Our Place Moves Me, has been Ohaaki’s inquiry focus for learning. One of the big learning areas around this has focused on people connecting to places. In Room 2, our learning focused on finding out how people connect to places. Students explored this in different ways.
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 Maori 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.
Overall, I think our current playground is scary because it’s high up in the air and people wobble it! But if you’re a pro you can jump off the high places - Callan
The pros of it are the green steps and the zip line. The zipline is really cool because you go really fast at the start until you get to the middle. In the middle it just stops so you get stuck - Myah
I hate the rockwall because the screws are loose and you can fall off and hurt yourself - Louie
I would remove the bark and the wooden guard so everyone can play on the playground -Casey
Some students worked on designing an inclusive playground.
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.
We can make some games just for fun, and some other games where they are racing. I want to make a fun game because I don’t care about racing - Aria
I want to make a racing game because I like racing against other people - Micah
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.
Keywords: Where Do I Fit In? Pepeha, statistical investigations, personal opinion, inclusivity