#7 Newsletter 2024

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Rāmere, te 31 o te Mei 2024

Orewarewa whenua, puāwai māhuri

On the fertile ground of Orewa, the sapling blooms


Have something to share? Get in contact with one of our Across School Leaders – we would love to hear from you!

[email protected] Te Ao Māori

[email protected] Hauora

[email protected] Future Ready

[email protected] 21st Century Learning

[email protected] Structured Literacy



Jo Knox PD May TOD 2024


We are looking forward to a wonderful TOD this Friday. The morning will start with the primary schools looking at Maths and Stats in our refreshed curriculum so we are ready to hit the ground running next year. 

Important information:

Please be seated by 8:45. We do have 7 schools attending so parking is at a premium. We recommend carpooling or there is parking in the 2 teacher carparks and along the driveway as you enter the school. Alternatively, there is plenty of parking just down the road at the sportsfields (Metro Park).

A light morning tea of biscuits, tea and coffee will be available. Feel free to bring in your coffee beforehand or other snacks you may like. 

The morning session finishes at 11:45 and you will need to be seated in the Orewa College Arts and Event Centre by 1pm for our guest speaker Jay Geldard which all schools will be attending.

Please bring along the following materials/resources for the day

An overview of what we are looking at is below.

Session 1: 8:45-10:15am

Identify changes in content with the curriculum refresh:

  • Digging into the Knows of Te Mātaiaho

Session 2: 10:35-11:45am

Implications for pedagogy:

  • Exploring the Dos of Te Mātaiaho
  • Connecting the Dos and the Common Practice Model
  • The need for a balance of tasks

Any questions, please feel free to ask. 




New Staff Pōhiri at Te Herenga Waka o Orewa Marae

Our annual new staff pōhiri at Te Herenga Waka o Orewa Marae was a success. Kaiako turned out from across the Kāhui Ako ki Orewa to begin the process of whakawhanaungatanga and developing links with our local community Marae.

We met out front of the tomokanga/entrance named ‘Imanuera’ on a chilly afternoon to prepare our waiata tautoko and kaimihi/speakers. Soon after, the karanga signalled the beginning of the pōhiri and as we were called on to the marae, whaea Emma Foster from Ahutoetoe School replied to the call. 

Soon we were in the wharenui, Hikia te Ao, where kaumatua Kereama Nathan, kuia Trish Nathan and kaikaranga Amanda McGlashan waited with welcoming smiles. Heading to the back wall, we acknowledged the tīpuna/ancestors whose photos adorn the back wall before the harirū/handshake and hongi.

After the hīmine and karakia, Kereama led the proceedings, extending his welcome to all attendees, and opening the doors to all people from all nations to be able to participate at our community marae. He explained that now that we have had a pōhiri, from this time forth, we are whānau and a part of the marae. During the formalities, it was great to see the depth of speakers, including Trevor Reubens and Wiri Warriner from Orewa College.

Finally, we shared kōrero, waiata and introduced ourselves/whakawhanaungatanga, as tangata whenua and tangata Tiriti moving towards a future together in a time where this mahi is more important than ever.

Toitū te Tiriti!















At Nukumea Primary School, each term we concentrate on a central theme. In Term 1 our concept was Diversity. After consultation and brainstorming with the children, they decided they’d like to learn about planetary diversity. We looked at the planets and other celestial bodies in our solar system and beyond. Technology integration played a huge part in the learning. 

We used the app ‘Solar Walk’ to investigate the planets and, more specifically, look at their composition. The app was great to show the students what the inside of the planets looked like and what they were made from.


Using the information they gained from these apps, they recreated a planet of their choice in Minecraft. We used the code builder function to first create a sphere out of their chosen material. Then they went inside their planet and started to build up the core, mantle and crust. The students carefully chose the materials to align with the actual matter inside the planet. 

The other digital programme that proved a huge hit with students and parents alike was Cospaces. We used this programme to code in the solar system. The students learned about the orbits of the planets and also that some of the planets spin in different directions. This was all captured with the coding inside Cospaces. We brought our creations to life using Merge Cubes and Augmented Reality. Click to see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/Ny_ZxAM36vU











Should we teach students to name letters in isolation and what’s the point in handwriting lessons when keyboard (typing) lessons would be more useful? 


We know letter recognition can be helpful when it comes to developing the alphabetic principle. Letter naming is an excellent screening tool because automatic letter recognition is very predictive of early literacy skills. 


However, it may not be best to teach letter naming in isolation, but rather to teach letter name, sound, and how to write it all together as a unit. When students learn these skills in a purposeful sequence, they will be able to read and write words. 


Research is telling us that learning handwriting may recruit the same brain network as letter recognition, so that means teaching handwriting may improve letter recognition. 


Reading isn’t natural to humans like oral language skills are. The reading circuit doesn’t exist at birth. Areas of the brain that have different purposes have to be repurposed into the new reading circuit. This repurposing can be facilitated by instruction and purposeful literacy experiences. 


The part of the brain that is used to recognize letters, starts out being used to recognize faces and other objects. 


It seems that handwriting and letter recognition may draw on the same brain network. Before children become literate, learning to write letters may help with letter recognition. 


A series of studies by researchers at Indiana University using brain scanning technology see this network light up after different types of instruction. After children were taught handwriting, the visual regions that are active during letter perception become connected to the motor regions in ways that match the connections seen in the brains of literate adults. They did not get the same result when they taught students to type or to trace letters. 


The theory is that learning to write letters creates a variety of visual and motor experiences that links the brain systems into a new functional network for letter recognition. 


Teach handwriting. Learning to type or to print via tracing does not seem to be as productive. Many research studies provide evidence for the importance of handwriting for spelling, vocabulary, and written composition. 



How can we reach our Youth?


We were having a discussion at our local Youth Hauora Network about how we reach youth these days. How do we share in their worlds?

How do we promote local services, activities and organisations that are available to support youth? This led to the bigger question:


How do we connect with youth these days? 

The use of social media by youth is not what us “oldies” (for want of a better term) think it is. We are on completely different platforms, in totally different digital worlds. 


What is the most used social media by age?

18-29 years – Snapchat (41%), TikTok (35%), Instagram (32%)

30-39 years – Linkedin (34%), X/Twitter (34%), Snapchat (33%), Instagram (32%)

40-49 years – Linkedin (25%), facebook (22%), X/Twitter (21%)

50-59 years – Facebook (29%), Linkedin (24%), Pinterest (24%)

14 Feb 2024 


If we genuinely want to connect with youth, we need to be flexible, available and willing to try new ways. 


So how do we connect? The simple answer: Ask them!

“Facebook is for oldies, use Insta”



“I’m not going to read through that, use a QR code”


“Keep it visual, less writing”


As much as young people seem to love social media, that’s not where their core relationships and support networks come from.  We need to examine and freshen up the way we try to engage with young people.


Best practice advice to make sure younger people are involved in your conversations:




Kāhui Ako Hui Dates – Term 2 2024


Friday 31st May – Mini-Conference @ Orewa College 1pm


Thursday 6th June – ASL @ Orewa College – WSL @ Orewa College 3.30pm


Thursday 20th June – ASL @ Orewa Primary School – WSL @ Orewa College 3.30pm


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Stronger together

Supporting and Empowering all tamariki and Kaiako to learn and achieve personal excellence/hiranga.