Koru Team Term 2 Week 3

Kia ora, e te whanau,

We hope this finds you and your family all happy and healthy at home. We have had a busy first 3 weeks of Term 2 and all our newbies are settling in so well! We love seeing all their smiling faces at drop off time and enjoy seeing them cheerily say their goodbyes. We appreciate your support in helping your child become independent at carrying their own school bag and unpacking their bag when they arrive at school each morning.

Structured Literacy:

We have been enjoying hearing about all the practice children are involved in, with their Structured Literacy at home. Thank you so much for your support with this. It is making a huge difference with the children's progress through the Structured Literacy stages. Just a reminder that children who are just starting their Structured Literacy journey will be bringing home a few letter sounds to practise at home and these will be added to, as they progress. These can be used to practise the pure sounds the letters make and then can be blended together to form words. A word about 'heart words': these are words that cannot be sounded out, simply need to be learned 'by heart' and will also start coming home for children to practise reading and writing with you at home. Once children are proficient in segmenting and blending the first 8 sounds together, and know the first five heart words, they will start bringing home decodable books to read with you at home. The ability to segment and blend sounds together is paramount to children's success at decoding words, so this stage of learning may take longer for some learners. It is very exciting to see the children's progress take off once they have accomplished this skill. The next step is for the learner to be able to write the sounds they hear in words and we do lots of practice with this within our lessons. This would be a great home learning activity once children are secure in the sounds they are bringing home.

Please make sure your child brings back their folder, with their sound pack and books inside, to school every day, as these are used in the Structured Literacy lessons. The sound packs are also added to as the children learn new sounds and heart words.

Identifying the correct letter for a sound given, using our cute character cards.

Practising writing, then reading their sounds...
then writing a dictated sentence.
Playing 'Jump' with some of the Stage 1 letter sounds: "Jump on the letter that makes the /m/ sound."
Forming 'consonant, vowel, consonant' words: beginning sound...
middle sound...
...and final sound
...then segmenting and blending to read
Covering up and segmenting to spell and write: beginning sound...
middle sound...
and final sound. 
We have been working hard in our maths sessions to solve problems.

Our Learning Through Play topic for this fortnight is 'Construction'. The children have been exploring a variety of equipment for use in their constructions. 

Using shapes
Experimenting with balancing and stacking cardboard tubes
Wow, what a tall tower!!
...and, crash!
Demonstrating 'We Get There Together' to build towers...
and more towers...
constructing puzzles together...
and building mini worlds using blocks and animals.....
and using the duplo.
Last Friday we were lucky to have some Kauri students (Years 7 and 8) help set up a fun obstacle course for us outside.
We had to balance over the seesaw then roly poly on the mat...
and zig zag in and out of the cones.
...and, of couse, we just LOVE Kate coming to teach coding in Digitech each week!

We are very excited to have our Junior Park Explorers outing coming up. Please see this post that was sent out on Tuesday for more information. If you are able to be one of our parent helpers, please email your child's Home Group teacher. We are still needing some more parent helpers for each outing.

Elizabeth's and Nicola's Home Groups' outing is on Monday 30th May 9.30 - 11.45 a.m.
Georgia's Home Group's outing is on Tuesday 31st May 9.30 - 11.45 a.m.

We hope you have a lovely weekend together.

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou,
The Koru Teachers: Elizabeth, Georgia, Nicola, Stacey, Jeanette and Amy. 

Koru Team Term 2 Week 3

Kia ora, e te whanau,

We hope this finds you and your family all happy and healthy at home. We have had a busy first 3 weeks of Term 2 and all our newbies are settling in so well! We love seeing all their smiling faces at drop off time and enjoy seeing them cheerily say their goodbyes. We appreciate your support in helping your child become independent at carrying their own school bag and unpacking their bag when they arrive at school each morning.

Structured Literacy:

We have been enjoying hearing about all the practice children are involved in, with their Structured Literacy at home. Thank you so much for your support with this. It is making a huge difference with the children's progress through the Structured Literacy stages. Just a reminder that children who are just starting their Structured Literacy journey will be bringing home a few letter sounds to practise at home and these will be added to, as they progress. These can be used to practise the pure sounds the letters make and then can be blended together to form words. A word about 'heart words': these are words that cannot be sounded out, simply need to be learned 'by heart' and will also start coming home for children to practise reading and writing with you at home. Once children are proficient in segmenting and blending the first 8 sounds together, and know the first five heart words, they will start bringing home decodable books to read with you at home. The ability to segment and blend sounds together is paramount to children's success at decoding words, so this stage of learning may take longer for some learners. It is very exciting to see the children's progress take off once they have accomplished this skill. The next step is for the learner to be able to write the sounds they hear in words and we do lots of practice with this within our lessons. This would be a great home learning activity once children are secure in the sounds they are bringing home.

Please make sure your child brings back their folder, with their sound pack and books inside, to school every day, as these are used in the Structured Literacy lessons. The sound packs are also added to as the children learn new sounds and heart words.

Identifying the correct letter for a sound given, using our cute character cards.

Practising writing, then reading their sounds...
then writing a dictated sentence.
Playing 'Jump' with some of the Stage 1 letter sounds: "Jump on the letter that makes the /m/ sound."
Forming 'consonant, vowel, consonant' words: beginning sound...
middle sound...
...and final sound
...then segmenting and blending to read
Covering up and segmenting to spell and write: beginning sound...
middle sound...
and final sound. 
We have been working hard in our maths sessions to solve problems.

Our Learning Through Play topic for this fortnight is 'Construction'. The children have been exploring a variety of equipment for use in their constructions. 

Using shapes
Experimenting with balancing and stacking cardboard tubes
Wow, what a tall tower!!
...and, crash!
Demonstrating 'We Get There Together' to build towers...
and more towers...
constructing puzzles together...
and building mini worlds using blocks and animals.....
and using the duplo.
Last Friday we were lucky to have some Kauri students (Years 7 and 8) help set up a fun obstacle course for us outside.
We had to balance over the seesaw then roly poly on the mat...
and zig zag in and out of the cones.
...and, of couse, we just LOVE Kate coming to teach coding in Digitech each week!

We are very excited to have our Junior Park Explorers outing coming up. Please see this post that was sent out on Tuesday for more information. If you are able to be one of our parent helpers, please email your child's Home Group teacher. We are still needing some more parent helpers for each outing.

Elizabeth's and Nicola's Home Groups' outing is on Monday 30th May 9.30 - 11.45 a.m.
Georgia's Home Group's outing is on Tuesday 31st May 9.30 - 11.45 a.m.

We hope you have a lovely weekend together.

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou,
The Koru Teachers: Elizabeth, Georgia, Nicola, Stacey, Jeanette and Amy. 

Koru Team News: Term 2, Week 1

Kia ora, e te whanau,

We hope you are all happy and healthy and had a lovely holiday break! It was such a treat to see all of those wide and happy smiles back at school this week. We would likte to give an especially warm welcome to Florence, Xavier, Daniel, Aurora, Harper, Violet, Khloe, Elijah and Jackson, who have all started school this week. What a wonderful job they are all doing settling in! We also welcome Keira who is going to be having her first day at school tomorrow. We hope you have a fantastic day (and days to come), Keira. Ka pai, tamariki!

All of our tamariki have happily returned to the routines of school, and are enthusiastically embracing their learning. They have been excelling in their Literacy and Maths lessons, and are putting lots of energy and enthusiasm into engaging with our 'obstacle course' theme. Creative thinking has been running wild with the different challenges the tamariki have been setting for one another!

Learning At Home: our Learning At Home site remains up and running, if you need or want to access this. Here is the link. There are lots of different activities that you can access, including a variety of Maths activities, a wide range of Literacy activities, a range of picture books read for the tamariki by our Koru teachers, and some fun wellbeing and Te Reo Māori activities to enjoy too. 

Kete Certificates: congratulations to both Xanthe and Zac, for displaying our school values and for receiving kete certificates this week. Xanthe received her certificate for showing 'We Love Learning' and Zac received his certificate for showing 'We Make a Difference'. Ka pai, korua!!

Sustainability: This year, our school-wide focus is Sustainability. Throughout Term 1, in the Koru team, our particular focus was on making and sustaining friendships, and this focus will continue throughout the year, as new children continue to enter our team. This term, we are going to be adding to this aspect of Sustainability, and including a focus on the environment. With this in mind, we are wondering if you have items we might be able to use in our Koru 'fairy garden' bed which is in the raised box outside the school hall. For this garden, we are looking for items such as:

  • Little plants (flowering plants, hardy, little succulents and herbs)
  • Stones, painted or plain
  • Little hollows and tunnels
  • Shells 
  • ...and any other items which you think might sit well in this little garden area

Obstacle Courses: obstacle courses are great fun and the children are thoroughly enjoying the challenge of creating fun and exciting courses, using the equipment in different and interesting ways, as you will see in the photos below! 

Friendship List: In our Koru hub, we have a friendship list to which you can add your contact details, so that other families and parents can contact you to organise playdates. If you would like to be on this list, or are unsure whether you actually are on this list, please email your child's Home Group teacher, including both the email and contact cellphone number you would like to have added to the list. 

We trust that you will all have a lovely week ahead with your families and we cannot wait to see all those smiling faces back at school tomorrow!

Photo Gallery:

Showing We Care

Don't you just love a good book?

Nose in a book!

First visit back to the Library, Term 2 :)


Emjoying a story together


Beautiful writing

Showing lovely focus at Structured Literacy time

More lovely focus being displayed here

Enjoying kai time

A happy smile for the camera!

Another beautiful smile!

Yum, yum - what's for lunch today?

Loving kai time!

Showing We Care.

Lining up, ready for our boundaries walk.

Using some very cool equipment as part of our obstacle course.

Negotiating this challenging part of the obstacle course.

Junp, jump, jump!

Wow! Truly impressive jumping required to make it over the elastic. Well done :)

Skilful balancing needed on the balance board. 

More impressive balancing.

... and yet more clever balancing.

Playing our own made up Memory game.

Now... where was that other '8'?

Playing with our new beautiful castle.

In the Family Corner, playing with the lovely new food, pots and pans.

Creative use of the high jump poles!

Great work with the magnetic numerals.

Including newbies in a game of Duck, Duck, Goose.

Our Structured Literacy group time.

Who is this character on the back of the card which has the sound, /a/?

What sound does this letter make?

It's Ally the Alligator's favourite sound!

Refreshing our memories about the first 8 letter sounds and their matching characters.

Finding out about the boundaries in the courtyard area.

What does the yellow line across the path mean and why is it here?

Exploring in Treemendous.

It's a shower of leaves!

Digitech unplugged: Kidbots (programmers sitting around the outside and the child as the 'bot' in the centre)

Creating the obstacles and then plotting the pathway.

We love our new sandpit (and how wonderful that it has a roof).

Family Corner: fun with a friend.

Are we ready, team?

Friends playing collaboratively together.

Trying our very best at handwriting time.

Working together as we learn about 'teen' numbers.

Would you like to try some?

We love Literacy!

We hope you enjoyed our photo gallery!

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou,
The Koru Teachers: Elizabeth, Georgia, Nicola, Stacey, Jeanette and Amy. 

Koru Team News: Term 1 Week 11

Kia ora e te whanau,

We hope you are all happy and healthy, and that everything is going well for you all on the home front. We have officially reached the end of our first term here at school! It has been an incredibly busy term, and we are very proud of the resilience and perseverance our tamariki have shown, along with their ability to incorporate all aspects of our school values into their daily lives. Very well done, koutou!

Here is the Learning At Home page link for those of you who might be wanting to access this throughout the school holidays. You will see that there are enormous possibilities here on our Koru team page, from a range of extra Maths activities, a wide variety of Literacy activities, through to many picture books which have been read by the teachers and uploaded so that the wee ones can enjoy a quiet moment listening to a good story.

As we said, it has been a very busy term full of exciting activities and impressive progress throughout, including:

  • having the wonderful Kate in to teach our tamariki about different aspects of Digitech, 
  • having the lovely Sue in to help with some baking on Fridays, 
  • children making wonderful progress in their Structured Literacy groups, and
  • tamariki learning lots of new concepts, knowledge and strategies in the Maths area.

Unplugged programming, using individual paper mazes, and weaving play-based learning into Digitech, by choosing a character to act as a robot programmer and using kinetic sand as barriers and obstacles.

Vocalising the code, using the simple code blocks of 'forward', 'turn' and 'backwards'.

Guiding Bingo through the maze, by giving him a 'superpower' and adding 'jump' to the code blocks. 

Unplugged coding refers to learning coding skills, without the use of technology!

Incorporating our Sustainability theme into Digitech.

The tamariki talked about the impact of pollution and rubbish on underwater life.

They then 'taught' AI (the iPad app they were using) to tell the difference between a fish and rubbish, then, using the iPad to control a bluebot, children then set about cleaning up the ocean so that the sea creatures could be safe, happy and thrive!

Structured Literacy: 

Although your children haven't brought their literacy folders home over the holidays, this doesn't mean that their Literacy learning and practice must stop for the time being. You will find, in our Koru Learning at Home Literacy area, links to the letter sound cards (you could make your own copies for home, if you have a printer), their heart words, and several other aspects of phonemic awareness. In the phonics section, there is a link through to YouTube which gives lots of opportunities for the children to practise a variety of phonemic awareness activities. 

Maths: 

The children have been working hard to increase their knowledge of bigger numbers and the concepts like place value which are involved in this learning. They have been:

  • using tens frames to show the make up of 'teen' numbers (10 + ? = the particular teen number)
  • learning about how the teen numbers are represented by words in te Reo Māori
  • counting forwards to 20, and then on to 100
  • counting backwards from 10, and then backwards from 20
  • learning to read numbers to 20, 100 and beyond (up to any 3-digit number), and working towards understanding the concept of place value required when, for example, zero is a place holder, as in 702
  • solving fun Maths problems using a variety of strategies 
  • learning new maths games (like Traffic Light, Move and Prove and various versions of Memory which involve matching a number, for example, 14, with its matching tens frame pattern) 
  • making patterns and pictures, using the shape equipment
The progress the children have made in this area this term has been very exciting! Please visit our Learning At Home Maths area for a variety of fun activities to engage your children, if they are heard, at any point during the holidays, to make pleas such as, "PLEASE, can we have some Maths fun today?"

We love these Maths activities which require the children to justify their thinking, and which also allow for a wide variety of 'answers'.

Again, impressive thinking here, and a growing ability in tamariki to justify their thinking.

Excellent explanations and problem-solving here!

Learning about 'teen' numbers.

Learning that 'teen' means ten.

The children's drawings are representations of what they actually did, using popsicle sticks and hair ties, to form bundles of ten with some 'ones' left over (please note, the line through the ten 'sticks' is the hair tie!)

And aren't the tamariki amazing to be learning how to write equations in this way?

The Three Billy Goats Gruff: 
Over the last two weeks, we have had a theme within our akomanga, focusing on the Three Billy Goats Gruff. This has led to some incredibly imaginative thinking, along with the use of a variety of creative skills. Our tamariki have been involved in:

  • socio-dramatic role play where they began by building a bridge, then found all sorts of animals to represent the three billy goats and another animal (often a wild cat, such a s a tiger) to play the part of the troll, before retelling the story using those characters
  • creating a small world, where they used the skills of recalling what happens in the story to retell it to their peers using characters they had made 
  • a whole class bridge building competition, using such equipment as Duplo, wooden building blocks, Lego, boxes, small bricks, and a variety of classroom furniture. 
Two trolls (one large and pink; the other a small grey elephant) up to mischief in this retelling!

Watch out, little goats...

Oh, no - what is going to happen next?

... a bad day for one of the trolls.

...and a very bad day for the other!

More creative use of a variety of animals (including dinosaurs) in this retelling.

Another troll about to get his comeuppance!

And a creative variation on the Three Billy Goats Gruff theme, incorporating the use of the train set, some Lego and some shells!

Kete Certificates: 

Congratulations to Neasa, Kit, Jos Luke, and Nellie, for showing our school kete values and recently receiving certificates in the areas of:

  • We Care
  • We Love Learning and
  • We Make a Difference
Ka pai, tamariki!

We trust that you all have a wonderfully safe and happy Easter break and school holiday to follow. 

Thank you so much for the support which you have all provided for us here at school throughout this term. It is always greatly appreciated. Your children have shown wonderful levels of participation and contribution throughout this first term and will all, no doubt, be very tired. We trust you all have the chance to relax and recharge ready for an exciting Term 2 ahead.

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou,

Elizabeth, Georgia, Stacey and Amy


Koru Week 7, with a focus on Structured Literacy

Kia ora e te whanau,

We hope everything's going well for you all on the home front. We have reached the end of Week 7, and it has been a fun-filled and epic fortnight here in the Koru hub.

Here is the Learning At Home page link for those of you who might be needing it. We are adding and updating our content every so often, however you will see that there are enormous possibilities here on our Koru page. If your child completes some Learning Through Play, some Literacy activities and some Maths activities each day, then that is terrific. If, on some days, this isn't achievable for any reason, then that is absolutely fine too. You will see that in class, we start each day with our karakia, followed by the National Anthem, and this might be a good thing to do at home as well.

Today you will see that the children have brought home, in their bags, their unique Home Learning codes which will give you access to Seesaw. We will be using Seesaw for those of you who are engaging in Learning From Home.

Structured Literacy: Across the school and within our Koru hub, we use the Structured Literacy approach to teaching reading. This approach focuses on speech sounds first, then leads on to the writing and reading of these sounds in words. As our tamariki learn different sounds, they then learn to blend and segment these sounds to read and write words. We also follow another specific approach for our handwriting which is called 'Kinetic Letters', and these handwriting skills are also practised during Literacy lessons.

Scope and Sequence: There are 7 different stages within the Structured Literacy approach. Each stage has new sounds for the children to learn and requires different skill sets. As children move through the stages, new skills are learnt and these build upon previous skills that the children have learnt.

We love practising our letter sounds at home with our families.

We can make words using our letter cards, to practise our segmenting and blending skills.
 
We can use our sounds and heart words to write a sentence.

Well done! Great work at writing a sentence independently.

Reading books: With Structured Literacy, there is a great series of books that goes along with this approach to support the children with their learning. In order to read the books, our tamariki must know most of the first 8 letter sounds. They will have been practising the skills of segmenting and blending sounds to encode and decode words, which then leads to the children being given a book.

Little Learners Love Literacy: This website, “Why LLLL (Little Learners Love Literacy)? has additional information as to why we use the Little Learners Love Literacy programme.


The above video explains how to clearly and correctly pronounce each of the letter sounds and will help you support your children as they practise these with you at home.


This little video clip focuses on phonological awareness. Watch how Linda Farrell gives Autumn explicit practice in blending, segmenting, and manipulating the sounds in words.

Caroline Moffatt's Structured Literacy Parent talk: Last year, Caroline Moffatt, our Resource Teacher of Literacy, led a workshop for parents, devoted to the Structured Literacy approach to teaching reading and writing. This contains valuable information related to the Science of Reading and our approach towards Literacy here at Beckenham Te Kura o Pūroto.


Here is a link to all our information regarding our Structured Literacy approach which you will find on our school website: https://www.beckenham.school.nz/index.php/learning/literacy-learning

We do hope you all have a restful and very happy weekend, everyone. We're looking forward to seeing those bright and happy wee faces next week!

Ngā mihi mahana koutou,
Elizabeth, Georgia and Stacey