#7 Newsletter 2022

Rāmere, te 25 o Maehe 2022


Year 11 NCEA  Mechatronics/ English Integrated Course

Course Beginnings:

The idea for this collaboration was largely born out of two observations. The first was the frustration with senior students who do not see a purpose for English. Many of them are buying time and trying to amass credits in order to really start their lives. The second was the lack of purpose-based writing. We felt that PBL environments give students the purpose some of them need to produce good quality work.

Course Outline:

This course is an integrated subject between Mechatronics and English. It offers students the chance to develop English skills in context, and develop knowledge based around Technology (Mechatronics) concepts.  Students use design thinking to conceptualise, prototype and build projects in Mechatronics that use Electronics as their core. English skills connect with technology skills in the evidence they produce on their personal websites. 


We currently have a group of students split into two class groups, dividing their time equally between the subjects. It is perhaps worth noting that this is their English class, it is not an additional class. Students move between subject areas as required, in either Mechatronics or English. Occasionally, we all get together to plan and strategise. 

With students having the knowledge of a particular subject area like Mechatronics, their English assessments take on relevance to the second area of their study program. Projects have a driving question to focus the writing, and each iteration follows the Design Thinking framework. What has amazed the teachers of this course is that, although our time is halved, we have actually gained time due to the streamlined and integrated nature of the course.

For more information – l.rubens@orewacollege.nz


This is a computational thinking challenge for years 4 to 13. It will be held from March 15 to 28. 

Instructions on how to register yourself as a coordinator is on the website https://bebras.nz/. The coordinator’s instructions can be downloaded from the “Teachers” tab (although once registered as a coordinator, the easiest way to register students is just to click on “students” and request x skeleton users. Then just assign one account per student on the generated spreadsheet).

Last year a little over 2500 students sat across the country. 

There are 2 practice challenges available on the site for you to use for free. But for the 2022 challenge, the charge is $50 per school, regardless of how many students you enter.

Mind Over Manner is a charity organisation that presents theatre inspired workshops to ignite social change in our communities.

In particular the Witness programme benefits wellbeing in regards to bullying, and responding positively as the witness.

Utilising a team of four experienced actors and one facilitator, scenarios are played out and then improvised… shaped… altered… using the input and suggestions of students themselves. By examining these life-like scenarios such as social exclusion, cyber bullying & slut shaming, WITNESS exposes and explores cycles of conflict, behaviours of survival and defence, and why Hurt People Hurt People. 

Each WITNESS workshop includes:

  • Preparatory discussions with participating stakeholder organisations.
  • Follow up resources. 
  • 3 Workshops at the school over 1 day (reaching up to 500 students)
  • Preparation and distribution of feedback forms
  • Follow up evaluation meeting with school representative

For more information including videos, contacts and resources, click on this link

Mind over Manner also holds workshops associated with Neurodiversity and Cognitive Difference. Among other themes, the workshop reveals concrete knowledge of sensory processing and how it can affect behaviour. Also examined will be neural pathways, deciphering language and “meltdown” recovery responses.

The Mind Over Manner workshop aims to normalise what is often viewed as disability or dysfunction and encourages the reframe of cognitive difference.

For more information on Neurodiversity and Cognitive Difference workshops click on this link.  Here is an example video 

What is Solution Fluency in Education?

Solution fluency is the ability to think creatively to solve problems in real time by clearly defining the problem, designing an appropriate solution, applying the solution then evaluating the process and the outcome.

Solution fluency asks students to define a problem, develop and deliver a solution and evaluate the process and results. There are six key steps to solution fluency:

  • Define — Decide what needs to be solved
  • Discover — Gather knowledge and research the problem
  • Dream — Think about the possible ways the problem can be solved, and imagine what you want the end result to look like
  • Design — Use information from previous steps to start building your solution
  • Deliver — Complete and present the project (also known as Produce and Publish)
  • Debrief — Reflect on where the project succeeded and what could be more effective next time

With these skills, students can master any new problems they might encounter, both in the classroom and the workplace.

If you want to know more about Solution Fluency here is a step-by-step guide that you can apply to your teaching.

Solution Fluency


Using Story Board for Follow-up Lessons

One of the kaiako in our Kāhui has shared a great idea that we thought is well worth passing on. She has used storyboardthat.com to draw the interest of her ākonga and help them grasp the language learnt this week. 

“My are loving using storyboardthat.com – they are creating comics with today’s te reo focus. They can create 2 free storyboards/comics per week, so you could also use it in other learning areas. 

Lots of fun and really engaging – they can show a lot in their comic to reflect their characters’ feelings.” 

Mel Pollard, Silverdale School

Kāhui Ako Hui Dates – Term One 2022

Date Venue Who Time

31st March – Online – 3.30pm Across School Leaders & Within School Leaders 

7th April – Online – 3.30pm Across School Leaders

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