#01 Newsletter 2021

Rāmere, te 19 o Huitanguru

Welcome/ Nau Mai, Haere Mai

Welcome back to the school year. When we started writing this newsletter, we were at level 1 and all face-to-face, getting to know our new students and colleagues. It just goes to show that we need to prepare for a flexible and variable working environment.

A new year comes with a number of welcomes, and our Kāhui Ako is no exception. Two principals who have been part of our community for many years have now stepped into the role of Lead Principals of the Orewa Kāhui Ako. We welcome Gillian Bray (Wainui School) and Cameron Lockie (Silverdale Primary) as our Lead Principals and we look forward to collaborating across our community and forging clear and purposeful pathways for our students. Gillian and Cameron are currently working with the other four principals in this group to determine the focus, scope and direction for 2021 and beyond. In addition, they have complied and sent out a survey to be filled in by teachers in our community to collect our teacher voice which also helps to inform our future direction.

And secondly, Orewa College is pleased to welcome Greg Pierce to the role of Orewa College Principal. Nau mai haere mai ki te Kāhui Ako Orewa. Greg replaces Kate Shevland, who retired at the end of 2020. Greg has taught and been an educational leader in a wide range of schools, in New Zealand and in England, over a 30-year period. He believes that principals are privileged to be the professional custodians of schools and it is essential that during their period of leadership that innovative and sustainable whole school practices are constantly being focused on, in order to drive improvements and learning outcomes for both students and staff. Greg has a goal of quickly becoming involved in the Orewa community and we are excited about him joining us, and we welcome him into the Orewa Kāhui ako community.

positive classroom culture

Aotearoa, New Zealand’s histories in our national curriculum

Aotearoa, New Zealand is on a journey to ensure that all ākonga in all schools and kura learn how our histories have shaped our present day lives.

Me mātai whakamuri, kia anga whakamua

To shape New Zealand’s future, let’s start with the past

The Ministry has partnered with a wide range of people to draft Aotearoa, New Zealand’s histories curriculum content. Testing of the content is underway in schools and kura. They would like as many schools and kura as possible to test the draft content for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories in Term 1 and Term 2 2021.

Public engagement on the content and an online survey is open until 31 May 2021. All feedback will be considered before the content is finalised. If you would like more information, please click on this link.

Professional Reading

John Spencer: “In my latest article, I explore the idea of having students share their process with an audience. We tend to think about the idea of a “launch” as something where students share their finished products with an authentic audience. However, there is real value in having students share their learning journey as well.

To read more about the creative process follow this link.

Maths Professional Development

Maths Made Easy is offering a range of workshops and professional development. For more information, follow this link.

literacy and numeracy skills

Strengthening engagement with parents and whānau is a key strategic priority in leading to positive outcomes for our learners across our Kāhui Ako. Follow the link here to practical information about education for parents and carers in developing literacy and numeracy skills at home. This could be shared with parents from ECE, Primary and Secondary levels.

The reluctant writer

Structured brainstorming

Structured brainstorming enables students to group words in meaningful ways so that these meaningful groups of words can become sentences or paragraphs.This structure is useful for all forms of writing, especially when implemented using the tuākana (a more competent peer), tēina (a less competent peer) support relationship.

Step 1: Collecting words

Brainstorming together words that are connected to a particular topic. This is a key to activating prior knowledge on topics and to gather as many words as possible. Other sources of information such as the teacher, peers, dictionaries or wall charts may also be accessed.

Step 2. Grouping words

After the initial brainstorm students then focus on the words that have been recorded in the collection list and consider which pairs of words go together. As a pair of related words is identified they are transferred across to the boxes that are labelled Group. In a tuākana, tēina situation this could be undertaken by the tēina.

Step 3. Labelling groups

Once students have arranged pairs of words into the boxes, they need to consider and discuss what makes the two words a pair, or why the words are connected. Once they have decided upon the reason this becomes the label and is written by the tuākana in the Label box. The students then go back to the words listed in the collection box and transfer all words across into the appropriate group boxes. This can be done by the tēina.

Students are able to use each of the category boxes to formulate sentences and/or paragraphs. In the tuākana, tēina situation each student has access to the brainstorm which can effectively scaffold them into independent writing. Below is an example based on the topic birds.

Abridged version ( original source- Connections and Collaboration: Strategies to accelerate writing Ministry of Education)

Education Gazette: Tukutuku Kōrero

We all get our copies of the Education Gazette, but we thought we’d highlight this month’s issue given that this is a special edition to mark 100 years of publication. It’s a big one! The digital version can be found on this link.

Covid-19 Response Reminder

We have been here before and we may yet need to be here again. As we write this, we are in a 3-day lockdown in Auckland and it is unknown as yet if it may end up being for a longer time. Regardless of the time length, Covid has an impact. As we reflect, we think of our students who have just started to settle into their new school year, with new teachers and perhaps a new environment, of the students who have just transitioned to College and are finding their way, of the students who have just had their first days of school and wonder why suddenly they can’t go today. Many of our staff and students have relatives overseas who are in countries with much higher rates of transmission and fatalities. It is a timely reminder of how we can look out for our students and our fellow staff members. Let’s hope we are back to school safe and sound soon.

Celebrating ‘Me’

At the start of the school year, we want to get to know our students and build relationships. The environment we create in our classrooms has a massive impact on how a student learns, grows and enjoys their successes. We often have our students make posters or share about themselves at this time of year. It is the perfect opportunity to celebrate uniqueness and set the tone for inclusion, especially for our students with special learning and/ or physical needs. Create an environment for all learners, for all to belong, for all to be celebrated. Choosing our language can vastly improve a child’s sense of belonging or feel alienation. Using language such as:

Celebrate our differences

What makes us unique or special

What I can offer the class

Diverse needs (rather than special needs)

Child with ASD (rather than an ASD child)

What makes us a fantastic class (celebrating support, bond, manaaki)

Journey together (the good and the bad, the easy and the hard)

Pōhiri across our kura

It has been exciting to see pōhiri across all of our kura for new staff and students over the past few weeks. This was one of the aspirations we have achieved since compiling our Rautaki Reo ki Orewa/Te Ao Māori Strategy doc back in 2019 and together we have maintained this since the strategy came into effect.

All of our kura have developed the knowledge, skills and appropriate relationships needed in order to provide a pōhiri that aligns with tikanga Māori. The more pōhiri our students and whānau are a part of, the more comfortable they become to participate in the process and this was apparent when Orewa College welcomed students from all of our kura. The students brought an increased confidence to the occasion.

As a Kāhui we can all be proud of this progress and look forward together for ways that we can build upon this fantastic mahi.

Photos: Pōhiri at Orewa College involving many students from across our Kāhui

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