#15 Weekly Update

31 May 2019

Rāmere, te 31 o Haratua

We held our Orewa Kāhui Ako leaders after school meeting at Orewa Primary School last Thursday in their new S.T.E.A.M. room. Following the educational approach that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics we were able to look at how Orewa Primary have taken an under utilised area of their school and turned it into a multi purpose learning space. With some classic kiwi ingenuity, clever purchasing, financial support and commitment from their school board of trustees, within school leader Andrew shared their journey so far.

While the classroom is nearing full completion with the installation of sound proofing to improve the acoustics, students have already experienced hands-on learning activities and creative design. Andrew hopes that in time the space will be utilised not only by Orewa Primary students, but the wider community and other Orewa Kāhui Ako schools.

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This is an excellent example of how the Kāhui Ako can work at its best; sharing of ideas, expertise, resources and collaborating with colleagues about the teaching and learning needed for our students to thrive in the 21st century. Simon is happy for schools to contact him if you would like any more information or to set up a visit the classroom.

Rōpū Te Reo Me Tikanga Māori

Top tip o te wiki for normalising te reo Māori!:

Have a visual audit

A great TEDTalk came to my attention for the second time today called “Giving mana to Tiriti o Waitangi in our schools”.

One of the key points made by Janelle Riki-Waaka is that we need to ask ourselves the question: “How would I know I am in a school in Aotearoa?”

Part of normalisation is increasing the amount of Māori symbolism and language/ te reo we see in our learning spaces, staff rooms, office spaces, school hall, libraries, outdoor areas and even the view from the street.

It should go beyond a small display in the corner of a room. Māori culture is woven into the fabric of Aotearoa. It sets us apart from the rest of the world. It is a part of who we are and our kura should be, no exception.

Over the next few months, let’s challenge ourselves to look at our own spaces and again ask the question, “How would I know I am in a school in Aotearoa?”

Left: School pepeha displayed outside Wainui School Office. A perfect example.

Rōpū Taunaki Ako/ Learning Support Group

Dr Sharon Hoover

Dr Sharon Hoover is in New Zealand at the invitation of Presbyterian Support Northern, who work with DHBs and other agencies to support children and families. We were delighted to host a presentation at Orewa College on Thursday 30th May where Dr. Hoover shared with us her about her role as a licensed clinical psychologist as an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

She is an expert in school mental health, and bringing evidence based mental health research into real life contexts. Our focus for the afternoon was centred on Dr Hoover sharing current practice and how we can deal with our increasing numbers of students who present with mental health issues.

What skills do we want our students to leave school with?

Her research and practice shows how students are more likely to engage in and follow through with mental health services when offered in schools than in traditional community mental health settings. Like New Zealand, they work in a multi tiered system, working on the mindset of providing interventions early and therefore pre-empting support early to reduce much higher needs later on. People think we need to put our energy into identified mental health, but we actually need to look at the lower end of the scale to stop so much higher level needs.

How can teachers help students who present as anxious in our classrooms? Follow the link here and here to changing minds resources for educators to be trauma responsive.

The workshop was a great chance for us to reflect on our own practices in schools; what is working well, needs to change or develop further in order to best meet the needs of our students.


Rōpū Tuhituhi / Writing Group

Discussion at our last week’s leaders meeting was based on the need for developing cohesion in our expectations across our Kāhui Ako, focussing on the L.P.F. aspects: text structure and communicating knowledge and understanding across the curriculum from NZC Levels 1 -5. Our ‘hunch’ is that students are not making the connection with writing in English and transferring these skills into other subject areas, resulting in poor written responses that do not truly reflect the students’ capabilities. We will begin working on developing tools that can be used to support instruction along the lines of ‘anchor charts’ to build a culture of literacy in the classroom by making thinking—both for the teacher’s and students’—visible while also providing scaffolded expectations across our Kāhui Ako.

Writing moderation

A reminder that our narrative writing samples for our second round of moderation are to be submitted by Monday 10th June.

Photo prompts enlarged

  • Task descriptor – ‘Every picture tells a story. Use your imagination to narrate (tell) a story about the photo.
  • One photo to be selected by either student(s) or teachers from the 3 examples below.
  • No time limits have been set – up to individual teachers. (can be noted in task descriptor.)
  • Time can be given to discuss the prompt, class brainstorm etc
  • Word banks, brainstorms can be used, but noted in task descriptor.
  • No names or year levels
  • Task descriptor at top with photo included
  • Samples can be hand written and scanned or written digitally
  • Writing can be edited for spelling – (encoding will not be assessed)

LPF aspects to be marked against:

  • Creating text for Literary Purposes
  • Vocabulary knowledge
  • Text structure

Rōpū Pāngarau/ Maths Focus Group

Modernising maths for a changing world. High school mathematics teacher Bernie Wills is revolutionising the way students learn maths, in a bid to better prepare them for the ever-changing workplace. Follow the link here to Education Central for this article.

Pānui ngaio/ Professional Reading


Cracking the Spelling Code – Phonics

Professor Tom Nicholson is a specialist in children’s literacy at Massey University’s Institute of Education, Auckland campus. Follow the link here to Education Central for this article.

Hands-on programme raises literacy literacy levels at Auckland’s Sunnybrae Normal School have soared since the introduction of a hands-on programme for new entrants that includes the use of high-frequency word cards and ‘acting out’. Follow the link here to Education Central for this article.

To keep up to date, follow us on our Kāhui Ako website: https://orewakahuiako.com/


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