Friday, November 1, 2019

Exciting maths learning in Room 22

Exploring symmetry while creating with blocks.
Grouping and pattern rules lead to multiplication and division.

Combining place value knowledge with measurement in weights.
Joining numbers and recording.

Exploring size and number properties.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Welcome to Term 4 in whanau Koru.

Welcome back to Term 4, the final term of 2019.

Room 21 has been using our time in Play in many imaginative and creative ways. I took a selection of photos one morning of Play to capture some of the fantastic ways Room 21 are using this learning time.

Learners created a beyblade stadium with blocks in the corridor ourside our classroom, which allowed us to battle our 'beyblades' (spinning devices that had been created from lego).  The learners were investigating different areas in the classroom that would make a suitable stadium so that they could see which of their lego constructions was strongest during the battles.

The learners took the lego beyblades outside and investigated adding playdoh buffers to the stadium to see if they could navigate around these during the spinning battles.  It required that they assess their spinning technique in quite a bit of detail in order to be able to move between the buffers and not just crash into them.

Some learners were interested in making collages from a selection of coloured paper I had set out, creating hills, grass, mountains and the sky in their images.

Lego is a fantastic open-ended play tool that was being used to create extra interest and new areas in our dolls house. Learners had decided that they needed to add new detail to our existing furniture and dolls, which extended the narrative or story they were able to create in this space.

Room 21 enjoy greatly creating all manner of items from various shaped boxes and other upcycled objects that we can use in the classroom. On this morning the learners had decided to paint their space inspired creations to add further depth to their designs.

Using role-play or drama in play is a way that learners can make sense of their world, explore and extend their own learning. A group were using our foam letters to write their names and high-frequency words from our butterfly word cards. 

We used some of the high-frequency words they had made with foam letters to create sentences that the learners wrote on to whiteboards.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Ngā mihi nui from Whānau Koru
Term 3 
Welcome to all new tamariki and whanau who have joined our Balmoral school community this term. A big welcome back also to Cheryl who is teaching our newest tamariki in the Mototapu Room.

The Milk and Cookies Evening, which took place in August, was a chance for whānau to read favourite stories and discover new ones together. We held this year’s celebration of books and reading in the Library for the first time and the children arrived in their pyjamas to twinkling lights, lots of little nooks to snuggle into with their books and an enticing supply of cookies and milk. Our librarian Liz Hamilton, helped by Nicola Brown, opened the Library to us and organised two wonderful authors, Toby Morris and Melinda Syzmanik who read some of their stories.


 Learning to see the world

Wandering through classrooms in Whanau Koru you will often see sketching tables and water colour tables set up with particular objects or materials ready for observation and reflection. We want children to be active observers of the world around them, wondering, asking questions, sharing theories that will guide their research and lead to new or deeper learning. Observational drawing is a powerful way we can lead children into exploring science understandings. It allows time to notice detail, the shape and form, structure of things and colour. Children can make observations by comparing and contrasting. They sort, categorise, make generalisations and importantly ask more questions.

• Drawing takes observation beyond simple sensory perception and allows children to organize knowledge and understanding (Fox, 2010)

• Learning to draw with accuracy helps children to filter speculations and false theories out from what was actually observed in the subject or process (Fox & Lee, 2013)

• Children develop new theories as they draw and observe (Ainsworth, Prain, & Tytler, 2011)

• Children retain more of what they learn in an observation when they draw vs. when they do not (Fox & Lee, 2013)

• Teachers may assess what children have learned by what they are paying attention to in their drawings.

The roots have to go, and then the plant grows. the plant needs roots to grow. Hana

That’s a kiwifruit that has black seeds. The [apple] seed looked like a rain drop. Kianca

Detail of a peacock feather

Thursday, August 1, 2019

 Term 3 in Whanau Koru

We warmly welcome you back to news about the learning taking place across our Year 0 and Year 1 classes.

Please keep bringing in recyclable materials that we can use in Play- we really appreciate the supplies. If you have flour or cornflour or similar consumables that may be past their use by date or had a few visiting moths, please don't throw them out! We can use them too.

We have had such beautiful weather returning to school and this has encouraged lots of outdoor play during the day. Every morning messy play, painting, playdough, construction with boxes, imaginative play and carpentry is being investigated on the deck and paths outside the classrooms.

We have our fabulous ARTz Festival in Week 7 of this term. I'm sure all classes would appreciate parent help over these three days, so look out for emails from your child's teacher.

Inquiry in all our classes is continuing- don't forget to have a look at the Classroom Learning Journal which documents the class Inquiry.

 Some messages from the team:

Room 23 got up and running in Term 2 and a lovely Inquiry into flying developed. We read our Journal on the first day back this term to see if we had answered our questions or whether we were still wondering about flying. It turned out we had not really explored "how do asteroids fly? and "do stars fly?".This led to a bit of a debate about whether they were flying, floated or had "magnets to hold them up". This quickly led to questions about the moon- so an expedition to the moon is planned! The plan is to try and find Rona, from the Maori myth "Rona and the Moon" or the white kiwi from "Kiwi and the Moon" by Gavin Bishop, stories which have captured the children's imaginations.

INQUIRY in Room 22
The winter season has given the children lots to observe around the school. However we are eagerly waiting for the tuis to return. In the meantime we have had some questions about whether birds have bones and our learning journey is now heading towards “skeletons” until we make our way back to the resident blackbirds and tuis. If you have any skeletons or bones at home we would love them for our Inquiry table.

In maths we have been investigating the numbers that occur when different numbers of children are under a blanket. For example two children means there will be 4 feet. This kind of open ended activity encourages children to apply many processes. Some children will skip count to get the result, some will count every foot, some will add two plus two. This means, in one session we can cover addition, multiplication and  sequential counting etc.  Children also get the opportunity to explain and give reasons for their thinking and to share their different ways of solving. They also get to ask “What if” questions, for example a child asked “What if it was lungs?” I asked “What if it was fingers?”, which led to working with  tens. It important that children get to contribute in this way, so that maths is a non-threatening conversation and not a set of methodical instructions.

I am looking forward to seeing all the growth that happens for our wonderful tamariki this term.

Monday, April 8, 2019

We are almost at the end of Term One where we have met new friends, settled into new classrooms and begun our long and exciting learning journey at Balmoral.  Our classrooms are alive with wonder, curiosity and exploration as our tamariki dive deeply into aspects of their class Inquiry.

Room 20 are exploring weight and sinking and floating.
The tamariki have been experimenting with all sorts of things in our water tables to see how we can make bigger or heavier things float and lighter things sink.
This exploration lends itself to sensory play, art projects, science experiments, reading, writing, and more. We are documenting our findings in our inquiry books and many children are spontaneously choosing to write down what they observe.



One of Room 22’s favourite things
is to spend time with their Buddy Class.  
It is through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things
that our tamariki have opportunities to try out their ideas and refine their working theories.
And have lots of fun.

Room 21
has been investigating ice and making predictions about what happens
when we melt large and small pieces of ice.
Which one will melt first? What happens if we put ice outside in the sun?
We have been using our senses to explore ice as well and have lots
of wonderings about icebergs.


Room 24:

Our fish have arrived!
“We didn’t get a goldfish because it was too big for our tank
so we started with four little guppies, a sea snail and a loach.
We love them. We named the loach Squirtle” by Ethan.


“We are making treasure maps with our big buddies. We are studying maps.
Maps lead you to the treasure and they make clues for the maps.
We like doing art with our buddy class” by Becca.

Thank you to all our parents who have helped in so many ways during this term. We couldn’t do it without you. Have a wonderful break, from everyone in Whānau Koru.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Ngā mihi nui

Nau mai, haere mai ki Whānau Koru

Term 1  2019

Tena koutou, Malo e lelei, Kia orana, Fakalofa lahi atu, Bula vinaka, Ciao, Namaste, Al Salaam a’alaykum, Nihao, Merhaba, Konnichiwa, Hola, 
Annyong hasayo, Greetings 

A huge warm welcome to all our new and returning whānau. 

It has been wonderful seeing all our excited tamariki settling into school with such enthusiasm and big smiles on their faces. 

They are so eager for learning, full of wonder and curiosity and have so many stories and experiences they want to share with us.

Our school vision is
"To value diversity, and to develop curious, confident 
and connected learners". 

We are excited to have you join us as we share learning from across  our whanau this year. 
Our curriculum empowers children to learn and grow, reflecting the holistic way in which this happens.
You, the wider world of family and community are an integral part of our curriculum.

Welcome from all of us in Whanau Koru. We're looking forward to getting to know you.

Dao Evans-Rm 22; Sarah Hogg-Rm 21; Adrienne Browne-Rm 23; Lyndsey Spence-Reading Recovery; Emily Pauling-Rm 24; Madeleine Lifsey-Rm 20

Exciting maths learning in Room 22

Exploring symmetry while creating with blocks. Grouping and pattern rules lead to multiplication and division. Combining place va...