BECOMING A SLOW TECH FAMILY

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Becoming a Slow Tech Family.… I was recently sent a thought provoking article (use the web link below to read the entire piece), in which Janell Burley Hoffman provides some useful, thought provoking advice for parents regarding the use of technology.

“In our world, food, family and free play have a firm place, often touted as sacred and protected ground. And since our life is designed to fully embrace living it, we have to be mindful of all the pieces that might creep in and occupy more than their fair share. Technology is one of those pieces.”  (The Slow Tech Movement–by Janell Burley Hoffman, syndicated from huffingtonpost.com, Apr 17, 2015)

Sometimes parents feel the pressure of doing things with the children during a holiday break that involve layers of complexity, some of which may include additional cost. The good news is that you don’t need to do much to happily engage the children if you provide them with the space and scope for imaginative play, beyond a reliance on technological gadgets or wizardry. Make no mistake – I am not a luddite nor someone who doesn’t enjoy spending time surfing You tube for music videos, but there is incredible room for balance.

Prior to the holidays I  watched in awe and fascination as our Year 1 and 2 students played happily together, as each found a tyre they could use to roll across the grounds, on the flat and down the hill. The way they organised a “mass roll” required effective levels of communication and in the process they were demonstrating and discovering some quite sophisticated science concepts.
I also observed with great interest, a Year 5 student create what is pictured below. What is it? How was it being used? What elements of science and mathematics were drawn upon to create and use this object? (for the answer as to what the object is check the bottom of this blog – if you haven’t been able to work it out yet).

CALLUM'S PLANE 1

.

The recent Christchurch Brick Show provided an opportunity for Lego enthusiasts and collectors to show their designs. Whilst children had the chance to develop their own creations the majority of the sophisticated models were built by adults. The ability and desire to play, craft and construct are not solely domains for children.

So as you can see, there are wonderful ways to stimulate creativity, imagination and fun beyond technology. You don’t however need to become overly draconian and lock technology away. Our students live in a digital world.  Perhaps become a Slow Tech family by adhering to the 7 wonderful ideas Hoffman presents in her article.
“Slow Tech parenting isn’t about perfection; it’s about awareness.”

Try out her suggestions and at the same time, be aware that the children can be actively and fully engaged in creating their own fun whilst continuing to learn.

Happy playing.

Max

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1053/the-slow-tech-movement-janell-burley-hoffman

ANSWER : An aircraft

GUARDIANS OF THE FOREST

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Matahui School has always had a strong connection to the environment and subscribed to the notion that the classroom extends well beyond the four walls. I have always felt that given our proximity to the Kamai range, in essence our “backyard,” that as a school we could perhaps assume a greater responsibility and connection for a section of the bush and accept a role as guardians.

We were recently given the opportunity to take part in the Aongatete Restoration project in which North Island weka were captured in the Opotiki area so that they could be released into an aviary established in the Aongatete forest  – an exciting prospect we could not pass up.

JACK - WEKA RELEASE

The Maori have traditionally held a strong and deep affinity for the natural world – the concept of managing the environment which they express as kaitiakitanga.

Being able to take an active part in this project which will be ongoing, is Matahui School’s kaitiakitanga.  The impact of being directly involved in the release of the birds has made an indelible impression on our students. Having helped carry the birds into the forest and then seeing them settled they have come to realise that they can continue to support the project and maintain a close connection with the forest and its newest inhabitant and take on a guardianship role.

MOLLY -WEKA RELEASE

Our entire school community would like to thank  Ann Graeme for sharing this unique experience with the Matahui School students and giving us an authentic reason to consider becoming guardians of the forest.

Use the following Facebook links to get more detailed information and a host of other photographs….

https://www.facebook.com/MatahuiSchool

https://www.facebook.com/aongatete?fref=nf)

 

Ka kite

 

Max

SERVICE LEARNING

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At Matahui School we emphasise the importance of our commonly held school values and at the same time endeavor to highlight the importance of service in terms of providing support to others who need our help or assistance.

It is of great benefit therefore, for the students to see our parent community model service to the community. One such example is  the Matahui School fishing competition. There are three elements that underscore this event. Firstly there is the focus on bringing our school community together as families to share the experience of fishing our local harbour, after which we come together to swap stories, socialize and hand out prizes. Secondly there is a huge emphasis on having fun, whether catching fish or not. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, there is the fund raising component whereby we seek to provide some financial support for local organisations who give so much to the community.

In the last three years the school has generated funds for the Coastguard, Search and Rescue and this year, the St Johns Ambulance service. In each case these are organisations that might in extreme circumstances be there for us. As a consequence our students learn why it is important for us to give back.

Another tangible example of parental service is evident in terms of refurbishing the relocatable building.  A number of Matahui males have willingly given their time to help with the project. What the dads have modelled for their children is a high level of commitment and cooperation – attributes we aim to develop in our students.   

I recently received a letter from our Year 5/6 students requesting time for them to coordinate a working bee centred on our native bush area. This initiative demonstrates how the students are able to recognize their responsibilities around service to their school community.

We have chosen to become part of an exciting “Weka Community Project” designed to reintroduce weka to the Aongatete forest. This project will give our students the chance to be actively involved in re-establishing weka in our local area and potentially assume some guardianship of the section of forest where they are to be released. What a great opportunity for the students to engage in an important service project in our “backyard.” I shall focus on this wonderful initiative more in future posting.

The Returned Services Association of New Zealand sent us materials for a very poignant display which we erected at the base of our flagpole. The  names on the crosses are people who came from our region and the memorial  was established to acknowledge, recognize and remember what ANZAC Day means to us all, something we focused upon as part of our values assembly. It symbolizes the ultimate sacrifice New Zealanders made during the First World War – an extreme act of service. 

FIELD OF REMEBERANCE

Ka kite

Max

MATAHUI SCHOOL – A TAONGA

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From Max Muller

Whenever a valued staff member leaves a school there is a sense of sadness though this is usually coupled with a celebration of the contribution the person has made. At the end of the last academic year Pauline Miller announced she was retiring from full time teaching and this sent a wave of emotion through our community, especially as Pauline had been with Matahui almost since its inception 26 years ago.

How do you acknowledge the legacy someone leaves behind when they have invested so much time and energy into the lives of other peoples' children?

The best I can do is share with you an instance whereby an ex student of Pauline's, a young man now married with a family of his own, came back to visit the school.. He spent time reminiscing about everything that had been most significant in his time at Matahui and right at the centre was Pauline Miller. The impact of his time here was such that he said that were he and the family to relocate to New Zealand he would definitely enroll his children.

Use the following link to access Pauline's speech . It is peppered with messages for us all. Having read it I am sure that you will recognise and understand why Pauline was, and remains, so loved and respected.

https://drive.google.com/file/ d/ 0B0ezCljlV5PVckRBc0ZjRGVWeG8/ view?usp=sharing

SUCCESS – WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

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What a success!

 

There are many notions that people subscribe to when it comes to defining success. What does it mean to be successful? The following definition is one that James Anderson1 suggests is commonly accepted by most people – “success is achieving a goal that requires effort.” His point is that, irrespective of what you aim to accomplish, if you set a goal that is not easily achieved, if you have to work hard to get there and you achieve the goal, then you are successful.

 

Over the past week we have been treated to numerous examples of success at Matahui School in various spheres of learning .

 

Rose and Caitlin’s netball team placed second in their division – a huge accomplishment. Harry Chissell’s under 11 Te Puna rugby team won the Western Bay competition and will go on to represent this area against Eastern Bay. Harry’s contribution to the team was recognized by him being awarded the “most improved player” for the season. Our basketball teams, though still relatively inexperienced are consistently winning games against taller, skillful teams. Our Year 6 WBEET Bay Mathematics quiz team, Jay, Kayla and Rory were placed a creditable third in the team challenge and fifth overall from approximately forty teams. In the Tall Poppy Mathematics problem solving competition our Year 8 team comprised of Jessica, Ben and Libby, came first and our Year 7 team, Ruby, Olympia and Ella placed first equal in their section. Kayla was placed second in Year 6 North Cluster speech finals and Rory was awarded a Highly Commended in the Year 5 competition. Ruby and her father Dave, both avid writers, will have their poetry published in the 2014 NZPS anthology titled “photo of great granddad.”  Kate Bruning’s book, “Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon” was recently published and since going “public”, has been enthusiastically received by children and adults alike.

 

Yes – incredible measures of success. In every instance, the goals that were set in the diverse range of successes listed above, were not easy to achieve. They required substantial effort, focus, skill and commitment and certainly provide reason to celebrate what makes this learning community special. Perhaps we should finish with a final quote from Winston Churchill.

 

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”2

 

  1. Author of Succeeding with Habits of Mind and founder of the Habits of Mind Teachers Network

 

  1. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/winston_churchill.html

TEACHING THAT STICKS

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“…Teaching that Sticks…” Over the next few weeks I would like to share with you some key perspectives
around learning at Matahui and to begin with want to impart some perspectives raised by Chip and Dan
Heath in an article they wrote titled, “Teaching that Sticks.”1
They suggest that every day we are presented
with ideas, but “sticky ideas” are ideas that are understood, remembered and may change aspects of our lives
such as how we form opinions, alter our behaviour or perhaps encourage us to reflect on what we value.
As teachers and parents we want ideas to stick but why is it that some ideas seem to stick more effortlessly
than others? Some ideas seem absurd, ludicrous – “dumb.” But they stick. Chances are they don’t have any
tangible resource behind them – they are just naturally “sticky.” Can you recall an inane joke, urban legend,
a conspiracy theory, the essence of a fad diet, a scientific theory or the rudiments of how a combustion
engine works? Some of these ideas may be ridiculous, some insightful – but the fact is they all stick.
One way we aim to help make ideas stick is by utilizing resources outside the classroom. Undertaking a field
trip can be an “activator” that helps ideas stick. Equally, if used near the end of a unit, it can reinforce key
concepts or provide a direct connection to what has previously been learned in class, especially as the
experience the students are exposed to presents them with visual, tangible information that will help make
ideas stick.
Recently our Year 3 – 8 students took part in a Bay of Plenty Regional Council Wairoa River Restoration
project. What a great way to focus upon, simplify and make the following ideas stick for students;
 understanding that adopting land management practices will future-proof and sustain land and
livelihoods
 recognising the importance of protecting and enhancing waterways and other natural areas
 appreciating what we could contribute as a “care group”
As you have discussions with your children, think about the ideas you are sharing and
exploring and consider what makes them “stick.”

FUTURES WEEK – STUDENTS IN POWER

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On any given week, life at Matahui school is full and active. And this week is no exception. On Tuesday a film crew came in from Central TV,  to film a bit about our school which will not only air on TV, but will also be featured on our school website. We had an ICAS test, classes have started focusing on the production, and most importantly for year seven and eight, this week is Futures Week, this is an opportunity to think about where they might be heading in life after their education. One aspect is of the program is work experience, where the students have the opportunity to select a work place, and visit it to see what happens. So here we are… Jessica and Phoebe, being Principals for a day… yay! This is our second task. Prior to writing this newsletter, we needed to proof read an advertisement which will feature in the Bay of Plenty Times. As Principals for the day we have come up with a new idea for Mr. Muller. Each week two year seven and eight students could contribute a section to Max’s Message. We hope other students in the class like this idea. We think it would be successful. As a test to see how many people read this, next time you see Mr. Muller, say the code word …… “Pineapples.”

 

Have a wonderful weekend and visit the KatiKati Bird Gardens.

Phoebe & Jessica

LEARNING – TO INFINITY AND BEYOND

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Recently the media featured a letter written by the Principal to a student at Barrowford Primary School in Lancashire. The letter focused on all the things that standardised tests do not measure:  being multi-lingual; able to play an instrument, dance or paint; write poetry, songs or plays; participate in sports or wonder about the future……. To view the letter, paste the following link into your preferred browser….. http://twistedsifter.com/2014/07/principal-writes-to-students-about-standardized-tests/

Schools  aim to provide students with a high degree of academic success across the curriculum and at Matahui we have had recent evidence of that, especially in relation to our international French results.  But at the same time, we also provide opportunities for students to grow and develop the promise they demonstrate in areas that are difficult, and in some instances not necessary to assess. One of the delights in teaching is seeing students achieve goals that help shape them as individuals whether it be through demonstrating leadership qualities or showing enough concern for others to initiate some form of fundraising. Today our Year 5 and 6 students coordinated toy collection, mufti day,and sausage sizzle to support the Paeroa Kindergarten some misguided individual burned to the ground last week. Consider for a moment what they may have learned through this experience.

We must provide a thinking curriculum. We must establish a level of academic rigour. We must continue to foster a love of learning, Lets not forget however, that success can be measured in a myriad of ways.

 

Open the Window

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We have in recent weeks launched our new-look website.  Whilst it is still in its development stage (we have additional information to feature on the site and some refinements to make), it has certainly been positively received. One of the newest elements has been to introduce class “blogs.” We have however, decided to call these blogs “WINDOWS” because in one sense the students are looking out beyond the classroom and connecting with the wider, global community, and you, as part of this community are looking in to see what and how the students are learning. Having the students engage with technology in this way serves a number of purposes. Possibly the most obvious is that they have the opportunity to share what is currently happening in their classrooms by showcasing their learning for an audience that extends across the globe. Additionally, knowing that what they present will be viewed by others, means that they need to be conscious of how and what they communicate – they need to review, refine, reflect and conduct themselves responsibly.

And what a wonderful way for them to demonstrate and celebrate their understanding of what they learn in a wide range of contexts and what an exciting way to collaborate on learning. So if you haven’t ventured into the “Blog” zone and opened a “window” make it a priority. I’m sure you’ll find the visit refreshing.