Saturday, 27 June 2020

Celebrating Science!

We are celebrating and sharing our science investigations in Māhutonga Matariki!

This work is part of our Inquiry - Think Like A Scientist. We started by doing Geology experiments during science rotations we took this learning and explored our own interests in Geology and beyond..

'It was really fun because we had freedom in what we did and we could follow what interested us' - Greta

We have found it really challenging planning and carrying out our own investigations. This is tricky stuff! The learning we are doing falls under the Nature of Science branch of the New Zealand curriculum. Students are learning how to explore scientific ideas, carry out an experiment and communicating the findings. Our learners have risen to this challenge while pursuing their interests.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Puanga Whānau Day - Carl, Nik + Teuila

We had a great time connecting with our Whānau Group this week to learn about and celebrate Puanga. You may have heard of Matariki as being the Māori New Year. Read on to find out what we learnt about the Puanga, lesser known among pākehā but highly significant to us here at Whetūkairangi.

We started off the day learning a new waiata, which was gifted to us as a taonga from Te Āti Awa, the mana whenua of this rohe (region). We hope to sing this for you some time soon!

Then we spent a bit of time getting to know our new whānau members (and reconnecting with old ones). Then it was in to the art!

Yesterday we had a day of learning about Māori New Year. We learnt about Puanga and we did art. We had to cut out a mountain from card and with the scraps make texture on the mountain. We used tinfoil to make the star, Puanga, and we used pastel to colour the sky and other stars. Puanga is a star that you can see at the end of the Māori year. Matariki is what you see at the start.
- Chris G

We learnt a song from the Taranaki tribe which they sing at Puanga. Wellington mainly celebrates Puanga as we can't see Matariki because of the mountains. So, we made some mountain art with pastels and paper. We layered the mountain with cut out paper. Last but not least we added a tinfoil star - Puanga! 
- Sabine M

I learnt that Matariki isn't the only stars we celebrate. Puanga is higher in the sky than Matariki. I also learnt that Tautoru is three stars and they point at Matariki. The mountains block our view of Matariki.
- Tigerlily V

Part way through the day Matua Henare came to do a Kapa Haka workshop with us. A great opportunity to practice our skills with a mixed group from across the school. This gave our seniors a chance to show some leadership. Sometimes we perform together, but we hardly ever practice together so this was really special. Tau kē!
Learning about Puanga doesn't mean we forget about Matariki! Matua Henare taught us new lines for the song 'Te Iwa o Matariki' which add in the extra two stars:
Ko Pohutukawa e
Ko Hiwaiterangi e
Matariki, e arā e...

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Puanga Whanau Day

Today we had the morning in our Whanau Groups! We enjoyed a chance to connect across the school and learn more about Matariki and Puanga.

We split off into our groups  to maybe a new space too! We have been learning that Matariki and Puanga is a time to reflect on the year and to set new goals for the future.

In Jenny and Suz's group we created a landscape with stars; two from each each child.  We wrote on one something we were grateful for and another about a wish for the future. We were grateful for lots of things like our school, our health and EVEN our sisters.

Matariki/Puanga runs from 13th-20th of July.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Geology Around Us!

Some of us have continued to find out more about how the land is formed and what rocks types we have all around us.

So we went on a small field trip to, you guessed it, Worser Bay Beach.  These are some of the photos we took of the rock forms we are interested in.  Most of them are Sedimentary rocks but there were some surprises and we ended up with some really interesting questions to explore.
Rock explorer!

There are so many interesting forms!
Do the red rocks contain iron? What are the white rocks made of?  Are the round deposits in the sandstone volcanic by any chance because they look as if they are?  If this is the case, what volcano do they come from?

Are these volcanic deposits?  Let's find out!

Duck on a Bike!

The duck on a bike is dynamic; whirling around the classroom.  Watch how its propeller hat spins!  Is it going to take flight?  Where is it going?  What does it want? It has a dangerous look in its eye!

Watch out!  Is the Duck on a Bike attacking us?  No it is dancing with us.
See how the kids break dance around it, dancing with it? The Duck on a Bike is on a mission. A mission to make us marvel: an imagination mission! What did you imagine?

We have been looking at artefacts and wondering about them. All sorts of strange treasures in money boxes, in little treasure chests, fossils and coins and brooches. Games, kaleidoscopes and spinning things.
We wanted to add detail to our writing, using commas and so we have been practicing this.

What a great tool the comma is. It allows us to add juicy details, extra thoughts, important additions, extraordinary things we had never thought of prior to that moment when, having applied the comma, it all became clear. Phew! Exclamation marks have their part to play as well, don't they. Well, don't they?

Anyway, please keep an eye out on Seesaw for our writing which has a little more punch because we have been applying the subtle, yet powerful comma.

Being Connected: Travelling Tales

During lockdown, some of our students were involved in Travelling Tales. Students were allocated a section of the story to write and illustrate. After they finished their part, it was passed on to the next student. What a great way to demonstrate our learner attribute of "being connected." 

In the past, we have been involved in Travelling Tales with other schools across the globe created by Joel Bevans. 

Story Mountain Planner:

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Discussing Ideas in Maths

We have a big focus on discourse (oral discussion, listening, thinking).

This week we have been focussing on: 
  • Asking questions 
  • Everyone thinking about what speaker is saying 
  • Being ready to repeat what the speaker has said 
  • Being ready to explain thinking 
Discourse is really important in all areas of the curriculum.  In Maths, this encourages students to think deeply about Mathematical concepts. Effective discourse happens when students articulate their thinking and consider the thinking of others. 

An example of some effective mathematical discourse that has been made visible:

Students were invited to find as many different ways they can to  solve: How many dots? This encouraged flexible thinking about number which improves Number Sense. 

Students have been learning to use a Growth Mindset in Maths. They are learning that risk taking and mistakes help the brain to grow. 

Monday, 15 June 2020

Morning Rotations

We are getting back into the swing of things at school, which means we are back doing morning rotations. This system is set up so students participate in Te Reo Māori, Typing, Handwriting or Spelling for the first 15 minutes of their day. 

Students rotate around the senior teachers in the order of John>Jenny>Nik>Nicola, starting at their basegroup teacher on Tuesdays. 

Te Reo Māori
John runs a ‘booster’ session that compliments and reminds students of learning in Te Reo Māori from Thursday’s full lesson. We are currently looking at how to ask what others are doing and to reply to this question.  In order to do this we are learning many new verbs.  Next we will be looking at saying the same things but in the past and future tenses. 


Students work through the lessons which helps them to increase their speed and accuracy when using a computer. 

Nik takes students through a few sentences with the focus of forming letters correctly and making our work presentable.

Nicola supports students to practice their spelling words. During the week, students test one another on their words (or an adult will help) and then they generate new lists. New words are either taken from the students writing book, the essential word list or from phonics that they are learning. Words on the essential word list make up about 75% of writing, so they are very important.

Spelling words are posted on Seesaw. If you would like to practise spelling at home you can use these activities.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Samoan Art - Siapo

Teuila taught us about Samoan Art called Siapo. It is art that has been passed on from generation to generation. She helped us to make some stencils so that the patterns would be good. Once the patterns were on, we went over with crayons so it would stand out then we coloured it in. After that we used dye to make the colour stand out and to make it look like tapa cloth.

By Eddie