Friday, May 30, 2014

Presentation to the Minister's Cross Sector Forum

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to present at the Minister of Education's Cross Sector Forum. I had four minutes to present about Modern Learning Practices. As you can imagine, it took me longer to prepare this presentation than a one hour conference presentation! I had to try to distill what's important and give a couple of examples of what we are doing here. I have included a copy of my speech below. 

The Minister remembered her visit to Amesbury School in May 2012.

Presentation to the Cross Sector Forum – 15/05/2014
Lesley Murrihy
Principal: Amesbury School

First and foremost, we want our school to be a place where students experience what it means to be fully human. Modern learning practices at Amesbury School must align with our framework for a humanising education.

As a result we have been involved in an ongoing process of deconstructing our experiences of school and trying to reassemble them in newer, more efficient and smarter ways that ensure our students experience what it means to be fully human while also being well prepared for their economic and social futures.

Reading, writing, maths are still essential skills for the future. But they are no longer privileged as they once were. Their place is rightfully to serve the greater goal of exploring the world and assisting students to live better in and for the world. This particular relationship has implications for modern learning practice. Firstly, seeing reading, writing and maths as a means not the end, does not mean it requires less focus. In fact, we have realised that we have to develop much more precise knowledge about these learning areas and that we need to have that knowledge at our finger tips so that we can be quickly responsive to students’ needs as they arise, but also so that we can see the opportunities within an inquiry to teach these essential skills in an integral way.

However, it does need to be delivered differently. We have to become much more efficient and effective at delivering the core skills and knowledge. As a result we have developed a number of delivery mechanisms such as snappers, workshops and sessions which we have collaboratively developed and defined.

For example, a snapper is appropriate for delivering quite boundaried content. It will be no more than 12 minutes. It is highly teacher directed. It will only be delivered to students for whom that is their next step or to other students who may choose to opt in. Students are highly focused because they know exactly how long the session will be and that it will assist them to achieve their working goals.

To further assist us, we have designed and built a software tool which is currently being trialled. ALF – Amesbury Learning Framework –is cloud based and has many functions for students, parents and teachers. At a glance, at any time, parents will be able to see exactly where their child is at in relation to national standards. Teachers, children and even parents can upload evidence of learning against the child’s working goals from school or home in a range of media for moderation.  Attached to each achievement indicator will be information for students, parents and teachers about what the indicator means. There will be links to snappers and workshops, so rather than waiting for teachers, students will be able to access this learning for themselves. Teachers are able to access the names of all the students across the school or hubs who have a particular achievement indicator as their current working goal and then deliver the relevant content to that group of students, wherever they are in the school.

Finally, in all the busyness and activity, in modern learning practice we need spaces of stillness and quiet. Currently we have an artist-in-residence. He is not at our school to teach art but to BE an artist in the full view of children and teachers. Time slows down where he is and children are drawn just to BE in that space.

Modern learning practice is a complex interplay of many seemingly disparate parts – big picture thinking, precise knowledge, head and heart, efficiency and technique and judgement and wisdom, fast and slow. Going forward, we need to continue to explore how the different parts best hang together and where the balances lie to meet all the needs of all our students.

Week 4 at Amesbury

This was a very busy week. I am sure that everyone is now ready for a bit of a mid-term break.

At our High Five Assembly students received Our High Five Award Certificates and Our High Five Badges for the last two weeks. Congratulations to all the wonderful students who were caught showing Our High Five Values and Principles. Just because students do not get a certificate does not mean that they did not show Our High Five during the preceding fortnight, it just means they may not have been noticed doing it. So a BIG congratulations to all students who show Our High Five lots of the time!

The first three placegetters in each year level in our school cross country received their ribbons at the assembly on Monday. Congratulations to all our amazing runners, many of whom take up the opportunity to do running training with John and Serena at lunchtimes. Your dedication is a credit to you.

Ten year 5/6 students went to the National Young Leaders Day at the Michael Fowler Centre. They had a great day of listening to inspiring speakers and reflecting on their own leadership. See Harakeke's blog for photos and more information.

On Wednesday night we ran a Professional Learning Group for teachers and principals from primary, secondary and tertiary. It was the inaugural meeting of a group that we hope will continue to meet and do work together to explore future-focused learning. Between 30 - 40 people from as far afield as New Plymouth and Palmerston North came and quite a number of others are interested. It was a great evening and a great start to this work we hope to do together.


Churton Park Community Centre - What's On to June 8th 2014

Hi Everyone

Enjoy well deserved long weekend this weekend! The Centre will be closed on Monday and our regular Monday activities are cancelled, including our Buggy Walk. We’ll be back open at 10am on Tuesday morning.

Our buddies at Little Monkeys have developed a handy little app called No-Surcharge, a directory to help you find retailers who aren’t charging that pesky surcharge on public holidays. It’s nation-wide, so you take it on your road trip this weekend! Visit or download the app from Google Play or The App Store.

For what’s coming up next week at CPCC, please click here….and don’t forget to pop in to see the team from the SPCA tomorrow for their adoption day.

  • ** Churton Park Gardening Club ** - This month’s gardening club will focus on worm farming. Tuesday 3rd June at 7.30pm.

  • ** Meditation Classes with Jansie ** - Daytime meditation classes start on Wednesday 4th June from 1 – 2pm Classes are $10 per session. To register, please contact Jansie on 021 076 8694 or Evening classes will also be starting on Wednesday 25th June from 7 – 8pm.

  • ** Wool Spinning Evening Classes ** – As the weather starts to get colder, here's a perfect evening activity! Learn the art of spinning here at CPCC on a 6 week series starting on Thursday May 29th from 7 - 9pm. Cost is a donation to cover room hire. For more information see attached flyer and to register, please contact Rachel 478 4771. Please note, this is not a course, so you can come on the evenings that suit you.

  • ** Community Walkers Drinkies ** - the Community Walking Group are holding their monthly drinkies at Simmer Cafe on Friday 6th June from 5.30pm. This has been a really pleasant social occasion to which you are welcome to bring along your partner as well.

  • ** Paleo Principles Nutrition Seminar ** – It's the latest buzz-word in nutrition, and now you can learn more about the benefits of eating a Paleo diet with a seminar here at CPCC on Saturday 7th June. See the attached flyer for more details.

  • ** Bladder Blues Workshop ** – Do you have to cross your legs when you sneeze? This workshop is specifically designed to improve your pelvic floor control and find a new ‘normal’. Please see the attached flyer for more details.

  • ** Men’s Fitness Group **- starting in June – four sessions a week, either before work or during the day. It’s all about getting fitter, more active and losing weight. Contact David at 360 Degree Fitness on 021 257 9963

  • ** Planting on Thursday 5 June 10am at Stebbings Dam ** - The Churton Park Revegetation Group have arranged for a planting session  by the south side of the spillway at Stebbings dam.  This is an area that was planted out with the original landscaping. Not many of the plants survived, and those that did look a bit lonely.  Greater Wellington Rivers Department have agreed to supply 100 plants to bulk up this area.  There will be no preparation work as they have kept the area mown. Tools and gloves provided but you are welcome to bring your own. This is the first time we have planned a weekday planting session, which may suit people who would like to be involved but are not available at weekends. Please let John Morrison know if you can come. He can be contacted on 477 1020 or email

  • ** Attitude Awards Nominations ** - Nominations are now open for the 2014 Attitude Awards for Kiwis living with disability that have achieved amazing things. Check out more at:

  • Nominations for the 2014 Wellington Airport Community Awards are open until 30 June 2014.  You can nominate any not-for-profit group or organisation working in the interests of the community (including your own). Nominations need to be submitted under one of the following categories: Heritage & Environment. Health & Wellbeing. Arts & Culture. Sport & Leisure. Education & Child/Youth Development. Key factors considered during judging are: volunteer input, utilisation of resources, innovation and creativity, effectiveness of activities, impact within the community. All groups nominated in Wellington will be invited to a Wellington Awards function hosted by the Mayor in early September.  You can nominate online and read more information here about the awards;
  • Johnsonville Klassics – The next concert evening will be on Saturday 14th June and feature ‘Winter’ from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi. More information

  • Head along to Mervyn Kemp Library in Tawa at 6pm on Thursday 5 June for the first of our monthly late night story times, which will be on the 1st Thursday of every month. This time the theme is 'A Royal storytime', come in your pj's and crown and listen to tales of naughty, feisty and funny Queens, Kings, Princes and Princesses.

To keep up to date with what’s on at CPCC throughout the week, you can follow us on Facebook ( It’s publically available, so you can view it even if you don’t belong to Facebook.

Have a great weekend

Beckie Duffy Community Centre Advocate
Churton Park Community Centre| 
P 04 830 4802 M 021 247 8741
E | W | 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Northern Zone Cross Country

It was very chilly but this didn't bother our hearty runners.  I was so proud of them as it was a very tough course and the final stage was a big challenge.  They ran with pride and determination to cross the finishing line.  Congratulations to the eleven children who ran.
The children and I would like to acknowledge and thank John Murrihy for helping with training sessions and transport.

This is what the children had to say:
Splashing through the water hoping not to slip over, pain rushing throughout my whole body feeling like my muscles would give up on me.  Running up the hill trying to escape the thought of giving up.  Thinking about taking a rest but if I did that id lose my position.  But after all the doubt, I was there. (Tom)

I tripped over on the 3rd turn so I lost a lot of places but I made up for it. It was tiring up the hill but I made it up the hill.(Ayrton)

Before the race I was nervous but when the race started I took off. Running up the hill was tiring but I just kept on trying. Afterwards I was exhausted. My highlight of the race was running through the streams and over the bridges. (Hannah)

Splashing and slipping through the last river I felt a sense of relief, that feeling didn't last long……. I was soon running up a steep hill and my legs felt like jelly.  I saw the light at the end of the hill and knew I was almost there.(Emma.L)

Splashing from the last stream and running up the hill.  I slipped and slid down the hill then I heard 100 kids screaming GO GO GO! Then I sprinted up this massive hill and finally I made it. (Sam.G)

When I was running up that horrible steep hill, all I was thinking about was getting that race over and done with. But I liked the rivers that we ran across because it was really refreshing on my feet. (Tais)

It was so exciting once we had lined up ready to hear the HONK then there it was.  I had to slow down just so I would not slip. Running through streams over bridge’s, my feet were soaked.  The hardest part was running up the hill and you could hear John shouting out to carry on.  It was not the easiest run but great fun.(Daniel)

I was standing at the starting line ready to run. I was shaking and just wanted to get it over with. HONK went the honker and we were off.  I ran down the hill stumbling. I got down to the first river and my shoes were very wet. When I came up the hill I heard people screaming my name and shouting ‘SPRINT’!  I got to the end and was so relieved.  (Aimee)

I felt nervous but when I was actually racing it was fun. (Gabriel)

HONK went the horn like a giant train honking.  When we ran there was so much tripping over and when we went through the stream it was so relaxing, it was like a giant swimming pool.  When I came up the hill it was completely horrible! (Jamie)

At the start line we were standing in the cold waiting to go.  I felt nervous because I didn’t want to fall over.  I tripped over in one of the streams and it was freezing but fun.  I enjoyed going down the hill, but not up. (Ryan)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Welcome to our new student

Kyra Kaur

High Fivers - Weeks 2 & 3 (Term 2, 2014)

Congratulations to the following students who received High Five certificates in week 2 and 3 this term;

Gabriel Ashbey Rendell - Excellence
Hamish O'Connor - Authenticity

Echelon Topp - Authenticity (Wk 2)
Connecting & Including (Wk 3)

Vivian Zhang - Creating & Inquiring

Maddie Thomas - Sustainability
Shruthi Anandh - Sustainability

Abbie Jones - Creating & Inquiring

Emile Quiros Pellegrin -
Connecting & Including
Matthew Zhu - Excellence
Nistha Dev - Connecting &
Including, Excellence
Phoebe Riddle - Sustainability
Tais Holley - Excellence
Jonny Raine - Authenticity

Oliver Dunbar - Authenticity

Leni Emerson Manoj -
Connecting & Including
Neala Hunter - Creating
& Enquiring

Toby Short - Excellence
Emma Downey -
Connecting & Including

Friday, May 23, 2014

Churton Park Community Centre - What's On to June 1st, 2014

Hi Everyone

Another severe weather warning has just popped into my inbox for high winds and rain this weekend, so take care out there! I can thoroughly recommend the Wellington Regional Management Office Facebook page for staying in touch with weather, earthquake and other emergency information. You can find them here:’s available even if you are not on Facebook). They are always the first to get accurate information about what’s going on in a disaster, so they are well worth having on your favourites.

For what’s coming up next week, please click here.

Please be advised our Tuesday Ukulele classes have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. We wish our wonderful tutor Carole all the very best over the next few months…your beautiful music will be missed!

  • ** Wool Spinning Evening Classes ** – As the weather starts to get colder, here's a perfect evening activity! Learn the art of wool spinning here at CPCC on a 6 week course starting on Thursday May 29th from 7 - 9pm. Cost is a donation to cover room hire. For more information see attached flyer and to register, please contact Rachel 478 4771.
  • ** Churton Park Dog Walking ** - Vicky will be out on Sunday with the dog walking group. If you’d like to join them, meet at the grass area behind the Community Centre at 10am. Contact Vicky for more details:
  • ** Toddlers in Tutus ** - there are spaces available in our cutest class of the week: Toddlers in Tutus. Saturday mornings from 10.15 – 10.45 am. Join Miss Tracey for fun with music and movement. To register, please contact Tracey on
  • ** FREE 24FIT Bootcamp ** - with a focus on working out “smarter, not harder” this 4 week boot camp includes everything you need to get in shape – and it’s free! Registrations are on Sunday 25th May 3-4pm. Check out the attached flyer for more information.

  • ** Men’s Fitness Group **- starting in June – four sessions a week, either before work or during the day. It’s all about getting fitter, more active and losing weight. Contact David at 360 Degree Fitness on 021 257 9963 or
  • ** Meditation Classes with Jansie ** - thanks to all of you who expressed an interest in meditation classes via Facebook. I am pleased to confirm that we will have two classes starting in June. Wednesday 1 – 2pm (starting June 4th) and Wednesdays 7 – 8pm (starting June 25th). Classes are $10 per session. To register, please contact Jansie on 021 076 8694 or

  • ** Under 18 Month Playgroup ** – I’m exploring offering a new playgroup at CPCC for under 18month olds. If you are a caregiver with a child in this age group, let me know if you’re interested in more information on this. I’d like to know from you whether you’d prefer a morning or afternoon session and if afternoon is your preference, would you like early (1-2pm) or late(after 3.30pm) afternoon? Thanks in advance.

  • ** Volunteer Work for School Students ** - Recently I had a request from two local high school students wishing to volunteer their time as part of their community service requirements for school. I put the request out to some of my contacts in local charities, schools and kindies and their kind offer of help was quickly snapped up, with plenty of other groups also wanting to volunteers. If you are, or know of, local high school students needing community service hours, please have them get in touch with me as I am likely to be able to connect them with community groups needing. I have at least four jobs sitting here waiting for volunteers! If you are a group needing volunteers, please let me know as well. Get in touch with or 830 4802.
  • ** Friday Night Storytime at Johnsonville Library ** - Come along to our new themed storytimes on the 1st Friday of each month at 6.30pm for a 30 minute session of stories and fun. The theme for June is “HATS” so come along wearing your favourite, funniest, silliest hat and be ready for some fun!
  • ** Asthma Free Community Education – see attached for details on free community education sessions from Asthma Wellington.
  • ** Local job with Playsense ** see the attached position description for a role with Playsense based here in Churton Park.

And finally, a plea came into the Centre this week from a frustrated local walker to please be considerate to others who walk around the suburb and clean up after your dog. This walker has noticed that dog mess is particularly bad down Lakewood and Abilene.

To keep up to date with what’s on at CPCC throughout the week, you can follow us on Facebook ( It’s publically available, so you can view it even if you don’t belong to Facebook.

Have a great weekend
Beckie Duffy Community Centre Advocate
Churton Park Community Centre| 
P 04 830 4802 M 021 247 8741
E | W

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Gymnastics at Amesbury School (beginner sessions)

We are looking into the possibility of running beginner gymnastics sessions from Term 3. Children will learn basic gymnastics skills, and sessions will be aimed at providing fun, fitness and co-ordination, as well as developing strength and flexibility.  If you think your child might be interested in this, please click here to complete an Expression of Interest form.

Tournament of Minds: Year 5/6 Learning Opportunity

We are offering Year 5 & 6 students the opportunity to participate in a competition called Tournament of Minds. It is a competition between schools where students are given a problem to solve. They have six weeks to develop a creative answer and presentation. They will also be given a spontaneous challenge on the day and will have only 5 minutes to come up with a creative answer. This is a great opportunity to extend students' cognitive and problem solving capabilities, as well increasing their confidence. Further information is available via this link - Parent Information

If your child is interested in finding out more about Tournament of Minds, we are running preparation sessions on Fridayafternoons (3:15-4:15). We will provide a light snack. We will also be using the next two Friday afternoons, plus the Fridayafternoon session we have just had, to select the team of seven. If your child will be attending the Friday afternoon sessions, please e-mail Urs ( or Demelza (

NZCER Primary & Intermediate Schools National Survey

Artist in Residence Colin Gibbs - Independent Herald article

This article about our artist in residence appeared in the Independent Herald last week (14th May 2014):

New Students (to 20th May 2014)

Welcome to the following students who have recently joined us at Amesbury School:

Cameron Piercy                 Sam Thomas
Alex Chen                          Milla Grant
Vinnie Tat                         Jared Kondia

Term 2 Inquiry - Living Stories

Our inquiry this term is called Living Stories and the purpose of the inquiry is for students to understand that we all tell stories to make sense of the world, to learn from experience and to communicate what we have learned to others. The initial context for the inquiry is the centenary of the first world war which is a BIG WORLD STORY and significant in history and significant to our sense of national and individual identity. However, the main inquiry context will be the students’ own lives and their stories.

Through our exploration of World War 1, we decided on four themes which are being explored with students, firstly in relation to World War One and, secondly, in relation to the students’ own lives. The themes are:
·            conflict and conflict resolution – next term we will be doing Cool Schools Peer Mediation Training as a follow on
·            emotions - which includes identifying and naming a range of emotions
·             perspectives – understanding that people tell stories from different perspectives depending on their life experiences and beliefs
·            loss  - when talking about war,  we cannot avoid including loss of life and limbs, but this is only a small aspect. This theme is much more focused on loss of a familiar way of life, loss of societal structures, loss of resources etc.

Once the immersion aspect of the inquiry is over, students will choose a particular theme of interest to explore. This will be explored through the arts, literature, their own personal writing etc.

The artworks created by students which will be exhibited and auctioned early in term 3 will be the result of this exploration of a theme.

Art Exhibition and Artist-in-Residence

Artist-in-Residence: Two weeks flew by and it seemed that no sooner had Colin Gibbs unpacked all his paints and art paraphernalia and it was time for him to pack it all up again. Colin Gibbs who became affectionately known as ColinGibbs (all one word) to the children during his stay here, came, not to teach art, but to BE an artist in full view of students, teachers and parents. I personally have loved having him at school. Every morning it was such a pleasure and a treat to rush down to Kakariki art studio and see what Colin had done overnight. I had trouble staying away as the artworks were gradually (or sometimes suddenly) revealed over time. Many children were just like me. The first thing they did in the morning was to rush down to see ColinGibbs and what had transpired overnight. The last thing they did in the afternoon as they were leaving was to go and take one last look for the day and say goodbye to ColinGibbs.

Having an artist-in-residence is something we have wanted since the school opened, but it took this long to find the space in our busy life as a school to organise it. The residency exceeded my expectations. It was such a rich, fruitful experience. What I particularly noticed was that with Colin painting in the Kakariki art studio it became a space of stillness and quiet for children. Though Colin was working, he was not doing busy work. Rather he was working, but not rushing, and very accessible to children and they loved this. A few children spent every moment they could in the art studio. Initially they spent their time telling Colin their stories, but eventually they would go to the studio and quietly settle down and create artworks alongside him.

I am looking forward to carrying out a more formal (but small) research project which will help us to understand more fully the impact and value of the Artist-in-Residence.

Data Collection: I would really appreciate you telling me, or emailing me any stories you might have about your child's experience of the residency. For example, what did your child come home and tell you about ColinGibbs and what he was doing in the art studio? What was your experience? Did you see value in it for your child? Please do not hesitate to tell me information is too small in research. In fact, we don't know what is important until we start hearing people's stories anything, please.

Art Exhibition and Auction: This term the students are working on creating artworks for an exhibition and art auction (to raise funds for the ongoing development of our grounds - in particular senior playground equipment). We had a meeting with Colin last week to work out an exact date for the art exhibition at which he will also be exhibiting the artworks he created during the residency. We could not find a date that suited this term so have postponed the art exhibition until the end of week 2, term 3.

Art exhibition/auction: Friday evening, 1 August 2014

Keep this evening free and book a babysitter