Word From the Principal

The sun is shining and summer is here… just in time for autumn…

School is humming, students are engaged, and learning is underway! Our school has a big focus this year on reviewing our core teaching and learning to ensure our programmes are providing the best learning for students using the resources we have available. I was interested in a lesson received from our recent professional development with the key message that - learning knowledge and facts is still important in our digital age. We were informed that the brain has a very limited short term memory, but a vast long term memory. In order for students to compare and contrast, evaluate, and weigh up pros and cons (we call these higher order thinking skills) students need the information stored in long term memory.

Imagine that students were asked to compare and contrast between the habitats in the rocky shore and the mud flats. If they do a quick Google search and fast read lots of information about the rocky shore, and fast read lots about mud flats… they will find that they can’t compare and contrast these as the information quickly evaporates from short-term memory and they are left trying to remember - what lives in the mud flats again?

A solid approach to learning then is to build knowledge and understanding, with multiple experiences, discussions, reading in order to learn deeply about a topic to enable deep thinking skills such as compare and contrast - which are vitally important skills to learn and be able to apply.

Spotlight on Student Volunteers:

A number of families joined forces for the Tarawera Ultra Marathon aid station fundraiser, led by Sarah Paterson on behalf of the PTA with the support of a number of our students:

Alex volunteered for about 20 hours, finishing at about 2am. He lugged dozens of huge water containers when we ran out of water.

Emma was also amazing. She was there for about 16 hours. She independently manned the hot drinks/hot soup/hot noodles station on her own for many hours.

Lucan and Peyton,& Eve and Quinn volunteered for about 8 hours.

The students were interacting with athletes, filling up water bottles and helping athletes with anything else they needed.

Eve has also run three successful fundraisers this year, a bake sale and two BBQ’s. She is motivated to reach her Head, Heart, and Hands acknowledgments. Well done also to the team of students that supported with each of these - baking and cooking sausages, and cleaning up afterwards.

Team Tōtara students have their responsibilities up and running - from manning the office at lunchtime, leading karakia at the start of lunch on the loudspeaker, writing a thoughtful message each week at the front of the school, and even emptying the food scraps bin in the staff room and feeding the chickens - we really appreciate all of these helpers.

A big thank you on behalf of Kaharoa School to all of our student volunteers.

Head, Heart, Hands - Year 8

The ‘Year 8 Head, Heart, Hands Badges’ are a formal recognition that recognises the development of character and embodiment of values, as demonstrated in their actions to their school, community and self. Students will strive to earn each badge - head, heart and hand. It is an accumulative, points-based system. When a student reaches the benchmark to achieve recognition in one of the areas, they receive a badge. Actions of the head- knowing the good; actions of the heart- desiring the good; and actions of the hand- doing the good. We look forward to celebrating this with our seniors throughout the year.

Nga Mihi, Lynden Cook, Principal