Our Small World Tokelau

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Te Taiao o Tamaki at Te Oro - A quick review

One of the huge motivators behind our sustainability unit was the opportunity to showcase our learning as part of the Te Taiao o te Tamaki Manaiakalani cluster wide environmental themed focus. This was held on Wednesday 12th April, during the last week of term at Te Oro and attracted students, parents and members of community to our displays.

We wanted to show all of our kids work but we were limited in space and time.  The year 9 teachers of sos had looked at the best projects in their classes and selected the students who had put in a lot of effort and showed understanding in what was needed in the assessment criteria (to be discussed later), then emailed me their names.  Over the last two weeks, I had worked with them to help them prepare for their presentations.  There were 6 chosen to put on display at Te Oro. The projects were based on:
  • The housing crisis in Glen Innes
  • Our school rain garden
  • Healthy foods and gardens
  • Our parks and public spaces
  • Measuring pollution in the Omaru river 
  • Sustaining our culture and identity
Our schools display was in a busy area which had lots of foot traffic.   Our kids had put up our displays the day before and practiced presenting as we knew there would be lots of people interested in what their projects and what they'd discovered.  

Leopote showing students his display on our schools rain garden.
Although the weather was crazy, it did not deter our kids from presenting well and doing a remarkable job at explaining what they researched and why.  All of the schools in the cluster had created outstanding projects and I feel we connected at another level which was inspiring!
Our principal listens intently to Pareata's explanation of the Rain Garden.

Our Samoan group performed for the first time in Te Oro - they sounded magical and for most of our year 9's it was their first time seeing students from their own school in such a highly disciplined forum.  At the end of the performance, I addressed the year 9's and connected the ideas of belonging and value to how the students who performed in the Samoan group felt.  I reminded them of when they planted their seeds and how it relates to sustainability and praised them on their behaviour and efforts during the term before they were allowed to go. 

To be honest, I did feel exhausted at the end of the day but mainly relieved that our kids had journeyed through the sustainability unit and theme and come out the other end and survived - wait, did I mean the kids or me!?! Let me rephrase that - I felt that we needed to do something different with regards to an integrated cross curricula programme, whereby kids could work on a project and call on their teachers to help them.  Although our theme was conceptually future focussed and grounded in the aspect of sustainability, our students needed to see the value in protecting and safeguarding their environment around them and to feel like they belonged to it and it belonged to them.  In that way they could be empowered to safeguard and protect it.  I wondered and hoped they' learnt something on the integrated journey.

Jolise proudly displays her research on the housing crisis in our area.