This week I had the privilege of teaching the Year 7/8 class at Matahui. Spending time with them in an environment that provides them with relevant, challenging engaging learning was both insightful and rewarding.
At the beginning of the day the students focused on reading using an online resource that the school is trialing. It focuses on acquiring a range of reading levels and skills including – scanning; reading speed; information retrieval; vocabulary extension and comprehension. The motivation, concentration and application and level of skill the students displayed was exemplary. They had a clear understanding of the tasks they undertook and were constantly “testing” themselves to achieve even better results. In one instance, the student I sat alongside scored 45/45 – my score was 3/45. Granted the task was new to me, but clearly I hadn’t reached the same level as the student.
Subsequently, Christine and I watched as a group of senior mathematicians interacted with the students in Room 1. Using playdough the “munchkins” demonstrated and taught the seniors what they had learned about fractions. The way in which they were able to manipulate the dough to show a range of fractions was impressive, but even more outstanding was the level of understanding the juniors displayed through the carefully phrased questions and discussion the seniors led. I felt the urge to sing the Lego song – “Everything is Awesome.”
What also impressed both Christine and I was the way in which the seniors listened to the juniors and helped deepen their understanding of fractions by posing additional problems for them to solve using the playdough. This was an educational experience that strongly displayed how “nurturing” builds confidence, self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment. Hats off to Year 7 and 8 and their smaller mathematical buddies.
This is the reason why we have issued an invitation to our parent/caregiver community to attend an Open Day of Learning so that they also have the opportunity to experience such wonderful moments of learning at Matahui. Awesome!