Sunday, 24 September 2017

Maori Legends - Animations . Recounts

Just think of the smiles on your kids’ faces when you read them a great story, or how their eyes light up when you show them tiny plants buds just peeking through the soil.  The great thing about teaching young children is that they have an innate desire to know more about the world.  Sadly, this innate love of learning is often squelched by the time kids hit elementary school, crushed by ineffective academic standards and incorrectly implied curriculum that take the delight out of learning.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!   As a teacher, you can make a big impact on your students’ future love of learning by simply allowing them to learn in a way that’s not only educational but also fun.
As I continue to inquire into how art helps help my students learn, I am becoming increasingly optimistic that there is a link between learning and art. 
Last week I had my students create a piece of Maori art to celebrate Maori Language week. Their art was inspired by NZ's native bush. This was done to inspire their writing. I set the children up to write their Maori legend by first reading them many Maori myths and legends prior to doing their art. I also set up links on their i-pads where they could go and listen to short Maori legends. Some were in English however some were also in Maori. This did not bother the children, they were silent as they all sat on their i-pads with their headphones on listening intently.
My goal was for them
-  to create a cool Maori legend themselves with a message behind it.
- animate their story on their i-pads
- write a recount on the whole process
The children were excited and ready to go. I felt I had set them up properly with all the tools needed. Needless to say I was so proud of each and every student. Even my children who have difficulty with writing were eager to get going.

I have taken the work from their blog so the story's are just how they blogged them errors and all.
The work below is from one of students who excels in writing. She is also reading above the National Standard at Level 30

Mere and the Pukeko
Once upon a time there was a Maori girl called mere and she lived behind a secret beautiful bush.
In their bush it was full of Kowhai's with beautiful yellow flowers and big rata's. one lovely afternoon when mere was fast asleep, a pukeko flew down and the pukeko saw a beautiful shiny necklace and grabbed it and flew away. Then Mere woke up and got upset because it belonged to her great grandmother, so mere goes to God of the sky Ranginui to ask for help.

Mere explained to Ranginui the promblem so Ranginui called out "pukeko please give the necklace back to mere how would you feel if someone stole something of yours" pukeko felt bad so the next night pukeko sneeked and slowly put it back, The next morning Mere found the neacklace she was so glad.

Finally mere and her family celebrated with a beautiful big yummy feast and said a karakia to Ranginui for helping them.


Last week at school room 15 designed Maori art around flora and flora.

First I got my sharp pencil and drew my design. Secondly I got some greens browns and black pastels and coloured in my drawings. Lastly I got a big piece of black paper and stuck my art on the paper and got some shiny green glitter and decorated my art.

Next I wrote a Maori legend about mere and a pukeko. Finally I went on google and searched for some native NZ bush scenes next I drew my characters and animated my story.

Last week at school room 15 designed Maori art around the native bush.

First we got a pencil and we design our beautiful Maori art. Secondly we chosed dark and light green - brown- blue pastels and colour in our drawing. Lastly we stuck our outstanding Maori art on the black pieces of paper and we put green glitter on our art. 

Next I wrote my own Maori legend and it was about Pania and the Taniwha. Finally I went online and down load some native NZ bush pictures and I drew my characters and animated my story.

Last week at school room 15 made Maori art around the native nz bush.

First I got pencil and draw my debasisgn.

Secohdiy I got some green brown and blue pastels and coloured in my designed.

Lastly i got some black paper and stuck my art on.

Next I wrote a Maori legend and then I animated.

The last example is from a student who is reading at level 22. He can write independently.

Maui and Kiwi
Once upon a time there lived a cool boy called Maui and his friend kiwi. They lived in a nz Bausch with yellow flowers and red flowers and it was so beautiful.

One  beautiful day Maui and his kiwi got up and jamped into their amazing waka.they set off to their fishing to their secret Island.

First Maui said to his kiwi run"for your life" Then Maui got his hook  and killed the Taniwha.

Finally Maui and  kiwi got in their waka and went fishing. Then they they got home and ate the fish with they family and told them all about their adventure with the Taniwha.

Last week at school Room15 designed cool Maori art around the native NZ bush.

First we got a pencil and designed my beautiful colours and it was green brown and blue and coloured my art in and ms Eaid gave us a black paper and and stuck my picture on After that I decorated my art with green glitter.

 Next I wrote a Maori Lagend about Maui and kiwi and I went on google to get my back gound and I drew my characters then I animated my story.

Friday, 15 September 2017

How art can inspire creative writing.

Last year I really wanted to try and improve the writing quality of my students.

So in week 1 Term 1, as we were all getting to know each other I asked them what they would like to create on one large wall in our classroom. I explained it had to be something we all agreed on as this was going to be their focus for their writing for Term 1. I spilt them off into groups to discuss it. Later we all gathered on the mat and each group got to share what they felt would be the best. After much deliberation we had it. The Magical Kingdom Of Boondagilay

IMG_0572 (1) from Team 1 PES on Vimeo.

I wasn't sure at the time how much success we would have, but the only way to improve is to take risks and try new things.

I was really excited by the children's ownership of the mural and to top it off their writing was exciting. There was so much going on in the mural that their imaginations could take holding back. It was a positive outcome and their writing did improve. They had something to write about right in front of them.

I believe when kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives. The society we live in today needs people who are forward thinking, inventive people who seek new ways to make improvements, not people who can only follow others directions. Art is one way to encourage this process.

So moving forward......

I was fortunate to stay with my same class and move with them into Year 3. Once again writing has seemed to be the biggest problem. Because my children are not surrounded by literacy in their homes they struggle to come up with new ideas. I downloaded onto their i-pads many fun, short children's stories. I read them a sophisticated picture book after lunch each day where we spent 10 minutes after reading it, discussing the characters, the setting, the beginning, middle and end of the story. We also discuss the plot, the adventure that took place, the problem in the story, the solution.

I felt I was giving them so many tools to go off and write some descriptive, amazing, and interesting narratives. Some children did and they really took off. But majority still struggled to come up with a plan or even anything to write about.

So I asked them if they would like to make another mural. They all agreed and we started to make a mural of our own made up universe. Our Inquiry for Term 3 is about space so we wanted to keep the theme running. The Universe of Zola was created with different aliens, evil queens, rockets with the children's faces on them flying around, the Moggy Moon where the Flat Foots lived. You name it we had it. Beside that we created the real Solar System beside it.
Once again writing in my class improved. The children had ownership of what they had created, they were proud of it and wanted to write some cool stories and share them with their friends.

Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievement. A report by the Americans For Arts, states that young people who participate regularly in the arts, are four times more likely to be recognised with academic achievement, to participate in either science or math fairs/shows or win awards for writing essays, poems, or speeches than children who do not participate.

But I still wanted to explore more with the arts and how it can benefit my students.

As it was Maori Language week we sat down as a class and looked at some Maori designs. We all decided we wanted to move away from the traditional red, black and white designs and focus more on the earth (the flora and fauna) of NZ. Below are just a few examples.
Next week I hope to introduce my students to a range of Maori myths and legends. Discuss as a class the messages behind each legend. I want them to use their art as inspiration to write their own Maori legend, pulling in all their knowledge they have learnt in Te Reo classes, their own life experiences, and some great imagination.

Following this writing exercise, we will be looking at writing a Recount on the experience of creating their art. You could also explore Instructional writing. Each format of writing requires different language, formats and outcomes.

So one piece of art work set up properly can inspire many visions.

Dr Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University believes that children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art Education, teaches students how to interpret, criticize and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it. Knowledge about the visual arts, such as graphic symbolism is especially important in helping students become smart consumers and navigate a world filled with marketing logos.

I am excited to see how this plan of using art to inspire writing will go.

Next week  I hope to be posting some examples of the students Maori legends.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

End of Term Summary

So this term my focus has been to engage my students with learning Number Knowledge. There is no really easy or exciting way apart from rote learning to do this so I found myself in a tricky situation. I knew that many of my boys would not be able to sit still for long enough to get anything out of rote learning.

 I thought about all the knowledge my students would need to know so they could easily transition into Early Stage 5.

Once I had made up a list of information I had to teach my kids I decided to make it as interactive as I could. My Team leader came in to film some snapshots of this learning.

I have been really pleased with the results and will continue to do this all year as a warm up before we split off into our small math groups.

Monday, 20 February 2017

2017 : Math Inquiry

2017 has started with such positive energy in my class. I have been lucky enough to move with my class from Year 2 into Year 3. Because of this my students were so comfortable the first day of school and were ready to start learning day 1 of term 1.

This year, for my Professional Inquiry, I am looking into how I can achieve the best Math results for each individual student.

I decided for Term 1 that I was going to focus on teaching my students the Math knowledge they would need, so they could apply this knowledge to the new strategies they would be using to solve mathematical problems.

Even before they start school, most children develop an understanding of addition and subtraction through everyday interactions. For example, Thomas has two cars; Joseph wants one. After Thomas shares one, he sees that he has one car left. Other math skills are introduced through daily routines you share with your child—counting steps as you go up or down, for example. Informal activities like this one give children a jump start on the formal math instruction that starts in school. The ability to think through a problem, to recognize there is more than one path to the answer. It means using past knowledge and logical thinking skills to find an answer.

I am excited by this Inquiry as I have never had a Math focus before. It is taking me out of my comfort zone of Reading and Writing and it will challenge me in ways I can’t even imagine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with my colleagues and getting constructive feedback in our Inquiry meetings. I will keep you updated on my progress as I continue to inquire into my practice.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Magical Kingdom Of Boondagilay

In the last half of Term 3 I decided to try something different for writing. We spent a week creating this beautiful mural. I let the students take full control over what they wanted to put on the mural as they were the ones writing about it. They had so much fun and their writing was amazing. Here is the mural.
IMG_0572 (1) from Team 1 PES on Vimeo. I also gave the students a list of adjectives, a list of different words to use instead of the normal words they had been using. For example instead of using the word 'big' they could chose from a list of words - huge, gigantic, enormous etc. Here is the first example. Ryder's writing has ben improving all year but it had started to become very boring.
One month later Ryder's writing about the mural.

 Once upon a time there was a tiny pixie called Elizabeth and she lived in a forest of feathers. One day she saw some small pixies having a party on the petite house. Next she went inside but then suddenly a huge giant was coming to the house. Then all the ten pixies went out of the house and went to the rainbow castle and told the princess that a tremendous giant was coming to the rainbow castle. After that the princess got her brave knights and the knights got their swords and had a fight. Finally the huge giant was killed and they lived happily ever after. Allowing the students to take ownership of the mural and giving them the creative freedom to design what they were going to write about had such a positive influence. It is something I would definitely try again. After they had written their stories, they animated their stories using their i-pads and the mural for their backdrops.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Update on writing

When I first started giving the students free choice I knew I the girls would be writing about princesses and fairies and the boys would be writing about zombies and super heroes. That was ok as I could see the difference in their writing straight away because they were interested in writing about the topic they wanted to write about.

Here is an example of one of my girls writing who was reading at level 3 and could not write independently.

She could only write simple sentences using her yellow butterfly card with the gifted words I had given her.

As a class we moved on to writing narratives. I had set up on their i-pads a simple structure to follow for the lower writing group and a more complex structure for the students who were writing independently.

Here is the same little girls first attempt at a narrative.

For some reason my awesome plan I had placed on each i-pad didn't seem to be working. I was still getting the same sentence starters even from the writers who were independent. So I wrote on the board some sentence starters and we wrote a storey together.

This is the same girl's writing 2 weeks later

The whole story goes like this.

Once upon a time there was a leopard called Aaliyah and Aaliyah lived in a jungle. One day Aaliyahs babys were hungry and Aaliyah went to get food. Finally Aaliyah and the babys got the rabbit.

Once she had blogged her story we sat down and discussed the backdrops she would need to animate her story. She went on to Google and saved images, drew the leopard and baby's and this is her finished animation.

So I am thrilled with the progress. Allowing the kids to animate their stories has been a huge incentive for them to finish their writing. So now we just need to add more detail.