Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Asia New Zealand Foundation Leaders Workshop


Cobham had the privilege of hosting the Asia NZ Foundation leaders Canterbury workshop this week.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Matariki - what do you know about this time of year?

Kua puta Matariki ka rere Whānui.

Ko te tohu tēnā o te tau e!

I have been thrilled to have my babies come home from their school this week excitedly talking about Matariki.  They are proud to tell me they "know lot's about Matariki" and we have been getting up early to go outside to try and find ngā whetu o Matariki (the Matariki stars).

Matariki is the Māori name for a group of stars known as the Pleiades star cluster. Contrary to popular belief, there are nine stars in the Matariki constellation instead of seven. The Māori New Year is marked by the rise of this star cluster and the sighting of the next new moon. This year, 2016, Matariki started on 6 June.

There are some amazing resources out there to support teachers sharing the kōrero and importance of Matariki. Firstly, try to connect to your local Māori community to find out if there are any events or local tikanga or history you should know about Matariki (like this awesome Matariki celebration happening locally where I live).

All teachers should check out this webpage on New Zealand Curriculum Online too which has an abundance of great links to YouTube clips and supporting websites and resources: 

And if none of that helps you learn about the Matariki story, here is one of my daughters telling you what she has learned about Matariki so far...DISCLAIMER: please don't take it as gospel but rather a super cute version of a 5 year old from Aotearoa trying to summarise all the cool new things they have learned about Matariki this week!  :)

Authentic learning reaps rewards

Last week at our school I had the pleasure of dining at 'Cobham Cuisine' - a student run restaurant organised, set up and run by two Y8 classes.  Staff, parents and students were able to book a table and order and eat a meal which they paid for.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as a diner and was super impressed with the obvious engagement and hard work displayed from every child.  Each student had a role to do, based on their strengths and they were working their backsides off to do that job well.  They were communicating, collaborating, creating and working towards a common goal.  They had meticulously planned every detail from creating a CV to apply for their chosen restaurant roles to planning the menu, entertainment, cooking, cleaning, bookings, finances, wait staff, ordering, marketing..... You name it, they thought of it and planned it to ensure the success of their business venture.

One of the fathers of a student is a very successful business owner in Christchurch, with a string of successful restaurants under his leadership.  He was able to come in and mentor the students and even devoted hours of his time to supporting the cooking and delivery of meals to customers on the day.  Being able to tap into the expertise in our community was an important aspect of new learning and established an authentic connection to real world business.

Here is what our teachers and students had to say...

WALT: Create change using business and entrepreneurial flare.

"After the Cobham Cuisine had closed, we gave the students the choice to spend the profits on making a change in a biosphere of their choice or to spend the money on themselves.

The choice was done with an anonymous vote.

The students voted 19 - 9 to spend the money on an environmental cause. We are considering buying two acres of rainforest".

"The learning was fun and authentic, the kids loved it. The parents loved it. Teachers loved it.
Our Food Technology teacher AL was very supportive as always regarding the use of her kitchen and advice."

"The teachers were very easy to work with, really efficient, with a great sense of humour. So good relationships were helpful when catering for 115 guests!"

"Everyone involved loved the restaurant and the entire experience and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I think we made it a really authentic process and experience for our kids following the CV, application process and letting them do the work, themselves (teacher)."

Finally, I went away from this experience thinking this is absolutely how learning should be.  A real issue to address, real life experiences that connect to our community, authentic tasks that allow student strengths to be developed, access for parents, other students and community members to participate in the end result and most importantly, everyone involved was having an awesome time.  Watch this space - these types of learning experiences are soon to become the overwhelming norm at Cobham!