July 28

Tena koutou te whānau o te kura Muritai

A big welcome to Muritai School to Henry Griffiths (Rm 15), William Griffiths (Rm 7), Gabriel Barber (Rm 13), Sophie Van Rooyen Rm 2) Rhianna Crawford (Rm 11), David Reps (Rm 23),  Harriet Travers (Rm 1) and Joe Dickson (Rm 1).

We welcome back Barbara Ryan into room 1.  We are also pleased to announce Jess Savage as a replacement teacher for room 9 later this term to cover Sarah Drinkwater's maternity leave. Jess is a UK trained teacher who joins us from Avalon School and will be a welcome addition to our team. She begins in week 7 of this term.  In addition to this we are pleased to congratulate Mikaela Cody and her husband Bert who are expecting their first child later this year.  Mikaela will leave us as close to the end of year as possible.

Reading, Writing and Mathematics – a commonsense approach
In the holidays our Literacy leader Karen Chao attended the International Reading Conference in Auckland. Karen has run workshops since her return and shared many things from this experience. There were lots of innovative ideas but much of it was just commonsense... which got me thinking about sharing some thoughts!

Recently our teachers reported to parents on the achievement standards expected for reading, writing and mathematics. During this school term staff will further unpack next steps towards improving what has already been achieved to date. Much of the knowledge building will centre around refining the alignment of the New Zealand Curriculum with the progressions expected to meet the National Standards expectations. We will also be focusing on our own continuous improvement strategies for all children at all levels. There are a number of fundamental teaching practices that enhance progress in reading, writing and mathematics, and parents can also develop these when supporting their children at home.

The most successful teachers of reading are those who bring reading alive through their own passion for books and their desire to share books by reading aloud to the children on a regular basis.  Not only does the experience create a special time to connect book language with the children, it also contributes significantly to the child’s growth as a reader. Whether it be a child having a good laugh about the characters, engaging in debate about the story-line or predicting what’s going to happen next as the plot unfolds, the children are naturally learning through their curiosity, imagination and appreciation of the tale read to them. To this end we are extremely grateful to our school librarian Sue Fieldes who continues to promote reading and quality books within the school.

Parents can play an important role in encouraging children to read books. At home reading aloud to your child can be one of the best parenting experiences. It enhances your child’s love for books and learning through books. It can start well before the child’s first birthday and needs to be established as an important time in your child’s daily routine. We are creating lifelong readers. This can be continued through the teenage years. This level of support develops the children’s confidence with books and sets them up to read and enjoy books for a lifetime. Books are the heart of the children’s literacy development and are part of our everyday life.  A recent study, shared but yet to be published, outlined that parental support is the highest contributing factor to both avid and successful readers

There are a number of approaches used in schools to promote good writing qualities. Oral language experiences are often used to share and talk about real experiences before going on to write about them. Shared writing involves the teacher working with the children to plan and construct text together. Often the children are taught how to make use of a ‘mind map’ or ‘web’ to show how the writer develops ideas and sorts them for writing. This approach helps the children learn about how the text can be organised. At other times teachers model quality writing by helping the children scribe a common text, or by guiding the children through focused tasks.

It’s all good fun and as it has always been, good writers have common writing attributes. They are usually imaginative storytellers who read a lot and love to write. Having good knowledge of writing conventions enables writers to enjoy expressing their thoughts in a variety of forms. Some other key features of good story writing include carefully thought out title selection, a good beginning to capture the reader’s interest, paragraphing to highlight sequence of thought, and a closing message that leaves the reader with something to reflect on. These qualities at different stages can also be recognised in your children’s writing samples.

With mathematics it needs to be pointed out that “numeracy teaching” is only one strand of this important subject. However other strands such as measurement, geometry, statistics, and algebra – each key aspects of teaching maths, require good numeracy skills for them to be successfully embarked on. Instruction that will develop children’s knowledge as they advance through the stages of learning (i.e. from basic counting sequences, counting sets of objectives to solve simple addition and subtraction problems and visualising sets of numbers, through to the more advanced multiplication and division of fractions and decimals using a variety of mental strategies) is the key to “numeracy teaching” today.

In plain language this is all about learning to count, learning to add and subtract, learning to multiply and divide and using fractions and decimals. The way we teach this is to focus on the development of “number sense”. It is recognized that a strongly developed number sense leads to “algebraic thinking”. In classrooms it is common to see children exploring and questioning the world of numbers in a visual and practical way. They will also be learning about measurement, shapes and space using a variety of materials including mathematical games that encourage them to see for themselves the order and patterns of numeracy. Children still need the mastery of the basic knowledge and skills that will allow them to successfully add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers. As it has always been, teaching mathematics requires plenty of experiences with equipment, and activities designed to reinforce & consolidate new knowledge and concepts taught.

Finally, “practise makes perfect”, and it comes down to how much time is allowed for this to happen! By spending time with your child you are offering them the lowest possible teacher:child ratio of all.

Term dates for 2011
At the Board meeting last term dates were confirmed for 2011. Next year is a bit different because of the Rugby World Cup - the consequence of which is we have a very short term 4 of about 8 weeks. The dates for your diaries are as follows -

Term 1 - Wednesday 2 February - Friday 15 April
Term 2 - Monday 2 May - Friday 15 July
Term 3 - Monday 1 August - Friday 7 October
Term 4 - Tuesday 25 October - Friday 16 December
There will be a 4 day weekend at Queen's Birthday with a teacher only day on Friday 3 June. Monday 6 June is Queen's Birthday public holiday.

Term Three Events
27 – BoT meeting
30 – School Assembly
30 – Year 6 at Downstage (Capital E play)


2 – Staff meeting – Inquiry
3 – Soccer sports zone – Y5-8
3 – Y5-8 Zone netball
3 - ICAS English
4 – Soccer sports zone – Y0-4
9 – Y7 Boostrix vaccinations
9 – Staff meeting – Life Education
13 – Senior staff mtg; school assembly
13 – Year 7-8 at Indoor sports
16 – Dancesplash – Y5 at Michael Fowler
17 – Rugby – Y5-6 Tackle Rugby
17 - ICAS Maths
18 - Artsplash choir rehearsal at MFC
18 - Life education visiting next 10 days
19 - Artsplash choir performance 5.30
24 – Year 5-6 Zone Hockey
24 - BoT meeting
25/26 – NIWA science fair (Year 7-8)
30 – Jess Savage arrives in room 9

3 – Sarah Drinkwater’s last day; school assembly
10 – DP/TL meetings
14 – Dress rehearsal and School production -
15 - School production
16 - School production
17 – Matinee
21 – BoT mtg
24 – School Assembly, last day

Our production is in full swing with children auditioning for speaking parts in the Senior School, teachers choreographing dances and sets being painted. All hustle and bustle on the stage. This year's production is based on the story "The Incredibly Short and Happy Life of Riley, a book written by Colin Thompson.

The production dates are Tuesday 14 September, Wednesday 15 September and Thursday 16 September with a matinee performance on Friday 17 September. Tickets are on sale now from the school office at: Adults $7.50, Children/Senior Citizens $5 and under 5's $3 each.  Tickets will be limited to four per family with a possibility that further tickets can be purchased closer to the performance dates.

Any help with the stage, backdrop, costumes, etc, would be greatly appreciated. Please talk to your child/ren's teacher.

This year Muritai School entered three very talented teams in the Jump Jam Challenge Competition. All three teams selected and practised their chosen routines for many weeks before being filmed and entering the competition via DVD. They were assessed according to very strict judging criteria in two categories: Presentation and Synchronisation, and Energy. Each category was worth ten points with a total possible score out of twenty.

The teams were then ranked against other schools who had entered from all over New Zealand.

Our Year 3 Team the Perfect Penguins, chose Boogie Wonderland and comprised of: Phoebe Evans, Olivia Palmer-Smith, Zoe Alexander, Lucy Crawford, Charlotte Goble, Rosie Owles, Ella Giles, Mila Van Der Wilt and Amalia Mitchell. They scored 6.2 out of 10 for their Presentation skills and 4.7 out of 10 for Synchronisation and Energy, with a combined total score of 10.9 out of 20. They placed 20th out of 24 schools in the Years 1- 4 Novice Section.

The Year 4 Muritai Jumpers who performed the Funky Town routine comprised of: Beth Brodie, Milly Griffiths, Emeline Gray, Lily Griffiths, Charlotte Barclay and Sally Bird. They scored 7 out of 10 for their Presentation and 7.2 out of 10 for Synchronisation and Energy with a total combined score of 14.2 out of 20. They were placed 50th out of 64 schools in the Years 4 - 6 Novice Section. They were placed 50th out of 64 schools in the Years 4 - 6 Novice Section.

Our Year 6 Jammers who also performed the Boogie Wonderland routine were: Xanthe Winfield, Elspeth Morley, Lucy Williams, Zara Costello, Caela Davy, Daisy Statham, Maddy Robinson and Hailey Griffiths. They scored 7 out of 10 for their Presentation and 8.6 out of 10 for Synchronisation and Energy with a total combined score of 15.6 out of 20. They were placed 37th out of 64 schools in the Years 1- 4 Novice Section.

This our best ranking to date! Well done teams!

The Year 4 to 6 Choir will be performing at the Artsplash 2010 on Thursdy 19 August at the Michael Fowler Centre.  Room 14 are also attending the Dance Splash performance on Monday 16 August.  Tickets are on sale at the school office for $4 each - limited to 4 per family at the present time.  

Our netball teams have been playing extremely well this season with some of them coming 1st in their league. Results from the first round are as follows:-
Muritai 1 - 1st equal with Korarauni 1 in the Primary 4a
Muritai 2 - 1st in Primary 7a
Muritai 3 - 4th in the Primary 8a
Muritai Int 1 - 3rd in Intermediate 5a
Muritai Int 2 - 3rd in Intermediate 10

Well done everyone. We look forward to hearing how well you perform in the second half of the season.

Sheep Fertiliser Delivered to Your Door 
The St James Sea Scouts are fundraising for scouts to attend the Scout Jamboree at the end of the year.  The Eastbourne contingent have sheep manure, bagged up and ready for your garden.  Great fertiliser - dig it in now ready for the spring and summer.  25 kg bags are priced at $12 each and can be delivered directly to you.  Call Tracey on 562 7751 or email tracey@redhandle.co.nz and leave a message.  Cash on delivery please. 

Help wanted with a new study on step or blended families
The Families Commission has identified the need to better understand the challenges faced by step or blended families. They have helped fund a new study by researchers from the Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families at Victoria University, who are conducting the ‘Overcoming the challenges to re-partnering’ study. The study aims to investigate how couples and children deal with the issues that typically face these families.

Dr Jeremy Robertson, Deputy Director of the Roy McKenzie Centre, is interested in talking to members of married or cohabiting stepfamilies who have been together for at least five years. Participation would involve one interview of approximately one hour, at a time and place to suit the parent.

The results of these studies will be valuable for organizations’ and individuals who work with families, government organizations’ who make policies related to families and stepfamilies themselves.

For more information contact - Dr Jeremy Robertson, Phone: 04 463 6831 or 021 143 8712
Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families, Victoria University, PO Box 600, Wellington

Piano Lessons with Vanessa Tindle (ATCL, BSc, dipTchg)
Vanessa is teaching at school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings this term. She has one vacancy left for this term.If you would like your child to learn piano with Vanessa please contact her directly to discuss. Ph 562 7663.

Toolbox Parenting Course for parents of 6-12 year olds
Toolbox parenting groups are designed to encourage, inspire and equip you in your parenting. The middle years are vital - They are your window of opportunity to stay connected, teach skills and build memories. Over six sessions this course covers:
  • Building Character & Self-Esteem
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Discipline
  • Trust & Increasing Responsibility
  • Creating Traditions & Memories
  • Capitalising on the ‘Tween-Age Years’.
The next Middle Years Toolbox will be taking place at Randwick School Library in Moera. Tuesday evenings, 7:30pm – 9:30pm, starting on 10th August 2010. Cost $67.50 individual / $90 couple – subsidies are available if you need some help with the cost. For more details or to secure your place contact Natalie on 934 8483, HuttTBX@ParentsInc.org.nz