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!

Friday, 20 November 2020

Centennial Reserve Trip

The weather was good for us and we finally were able to go on our trip to the Centennial Reserve. In Inquiry we have been learning about the realm of Tane Mahuta, God of the forest. We have been exploring what lives in our local school environment and this was an opportunity to cast our gaze a little wider to our local native bush.

We were full of positive thoughts as we knew it would be a long walk but it was nothing we couldn't do if we kept on trying and didn't give up.

We explored the forest up and down.

Made pretend campfires to roast marshmallows 

Found all the biggest sticks

Sketched and tallied all the different plants we could see 

Found some tipped over trees and saw what the roots looked like

Found a Whare and all tried to fit inside

Tried to camouflage and hide 

Eventually we made our way back to school. After a few water breaks we finally made it. We found out lots of information to help us with our learning and we got some great exercise.

Thursday, 5 November 2020

The forest of Tane

 This week we were meant to go to the bush at Centennial reserve. While we look for a sunny day to make our visit we thought we might bring the forest into the classroom. 

First we did some exploring just outside the school to have a glimpse of what lives in our local bush. We talked about how the forest is the realm of Tane Mahuta the Maori god of the forest and how the creatures that live their are all the children of Tane.

We sketched some of the things we could see and gathered some ideas back in the classroom.

The next day a tree trunk had appeared in Autahi. 'What is that doing there?' said the children.

Some recognised that it was a tree trunk like Tane Mahuta from the stories we have been reading. 

Every day we are slowly adding to our tree trunk to flesh out our forest. We want everyone to contribute from the learners to our school community. 

So if you have a few minutes spare please come and make something to add to our Autahi forest. Every new thing that goes up adds more and more things for us to discover. Our learners are naturally curious and we are so excited to dive into some new learning.

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Sharing a Shell

 When a tray of shells in Discovery Time becomes an investigation...

One morning, when the Autahi children came to school, they found a tray of shells on the blue table.

Sometimes Carl and Beth put things on the blue table for children to explore, but nobody finds them all that interesting. And that's okay. But this time, a lot of people got quite excited. They enjoyed the shapes and colours of the shells and used magnifying glasses to look at them more closely. They recognised some of them from the beach, but weren't sure how they got there or how they were made.

Soon, lots of questions were bubbling up. We decided to collect all our questions so that we could investigate them some more.

We began reading some stories and information pamphlets about shells.

Some of us enjoyed sorting the shells into groups. We also tried estimating how many shells we had in our collection.

Lots of us were interested in what kinds of creatures live in shells. We did some drawings of our ideas.

And then we had a go at choosing a shell and making the creature that might live inside out of playdough. Here are some of our ideas. We made snails, fish, worms, mussels and kina.

Making these models helped us to think more deeply about how creatures use shells and also what the creatures look like. It also helped Carl and Beth to understand more about how the Autahi children see the world, and what they know about shells, sea creatures and their habitats.

We finished up the week by returning to our question about where these shells come from. Why are they on the beach? Some children had been doing some talking and thinking at home, too, and had some new ideas. One of our learners suggested that they could be 'abandoned' shells (what a great word!). So - who abandoned them? And is it okay to take an abandoned shell from the beach?

As you can see, we have many more question to explore. We will continue investigating, guided by Autahi's inquiring minds. In 'The Power of Inquiry', Kath Murdoch writes that pursuing a spontaneous inquiry can be 'exhilarating for teachers and students alike'. We treasure that excitement and sense of discovery. At the same time, we are looking for ways to guide our learners 'beyond the facts and towards concepts', connecting to big ideas, such as ecology and sustainability.

Look out for more developments in future Blogs, and ask your child about our inquiry.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Exercising our Character Strengths

 In Autahi, we talk about our Character Strengths all the time. But what do we mean?

You have probably seen this poster around school. You can also find it on the school website.

As part of our Positive Education Model, we learn about the Character Strengths that we have as individuals. Each of us has Strengths that are more highly developed - and that we probably use more - as well as Strengths that we are working on. We are all building our characters because recognising and tapping into our Strengths helps us in our work, relationships and wellbeing, too. 

Here's an example from Autahi this week.

We have been revisiting our writing goals. In Autahi, when we talk about learning new things, we often use the image of climbing a maunga, small step by small step. We each have particular skills that we are focusing on, such as stretching out words and recording the sounds we can hear or remembering capital letters for our sentences. Some of us are also building our stamina to write more, or trying to use different, exciting words. We remind ourselves of our goals each time we write together, and it is a challenge. But this is where our Character Strengths can help us.

We did an experiment to help us think about which Strengths we can can draw on when we're climbing a maunga and learning new skills. 

Skipping is perfect for this because it can be tricky and takes a bit of practice. Some of us were a bit put off at the beginning. But thinking about using Bravery to try something new helped us to have a go. Some of us found skipping very frustrating. But we drew on our Perseverance to keep going. Some of us used our Strength of Humour: having a laugh when we got tangled up helped a lot. Other Strengths we found helpful were Hope, Love of Learning, Teamwork and Judgement.

Exploring some of our Strengths like this helped us to understand which Strengths would support us with our writing goals. We each chose the top two skills that we found most helpful. 

As we think about our goals and climbing the learning maunga, we will also think and talk about the Character Strengths that make us powerful and ready for the challenge.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Wrapping up Term 3


It's hard to believe that we are already coming to the end of another term here in Autahi! We have had lots of new faces join us this term and our classroom is full of new ideas and creative thinking.

We've collated our inquiry from the beginning of the year around water and changes of state. Come and check out the amazing books our lovely Beth has created to celebrate all the questions, investigation, experiments and reflections. These will be on display in the classroom and we welcome you to come in explore our learning...

Our classroom is an evolving space and there are always new displays going up. One of our groups has been exploring counting in 5's...

We celebrate our writers by publishing their stories and displaying their work...

Term 4 is a summer term which means there are a few extra things to remember. Sun hats are required any time we are outdoors. No sun hat means no play or fun in the sun. We are able to leave our sun hats on our hooks in the cloak bay if you would like to leave one at school, otherwise you will need to keep one handy in your child's school bag.

Sunscreen will be in the classroom and will be used anytime we are heading outdoors. Being sun safe is a big part of the health curriculum and important to us all to remember.

Have a restful break and we look forward to seeing you all again in the new Term.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

Kia kaha Te Reo Māori!

Te Reo Māori is a Taonga (treasure). We often talk in class about how special it is to speak this unique language, and how we can play our part in caring for it by learning, speaking and sharing Te Reo.

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is a time for celebrating the Māori language. It is also a time for reaffirming our commitment to making Te Reo strong and healthy. 

If you would like to know more, visit www.tewikiotereomaori.co.nz.

Here's a flavour of how we have been celebrating Te Reo in Autahi this week.

We have been practising greeting each other in Te Reo, and introducing ourselves and saying how we are feeling today. Ask your child if they can remember how to tell somebody their name in Te Reo Māori. We are also working on counting and doing our daily calendar in Te Reo. 

We have shared Māori stories, such as 'How Maui Tamed The Sun' and enjoyed working on our Tamanui Te Rā artworks. These will be on display in Autahi next week, if you'd like to pop in for a closer look.

At twelve o'clock on Monday, we joined the whole school - and around one million other people - in Te Wā Tuku Reo Māori, speaking or singing in Te Reo Māori all at the same time.

We are fortune to have an awesome Kapa Haka teacher, Matua Henare, who joins us every Thursday to teach waiata and haka. This week, the whole school met on bottom court to celebrate and sing together. 

This has been a special week. But, of course, Te Reo is for every day, and we will continue to build our knowledge and share our learning with each other.