The Dural Public School Opportunity Class
"Opportunity Class" placement provides intellectual stimulation and an educationally enriched environment for academically gifted and talented children in Years 5 and 6.
The program at Dural Public School has been carefully developed by dedicated teachers to provide a stimulating curriculum which emphasises academic rigour whilst nurturing the gifted child's overall social and emotional development.
It is our aim to instil in our students a love for learning:
- to make them think critically and creatively
- to make them question
- to make them get involved deeply into the subject they are studying
- to make them want to feel success
- to feel inspired
- to feel that learning is one of the greatest things in this world!
Our OC program provides a planned curriculum that matches the ability of gifted students to:
- learn at faster rates: Gifted and talented learners understand new concepts easily with fewer repetitions. This means that they will progress through the curriculum at an accelerated pace of instruction to ensure learning is continuous and that they are being stimulated.
- find, solve and act on problems more readily We focus heavily on creative thinking, divergent thinking and general knowledge as these skills are important for today's problem solvers! Tony Ryans Thinker keys, Edward De Bono's 6 Thinking Hats and Graphic organisers are incorporated into every Key learning Area. In Maths, not only are our students accelerated but they also enriched with problem solving tournaments every week. This will strengthen their problem solving strategies and laterally extends the Maths curriculum.
- manipulate abstract ideas and make connections to an advanced degree: Gifted and talented learners understand concepts, abstractions and ideas beyond what would normally be expected at their age level. Therefore our programs are concept based and include complex, abstract ideas so that interests and abilities are challenged and extended.
- Gifted and talented learners benefit when they work with gifted peers. One of the best advantages of the OC class is that the children get to work with children of similar abilities; they bounce ideas off children who are like minded and have similar interests. The discussions and debates in an OC class are amazing to listen to. The friendships formed are strong and mature. The children bond well and have a respect for each other and the other benefit is that they spend two years together, which strengths the bond.
We use a variety of teaching and learning strategies to cater for such learning styles, including:
- using pre-assessment to compact the curriculum for students who have already mastered the core: then focus on accelerated progression in all key learning areas.
- extension activities that deepen students' knowledge, understanding and skills.
- enrichment activities that broaden the curriculum to develop knowledge and skills to a greater complexity and depth.
- contract work, with students negotiating the components of the contract, these incorporate many different models including Blooms Taxonomy, The Maker Model and The Williams Model.
- open-ended questions, activities and assignments.
- hypothesis testing and problem solving.
- project based learning.
- district OC competitions: Science Fair and Pecha Kucha.
- individual research and investigation, where students learn how to develop and manage their independent learning skills.
- opportunities for peer assessment.
- using graphic organisers as an instructional tool.
- group tasks and creative thinking sessions that allow like-minded students to discuss and bounce ideas off each other. Thinking tasks include Tony Ryan's 'Thinker Keys', Edward De Bono's Six Thinking Hats and Divergent Thinking.
Programs in the Dural O.C:
Science Fair: a district OC competition that requires students to ask a scientific question and follow a scientific process for discovery.
Tournament of the Minds: is a problem solving program for teams of students. They are required to solve demanding, open-ended challenges from one of the following disciplines: Applied Technology, Language Literature, Maths Engineering and the Social Sciences. Teams are required to work together on a Long Term Challenge for six weeks, they are encouraged to explore possibilities and experiment with ideas as they endeavour to produce their best possible solution. They develop a creative and original way to communicate this solution to others, working within predefined parameters such as limited materials, complex challenge criteria and the deadline of Tournament Day.
Australasian Problem Solving Mathematical Olympiads: a very challenging mathematical problem solving competition that consists of 5 tournaments held throughout the year.
Debating: opportunities to participate in the Hill's Debating Competition and the Premier's Debating Challenge.
Premier's Challenges: as well as the Premier's debating challenge, the students will participate in the Premier's Spelling Bee and be encouraged to participate in the Premier's Reading Challenge.
Public Speaking: all OC students will write speeches for the Multicultural Perspectives Public Speaking Competition and The Hills Public Speaking Competition.
Writing Competitions: participation in the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition, Sydney Youth Writing competition, International Science Poetry Competition and numerous other Creative Writing competitions that occur throughout the year.
University of NSW competition: Spelling, English, Writing, Mathematics, Science and Computers.
Engineering Quests: provides an exciting way for students to participate in educational engineering activities involving mathematics, science and technology.
Pecha Kucha: a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each.
Web Quests: online inquiry-oriented activities that encourage: knowledge acquisition and integration, extension & refinement of knowledge and synthesis, evaluation and decision making.
School Leadership and Peer Support Program: focuses on developing communication skills, self-confidence and self-esteem. The School leadership program involves students becoming Captains, Prefects, House Captains or SRC members. The Peer Support allows all students to take a leadership role and become tutors of younger students.
Scope IT: computer coding, media and movie making.
Chess: The Senior Chess Club (years 4-6) meets on a Friday at lunchtime to enjoy friendly games and also to practice for the NSW Junior Chess League competition which runs during Term 2 and in to Term 3.
Environmental Group: this group is open to students who wish to be concerned with environmental issues. The group has taken part in a tree planting program, composting, worm farms and paper recycling. Nesting boxes have been constructed for the protection of small native birds. Students have learnt about bird watching and are monitoring birds in our playground. A vegetable garden allows the students to watch and marvel at the growth of seedlings for the use in school gardens and to be sold at the school fete. This year's Environment Group took part in several plays at assembly to highlight the importance of recycling.
Excursions and Camps.
Happy Integration of all students is our priority. During Term 1, a 5 day camp is held at Point Wolstoncroft Sport and Recreation Facility to encourage the development of friendship and to help everyone feel at home and welcome in their new school. Aquatic activities like canoeing, fishing, sailing and swimming form a major part of the Point Wolstoncroft experience. And the diversity of the magnificent environment provides ample opportunities to explore, touch, experience, and learn about the natural world.
Year 5 students also participate in a 2 day camp to Bathurst to re-live the Goldfield days.
Year 6 experience all Canberra and Thredbo has to offer, complementing the unit on 'Government and Democracy'. This is a 4 day camp that is always a highlight for the final year of Primary School.
A variety of other excursions and incursions occur throughout the 2 year OC program.
ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
Students at Dural Public School enjoy up to date technology to assist learning. The library is the ICT centre and is equipped with networked IBM computers, a data projector, scanner and an interactive whiteboard. Students have a specialist lesson in the library each week where they learn a range of ICT skills. Our collection of excellent softwares allows them to create their own websites, photo stories, PowerPoint presentations, wikis, brochures and digital stories. During lunch times children are invited to use the computers to play educational Mathematics and Literacy games. They have safe, filtered use of the Internet and email and are taught necessary research skills using the Internet. Classrooms have between 2 and 5 networked computers; there is an interactive whiteboard in every classroom, data projectors and digital cameras enabling students to use technology in all aspects of their learning. Year 6 OC have 15 laptops in the classroom to be utilised daily. The school participates in the Scope IT program in which students engage in an ICT lesson for 40mins a week with 15 Apple Macbooks. These lessons focus on coding and programming. In term 4 the lessons focus on media and movie making.
Specialist Art Teacher
Our OC students also participate in lessons with Dural Public School's Specialist Art teacher: Miss Candutti. They get the opportunity to be creative with all forms of Visual Arts: painting, drawing, ceramics, printing, sculpture etc in a permanently set up and well resourced art room.
What do our students think of the OC program?
"Learning is more challenging and being surrounded with minds like mine: work standards have been brought to a whole new level!" Renay
"The opportunities to join bands, debating groups, sporting teams are great and students are encouraged to join as many groups as possible." Sid
"A variety of excellent learning programs are offered at Dural P.S. I am in the String Ensemble, we play very advanced pieces of music: the whole group consists of members from the two Opportunity classes." Yvonne
"As I was taught so much more, I got more marks for the Selective tests than I expected." Shauna
"The O.C. class is very welcoming and everyone fits in easily." Vivienne
"I feel that there is a need to go to school to learn. In the O.C. class I learn."Shauna
"When I first found out that I got accepted into the O.C. I wasn't sure about if I wanted to take the offer. I thought that it would be a bunch of geeky kids, but accepting the offer was of the best choices of my life. Probably, one of the most important things I have learned is that you shouldn't be afraid of success. O.C. is one of those things that stick with you for life." Jessica
"To be in the same class for two years, you get to know all your classmates better." Janice
"There is no-one to slow you down in your learning, because everyone is at the same level." Jeffrey
"The O.C. class provides so many opportunities, so many doors to open and so many more areas of learning than a normal class." Jasper
"You're better prepared for high school as we do more advanced work. There's more competition, which drives you to do your best." Vivien
"Meeting friends who understand, love and enjoy your presence is the main inspiration for me." Renay
"The learning was faster paced and suited us better." Eranda
"As well as learning from the great teachers at Dural P.S, you learn from the classmates too as everyone has different specialities." Joshua
The Philosophy we believe in, in the Dural OC:
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited."
Gifted students are those whose potential is distinctly above average in one or more of the following areas of ability at school - intellectual, creative, social and physical.
Our gifted and talented program provides these students with learning opportunities on top of the normal curriculum.
Certain schools across NSW offer opportunity classes for high-achieving, academically-gifted students in Years 5 and 6. To be considered for enrolment, students must sit the opportunity class placement test in Year 4. The test is held between late July and early August and application packages must be made in May.
Selective high schools
Selective high schools provide a challenging environment where high-achieving, academically gifted students can reach their potential. To apply for a selective high school you need to complete an application in Year 5 and students must sit the selective high school placement test in Year 6 to be considered for enrolment.
Some selective high schools accept students for entry into Years 8-12. Applications are available in June and must be made directly to your preferred school.