Great things are happening in New Zealand schools
Great things are happening in New Zealand
Bay of Plenty
Kids at Oruaiti School, just south of Mangonui, have been working hard to encourage their whole community to become healthier.
They wanted to improve people’s quality of life so they set about informing and educating them. They designed and introduced healthy menus and physical activity programmes in their own and other schools.
They did this by organising healthy lunches at their own school – including soup in winter and filled rolls in summer, frozen yoghurt, fruit salads and vegetable sticks – and going off to three local schools to tell the principals and teachers what they had done.
Other schools are invited to Oruaiti every Monday for an after school sports event run by the students and they also run a weekly jump jam session for adults. Local schools and shops have been given leaflets detailing healthy lifestyles.
Summer in New Zealand is a time when many families head to the beach and the river and being safe on the water is essential.
Chelsea School, Year 5 and 6 students have been taking part in Waterwise, a programme where they learn to sail and keep themselves safe in and out of the water.
Students use the Birkenhead Yacht Club facilities and sail in the harbour. They learn to swim as part of the health and physical education curriculum.
Maori bilingual and immersion classes are a feature of the Kowhai Intermediate School in Kingsland, Auckland.
The school offers proven quality Maori education and its unique approach to Mâori education has attracted applicants from right across Auckland.
The Maori language programme is made up of three Maori language classes (either full immersion or bilingual).
Students are encouraged to understand, speak, read and write in Maori and to apply Te Reo to their everyday lives. Classes are limited to 20 students to allow for the nurture of aroha, manaakitanga and tautoko (love, hospitality and support).
Twirling tutus in the snow are an unusual way to teach subjects as diverse as maths and languages.
Kids at Mangere Central School were part of a unique arts programme late last year, where every subject was taught based on The Nutcracker ballet for a month.
The month culminated in a
visit by the school to a performance of the
Children who find it easier to learn through action, rather than sitting at a desk, were able to learn through the creative medium of dance and drama.
Hukanui School in Hamilton has won numerous awards for involvement in Environschool, a schools-based environmental education programme.
Year 5 and 6 Hukanui students worked on restoring native bush in a gully on their school grounds after discovering that Hamilton City has only a tiny per cent of its original native bush left.
The school group worked on an in-depth environmental study and formed a school community gully group to guide its project.
Teachers at Huntly-Ngaruawahia schools can enjoy their holidays with satisfaction knowing they have made a real difference for their students.
Sixteen schools in the district have been participating in an initiative which aims to improve levels of student achievement.
A major focus on literacy over the past three years has seen achievement levels raised to a national average. Assessment of reading show significant progress has been made. The strong commitment by teachers to their intensive professional development programme has produced this outstanding result.
The programme will continue in 2006 with an additional focus on numeracy.
Bay of Plenty
When you sit down in the Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Te Koutu staffroom in Rotorua you’d be excused for wondering why the Maori spoken sounds so strange.
It’s because they’re actually speaking Spanish in this full immersion kura. The kura has recruited two Chilean teachers to help their students reach the school’s vision of becoming ‘cultural and linguistic brokers of the future’.
The kura is strongly focused on language for its students, and although Maori is its first language it has literacy goals for Spanish in 2006 and English in 2007.
Tararua College in Pahiatua has used the flexibility of the curriculum and the lure of cookies to give its students practical experience in food technology.
The Big Bikkie Project drew on the experience of entrepreneurial company Cookie Time and a local food technologist to teach students about biscuit making, testing and production processes.
The students also turned their production work into a retail opportunity complete with packaging, labelling and sales.
Exploring space in a spacecraft of your own design was one unusual challenge for schools worldwide in 2005.
New Zealand was represented in the NASA-organised challenge, Rocket to the Stars, by the Hutt International Boys’ School.
A combination of science, economics, technology and lots of imagination were needed by the challenge team to work out where they intended to visit in space, and how they were going to get there.
The resulting presentation was broadcast to schools in Canada and the United States via video-conferencing and webcast.
The popular ‘Tech Angels’ from
Wellington Girls’ College have spread their wings wider this
year, helping local organisations with technology
The Tech Angels are a group of Wellington Girls students who use their own skills and knowledge to help their teachers using Information Communications Technology (ICT). Their skills range from scanning images to website animation packages and are regularly increased through technology seminars and conferences.
There are multiple benefits for staff and students from the scheme, and now other areas of the community are benefiting. The Tech Angels have lent their website skills to a local company and the Correspondence School.
Getting parents and whanau onboard with their children’s learning is a powerful tool.
It’s made harder when parents have low education levels themselves or don’t speak English.
Nelson’s Victory Primary School has reached out to its Pasifika and immigrant families with a home/school partnership that promotes literacy in a parent’s mother tongue.
Parents and teachers lead the programme together. Support from the local community’s agencies and organisations back up the school’s desire to meet the diverse needs of its students.
Bringing local business into the education mix has worked well for Picton’s Queen Charlotte College.
It’s the only secondary school in New Zealand to offer students a dive course and also runs an aquaculture programme for senior students with the local mussel industry.
Strong links between the community, local businesses and the school give students the opportunity to learn valuable work skills for use with local employers.
Karamea Area School, 100 kilometres north of Westport, is in a fairly isolated spot but that hasn’t stopped the school from making the most of information communications technology (ICT).
Wireless laptops mean this far away school can still give their students the reach and resources of the online world to extend their learning.
Putting the laptops in the library has turned it into a thriving busy media centre.
A safe physical and emotional school environment is a critical foundation for learning. Woodend School in North Canterbury is the first school in Australasia to be accredited as a World Health Organisation Safe School.
Five years ago parents, students, staff and community started work on improving both the physical environment and, just as importantly, the school culture after concerns were raised about playground safety and bullying.
The school actively promoted involvement from all members of the school community. Over those five years a process was developed to gather information about safety issues, define the problems, and ultimately develop strategies for action. The process covered road safety, injury prevention, playground equipment, and school policies.
The result is a safer school environment, with a 50% reduction in injuries, and a much happier group of students with improved behaviour and attitudes.
Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Otepoti, based in Sunnyvale, is one of four kura in the South Island. The kura has been using assessment to improve the reading, writing and listening skills of its children.
The kura has used a Maori language version of a nationwide assessment tool called asTTLe. asTTle stands for Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning. It is a tool used on computers to create tests which once scored generates reports allowing teachers to analyse a student’s achievement.
Teachers can use the results to inform students and parents on educational progress and also to modify classroom lessons to target areas of greatest need.
Using the latest technology to share information has been made possible with interactive whiteboards in ten Southland schools. The schools use the whiteboards in their classrooms to share information with five Auckland schools.
Resources such as electronic flip-charts are onscreen and a teacher or teachers can conduct the lesson via the flip chart. Classes with webcam can have their images projected to other participants, and the split screens allow for several images at one time.
Students are able to create presentations with computer features such as graphics and sound tracks and the presentations can even be shown later to parents as examples of their child’s work.
The whiteboards give students a wider range of learning opportunities from different teachers and guest speakers and encourage interaction and experience with the very latest technology.
The Southland schools are: Te Wharekura O Arowhenua, Newfield School, Waverley Park School, Myross Bush Primary School, St Patrick’s Primary School, Waihopai School, St John’s Girls’ School, and Southland Girls’ High School.