Sunday, 28 February 2021

Pōwhiri 2021

 


Weeks of practice and dedication came together on Friday as we carried out our pōwhiri for 2021. Though the weather forced us inside at the last minute, we were so proud of the 'mana' and 'ihi' (essential force) shown by all students while performing haka and waiata. A special mention to our 'kaea' or kapa haka leaders who led from the front and really brought the house down! From the staff perspective, we were also thrilled to have been able to carry out more of the ceremony in Te Reo Māori, while following the 'kawa' or protocol of mana whenua, Te Āti Awa/Taranaki Whānui. If you haven't already, please check out the Week 4 Newsletter for translation and explanation of our pōwhiri.

Here are some of our students' thoughts on pōwhiri:

Pōwhiri was good. I liked the singing and sang with lots of power - Fabian S

I liked doing Taku Manu pōwhiri because you get to do lots of actions - Zen S

I had so much fun at the pōwhiri with all the people we were welcoming to the school - Zoe C

It was great, I felt really good about it because I was quite loud and I am very proud of myself - Aila B

I thought pōwhiri was really good, I enjoyed singing the songs and listening to the speeches - Lucy N

I was a leader for the pōwhiri and I think we gave it our all and gave it lots of power - Eddie B

Well, where to next? As well as mihi whakatau (smaller welcoming ceremonies for later arrivals) throughout the year, our attention now turns to the first kahui ako (group of Eastern Suburbs schools) Kapa Haka festival in Term 2. We are developing some old, new and different haka and waiata for this occasion, so watch this space!

Tuia, tuia tuia anō
Tuia i runga, Tuia i raro
Tuia ki roto, tuia ki waho,
Tuia te Whānau o Whetūkairangi.
Ko te whānau o Whetūkairangi e
Nō reira, e tau nei ki runga i a tātou katoa, te wairua aroha. Kia ora koutou katoa!

Above and below are woven together, as is what is inside us and that which is outside of us. And, we are woven together as a whānau, the Whānau of Whetūkairangi.

Friday, 26 February 2021

Catching the writing bug


In Autahi we have launched into learning skills that help us to write. Above you can see someone learning hold a pencil using a pencil grip. There are lots of ways to refine a pencil grip and some you can do at home. Tongs are a great way to build up writing muscles. Using them to pick up pieces of lego or small objects can be fun and help grow writing muscles.


Our Autahi writers know that they have lots to say and are learning the skills to record their stories.


First they think of an idea.


Then they have a go at recording sounds and practise forming the letters to tell their stories.


So many of our young authors have been asking every day "when is it writing time?"

There are lots of ways to keep writing alive. Sometimes you may write a story or an invitation or even a letter to their favourite teachers. We celebrate all attempts at writing and building our writing muscles.





Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Voyaging into our new space.

This has been a big week for Autahi.

After just over a year, we are able to return to our own classroom. We can't believe how spacious and bright the room is. And we're enjoying the sense of potential (and the smell of new carpet, too!).

Here we are exploring it with a treasure hunt so that we know where to find all the important things like pencils, glue sticks and Lego.


You will know from Carl's email this week that there is more work to be done to make our space exactly how we want it to be. The builders have a few last things to complete, after which, we will be able to finish reorganising the room to make the very best use of its potential.

Last year, we undertook a process of consultation with our school community to find out what they love about Autahi, and what we could be doing better, or doing more of. Please do drop into Autahi to see a temporary display of the work we have done so far on conceptualising how our space should work.

This term, our attention turns to our new outside space. What used to be a little-used corridor between Top Grass and the rear of Autahi, is now our very own enclosed area, ripe for all kinds of outdoor play and learning. At this stage, though, it is very much a blank slate. 

This is where we hope our Autahi whānau will step in to help us make this space as joyous and playful as we know it can be. How can you help? Well, to begin with, please chat with your child, and think about the ECE, play centre and other outdoor spaces that you and your child have loved.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to be inviting you to share your ideas. And, if you have practical skills, we'd love you to get hands-on, too.

In the meantime, here is some inspiration from ideas shared in class this week.











Thursday, 11 February 2021

Reading in Autahi

Reading in Autahi








In Autahi we explore literacy in lots of ways including phonics, books and poems. Your child will have their own book bag and pictured above are some of the things you might find inside it. I'll go through each item to let you know their purpose and how to use them at home.





Firstly you will find a book for reading at home. The books we read at school are targeted at a level that still has some challenge for the readers. They work with a teacher to work out the tricky words and practise skills like using their finger to point to the words. 
When your child brings a book home to read they should appear a bit easier for them to read because they have done the hard work of figuring out most of the words at school.
Reading at home is for extra practise in reading and also to celebrate the hard work they have done in class to figure out what to do.




The next item you will see in the book bag is the yellow Kluwell reading journal. In this book you are able to record any reading your child does at home and record how many days they have been reading. This isn't just limited to the book that comes home in their book bag though. We encourage you to record books that they may want to read from home or the library as well. The Kluwell is a way to celebrate your child's reading journey as well as to encourage lots of reading.

Lastly you will start to see your child's Rocket Word booklet each week. Each Friday Carl will add 5 new high frequency words to each persons Rocket to learn at home. These high frequency words are the building blocks of the English language and will enable learners to access words that appear in a range of texts quickly and accurately. 


Here is a link to a blog where we go over some of the ways that families have had lots of fun practising the words at home.

Each week on Friday these words will be checked and your child will get to add a star for every word they know. Sometimes words take more than one week and we have extra practise during reading and writing time to help the word sink in. 

This might look like a lot of work to do at home but we know that it makes a big difference for our learners. We encourage you to give it a try and see what works for you and your family. 
If you have any questions about reading in Autahi then we hope you will come and see us for a chat. We are passionate about reading and are happy to answer any queries you might have.



Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Making books

 

In Autahi, we love sharing books of all kinds. Reading great books inspires us to tell and write our own stories. For a little while now, our writers have been asking to make books. So, this week, the Autahi is exploring how books are made so that we can make some beautiful books of our own.

We have been looking closely at some different kinds of books and noticing the some have hard covers and some have soft, paperback covers. Some have wire staples, and some are stitched together with thread. We have been learning about what goes on the front and back covers of books to help readers to know that might be inside. And we have been finding out that books have spines, just like us!

We have been working on writing and illustrating some books of our own. Some of us are writing stories. There is some non-fiction, and also a graphic novel on the go.







We are beginning to share some of our books with our friends in class. Because we know that other people will want to read our stories, we are taking extra care to reread them and add some cool illustrations. 


We are also working on creating some hardback books. We learnt that the hard cover of a book is called the 'case' and we talked about how precious things are sometimes kept in cases to keep them safe. Stories are treasures, too, so we want to make our books as beautiful as we can.

Here we are printing and painting a special piece of paper to wrap around our book's case.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Who lives at the beach?

Carrying on from our learning about what lives in our local bush, the Autahi scientists have been exploring another local environment at Worser Bay Beach.


Here are our two environments side by side. If you've ever wondered which the children in Autahi love the most then the answer is definitely the beach. It took us days to populate our forest but the beach took mere minutes. Every day we are putting up more ideas as we remember all the things we have seen at the beach.


 My favourite is this shark who looks a little unsure of itself. My theory is that it can't figure out this cold Wellington water. Maybe that's my Auckland bias showing.

The next step of our inquiry will be thinking of ways that we can look after these places. We know that lots of living things make these environments their home so we need to look after them. I'm looking forward to sharing our ideas with you.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Beaky Blinders

Following our visit to the bush and our explorations of our school garden, we are beginning to realise that we are finding different plants and creatures in different places. We wondered why this is.

This week, we have been pursuing this line of inquiry by thinking about birds. We noticed that at the bush, we saw piwakawaka (fantails) and tui and we also heard riroriro (grey warblers) up in the trees. At school, we more often see sparrows, starlings, magpies and chaffinches. We also thought about what birds we might see when we go down to the beach. Perhaps some seagulls and oystercatchers.

We realised that the birds must be looking for different kinds of foods that they like. A seagull can find a crab at the beach, but not in the bush. A sparrow can find some lunchbox crumbs at school, but maybe not so often at the beach.

Bird beaks give us clues about the kinds of foods they prefer. We explored some different shapes of beaks.

We had a go at making bird beaks.




We tried picking up different things with them. 



We challenged ourselves to see what the biggest, smallest and strangest things were that we could pick up with our beaks. 







Who knew that birds are keen on eating Lego and hula hoops!