Friday, 14 December 2018

And that's a wrap!

2018 comes to an end.

It's been another fantastic year of learning and working together.

As always I have been blown away by children's ideas, observations, creation, knowledge and interest.

Thanks to the many parents who have helped out in various ways this year - with trip supervision / transport, with equipment, with knowledge and contacts. I appreciate your support.

I look forward to working with students who are at Whangaparaoa Primary again next year. I will organise a timetable in January and publish it when it's finalised. Quest will start in week 3 (the week starting 18th Feb). It will be on a Tuesday or Wednesday again at this stage. Likely to be the same format as this year - year 5&6 in the first blocks, Year 3&4 in the middle blocks, and year 2 in the last block. I will be busy looking at identification of new or younger students too in term 1.

To those leaving Whangaparaoa Primary - good luck at your new schools. For the year 6's - I look forward to hearing about you in the future - hopefully you keep in touch.
Year 6's got a little story and a Christmas decoration from me this week - hopefully something to think about and to remember their time at Whangaparaoa Quest in years to come.


Here is the story I gave them. It's a little story taken from the thought-provoking book 'The Monk who sold his Ferrari' by Rob Sharma. It's worth thinking about!

Peter and the Golden Thread

Peter was a young boy who could never live in the moment.
When he was in school, he dreamed of being outside playing.
When he was outside playing, he dreamed of his summer vacation.
Peter constantly daydreamed, never taking the time to savour the special moments that filled his days.

One morning, Peter was out walking in a forest near his home.  Feeling tired, he decided to rest on a patch of grass and eventually dozed off.
After only a few minutes of deep sleep, he heard someone calling his name.
“Peter! Peter!” came the shrill voice from above.
As he slowly opened his eyes, he was startled to see a striking woman standing above him.  She must have been over a hundred years old and her snow-white hair dangled well below her shoulders like a matted blanket of wool.
In this woman’s wrinkled hand was a magical little ball with a hole in the centre and out of the hole dangled a long, golden thread.

“Peter,” she said, “this is the thread of your life.  If you pull the thread just a bit, an hour will pass in seconds.  If you pull harder, whole days will pass in minutes.  And if you pull with all your might, months – even years – will pass by in days.”
Peter was very excited by this new discovery.
“I’d like to have it if I may?” he asked.
The elderly woman quickly reached down and gave the ball with the magic thread to the young boy.
The next day, Peter was sitting in the classroom feeling restless and bored.  Suddenly, he remembered his new toy.  As he pulled a little bit of the golden thread, he quickly found himself playing in his garden.
Realising the power of the magic thread, Peter soon grew tired of being a schoolboy and longed to be a teenager, with all the excitement that phase of life would bring.

So again he held the ball and pulled hard on the golden thread.
Suddenly, he was a teenager with a very pretty girlfriend named Elise.
But Peter still wasn’t content.

He had never learned to enjoy the moment and to explore the simple wonders of every stage of his life.  Instead, he dreamed of being an adult, so again he pulled hard on the thread and many years flew by in an instant.
Now he found that he was transformed into a middle-aged adult.  Elise was now his wife and Peter was surrounded by a houseful of kids.
But Peter noticed something else.
His once jet-black hair had started to turn grey and his once youthful mother, whom he loved so dearly had grown old and frail.
Yet Peter still could not live in the moment.  He had never learned to live in the now, so once again, he pulled on the magic thread and waited for the changes to appear.
Peter now found that he was a ninety-year-old man.  His thick dark hair had turned white as snow and his beautiful young wife, Elise, had also grown old and had passed away a few years earlier.
His wonderful children had grown up and left home to lead lives of their own.

For the first time in his entire life, Peter realised that he had not taken the time to embrace the wonders of living.
He had never gone fishing with his kids or taken a moonlight stroll with Elise.  He had never planted a garden or read those wonderful books his mother had loved to read.
Instead, he had hurried through life, never resting to see all that was good along the way.

Peter became very sad at this discovery.  He decided to go out to the forest where he used to walk as a boy to clear his head and warm his spirit.
As he entered the forest, he noticed that the little saplings of his childhood had grown into mighty oaks.  The forest itself had matured into a paradise of nature.
He laid down on a small patch of grass and fell into a deep slumber.
After only a minute, he heard someone calling out to him.
“Peter! Peter!” cried the voice.
He looked up in astonishment to see that it was none other than the old woman who had given him the ball with the magic golden thread many years earlier.
“How have you enjoyed my special gift?” she asked.
“At first it was fun, but now I hate it.” he responded bluntly, “My whole life has passed before my eyes without giving me the chance to enjoy it.  Sure, there would have been sad times as well as great times, but I haven’t had the chance to experience either.  I feel empty inside.  I have missed the gift of living.”
“You are very ungrateful,” said the old woman.  “Still, I will give you one last wish.”
“I’d like to go back to being a schoolboy and live my life over again,” Peter quickly responded.
He then returned to his deep sleep.

Again, he heard someone calling his name and opened his eyes.  “Who could it be this time?” he wondered.
When he opened his eyes, he was absolutely delighted to see his mother standing over his bedside.
She looked young, healthy and radiant.  Peter realised that the strange woman from the forest had indeed granted his wish and he had returned to his former life.
“Hurry up, Peter.  You sleep too much.  Your dreams will make you late for school if you don’t get up right this minute,” his mother admonished.
Needless to say, Peter dashed out of bed and began to live the way he had hoped.
He went on to live a full life, one rich with many delights, joys and triumphs, but it all started when he stopped sacrificing the present for the future and began to live in the moment.



To the year 6 Quest kids of 2018
I wish you a life full of many experiences, and that you take the time to notice and enjoy each moment.
Life can be a bit like a ball of string – sometimes it gets tangled and knotted, sometimes it unwinds smoothly. You can untangle the knots if you persevere – sometimes you may need to ask for help. You can create many interesting and useful things with string, as you can with your life.  I have really enjoyed working with you and getting to know you and be part of your journey. Best wishes for your future at your new school. I look forward to seeing where the future takes you. Keep in touch! I love hearing from past students.
Mrs Thompson (Debbie)




Creative stop-motion

Last week children were given some plasticine - a limited amount in just one colour. I was inspired by one of my year 6 students who showed me his creative stop-motions he had made in his own time.  I used these as examples for other children. Thank you Devon for sharing your animations and inpiring others!

It was great to see their creative thinking - firstly with what they created out of a single-coloured blob of plasticine, and then how they animated it.


Stop motion is a lot of fun and there are many free apps out there. Those with Chrome books have one from the Chrome store - stop motion animator. On apple there are several free apps - we used imotion, but there are others such as 'I can animate,' 'Stop motion studio,' 'Lapse it' etc

Stop motions take patience and perseverance, and can be done with anything. They can be as simple as making a sock look like it's moving across the floor, to more complicated animations such as Aardman's Wallace and Gromit with facial expressions etc.


Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Creative house design

This week we looked at house designs and drawing a floor plan. We tried to draw floor plans of our houses.
We did a survey on the number of bedrooms in people's houses and found that the majority of people in our classes have 3 or 4 bedroom houses.

Image result for kyosho jutaku
A micro house in Tokyo
We thought about differences in houses, and reasons for differences. We looked at houses in Japan - especially Tokyo where there are so many people (more than twice the population of NZ!!). In Japan there are 'kyosho jutaku' - or micro houses -utilising small areas for living spaces. Architects need to be very clever with the design of these micro houses, to fit everything in and to give the illusion of more space.
This video of a micro house just 24m2 is fascinating - very clever use of space.

We looked at reasons for building micro houses / tiny houses, and the kids discussed their ideas of what would be good about living in a micro house, and what could be not so good.

This 9 year old is inspirational - she's building tiny houses for homeless people!

Many kids then went on to design their dream bedroom - so many creative ideas! 

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

CREATIVITY CONTINUED

Over the last few weeks at Quest we have been looking at creativity through a variety of lenses. We look at advertising and examples of creativity used to grab our attention or to persuade us to buy a product. We thought about strategies used by advertisers - humour, shock, persuasiveness, luxury, colours, sounds, storylines etc.
In groups, students were given a random everyday object and they had to come up with a creative way to advertise it.

Last week we looked at the creativity of Leonardo Da Vinci and the Renaissance period. We noted how Leonardo was very observant - his Vitruvian man sketch shows his findings that a person's arm span is usually equal (or very close to) their height. We measured this for ourselves and many children were surprised to find that he was right! We also noted that Leonardo was very creative - designing new ideas and inventing machines that were far ahead of his time.


This week we have been looking at creative thinking - the different types of thinking that encourage creativity. We completed tasks to try out the different thinking. Try this one for 'fluency' (many ideas) - how many things can you list that keep something or someone out? eg - an umbrella keeps the rain out, eyelids keep the light out.
We looked at a very creative artist - Victor Nune - who uses everyday objects as inspiration for his drawings. Google his work - it's fascinating! Children drew their own pictures incorporating an object I gave them - we had our own 'art gallery tour' to see each other's ideas.

Here are a few of the year 1-4 students' Victor Nune type sketches. This was looking at imagination.














Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Term 3 - CREATIVITY

This term we are looking at learning through the concept of creativity. 

We started this week by collaborating to make some crazy animal pictures.



We then looked at creativity with animals - selective breeding and hybrid species like designer dogs. The older groups thought about the ethics of selection when breeding, and compared it to Hitler's desire for an Aryan race.

There are some great sites that show people's creative ideas for hybrid fruit (photoshopped). All of this is great for getting students to be creative in a fun way and not worry about mistakes or being perfect as there is no right or wrong. By tying it in with selection and hybrids they can see that this creative thinking can actually lead to changes over time, but we need to be careful as not all ideas work out well. Some of the older students looked at defects and difficulties with some cross-breed dogs.
Image result for de bono creativity important quote
In the next few weeks we will look at creative advertising, the renaissance period, creative design, and inventions. Hopefully this will allow children a chance to be creative and to take risks with their thinking and see that new ideas can be useful, as can learning from mistakes.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Kaitiakitanga - guardianship / protection

This week is Maori language week. We explored the concept of Kaitiakitanga - caring for the land, being sustainable to ensure there are resources for future generations. We though about taonga (treasures, things we value) and how we could be kaitiaki (guardians).

The older groups began their projects to make a difference in the world. They can work alone or in groups. I am so impressed with the level of ideas and ambition that many have - we have children researching how to raise money to donate to organisations, some designing bird feeders, bee gardens, inventions to help the planet, some carrying out surveys, some raising awareness by writing a song, making a website, creating posters, making a powerpoint, writing a book, making videos etc.

The year 1&2 Quest groups looked at the native garden and the importance of trees. We used our 'thinking hats' to help us stretch our thinking about trees - yellow hat - positives about trees; black hats - negatives; green hats - ideas for how to look after trees. Next week we are going to plant native tree seeds that were donated, and care for our seedlings until they are big enough to add to the native garden (probably next year sometime if all goes well!)


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

What can we do to help?

Over the past few weeks we have been exploring ways people are helping to make the world better. We looked at helping the environment, helping animals, and helping people.

We saw examples of people who are doing something to help - either with actions or by raising awareness. We thought about what we could do to help.

This week we looked at helping people. We started by looking at philanthropist Bill Gates with the Gates Foundation, and all the people they are helping with their money.

Then we thought about how we could help people without using money. We role-played situations such as seeing someone fall over, seeing someone looking lonely, and thought about what we could do to help.

We then learnt about the bystander effect - it has been found that if people are in a group they are less likely to help - it's all about the 'diffusion of responsibility' - the presumption that someone else will do it. Here is an interesting video where they experimented with this.

Some of our senior students decided to try their own social experiment about the bystander effect at morning tea time. I hear that Whangaparaoa School kids are very helpful and generally didn't take long at all to step in to help when they thought someone needed it - nice to know!

Our example of people helping others in our community was to go and look at the Community fruit and vegetable stand by the Motutapu Rd carpark. This is run by the kindy, and supported by the school. It is where people can donate surplus fruit and vegetables for others to help themselves to - a good example of community support.

In the next few weeks we will be looking at actions we will take to make the world a better place. Senior students will have the option to follow an idea they are passionate about, although there will be suggestions of actions for those who don't have their own ideas.  My hope is that students will feel empowered to make a difference and know that their little bit can help. I love this quote from Auckland Zoo's director, Kevin Buley. 

"We can sometimes feel overwhelmed and think, that as individuals, we can’t really make a difference. But we need to remember there are millions of us, and every little positive action we each take counts - there is enormous power in our collective efforts."

Friday, 24 August 2018

Problems in the world and who is helping

Over the last couple of weeks we have looked at what we see as issues in the world. We  pretended to be the United Nations - brainstorming, sorting and prioritising issues we think the world has. Then we looked at the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development - a list of 17 goals the UN has for improving our world. Interestingly not many children had the first few goals on their lists. We discussed why this might be and came to the conclusion that most of us in NZ are lucky and don't have these needs. We looked at people around the world who exist on $2.50 a day or less - some talked about the minimum wage in NZ being almost as much for an hour as these people have for a whole week - pretty sobering to think about!



We have also begun to look at who is helping, and are starting to compile a list of organisations and people who help in the different areas - those who help people, the environment and animals.

This week we looked at plastics and pollution. We looked at Riley from Young Ocean Explorers and how many of her messages are raising awareness of and encouraging less plastic use and picking up rubbish. We looked at 12 year old Arlian Ecker from Australia 'Plastic Free Boy' and his mission to get people to cut down on using plastic. We looked at Buzz Feed's 'I tried to live trash free for 30 days', and also at peope doing 'Plastic attacks' at supermarkets. All of these people in different ways are trying to help decrease pollution and plastic use. Many of you already use re-useable bags in the supermarket, and our government is helping by bringing in a ban on single use plastic bags. We reflected on how our school is trying to help cut down on rubbish with paper recycling and composting.

We have also looked at people who use their talents to get a message across - eg Dr Suess writing 'the Lorax', People writing songs, poems, painting, making posters, making videos and movies etc.


One person we looked at was Prince Ea - his slam poetry is thought provoking. We watched this sobering video and discussed what his purpose was and how it made us feel.  

Over the next few weeks I want to get children exploring people and organisations who are helping (we have some great ones right here on the coast!) and deciding what they can do to help. I hope that they will all find something they can do to help make our world better, and to empower them to understand that they can make a difference. 

Many of our gifted children worry about the future and can get anxious when they hear about problems in the world - hopefully this will help them see that there are people who feel the same, others who are helping, and that they can make a difference too. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Amazing world

This week we looked at what is good about our world.
I wanted to start with this as next week I plan to get children thinking about problems / issues in the world / country / neighbourhood, and I wanted them to realise that there are lots of positives too.

We looked at Louis Armstrong's 'What a wonderful world' song - many children sang along - lovely!
We also looked at how other people record their positive feelings about the world - through written work, art, videos, song.

This global film project by Coldplay, using their song 'Amazing Day' is a lovely way to see some of the wonderful things in our world. Amazing Day by Coldplay

We brainstormed things that we think are amazing in the world, and looked at giving reasons for why we think they are amazing.

Here are some of their ideas:

NATURE
The ocean because you can go surfboarding.
The sun because it gives us light.
Shells because they give crabs a home.
Horses because they are so cute and fun and friendly.
Trees / forests - because it gives you air. Without it the world would basically be extinct. And it is a habitat for a lot of living things.
Water because without it I can't sail!
Dogs because they guard people.
Snow because I like going skiing with my family.
Animals because they give me joy.

THINGS
Nachos because I like the delicious crunchy corn chips with mince piled on top.
Mountain biking because there are lots of things to learn.
Sport because it encourages me to keep going.
Fashion because it makes you look good - dress to impress!
Books because they give me inspiration to write.
Fortnite because it is the most popular game in the world.
I-pads because they have the best games ever made.
Pokemon because you can trade.

PLACES
Goode Brothers because they give pizza lessons!
School because that's where I get to learn and make new friends.
Mount Ruapehu because I love skiing.
Forests because there is lots of life in them.
Rotorua because I mountain bike there.
My house because it's where I grew up.
Home because it makes me feel safe.
Queenstown because it's beautiful.

PEOPLE
Dad because I am proud of him.
Elvis Presley for being the King of Rock.
Your family because if you are sick or hurt they can help you.
Mum and Dad because they buy you food and clothes.
A good friend because they are kind and caring.
Paleontologists because they discover ancient information.
Friends and family because they got me were I am.
Mum - she is kind and funny.
Friends because they are kind and inspire me to do new things.
Dan Reynolds because he is the singer of Imagine Dragons.

Next week we start to look at issues in the world and to find out about people and organisations who are helping, and we'll eventually look at how we can help if we feel strongly about something.


Friday, 22 June 2018

Philosophy

Philosophy basically translates to the love of wisdom. It started in Ancient Greece, and some well known Philosophers are Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

Philosophers discuss and think about the big questions.
Over the last couple of weeks my senior (yr 3-6) groups have looked at a bit of philosophy, discussing a variety of things - from success (what is success, what helps us be successful?), to fairness.

The juniors also looked at philosophy a couple of weeks ago - looking at what makes a good pet and discussing their ideas and reasons for what they thought. They talked about temperament, looks, personal preference etc. Lots of good discussion about a seemingly simple topic.

Philosophy is all about being able to express your own opinion without fear of others making fun of you. Children are encouraged to discuss and debate (respectfully, and with reasoning) but also to take time to listen and consider others' opinions first.

I am off to a P4C (Philosophy for Children) course over the next two Saturdays, so hopefully I gain some ideas there too.

Here are some of the children's ideas on success - looked at last week by some groups, during Gifted Awareness Week (GAW). The theme for GAW this year was 'Catalysts for success", so I thought I'd ask their opinions. We discussed different ideas and that everyone experiences / reacts to things differently. What do YOU think are catalysts for success? What helps us succeed?
Here are the kids' ideas...



Professor Francoys Gagne has a 'Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent' (DMGT) to help us define and identify Giftedness and Talent. I like his model, as it also shows catalysts that can help develop giftedness (Gagne says this is a natural 'innate' ability) into a talent (an outward expression of a gift, developed to a high level). Note- it is not only external catalysts such as people and opportunities, but also internal catalysts (drive, perseverance etc) that is useful. Some people have a lot of these catalysts, and some only a few. Some go on to develop great talent, and some don't. It really depends on the circumstances and the person themselves. But people can still be gifted even if they don't show a developed talent.




Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Myths and Fables

This week at Quest the year 5&6's had a visiting speaker from Massey University. Anastasia Bakogianni lectures in classics and specialises in Greek Mythology. She gave a very interesting talk looking at the main components of a Greek myth (a hero (traditionally male), a quest, a mythical beast (often female!), sometimes a love interest, help from a God etc). She looked at how Greeks often had warriors in their stories, as that was part of their lives back then. She showed examples of Greek myths and how many ideas have been used / changed for more modern stories, such as Percy Jackson stories. She also mentioned a tv series from the 80's called Hercules, which was filmed in NZ, and Xena warrior princess. Thanks to Jenny Lawn ho also works at Massey University for organising this.

The younger Quest classes have been looking at Aesop's fables. Aesop also lived in ancient Greece, and was reportedly a slave. His oral stories earned him fame. They are short stories, often with talking animals as characters, and always with a moral. We looked at some of the traditional fables and then looked at how other authors have copied some of the ideas and changed them a bit yo create their own stories. 'Frederick' by Leo Lionni is a good example. It follows the ideas from Aesop's 'Ant and Grasshopper'fable, with a difference.  Frederick is a mouse whose family is busy gathering food ready for winter. Frederick however spends his days sitting in the sun and staring at flowers, and dreaming and thinking. He is different. When winter comes they all have enough food to eat because of the hard work by the other mice. And Frederick begins to recall the sunshine and the flowers by telling stories and poems and helps the mice imagine a warmer time. So he was useful after all!. We looked at how different people have different stengths and it's important to have lots of different people in the world as it makes it a more interesting place. We looked at what they think their strengths are. So many varied strengths - great to see them all proud of what they do well.
Choices included  making a Kahoot Quizabout Ancient Greece, writing their own fable, researching about what grasshoppers do in the winter, reaing more fables etc. 

Next week we will be looking at writing our own myths / fables and thinking about presenting them - stop motion video, play, slideshow etc.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Greek Myths - Heracles

There was no Quest last week due to the chess interschools and the Auckland Writers Festival trip.

This week we have a guest speaker coming on Monday evening. We are very lucky to have Lynn Beresford from Indigo Assessments and Counselling coming to talk about the Social and Emotional needs of gifted children. 7-8.30pm in the staffroom Monday night - gold coin donation.

We will be looking at Greek Myths again this week - looking at the labours of Heracles (Hercules in Roman mythology). This is a good opportunity to look at challenge and choices we can make when faced with a challenge. We will be looking at strategies we use when facing challenges and hopefully sharing ideas so that we have a range of strategies we can try.
We'll also think about using our imagination to create ideas for our own myths.

Next week the year 5&6 groups will be having a special guest speaker - Dr Anastasia Bakogianni - lecturer in classical studies, specialising in Greek Mythology, from Massey University. Thanks to one of our Mums, Jenny,  for suggesting and organising this - it's great to have experts for our kids to open up a world of learning possibilities for them!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Ancient Greek Life

This week we looked a little at Ancient Greek life - similarities and differences in schooling, and looked at what the Western world learned / gained from the ancient Greeks.

Kids had the choice to try some things from Ancient Greek schooling - the Greek alphabet (they were fascinated that 'alpha' and 'beta' are the first two letters and some letters are similar to our alphabet while some are very different); Greek art (decorating vases), Greek games, looking at Greek Myths. Some looked at Homer's Odyssey, some researched other aspects of Greek life.

We talked about the purpose of school today, and the purpose in Ancient Greek times. We compared Athenian education to education in Sparta. Some children were amazed to hear that in Sparta their schooling consisted of learning to fight, steal and lie! Quite different to our schooling thank goodness! Many of our current education subjects originated from links to Ancient Greek education (from Athens and other city-states - not Sparta!) - poetry, art, music, literature, maths, science etc.

We talked abot the pros and cons of different parts of schooling. One group discussed boredom at school and we came up with ideas for if we feel bored. We looked at reasons for feeling bored (if something is too easy, too hard, not interesting to you) and solutions (talk to someone - politely!- and ask for help / extension / new ideas), stretch yourself, change your mindset, use the opportunity to think, plan, imagine, dream etc. While I am not advocating for boredom, I feel that a certain amount of unstructured time can be useful for children (and adults) to allow us time to be creative and think. I really like this video of a young man who came to that conclusion about his schooling - that in order to think and create, he had to stop learning. Jacob Barnett was 14 when he gave this TED talk - he has autism and is extremely gifted. However, at several stages in his schooling he was 'stopped' from learning because he didn't follow the regular path and people didn't know what to do with him. I find his story and his amazing attitude really inspiring. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq-FOOQ1TpE  Hopefully schools can be more enlightened and help provide more effectively for our gifted students, but there is still hope even if students do not always feel provided for - they can learn from Jacob Barnett and use that time to start thinking and start creating.

The older groups were given the opportunity to have their say about the future of NZ education if they wished - I was impressed with how many were keen to do this. This survey is open to everyone - children and adults. It closes 31st May - so have your say if you wish.  https://conversation.education.govt.nz/education/korero-matauranga/

Next week there is no Quest as I am away on a couple of trips - the chess interschools on Tuesday, and the Auckland Writer's Festival with some year 5&6's on Wednesday. Quest will be on as usual the following week. We will be looking at another Greek myth and beginning to think about creating our own myth.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

TERM 2

TERM 2 QUEST

This term we welcome new students to Quest - there are now 111 students attending Quest - wow! (And more are still being evaluated/identified...) 

So many curious minds to work with - lucky me :) I just love working with these children and am constantly astounded by the way they look at the world, remember facts, know incredible information (that never occurred to me to think about!), think and wonder, create and dream - such great inspiration.

I am always busy trying to ensure that they have chances to show/grow these abilities, but if you ever want to let me know about something that you feel I need to know/see then please get in touch. The kids are great at sharing things too - I love it when they can't wait to tell me someting they have discovered or been thinking about, or show me a creation (story, video, picture, etc)

Of course we all have areas where we could improve or need help too, so I also aim to help children with that. It is important that we don't just 'fix their problems' (after all 'problems' are just stepping stones to learning), but rather empower them with skills / strategies / support so that they can help themselves.

I have been watching videos of speakers at the 'Bright and Quirky child' conference this week. So much interesting advice and information about our 2e (twice exceptional / gifted plus - those who are gifted with another exceptionality such as dyslexia, autism, hearing difficulties, processing difficulties etc). One of the main points that many of them have noted is that we need to look first and foremost at children's strengths, and then support the difficulties. They are much more than just the difficulties. I think this goes for all children. They all have strengths - it is so important to acknowledge and encourage those to ensure children feel appreciated / recognised. Of course they also appreciate when we support their needs, but if that is all we look at then they will start to feel a bit like that is all we notice about them!

This term the whole school inquiry is looking at performing arts. I have had requests from some students to look at Greek Gods/Myths, so we will be looking at Greek Myths and ancient Greek history, they tying that in with performing arts to show their learning. Some of the Greek Gods / myths stories are quite far-fetched and have content that I am not comfortable sharing with children, so I will be careful about what I pick to share! They do however have some unusual creatures/ideas in the stories which could be good for encouraging children's own creative thinking, as well as useful lessons to learn from/think about. And of course the ancient Greeks loved philosophy (thinking deeply) so I will add some of that in too. (I am excited to be participating in a philosophy for children course later this term and have some other teachers from Whangaparaoa Primary and College coming to it as well, so I am keen to practice what I learn there.)


We will be starting by looking at the story of Theseus and the Minotaur (looking at problem-solving, caring, determination, myth vs reality, mazes/labyrinths). Next week we will look a little at Ancient Greek life. The idea is to introduce some ideas in the first few weeks, then allow children to create their own presentation to share some knowledge or something they have created based on Greek culture. It might be a video re-telling a story, or showing/reading a story/play they have written. It could be a powerpoint / stop motion video / recording / video of a play enactment etc. We will discuss their ideas. It will probably be a little more guided with the juniors - we'll see how they go.

Below is the timetable for Quest this term. We try to work around class trips / activities, so some weeks children may come at a different time if their teachers request it. There are some instances where Quest will not be on - listed below. This term I am coming in on a Monday as well to accomodate working around class activities. Please note that I will not be in school on Wednesday afternoons in lieu of the Monday afternoons. (I am still only employed part time - 2 days a week).


Sunday, 25 February 2018

Group Challenges

The first week at Quest was spent doing group challenges - getting to know others in the group, and challenging our thinking, communication and collaboration skills.

The year 3-6 groups completed a 'break-out' challenge - a series of clues that lead to finding the solution to opening a locked box. There were a variety of challenges - code cracking, maths, problem solving, puzzles, memory, a group drawing challenge. I was so impressed with the way students included their team mates and supported those who were finding this tough, and also encouraged each other and worked together to solve the clues. Everyone succeeded in opening the locks - well done!











The year 2 group completed various team challenges - a favourite being the cup stack. First we had races to see which team could stack the cups the fastest, then I challenged them to stack the cups without touching them. I gave them string tied to a rubber band to help with this. It required them to collaborate and communicate in order to pick up and drop the cups - the challenge was getting the cups in the correct position!








I have a lovely bunch of children to work with - I'm excited for the year ahead and all the learning we will do together.

This week we will be looking at the brain - learning about the name and function of different parts and what happens when we are learning.

And that's a wrap!

2018 comes to an end. It's been another fantastic year of learning and working together. As always I have been blown away by childre...