Books are large part of our family life, especially as we have grandchildren who adore them. The
fact is that their grandmother is constantly on the lookout for new titles that will challenge and
stimulate the children.
One of our most recent acquisitions is a book written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae
Besom called, “WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A CHANCE?” The dedication at that beginning of
the book for Shale and Ever reads; “When something extraordinary shows up in your life, I hope
you see it for what it is……a gift.”
Over the past week something extraordinary happened to Aroha and Cameron in Year 2. Both did
something extraordinary with chances they were given.
Aroha had the chance to see “The Project” on television and decided that the challenge set by
Jesse, one of the hosts, for schools to reduce or eliminate access to sugary drinks, was one she
could manage to do something about. Rather than let this chance slip, she resolved to inform
parents and caregivers about the health risks in providing children with any sugary drinks. I hope
you all read her letter.
Cameron’s family found one of the “Tauranga Rocks.” These rocks have been hand- painted and
hidden in secret places across the city. At home the family shared a discussion about hand painted
rocks and this got Cam thinking. He took the chance to meet with me to discuss the idea that
students at Matahui School should paint rocks and hide them, so that when we have events like
VIP Day, our visitors could find the rocks and take them home as a reminder of their visit. Cam is
pictured with samples of the rocks he painted. Whilst we may not hide them, we will certainly offer
them to visitors as a very personal koha.
How fantastic that we have students who demonstrate the confidence, initiative and wherewithal
to do something with a chance.
Max’s recommended read for the month:
“WHAT DO YOU WITH A CHANCE?” Kobi Yamada
Compendium Inc 2017
Children have the capacity to demonstrate heightened curiosity and genuine interest in the world around them. They naturally show the propensity to explore, investigate and discover; they are in essence, scientists.
The way Matahui students connect to the environment may not necessarily be unique, but it is significant. They enjoy going outside and the school playground becomes a microcosm of scientific opportunities – a living laboratory. When I shared Saxon Russell’s story (which KVH weaved into the report below) with the students in each class and informed them that the beetle he had discovered at school might be a horticultural “nasty,” they headed out on an intense search.
Prior to leaving school a six year old student at Matahui School in Katikati found a stink bug nymph, had his mother take a photo and proudly showed the critter off to his Dad. Being the small world that it is, Dad’s work sometimes relates to the kiwifruit industry and he had been contacted in the past by KVH about the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) so knew to make a report.
Formal identification by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) found that the bug was a native Australian Green Shield Bug.
This is a fantastic example of the great awareness of our environment, and all the living things in it (of which biosecurity is such an important element), being built up from the ground level by teachers and principals day-to-day in, and outside of the classroom. Raising public awareness is what we are all about, and our goal is for the whole country to form a team of 4.7 million biosecurity conscious New Zealanders by 2025. (Kiwifruit Vine Health 2018).
“Saxon the Scientist” and his scientific Matahui buddies hardly left a leaf unturned such was the excitement of the challenge to locate and carefully capture the beetle he had seen. Our Matahui scientists recognized the importance of the task ahead and became part of an authentic scientific process, one designed to carefully monitor our environment. They have certainly become biosecurity conscious watchdogs.
We must continue to nurture the innate curiosity of the children we teach and give them authentic ways to demonstrate scientific thinking and methodology, especially in relation to the environment. They will learn that their actions can have an immense impact on the way we care for and sustain the planet on which we live.
My Dad by Aroha
My dad is the strongest in the world.
My Dad is tall like a giraffe.
I love him and he loves me.
Aunty D by Blair
Aunty D is my Mum’s sister.
She has blue eyes. She has beautiful clothes. She has long, blonde hair. She is beautiful.
She spoils me by giving me treats. I help her in the farm.
I love Aunty D. She buys chocolate. I eat it with her. I snap a piece off for her and me and we eat it all.
I feel happy when she is by me. Aunty D is very kind.
At the moment our 17 month old grandson is totally enamoured with reading books, so usually we spend considerable time reading whatever he has chosen. What is fascinating to watch is how much his imagination is stimulated; how long he can concentrate and focus his attention on still images; how much information about the world he is absorbing, articulating responses initially through sounds and now a repository of “words.”
His older sister, aged 4, recently re-enacted her book “Tangled” (based on the movie about Rapunzel). Using her dolls and an assortment of carefully selected “props,” she replaced the scenes depicted in the pictures with her own interpretation. Adding her own dialogue she let her imagination transport her into the story, all stimulated by the images she referenced in her book.
So a reminder to everyone who is a parent, grandparent, caregiver. Give the children every opportunity to “read” books using still images. The pictures and illustrations in books don’t rely on an ability to decode language but are “effective in getting children close to people and situations; and able to take children into complex situations in a straightforward but valid way.”1
This week our Year 5 – 8 students and a number of parents were treated to a musical spectacular performed by students at St Peter’s, Cambridge. Starlight Express was brought to life by an ensemble that had obviously spent hours rehearsing. The entire cast and crew transported the audience into an imagined world where personified trains battled for supremacy in an international race. We were captivated.
Dramatic performances breathe life into narratives and provide an audience with the opportunity to suspend disbelief. Theatre is centered on thinking and imagining, two processes that are also evident when we read.
If it is wet this weekend get out the picture books and some props for you and the children, and let the power of still images and drama stimulate your imagination.
As well as provide students with a restful and often much needed break from school, the holidays can present families with quality time to share experiences. Though sometimes the plans made don’t always come to fruition.
Often times we set ourselves things to do – tasks or undertakings to accomplish, but circumstances are such that we don’t necessarily get to complete anywhere near what we wanted to achieve. The thing is, we shouldn’t angst over this or feel bad. In fact, I would suggest that at times we need to “abbreviate” our to-do-lists and just focus on the essentials or else, as you endeavour to neatly organise your life by creating lists, the stress can rise.
In an article by Cari Romm titled “Why You Should Try Decluttering Your To- Do-List,” Romm shares a strategy suggested by Stephanie Lee in terms of dealing effectively with to-do- lists and that is, to explicitly focus on each days tasks with the following statement in mind….. “If this was the only thing you did today you’d be satisfied.” 1 Do that thing – everything else can wait.
When my family are around, they sometimes point out to me that my to-do-list is excessive, so spending time with our grandchildren over the holidays the idea of de-cluttering my to-do list took on new meaning.
We played games (pirates is still a favourite); drew; picked flowers; went to the beach; collected “stuff;” built a Tinkerbell house; tidied the garage together; made a range of “Frozen” playdough objects……… Yes, spending time with the grand children was the only thing we did each day. And we were well satisfied.
Tinker Bell’s newest home
We had a wonderful day visiting the Tauranga library and art gallery.
First we visited the library where Penny read us some stories
Here is Lily’s story:
On Thursday we went to the Tauranga library and Art Gallery. At the library we read some stories called ‘Sad the Dog’ and ‘Boa’s Bad Birthday’. In Boa’s book he was excited that it was his birthday but when he got presents that he couldn’t use, he was sad. Then when he got Dung Beetle’s present he loved it and thought that it wasn’t a bad birthday. In Sad’s story he was sad because his owners didn’t love him. The artist used facial expressions and sad colours. When Sad felt happy the artist used bright colours.
Next we went to see Richard Orjis’ garden. We observed some things. He expressed his feelings for plants. Then we went to the art gallery and studied Barry Dabb’s art. He expressed his love of colour and he loved his paintings to be BIG!
And a snippet of Sam’s story: Richard Orjis expresses his love of nature, growing a wild flower garden.
And Cameron’s story: The wild flower garden was pretty and Richard was expressing his art.
Great observation going on in Richard Orjis’ wild flower garden!
This great observation continued at the Art Gallery with Fiona when we looked closely at wild flowers and sketched and painted them with water colours.
And together we created our own wonderful wild flower garden!
We also enjoyed seeing Barry Dabb’s paintings.
Here are snippets of our stories:
*On Thursday we went to the library and art gallery. I love the big paintings. Barry loved the colours and so do I! By Aroha
*Richard showed that art can be in the form of plants. It doesn’t have to be paintings. He has his own individual style. Barry makes his paintings look real. The illustrator used the colours of the fish in the book to show feelings. By Aby
*Richard Orjis expresses his love of plants and nature. Barry Dabb made big paintings of Cook Island flowers. His art expresses happiness! By Blair
Congratulations Matahui on a fantastic show!
Room One were the school children, along with fabulous actors from Room 6 – Shane (Blake), Charlotte (Zoe) and the wonderful Miss Scow (Rose).
Here are our paintings, recount writing and photos:
Our Production Windust By Aby
Our school did a show in the hub on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We wanted to have fun and show the Mums and Dads and Grandparents.
Our job was to be the school children with our teacher Miss Scow. One of the things I say is ‘You be quiet Billy! What do you know?’
We did a dance called ‘Gonna Break out!’ It is cool because it’s a lot of movement. Miss Scow does not know we are there.
I felt nervous and excited and I also loved it!
Windust By Gabe
Our production is in the Hub and we are the school children. It is on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Miss Scow is the school teacher. I like it being the school children. I like sneaking in when Miss Scow is dancing but she doesn’t know we are there.
I felt fantastic about everything in the show.
Windust by Blair
The whole school did the show in the Hub on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I sing and dance and all the people did it. And Room 3 was on the hay and Room 3 was singing with us.
I like singing ‘Gonna Break out’ and dancing. Miss Scow doesn’t know we are there. But then she realises we are there. I like that Miss Scow doesn’t know. That was fun!
I felt happy singing and dancing.
Windust By Nikora
Our school did a play at Matahui School on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
I am Billy and I’m a school kid.
In the act I say “I don’t believe in bandits”. But I was wrong. There are bandits in the hills!
On my second act I lose my money in a magic show.
I like the show a lot!
Windust By Kaida
All the kids at Matahui School are putting on a show.
We are the school children. We are the cowgirls and the cowboys. I like dancing and singing.
Miss Scow is our teacher and she throws stuff on the floor in the dance.
I like saying ‘Dare you to!
WINDUST By Sam
Matahui School put on a play in the Hub on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Our class are the school children. Miss scow is our teacher.
I like dancing to ‘Gotta Break Out’ because it is fun.
I felt happy the parents were watching me.
Matahui School Show By Saxon
We did a play called Windust in the Hub.
I am one of the school children and my teacher is Miss Scow.
The show is very, very, very fun!
Our inquiry for this term is based on the question ‘What are our stories of the past and how can these be told?’ We are very fortunate to have the wonderful Katikati murals close by, for us to explore and find out the history of Katikati and stories of the past, told through a visual art form. Here are our photos, paintings and stories.
My mural is Jimmy Culpan’s Packhorses. By Nikora
Jimmy Culpan’s job was to take food and supplies and newspapers to the bush men so they could survive. Today he would go by car. He had two pack horses called Bess and Carr. Jimmy was 17. I think it was a hard job. It was a long way and sometimes it was muddy.
Sunday in the Bush Camp
The bush camp men must be tired from working all the days except Sunday. They have different saws. They need to sharpen them to make them good at cutting down the trees. Jimmy Culpan is there with his pack horses. He brings supplies and letters.
The Waitekohe School By Aby
The Waitekohe School had 33 kids. It was quite small. Our school is also in katikati. Now Waitekohe School is a house in katikati. I even saw the house after the trip to the katikati murals. It was just one class room. They only used chalk to write on blackboards. The children were 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – all those ages. They all learned different stuff. The Waitekohe School had no jungle gyms. Our school is much better because we have a playground, with a big orange ball swing, monkey bars and a sooper dooper flying fox!
Rev. kattern’s ostriches By Saxon
Rev. Kattern’s is chasing ostriches down the main road of Katikati. They escaped from the farm. The girls used the feathers on their hats.
Sunday in the Bush Camp
Sunday is a day that the bush men get a bath. They were probably stinky because they have dirt because they work all week cutting kauri trees. They cut their hair and they eat. The miss their family.
This is Waitekohe School. By Kaida
They had one classroom for all the children. Big children and little children.
I like my classroom now and I like painting. The children wrote on blackboards with chalk.
My mural is Sunday in the Bush Camp. By Gabe
In the camp men had a holiday on the Sunday. They sharpened their saws. They had a haircut. They bath. I think the bush men would like having a day off from cutting down trees.
I don’t really get into following Twitter but I couldn’t resist looking at what Piers Morgan posted during the Olympics about Olympians and winning gold.
Here’s a few of his postings at the time for you to consider:
“America has a much better ‘win’ mentality than Britain. We love celebrating losers.”
“Everyone who fails to win Gold is a loser, yes. Not a derogatory comment, just a fact.”
“Ask real winners like Ferguson, Mourinho, Phelps or Bolt if coming 2nd or 3rd means anything.”
Here’s my take on his comments. Most of us like to win, no question about that. My family will tell you that when it comes to family games – ten pin bowling, monopoly, mini golf… I am highly competitive and aim to win. Listening to Mark Todd for example, talk about losing their grasp on a potential gold to fourth, his disappointment was palpable – he and the team really wanted to be the Olympic champions but they weren’t. Yes Mr Morgan, this is a fact but, does that mean however, that we should not still celebrate the fact that the team is ranked 4th in the world in a sport dominated for some time by European countries with resources that far exceed what we as a country can offer? How many of our athletes missed on medals but are ranked in the top 10 in the world? I would argue that we are not losers – far from it. These athletes still inspire, motivate and indirectly encourage others to get out there and give of their best which is probably why they were greeted by so many well-wishers when they arrived home this week. And it was great to hear some of the athletes who did win “unexpected” medals talk about how they hoped they were inspiring others to take up their particular sport.
Perhaps in our classrooms we should adopt Morgan’s approach and apply it in all facets of our lives and tell our students they are losers if they cannot understand a concept, if their test result is only 80% or if they can’t catch or pass a ball with accuracy. Were we to adopt this approach, I would resign tomorrow. As teachers we need to recognise and honour every accomplishment that our students display. Encourage them to aim for gold – absolutely, but destroy their confidence and self-esteem by letting them know that they are losers – yeah, right.
I’ll leave you with this thought – if we didn’t have losers, how could we have winners?