A Day in the Life of the Junior Class

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This is the latest article in the Lizard News, about our Junior Class at Matahui.  The full article is below.

By Donna McDonald, Matahui School Year 1-3 Teacher

We roll into our day with our learning through a play programme. I set up activities in the classroom that are designed to inspire the children to create, build and grow their imagination; inspired by the Montessori philosophy, wooden loose parts and natural materials are a big part of our programme. Our morning mat time includes music and song.

After morning tea, we practice reading, writing, poetry and spelling; we love learning through stories and poems. Term one has included a swimming programme where children build water confidence and learn the foundations of swimming and water safety. 

Math is one of our favourite parts of our day. We warm up with counting games that promote number knowledge and then split into groups where we do activities, applied knowledge worksheets and small group work with me. We love learning about coding and computational thinking too. 

Enquiry-based learning is at the centre of our curriculum. Enquiry-based learning is where I begin with an idea, and through discussion with the students I begin to understand what interests them about that topic. This term we are learning about our people and our community, with a focus on our school. This enquiry links into our forest school programme, Year 3 camp, and bush walks in our local community. We’ve been mapping our school, understanding its many purposes and uses, and then exploring ways we can make our school more sustainable. The children have chosen to build a sustainable water system to help collect rainwater to use in our garden and sandpit play.  

Another focus this term is learning about Photosynthesis: growing sunflowers from seed and experimenting with the conditions that plants need to grow. This term, our  families are donating native trees to help extend our forest block. Every child will plant their tree, care for it, and watch it grow over their time here at Matahui School. We will use the worm juice from our worm farm to fertilize our trees; and our learnings will help us understand how and what a tree needs to thrive and grow.   

An important part of our weekly programme includes nature and being among nature. We keep nature journals, learn about planting and weeding, cook our own food, and explore and discover our natural environment with our Guardians of the Forest programme. We explore and connect to nature in our Nature Everyday programme, link in science, and enjoy mindfulness under our favourite tree. The children love building huts and finding hideaways in our school nature block; and create rivers, cities, volcanoes and even villages in our sandpit.  

A big part of our education programme includes learning languages. We explore Māori and sign language through song, actions and movement. We also learn French and music with our specialised language and music teacher. Twice a term our junior students lead a community assembly which focuses on the Matahui School Value of the Week where we share our learning with the rest of the school community. This gives our students, even those as young as 5-years-old, the opportunity to practice public speaking: they are often very proud to showcase their learnings and artwork.  

Our hope is that when someone walks into our classroom it is warm, bright, calm, inviting, inspiring, exciting and a place to grow. We want to create a safe space where the children can learn about friendships, and develop socially, emotionally and academically. We are a family who love to share in our “aha moments” as we travel this learning journey together. 

Photo caption: Matahui School junior class master puzzles as part of their learning rotation. Puzzles improve our memory, problem solving skills and visual spatial awareness. 

A Journey through Kowhai Class Term 1 2019

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Self portraits by Charlotte
Can you see which one is happy, sad and excited?
Self portraits by Sammy, showing sad, angry and happy expressions.
We went to the Tauranga Art Gallery to see Emma Prill’s flower art. By Callaway
We made our own 3D flowers. Here is my crab flower. By Charlotte
The Chinese New Year celebrates the Nian dragon.
By Emma
Here are our stories about the Chinese dragon. By Anna
The Chinese dragon by Tyla
Here are our Chinese scrolls. We wrote our name in Chinese and our Chinese new year animal. By Emma
Chinese scroll by Luna
We had a great day on Boat Day at Omokoroa Beach.
By Isabella
We learnt about Impressionism in art and in our paintings we used little brush strokes to show light, dark and movement in the water. By Phoenix
We read the Maori legend ‘How Maui Caught the Sun’.
By Anna
We used the Koru design. By Luna
Can you see how the sun is feeling? By Isabella
How Maui Caught the Sun By Phoenix
We compared 2 legends – The legend of the Taniwha….
By Callaway
And…The legend of the Chinese Water Dragon. By Callaway
The legend of the Taniwha dragon. By Sammy
The legend of the Chinese Water Dragon. By Sammy
We wrote a bubble poem. By Tyla

Kowhai class would like to share some of their learning with you over Term 1 2019.

We have been learning to write persuasive texts.  They are trying to convince you which art form was the best way to express yourself.  Read their arguments and then you can decide!


My favourite art form is drawing. Drawing is the best because you can draw things that aren’t real.  You can use any colour. It looks like it’s real but it’s not.  You can use different types of pens. 
It is so fun. By Tyla

My favourite art form is painting. You can use little brush strokes to show light and dark and movement in the water.
You can paint whatever you want. I like painting. By Phoenix

My favourite art form is dancing.
You get to twirl and dance and jump.
Dancing is the best!
By Isabella


My favourite art form is painting. I like it because you can blend colours.  You can make different colours. You can make whatever you want.  You can take your art home and keep it forever. I love painting! By Anna

My favourite art form is drama. I love drama because you can act characters and I love making people laugh.  I love dressing up and I love being brave and calm in front of lots of people.
When I act, I can tell a story.
I love drama.  It is the best!
By Emma

My favourite art form is drawing.  We can draw things that are the best.  We make awesome pictures.
I feel creative!
By Luna

My favourite art form is music.
Music is the best because you get to listen to all different music.
Music is the best because you can play different kinds of music.
You can play ‘The Wind and the Sun’.  The wind is really loud.  The sun is really calm.  Butterfly Fly Away is very calm too.   What Does the Fox Say is very loud.
Music makes me feel happy.
By Callaway

My favourite art form is music.
You can dance to music.
You can play the piano and close your eyes.
By Sammy

My favourite art form is music.
The music is very nice because it is very beautiful to listen to music. 
I love to sing.
Music makes me feel safe and sound.
By Charlotte

New principal brings strong skills to Matahui

Katikati Advertiser
24 Jan 2019

 

New principal Mary Woods with husband Jim, daughters Patricia and Catherine and three grandchildren.

Matahui School welcomes Mary Woods as its new principal in 2019 after a community farewell to principal Max Muller in December.

Mary brings a strong skillset and vast experience to the school in science, Future Problem Solving, IT and mindfulness. Her substantial knowledge of student diversity, curriculum experience and inquiry is expected to add value to a successful learning environment for children ranging from Years 1 to 8.

Mary is married to Jim and they have two daughters — Patricia and Catherine, and three grandchildren — Phoebe, Arley and Zoe. Mary and Jim have recently moved from Tauranga to Pahoia and are looking forward to settling into the community.

Students at Matahui have a diverse range of backgrounds, strengths and learning styles. The school’s philosophy of providing a solid learning environment that allows all children to foster creativity, critical thinking and leadership, is what initially drew Mary to the school.

Children at Matahui are encouraged and supported to collaborate with each other during a range of activities during class time, while enjoying ‘education outside of the classroom’.

Education outside of the classroom is one of the driving characters of the school where students work collaboratively while being challenged to reach their personal potential. Learning through play classes enjoy frequent camps and field trips, and involvement in various community activities and the school has a native bush area, fondly known as ‘The Huts’.

School starts at Matahui on Tuesday, January 29.

Puriri Camp

What great fun Puriri had at Redwood Valley Farm Park Camp last week. We fed the pigs and chickens, played games, wrote a diary, had fun on an awesome waterslide and rode the river on tubes. Thank you to our parent helpers for their great support and fantastic meals.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF STUDENT VOICE

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At Matahui School we regard our relationship with parents and caregivers as a partnership. Communicating with them is important, hence the conversations we have with them and the report we write about the progress their children are making as learners are significant, but the most powerful form of reporting we undertake at the school is our end of year Student-Led Conferences.

The Student-Led Conference is a formal method of reporting where the students have the opportunity to discuss, present and demonstrate their understanding of what they have learned throughout the year, sharing the progress they have made with their family.

“Enabling” students so that we give them ownership and a genuine sense of responsibility for their learning so that they can discuss their work, reflect on and review their goals, and share their progress with their parents/caregivers is highly effective in giving the students a “voice.”

The student’s role becomes one of a leader/facilitator and throughout all stages of a Student-Led Conference, preparation, implementation and evaluation, the student is the key person.

Through involving and engaging parents/caregivers directly in how the students at Matahui School approach learning for understanding, the Student-Led Conference becomes an ideal opportunity to celebrate a child’s achievements as they present their learning portfolios.

The portfolios (which look different at each Year level), produced by the students, provide them with an opportunity to; identify strengths and learning challenges; demonstrate skills; discuss key and significant ideas and concepts; develop tasks for adults to undertake during the conference; collect evidence over time to illustrate progress during their learning journey; demonstrate self-reflection/self-assessment; verbalise why they have chosen to showcase specific pieces in their collection; and where appropriate, demonstrate what they have learned.

Our parents and caregivers truly become partners in learning when the students lead a conference. When students have a meaningful audience in addition to the classroom teacher, their learning takes on increased importance and relevance.

Listening to the child’s voice as they retrace their educational journey becomes much more meaningful and memorable than the words drafted in a written report. For us at Matahui School these conferences are the highlight of the academic year.

Puriri Term 3 Art Auction

For the auction at the Mexican Fiesta we made a collaborative piece of art. We found out how Piet Mondrian used colour and geometric design to make his abstract art and used a heart shape to make our pieces. We all had one of our hearts included in the final art piece.

 

Production

We were very busy this term getting ready for our school production (The Point). Everyone had a speaking part, so we had lines to learn as well as songs. We helped to make our ‘rock cape’ costumes by sewing our hoods using a sewing machine. We also had to make up a dance. We loved performing for the audience and are looking forward to the next production in 2 years time.

 

Poetry

We have been learning about different forms of poetry and would like to share some of our Haiku and Cinquains with you.

 

Bubble Art

We had fun blowing bubbles and then drawing them. Enjoy our wonderful pictures.

 

 

 

Kowhai Class in the Matahui School Production ‘The Point’

Congratulations Matahui School on a fantastic school production!

Kowhai class was in the forest scene for the production ‘The Point’.  We were autumn trees.  Here are  paintings of ourselves in costume,  photos and stories:

 

Matahui School is putting on a show called ‘The Point’.   I am an Autumn tree. I look sparkly with my leaves -orange and yellow. I say “We have a point!” I love to sing. The show is brilliant! By Charlotte
Our school did a play called ‘The Point”.  I am an Autumn tree.  I’ve got red and gold leaves on my headband.  They glisten.  It’s treetastic!  I’ve got leaves on my body.  They are gold.  I say “No, you didn’t think!’   I feel that the play was treetastic!  By Cameron
Matahui School is doing a show called ‘The Point’.  We are Autumn trees.  We have yellow and orange leaves, with sparkles.  I say “It’s a time of magic and excitement!”  I love the singing and the dancing.  By Emma
           I am an Autumn tree.  I liked how the parents were watching me.  I look sparkly with my Autumn leaves.  I say “Pointless!  Pointless!”  I felt happy because it was my first school show.  By Anna
     The show is fabulous.  I love the dance.  I say “Pointless! Pointless!”  I am an Autumn tree.  I have orange, brown, and red leaves all around me.  The show is cool.  By Phoenix.                                                                                         I am an Autumn tree.  I look like an Autumn tree, with orange leaves, yellow leaves, red leaves.  I say “Oh my boy!  You have a lot to learn.  Tell me, where are you three from?”  The show was cool.  By Callaway       I love how the people were clapping.  I am an Autumn tree.  I have yellow leaves on my head.  My favourite line is “Yep! It’s timing! Ha ha ha!”  I felt nervous and happy. By Aroha
Matahui School is putting on a show and we are Autumn trees.  I look sparkly like a tree.  I have a headband with sparkles on my headband.  We also have yellow leaves.  I like singing the song.  I say “No roots!  No roots?”  I feel happy and shy.  By Kaida
  I am an Autumn tree in the play.  I have Autumn leaves, yellow, red, orange.  I say “You and your dog will work like dogs.”  I was happy because my Mum was watching me.  By Saxon
  We are Autumn trees.  I have yellow leaves sparkling around me.  I have leaves sparkling in my hair.  I say “For the love of a horse, what are you trying to do?”  I felt scared and happy and brave.  By Payton
  I am a beautiful Autumn tree that sparkles.  I love being an Autumn tree that sparkles.  I say ‘You know, leaves like that do not just grow on trees.”  I like how we did the singing.  I wear yellow leaves around my body.  I looked great and fantastic.  I wear red leaves on my head band, sparkling up on my head.  I felt excited.    By Tyla.
  I am an Autumn tree.  I liked how the parents were watching us as Autumn trees.  I looked fabulous because I have golden leaves – they sparkle and shine.  That makes me feel proud of myself.  I say “For crying out loud, would you get out of there!”  The show was great!  By Darcy

THERE IS NO “I” IN TEAM….

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It is often said that… THERE IS NO “I” IN TEAM….

Two weeks ago, Leo Holley, Henrietta Davenport, Bridget McGirr and Hugo Bruning proudly represented
Matahui School at the first round of the EPRO8 challenge, which this year, was held in Katikati. They had
every reason to feel proud, as we are of their achievement because they won the event. An outstanding team
achievement and so I thought I would interview the students to see if the old adage is in fact true. Read on.

What made you all want to be of this team? It seemed like it would be fun, especially as you get the
chance to invent and experiment with making things like robots and other mechanical devices.

How did the team prepare for the challenge? (initial burst of haughty laughter). Actually we didn’t really
prepare which didn’t worry us – except Bridget. We probably should have because we would have been able
to save time because we would have had a better understanding of how to wire things up. We also wasted
time constructing some framing as we didn’t recognise the importance of using triangles in the construction
phase.

So given you didn’t prepare as well as you might have, why do you think you were so successful in
the end? We worked so well as a team. Everyone was good at something different so we were able to
divide up tasks and shared the responsibility of completing each challenge we faced. We listened to each
other without criticising. We collaborated and co-operated, probably better than some of the other teams.
When you learned you had won what emotions did you experience? A whole range – happiness;
excitement; surprise and delight.
Where will this success take you next? We will be heading to the semi-finals and if we do well there then
it will be on to the finals.

What do you think you learned from this experience? We need to do some preparation this time so that
we are more organised. We found out that we need to spend a little more time planning before we launch
into creating and making. And, we learned the value of effective teamwork.

So, it would seem that there is no “I in team, certainly not if you are in a Year 7/8 Matahui School EPRO8
team!

FOOTNOTE: According to the judge who scored the EPRO8 Challenge, the scores reached by the top
eight teams at the Katikati event was so high, that they would have scored in the top three at any of the
other events held thus far. WOW!