Weekly Updates

Term 2 - Week 3

Inquiry - Change
Wow! We had some fun over the last two weeks with all our hands on experiments. From here, we will be 'sorting out' information that we learnt and going into more detail about why certain changes took place. We will be thinking about what else we want to find out about. 

Last week we learnt how to write an explanation and understand all the features that are important in this genre. We explained why school uniform was important, with new parents to the school being our 'audience.' Explanation writing will be useful this term as part of our inquiry.

We will be focusing on 'questioning' as our tool this week to help with comprehension. Our reading will also be tying in with our inquiry - building knowledge and finding answers to questions that will have arisen from our experiments. Ask your children to show you the collection of Science books on Epic. 

We will be working on multiplication and division alongside fractions so that the children can see how they are all linked and can start noticing patterns.  

Term 2  - Week 2

Inquiry - Change
We've got another action packed week of experiments this week to look forward to as provocation to our inquiry about change in matter. Last week we shared our prior knowledge via a great online tool called Padlet (have a look on our Writing Page). This has given us a foundation on which to base all our future learning on.

We have made a great start with fractions. We can identify symbols, shapes and words of halves, thirds, quarters, fifths etc. We will be moving on to working out fractions of sets by equal sharing and by applying our basic facts knowledge. 

You will all have received an email that gives your child 30 days free access for Epic membership at home. Online reading does not take the place of reading actual books, but with the range of books available, it is definitely worth a look.

Last week the children looked through their writing books to find a piece of writing that they were proud of and to explain why they were proud of it. They also decided on goals in order to improve their writing. The children will be working hard to achieve the goals that they have set themselves.

1. Book bags every day and library day on Wednesday.
2. Tsunami drill sometime during the week.
3. Carry on wearing the correct uniform.
4. Bike skills lesson on Wednesday.

Term 2 - Week 1

Welcome back everyone! 

Inquiry - Change
Well, we have started our inquiry off with a hiss and a roar! Each day for the next 2 weeks, the A Team are getting together and doing some great, hands on experiments with the children. From blowing balloons up with yeast, to making slime, making food colouring whizz through milk without touching it, making yummy ice cream and exploding volcanoes, the children will be getting excited about exploring changes in matter, asking questions and wondering why things happen. Take a look on the photos page to see what the "H2O" group got up to today!

This term we are doing fractions, multiplication and division. You can help your child at home with fractions. The kitchen is a great place for this - sharing food equally so that everyone is happy! If there are 4 people in your family, how many pieces do you need to cut a pizza into? What is each piece called? What happens if you cut it into 8 pieces and someone has 3 of these pieces? What is this fraction called? 

We will be linking our inquiry into our writing this term, so will be writing instructions, procedures, explanations etc. The children will learn that we write for different purposes and for different audiences.

In addition to reading readers, School Journals and library books, I will show the children how to log on to Epic Books which has numerous books online that will have books to suit every interest. Some also have quizzes to check for comprehension.

1. Chromebooks need to be charged every evening.
2. Wear the correct uniform each day and wear it with pride (great start today by the way!)
3. Library day is Wednesday - bring book bag.
4. This Wednesday morning we will be having a bike lesson.

Week 11

Please look at the kindness movie that we have made. 
(This is an unlisted movie and is not accessible to others on Youtube.)

A4's Kindness Movie

This week, we will be consolidating what we have been learning throughout the term and also doing a couple of Easter activities and challenges to finish the week on.

Wednesday is library day. Please remember book bags and library books. Books need to be chosen carefully for the Easter holidays.

Bike Lesson
Weather depending we will be having a bike lesson on Tuesday afternoon to learn a few more skills. Please bring your own bike and helmet if you would like.

Easter Holidays
Enjoy your holidays everyone! Have a rest and enjoy some family time.
Although there is no homework set, take the time to read with your child and let them read to you. Maths can be incorporated into everyday situations - shopping, walking along the beach, being out on your bikes, doing the gardening etc. Be creative and make it fun!

Who? What? When? Surely we can't be in week ten?

Writing from the heart
The best writing is when we are able to paint a clear, descriptive picture for the reader. We are learning how to do this by continuing to try and “show” our feelings in our writing, rather than just “tell” them. We know that we can do this well when we write ‘from the heart’ about things that are important and personal to us. This shone through in the children’s writing last week so we will build on this further this week.

Last week, every group was working with some aspect of tens and tidy numbers: adding and subtracting tens to any number; finding numbers that add to ten first when adding more than 3 numbers; adding and subtracting by splitting numbers into parts to make tens etc. Place value, addition and subtraction will be our focus until the end of term. We will be applying this knowledge to solving word problems.

Vertical Learning Community
We are creating a strong community by enjoying quality time together each Friday. Last week, the children did buddy reading together and it was lovely to see them all so absorbed in the task at hand.
This week, on Thursday 6th April, we would love for parents and whanau to come and enjoy a morning of celebrating the children’s learning. A stroll through all the classes will be followed by shared kai, a pool party and some fun relays.

Bike lesson
We had a good bike lesson last week with A3. We combined fitness and skills. The children cycled round the track for fitness and also learnt about braking and indicating.

Being Cyber Smart
Miss Woodcock did a thorough job with helping the children of A3 and A4 to become ORCA Cyber Smart. She put together an excellent online quiz that the children did in groups to ensure their understanding. Thank you Miss Woodcock!

Please check out our photo page to see what your children have been doing in the classroom.

We’re doing just fine…as we start week nine!

After being inspired by a wonderful movie clip about a girl who loses (and then finds) her pet giraffe, the children did some beautiful writing. We discussed how we knew the girl was sad and happy from her body language and the children were able to transfer these ideas to their writing.
We will continue to try and ‘show’ our emotions in our writing this week.
Why not have a game of charades at home and get your child show being happy, sad, scared, embarrassed, angry etc to help them understand how they can transfer these actions to their writing. For example, when they are scared, their heart may be pounding, butterflies will be swirling in their tummies, their knees may be knocking etc.

We are continuing with number knowledge and addition and subtraction strategies.

Each week we will try to have one reading group perform a play to the rest of the class. When it is your child’s turn, help them to practice reading fluently and with expression at home. They also need to keep track of when it is their turn to speak! 

Kindness Inquiry 
We made a Kindness Tree for the classroom last week. Each child drew around their hands and wrote some ways to be kind on them. Feel free to come a take a look. The photos can be seen on our Photos page.

Vertical Learning Community Relays
On Friday we did some relays altogether. It was great to watch the older children help the younger children and everyone had fun, especially with the ‘balancing the cones on our heads’ relay!

Make spelling learning fun with some of these activities:

Bring book bags to school each day.
Library - Wednesday
Bikes - Thursday morning

No time to wait…we’re 'rushing rapidly' into week eight!

Ask your child if they can think of a different verb instead of ‘rushing’ and a different adverb instead of ‘rapidly’. Do these words paint a different picture for the reader? For example: 'strolling slowly'…
How many alternatives can they think of? Prize for the most words!

Kindness Inquiry
We’re continuing with our kindness inquiry and our Kindometer is rising each day! Keep those random acts of kindness happening at school, at home and when you are out and about! 

We will continue to work on our basic facts, place value, addition and subtraction. We will be learning in a variety of ways - same ability groups, independently and also solving problems collaboratively. Our free monthly trial with IXL is going well. The children are all learning new skills and consolidating ones they already have. 

We are trialling Reading Eggspress until the end of March. The children all have logins and passwords and are enjoying reading books online, answering comprehension questions and competing against each other with sentence building skills. There is a huge range of books that will appeal to everyone.
We are going to start reading some Maori legends this week. What legends do the children already know?

Remember to take a look at our photos page to see what your children have been up to at school.

Try the Stair Step activity to help learn spelling words for this week's test on Thursday:

Out of eleven, we’re in week seven!

We’d like to welcome our lovely L.A. Penny, who has helped out this week. She has dived right in, building a rapport with the children and helping out with groups. Thank you Penny!

Kindness Inquiry
After watching some thought provoking Youtube videos about kindness last week, we have realised that kindness is the foundation to building any type of community. Without kindness, there would be no relationships or communities. Take a look at our photo page to see our brainstorming about what kindness means. We have made a class “Kindometer” to show how kind the children in A4 are and what they are doing to be kind.
Questions that can be discussed at home:
·      How can we be kind?
·      What practical steps can we do to spread kindness to other people?
·      How can being kind, help us build a learning community in our class, school etc?
What other questions can your children think of that they want to find answers to?

Reading and Writing
We have been learning about nouns and adjectives. Please help your child identify nouns in their reading and ask how they can describe them using suitable adjectives. Also, don’t forget that ‘went’ is a banned word in their writing. What alternatives can they think of?

Spelling Test
Buddy spelling tests will take place every Thursday. New words will be in the children’s spelling books for Friday and they are responsible for transferring their words onto their spelling doc on their Chromebooks to learn at home.
Fun activity for learning this week’s spelling words:

Please take a look at the Maths page for update.

Remember the gala has now been postponed until Saturday 18th March. Please come along to support our school’s fundraising. The PFA have put hours and hours of work into this event!

Passion Fridays

Passion Friday got off to a good start on Friday with all the children enjoying the classes they attended. Thanks Charlotte and team!

Things to remember this week:
Book bag every day. No book bag – no book.
Monday – swimming (remember togs and towel)
Wednesday - library

We’re not playing tricks…it really is week 6! (where did the first half of the term go?)

Don’t forget to have a peep at our photo page. I will try and update this regularly.

Well done to all Year 4s on the bus to swimming today! They all said "Good afternoon" to the bus driver as they got on the bus and "Thank you" as they hopped off. His beaming smile said it all and he told me that the children had made his day and that it was a pleasure to be driving Whangaparaoa children around. Nice work!!

Just one more to go!

“Get NZ writing”
We are working through gathering our information to send to Roydvale School next week. The children enjoyed googling Roydvale School and finding out information about it.

The children now have their Maths Rockets in their maths books so they can see what their next learning steps are. If you would like to help at home, please make sure that your child knows his/her ‘buddies to 10’ (1+9, 2+8, 3+7, 4+6, 5+5 and the reverse order) and doubles to 20.

Things to remember this week:

Book bag every day. No book bag – no book.
Monday – swimming (remember togs and towel)
Wednesday - library

A few things from last week…

On Wednesday afternoon we had the Grand Opening of our new bike track. 
It was an amazing celebration with everyone taking part. On Thursday we had our first bike lesson, which was mainly showing correct helmet fitting and bike safety (A B C). Please ask your child to tell you what he/she learnt.

We had some discussions last week about A4’s learning community and all the ways in which we learn – collaboratively in a group, independently, with a buddy, quietly, not so quietly, up high or down low, in a little corner, sprawled on the floor etc. With this is mind, the children designed their dream classroom and what new furniture they would have to help with their learning. They designed their room and then wrote about it, making sure they backed up their wishes with reasons. I was impressed with the thought that went into this process as it will help with new furniture choices. I’m not sure however, that our budget will extend to a spa for those times when ‘we’re a bit tired and need to relax!’

Thank you, particularly to the Year 4s, for their patience and focus during all the PATs last week. These will provide teachers with informative data that will help us plan our classroom programs.

While the Year 4’s were doing their PATs, it was a good time for the Year 3’s from A4 and A3 to get to know each other better. We did our sharing stone circle and talked about making new friends and being positive. (Ask your child to explain the yellow pieces of paper with the small and large black dots.) We also did some handwriting, word work and maths and the word of the week was impeccable because that’s how I described their manners.

Look alive...it's week 5!

While we continue with our term's focus on Whanaungatanga and building our classroom community, these are the other things we will be working on: 

“Get New Zealand Writing”
Last week, we were excited to receive a parcel from Warehouse Stationery with postcards and a ‘Found Poetry’ sheet titled “We Are…”
We are 1 of 3000 classrooms all around NZ who will be taking part in this ‘Get NZ Writing’ activity. We will be working hard to complete our postcards and metaphor poems and then sending them to Roydvale School in Burnside, Christchurch. They in turn will be sending us theirs. What an amazing way to find out more about other school children and the school community that they belong to. Who knows where we could go from here! With the use of Google Maps we may even be able to see what Roydvale School looks like.

Ownership of our Maths
Ownership is one of our ORCA values. We have talked about taking OWNERSHIP of our learning…knowing what we need to learn next in order to progress. In maths, we need to have both instant ‘knowledge’ and the ability to use different ‘strategies’ to solve problems. Ask your child if they know the difference and can give an example. They will be getting their own maths progression rocket next week to make their learning progression visible.

We will be concentrating on handwriting this term to ensure that the children can form all their letters correctly and write legibly before we do any writing lessons on our devices. This is something that can be practised at home as well. Are letters the right size and formed correctly? Are there spaces between words and are capital letters being used in the right places?

Chromebooks and Spelling
Your children should now be able to independently find Google Drive on their device. Last week, they created a Spelling Folder and a Spelling Google Doc that has spelling words on for them to learn at home. (These are taken from the Essential Spelling Lists and are words that they misspelt in a test.) Please ask them to show you how to find their spelling words and ensure that they can spell these words off by heart.


Monday - swimming. 
Wednesday - library. Please remember book bag.
Thursday - bikes and water fight. 
                  Please bring bikes and helmets if you have them.
                  Please bring water gun or water bottle if you can.
Friday - mufti day.

Here are the postcards all put together that we are going to decorate and write a line from our metaphor poem on the back.

Working collaboratively to decide what a community means to us.

Hard at work on our metaphor poems.

Almost there with our decorating...

Week 4

What's in store for Week 4?

Monday - "D Day"
Monday will be our first day of devices in the classroom. We will be learning how to look after them, how to set up our email accounts, organise our drives, create and share documents etc. This will be a big learning curve for all of us and we will have to approach it with a 'growth mindset' and 'patience' so if something doesn't work first time, we persevere until it does. 

Remember that Chromebooks will need to be charged every evening and brought to school each day. We have a lockable cupboard in the classroom that the Chromebooks can be stored in when not in use.

Mufti Day:
Mufti Day is on Friday.

Our big question this week will be "How our choices enable us to build a learning community?" Encourage your child to discuss this with you at home as we unpack this question during the week. What do they think a learning community is? Do they have any further questions about this topic? 

Monday - Year 4 swimming at the Leisure Centre (please remember togs, goggles, swim hat and towel). Year 3 swimming at our school pool.
Thursday - Waterslide during lunch break.

Yay! Our library is ready for visits. Our library day is Wednesday. Please remember book bags.

Singing and Dancing:
To bring our whole school together as a community, we are all learning the "You're Welcome" song from the movie Moana. We are also going to learn a dance to perform at the end of term. Here are the links for both if your child would like to practice at home.

Dance:  https://youtu.be/KxJyMOpJrrY
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REntT1Amvxc

Passion Fridays:
There will be a notice coming home in Week 4 outlining the opportunities available as part of our "Passion Fridays." The forms need to be returned by the end of the week to ensure that your child doesn't miss out.

A couple of things we did in Week 3...

This week, the children wrote "Ingredients for the Perfect Friend." It was a good opportunity to think about the qualities they would like in a friend and should therefore display themselves: a dollop of kindness; a jug of caring; a spoonful of silliness; a jar of hugs; a sprinkle of smiles etc.

On Friday, we had a Powhiri where we welcomed our new teachers and students. Afterwards, the A Team enjoyed some shared kai together before spending some time together as a whole community. The children got into smaller teams and worked collaboratively to create a name, colour and logo for their team. It was great to see all the different ages working together!

Week 3: Continuing with Whanaungatanga - Connectedness

Well, our first 'almost' full week was great. We learnt a lot about each other from sharing our "All About Me" bags and various other activities. We are starting to make our classroom our own by having our work and artwork on display. Feel free to pop in and take a look!

We have discussed the kind of learning space we want to work in the and the kind of learning community we want to be a part of. From this discussion, we have collaboratively made a Class Treaty that we are all going to sign on Monday. 

                  Class Treaty
Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Respect each other and respect our environment.

Speak kindly to others and listen when others are speaking.

Move carefully around the classroom.

Be trustworthy and honest.

Abide by our school motto:

In Week 3 we will be talking about how to be Cyber Smart and how to look after our devices when we start using them.

"All About Me" bags. 
Please bring yours in if you haven't already done so.

Mondays are our swimming day, starting next Monday. The Year 4s will be going to the Leisure Centre (please bring back the forms and payment if you haven't already done so. Thank you!) and the Year 3s will be having lessons in our school pool.

Our library visits will be on Wednesday. Please make sure you remember your book bag.

We are all looking smart in our uniforms. Remember your bucket hat every day!

Week 1 and 2: Whanaungatanga - Connectedness

It was great to meet most parents and students on Wednesday and Thursday last week! Thank you for your time.

In the first few weeks we will be looking at:

* getting to know each other and making friends
* developing a positive classroom culture and creating our own class treaty
* knowing ourselves and how we learn best
* discussing our motto, mission, vision and values and how we can apply them
* finding out what excites us about learning

We will be introducing routines and expectations so that we can set up a positive environment where maximum learning can take place.

Feel free to contact me at anytime if you have any questions.


  1. Wow A4! You guys certainly work hard! I love seeing all of your art work in the windows when I walk past your class each day. You are fantastic role models for the new entrants in A1!

    Miss Waugh

  2. A4 have been an absolute delight to teach during our shared year three and four sessions. I've been especially impressed with their lovely manners, positive attitude towards learning and the pride which they take in their work. I've personally enjoyed our shared learning sessions and how they have extended A3's understanding about how our learning community can and does include other classes, such as A4, and that there are many more friends to be had behind our shared door.

  3. Hi A4. Wow! You are working hard. I really liked seeing photos of your postcards and inquiry learning. I also like how your teacher makes each week sound so exciting.
    I can't wait to see your learning go from strength to strength. Try and insert some more examples of your work. Videos are fun or youtube links :)