Wednesday, 27 February 2019

A Community of Inquiry: Why would you/ would not leave a war torn country?

We watched the music video to the Missy Higgins song "Oh Canada." The art from the clip is drawn by children affected by the crisis in the Middle East narrating the story of the Kurdi family, who left Syria heading for Canada.

The clip is sad and stirred some emotions. We had an in depth discussion about refugees and why people might be forced to leave their home country. Our students generated some great questions to begin with. 

As our Inquiry progresses we will be thinking about how we could welcome new people to our community.

Our students discussing the messages from the clip.

We have created rights and responsibilities for respectful discussion:

The process of discussion is both collaborative and critical, requiring each participant to be willing to:
  • offer their own ideas for evaluation
  • build on the ideas of others
  • bring ideas into the inquiry that no other participant has voiced, but which need consideration
  • offer critical evaluations of others' ideas
  • accept critical evaluations of their own ideas
  • at times subsume their own concerns to the process of the group
  • explicitly utilise a range of thinking strategies to refine and advance the inquiry.

What does it feel like to lose your place?

This week in Matariki/Māhutonga we took our 'Where we dance' inquiry to the next stage. After starting off the year thinking about what places are special to us, we have now turned our attention to situations where people might be forced to leave their place or share their places with outsiders.

Bobs in front, Bibs in back

Using a mixture of adventure based learning and drama, we placed our learners in a type of social experiment. For the session there were two distinct groups. The Bibs (named for their additional clothing) were a smaller group who controlled the area under the playground and the "money" (flat cones). The more populous group of Bobs resided in middle court where they controlled the all-important resource - water.

The first phase of the game involved trade. As the Bobs were struggling with the logistical nightmare of transporting water downhill in not-so-fit-for-purpose containers, Bibs were doing the sums and calculating the price they were willing to pay for it. While some Bobs felt they weren't getting a fair deal, most were able to make some profit and felt quite content.
First trade contact

"We had so much water, we didn't know what to do with it" - Cruz

"I traded a whole bucket of water and got nothing!" - Matthias

Unfortunately for the Bobs, all good things come to an end. A sudden drought meant the taps went off and the trading arrangements literally dried up. Drought eventually led to destruction, and the Bobs found themselves detained in a small fraction of the space they had before. Bobs had a chance to buy passage to a safer land - Bibland - but there was no guarantee that they or their whānau would successfully make this treacherous journey over and around the playground. Bobs that were unable to negotiate passage were left with no place and no rights.

Bob detainment camp

"When we were detained I knew we had to get out quickly" - Chris

"They had more money AND water than us, but they still didn't let us in!" - Raffy

"If we were real refugees, would they have been so mean to us?" - Greta

The dangerous journey to.... freedom?

"I felt awful when we didn't have enough money to take our whole family. We lost our identity. Next time I'd save some of the water" - Megan

"It was a fun game but I wish we could play again so I could play a less selfish character" - Gina

"What if that was real life? Now I know we should think carefully about how we treat refugees" - Pippa

"I was a Bib but when we weren't letting them in I felt bad because I realised this is what happens in real life" - Mae A

As this was happening, the Bibs were being faced with another dilemma altogether. How did they feel about Bobs coming to inhabit their special place? What role could Bobs fulfil in Bibland? Were there even enough resources to go around?

"Holding on to the rope was hard! I was confused about my job when I got to Bibland" - Taiga

In carrying out this social experiment game, we were able to start weaving together the threads of what we've looked at in inquiry so far this year - special places, places to dream, tūrangawaewae - with real-life situations faced by people around the world. What does it feel like to lose your place? How can we help those who have lost their place? What attitudes do we have towards sharing our places with outsiders?

What similarities can you see between our game and real-life?

Friday, 22 February 2019


Pepeha is a way of introducing yourself in Māori. It tells people who you are by sharing your connections with the people and places that are important to you. 

We have been learning about why we acknowledge the land before we talk about family and ourselves. 

We have started to create our own pepeha artwork.

By Kate

By Emelie

By Joni

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Exploring the Blog

Our new Year 4 students have been exploring our Māhutonga/Matariki blog. They have learnt how to make comments on the posts. They have also bookmarked the blog so that they can access it easily. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Tūrangawaewae: Nik and Jenny

Today in Matariki/Māhutonga we started thinking about our tūrangawaewae. This is a Māori concept which translates as “a place to stand.” Your tūrangawaewae includes details such as where you and your ancestors are from as well as the language and culture you identify with.

Conversations around tūrangawaewae can help us learn more about ourselves and our family history. We also made connections to one another through our shared ancestry. We know how diverse and multicultural our community is and this was especially evident today!

Considering we discussed this in our groups today we thought this would be a good opportunity, as new teachers at Worser Bay, to share our tūrangawaewae with you all.

Jenny grew up in mighty South Canterbury, my wider whānau and I enjoy spending as much time as possible in The Catlins (down the very bottom of the South Island). This area is very special to me as it is untouched and there is NO WIFI or TV! My ancestry is Scottish, Irish and English. As a child I went to school for a year in Norfolk, England which gave me an opportunity to meet some of my father’s family for the first time.

Jenny and her 'big' catch

Nik was born and raised in Turanganui-a-kiwa (Gisborne) and feels a deep connection with this area. He is lucky enough to have visited and climbed his maunga (mountain), Hikurangi and when he is home spends as much time as possible at Wainui Beach and the Waimata river.  Nik’s ancestry is Croatian, German and British. While living in Europe he managed to retrace the footsteps of his tūpuna, visiting his family village of Majstrovići.

Nik on the summit of Hikurangi

What is your tūrangawaewae?

Friday, 15 February 2019

Global Play Day 2019

Today we took part in Global Play Day. 

In 2019, 535,690 from 72 nations played. In his TEDx lecture, Peter Gray clearly argues the case that today's kids do not grow up playing and this has negatively impacted them in many ways. It's time we return the gift of play to this generation.

Students were given the provocations:
  • Playing is serious business!
  • Play without rules is war!
  • I get to choose who and what I am when l play.
This morning we put ourselves on a continuum. We were asked the provocation, "Playing is a serious business!"

We were amazed with what the kids came up with...

Yoichi: Play without rules is war depending on the game. play day was fun.

Hanna: I had a fun time on Friday. I wish we could have play day every day. We had so much fun.

Nikora: I don’t really think playing is serious business because games are usually make believe. It depends what game you're playing but playing without rules is not usually bad. I think if you are playing a game that is make believe you can be whatever you want.

Nye: I don’t think that playing is serious because you are usually imagining so nothing seems serious it seems more like fun.

Izar: I played with Toby (the teddy bear) and got him really dirty. I played cops and robbers. I did a walk & talk ( it is when we just walk & talk.)

Nuala: I made a fort with my friends then it fell on us. We made a wolf den and played wolves. Nicola pretended to be a squirrel and Molly, the wolf, chased her. Then she tried to hide in a fort that she found. She didn't fit properly then she discovered that she was in the wolf den and was surrounded by all of the wolves.

Evie: I learnt how to share my toys and other people learnt how to share their toys back.

Eva: Today was a fun day because I played the whole day. I had a good time playing with the pickles and some others. We played Mafia, ditches and cops and robbers. I was surprised that our friend group actually dressed up as boys! There was something interesting about the day and that was that I kind of missed learning things in a normal way.

Kate: I was surprised with all the different games that people played.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Poetry About Our Place

We have been getting stuck into writing poems about some of our special places.  It is a great way to get back into writing and to immerse ourselves in the ideas for our Inquiry.  We are exploring the  importance of Place and are beginning to look at what it might be like to not have connections to significant places, no Turangawaewae or place to stand.
We have written poems about Wellington City:  The City is a Laughing, I Imagine Wellington as a Pizza, Wellington is a Garden.  We have been learning about personification; giving inanimate things human characteristics, using imagery and other poetic devices.  And we are learning to edit our writing; a super important skill.  Samuel Taylor Coleridge said the Poetry is 'the best words in the best order'. That's is what we have been trying to do.
                   by Hunter

Last night I saw the beach star-gazing
The water reflected the moon
Stars glimmered sleepily
Sand stared upwards
Shells boasting to constellations......

                       by Charlotte

Perhaps it would be a great conversation to have as a whanau; what are our important places?
Where can we feel totally at peace?  Is there somewhere where we feel connected to the world, the environment or even the universe?

Let's keep thinking big and expressing our ideas with rich poetry!

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Exploring Mathematical Statements

Mathematical practices extend beyond conceptual knowledge. Practices used by good problem solvers involve explaining, justifying, arguing, representing and generalising.

In Maths this week we investigated a Mathematical Statement that some of our students have been curious about: If you add the same amount to both numbers in a two digit subtraction problem, how might it affect the answer? 

We found out that if you add the same number to both numbers you get the same difference.

Our Success Criteria was to:

  • Explain our reasoning
  • Say whether we agree/ disagree
  • Listen to others and take on new ideas
  • Negotiate a shared understanding of ideas
  • Record our ideas in written form

Sharing Our Poetry Writing With Brindas School

Our friends from Brindas School in France wished us a Happy New Year and made us a cool movie. You can watch their movie on their blog:

We thought that we would like to reply by sharing some poetry that we have written. 

Last night I saw the beach breathing. The waves splashing up and down the beach. The sand getting ripped up by the wind. The wood moving up and down on the swell. Last night I saw the beach laughing. The sea trickled away as it was tickled by the sand. The fish giggle as they play hide and seek. The shells laugh as the sea washes over them. Last night I saw the beach dancing. The sand was dancing up and down in the wind. The birds dive and hover looking for food. The sea puts on shows with its white-tips.
By Solly

By Leo 

I listen to the kid laughing and talking to each other. The waves crashing down onto rocks like an anvil, The sand is as soft as a pillow. I take a step into the water and instantly I feel like I have stepped onto a block of ice strait out of the freezer. I go deep down into the sparkling, clear blue water, as I dived down I saw the things that will be unforgettable when my journey comes to an end. The fish are like bursts of colour underwater but I only got a glimpse because it’s like I’m a shark trying to eat them. As I am swimming the seaweed clings onto me like I’m a monster, The fish pass by and they look horrified! Then my journey comes to an end, my head pops up out of the water and at that very moment I can taste the salt water and smell the fresh air.
By Eva

Wellington wind
Windy wellington
Tree swaying in the wind
Jerseys blowing in trees
Hats swaying in the wind
Cat strolling around
Dogs jumping in the wind
People rushing to work
Dark clouds moan  
People waiting through the water
The sun rises as leaves run across the pavement
As kids rush to school
Windy Wellington
By Izar and Reuben

Being Connected is one of our learner attributes. 

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Treaty of Mahutonga Matariki!

We have made a great start to 2019 and have been putting our heads together to decide on some guidelines for the treaty of Mahutonga Matariki. It's easy to express how we want to be treated but sometimes it's harder to express how we need to treat others.

The diagrams below are consensus maps. We have all written our thoughts in the outside portion of the diagram and then come to agreement with the main points in the box in the middle. To do so requires discussion, negotiation and compromise; all big words!

Monday, 4 February 2019

Nau mai Haere mai, Welcome to 2019

Nau mai, Haere mai! Welcome back! We are very excited about the new year, seeing everybody and getting stuck into learning. We are literally ‘hitting the ground running’. We welcome our new students and returning students!

We would like to make special mention of new staff and our Masters student. It is great to have Jenny Cruden and Nik Mastrovich joining our teaching team. Both Jenny and Nik have made themselves familiar with our Worser Bay School culture during last year’s transition and over the holiday break and have spent the last week with us all, preparing for the upcoming year. Many of you will have met them on transition days last year or at the drop off. If you haven’t yet, please make yourself known. Tara Ross, doing her Masters of Teaching and Learning, joins our team also. She will be with us two days a week and then will be working with us full time in the third term for seven weeks. Welcome, welcome!

Here are a few important dates and reminders:
  • Waitangi day is the 6th of February and is a holiday
  • Family picnic is on Wednesday 13 February 6.00pm-7.30pm at Miramar Park
  • Global Play Day is on the 7th of February. More info to come.
  • Our EZ Cricket tournament is on the 27th of February. We encourage all Year 5 and 6 students to participate in this fun day. It is at Miramar Park this year so in walking distance 
  • Powhiri; a welcome to new staff and whānau will be on Friday the 1st of March at 9:15am
  • Camp this year is early, Monday the 4th of March through to the 6th of March. Our Year 4 Students join the 5s and 6s for the Tuesday programme
  • Please remember sun hats! Very important!
We finished off the year last year with an Inquiry, Where We Dance, exploring how we connect with others in the community, building social cohesion and resilience. Thanks to Elinor Armstrong for leading this work and installing 3rd places attractions including the very popular tyre swings. We will be continuing the Inquiry and as a part of this, reaching out, looking to extend our connections with whānau. We are lucky to be part of such a great community and this work will undoubtedly strengthen this even further. So, please don’t be strangers and get involved with our learning in whatever way you can. The more we can strengthen these home school connections the better! We are really looking forward to it.

Today we spent time in base groups getting to know each other.