I am a class teacher for Year Four and five students and a team leader for the middle school. My class and I are a part of the Manaiakalani Google ClassOnAir.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018


For the last two weeks we in Room 6 have been learning about Matariki. It was a great experience as students got very creative when sharing their ideas. They did role plays, made books and posters. I gave them a real experience of celebrating Matariki in class where they got involved in weaving, dancing, cooking, singing, planting and kite making. We had to read books and view lots of videos to understand the true spirit of celebrating Matariki. We surveyed people and Maori students from our school to find out more about Matariki. In the end we came to the conclusion that Matariki was kind of a dying festival where not many Maori celebrate it any more. We were concerned and so wrote to the Prime Minister. Below are a few recordings of the lesson.
You can view the lessons and the lesson plans by clicking here and Here

I was very pleased with the outcome of the lesson. Children had real audience and a real reason to work on. They were very eager to survey the members of the public and students in school to find out if people living in New Zealand were aware of the Maori New Year. They were a bit upset with their findings. They found out that a large percentage of people did not know much about Matariki and a lot of Maori people did not celebrate Matariki. After the debate they questioned themselves and their classmates and came to the decision that they needed to do something to revive the festival. They came up with different ideas and also wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and requested to declare Matariki a public holiday. I was very happy at the end of the lesson as it provided lots of opportunities to talk and write about the topic. I was particularly impressed on how some students in the debating group could talk at length to convey their ideas clearly and how some children were very prompt to defend their opinion. There was lot of critical thinking, argumentation and language learning in real context! 

Friday, 15 June 2018

T2 Wk 7 - My most exciting teaching moment of the week

For the last couple of weeks we have been learning about Matariki. While studying about Matariki, we came upon a provocation " Matariki should be a public holiday in New Zealand". I took this opportunity to teach 'argument' to my students. I was greatly impressed by the the way students spoke for and against the argument. I can notice the change...
These students used to struggle sharing their ideas at the beginning of the year and now they are participating in a discussion. I was throughly pleased to see the shift. Three of the students in the teams are target students. Watching the video below just makes me feel proud.

A perfect example of what Dr. Jannie Van Hees shared with us at a CoL meeting.

For students to become capable in Language, They need to first understand and then be able to express themselves.

You can watch the debate on Class on Air 

Dr. Jannie highlighted on four focusses to achieve language in abundance.

By exposing students to a number of texts - digital and non digital I feel I have provided a space for language to flourish.

Having a provocation allowed students to talk about the Matariki from a different perspective.

I provided opportunities for students to delve deeper into the attitudes, believes and responses of public through data collection and then writing to the Prime Minister about their concerns.

All this required a very through planning which led the students to take one successful step each time.

I feel I have touched on all the four focusses that Dr. Jannie talked about to achieve language in abundance.

Next Step - Do I need to adjust something in my practice? What will I do so that children are forever engaged in their writing?  How can I plan effectively and have the three P's - Planning, Preparing, Providing, happening all the time in my lessons. There is a lot for me to ponder...

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

T3 WK 5 - My not so exciting teaching moment this week

Jannie has suggested that I do dictation at least three days a week with my students. This was suggested because my students take too long to write their stories. This week I tried to do dictation with them but it kind of did not work very well. Students were copying of each other and did not truely understand how it works.
I will need to revisit this more often and will have to have a chat with them about why we are doing this.
I threw in too many newly learnt words as well in my passage for dictation. This threw them as well.
We will start afresh again next week.
So long keep preparing them for the next week.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Learning new words through Topic studies

This term we have been learning about space. I have made a very deliberate effort to choose texts and transcripts that have language which is cutting edge for the students ( neither too hard nor too easy). This means they come across lots of new words and phrases when reading listening or viewing texts. It has now become a regular practice for them to notice these new words and write them down for future references.
So each child has their own vocabulary book in which they write down all the new words learnt during reading or researching time. They use words from the vocabulary book when writing their stories. Till now we have had more than 100+ plus word in our book.
I have to make sure I provide more and more opportunities where students can use these words as many times as possible so they become a part of their everyday use.