Thursday, 23 April 2015

Participating and Contributing

Week one of term 2 sees Pt England School begin a new inquiry of learning - Tinkering, Tools and Toys. Based around the Technology Curriculum, the children will have a chance to invent, design, develop and create - such fun!

To immerse the children in new learning, the 5 classes in year 3/4 are undertaking an Immersion Rotation. Each class will visit each teacher to learn new skills and be exposed to design, creation and development of 5 different toys.

The underlying purpose for our activities this week is to explicitly teach the Key Competency of Participating and Contributing.  Each design and creation task involved the need for the students to work with others to source materials or create the toy.

My challenge was to have the children design and create a Car Mat in groups using smaller pieces that needed to be combined to make the finished product.

Step one was to have the groups realise that they needed to combine their smaller papers to make the mat larger and therefore more exciting to play with.

Step two, draw the outline of the roads across all of the papers. Throughout this step the groups all worked well to listen to each other and share ideas to draw some very interesting roads. As some students realised that the roads were going nowhere or that the roundabout was poorly placed, they were able to calmly and politely offer suggestions and alternative solutions.
What proved tricky was the fine tuning of the ideas and trimming down of the suggestions so that the road outline was completed on time.

After the road was drawn, the groups could split off so that pairs could decorate and add detail to their piece of the track.  There were plenty of discussions around who was drawing our school, McDonald's and even MOTAT. Most discussions were resolved very diplomatically however,.

The fun began when the paper was stuck together and the cars were handed out.

Some students disengaged from the design process and they were often the ones reluctant to share ideas. However, they always joined back in with the creation and refinement. Not all of us are born to lead or inspire, but we do all indeed have a role in the process.

You're never too old to play with toy cars!

Tuakana Teina - 2015

This year I teach a class of kids who are keen to learn, but lack some of the skills necessary to access the curriculum as a seven year old. In trying to lift their sight word knowledge we're trying to see what the influence of 'big kids" might have in this.

Fly Swatting those words

In return, the year 8s coming to work with our young ones are themselves the students who often don't experience situations where they are leading the learning. So for Nga Tuakana the benefits of this relationship exist as strongly as for Nga Teina.

I have set up a small number of word activity stations that all students are quickly getting their heads around.
  • Painting with water on the concrete
  • Playdough
  • Magnetic Letters
  • Fly Swat
  • Explain Everything
  • Reading with and reading to
  • Alphabet game
Magnetic Letter fun.
For 45 minutes once a week, the students gather together and work through essential word lists at, and above their reading level.  Also, Nga Teina read their reading book for that day and Nga Tuakana read to from a more complex picture book.
Nga Tuakana have an individualised booklet with essential word lists targeted to their learner and they refer to it to check which words to tackle next. 

Ben and Finau make words with Playdough

The relationship building has been significant in just a handful of visits. Nga Teina anticipate the arrival of Nga Tuakana and are desperate to work hard and show that they are learning. Nga Tuakana are learning skills of patience, perseverance and empathy, as they guide the young learners through their sight words.

Trinity and Trinity

I am utterly grateful to these giant sized children who give of their time and work with these keen youngsters. I am extraordinarily grateful to their teacher who releases them and allows them this opportunity to give back, grow and nurture the culture of our learning community.