Literacy/numeracy | Emergent/developing understandings | Unit planning | Links
The National Standards signpost the knowledge and skills students need to fully engage with the curriculum at an appropriate level.
Teachers are supported with resources to help exemplify learning and monitor student achievement across a range of curriculum contexts.
Literacy, numeracy and key competencies
Competency in literacy and numeracy in both English-medium and Māori medium classrooms is critical to engage with increasingly complex texts and tasks.
Through being literate and numerate citizens, students are able to manage and influence the social, emotional, physical and economic contexts that shape their lives, and the lives of others.
The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies are about developing the dispositions and sense of agency that not only empower the individual but help them better understand and negotiate the perspectives and values of others, contributing towards more productive and inclusive workplaces and societies.
I like the way the NZC and the National Standards frame the key competencies. I think that placing the child as central to the concept is a critical position to take.
In literacy and numeracy contexts, the key competencies provide a framework for exploring and developing knowledge, skills and attitudes. As well as 'using language, symbols and texts', these include:
- aspects of critical literacy
- mathematical thinking
- perseverance in problem-solving
- resilience in adversity
- collaborating with others to achieve common goals.
In most contexts the key competencies will be at play. A teacher may focus on developing one or more aspects of a key competency in a teaching and learning situation that provides ideal learning opportunities.
Emergent and developing understandings – concept diagrams
- The diagrams place the eight learning areas first. This is to reinforce that there are rich opportunities for developing literacy and numeracy skills and understandings across the curriculum.
- The key competencies are placed in the centre of the diagram. They are overlapping to reinforce that they should not be seen as a discrete list and are necessarily interrelated.
- Under each competency there are important literacy and numeracy concepts that need to be developed. The language used describes learner capabilities that could apply to adults as well as children. Teachers may wish to rephrase them slightly to be accessible to the diverse students they work with.
I think these KC diagrams are really helpful for teachers. The concept diagrams support teachers to use the key competencies in their planning, teaching, learning and reflecting processes. They are clear and user friendly to help teachers gain confidence and scaffold the integration of key competencies into our literacy and numeracy programmes.
Teacher, Year 5/6
Diagram 1: Emergent understandings
Diagram 1 relates to the early school years and aligns with National Standards for year 1 (end of) to year 3.
Diagram 2: Developing understandings
Diagram 2 builds on many of these concepts and aligns with the year 4–8 National Standards.
It is important to recognise that students will be developing knowledge, skills, and attitudes at different times, and have different strengths and needs. Therefore, both diagrams may be useful for any one student group.
What a great base for teachers to use in making the KC explicit to students. The difference in wording between the junior and senior version allows teachers to see how the key competencies are exemplified in increasingly complex ways but are accessible regardless of the year level.
Unit planning using the concepts
Below are possible approaches to unit planning using the concepts.
Key competencies focus
Learning area: Science
Curriculum level: 2
There are different ways in which people understand and think about our world. Reading, writing, listening, and speaking provide opportunities to do this. Searching
for knowledge and answers to questions is important.
Using language, symbols and texts
We use texts and symbols in different ways according to our purpose and audience, for example, flowcharts, greetings, number
stories, recipes, maps, instructions, experiments.
Links to the nature of science: Communicating in science
We use explanations to explain why we think things happen.
- L2 A.O – Build their language and develop their understandings of the many ways in which the natural world can be represented.
Big science ideas
- Green plants need sun to grow.
- Science context: Growing beans under different conditions (Living World).
- Investigative question: What would happen to beans if they didn’t get any sun?
Links to Mathematics standards (after two years at school)
In contexts that require them to solve problems or
model situations, students will be able to:
- compare the lengths, areas, volumes or capacities, and the weights of objects and the duration of events, using self chosen units of measurement.
Measurement and statistics tasks
- Measure and graph bean plants growing under different conditions (sun/shade/dark).
- Compare graphs and infer from the trends whether beans grow better in sun or no sun.
Links to Writing standards (after two years at school)
Students understand the purpose [of an explanation] and will write using a process, drawing on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will help them achieve their purpose, including information and/or
ideas that relate to a curriculum topic, supported by some (mostly relevant) detail.
Write an explanation of why green plants need
sun to grow.
Compare and evaluate the graphs and written explanations – What is the purpose of each and
what does each tell us/not tell us?
Key competencies focus
Learning areas: Social studies/Arts
Curriculum level: 3
Creative thinking is about challenging and
redefining ‘conventional’ thought and expression of ideas and concepts. We demonstrate this by playing and experimenting with original texts and symbols through metaphors and analogies, as
well as through structure, design, and approaches.
Relating to others
When we read about or interact with other
people’s ideas or experiences, they may be
different to our own. Reflecting on similarities
and differences are important routes to understanding and utilising the strengths of
others. They may be distant in time and place.
Big social studies ideas
- 'Identity and culture' (refer 'Building conceptual understandings' in the social sciences series).
- Celebrations are cultural practices that reflect peoples' customs, traditions, and values.
- Celebratory symbols represent significant aspects of culture.
- Celebrations can have similar purposes, while being expressed in a variety of ways.
A.O – Students will gain knowledge, skills and experiences to:
- understand how cultural practices vary but reflect similar purposes.
Big arts idea: Drama
To explore how understandings around cultural events and practices can be conveyed through drama and mime.
A.O – Students will:
- investigate the functions and purposes of drama in cultural and historical contexts
- present and respond to drama, identifying ways in which elements, techniques, conventions, and technologies combine to create meaning in their own and others’ work.
Links to Reading standards
The texts that students use to meet the reading demands at this level will often include:
- abstract ideas, in greater numbers than in texts at earlier levels, accompanied by concrete examples in the text that help support the students understanding
- figurative and/or ambiguous language that the context helps students to understand.
Such texts will include both fiction and non-fiction in electronic and print media.
Read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts that describe an important ceremony or celebration.
- Compare features of the texts and how the information and emotions are relayed to the reader.
- Reflect on similarities and differences between different groups researched, and consider the implications for diverse communities.
NZC - National Standards
Resources to support schools as they begin using the National Standards.
Educational leaders - National Standards: leadership links
Links to information and tools that support school leaders to lead the implementation of the NS.