Sunday, 31 March 2019

EOTC: Play in the Bush

Our Trip to the Bush

We were lucky with amazing weather and lots of parent help last week in the bush.  We certainly practised so many strengths on our trip.  The walk to get there is 2k, plus a few hours of getting amongst nature, falling over and figuring things out, then another 2k walk back certainly tested our perseverance and teamwork.  

In the bush we carved sticks, climbed trees, appreciated the birds, insects and plants, tried to climb ropes and ladders and played imaginative games in the stream.  
There were no rules other than using gentle hands, feet and words to each other and our environment.  What we saw was incredible use of bravery, perseverance, creativity, curiosity, teamwork, appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude and leadership! 

Even the adults got amongst it! We are so lucky to live and work so close to such natural beauty.  Playing in nature helps to foster a sense of responsibility for its upkeep.  If kids play in the bush they will feel the need to protect it! 
We are really looking forward to going back in a few weeks time! 
Thanks to Chloe for making us this amazing movie, capturing many of the highlights of the trip.

Celebrating our Inquiry Learning: Autahi Rocket

We have been wrapping up our inquiry into Space these last few weeks. 

Some of the things we learned through this inquiry were that the Earth rotates around the sun on an axis and this is why we have night and day. We also learned about the different seasons and how those have to do with the rotation and how close we are to the sun. We also unpacked how the seasons look and what changes we can notice on Earth. Through this inquiry we were also able to tap into the science curriculum through the arts. We explored sound and created our own rocket ship launch soundscape with instruments and through playing with volume. We explored the seasons through colour mixing, painting and drawing. We were also able to use drama to pretend we were in 

In wrapping up our inquiry into space, we arrive at the celebrating stage where we find ways to share and celebrate our learning.  We made this movie from inside our rocket, imagining we were up in space and describing what we could see.  We got to share this in assembly last week.  

The power of inquiry is its immersive nature, how we center it around what kids want to find out more about and how it is integrated through all areas.  We have had a fantastic term thinking like scientists and astronauts and designing and building like engineers.  
Stay tuned for next term's inquiry and if you can make it to our parent workshop this Thursday, the 4th of April, you can learn more about how we teach through inquiry and how it works! 

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

A rocket takes flight

Last week we had a big push to finish our rocket. We had parent helpers leading the painting of the rocket and clever engineers crafting all sorts of parts to bring our rocket to life. So much creativity was on show as new ideas were brought to life by the talented hands of the Autahi astronauts.
We persevered even when some tasks seemed too much and in the end our rocket started to come together.
This week at assembly we will share a short video showing lots of learning along the way. In the meantime check out these pictures and see into our building process.

We crafted parts for our control centre.

We made a clock to go inside the rocket.

We made dials and panels to put inside the control centre.

We are hot glueing the buttons onto the control panels.

We painted the rocket to protect us when we are in space.

Exploring numbers

In Autahi we have been exploring number as part of our maths program. We explore numerals, dot patterns and tens frames. These help us to think of numbers in lots of different ways.

We can see numbers on tens frames and put them in the right order.

We can count numbers on the hundreds square.

We can match the numerals on the pegs to the number of stars on the card.

We play games like mouse count where a sneaky snake comes and gobbles up the mice. We are practising taking away numbers and checking to see how many are left.

We work together with a buddy to share our ideas and check each others thinking.

These are just a few of the ways we engage with numbers in Autahi. There are so many fun things we can do all the time that keep us thinking about numbers.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Beginning to Read

Learning to Read 

Learning to Read, like learning to write, is a complex task.  You have to know that text is what provides meaning and that we start at the left and read right.  You have to know that letters make up words and words have meaning.  You have to be able to recognise, process and use visual cues for clues to unknown words.  You have to use your letter/sound knowledge to try to work out unknown words.  You have to be able to instantly recognise words that don't look the way they sound (rocket words).  And while doing all of that you have to try to keep the ideas in your mind about what it is all saying and meaning.  On top of all of that we try to foster a love of books!

There are many skills we unpack and teach along the way to provide a reader's toolbox to equip kids to work through books.  However, before kids begin reading their own books we do something called Shared Reading.  This is where we read texts--stories and poems--together over a number of sessions, unpacking everything mentioned above.  The repetition of reading it together leads to confidence and some independence in the children's reading it on their own eventually.  

We have had a few questions about the poetry book coming home and what you can be doing at home.  What you can be doing at home is rereading the poems, pointing out the repeating words (which are usually highlighted), pointing out the first letter sounds of longer words, talking about what the poem is saying, pointing out the rhyming words and noticing that usually they have the same endings, and remind them to point under each word as they read them.  

These are some of the strategies we start to teach once some of the fundamentals are understood and most letters and sounds are learned.  Stretchy snake--stretches out the sounds of unknown words. Eagle Eye--looks at the pictures for clues about unknown words.  Lips the Fish--says the first sound of the unknown word.  Skippy Frog--skips over the unknown word, reads on, thinks about what makes sense and comes back to it.  Chunky Monkey--looks for small chunks or words within bigger words. 

Throughout the day we have the opportunity to read in a small group with a teacher, focussing on specific skills.  We have the opportunity to read with a buddy and practise known books or read on our own practising reading the pictures, words we know or retelling the story.  We have opportunities to practise our letters and sounds and words through hands-on fun games and activities.  So many members of our class are goal setters who choose to practise on their own at discovery time as well.  

Our Open Morning Learning Scavenger Hunt

Last week we had an opportunity to share our learning and classroom with our whanau.  On Wednesday, families were invited in from 8:30-9:30, as our kids made their way through a variety of the learning that we do in a day.  

We built rockets together.

We shared the 3 ways to read a book we have been practising.

We practised counting as high as we could on the 100's board.

We practised our letter formation and shapes on the whiteboard, thinking about our Casey the Caterpillar language.

We practised reading our poems and noticing the words we have been learning.

We got creative and made art together.

We went outside with instruments and made some music!

We read some facts about planets and space to further our finding out stage of the inquiry.

This is just a snip-it of the types of things we do in the course of the day.  It was fantastic to see the empowerment and confidence with which the kids were able to lead their whanau through their learning.  In just 5 1/2 short weeks our kids have developed immensely and we were so proud to watch them share and celebrate their learning so far! 

If you weren't able to make it, we have glued the scavenger hunt pages into our literacy books and you are welcome to pop in any morning from 8:30-9:00 to have your children show you some of what they get up to in a day in Autahi!

Name:                                  Highlight what you’ve done.
We have been learning 3 different ways of reading a book. Choose 2 books and  practise some of the different ways.
Check out our poem wall. These are the poems we have been learning. I’ll show you how many words I know!
The planets are part of our inquiry into the earth and space. Come and choose a planet and find out some new facts about it.
Show me the calendar wall.  What do we do here? Let’s sing the days of the week song. What do the dots and straws show us?
How high can you count? Use the hundred square and see how far you can go.
We all have strengths. Let me show you 3 strengths that I have. What are your strengths?
We have been building rockets to take Autahi on a journey into space. Let’s build a rocket together!
Puzzles are fun and help us grow our brain. Choose a puzzle to build together.
Everyday we practise our ABC’s. Grab a whiteboard and an alphabet card and see how many letter shapes you can make.
Let’s do some making together at the art table!
Choose an instrument and head outside to play a beat!
We have set ourselves a perseverance challenge and made little steps to help us. Let’s practise one of my steps to help me achieve my goal.