as they will be required refine their work at various stages of the design process as
they provide reason for there thinking.
Activities Supporting the Activities Assessment
Students create a circus
costume for a 2D cardboard
model of a circus member of
their choice.

They will rely on their prior
knowledge and the information
they have gathered from their
research posters to help them
make a suitable costume that is
appropriate for their circus
member.

Students will have access to a
wide range of materials, fabrics
and embellishments which
they can use to make their
costume. They will also use
various design techniques and
process to construct their
costumes.
Provide students with a range of
materials, fabrics and
embellishments that they can
use to create their costumes.
Some of these may include:
tulle
velvet
satin
sequins
feathers
pom poms

Ensure that students use a
number of design processes as
they construct their
costume. Support them if they
need assistance with assembling
/ glueing their costumes to their
2D model.
Assessment of
learning:
Teacher examines the
completed costumes to
ensure that a variety of
skills and materials
have been used.

Assessment as
learning:
Students are required
to self-assess their
costumes and the
processes they have
used. They are then
expected to use this
self-assessment to
refine their work.

Activity 3: Day in the life of (Lesson 4)
Writing
This activity requires students to draw on prior knowledge to create a recount. Students will
be required to write in a logical and sensible manner which used correct sequencing of
events. Students will develop their ability to include relevant information to create an
engaging piece of writing that appeals to their chosen audience.
Activities Supporting the Activities Assessment
Students will revisit what they
have learnt and the activities
they have done in previous
classes
Students write a recount about
the day in a life of a circus
member in their writing books

They will use the information
that was assembled from their
research on the internet and in
books that was developed for
their research poster, their
work with the costume designs
and their prior knowledge in
recounting stories to write their
Day in the life of

The teacher will use the
interactive white board to write
up what the students remember
about previous lessons

The teacher will write a small
recount of their own not using
any circus members the
students have already used to
give them some assistance

Students will be provided with
their posters and their costumes
to help them visualise what they
circus member they are writing
about

They will use their own writing
books to complete this activity
in

Assessment as learning
The teacher will make
sure that the students
are writing in a logical
and sensible manner
whilst instructing them
to go back over and
correct their work
themselves

Assessment of learning
The teacher will collect
the work and go over it
to assess the work
based on sequencing of
events

Assessment
The Victorian Essential Learning Standards support a combination of assessment practices:
Assessment of learning (summative)
Assessment for learning (formative)
Assessment as learning (formative).

Assessment guide
When assessing student achievement, assessment criteria can be developed from relevant
standards and associated tasks or activities. The table below shows the assessment criteria
related to the assessment task/s and relevant standards and the expected evidence to be
used as the basis for assessment.
The table can also be used to assist teachers to make judgments about whether students
are working at the standard (achieved the standard), progressing towards the standard
(have not met expectations of the standard) or progressing beyond the standard (have
exceeded expectations of the standard) for specific assessment criteria. It is provided as a
guide only and may be adapted or modified to suit particular classrooms and/or students
reporting.


Assessment tasks: Under the Big Top

Evidence Elements of
standards
Assessment
criteria
Progressing
towards the
standards
At the
standard
Progressing
beyond the
standard
The Arts - Creating and making
Activity 2 create and
present works
that
communicate
ideas
Ability to
create suitable
costume.
awareness,
based on
investigation
of other
works, of
planning for
arts works
that is
informed by
an
planning,
informed by
feedback, of
ways to
present arts
how effects
can be
created when
selected arts
elements,
principles
and/or
conventions
are used and
combined
understandin
g of ways
other artists
have used
and
combined
selected arts
elements,
principles
and/or
conventions
to achieve
specific
effects
works so that
meaning and
intentions
are
effectively
communicate
d
use a range
of skills,
techniques,
and
processesma
terials,
equipment
and
technology
Ability to use
multiple
design skills,
techniques,
materials,
equipment
and
technology.
experimentat
ion with
different
combinations
of media,
materials,
equipment
and/or
technologies
to create arts
works that
suit a chosen
purpose
use of skills
and
techniques to
effectively
apply
selected
media,
materials,
equipment
and/or
technologies
use of
visual arts
skills or
techniques
observed in
other
peoples arts
works to
communicate
their own
experiences
and feelings

English Writing
Activity 3 Write texts
containing
logically
ordered
paragraphs,
include ideas
and
information
about familiar
topicsorder
information
and sequence
eventscombi
ne verbal and
visual
elements in
the text they
produce
meet the
needs of
audiences.
Ability to
logically order
paragraphs,
use of familiar
topics and
sequence
events
correctly

composition
of short,
sequenced
imaginative
text in print
form

related ideas,
linked in
sequence, to
convey
meaning to
known
audiences

composition
of short text
of more than
one
paragraph to
describe
experiences

appropriate
ordering of
events and
ideas in print
text
composition
of texts for
different
purposes; for
example, to
narrate,
inform,
describe or
explain
composition
of texts of
three or four
logically
ordered
paragraphs

Thinking Processes Reasoning, processing and inquiry
Activities
1 and 2
refine work in
response to
feedback and
self evaluation.

Collect
information
from a range
of sources to
answer their
own and
others
questions.
Ability to use
various
sources to
collect
relevant
information.
collection of
information
to answer
their
teachers
questions
consideratio
n about
where to
begin to
collect
information
to answer
their own
questions
with teacher
guidance,
collection of
information
from a range
of sources to
answer their
own and
others
questions
Activity 1 apply
thinking
strategies to
organise
information
and concepts.
Ability to
logically
organise
information.
use of
simple
thinking
strategies,
as modelled
by the
teacher, to
sort
information
use of
simple
thinking
strategies
for
organising
information
and
concepts;
for example,
using a
simple
concept map
identificatio
n of the
steps
involved in
solving a
problem