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Ministry of Education.

Family Treasures

This teaching and learning sequence could be used in conjunction with the DVD ‘Making Language and Learning Work 3’. Available from Down the Back of the Chair – Item number 113358

Learning Outcomes | Teaching and Learning | Assessment and Evaluation | Printing Version

Writer: Kristy Jones
Year level: Years 5-6
Duration 7 learning tasks over 3 - 5 weeks
Who are my students?


We are a large multicultural school and in my class of 30 alone I have 10 different cultural groups represented and 10 children who speak a language other than English at home. Another 3 students mainly speak English at home, but have bilingual grandparents or relatives around them. This class consists of many multi-cultural backgrounds including Chinese, Korean, Indian, Iranian, Ukrainian and more.

When considering the oral language matrix from the English Language Learning Progressions, I established that I had 4 students working at Foundation Stage, a large group of students at Stage 1 and some students at Stage 2.

This sequence of lessons enables teachers to draw on knowledge and expertise of all students and their families. For English language learners it is valuable to remember the principles of effective teaching. These are:

  1. Know the learner
  2. Begin with context embedded tasks which make the abstract concrete
  3. Provide multiple opportunities for authentic language use with a focus on learners using academic language
  4. Ensure a balance between receptive and productive language
  5. Help students achieve the same explicit learning outcomes using differentiated levels of support
  6. Identify the learning outcomes including the language demands of the topic
  7. Include opportunities for monitoring and self-evaluation
What do they already know?



    At the start of the year the students are learning about their family history using the ‘Here’s My History’ Social Science exemplar.

    The students research the origins of their name, asking their families for information about why they were given their name. They also find out information about the history of their family name. Their names are published and displayed on the classroom wall.

    The students ask questions at home and research information about their family’s treasure.

    They also research their genealogy and present this information to each other. The students also learn about autobiographies and write their own from a teacher model.

    This teaching and learning sequence is ideal for the start of the year when the students are still learning about ‘who we are’ and ‘where we come from’. There’s a need to share cultural backgrounds and links within the class to enhance mutual understanding between class members.


    Learners understand that learning a bit more about the people, places, cultures and histories of their own families and that of the families we have in our school, leads to people having richly enhanced friendships.


    The learners know how to work together in pairs and small groups, and that there are roles within co-operative learning groups and what these roles are.

Learning Outcomes

(What do my students need to learn?)

Learning area(s) Social Science, English and Literacy

Social Science Big Idea

(this is the enduring understanding children will learn by the end of the unit)

We are learning to share our cultural practices so we have understanding of differences between me and others, which leads to empathy and tolerance of all people in our world.

Social Science

Overview of Big Idea

Students learn about society and communities and how they function. They also learn about the diverse cultures and identities of people within those communities and about the effects of these on the participation of groups and individuals.
Process – Social Inquiry Through the process of Social Inquiry students ask questions and examine the background to important societal ideas, explore and analyse values relating to these ideas in order to understand issues and ways that people (themselves and others) make decisions and participate in social action.
Process Skills focus Ask questions/ explore and analyse people’s values and perspectives/reflect on and evaluate the understandings that have developed
Curriculum achievement objectives for:
  • Social Science

Level 2

  • understand how cultural practices reflect and express people’s customs, traditions, and values

Level 3

  • understand how cultural practices vary but reflect similar purposes
  • understand how people remember and record the past in different ways
  • English

Speaking Writing Presenting Productive

Level 2

  • select, forms and express ideas on a range of topics
  • use language features appropriately, showing some understanding of their effects

Level 3

  •  select, forms and communicate ideas on a range of topics
  •  use language features appropriately, showing a developing understanding of their effects

Listening Reading Viewing Receptive

Level 2

  • show some understanding of ideas within, across and beyond texts
  • show some understanding of how language features are used for effect within and across texts

Level 3

  •  show a developing understanding of ideas within, across and beyond texts
  • show a developing understanding of how language features are used for effect within and across texts
  • Overall language and literacy learning outcomes

We are learning to…

  • ask questions to elicit information
  • write a definition
  • write a summary
  • write a description
  • find main ideas in a text
  • share our ideas and thinking with others
  • use complete sentences
  • use a range of topic specific vocabulary

Topic specific vocabulary:

  • family / whanau
  • history / heritage
  • ancestors / genealogy / generation
  • a treasure / taonga / heirloom / keepsake
  • to treasure
  • valuable / special / important

Language features:

  • pronouns
  • adjectives
  • specific nouns
  • conjunctions of reason
  • paragraphs

Note: Ask children to source the key vocabulary in their home languages.

Teaching and Learning

 (What do I need to know and do to meet the range of identified learning needs of my students?)

1-2 related professional readings or relevant research

On meeting the range of identified learning needs of my students:

When directing the learning towards English language learners the whole group benefits – so it’s ‘win:win’ for all students. The teaching tools in this unit benefit students who are foundation level English learners through to fluent speakers/readers of English.

For Literacy learning support and assessment:

Multicultural Education:

Students benefit from the different cultural backgrounds present and being shared, as well as sharing their own background knowledge. See ‘ Our Cultural Village’ on TKI.

For more on multiculturalism in the classroom:

A Synthesis of Scholarship in Multicultural Education

Teaching about ‘empathy’ and ‘cultural diversity & inclusion’ also supports the Big Idea. See:

  • NZCD the Principles e.g. cultural diversity & inclusion p 9
  • NZCD the Values e.g. diversity and empathy p 10
  • NZCD Effective Pedagogy p 34
  • Empathy (PDF)

Social Science exemplars:

Learning task 1
Learning task 2
Learning task 3
Learning task 4
Learning task 5
Learning task 6
Learning task 7

Assessment and Evaluation

 (What is the impact of my teaching and learning?)

  • assessment task(s), including
  • Provision for identifying next learning steps for students who need:
    • further teaching and learning opportunities
    • increased challenge

Assessment is ongoing and the potential for assessment is embedded in each of the tasks.

There are multiple opportunities for new knowledge and reinforcement of conceptual understandings to be shared across the class based on students’ experiences.

An expectation is that students can use topic specific vocabulary in the correct context by explaining their ideas and understandings in oral and written form.

Opportunities for assessment include:

  • Oral language during the 3 – 2 – 1 task (range of vocabulary and complexity of sentences used)
  • Participation in the jigsaw
  • Depth of students’ understandings of how cultural practices vary through the Before, During, After activity

Writing : self/peer/teacher reflection about quality of treasure descriptions

  • e-asTTle writing indicators for a description Resource 5 – Describe
  • http://e-asttle.tki.org.nz/resources/Teacher-resources
  • For each writing purpose, the writing indicators comprise:
    • progress indicators developed to help teachers understand and evaluate their students’ progress and achievement in writing (scoring rubric)
    • annotated examples
    • a selected glossary of terms

Identifying next learning steps:

 Teachers adapt and modify content based on key questions from the Teaching as Inquiry Model.

  • Tools or ideas which, for example, might be used to:
    • evaluate progress of the class and groups within it toward the identified outcomes
    • evaluate student engagement
    • changes to the sequence

Oral Peer and Self Assessment opportunities in relation to the Learning Intentions and learning tasks eg:

  • 1 – 2 – 3 question task
  • thumbs up / sideways / down

Students’ ability to use topic specific vocabulary when sharing ideas with others in the class

Integrated topic links:

  • What is a Mihimihi? (To be presented in their first language as well as English and Te Reo)
  • What is a Family Tree? (Statistics: Tree Diagram)
  • What is an Autobiography? (Writing a personal recount of their family history findings)  
  • Serial Story: Read from the “My Story” series. See a list of books in this series through the following link:
  • Who / what are our National Treasures?

MOE teacher resources

  • Ministry of Education (2007). The New Zealand Curriculum Social Science Learning Area. Wellington: Learning Media.
  • Ministry of Education (2010). The Literacy Learning Progressions. Wellington: Learning Media.
  • Ministry of Education (2008). The English Language Learning Progressions. Wellington: Learning Media
  • Ministry of Education (2009). Learning Through Talk Oral Language in Years 4 to 8. Wellington: Learning Media.
  • Ministry of Education (2009). Making Language and Learning Work 3, Integrating Language and Learning in Years 5-8 (DVD). Wellington: Learning Media
  • Ministry of Education (2007). Family Treasures in School Journal, Part 1, Number 3. Wellington: Learning Media.

Printing this unit:

If you are not able to access the zipped files, please download the following individual files.

Published on: 09 Jan 2018