Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Developing questions for Inquiry


At Worser Bay School we use this inquiry model to help guide us through our inquiry learning. We work through each of the different phases of inquiry to develop questions and find out information to help us answer them.

This process usually begins with a provocation to stimulate thinking about a subject. In our case this term we looked a range of different toys and started thinking about what we could see.

From this thinking and wondering we refined these ideas into some questions that we wanted to know more about. At this stage we don't need to answer the questions. They will be used to help guide us in our learning. 

This is the Curious part of the inquiry. In this phase we are making sorting the things that we know from the things that we want to find out about. Using these questions we will move into the next phase of our Inquiry called Exploring.

We will take these questions and start researching in books, experimenting with materials, asking experts and generally finding out about toys. This phase is very hands on and will lead to some interesting discussions at home. We will be sending some ideas for inquiry chats you could have at home to give your learner a chance to share their ideas and learn a bit more from you and your whanau.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Exploring the Learning Pit

We are delving into the Learning Pit!

When we take on the challenge of learning something new, we often experience feelings of confusion and distress because we ‘just don’t get it’ (yet). Fear of feeling like this can cause us to shy away from hard learning. This is the Learning Pit. As teachers and parents, we know what this feels like, too: we've all been there, right?

Here's a graphic that helps explain it.

Understanding that these feelings are a normal part of the learning process takes away some of the anxiety. We teach this as a way of building our students' resilience. We can even learn to celebrate being 'in the pit': struggling with a new piece of learning and finding a way through takes work, but in the end means that new and deep learning is taking place.

In Autahi right now, we're sharing the concept of the Learning Pit. When we get a bit stuck, we take a moment to celebrate and reflect on what to do next. ('Yay, you're in the Pit - that means you're learning something new. What will help you to climb out of it?')

We have also been sharing what we're struggling with in our learning right now, and what helps us when we are in the Pit. We're discovering that often we can help each other. It's empowering to know that we have tools the tools to climb out of the Pit and enjoy the rewards of new learning.

Monday, 17 May 2021

Wet play days and Character Strengths

Monday this week was one of those days...

Getting outside and active during the school day is vital for all our children (and adults, too). Wet days challenge our Self-Regulation. We all know how easy it is to feel cooped up and frustrated when it's pouring with rain all day. 

On wet days, we try to stick to our daily routine, but also adapt in ways that recognise that this is a different kind of day. This is the the time dig deep and draw on our Character Strengths!

Here are some of the ways we used our Creativity to keep calm and find the fun on this wet play day.

Here we are doing some Go Noodle yoga. We are imagining that our bodies are frozen and then allowing them gradually to melt and relax. This takes concentration and control: doing yoga builds up our Self-Regulation and awareness of our own bodies. We also get the chance to wiggle and move. 

Having lunch in the cloak bay is certainly different! We dial up our Kindness and makes sure everyone has space on the mat. We quite like settling down together for a munch and a storybook.

We brought a little bit of nature into our classroom today with some plants from the footpaths around school. Looking carefully at the flowers and trying to paint them uses our Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, and our Creativity.

Some people found other ways to use their Creativity, connecting with each other and using Teamwork to build some awesome creations.

Dancing to some of our favourite songs gives us the perfect opportunity to use our Zest and Humour (and another chance to get active).

And, if all else fails, how about trying a sprinkling of Gratitude for the good the rain does our school garden - and a dash of Hope for a dry spell at playtime tomorrow?

Friday, 14 May 2021

Toys, Toys, Toys!


This week we have started an exploration of toys for or new inquiry. We presented some new and old toys to the learners and asked them to tell us what they could see.

We started to notice the kinds of materials the toys were made of and some features of the different toys.

One interesting observation was that all the toys were pretend. We talked about how the toys need some imagination to play with. 

Then we started thinking about the toys as well and started forming some questions that will help guide our learning. It was interesting hearing what they think about toys and exciting to think what we will discover about all sorts of toys.

At home you could talk about the kinds of toys that you played with as a child (or adult).

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Autahi and the Giant Radish

Once upon a time, some children planted some tiny radish seeds ...

And this Thursday, we dedicated a whole day to celebrating our colourful crop of radishes.

First, we looked carefully at the plants and tried to estimate how many radishes we had grown. Our estimate was 32. 

But when we pulled up all the plants and carefully counted them, we found that we had a grand total of 54 radishes!

We arranged them in size order from smallest to biggest. You'll be able to see the monster radish at the end of the row. It came from a seed that had landed in the wrong place so the plant had loads of space all to itself to grow ginormous.

When we measured it with a ruler later on, we found that it was 43 centimetres long.

We used cubes to measure the other radishes. We had to be careful to make a stick of cubes the same size as the radish and then count the cubes.

After all that gardening, counting and measuring, it was time for a snack. During snack time, we read the story of The Enormous Turnip. This got us inspired for our own writing and we decided to tell the story of our own giant radish.

 We wrote the first part of the story together ...

... then everyone had a go at drawing and writing a different ending for the story. We kept our radishes handy so that we could draw them. 

Here is our book! Do drop by and have a read. 

And, of course we had to taste our radishes, too. They were pretty good, and a bit spicy!

Here we are having a radish picnic at lunchtime.

We plan to plant something else in our veggie pod now, and see if we can grow another crop before the weather gets too cold. Watch this space!