what a cool past couple of weeks we have enjoyed at Waikino School, as we brought to a conclusion our first two week values focus Responsibility. Then we began our next focus, "Encouragement" which our students last year said meant, 'building others up and supporting one another.' This value is held by Kotare the Kingfisher and it was a good to start talking encouragement with our Waikino School TRYathalon on last Wednesday the 25th of Feb, the Karangahake Triathlon on the 27th of Feb and our SUNDAISE performance on the main stage this weekend at 1pm, Saturday the 7th of March.
Two weeks ago we also were able to present our School's Vision Map for 2015, and those gathered together at Assembly were well impressed by the children's collaborative work with Becky, Melissa, Trish and Rachel's support. I have already received 4 visits from people willing to muck in and sponsor this year's exciting initiative in the school and look forward to sharing more about this in future as we confirm these offers. This vision map is the result of a tremendous amount of work through inquiry based learning begun last year in Term 4 and continuing on into this year. To detail the process so far I have included the children's report to our community at that Friday Assembly:
"Last year we began talking about our Silver School reflections. We visited Te Kauri to see what next steps we planned with the seeds in our minds at the base of our giant kauri tree. This began conversations and discussions in all 3 classes about what food we actually grow at school-gardens we had in the past-and what we could eat now in our school. We discovered some wild food sources but also that we don't have much growing in our school and that the two gardens we had in the past weren't sustainable-they didn't last.
We also took this conversation home to find out where our food comes from and what we grow at home. We mapped the food journeys to our home and discovered all the food we grow, food we buy and from where, and then even bigger we traced our food items back to the places they came from too. To our surprise we discovered our tinned fruit comes from China and our Japanese sushi rice comes from California. We thought our fruit came from all the fruit trees we had growing in NZ and that the sushi rice would be Japanese not American. We made a map and shared our findings. We also learnt that many of our grand parents have gardens, but only some of us have gardens of our own at home.
After this our classes went on different journeys. We made 'Manky' maps that showed how we feel about places in our school, how we feel in those places and what they are like. For example we wanted to know where was a sunny place, a quiet place, a busy place and so on. We did this to think about where we could create some of our projects and ideas we were having about growing food at school.
Room 3 made 'Manky' maps like the other classes but they also thought about our Ahua's or Maori gods. These are like the energy spots in the school where it's 'wild' for example or 'peaceful'. We all thought that the Native area belonged to the God of War, this was funny because in the film Legend of Ureia we had our warriors run out of the native area. Maybe that is why we thought that. This energy we thought might be important to consider for where we also planned to do things. We didn't think planting a garden on the rugby field was a good idea for obvious reasons aye.
Finally we then thought of all the things we'd like to do-some ideas were old from our Silver reflection seeds, and some were new, because many of us weren't involved in the Silver Reflection back then, and ideas can change. We visited areas in the school to support our thinking and in one example we disovered that our old site for the school vege garden felt cold and shady and was under a big oak tree. We thought that maybe this is why it didn't last because it was not in enough sun and that also the big tree was drinking all the water in the ground so anything else would struggle to grow.
Room 2 studied the soil and looked at different soil types from around the school. They learnt about what soils are best for growing things and discovered that the old vege garden's soil under the oak tree wasn't so good either. This helped them plan their projects around the school and influence where they put things on their maps. They collected their ideas and findings and graphed them to share with the other classes.
We all shared lots of ideas for making edible gardens, keeping bees, planting fruit trees, having lambs, calves and chickens, building outdoor classrooms, creating 'living' rooms, cafe's and markets at school to sell what we grow and what other people here in future. We looked at examples from other schools like Hukanui Enviroschool and from Netherton, Paeroa and Goldfields Schools-some of our Y5 & 6's went on a tour earlier in that year, took photos and wrote reports so that helped us too.
We all agreed about what we should do, but we don't all have the same ideas about where it should or could all go. Mrs Bartram and Mr B said that they asked some 'Experts' the same questions they asked us. Those gardening experts were Trish Waugh, Becky Dove, Rachel Sorley and Melissa Pilkinton-Brodie. They met one weekend and conducted their own investigations using Trish's vast knowledge of garden design, Becky's expertise in Enviro School pathways for planning and design, Rachel Sorley's expertise in soil science and Melissa Pilkinton-Brodie's expertise as a classroom teacher and Enviro School project manager in a previous school Of course our expert's are all avid gardeners too!
We invited them to a meeting two weeks ago and we exchanged ideas. We all went away and discussed these. We formed an Enviro Group to work with Trish and Becky to create our school Vision Map to present today..."
Finally 2 weeks ago we also enjoyed our first Whole School Discovery time sessions in all 3 classrooms, as students engaged in a variety of contexts to help them learn under the umbrella of a 'key competency'. There is a wealth of information to be found for those wanting to know more about the key competencies from the NZC but here is a brief statement from TKI on why they matter. The key competencies are: thinking, relating with others,using language, symbols and text, managing self, participating and contributing.
"Key competencies matter because things have changed. Since our education systems were first established there has been enormous change in the nature of societies, change in the nature of work, change in how knowledge is viewed, and change in technologies, to name just a few. Those changes, and the certainty of ongoing change, have implications for the kind of education our young people require, and the focus of the teaching and learning they experience. The key competencies take account of those changes – they put today’s students at the centre, and bring a future-focused perspective to teaching and learning."