Thursday, February 7, 2019

Prep Week 2 Term 1 2019 @MatuaNgaru Spotlight

Tena kotou katoa

Just before dawn on Wednesday morning, we gathered together at the entrance to our beautiful new kura (school). The silence was broken by the call (karanga) of the kaikaranga (caller) and the steady rhythm of the karakia (prayers) from the kaumatua (elder), two of our mana whenua. This was the beginning of our blessing ceremony, the first part of our official opening of Matua Ngaru School. As the sun began to rise, we moved through every part of the school, laying our hands on the walls, doors and furniture, ensuring that our school will be a place where our whole school community are safe, happy and well as they take each step on their learning journey. It was a very special and moving experience to be part of.


Once we completed the pathway through the school, we gathered together in our Whare Tapere (hall), where members of our iwi, eBOT, James - the principal of Arohanui, and Diana spoke to all assembled, and we shared several waiata (songs) in support of the speakers. This was followed by the Matua Ngaru and Arohanui educators, eBOT and mana whenua participating in hongi (the pressing together of noses and sharing of breath, which signifies the 2 groups becoming unified). Once this was complete, we were no longer considered manuhiri (visitors) and became tangata whenua of Matua Ngaru School. To conclude the formalities, everyone participated in the sharing of kai (food), which lifts the tapu (sacredness) from all those involved.


Shortly after the first event on Wednesday morning, we gathered together again in Whare Tapere to welcome all of our learners and their parents as they came to meet their learning coaches and explore their kāinga before we open for learning on 7 February. We were so excited to see how many of our learners were curious about their new school as they entered the hall and participated in hongi with the educators us. The line went all the way out of Whare Tapere, along the hallway and all the way outside! Once everyone was seated, we again listened to speakers, sang waiata and shared kai so that our learners and their families also became part of the tangata whenua of our school.

After that, learners were matched with their learning coaches and everyone headed off to their kāinga to explore, get to know each other, engage with provocations and become familiar with their new learning space. At 12:00, the last of our learners headed home, and our educators spent the afternoon preparing for the next group of learners who were coming to the open morning the next day.

On Friday, Wendy, Yasmin, Heike and Anoushka were all curious to find out how they can promote well being at Matua Ngaru as they spent the day with other educators learning about Hauora (well being).


Our educators had a busy day on Tuesday setting up their kāinga  and getting every thing ready for our 2 open mornings. They were showing amazing creative flair with some of their displays and with their designing of activities for all of our learners.


Setting up Whare Hapori (our library) was the focus on Monday, with some of the team, along with their families, working together to set up displays, prepare and shelve books and work out the best configuration for the shelves and furniture.

While the rest of the team were away learning about well being on Friday, Di, Michael, Kirstin, Kate and Kelly worked together to synthesise and clarify our ideas around our Effective Educator Matrix, Learning Model and Educator Code of Conduct.

It's hard to believe that next week we will be welcoming our learners for their first day of school! We are all very excited and can't wait to meet you all.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Prep Week 1 Term 1 2019 @MatuaNgaru Spotlight

Tena kotou katoa!

Happy New Year, we hope that you had plenty of opportunity to enjoy this amazing summer and that you have been able to create many beautiful and long lasting memories with your family and loved ones.

With spirit, passion and determination, we have returned to our project of turning "Ubiquitous Learning on a Wave of Change" into reality. 


Diana and Wendy have continued to conduct whanau enrolment interviews. Our school community keeps growing and we are thrilled getting to know our future learners so well through the interview process. Information shared in the interview really helped all educators to picture our learners, their interest and passions and we are feeling well prepared to support them from Day 1. #notlongtogo

Only a few more sleeps to our official opening, so we are getting learner ready in all aspects. We are so looking forward to it! So, many of us were taking part in planning, organising and communicating this event. 

During our induction morning we debated our evolving Kahui Values (PB4L) Matrix as well as some lesson plan templates, drafts and ideas. We have deliberately chosen our 4 C's (communicative, creative, collaborative and curious) as our PB4L values despite recognising that these are not the first values that come to mind when addressing behaviour. Having said that, these values are learning values, indeed, and after all we are addressing Positive Behaviour for Learning. Now, we are having a fabulous struggle creating a matrix that serves as a tool for explicit social coaching as well as explaining learning dispositions and is cognitively portable. So, watch this space. 


Continuing building our school culture all of us spent part of an induction morning on recapping and reiterating a cognitively portable model of our vision statement, learning value why's, purpose of learning and learning is statements. 

We collaboratively designed our code of conduct and our dress code.

As mentioned earlier, one of our top priorities for the week was to turn our office look alike learning spaces into clearly identifiable learning zones that primary school aged children find attractive, appealing and thought provoking. During term 4, we have repeatedly cogitated about implementing the environment as the third teacher. Ideally, the environment communicates desired and acceptable manner, our values that are celebrated in this space and the invitation to wonder, to investigate and to inquire. Now, we are making this reality.

Many of the attractive resources that Wendy and Kirstin ordered had arrived and they needed to be assembled, assorted and arranged in the learning space. Further, we were majorly impressed when Anoushka showed off her interior design and decorating skills. She sparked off a healthy competition between the teams. The Kāinga are beginning to look incredible and we are interested to see the learners interacting with the space when they come for their first visit next week. Michael and Kirstin set up the Steam & Art spaces and then gave all of us a tour so we know how to use them. 


On Friday, we put our collaborative skills to the test by participating in Whare Hapori Action Day. Amazing Wendy, Kate and Kelly, our Whare Hapori team, had organised all the resources needed to get our library books ready for the shelf. So, the team created a production line implementing the following actions cataloging books, preparing books for the shelf and labeling all donated books to recognise the gifting person. Then the final act was to sort the books in the shelves and display them so our learners will be attracted and motivated to use these for their ubiquitous learning.  Many thanks go to Sandi Falconbridge the National Library Adviser to our school for her brilliant support. Also, thank you to the volunteers who participated in the Whare Hapori working bee. We really appreciate your support. Even one of our learners wearing his new uniform came to support us in this important undertaking. 

Our Travelwise lead educator Yasmin met with Senior Constable Bryan Ward Q.S.M (who some of you will know from "Brian and Bobby") to organise and discuss some learning experiences about road safety early in term 1. Naturally, the safety of our learners is paramount and education for safety is essential. We are glad to have these connections. 

Yasmin and Kelly also met with Russell French from Travelwise Auckland Transport to discuss Road Safety and Travelwise activities. We are proactively thinking about how we can make the drop off and pick up arrangements safe for all our learners, their siblings and their parents, in short for our school community. Having many learners and their whānau walk to school is beneficial for many reasons and it contributes to keeping the roads around the school safe. Walking to school also allows parents to teach their children being a pedestrian on our roads. We are a Travelwise School!

The Linc-Ed team: Diana, Kirstin, Kate and Amy, continued to set up interfaces and progressions which will support our educators in their administration work and in assembling Ubiquitous Learning Portfolios.


Team Wheke coaches and our two deputy principals Wendy and Kirstin went to a very worthwhile, informative and descriptive Primary Phonics workshop facilitated by Yolanda Soryl. We have been deliberating about what Phonics programme we are going to implement in our school.  After consulting  many sources we decided for Yolanda Soryl and for a start her workshop did not disappoint at all. 

Yolanda is an excellent facilitator in making sure that we have not wasted a minute of our time. She does share her strategies of making phonics a practical, effective and enjoyable part of a literacy programme in a very absorbable style. We left this workshop with many readily implementable strategies, which we will need to integrate into and weave through our timetable.  

On Wednesday evening Amy, Anoushka and Yasmin went to an information evening held by Te Wānanga o Aotearo and inquired about courses to learn Te Reo Maori. They have enrolled  in a year long course and will commit at least three hours a week, probably a little more to learning Te Reo Maori and Tikanga Maori. By the end of the course they will be able to hold a seven minute conversation. What a great ambition - congratulations and good luck to them.  

Coming up
  • Official opening
  • Open days
  • More work on Kāinga websites, LincEd 
  • Hauora wellbeing  workshop with Graham Watts 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Term 4 Week 10 @Matuangaru Spotlight

Tena kotou katoa!

Week 10, the final week of Term 4 2018 has arrived. While we continued to take ownership of our magnificent brand new school, some tradesmen still finished up their tasks. We really enjoy having Joseph around who looks after the property, a super helpful and happy person. Thanks to Kate and Anoushka, we have a lovingly decorated Christmas tree in our Whare hui (staff room) which gives it a homely feel, indeed. This week saw us summarising, finalising and sharing back many of our projects as well as strategically looking forward to Term 1 2019.


We started the week off by reflecting on our Whanau Focus Group event and on the feedback we received from our
amazing parent community. We could sense the excitement among our future learners and their parents and we are
thrilled that many aspects of our learning design and strategies are in alignment with what parents foresee and wish
for their children’s education.

During this week, our Learning Coaches have visited some of our future learners in their current educational setting
and had a chat with their current teacher. We are mindful to ease the transition for our learners and we do our utmost
to getting to know our learners and be prepared for their arrival in Term 1 2019.

We have been busy designing introduction letters to our future Hapu learners which will be sent out n mid January.
Further, Wendy, Kirstin and Diana informed the team about ordered resources which will arrive after the holiday break.
We also reviewed budgets for next year as well as determined who are the budget holders. We talked about
guidelines which will serve budget holders successfully working together and ensuring that resources are purposeful,
appropriate and connected within the school. During a feedback and sharing session, all project groups reported
about their progress and the action they have been taking during this term. Moreover, our Whare Hāpori (Library)
team engaged into another AccessIt Training. Engaging with our future learners and their parents, Diana, Kirstin and
Wendy continued Whanau (family) enrolment interviews throughout the week.

Also, during this week, we celebrated Kirstin's Birthday - Happy Birthday, Kirstin.


Now is the time that all our learning from visiting schools comes to fruition. We clearly remember the advice we were
given by Mike Anderson emphasising that the hard systems need to match the soft systems. While we did not have
input in the design of the building, it is still up to us to select spaces and furniture and match these with our soft
building blocks (aka our learning design building blocks). This involves some deliberation among the team which also
means furniture gets moved back and forth until we reach the “Eureka” moment and we’ll know it is going to work.
In our Kāinga, we have decided and finalised the footprint-layout. In the new year we will do the fun part and hang out
signs, labels and decoration so our home away from home will be inviting, appealing and charm our learners
from Day 1. We also spent a considerable amount of time on forming, shaping and molding our learning design for
Term 1 “Ko wai au? Ko wai tātou?→ Who am I? Who are we?”.

On Thursday Diana surprised us with some hilarious presentations which she produced with the help of JIBJAB .
These display the team singing and dancing which got us cracking up laughing. Some of us were a little jealous that
we do not have these skills in real life. (Please note - these will not play, we leave that to your imagination.)



We continued to negotiate the fine detail in our MATES and with that constructed our collaboratively agreed norms
owned by all involved. Working closely together requires a shared understanding and we want to ensure we know
how we can support each other to be our best self every day. Additionally, we reviewed the A-Z handbook and
double-checked that the listed information is agreed and acknowledged by all. Also, we co-constructed our Whare hui
(staff room) and resource room norms.

Diana, Kirstin and Michael have done a brilliant job in designing the frame of our Kāinga websites and deciding
what information will be displayed in which sub-page. This sets us up for consistency between the Kāinga and
surely our virtual visitors will appreciate this.

Diana, Kirstin and Kate have been sifting and sorting through the numerous learning progressions listed on LincEd
and identified learning progressions that are relevant for the ubiquitous learning pathway for our future learners.

Jenny and the team from New Era have been really busy to set up all the digital devices.

Having engaged in our professional learning badging throughout the term, Week 10 was the home stretch in this
project. Kelly has been the leader on the badging board for a long time but others have slowly caught up and
therefore it remained open to the very last day who is winning this competition in Term 4 2018. Congratulation to Kelly
and Kate for being our first badging winners. They both scored the same amount of points. Again, a big thank you to
Michael and Kirstin for designing such a brilliant system to engage in professional learning. Of course, we will
continue to badge in 2019.

Throughout the week presents appeared under our Christmas tree. Yasmin, our incredible social committee person,
organised  a Secret Santa and that meant that we all had a present to open on Thursday during our final Christmas
gathering. The Learning coaches really went the extra mile and gifted thoughtful presents to our very hard working
deputy princesses and our awesome principal. #Dreamteam

We wish all our virtual visitors, readers, future learners and their parents and our friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  
What's coming up:

  • Resources
  • Whare Hāpori setting up resources
  • Assessment Focus: modelling and practice
  • Linc Ed and Progressions: training
  • PB4L - Kahui Values Design

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Term 4 Week 9 @MatuaNgaru Spotlight

Tena kotou katua!

Week 9 has come and gone. We can't believe how quickly this term has went, but it must be because we've been working so hard and having so much fun making our school the amazing place it's going to be!

After having spent the end of week 8 on retreat, we have forged stronger bonds on our team and are getting down to lots of work that will have a direct impact on our teaching and learning in 2019.


Week 9 was a week where a lot of our curiosity was piqued because on Tuesday morning we officially started moving in to the new space. Though there is still a good amount of work to be finished, we're very excited with the new space and can't wait to get it ready for our new learners! We've spent lots of time learning how everything works and exploring the new spaces, all the while discussing the wonderful learning opportunities we can provide in our new building.

We have also been spending a lot of time developing our curriculum maps for term 1. These will serve as an outline of the learning experiences we will provide for our first ten weeks. Our two Kāinga teams have been discussing all of the different things together and fitting everything into our overarching theme for the term, which is  Ko wai au? Ko wai tātou?→  Who am I?  Who are we?


At the very end of the week, on Saturday, we were excited to have a Whanau Focus Group in our new building, which afforded us the chance to not only share our vision for both innovative assessment, Te Ao Māori, Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori at MNS and get feedback on those aspects of our school, but it also allowed us a chance to share the building with our new learners alongside their families and whanau. It was a great day with lots of positive conversations and many excited faces!


Another bonus of moving in to the new space was that a lot of the resources we have ordered have arrived. We have spent a portion of our time this past week, unboxing and sorting some of our new resources that will enable us to deliver high quality teaching and learning. Seen here are the 15 Sphero Bolt robots which will be a part of our STEAM program at MNS.

We have also been working diligently to develop a number of inquiry processes that we will use for our Transdisciplinary Projects. We recognise that not all inquiries are the same and that each one will require a different approach. So far we have identified: a research inquiry, a scientific investigation, a statistical inquiry, a field study, a design thinking process and a few other ones. We're excited to refine these and then put them into action in 2019!


One of the first things we did when we moved into the new space was to put our learner wall up. We use this as a way to start to get to know our learners so that on day 1 we know as many names as we can. It was also a popular stopping point on our tour of the school on Saturday.

Most of the week was spent in our Kāinga teams. We have been working on our MATES agreements (which are put in place to help us through the difficult bits of teamwork) and have been having a lot of discussions about how to use the advantages of our unique school (the amazing spaces, the incredible educators and our future outstanding learners).

We also spent some time early in the week, discussing our as-yet-to-be-named approach to PB4L (Positive Behaviour For Learning). We have had some great discussions and are beginning to define our systems so that we can teach, encourage and acknowledge behaviours that promote positive relationships and thus learning.

We also had the privilege of meeting with the Arohanui team which will be working on site and began some discussions as to not only how we can use each others' strengths to serve all of our learners, but also how our learners might work together to enhance everyones' educational experiences.

As the calendar approaches 2019 we are getting more and more excited. The idea of starting a new school became very real this past week and many great ideas that have been discussed over the past months (and more than a year for some of us) are starting to crystallise. It's not an easy journey and there will certainly be some bumps along the road, but we have an incredible team and the future is certainly looking bright!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Term 4 - Week 8 @MatuaNgaru Spotlight

Tēnā koutou katoa! A Wild Week 8 .it was...

We have had a wonderful week together. Curriculum, teaching in the Huapai District School Flexible Learning Spaces and our amazing collaborative retreat with Te Uho o te Nikau Primary School were the highlights. It has been an affirming week as well and we met with 5 more families. We are growing bigger ever week!

We are anxiously awaiting moving in to our new school next week. Handover is expected on Tuesday. We are also looking forward to hosting our next Whanau Focus Group next Saturday, December 15 from 2-3pm - details to come via Facebook and email for enrolled families.


On Monday and Wednesday we worked on developing our curriculum. It is shaping up beautifully and we are designing a model to make it visible and cognitively portable. Diana met with the Establishment Board of Trustees for lunch on Wednesday to celebrate our epic establishment year. We also made a decision to move our official opening to the 30th of January as this is the first day of school for James Le Marquand, his team and their learners from Arohanui Special School. We will begin the day with an official welcoming from our mana whenua partners and follow that with our first of two Open Days for our learners. The Open Day will enable our tamariki and their whanau to spend some time in their spaces and hang out with our awesome team of educators. More details will come via Facebook and email.

On Tuesday, our team worked in the flexible learning spaces at Huapai District School and made a lot of wonderful noticings and even connected with a few of our future learners. The highlight of this week was of course the amazing retreat at Vaughn Park in Long Bay. Our team reveled in the opportunity to connect with and collaborate with the team of ten from Te Uho o te Nikau. We began the retreat with a collaborative scavenger hunt and some speed dating to get everyone talking.

Then Mel Bland, Principal of Te Uho o te Nikau Primary School and our very own Di swapped teams to share our journey to date. Other activities included a Smackdown of innovative pedagogies, a World Cafe on collaborative practices, a session on Play Based Learning with Heike (aka Play Guru), Bonnie and Eva, some Tinker Time facilitated by Michael and Kate and an Appy Hour of wonderful digital technologies. There was also time for some fun and games including a Riff Off (a singing competition) and the epic Quiz Night hosted by Wendy and Kirstin. We are looking forward to connecting with the wonderful Te Nikau again in the new year when we get to visit each other's kura.


Wendy and Amanda began training with AccessIt which is the software that we will use in Whare Hapori- our future focused library. They are in the process of stamping all of the books that we have procured to date and eagerly await the scanner and bar codes to begin accessioning our initial collection. We have also had one of our wonderful parents begin to collect some previously loved books from families in the area for our collection- we wonder what great reads there will be?! We also did some work with Jenny and Del from the Ministry of Education again on our approach to PB4L. We are thinking of calling it our 'Kahui Character' program as it will involve identifying and teaching our expectations for learning in our school with a system to support all learners to reach these. We will use a tuakana-teina approach in our weekly Kahui Character time where our tamariki are places in one of our four school wide vertical groups named after our learning values - Curious, Collaborative, Creative and Communicative to learn, practice and apply these expectations. We will also revisit them as needed within our hapu (aka: guardian or home group). We are looking forward to further developments of this when they return next Monday.


Michael got our creative juices flowing with a session on designing rituals to build our school culture. Four very special ideas are germinating.

There is also some exciting work being lead by our team of learning coaches with our interactive turangawaewae map and their projects (supported by Wendy and Kirstin):
  • Hauora at Matua Ngaru- Heike, Nush & Yasmin
  • Travelwise - Yasmin & Wendy
  • Whare Hapori - Wendy, Kate & Kelly
  • Kahui Character - Heike, Wendy
  • Te Ao Maori - Amy & Heike
  • Enviro - Amy, Nush & Wendy + STEAM- Michael, Kirstin, Kelly & Kate (combining where appropriate)
  • Linc-Ed Progressions - Kate and Kirstin
  • Digital Ecosystem - Kirstin
  • Sports & Clubs - Amy, Nush & Kate
  • Digital Citizenship - Yasmin, Kate and Kelly
We continue to connect with our families in our Whanau Interviews and can't wait to lead learning with them in 2019.

What's coming up:
*** relocating to our wonderful school on Tuesday - thank you to Huapai District School!
*** PB4L part 3 with Jenny and Del on Monday
*** Spotless Induction on Thursday
*** Meeting the Arohanui team on Thursday
*** 12 more whanau interviews (and counting!)
*** Whanau Focus Group: Assessment, Strategy, Curriculum and Te Reo & Tikanga Maori
*** ENROL Training on Wednesday
*** AccessIt Training on Monday
*** NZSL with Margaret Patrick on Friday
*** 3 birthday girls: Yasmin, Anoushka & Kirstin
*** end of year xmas BBQ
*** and a whole lot more! eg. Curriculum, Assessment, Projects, Kainga set up