Monday, 5 March 2018

Noticing, connecting to and using the words around us...

Written words are all around us in a school but how many of these words do our learners have a connection to? How many of these words do they notice and use? During a class discussion I discovered that although most of our class could say our school whakatauki, I quickly realised personal connections to the meaning behind these words was missing. This made me think about how I could help my learners to notice, understand and use the language around them.

During our first CoL meeting this year Dr Jannie Van Hees reminded us of the rich language opportunities available to us in our local area. Our own school seemed like the perfect place to start building my learner's vocabulary kete. After unpacking our school whakatauki by looking at the history and purpose behind these words I introduced combination of think-pair-share and small group discussions to allow my learners to use the language in an authentic context. Working with a buddy to search for other whakatauki and the meaning behind them, resulted in connections and comparisons being made. 'Manaaki whenua, Manaaki tangata, Haere whakamua' are no longer simply words we see and can say. 'Care for the land, Care for the people, Go forward' are all words that each of my learners understand and have formed their own connections to. We captured this learning by creating DLOs to reflect our understanding and grow our print rich learning environment. Jeremiah is happy for me to share his example. Jeremiah's blog


Following on from this we looked at a phrase commonly used at our school, 'Agents of Change'. I know that I have personally unpacked this phrase each year with my learners as it is a powerful way for them to grow their leadership. This year we looked at how we could become 'Agents of Change' in our own 2018 learning journeys. This was goal setting wrapped up in the language around us. It provided an authentic purpose for my learners to strengthen their connections to these words by using them in a personalised context. Jack is happy for me to share his example. Jack's blog


We took this a step further by bringing the language, personal to our school, into our assembly time. I have been working with our student leaders when they write their assembly scripts, so together we have begun to weave our PBS language into their weekly reports. After all we learn best when we learn with and from each other, and who better to grow this learning and sense of ownership than our own student role models. 

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