Monday, 15 August 2016

Term Three Big Idea - Environment

This term our big idea is ‘Environment’. In each of our classes, the learning is being driven by the children. Our teachers did not plan our integrated unit together as a team at the end of Term Two as we normally would. The reason behind this change was to ensure we were actually listening to our children and letting them lead their learning for the term without our own preconceived ideas significantly influencing the learning. Instead, this planning process has been brought alive in our classrooms with our children. Alongside this new approach to planning, teachers still need to follow our College Street Normal School integration model and curriculum expectations.

The teachers planned an initial emotional hook activity to ‘Ignite’ the children’s thinking about this big idea. Some classes used a range of engaging images of environmental issues in conjunction with different thinking routines. In Lava the children were asked to empathise with an animal that had been displaced due to deforestation. They were given a variety of materials from which they had to plan and construct a home which met the animal's basic needs.

From here the children have co-constructed their knowledge deep understanding and indicators for the matrix. Each class has selected a Habit of Mind focus which they think will enhance their learning of this big idea. They have also co-constructed the matrix indicators for the Habit of Mind.

Throughout this process, the children have been developing and recording their wonderings and they are now following their own lines of inquiry.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Manawatu Standard Junior News

Below is an article written by four children from Lava (Room 6/7).  Their article, along with four advertisements created by children from GRi11 2.0 (Room 10/11) was published in the Manawatu Standard Junior News.

At College Street Normal School we currently have 593 College Street Kids (including us) who come to our school 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. We are a large primary school and have more than 40 staff. 
Our school vision statement is ‘Go For Gold’. This means we always try our best! We learn about how we can use the Habits of Mind and Habits of Heart to be successful in our daily lives. At CSNS we all love learning new things. Our main learning areas are maths, reading, writing and integration. We learn in comfortable environments. This means we don’t always learn at a desk. Instead we can sit on ottomans, benches, beanbags and on the floor. For reading, writing and maths we have a range of tasks to complete. We get to choose when we do each task and who we learn with. So for example, we have people crafting their writing, while other people are researching for their inquiry. 
We all get to use devices to help us with our learning. Every child has a Google account. We can access our learning at school and at home on any device and share our learning with other people at the press of a button. It is faster and easier for us and our teachers! We also use our devices to share our learning creatively by making movies and animations. Each class has a blog where we add posts about our learning and fun events we have at school. 
Every child gets the opportunity to participate in our sports rotations every week. We learn skills for a range of different sports including badminton, basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, table tennis and touch rugby. Our main school sports events in the year are triathlon, swimming sports, cross country and athletics sports. 
At CSNS there are lots of extra curricular activities we can participate in. We have sports teams, dance groups, choir, Kapa Haka, jump jam, drama club, chess club and conservation club. There are also other academic activities we can participate in such as Mathex, Otago Problem Solving Challenge and ICAS Testing. 
At lunch time we can borrow sports items from the PE shed, get active with a game of soccer or rugby on the field, hang out with friends on the playground, swing on the monkey bars, or take a break on the deck. 
Last term our whole school performed at The Regent Theatre in our school production ‘Cinderella and Rockerfella’. There is always lots happening at CSNS. Please check out our school website ( or our Facebook page for more information.