Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Making self-portraits: our first steps

Our inquiry into toys is proving rich and exciting. Right now, it is branching in different directions, giving us different paths to pursue.

One of the branches concerns the portraits of children with their toys that we have been looking at. Some of the portraits are over a hundred years old. It has been interesting to see how toys have changed - or not - over time. We have also noticed how favourite toys tell us something about the personalities of the children in the photos. Take a look at the wonderful images on the Te Ara website, if you're keen to follow up this discussion at home. 

This term, we have also been working on developing our observation and sketching skills, and we're keen to use them for a major project. So, this week, we have begun an on-going project to explore different ways to represent ourselves in self-portraits.

We started with some photos of ourselves with favourite toys.

With our photos to hand, we made practise sketches of ourselves with our toys on whiteboards. We tried hard to think about making our drawings big enough, using large, clear shapes. Then we added details. We had to look carefully at the photos to make sure we got things like our hair just right. 

We were so pleased with the results, we made copies and framed them up for our class gallery.
Drop by and take a look.

And, finally, here's a sneak peak of the large-scale portraits we're working on now. (These are for the Arts Celebration in term 3, so we're not going to give away all our secrets just yet!).

Thursday, 24 June 2021

The little toy makers


This week we expanded beyond a simple ball and cup to start exploring how to make toys. We brainstormed some different types of toys and had a go at drawing and writing about what we might need to make it. Check us out as we created...

This is just the beginning of our exploration but it was a good way for us to grow our strengths in creativity. I've never heard so many people ask to keep going when it came to the end of the day.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Garden news

Over the past couple of weeks, we been trying to spend more time out in our garden space (weather permitting!).

Thanks to a kind donation, we have replaced our basil and radishes with some lamb's lettuce, and are looking forward to seeing how this grows and what it tastes like.

We have also been planted up some pots to add colour and scent to our space. 

The orange pansies were particularly popular!

We've also been discovering that it's really satisfying to show our garden some love by sweeping up Autumn leaves. We have some hard workers in Autahi, that's for sure!

And there's some great Teamwork on display, too.

All the leaves go into our new compost bin. Everyone is keen to have a go at tumbling the compost.

We are collecting apple cores and banana skins at snack time, too, so that we can add them to the mix. Soon, we'll be introducing some worms and Autahi will have pets! Watch this space!

NZSL - learning to sign

New Zealand Sign Language is one of our official languages, and we've been practising each week to add to the signs we know and can use. We make eye contact when we're signing and try to sign slowly and with clear movements, so that we can be easily understood.

In this blog, you will find a selection of the signs that we are using on a daily basis. Ask your child to show you the signs they know. Why not give some of these a try at home? 

How are you? Kei te pēhea koe?

Hello/goodbye. Haere rā/e noho rā/ kia ora.

Help. Āwhina.

Hurt. Mamae.

Share. Noho tahi.

More or again. Auau, hoki atu hoki atu.

Finished or all done. Oti

If you're keen for more, visit the New Zealand Sign Language dictionary or download their excellent app.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Exploring literacy


This week we have been enjoying some different ways of exploring literacy. From writing super sentences (with capital letters and fullstops) to reading with a friend we are up to the challenge of trying new things. Check out some examples of our learning.

Everyone has their own writing goals and next steps. Some children were working on writing a super sentence. We love to make writing about experiences or something fun to get the ideas flowing. This story is about something strange happening. 
"One day a super hero bat came to school"
I wonder what could happen next?

We are using a listening post to hear stories that we have been reading. Being read to models fluency and making our reading sound like talking.

We have been creating art to go with our stories. Sometimes the art inspires the writing and sometimes the writing inspires the art.

Beth showed us through the Library and we got to explore and take some books home to share with our families.

Here we are reading and sharing stories we have read with our friends. Sharing books is a great way to practice and grow our reading mileage.

What ways do you explore literacy at home? Share them with us so we can grow our love of literacy.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Sāmoa Language Week

Tālofa lava! It's Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa /Sāmoa Language Week.

This week is a chance to celebrate the language and culture of Sāmoa.

Sāmoan is the third most spoken language in New Zealand, after English and Māori, with well over 100, 000 speakers. The Pacific Peoples Minister, Aupito William Sio, made this beautiful comment as Sāmoan Language Week 2021 launched:

"Languages are essential to having confidence in our Pacific identities. They are the lens through which we understand ourselves and the world around us. Pacific people thrive when we hear our own stories told in our own languages."

This chimes with a Māori whakataukī that is a touch-stone for many of us at school when we are thinking about literacy:

Ko tōku reo tōko ohooho. Ko tōku māpihi mauria. (My language is my awakening. My language is the window to my soul.)

This sentiment seems particularly apt for our multi-lingual Autahi community.

We are especially fortunate in Autahi this Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa as Teuila shared her Sāmoan language and culture expertise with use. Fa'afetai tele lava, Teuila!

Things to try at home this long weekend:

  • Ask our child to share the story of Sina and the Eel with you.
  • You might also want to try this awesome resource from Te Papa. It includes simple Sāmoan words, colouring and activities.
We've also been working on some tapa cloth-inspired artwork this week, so drop by after the weekend and see how it's all coming together.

Manuia le vaiaso (have a great week!).