First of all, students learnt how they connect to places through their pepeha. They acknowledged connections they had to their surroundings: mountains, rivers, lakes, other special places to them, and family. Creating an artwork to show these things helped students to memorise lines from their pepeha. The next step for most students is to work on their pronunciation of te reo Māori and to be able to recite their whole pepeha from memory.
Next, we explored how people connect to places through maths. Conducting statistical investigations to gather information focused our learning. Students formulated investigations to find information about the different areas in Taupō that Room 2 students lived in, their favourite Taupō activities, and favourite places to play at school. I was surprised to see that the senior playground received only one vote. This led the class to delve deeper into this; why didn’t students have a stronger connection to the school playground?
Students had to learn to write their personal opinions about the senior playground. Their success criteria was to include the pros and cons of the playground, what they would add or remove to improve it, and how they could make it more inclusive for all students.
After students shared their personal opinions, we looked more closely at the idea of inclusivity, and how people have a stronger connection to places if they feel included. We discussed what people did at lunchtimes and discovered that some students said they didn’t know what to do or were bored. When asked how we might fix this, students came up with the idea of creating games. When asked how they could make them inclusive so they don’t favour anyone in particular, this is what students had to say.
Room 2 created some great games that were inclusive. Games worked very well with small groups because small groups listened better so they could understand what they had to do. Students ran their games at the Ohaaki Celebration of Learning. Positives that groups identified were that everyone was having fun, students were excited and Room 2 students enjoyed making their courses.
Some of the negatives that groups identified were that groups were too big, some students weren’t following the rules and some students were being silly. Some game organisers felt a bit frustrated - but from frustration comes learning. To prevent similar challenges from happening in the future, students suggested we have an adult supervisor or responsible senior student at each game.
Room 2’s learning journey took us in many different directions. Through different curriculum areas, students learnt how natural resources and inclusivity help people connect with places.