Friday, 25 May 2012

2012 Term 2 Week 5 - Community

We have a lot of visitors here at HPS - some weeks we have people every day who want to come and see what we are doing, look at our learning spaces and talk with us about the collaborative learning areas. Our students are quite blase about the numbers of visitors and carry on with their learning despite there being 20 principals in the room, or a group of architects looking at the design. Should one of our visitors ask them about their learning or their new school however it is a different matter! Our students constantly make us proud of their ability to confidently speak to adult visitors and explain to them how the studio works, what they are learning and why they are enjoying learning at HPS - they are articulate, friendly and succinct!

Prospective parent tours are held on Tuesday mornings between 9am and 10am and are well attended by those who have enrolled their children or whose who are thinking about it. To date we have not had anyone come for the tour who has been thinking about enrolling who has not then done so!

This week, it was the turn of our parent community to have a chance to come in and see their children learning.

Every child at HPS sets learning goals with their teachers in reading, writing and maths. These goals are reflected upon and refined continuously throughout the term as children make progress against their goals and achieve them. We value parent input into these goals and the purpose of the open morning this week was to allow our students the opportunity to share their goals with their families. Students were able to log into their google docs, share their learning goals and reflections from term 1, share and refine their new goals and, together with their families, identify some ways these goals could be enhanced at home through tasks, practice, games and resources.

We had an excellent turnout for our open morning and our students just loved being able to show their parents and grandparents their learning! There was a real buzz in the studios as students showed off their learning and logged on and off google docs to share their goals.

The feedback from parents was that this was a good way to see what their children were doing, an authentic reason to come into the studio and experience some of the learning while contributing to their children's ongoing learning goals.

We look forward to having more of these mornings in the future, the benefits for students, parents and teachers is evident in the building of the relationships for learning.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

2012 Term 2 Week 4 - Problem Solving

Our Studio 2 students had noticed that they couldn't read the titles of some of their books in the bookshelf. They wondered how they could fix the problem and tried out a variety of different 'packers' under the books. One day last week they were looking at the problem and decided that the shelves needed to be shallower. The four boys then worked with Cole on designing and making an insert shelf that the books could stand up on. The shelves are made of MDF and were measured and assembled by the workshop boys with materials cut to size by Cole.
The boys then took their solution to Studio 3 and asked them if they had the same problem with their bookshelf and offered to fix it for them!

We are impressed with the problem solving, inquiry and construction skills of these four boys who have solved a real problem for us using materials we had onsite - great work team!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

2012 Term 2 Week 3 - Coffee and Cake

Our students have been learning about letter and invitation writing and this week have written thank you letter to our camp helpers, invited their mums to "Coffee and Cake" and have made Mother's Day cards.

We celebrated Mother's Day on Friday afternoon with a "Coffee and Cake" afternoon for our mums. Every student hand decorated a cupcake for their mum and presented it to them with a coffee or tea when they arrived. The time and care that our students put into decorating their cupcakes was touching to watch and the comments around choosing what to use centred on what mum would like (although most students hoped that mum would share their cupcake with them!)

It was lovely to see mums and kids enjoying their coffee and cake and chatting to other mums. Our students were very proud of their cupcakes and had such a lot of fun decorating and presenting them to their mums.

We had over 80% of our mums come along and a few Nana's come if mum couldn't make it. Those mums who couldn't come along should have received a cupcake when they got home - we did ask the students not to eat them on their way home from school!

Our mums were entertained by our HPS Choir in their first public appearance! Donna has been teaching our choir and they are to perform in the Papakura Choir Festival at the end of July. They are a small choir due to constraints on numbers from the choir organisers but Donna tells me she could have had many more as our students are amazing singers.

A huge thank you to Papakura New World who donated and delivered the cupcakes for our mums. We are very grateful for your support New World!

Some photos of our day:

Studio 2 decorating their cupcakes

Learning how to pipe icing

Some of our finished creations

Some of our finished creations

55 beautiful cupcakes ready for mum

Mums and kids enjoying coffee and cake

Listening to the choir

Sunday, 6 May 2012

2012 Term 2 Week 2 - School Camp

One of the advantages of having a tiny school roll is that we can all share experiences! We all went bush this week on a trip to Sonshine Ranch in Hunua. Studio 3 stayed for 2 days and had an overnight in the bivouacs (brrrr!!) and Studio 2 joined them on the second day.

It was great to have had the opportunity for all children - from 5 to 13 - be able to try out new activities and experiences. We saw children really facing up to their fears and giving things a go. The support and challenge between students was fabulous to see; students living the key competencies of contributing and participating, self management, relating to others and thinking, all in the bush setting.

We challenged ourselves with horse riding, water challenge, campfire, climbing wall, tunnels, flying fox and rope swings. Sonshine Ranch was an amazing venue with excellent, friendly and knowledgable instructors, well cared for and well behaved horses and excellent safety gear. We were impressed with their organisation for us.

Of course we cannot do any EOTC activity without the support of our parents through funding the trips, making sure their children have all the right gear for a trip to the bush, and filling in the seemingly endless (but necessary) forms. We are grateful for their support as we planned our trip.

An extra special thank you for our parents who came with us to make sure we had our adult:child ratios for a bush trip and to provide transport. Our trip parents were fully involved in the fun and challenge and participated in all the activities. We couldn't do it without your time and support and we are very grateful to the mums and dads who came along this time.

Our students were, as always, fully involved, fun and spirited - nothing phased them, be it climbing walls, pitch black tunnels or flying through the bush on a wire!! Our brand new 5 year olds were climbing to the top of the climbing wall and pushing themselves to try new things - just amazing to see them embrace the challenges!

We had a lot of fun with our students at the ranch and hope to be able to do it again very soon.

Learning how to vault on horseback

One of the ponies at Sonshine Ranch

Enjoying the ride

Warming up around the campfire

Can't wait to get on!

Cuddles with the bunny

More cuddles

More cuddles

Learning how to walk on the horses

Safety hats on and ready to go

Learning how to use the climbing wall

Look how high I went!

Rock monkeys!

Off tunneling with Linda


Ready to fly!

Check out that confident grin!