Sunday, 21 May 2017

It's hard to believe that we are already in week 4!  The year is certainly flying by.

This week our big book is called "The Farm Concert" and our poem is called "For".  The letters we are learning about are 'j', 'x', and 'y', and we are doing number formation, and rote counting to 10, then 20, for maths.

Please check whether you have booked in for your Learner Led Conference on Wednesday, or, if this is not convenient, let management know if you would like your child to share their learning with one of them.

DON'T FORGET THAT SCHOOL FINISHES AT 12.30 ON WEDNESDAY!!  Any children left behind will be sent to the office at the end of the day.

Richard asked me to take a picture of his amazing 'Pete's Dragon' that he made out of Mobilo during Discovery Time last week.  He was very proud of his work and really wanted to share it with everybody on our blog.  We all thought that it was really cool.

Have a great week everybody!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A Team teachers have thoroughly enjoyed the return to learning this term. We sure hope the students are having as much fun as we are! The feedback from them and parents of A Team students says it certainly looks that way.


We wanted to take this opportunity to unpack a little more about teaching and learning in today’s landscape. It’s looks and feels very different from our classroom days, regardless of where in the world you attended school. Frankly, so it should be. With the well researched best approaches to teaching and learning easily accessible and with the tools we now have at our disposal our ‘digital natives’ deserve nothing less than an environment that will allow maximum engagement, growth and achievement.

Using this research and allowing the use of tools for learning Whangaparaoa School has adopted a fully integrated inquiry approach and use our amazing chromebooks to respond to our curiosity and ‘OWN’ our learning.

The Inquiry cycle at WGP School starts with provocation. Last week and this week A Team students have been ‘reclassed’ into groups from each different room. Groups from Year 1 to 6 move around A Team each afternoon and engage in new experiences related to the concept of “CHANGE”, within the context of Science. The purpose of these experiences is not to ‘teach’ science in the old way but to ignite and excite the students curiosity in this area so they can explore, question, research, investigate, test and share their hypothesise and findings with a targeted audience.

We are engaged in the first stage of “INQUIRY”
‘Sandy the Scientist’, a visiting expert ;) has joined us for both Monday’s this term with the intention of sparking student interest in chemical change before all of A Team students are cross grouped for the afternoon session. If you are wondering about where your child is in the afternoons at the moment CLICK HERE.

Following our provocation focus students will be identifying areas of high interest and pinpointing learning they’ve been exposed to that has made them extra curious. You may have noticed them coming home and wanting to reproduce the experiments they have enjoyed at school. This is a good example of how we are trying to incite continuous learning. This then motivates student questions and we know from the research that when a student’s learning is platformed from their own self-directed questions and curiosity it makes the end result powerfully learned.

Our inquiry model has come from Kath Murdoch’s work, an Australasian Educational expert who responds to research by providing a scaffolded way to ‘do it’ for teachers. Here’s a short clip of her explaining what it means to be an Inquiry Teacher:


Sharing what is learned is an integral part of Inquiry - In essence, we learn, we create, we share. Not necessarily in that order and when you look at your child’s day each aspect of this process should be evident. Creating has taken on a whole new meaning. Before the digital era (and we define this as since ipad technology exploded onto the market, only in 2009) we could access a student’s learning response in books and on classroom walls. This is no longer an accurate indication as the platform they now have to share their work has grown exponentially. Teachers are the experts in analysing and identifying progress and the tools they have to do this also reflect the digital age. This means anyone making an assumption on progress by simply looking in a book could be grossly misguided and just plain wrong. For any questions regarding progress it is best to talk to the teacher.

Our school website is about to be updated to reflect our new understanding around what best practice looks like in an inquiry class. It says this:

Inquiry-based learning is a constructivist approach. This means children are engaged in constructing knowledge rather than simply acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment, meaning students take ownership of their learning. It is the New Zealand Curriculum’s approach to teaching and learning.

Our unique Vertical Learning Communities allow children of all ages to share experiences and knowledge around our inquiry focus, while strengthening our learning community as the children become teachers to each other.
The benefits of learning through inquiry include higher order thinking, improved problem solving abilities and critical thinking skills. These are all identified as the leading skills looked for in today’s employment market. It increases personal ownership and responsibility for learning, develops skills of research and a student’s ability to determine the importance of the information they encounter.
Inquiry Learning supports our school ORCA values of Ownership, Respect, Collaboration and Achievement.

We look forward to the questions our students will ask, the discoveries they will make and how they will share what they’ve learned to others.

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about how your child is learning and why with the classroom teacher. We are also very happy to share with anyone interested more about the landscape of teaching and learning so any misconceptions out there can be addressed. Ka kite ano...

Monday, 8 May 2017

Term 2!

I know that it is a week late, but...

Welcome back everybody!

My health had to come first last week I'm afraid, and I still need to take it easy this week.  I had all of the plates, screws, pins and wire removed from my ankle as well as an iron infusion to combat the anaemia that I didn't realise I was suffering from.  Just wait... give it a week and I will be running around the bike track with the rest of A1 on my new and improved ankle and amazing amounts of energy thanks to the transfusion!!

A1 was lucky to have Mrs Mills in our class last week.  She told me that she had an amazing time with the tamariki and that they all made her feel very welcome.  The letters that she worked on last week were 'w' and 'l'.  They also started our inquiry topic, 'Change', with experiments every afternoon with the teachers in the A Team.

This week our letters are 'k' and 'v', our big book is "What Does Greedy Cat Like?", and our poem is "Jellybean Tree".  We are looking at number recognition and patterns in maths, and our science afternoons are going to be carrying on for the rest of the week.  We are going to have a tsunami drill this week as well.  The children do not know about the drill but we will be discussing it as a class afterwards and the reasons why we have to have drills for things such as fires, lock downs, and earthquakes.

I am really excited about term 2 and the things we have planned for the tamariki.  Our budding scientists are so enthusiastic and eager to learn.  It makes me wish I was 5 again as well!

Have a fantastic week everybody!  I will hopefully see more of you all next week...

Monday, 10 April 2017

It's hard to believe that this is the last update for term 1!  This term has flown by!  It has been fantastic getting to know the kids in A1 and help settle into school.

This week we are doing lots of fun Easter activities and enjoying our last week together before the holidays.  Our big book is called "The Jigaree", and our poem is called "Look". The letters that we are learning about this week are 'h' and 'r' and we are focusing on number formation and ordering numbers during maths.

This term has been really busy and I am pleased with how the tamariki have settled into school life.  They have worked hard and made lots of new friends.  Next term is going to just as a action packed and I'm looking forward to helping them continue with their learning.

Have a fantastic holiday!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

We are so excited to be sharing our learning with our community and whanau!!  Thursday morning is going to be fantastic!

When: Thursday 6th April
            9am - 10.40am - A Team classes open and learning shared
            10.40am - 11.10am - Shared morning tea / pool party

Where: Whangaparaoa School, Rooms a1 - A6 / pool and field

Unfortunately I am unable to make that day due to a death in the family, but the lovely Mrs Mills will be here instead of me.  She is really looking forward to it!

Please bring a plate of food for the shared morning tea!

This week our poem is called "Jump" and our big book is called "Bubbles".  The letters we are learning about are 'u' and 'b' and we are looking at number patterns to 10 for maths.

Keep an eye out on our blog for cool things that we are doing during Discovery Time!

Have a great week!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Play Dough Friends!

We are learning about relationships/friendships in A1 and A2.  Ayla, Emma and Isabella decided to use the play dough to make a group of friends going to the movies.  They said that they are being kind to each other and are helping each other when people are mean.  We think that they have done a fantastic job!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

There are only 3 weeks to go before Easter!  Where has the time gone this term?  We are busy trying to fit as much learning as we can into the last few weeks of school.  Everybody is tired but they all still seem eager to learn!

We have had a few unwelcome visitors on people's heads the last couple of weeks.  Please check your child for naughty nits and treat them if necessary.  Remember to repeat the treatment to avoid any unnoticed eggs hatching from the first time as well.  

It is a vicious cycle, but if we can all keep on top of it, hopefully it should keep them to a minimum...

As I'm sure people will be able to see from the picture, there are less and less children bringing their togs for swimming each week.  As a result of this, we have decided to make next week the last week for swimming this year.  Make sure you bring your togs so that we can make the most of our last couple of weeks in the pool!

This week our big book is "Keep Trying", and our poem is "Me".  Our letters that we are learning about are 'd' and 'g' and we are continuing to work on number recognition, and before and after numbers to 20 for maths.

We are continuing with our school wide focus on manners and picking up our rubbish.  All the tamariki in A1 are making a concerted effort to remember to say please and thank you and are doing really well remembering to put all of their rubbish in the bin.

Have a good week everybody!