Make Day Friday # 2

The second much anticipated Make Day Friday was another hit. You can tell when kids are excited about something….they hoon in after the bell goes!

It was awesome to see some of the older children doing a bit of pre-planning prior to the day. Mikaire and Rickon, in particular, had found some cool books in the library and decided they would recreate the huts they’d seen in the book. The minute they were let loose they gathered up matchsticks, ice blocks sticks etc to get cracking. What they made was super impressive and a great display of technology (a brief, a plan and the outcome) in action. It also demonstrated their ability to take what they read about and build on that knowledge.

Today Keeva and Luca dedicated their Make Day time to the sewing machine and small craft. Keeva, found a half-made bag among the fabric. This became a very nifty side bag, when she stitched herself a strap for it. The challenging part was turning the strap back in the right way. It turned out pretty cool and she’s stoked with it. Luca continued adding to her ‘family’ of wooden dolls by creating an alien addition. So creative in her thinking. Again the Technology Curriculum is front and centre.

Our young crew (school visitors included) did a variety of activities with the most popular being cooking of course. They made cupcakes for everyone and decorated them (sorry I was busy helping them and forgot to take photos). The cupcakes were declared delicious! Lots of maths is involved when baking. I talked with them about how much of each ingredient we needed, using language like half, quarter etc. This helps them build some strong foundations for maths learning.

After the cooking they launched into a great pretend play game. As an outsider looking in, I couldn’t really tell what it was I just know it was in the home corner, there were babies and maybe monsters! Either way they dipped in and out of roles like professional actors. You may notice at home when children play, narrate as they go….”yeah and then the mum said xyz and you did abc” then they’ll act out what they’ve just said. This type of play is AMAZING and a great sign that they are making the brain connections needed to learn to read and write later on. It takes a lot of cognitive function to narrate and act out the game.

I’ll leave the novel at that for now. It was a great day. Next week I’ll share some insight into the Key Competencies and the role Make Day Friday plays in the development of these for all children.

Ngā mihi nui – The Pukeokahu Crew

Life Education and a Surprise

Today we travelled to Mangaweka to visit Harold the Giraffe and his friend Mark. Harold travels around the region helping kids learn about all kinds of things.

For us the focus was on how to be a good friend and what to do if something goes wrong.

A really cool thing we learnt about how to be a ‘bucket filler’ rather than a ‘bucket dipper’. There’s all kinds of ways you can be a bucket filler like…..

  • Being kind
  • Being honest
  • Being able to be trusted.
  • Sharing
  • Helping
  • Caring
  • Being a good listener
  • Using manners
  • Including others
  • Treating others how you’d like to be treated (respect).

It was great to see lots of bucket filling going on today! We watched some videos that gave us some ideas of how to be a good friend, stick up for people and what to do if you have a problem.

Harold told us some really bad dad jokes too.

Afterwards, because we’d been amazing bucket fillers all morning we got a little treat. We got to visit Mrs Whale and see her beautiful Gordon Setter puppies. We have a lovely time playing with them on the lawn.

Check out photos of our day….I’ll let you guess who was a bit shy to see Harold….fair enough he was being a bit of a mischief!

Make Day Friday

Play is fantastic! It’s what our tamariki are designed to do. You might say it’s their ‘job’ to play.

Here at Pukeokahu School we try to include as much play and playful learning as we can in our daily programme and curriculum. What it looks like for our younger students compared to our older students is different, but the same philosophy behind it exists.

Why is play important? Play makes school fun which makes it a happy place to be. Happy children are happy learners. Play allows our kids to develop the Key Competencies (which make up quite a large chunk of our NZ curriculum but often don’t get the limelight they deserve) in authentic and meaningful ways. They learn social and emotional skills in real time. They get to be in control of their learning, make choices and decisions. The learn to manage themselves, problem-solve and how to get along with others. And that is just the tip of the ice-berg.

Today Make Day Friday was introduced and it was a hit with ALL ages. Make Day Friday is about giving the kids a chance to make, play and be creative while following something that interests them. It’s their time to choose. The Make Day Friday board has a variety of suggestions or invitations of things that they can do with their time, or they can run another idea by me. As long as it has purpose it’s generally approved. Devices are banned unless taking a video, photo or doing research. Take a look at what happened during Make Day Friday this week.

Baking was super popular. The kids decided as a group what they would bake. It’s very handy having a nearly 12yr old on hand as Luca just took on the leadership role and worked with the young ones to get the biscuits done. It was a great demonstration of tukana-teina relationships. Not to mention the piles of Maths being used. Doubling the recipe, fractions, how many of each do we need, dividing up the biscuits evenly at the end, rolling them into a shape etc.

Outside Rickon was busy inventing his own version of Stone Henge…Wood Henge. What a fantastic demonstration of using his prior knowledge then creating something new from that. His sign making was awesome and showed his ability to use writing outside of the formal classroom setting. But don’t worry the girls didn’t just stick to the kitchen. They were amongst the outside action building a campfire, reliving real life experiences and using that knowledge. The woodwork table also got well used to make all sorts of ‘things’ they needed for their campfire / house creation.

Make Day Friday finished with a quick reflection discussion. The feedback was 100% positive. The kids loved Make Day Friday and think it should happen again!

Watch this space for next Friday’s instalment of Make Day Friday. It promises to be a goodie!

February 2022 – what have we been up to?

The year has started with a hiss and roar. Apologies for taking this long to provide an update!

We have started the year with some strong roll growth and currently have 8 lovely students attending our school. A big welcome to Charlie (10) and to Te Rau (8) and brother Te Awa (5) who have all recently started with us this term. We are also looking forward to welcoming three more students in the coming months. We will introduce them as they arrive.

Over the holidays there were a few property projects on the go. We have a full repaint of the buildings which has really spruced the place up a bit. We also had the long awaited construction of an outdoor learning space. This space has been great during the hot days and once the curtain sides are installed will be awesome in the winter too. It means our younger learners can get outside in all weather and work on their building and painting projects. Unfortunately we were unable to get the pool up and running this season due to some water quality, then quantity issues. This has been rectified now and we look forward to getting our pool back up and going next summer. Thankfully we have still been able to cool off in the afternoons as the Bryants have generously offered use of their pool.

Speaking of water……

We kicked off our school year with the annual trip down the river. As always a huge mihi goes to River Valley for their support of our trip and for making it as fun as always. We had some amazing weather for it and huge whānau support. Some photos of our trip are posted below.

Our focus for this year is Hauora (Health / Wellbeing) and this term we are learning about water health. The first piece of learning we have worked on is about the water cycle. Check out Facebook soon for some videos that demonstrate our learning. Following on from this we plan to explore our local water sources and study their health. Watch this space.

In other news the girls, Keeva and Luca, have started their visits to PTP (Primary Technology Programme) at TAS for this term. Both girls are doing Food Technology and enjoying it so far. We also continue our swimming lesson in Taihape once a week.

Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions there have been several cancellations of events including Athletics and the Weetbix Tryathlon. This is hugely disappointing for those of us who enjoy sport, however at present we all understand why these events cannot go ahead.

That’s all for this update…..until next time….

Kia mau te wehi ngā tāmariki!

If you follow our Facebook page you will have seen a couple of tumeke advertisements for our upcoming seedling sale.

As teachers, Mrs. Whale and I were incredibly proud of what the tāmariki produced. We had spent a few days unpacking what effective advertisements do, what language they use, and so on. From this learning, the children had to write a list of ‘success criteria’ for what an effective advertisement should be like.

After this, they then started planning their advertisement and practicing their script. Once they were happy with their plan it was time to record. They used an app called Clips on the iPad to put their work together. This was the first time they had used the app but as per usual it didn’t take them long to figure it out.

Here are two advertisements for you to enjoy….one from Keeva and one from Rickon. More are on their way!

Overdue Update!

Arohamai! We have been slack at keeping everyone updated with the comings and goings at our school. The dreaded lockdown put a spanner in the works and then it was busy, busy as we tried to finish off some things before the break. Here’s hoping this term a bit more settled!

So due to Lockdown we missed our overnight trip up the maunga to ski. We tried unsuccessfully TWO more times to get a day trip up to Turoa but each time the weather was NOT our friend. So we improvised and instead went for a day trip to Ohakune. We rock climbed, had kebabs at the carrot park then called into the Army Museum on our way home where we were treated to a VIP tour. Check out some of the photos from the day…..

As well as tripping around the rohe having fun we also had our heads down doing some hard mahi. The Fakes and Forgeries Art Display is being held in Mangaweka this weekend so we spend the final weeks of last term learning about NZ Artists, writing biographies then ‘faking’ or forging’ their artwork. We learnt lots about people we’d never heard of and some help literacy skills in the process. If you’re in Mangaweka this weekend (or going through) call in to the Hall to see the school displays. Here’s a sneak peek of ours….

In other exciting news we found this critter:

It was in some of the New World Little Gardens we had left over from last year. After realising that the Little Gardens aren’t made in NZ but in Poland we decided to do the responsible thing and contact MPI for further instruction. They were very interested to know what it might be so we had to send it via mail to Christchurch for analysis. Turns out it was not a foreign species breaking into our country but just a regular old critter from NZ. Still it felt good to do the right thing and protect our flora and fauna. And the bonus was the lovely lady, Laura, send us a parcel with some goodies to say thank you!

As you can imagine with all this excitement we were pleased to see the end of the term. We celebrated with our termly re-design of the classroom and a shared lunch. Here we are enjoying our time together…..

Term 4 has kicked off with a hiss and roar and will only get busier. We have weekly trips to town, with the girls attending PTP at TAS and the boys exploring town and learning outside the classroom. This week we walked part of the Papakai Park track. WOW! So cool and we discovered some ancient history of Taihape on the way. It’s sparked some interest so we plan to learn about bit more about what we found.

We also have kapa haka in Mangaweka for several Monday’s and swimming too. Pet Day is on the 18th of November – the plan being for us to host Taoroa and Mangaweka for a combined day, however the COVID levels may come into play. Watch this space as we’ll update and confirm soon. Later in the term we have Athletics at Papanui and our Bat exploration evening planned too.

Oh and some reading, writing and maths is tucked in there too!

Until the next update…….

Ka kite ano!

August Lockdown

A week ago who would have thought that we’d be plunged into a snap lockdown and that when we left school on Tuesday afternoon the next time we’d talk would be on zoom!

But here we are!

The Pukeokahu Kids have taken to this latest Lockdown with their usual cool, calm and collected manner and are just getting on with things! We had one day ‘off’ home learning to collect our thoughts then on lockdown day 2 we were into it with our daily zoom call and online learning programme underway.

The daily zoom gives us all an opportunity to connect and keep in touch. We do some Go Noodle together then fill the remainder of our time with some chat out home life, activities we’ve been doing and today we even got a house tour which is set to feature daily (some of us requested some time to ensure our home was ‘tour ready’).

Below is some writing done for home learning by Luca. I hope to share some more in the coming days.

Animal Town

I arrived just as an ordinary tourist, there were about 10 to 15 people on the tour. We were having a tour around Animal Town. It Is well known for its animal species. Now that’s enough information let’s get onto the story. It started on the tour bus. I suddenly got starving. I asked the tour guide if he could stop at the next Cafe. I got out without looking. He drove off. What I saw was incredible, I saw that some creatures had the same idea for getting lunch. I felt surprised and extremely hungry. I could smell the juicy burger the bear was eating. I swear I could taste it as well. I could hear the birds singing in the bear burping. I was so hungry the creatures looked harmless so I tried to scoot past the lion but in one gulp I was in the lion’s tummy but at least it was a burger in there. the end 

The Wilderness Planting Day

On Thursday 8th July we held a planting day to add more natives to our Wilderness Area here at school. We were lucky enough to be awarded a grant through Horizons to be able to complete this activity.

In Term 1 we had prepared by making a plan for the area about what plants we’d like and where would be best to plant them. Then at the end of Term 2 we invited members of our community to help us with planting. Following this we held a short ceremony to mark the occasion and afterwards it was back to the classroom for some delicious soup and bread.

Thank you to all the parents, grandparents and community members who joined us and a BIG BIG thank you to Rowena and Sarah from Horizons EnviroSchool for their help. We look forward to watching our trees and plants grow over the next few years, much like some of our parents did when the first Wilderness Area was planted.

Matāriki Celebrations

As you may well be aware Matāriki star cluster returned to the skies this morning signalling the start of a new year. Matāriki, like the more well known New Year at the end of December, is a time for communities to come together and celebrate. Coming together to share kai, learn about our ancestors (whakapapa) and reflect on the year are some of the ways we have decided to celebrate Matāriki this year.

We have spent some time learning about what the word whakapapa means. One student’s interpretation was that “Whakapapa is your family tree its all most like your pepeha. You can see how you relate to other families. You can figure out your history.”

This understanding helped leverage us towards asking questions about our own whakapapa. We had some basic questions we needed to answer about ourselves then create further questions that we wanted to ask of our whānau. We then spent time learning how to interview before spending time with our family getting the information we needed.

Once our interviews were completed it was time to make sense of what we’d heard and found out. We recorded the answers then worked together to create a shared classroom display of what we’ve learnt about our families.

To continue our Matāriki celebrations, next week we are holding a planting day in our Wilderness Area starting at 10:30am with the planting of our natives bought with a grant from Horizons then we will have an official opening ceremony and sign unveiling. Our get together concludes with a celebratory lunch of soup and bread.

We’d love you to join us so please let Stacey know if you haven’t already so we can make sure we have enough soup.

Camp Wellington 2021

Firstly we start with an apology for not getting this post out much sooner! Since our return from Wellington school and life has kept us all occupied AND we have been working away on a little something to share our learning so read on to hear all about our trip to Wellington.

We had a WONDERFUL trip away. We based ourselves in Porirua for most of the week at Camp Elsdon. Day one was our travelling day and we kept it pretty easy with just a visit to Ngā Manu Nature Reserve where the children got to feed the eels and explore the reserve.

Day two started with a trip to Awesome Bounce where kids and adults alike had a great time. The facility was well set up with a rock climbing section, trampolines, bouncy castles and an epic playground. After lunch we headed into Wellington to have a tour of Weta Workshops. Again the kids and adults both rated the experience where they got to check out the sets for the latest Thunderbirds movie and learnt how props and costumes were made for a variety of movies.

Day three kicked off with a trip to Wellington on the train. Some of the children had never been on the train so it was truly an experience for them. After a quick bus ride we arrived at Te Papa for a learning session about volcanoes. We honestly could have spent hours looking around all the exhibits – there was so much to see. We then headed back to Porirua via bus (a double decker no less!) and train to head to the Aquatic Centre. The day was pretty miserable so it was nice to have a lovely warm swim. The slide was extremely fun as was the wave pool!

Day four started a bit more relaxed as we had to pack up in preparation to head to our next overnight destination. As we didn’t need to be at our next learning activity until the afternoon we took a bit of time to explore the local Kmart then headed to Island Bay for our Rocky Shore experience…not before exploring the beach and getting a touch wet! The Island Bay Marine Education Centre was pretty amazing with it’s touch pool where we got to actually hold spider starfish and other creatures. Following this we stopped off at Bowlerama for some ten pin bowling action and dinner before our final stop of the day the Zoo.

At the Zoo we were lucky enough to have an overnight experience where we got to have a tour of the zoo at night, meet the giraffes and Tasmanian devils, and learn about feeding animals. Then we slept the night AT the zoo next to the monkey enclosure, who then became our alarm clock at 6am when the gibbons woke up and did their hilarious morning song. We had another tour of the zoo then it was time to start the long trip home.

A big thank you to Mrs Whale, Kylie, Roger, Melissa, Janey and Tom for their help during camp. Also a big shout out to the kids for making it a great week too.

Below are some Scratch videos the children made relating to camp. Their task was to pick some learning that we did, find out more and create something we could share with others. Through this they used literacy and digital technology skills.


Video 1 – Mikaire, Video 2 – Rickon, Video 3 – Keeva, Video 4 – Luca

By Mikaire
By Rickon