Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Inquiry update: Time to take action!

Taking action

We have come a long way on our journey to being kaitiaki of our local environments. Our capes are ready to go and we have done some great thinking about our own strengths. But now we have to take some action to make our environment a better place by taking some action. We had a good walk around in our school and took notice of all the things that we could do to help. This tied into our literacy for the week where we put our ideas in writing.

I can make more plants for hedgehogs.

I can make a bird house so the cats can't get the birds.

I can recycle so animals don't die and so the plastic doesn't go in the sea.

I can reuse rubbish to make a hut.

One of the key things we noticed was that there was a lot of rubbish around the grounds that animals might mistake for food. One of the actions we decided to take was to spend some time each day looking after the grounds by picking up some of the rubbish and taking photos to show other people what happens when we don't put it in the right place. Here is what we found in just one day!

We have many great ideas and are showing our creativity by building some models of what things might look like. Here is a rat trap designed by some of the awesome Autahi thinkers:

Creating new things and taking action is all part of the inquiry process. We are reflecting on all the things we have learned so far and challenging ourselves to try and make things better than they already are. Through experimenting and building we are using our problem solving skills as well as working together as a team.  

Bush Builders

Bush Builders 

Last week we were visited by Charles from the Wellington Zoo who came to help us find out what kind of things might be living in our school gardens. 

We used a variety of equipment to help us look. Some people had magnifying glasses while others had special containers that we could put things safely inside of while we had a closer look.

We were scientists as we discovered new creatures and used some of the great books that Charles had shared with us to identify what we had found. Working together as a team we looked at the number of legs and shape of the body to work out what we had found.

The great thing about science is that it is right on our doorstep. Worser Bay School is full of gardens with plants growing, insects hiding under rocks and leaves and beautiful birds singing in the trees. When we put on our scientist hats we use our observational skills to look closer at what we may not notice at a surface level. The more we know about our environment will help us to figure out what we can do to help make it a better place.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

What's happening at Discovery Time?

During Discovery time children are able to choose what they would like to do and learn about.  This ranges from set provocations that we put out to stimulate curiosity or practise basic skills to anything the children come up with that they'd like to pursue.  Here is some of what has been happening in Discovery recently.

Brain challenges: 
We put out some brain challenges of number charts to 10, 20, 50 and 100. Children were encouraged to choose what they felt was their personal challenge.

There was a lot of excitement, engagement and curiosity around this.  

ABC sound practise: We worked with pairs and on our own to practise letters and the corresponding sounds. 

Building: Our building is getting more complicated and intricate and we are working well with others as we test out our models, make changes and compromise.

Collaborative Art projects: These guys were interested in drawing the earth and talking about all the oceans, animals and people on the Earth.

Socio-Dramatic Play: These two were playing a game of school and families. 
 These 3 were operating a cafe.  Some were preparing food, others were working the register and others were customers.  

Providing choice allows for engagement and purpose. When we are involved in something we have hand selected we are generally much more engaged and this leads to more deeper learning.  Aside from the academic skills that are reinforced at Discovery time, we are also allowing children to do what they enjoy, to learn about their passions and to practise pro-social behaviours.  You can see and hear children talking, listening, negotiating and adapting.   

Tending to our Neural Pathways

Image result for overgrown trackImage result for overgrown track
We have been learning a bit about our brains and how the more we practise something, the stronger the neural pathway becomes in our brain and the more easily we remember that thing. 

I was lucky enough to go and hear Nathan Makaere Wallis speak and he talked about learning through the metaphor of a track.  Every time we practise something, it's as though the track is being cleared so we can find our way better next time.  When we try something once and don't revisit it, the next time we come back the track is overgrown, and without maintenance, it can disappear altogether.  In Autahi we talk about this metaphor a lot before, during and after practising something and we can hear children saying, "the track is getting clearer!"

To put these ideas into practise, one thing we do most days is Buddy Reading.  during Buddy Reading children choose a book from their book box.  These are books that they have read with a teacher a few times and at home as well.  The mileage and maintenance that occurs when rereading these books include consolidation of high frequency words, fluency and expression and confidence. Children then also choose a book of interest and look on with a friend either reading the pictures, retelling the story or looking for words they know. 

This is a really lovely time of the day.  Children work with buddies and read to each other, helping out and listening to stories. 

To put a little spin on things this week, we have our friendly puppets who really want to be read to! This has sparked even more interest and enthusiasm for our reading practise!
It has been so fantastic to watch the children look at practise as such a worthwhile experience.  Stay tuned for more around our learning about our brains and how we put it into practise in the classroom!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Autahi Architects

Autahi Architects

One of the activities during discovery this week was a bridge building challenge to help some lost animals cross the gap in the table to reach a water hole. The Autahi builders were up to the challenge and displayed lots of teamwork as they constructed their bridges.
Learning to work collaboratively to solve problems is a great skill and a real test of our ability to communicate and listen to each other.
Check out some of our great bridges and the other building projects that have been inspired by this challenge.

Mihi and introducing ourselves

Mihi: A basic introduction

In Autahi this week we are learning to introduce ourselves using a mihi. A mihi is a basic introduction. It tells people where you are from and who you are, linking you to the land (and mountain), river, sea, tribe, sub-tribe, whakapapa (genealogy) and marae (sacred meeting place). Non-Māori might identify places that are significant to them and the country they are from.

We are focussing on who we are, our grandparents and our parents. This week we have been learning to introduce ourselves using the phrase:

Ko _______ taku ingoa
My name is _________

Our aim is to be able to introduce ourselves to others and we hope that it stimulates lots of conversation about our families and where we are from. Check us out as we made a start on our visual mihi's:

Monday, 28 May 2018

Whanau Day: Nic and Shona's Group

Last Friday was Positive Education Whanau day. We were in groups with others from Autahi, Tautoru, Matariki and Mahutonga. It was fun to work with our brothers and sisters and to make new friends.

Each Whanau group had five character strengths to unpack. Ours were Judgement, Perseverance, Social Intelligence, Honesty and Love.


We talked about Judgement which is thinking things through and examining them from all sides, without jumping to conclusions and then we played "Would You Rather?" It was fun!

We talked about Perseverance and how we work hard to finish things that we start. We shared ideas of times we have persevered- Cross Country running, swimming, writing, maths, etc.

We discussed Love, and then we helped each other to weave a heart and create a mobile which is hanging in Tautoru.

We talked about Social Intelligence. It is when you are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease. We read the story, Knuffle Bunny Three and discussed how the girl in the story used her character strength of Social Intelligence. 

Lastly, we discussed the character strength of Honesty. We played a fun game called "two truths and a lie."