Sunday, 24 June 2018

Learning Through Play and Positive Engagement

As mentioned in prior posts, the benefits of student directed play and learning are huge, as they increase engagement, concentration and agency.  
Positive Engagement is defined as: 
You can see the engagement and enthusiasm children in Autahi have around their Discovery time. 
This last week in our Discovery time we started to see some passions coming out, as well as some consolidation of what we are learning playing out in the discovery. 

As you know our inquiry has been all about being Kaitiaki and thinking about animals, plant life and our role in looking after those.  In our play this week, there were many connections being made to what we have been thinking and learning about. 
We are playing Octonauts. They save the animals. They are underwater Kaitiaki. 
These guys are integrating the ideas of looking after animals into their play.  This is a way to internalise and make sense of some of the concepts we are learning about. 

In their play this week these guys were fascinated with sorting and organising the animals onto the zoo mat.  They grouped them by the type of animal they were and put them where they needed to live.  They talked about what they eat and what they need.  They then moved onto Dinosaurs and went outside to create Dinosaur homes and habitats with the chalk.  This was self motivated and chosen and links directly to what we've been learning about through inquiry thinking about what plants and animals need to survive.  It connects directly to the science curriculum, both the content of the Living World, and also the thinking like a scientist aspect of the curriculum. 

Musical Passions are coming out!
And what fantastic timing too because we are about to jump into a new inquiry around music and sound! Next term we will also be having some drumming lessons leading up to our art celebration half way through the term.  
This week we had lots of exploration of instruments and sound.  Thinking about which ones make the deepest and highest sounds, how to play a beat and just having a good time.  Some of these guys put on a mini concert and even made tickets for the teachers to come and listen! 
 Stay tuned for a lot more learning around and immersion into music! Not to mention the character strengths it will take to practise and perform! We will be looking at how we can use perseverance, bravery and creativity when putting together our pieces for the art celebration next term!  We will also be talking more about the connections between music and the brain and how immersion into something allows for flow which links us to positive engagement. 

So there you have a snip-it of a week's worth of discovery time, the links to our curriculum areas and the positive engagement!

Learning our Mihi

Learning and Creating our Visual Mihi
As you know we have been working on creating our Mihi.  Each morning, at the start of the day we practise introducing ourselves and then we have been building onto our Mihi by introducing our family members, starting with Mum and Dad.  We have also been drawing visual versions of our Mihi during discovery time. 
We have chosen to start to learn these now because part of Matariki is about learning about your whakapapa and making connections to our ancestors.  So in this time we are connecting with our families and acknowledging them through our Te Reo learning. 
Here we are adding in our Mums and Dads.  We will be adding our grandparents soon. 

We have started to share our Mihi at Rinsing 5s as a way to welcome newcomers into the class.  This is something we are working on embedding, so that all children know their Mihi and can confidently introduce themselves when we have visitors.  
We have been talking about how we are kaitiaki of Te Reo and Tikanga and how it is our job to make sure the culture and language is preserved.  

This week we had 3 students use their bravery and leadership to stand up and say their Mihi (the parts we have learned so far) in front of the class and the Rising 5s.  They spoke with confidence, clarity and pride.  This sense of positive accomplishment was very inspiring for others and we promptly had many more volunteers for next week! We are so impressed with the enthusiasm towards our Te Reo learning and the manaaki that the class is showing.  
Stay tuned as we finish learning our Mihi and connect to some beautiful Matariki art!

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: