Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Focused writing in Harakeke

In Harakeke the students have been writing about Matariki and the different legends used to explain the seven stars. They have been thinking about how they work best; what furniture they like to use and how they can arrange it to enable them to focus and write for a sustained period of time. Some students work best in small groups where they can share ideas, others like to work alone facing away from any distractions. It is fantastic to see them explore how they like to learn. Check out our slideshare below to see some of ways our older students like to write.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Swimming lessons begin next term with Easy Swim, Tawa School Pool.  Thank you to all the parents who have indicated that they are available to help transport children to and from the pool.  If you would like to help please let Urs or Angela know.
Children who already have swimming lessons with Easy Swim will be grouped according to the knowledge they already have.  An email will be sent out shortly to the parents of all other children with a link to a questionnaire. This will help Easy Swim group the children according to the information you fill out.
Here is a brief overview of the Easy Swim programme:

Module 1: Becoming safer in, on and around water
Module 2: Water confidence and submersion
Module 3: Breath control, floating and gliding
Module 4: Kicking, stroking and survival introduction
Module 5: Stroking and survival progression
Module 6: Swim and survival techniques
Module 7: Swim and survive application
Module 8: Safety at the Beach


First win for Amesbury Ferns

Congratulations to our Ferns Netball team which had its first win of the season this Saturday. Up against Westpark Stallions they pulled out all the stops and won by 8-7. Follow this link to see the girls celebrating

It's great to win, but we are particularly proud of this team because they have shown such great team spirit and fairplay attitude. Well done girls!

Thanks to coach, Karina, for her work with the team.

For further photos of the celebration go to this link.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Harakeke Happenings in Term 2

We have been a busy hub in Harakeke so far this term! We have been focusing on:
*Art - completing portraits either in Picasso style or using foreshortening (optical illusion making some parts of our body look closer than others)
*Performance - for our official school opening all students took part in at least one performance, with most students being involved in several, including street dance, guitar, tuned percussion, Chinese dance, World Cafe maths, library activities, singing and many more! We also performed a wide variety of items for our school concert after the official opening.
*Creative electives - choosing from a range of activities such as creating dioramas and print making
*Language learning: Te Reo Maori and Mandarin
*Developing our understanding and performance of our powhiri ceremony
*Maths and literacy learning
*Music - tuned percussion, singing
*Learning conferences: all students spent between 30-45 minutes with one of the Harakeke teachers talking through their three matrices (maths, reading, writing). This discussion then led to the creation of a personal learning treaty (PLT) for each student, including a series of goals chosen by the student, using their matrices to identify their next learning steps. Students then talked through the matrices and their PLT with their parent/s, and these documents have been shared with students and parents so that they can be continually viewed and updated.

Now that our art unveiling and school opening  ceremonies are behind us we can move into the more settled part of our term. The learning conferences and creation of PLTs have been extremely useful in helping to inform our planning for the rest of this term.

Focus areas for Weeks 5-10:
*Maths: Specific skills based work through workshops, Snappers and World Cafe Maths. For information on World Cafe Maths please see our Harakeke blog - scroll down a little way to find an explanation of it. Snapper maths involves short videos we are creating to explain specific skills. To view Snappers we have created thus far please see the ‘Snapper’ link at the top of our Harakeke blog. Our Snappers will not only be about maths skills, they will be created for all learning areas. We have just begun to create them, so there are only a few to begin this space! Maths will be personalised for all students with workshops, activities and snappers developed for groups of students needing specific instruction or skill development. We are currently spending time showing the students how to use their maths matrix and PLT to identify their next learning steps and then choose particular activities/websites/materials/textbooks to achieve their learning goal.
Specific maths areas we will be focusing on: fractions, division and multiplication skills and strategies, problem posing and solving.
Below is a collage of Snapper maths work:

*Literacy: Matariki module - students are reading and analysing books and information about Matariki (Maori New Year). They share their learning in a variety of ways, including retelling the story orally and in written form. Students will then be researching a range of Maori legends explaining Matariki and presenting their learning in a variety of forms, culminating in a Harakeke video telling the story of Matariki, along with a range of legends. They will then be exploring and researching explanations of the Matariki stars from other countries and cultures.
We are also developing our narrative writing skills, including giving and receiving feedback from peers. Students are practicing using their reading and writing matrices and their PLTs to ascertain the particular skills they need to focus on when reading and writing. Creative writing is also an ongoing task for all students.
*Inquiry: Students are continuing with their inquiries from last term (such as creating lunch orders made for students by students, exploring 1-1 devices at school and ordering senior literacy resources). These inquiries will be completed by the end of Week 6, with proposals, where necessary, written and presented, and actions taken across the school.
For Weeks 7-10 a variety of different inquiry work will then begin, including beginning a travel plan for the school (a group of students investigating how students travel to school, exploring how environmentally friendly our travel habits are to/from school and looking at any actions we can take to increase sustainable and environmentally friendly travel) and exploring our school and its features.
Food tech: Amaria Picard will begin working with our school lunches inquiry group to start creating school lunches prepared and cooked by students one day a week. This module will include planning, costing, purchasing, storing and cooking the lunches. Amaria will work with this group for 5 weeks, and then she will start the same module with another group of students. All Yr 4-6 students will complete this food tech module with her by the end of the year.  
*Active learners: We will continue to focus on students becoming active, self-directed learners through developing their understanding and use of their matrices and PLTs to inform their learning choices. All students will be directed to continually access and use their matrices to ensure their focus is on their next learning steps in reading, writing and maths. Every Friday students spend an hour reflecting on their learning, reviewing their PLT goals and identifying what they have done to achieve their learning goals. They are also asked to inform teachers of the workshops, Snappers or 1-1 guidance they now need to achieve their learning goals.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Koru Hub Update

As we reflect on the first half of the term and our successful opening day we head into a settled and focused second half of the term.

What we have achieved so far in Term 2:
* Completed inquiries looking at "Beauty" and "Joy" - linking to our school whakatauki "Joy for learning, joyful living"
* Progress in reading, writing and maths within our inquiry and workshops
* Learning beginner glockenspiels, ukulele, recorder
* Polished our powhiri and haka
* Continued our language learning in Te Reo and Mandarin
* School Cross Country
* Student Led Conferences
* Art Unveiling
* School concert and disco
* Welcomed seven new children to our hub

Events for the Rest of Term 2:
Star Lab Trip                        Wednesday 30 May      Learn about Matariki!
Junior Cross Country            Friday 1 June                We welcome other schools who will race with us!
Queens Birthday                   Monday 4 June             Have a day off!
School Community Evening  Wednesday 6 June         Join us for "Banana or the Bag"

Learning Programmes for the rest of Term:

 * Inquiries around the history of Amesbury School, how we got to be here, what things are and how they work, the designs, the decisions and the stories! This will involve interviews, research and identifying relevant information that answers our wonderings. Curriculum areas that fall out of these inquiries include, literacy, maths, science, social sciences, and technology.

iTime and Workshops. Children work through their personal learning contract which covers learning activities that meet their goals. These include 'must do' and 'can do' tasks. Workshops focus on information literacy, reading, writing, maths, ICT, social/group skills as they are identified as a next step from our inquiries and from the assessment matrices. Some workshops are ability based and some are mixed ability with the choice to sign into them if this is a learning goal they need to explore.

World Cafe Maths. Every Tuesday children are organised in mixed ability groups. Working on a maths problem children will begin by individually working it out. They take turns to share their strategy and answer.  When all children in the group have explained their strategy, the group must decide which strategy is the most effective and why. World Cafe Maths give children the opportunity to see a variety of strategies, to clearly articulate their learning, to learn from their peers in an authentic context, to develop their group skills, to come to an agreed consensus and to use strategies that might be new to them. On Wednesday and Thursday children work in ability groups. They explore problem solving to develop their strategies and participate in ability based workshops that focus on their maths knowledge as identified from the maths matrix.

* Music. Monday with Judy will cover a lesson for every year level. A tuned percussion group is on offer to those who wish to sign up, with the intention to develop a school orchestra. Artsplash is compulsory for all year 3-6 children.

Te Reo and Kapa Haka. Crisanna is at Amesbury on Monday and Friday. She will continue to take every year level for a Te Reo lesson. Haka and powhiri protocols continue to be practiced. Poi will be starting soon for the girls and a new haka for the boys. Street Dance continues and is on offer to everyone.

Mandarin with Lulu is on every Friday. A lesson for every year level and also extension lessons for children who have prior knowledge of Mandarin.

Remember if you would like to see what we are doing each day, have a look on our planning site. Look under Term 2 and then the calendar page. All our planning is available for viewing. Chat to your child to see whose workshops they have been attending and look under that teachers page for the current week.

Thank you to all the parents who are transporting us to Newlands for the Star Lab Matariki visit and for swimming next term! Your assistance helps us to keep our groupings flexible, the cost is heaps cheaper which means we can have more trips.

Ka Kite Ano!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Attendance at school (part 2)

Legal requirements: Did you know?

Did you know that the Education Act 1989 says that all children enrolled at a school must attend school whenever that school is open?

Did you know that the Board of Trustees is required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that students do attend school whenever it is open?

Did you know that every parent of a child who is not at school without a good reason, commits an offence and can be convicted and fined?

Did you know that just because parents have provided an explanation to the school for their child’s absence, that does not mean it is a justified absence? The principal is required to make decisions about whether an absence is really justified.

What are good reasons for a student being absent?

• Illness (a medical certificate should be provided if child is away longer than a week)
• Bereavement
• Medical appointments
• Class trips

Many schools do not consider family trips or holidays or even overseas trips as good reasons for being absent from school. You should discuss such trips with the school principal prior to going.

Attendance procedures next....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Attendance at School (part 1)

Six reasons why “every day at school counts” for your child

I recently received the attendance figures for students at Amesbury School. These are reported to you in your child's Personal Learning Treaty. I think it is timely to think a little about the importance of attendance. We have set our attendance goal at 96% because we believe that attendance is very important to high levels of achievement.

Research is very clear about the importance of school attendance for all children but especially for students in years 1 – 2:

1. Long-term success at school is strongly linked to attendance, particularly in the first two years of school. Further, time spent at school is one of the major predictors of a happy, successful, long and healthy life.

2. Students with a poor attendance record in years 1 and 2 are much more likely to drop out of school early.

3. Attendance at school is usually regarded as one of the “big four” factors that can produce resilience in young people. We need resilient young people.

4. Increased participation in school is key to reducing anti-social behaviour and offending.

5. Poor attendance at school leads to disengagement with education.

6. Longer term consequences of disengagement with education include worse employment opportunities, lower earnings, higher involvement in crime, worse mental health etc.

Poor attendance can creep up on well meaning and caring families.

If 96% attendance rate seem an unrealistic goal, look at it this way......If a students has an average attendance rate of 90% over the eight years at primary school, that students will go to secondary school having missed close to a full year of schooling. This loss of time at school is significant and MUST impact achievement and engagement.

Next.....what the legislative requirements are for attendance.

Cross Country News

Northern Zones Championships: A big congratulations to our seven year 4 - 6 students who competed at the Northern Zone Cross Country Championships last Thursday. Not only did they represent the school well by behaving excellently, but they were self-motivated and put lots of effort into preparing for the race. Our students all competed well on the day, finishing well up in each of their races. A special congratulations to Tom Pavan who finished in 7th place and goes through to Wellington Inter-Zones as a result.

Cross-Country Training: A number of students (of all ages) have indicated that they would like to continue with cross country training. My husband, John, and daughters, Zara and Serena, are prepared to help with this. On Wednesday and Thursday lunchtimes they will come to school and do some cross country training with students who are interested. In order to ensure variety in the training and some hill training which is essential to cross country running, the training will sometimes happen on the school site, but will also sometimes happen off site but adjacent to school - no transport will be involved. For example, they may use Romaine Road for hill training or they may walk to Derry Hill and use the path and steps up the hill for training. If you are unwilling for your child to leave the school site in this way, please let us know.

On Monday afternoons, John is happy to organise a longer run (up Mt Kaukau) for the older students after school. Zara and Serena will accompany the students on the run - one at the back and one at the front. They run Mt Kaukau several times a week, so are very familiar with the area. John would pick up these older students after school on Monday and transport them to where the run will start and then drop them home afterwards. We will send out a separate email to parents when we have an idea of which older students are interested to gain your consent for this.

Just to let you know - John is a very experienced middle distance coach. He has coached for many years and has had athletes compete at the highest levels of International and National competition. However, John is happy to work with anyone who wants to run, but he most particularly enjoys working with people who are willing to put effort in to improve.

Below photos of the students at the Northern Zone Cross Country Championships. Thanks to Voula for taking these.

Junior Cross Country Event - 1st June

We have three schools that have accepted our invitation to race our juniors in a cross country event on 1 June 2012. The races will be for year 1- 3 children who will race the same distances as in our school cross country event.

30 year 3 students will be joining us from St Benedicts. The top 5 cross country runners from each age group will be joining us from Johnsonville Primary and about 20 junior students will come from Crofton Downs School.

We decided to organise this because we are aware that junior students do not have as much opportunity to compete in school-based sports as older students in Wellington. It is also a good opportunity to build relationships with neighbouring schools. Some schools, such as Churton Park School, have other committments on that day and so are unable to attend.

The event will begin with a walk around the course at 11.30am. The first race will begin soon after that and all races should be finished by 1pm.

The races will be run in the following order:

Year 1 girls - 500m    
Year 1 boys - 500m
Year 2 girls - 500m
Year 2 boys - 500m
Year 3 girls - 1000m
Year 3 boys - 1000m

Please note, as soon as one race is finished, we will begin the next race.

Any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact Lesley or Gail.

Official School Opening

It's hard to believe that Amesbury School is now officially opened and we are hurtling towards having been in operation for half a year. I understand now why Sarah Martin, wonderful principal of Stonefields School in Mt Wellington, Auckland, advised me at the end of last year (as they approached the end of their first year)  to make the most of every moment because it would be no time at all before our foundation year was over. She was right! I am sitting here wondering where the time has gone.

Often at these moments in my life when I have been left wondering where the time has gone, I am also left asking myself, "And what have I achieved?" However, this time I am not asking myself what we have managed to achieve in the time we have been open as a school. That was very obvious on the opening day. As I watched our students perform a stirring haka powhiri and walked around seeing the activities that were taking place through the eyes of the Minister, and then sat with our school community to watch the concert that followed the official opening, I was amazed at the breadth of what our children are involved in, at the confidence they displayed and their willingness just to give things a go. I was thrilled with the enthusiasm and passion they put into whatever it was that they were involved in.

If only you could have all seen how articulate the "school tour group" was as these senior students accompanied the Minister on the tour of our school and explained to her what she was seeing, and then their politeness in hurrying her along, at times, to make sure that the junior students did not miss out on their opportunity to shine. And shine they did! No wonder the Minister commented in her pre-budget speech on Amesbury School when talking about quality teaching being about high expectations and finding what works for every child in the classroom. She said, "Another good example is Amesbury School, here in Wellington, where the students are engaged through art, music, dance, multi-media activities, expressed equally naturally in beautiful English and te reo Māori, and across all age groups."

The question she was asked later on TV3's The Nation was, perhaps, one that many were asking. How do all the activities our students are involved in (The Arts) contribute to achievement in reading, writing and maths? The answer to this is easy .... there are a huge number of research projects that show a clear relationship between The Arts and achievement in reading writing and maths. For example, a study of 25,000 schools showed that students with high involvement in the arts performed significantly better on standardised achievement tests than their peers who had low involvement in The Arts. More about this in another BLOG post.....

I was very proud of our students and our school community on Opening Day. I want to say a HUGE thank you to our students who gave so much so willingly and pulled off a memorable day. I want to thank our incredibly talented team of teachers who have embraced the vision of Amesbury School and, in such a short time, have managed to put so much of it into action. I love the way a culture has developed in which juniors and seniors do many activities together (tuakana-teina). Talking to the senior students, I know they really appreciate and value the increased opportunities to mix with the younger students.

Thank you everyone for a great Opening Day!!!

I am proud of many things, and what we have achieved to date at Amesbury School has exceeded my expectations and has exceeded the expectations of the EBOT. However, we are on a journey and we have no intention of sitting back on our laurels. There is still much to be done. Now that "the madness" is over, we are looking forward to moving into our next development phase. We are also looking forward to six weeks of really settled 21st c teaching and learning in the Amesbury way. More information on what this will look like will be provided in future BLOG postings.

Below are a few photos from the opening day. The full set will be made available over time. We plan to put together a full set of "memories" from this foundation year for each family. We have not yet decided just what this will look like but we will definitely present something to each family.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Board of Trustees Election Results

Amesbury School Board of Trustees Election 14 May 2012
Parent Representative Results
Candidate Name
Number of Votes
John Bunting
Steve Dunbar
Roger Ellis
Kelly Harlen
Melinda Jones
Simon Law
Nigel Schofield Matthews
Lorraine Walmsley
David Waters

I hereby declare the following duly elected;
John Bunting 
Steve Dunbar 
Roger Ellis 
Lorraine Walmsley 
David Waters

Staff Representative Result

As there was only one candidate for the available position, I hereby declare Angela Johnston elected as the staff representative on the Amesbury School Board of Trustees

Gail Greenslade
Returning Officer 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Traditional vs Innovative Education- "a case of either/or or both/and"?

I recently attended a couple of conferences and for four days in a row listened to an array of amazing speakers. The principals who had gathered received the same message from many of the speakers, "Our educational leadership must disrupt the status quo."

Why is this? You all know the answer to this question – because today’s children will not only be living in, but will provide leadership to, a world that is vastly different from the one that exists now, a world that we can barely imagine. (See Changing Paradigms for a great explanation of this). Traditional education was designed for a world that was known and dependable. But today, education must be designed for a future that cannot be known and that will always be changing. Think about how much the world has changed – 8 years ago Google did not even exist. Can you imagine a world without Google? Google, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and this is only the beginning. Our children will see more change in just a few years of their lives than we will see in a lifetime.

This is why education must move forward – because the world our children face now and will face in the future is different. And we are doing them a huge disservice if we dish out a factory model education that was designed for another era. For those of us who know better than that, it would be hugely unethical to do so.

Education must prepare our students to not only be able to participate in the global economy and contribute to it, but to be leaders in it and leaders of it. New Zealand’s goal of creating an internationally competitive knowledge economy largely depends on graduates being able to use powerful conceptual tools to solve real-world problems. One of the most powerful conceptual tools is, of course, mathematics. However, there is strong evidence that although students are coming through our schools reasonably proficient in performing various mathematical techniques and procedures, their ability to apply these procedures successfully to solve real-world problems is severely limited. If NZ is to develop an internationally competitive knowledge economy, we need students coming through who possess a wider range of competencies and understandings than our current learning environments seem to cultivate. Our students do need to learn key mathematical skills, techniques and strategies, but of equal or greater importance is taking this knowledge and learning how to apply it to real world problems and contexts.

As a result, at Amesbury, we believe an inquiry based, problem solving approach to mathematics learning is what’s needed. Hence, maths may look a little different here at Amesbury. However, it’s not a matter of either innovative or traditional, but of both/and. It's about having all the tools of innovative and traditional learning  and deciding how to use them in the best interests of the students. Students need to learn the techniques and skills of maths as well as how to apply them. The question is, do we teach the skills first, which is what often happens in traditional schools, and then when the students have mastered the skills in isolation, do we then give them opportunities to use the skills in a real context? Our preferred approach is to begin an inquiry – which provides the real-life context and the more authentic the context the better, assist students to identify the skills that are needed to carry out the inquiry, and teach those within the context of the inquiry. Learning is then not decontextualized, but is within a context and for a purpose. And there is a strong evidence base to suggest that learning is more profound when it is embedded in an authentic context that relates to the student’s real world and when it is for a purpose.

Part One of Lesley's Presentation for the Term 1 Community Evening.

Safety in the Drop-Off Zone

We are really fortunate at Amesbury School to have off street parking and a drop-off zone. To date people have been very respectful in the way that they have used these facilities and, as a result, this has operated safely and successfully. However, yesterday there was an incident in which an adult leaving the school from the drop off zone, accelerated off too quickly and nearly ran into a mother and her daughter crossing from a carpark.

This is a 5 km zone and cars should only be travelling at a crawl. However, more than that, it is a child/pedestrian-friendly zone. This means that though cars may, in theory, have the right of way, the safety of children and pedestrians should be paramount.

We do not want a repeat of this, so please take great care and always put children first in your thinking as you use the drop-off zone and carparking facilities.

Nga mihi


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Items Needed

On Thursday 17th May we are running an electives day where students will work in mixed groups across the school and choose from a range of creative, crafty and thought provoking activities.
We are looking for a number of items to help us run these activities. If you have any of the following items can you please bring them into school by Wednesday and give them to Urs in Harakeke hub or Angela in Koru hub: old ice cream containers, newspapers, shoe boxes or  bits and pieces of material.
Thanks so much for your support with this.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dominion Post Articles

Just in case you missed them, check out these articles published in the Dominion Post on Tuesday about Amesbury School and our official opening.

*Click on the images to bring up a larger version, then right click and "save as" to download a version you can zoom.

Community Notices - May 2012

DancePointe Academy has Beginners Ballet classes in Churton Park at Amesbury School Hall offering the boys and girls of Churton Park the opportunity to learn ballet on a Wednesday afternoon.  For enrollments for the remainder of Term 2 and Term 3 or for further information regarding ages/levels/class times please contact Sharon Vanesse   021-2151222 or (04) 2339773  

Gifted Child?  Not sure? Here’s your chance to come and try out One Day School, New Zealand’s longest running programme for gifted learners. Open Day "Mind Adventure Day" sessions for 6 -8 year olds and 9 - 13 year olds, will be held on Friday 15 June 2012 in our One Day School classroom at Rangikura School, 95 Conclusion St, Ascot Park, Porirua. The cost is $35 per child and pre-registration is required. Teachers, and parents of children registering, are welcome too. For more information, or to book a place for your child, please phone Shirley on 04 232 3523 or email, website

Bigair Kids Gym is getting results! Reports from parents state an increase in children’s confidence and sense of achievement, and this is contributing to their achievement at school. Children work through levels 1-10, receiving a badge at each level they pass. Classes for Boys and Girls include Gravity Busters, Flipzone, Trampoline and Team Extreme. Call 232 3508 for a FREE Trial Now.

Johnsonville Every Boys and Girls RallyA group for boys and girls aged 7 - 12 years. Run fortnightly on Thursday evenings 7 - 8.30pm at Broderick Rd Chapel, 17 Broderick Rd, Johnsonville (just along from the library). Our next Rally night is Thurs 10 May ... come along and have some fun with us. Play games, make crafts, earn badges and learn about God. For more information email or just come along and join in.

The Music Academy: Want to learn guitar or drums. We come to you! Specialists in teaching kids!
For a limited time get your first lesson free!!!
Contact Matty on 0210463503 or email me at

Paparangi Scout Group: a friendly, active Group for boys and girls, with a Cub pack ( 8 - 11 yrs),  a Scout troop (11 - 14 yrs)  and a Venturer Unit (14 - 18 yrs).
We are at 100 Mark Ave on the edge of Grenada VillageOur troop has a very a supportive committee and regularly go on tramps and camps.
Please contact;
Cubs: Julie Casidy  0n 971 2855  or  0204 0000 154 
Scouts: Nathan Dodd On 021 564 014

Venturers: Willy Shakespeare On 478 1744

Easyswim Swim School - Easyswim will make a small contribution to our school for each new enrollment in their swim school.  See their website for further information on classes and venues

Musicathon: Do you love performing? Do you want to do some good in the community? Get some friends together and join the Musicathon, a fun musical fundraiser! All proceeds go to the Salvation Army Johnsonville. Find out more and sign up:

Minister of Eduction Tweets about Amesbury

A Tweet went out yesterday from the Minister of Education, Hon. Hekia Parata, after her visit to officially open the school. To those of you who aren't signed up for Twitter, it said:

"At the official opening of Amesbury School in Churton Park this morning. Fabulous, fabulous school!"

She attached two photos to the tweet:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cross Country Results

The day of our first cross country dawned and what a beautiful day! The sky was clear blue and though it was cold in the shade, it was lovely and warm in the sun.

A 500m track was marked out which included elements of real cross country (mud, small hills, boggy ground and water). The first race (year 1 students) was underway before 12midday and the other races followed quickly after, finishing before the expected completion time. Apologies to any parents who may have arrived to watch their child's race and found that it had already finished. We will take more care next year.

I enjoyed all the racing I saw, but I particularly enjoyed watching the juniors run with such joy on their faces. A highlight of the cross country competition was seeing the effort put in by Melissini who ran with a broken arm, fell over early in the race, and then continued to finish in spite of feeling upset. Well done!

I was also pretty impressed with the level of support spectators gave the runners. Very encouraging!

Thanks to the Murrihy family who marked out the track, started the races and led the students around the course.

Congratulations to all placegetters for their fine performances and to all students for the effort they put in.

Year 1 Boys - 1st William, 2nd Cruz, 3rd Jack
Year 1 Girls - 1st Kate, 2nd Ha-Yeon, 3rd Vivian
Year 2 Boys - 1st Gabriel, 2nd Emile, 3rd Gregory
Year 2 Girls - 1st Lucy, 2nd Holly, 3rd Rosa
Year 3 Boys - 1st Ryan, 2nd Jamie, 3rd Ayrton
Year 3 Girls - 1st Hannah, 2nd Ella, 3rd Maya
Year 4 Boys -1st Tom, 2nd Matthew, 3rd Adam
Year 4 Girls - 1st Emma, 2nd Tais, 3rd Kate
Year 5 Boys - 1st Max, 2nd Luke, 3rd Ethan
Year 5 Girls - 1st Maddi, 2nd Caitlin C, 3rd Anaiya
Year 6 Girls - 1st Hannah, 2nd Amber, 3rd Rosa

Northern Zone Team

Congratulations to the following students who have been selected to represent Amesbury School at the Northern Zone Cross Country Champs to be held 17 May.

Year 4 Boys: Tom, Matthew
Year 4 Girl: Emma
Year 5 Boys: Max, Luke
Year 5 Girl: Maddi
Year 6 girl: Hannah

Lisa will be in touch with parents regarding this event and to get permission to take the students to Grenada North Park on several occasions to gain familiarity with the course. John Murrihy who is a very experienced cross country coach will assist the students with this.

Some photos below. If you have any further photos that can be included please send them to me.
P.S I WILL learn how to create a gallery one day! Unfortunately not all the photos I attached worked. Obviously blogger did not like the particular format.

Dress Ups

If you have any children's dress ups or costumes that you don't need, we would love to take them off your hands and put them in our developmental area.  Send any along to school to any koru hub teacher.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Understanding Autism

Here is a great clip created by the BBC to help people understand more about what it means to be autistic. The more people understand about autism, the easier life will be for the many amazing autistic people in New Zealand and around the world.

Friday, May 4, 2012

3-Way Conferences

Our 3-Way Conferences (Student/Parent/Teacher) will be held on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th May.  Please use the form via the link below to let us know your preferred day/time block that you would like to book.  We will do our best to confirm your 1st choice, but please provide us with a 2nd and 3rd choice as well.

We would appreciate as many people as possible being available during the day to relieve pressure on the evening sessions.

Thank you 
Lesley & Team

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A staff meeting with Sir Richard and Lady Tania Taylor at Weta Workshop - nurturing "wonderment and delight" our educational imperative

I am continually blown away by the capacity of ordinary New Zealanders to do extraordinary things.

We were hugely privileged yesterday afternoon to meet with Sir Richard and Lady Tania Taylor at Weta Workshop and once again I found myself involved in an internal dialogue about where greatness comes from? What is it that enables some people to move out of the ordinary world and do extraordinary things?

Surely talent and giftedness must be central in this….

Sir Richard Taylor said that he currently has 150 people working in the workshop, many of who came to him as drop outs of the traditional school system. He said that when he chooses staff he looks first for passion – what’s in their heart? Then he looks for enthusiasm –do they have the drive to take the passion and turn it into action? Next he looks for tenacity – do they have the courage and fortitude to hang in there and take the knocks, to stick at it? Finally, he looks for talent.

Talent is important (and we all have talents in some area or another – only a few are truly gifted) but it is passion, enthusiasm and tenacity that are the capacities and dispositions that the extraordinary success of Weta Workshop has been built on. These capacities and dispositions are available to all of us. It is these that Sir Richard and Lady Tania said must be nurtured in schools, but are often suppressed.

Sir Richard spoke of the “emotional stonewalling” that he often meets with when speaking at tertiary institutions in New Zealand – students who are turned off learning, too afraid or unable to show wonderment and delight. He compared this with the students in China, that he encounters who are fiercely determined to stand out as individuals and show their enthusiasm and passion openly in a crowd.

Surely our goal in education is to assist students towards greatness – to be ordinary New Zealanders who do extraordinary things. How do we do this?

According to Sir Richard and Lady Tania we need to ensure that students leave our institutions with a hunger for learning, joy of life and a higher level of excitement with the world. We need to keep eager wonderment alive in children through joyful experimentation - not instructing them, but leading them towards self-discovery. They need to have a sense of ownership in the learning process. They need to get their hands dirty. As Sir Richard said, “Joy of discovery is a worthy thing and the world is there to sample, touch, smell and feel.” Both Sir Richard and Lady Tania spoke of the need to go back to being a society of “makers”. Weta Workshop, for example, is “looking for people who just love to make things.” We need to teach students not just to walk through the world looking at it, but to observe it. Observation requires us to acknowledge the world, to learn from it, to be instructed by it, to touch it and to be touched by it.

This is our challenge. Yes, to ensure that our students leave our school numerate and literate. But more importantly, to design curriculum and develop cultures and connections that ensure our children walk through the world interacting with it and learning from it with awe, wonderment, joy and delight.

Official School Opening, Thursday, 10 May, 2012

Our official school opening is fast approaching. This is a significant event in the life of our new school. The Honorable Hekia Parata, MP and Minister of Education, (who I found out the other day is also known as Lady Gardiner - wife of Sir Wira Gardiner) will be opening our school. It will be a whirlwind visit as the Minister has to catch a plane shortly after the event. However, we are looking forward to showing her 21st century learning at Amesbury School. Following her departure, we plan to have a day of activities to mark this very special occasion.

The timetable will be as follows:

9.20am: All attendees to be seated in the hall. Please remember to wear appropriate footwear so that our new floor does not sustain damage (e.g. no stilettos)
9.30am: Official opening
10am: Minister and official party tours the school with performances and narration by students
          Morning tea provided in hall for all other guests
10.30am: Morning tea for students
11.00am Official photographs

11.45am Opening day concert (an informal concert in which student performances that were part of the Minister's tour of the school will be performed for parents and other guests). Also a special presentation will be made during this concert.
12.45pm Lunchtime – activities with Kelly Sport available
1.45pm Kelly Sport – Programme of activities
5.00pm – 6.30pm: Opening Day Disco- students go home get dressed up and come back to school ready to dance the evening away to the dulcet tones of "Disco Dave" (David Waters, parent, etablishment board member and disco afficionado). Snacks and a drink will be provided.

We hope you will be able to join us for this milestone in the life of the school.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have queries regarding this day.