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Middle Years Novel Studies Curriculum Units

A new project from Ochre Education designed to put the text at the centre of the lesson, with frequent and varied opportunities for regular practice at close reading and writing

Learn more about our book-based and modular curriculum, fully-resourced units and curriculum-aligned professional learning across years 5-8 (aligned with the latest AC, VC, NSW Syllabus and WA Curriculum)

What’s distinctive about our Middle Years Novel Studies Curriculum

Like all of our English lessons, these materials:

  • Are knowledge driven, including embedded non-fiction
  • Build vocabulary
  • Embed evidence-based teaching strategies
  • Are writing intensive (embed The Writing Revolution aligned strategies, and Grammar Project approaches)
  • Additionally, our Middle Years Novel Studies Curriculum units provide carefully planned materials for schools looking to engage students in more in-depth and extended discussion and understanding of a range of challenging high-quality texts.
  • Our approach is inspired by the US Reading Reconsidered Curriculum developed by Teach Like a Champion 
  • Text choices are driven by our draft Ochre F-10 Reading Spine
  • Each individual unit provides detailed student and teacher facing materials, with high levels of support for teachers implementing the units.
  • Each unit contains 25 individual lessons

What do our units contain?

A unit plan outlining key understandings, background knowledge, and a schedule of daily objectives and content, aligned to the relevant curriculum/syllabus.
A knowledge organiser that lays out background knowledge critical to understanding the unit.

Daily lesson plans (25 for each unit) with detailed daily objectives, suggested instructional sequences, means of participation and key understandings.

Daily student booklets containing:
  • Embedded shorter non-fiction texts – to enrich the primary text.
  • Smaller artifacts—pictures, diagrams, mini-texts—to provide additional background.
  • Knowledge-based questioning and knowledge feeding.
  • Vocabulary instruction with both explicit and implicit vocabulary words.

An end of unit assessment is provided for each novel.

The novels

Blueback,
Tim Winton

Lenny’s Book of Everything,
Karen Foxlee

Click here to purchase from Booktopia

Note that this is an affiliate link – if you buy a book Ochre Education gets a small commission (so we can provide more support to schools) at no extra cost to you, thanks for your support.

The novels have been selected according to the criteria for our carefully selected F-10 Reading Spine.
  • Draft Reading Spine

Sample materials

Click below to see samples from our first units

Blueback, Tim Winton

Unit Plan

Knowledge organiser

Daily lesson plan

Daily student booklet

Daily teacher slides

Lenny’s Book of Everything, Karen Foxlee

Unit Plan

*sample not yet available*

Knowledge organiser

*sample not available*

Daily lesson plan

Daily student booklet

Daily teacher slides

*sample not available*

Curriculum-aligned professional learning

We have developed a set of professional learning tools and resources to support teachers to implement the Ochre Middle Years Novel Studies Curriculum.

  • The professional learning resources currently available include video modules and slides
  • An introduction to the novel and the resources available
  • Elements of a lesson
  • Background knowledge
  • Vocabulary
  • A writing intensive curriculum
  • The following modules will be released over the next term
  • Reading cycles
  • Reading systems

To access

All units can be accessed through a school-based licence, which allows access for all teachers within a school. For Australian schools with an ICSEA score of the 25th percentile or fewer and / or any school with enrolments of 100 or fewer (according to MySchool latest data), a licence for the curriculum units will be donated (no charge). All others schools can purchase a school-based licence (for use across the school) for the curriculum units at a cost of $500 + GST. Our professional learning unit is available to all schools for purchase at a cost of $50 + GST for the unit. To apply for a donated licence, or to purchase a licence for the curriculum units or professional learning unit please click below.

Blueback, Tim Winton

  • Teaching resources unit

Lenny’s Book of Everything, Karen Foxlee

*Coming soon*

Professional learning unit (supports teachers to implement any of the curriculum units)

  • Professional learning unit

How does it work?

Anyone in the school can apply for a school-based licence for their whole school. To apply for a licence you will need to identify your school and nominate a single email address to access the resources, from an email domain which is associated with your school (general departmental addresses acceptable). You will need to create an Ochre account for this email address. Once you have applied for / purchased your licence, you will be able to access the resources on the Ochre site when logged into that account. Resources can be downloaded and shared within your school, but must not be shared beyond your school. We appreciate your support so that we can continue to make more resources, and support more disadvantaged schools.

For enquiries about system or network-level access to these resources, or any other enquiries, please email [email protected]

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FAQs

About the Middle Years Novel Studies Curriculum

Are all Ochre resources now available only by subscription?

No – all of our core resources remain free to access, and will remain freely available forever. This includes all our primary and secondary maths, English and science resources (including the Grammar Project and all of our Daily Reviews).

We are supplementing these core resources with a small number of subscription resources, which are highly intensive to develop. These subscription resources will be made available to the bottom ICSEA quartile of schools (and very small schools) for free, in line with our mission to support educational equity. To make this possible, we are asking for support from all other schools to purchase a licence to use these resources in your setting.

What is the difference between the Ochre Middle Years Novel Studies Units and the Ochre Years 3-6 Curriculum and Literature Units?

The Middle Years units are a completely optional addition to our existing Years 3-6 Curriculum Maps and resources. They are not required, but are designed to be complementary to these existing freely available core supports if teachers wish to use them alongside. For example, they can be used in place of the existing ‘English block’ resources as alternatives to the novels currently supported in Years 3-6 or where we currently have ‘Teacher Choice’ units, with teachers making intentional decisions about where they would best fit. Alternatively, they could be used as an extended unit over a single term where teachers want more intensive opportunities for close reading and writing in response to a complex text. The Middle Years Novel Studies Units could also be used to support students in Years 7 and 8 (Stage 4).

Will you be developing future units?
We will be releasing the Lenny’s Book of Everything Unit in Term 2. We ultimately aim to develop 40 units across years 3 to 10. We are currently working on our next novel studies unit focused around The Night They Stormed Eureka by Jackie French. We hope to have this unit available in Term 3.
How do I get involved?

If you are interested in becoming involved with this project, as a Curriculum Writer or as a reviewer or roadtester of our resources in schools, please send an email to [email protected] and we will keep you in touch with opportunities as they become available.

About the Middle Years Novel Studies Units

How long are the units designed for?

Each Unit has 25 lessons, each of around an hour in length.

Are the units designed to support schools who are implementing the Science of Learning / explicit instruction / structured literacy blocks?

Yes. The Units embed evidence-based strategies such as explicit instruction and teaching practices that are aligned with how students learn. They support schools to embed structured literacy – an explicit and systematic approach to teaching reading and writing.

What resources are contained within each unit?
  • A unit plan outlining Curriculum links, key understandings, background knowledge, and individual lesson objectives and content.
  • A knowledge organiser that specifies and organises background knowledge critical to understanding the unit.
  • Daily lesson plans (25) with individual lesson objectives, lesson content, means of participation and key understandings.
  • Daily student work booklets (25) with:
    • Embedded non-fiction shorter texts to inform students about key topics that can enrich or inform the primary text.
    • Smaller knowledge feeding artefacts—pictures, diagrams, mini-texts—to provide additional background to critical elements of the text.
    • Vocabulary instruction with both explicit and implicit vocabulary words.
  • A curriculum-aligned end of unit assessment.
Does every student need access to a copy of the book?
For maximum accessibility, the units have been designed so that students do not have to have access to an individual copy of each text, however having a copy of the text to annotate is highly recommended, and would be extremely beneficial. To facilitate this, schools may want to investigate options such as sharing class sets with other schools.

Purchasing or accessing a donated licence

Can I access sample materials before purchasing?
Yes, there are sample resources available on the Subscription Resources page on our website.
Do I need more than one licence for my school?
No – the licence allows as many teachers as needed to access and use the resources across your school for three years.
How do I access a donated licence?
If you meet the eligibility criteria for a donated licence (schools with an ICSEA score in the 25th percentile or less, and/or with fewer than 100 enrolments on the latest MySchools data), you can go to our Subscription Resources page and click on the apply for a donated licence link. You will be asked to sign a licence agreement, and will then be given access to the Units.
I’m not sure if my school is eligible for a donated licence, what do I do?

Contact us at [email protected] and we can help.

Will a donated licence give me access to all the units that become available over time?

Yes, your access will automatically be updated to include access to all the Middle Years Novel Studies Curriculum Units.

I need an invoice raised, what do I do?

Once you have completed the purchase you will be emailed a tax invoice to the email address which you have provided. For any questions about billing please email [email protected] and we can help.

How do I get access to the units once I have purchased a licence, or received a donated licence?

At the point of purchase, you will be asked to nominate a single email address to access the resources (the email address must be from a domain associated with your school). Register and log into the site using that email address and you will have access to the Unit page under the Subscription Resources section. For purchased licences, this process will be automatic on purchase. For donated licences, we will need to set up your access, and will email you when this is complete.

Do you offer licensing for groups of schools or schooling systems?

Yes, please contact us at [email protected] for more detail.

How to use the materials

How can I adjust the lesson length to meet the needs of my classroom?
All of the materials are editable and adaptable to suit your context. The essential parts of the lesson are represented with a key to help you make the most effective adaptations.
What professional learning is available to support use of these units?
We have developed a set of professional learning tools and resources to support teachers to implement the Ochre Middle Years Novel Studies Curriculum. The professional learning resources currently available include video modules and slides on ‘An introduction to the novel and the resources available’, and ‘Elements of a lesson’. These will be supplemented with modules on ‘Background knowledge’, ‘Vocabulary, ‘A writing-intensive curriculum’, ‘Reading Cycles’ and ‘Reading Systems’ over the next term.

Other questions

I have another question - where do I ask it?

Email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to help. Remembering that this is a pilot unit, we would also love to hear your feedback about the resources and use in your setting.