By Kalesha Segatta | Posted: Thursday June 17, 2021
This article is a comprehensive discussion of the teaching and learning that has occurred over the last two terms and will fill in the gaps whether or not you attended the Learning Celebration earlier this term. Please take the time to discuss various aspects with your child to elucidate their knowledge and understanding.
In term one our students spent time exploring their own identities. We started by exploring where our families had originally come from and the journey that they had gone through prior to arriving in New Zealand. During this exploration, students worked hard to develop their own family tree. It was wonderful to hear the thoughtful questions that students had about their family history, as well as the exciting facts and details that they were eager to share with their peers.
This term, we have shifted our focus towards exploring our Earth and where it fits in the solar system. Students spent 2 weeks exploring the solar system in detail. We spent time looking at each of the planets in our solar system and their compositional make-up. This inquiry enabled students to develop their understanding of the sun and moon and how they are vital to sustaining life on our planet. Some topics that we delved into included tides, eclipses, seasons, weather, and days/months/years. For writing, our students chose one aspect of the solar system to write about, such as stars, black holes, ice planets, asteroids, moons etc. Once they had chosen a topic, the next choice they needed to make was whether to write a report or a series of poems that described their chosen topic.
This exploration of the solar system led us nicely into our new focus on earth systems and how they interact with one another to make our planet habitable. We spent time exploring the atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and cryosphere. By researching these earth systems, we were able to determine exactly what it is about our planet that makes it perfect for sustaining life. However, while our earth is perfectly habitable currently, students had many questions about the future of our planet and what could happen if the earth systems were to decline. Thus, we explored a range of natural events that have an impact such as earthquakes, volcanoes, wildfires, flooding, and drought. We also researched the ways that humans have an impact by looking into mining, deforestation, the use of fossil fuels, pollution, and overpopulation. Our next step is to think about the actions that our students can take to have a positive impact on the earth. It is great to see the students so eager to do their bit for our planet, so we will work on developing some plans going forward.
During our Hauora sessions, we have spent time focussing on a range of different topics that further develop our students' understandings of their own identity and the world around them. Some of the topics we have explored are:
Te Whare Tapa Whā (the four pillars of health: spiritual, emotional, physical, and social)
Emotions and ‘I feel’ statements
Triggers that anger us
Strategies we can use to manage our emotions
Strengths that we possess
Things that challenge us and how we can embrace them
Being the best version of ourselves
Encouraging and supporting other people
Winning and losing gracefully
Role models and how we can act as one
Solving problems effectively
Friendships and how they make us feel
Showing empathy towards others
Understanding the perspectives of others and communicating our own positively
Last term, we explored 3 art mediums: Collage, Pop-Art, and Pointillism. Students were immersed in each of these art mediums, exploring some of the well-known artwork and artists connected to them. We spent some time exploring how each artist had communicated a message through their artwork and whether or not they had been effective. This provided students with the opportunity to show off their analysing skills when we visited the Wellington Portrait Gallery. We had a great time at the Portrait Gallery with the staff giving us wonderful feedback on the engagement and careful thought that our students displayed whilst there.
Following this immersion, our students chose one of the art mediums to explore in further detail, attending 6 skills-based sessions over a 6 week period. The end result was our beautiful window artwork that the students showed off during our recent learning celebration. We have attached some photos in case you couldn’t make it.
This term, we are exploring 3 different art mediums: Silhouette, Modernism, and Print-Making. Once again our students have been immersed in the 3 different art worlds and have chosen one to explore in more detail. This week, our students have been putting together their newfound skills to create some gorgeous experimental art. We have attached some pictures for you to see. During the penultimate week of this term, our students will create their 2021 Calendar Art using the art medium that they have been exploring and experimenting with.
For coaching, we have focussed on developing our students' abilities to communicate with one another effectively. Students have been exploring how to use a range of coaching questions to support one another to work through problems and overcome challenges, both academically and socially. It has been wonderful seeing the depth of thought and engagement that our students have applied to their coaching sessions. They have actively listened to one another and put careful thought into the responses that they provide. As we continue on our coaching journey this year, our students will be provided with opportunities to develop their coaching skills when working with a range of younger students in Harakeke Hub and Koru Hub.
Last term, we explored a range of historical and current number systems from around the world. Our aim was to develop the students' understandings of how numbers are made and the operations we can perform using them. Some of the number systems we explored include German, Afrikaans, Samoan, Māori, Mayan, Kaktovik, Cistercian, Binary, and Roman Numerals. Throughout these workshops, students thought carefully and strategically about what the numbers translated to in English, and how they could solve problems using them.
Students then combined their knowledge of number systems to create one of their own. In small groups, they worked together to develop their very own number system, creating the digits and words for their numbers. In order to share these systems with other groups, students created their own learning resources that they used to teach other people how to use their number system. Some of our students decided to show off their number systems at our recent learning celebration too.
This term, we have been focussing on developing our mathematical thinking skills when approaching a range of problems. In small groups, students have attended workshops that focus on discussing different strategies that we can use to solve a range of increasingly complex problems. It has been great for the students to share the strategies that they often use when approaching mathematical problems, as they have been able to learn new and more effective strategies from each other.
We have also been developing our understanding of repeating and growing patterns, with students spending one session a week working together to predict future terms of these patterns. We have linked this learning to computational thinking, which is the process of breaking problems down into manageable pieces. Students have been working to recognise the pattern that has been presented to them, decompose the pattern into its different parts, abstract the unnecessary information that is shrouding the pattern, and identify the algorithm or rule that the pattern follows.
We started off the year by exploring a range of competitive sports games such as touch rugby and rounders. Students were able to develop their throwing and catching skills for a number of weeks before we entered into full competition mode. Our hub was divided into teams of 8 and competed with one another during ‘grand tournaments’. As teachers, we were thrilled to see how motivated and determined our students were to be successful in working together with their small teams. Students needed to further develop their communication skills and their collaborative mindsets when working together with their team.
This term, we have shifted our focus towards communicating a message through dance. In small groups our students have worked together to create a short dance to their chosen piece of music. We did this in the style of a ‘Flash Mob’ dance, which required our students to think carefully about the structure of their routines. We have seen some very funky dance moves that we are sure your children will be willing to show off at home too!
Te Reo Māori
In te reo sessions we have been learning some new waiata (songs). The waiata that we have learned are ‘Kua Rongo Mai Koe’ and ‘E I A I E’. We have been working hard to develop our tone and pitch when singing these waiata.
The karakia that we say together each day reads:
Tuia ki runga, - Unite above,
Tuia ki raro, - Unite below,
Tuia ki roto, - Unite without,
Tuia ki waho - Unite within,
Ka rongote ao, - Listen to the world,
Ka rongo te pō, - Listen to the night,
Haumi e Hui e - Now we come together,
Taiki e. - As one.
The whakatauki (proverb) that we have instilled in our hub currently, is called ‘Rongomātāne’. It reads:
Whangaia ka tupu, (That which is nurtured)
ka puawai. (blossoms and grows)
This whakatauākī reminds us that if we take the time to nurture and support then growth will occur. Rongomātāne is the god of cultivated plants. Rongo can mean 'peace'. Rongo is generally shown as the creator of the kumara, a plant associated with peace. As a hub, we have been identifying ways in which was can nurture ourselves, our peers, and our surroundings to ensure that they continue to blossom and grow to their full potential.
Alongside this, our students have continued to work on their pepeha (introduction) and have been practising how to introduce their family members to other people. We have been recording ourselves using voice recorders which have aided children in developing their pronunciation and fluency when speaking in te reo.
This term we have also been glad to see the return of our performance kapa haka group. Our students have been eager to jump back into performance kapa haka and we are thrilled to be able to provide them with the opportunity again.
In Pōhutukawa, each student has chosen a kaitiakitanga (guardianship) role which enables them to develop their leadership in a particular area. Each kaitiakitanga group meets once a fortnight to collaborate, strategise and problem solve alongside the teacher that has oversight of their leadership role. Our students carry out their kaitiakitanga roles with mana (pride) and determination each week.
Here is a list of the kaitiakitanga roles that our students carry out and a short blurb about the tasks they have been working on together:
Our sports monitors have been working hard to keep our sports shed neat and tidy, working together to ensure that all PE equipment is put back in right place. They have taken on the leadership roles of ensuring that our scooter racks are put away, our bikes are all returned to the bike shed, and the chess pieces are stored away safely at the end of the day.
It has been great to see our road patrollers out in the morning and afternoon showing off their awesome positive attitudes. This group has also dedicated time towards developing ways to encourage our students to ‘walk or wheel’ to school. They have created thoughtful posters and videos that have been on display across the school.
The IT Crew has been working hard to ensure that our Chromebooks are all stored safely and plugged in each afternoon. They have also been working hard to teach other students how best to treat their devices; creating adverts, videos, and posters that have been displayed across the school. This is a hugely important role as most of our students have their own device that needs to be handled with care.
Our fundraising team has been putting their heads together to develop ways that we can spread awareness about a range of issues. Most recently, the team organised and advertised Pink Shirt Day, supporting our school to learn more about the importance of standing up to bullying and discrimination.
The peer mediating crew has been out in force during morning tea and lunchtimes supporting other students to work through friendship issues. It has been wonderful to see them showing a combination of empathy and forward-thinking when approaching these issues, suggesting solutions and strategies that other students can use.
Our library is in the capable hands of our librarians who are on duty each lunchtime. These students are the masters of issuing and returning library books, supporting other students when they need help. Not only do they make sure that our books are returned properly, but they also ensure that our library is kept tidy and organised.
The Amesbury Tv’ers have been documenting all of the events that our school has been involved in over the past 7 weeks. They have been working hard to produce a series of Amesbury TV episodes focussed on informing people of the exciting and interesting things that have been happening this year. Here is a link to the first episode that they produced.
Please ask the children to tell you more about their kaitiakitanga role as they will be able to elaborate on their leadership skills and growth in this area.
As referenced above, we have only attached photographs of some of our artwork. All of the work that our students have produced in communication arts, hauora, maths, and coaching is available to see on Hero, or by logging into Google Classroom with your child.