Monday, 29 February 2016

Swimming Sports Postponed

Due to filtration problems with the pool, our swimming sports have been postponed until Thursday. Same time - 11.45am. Hope to see you then. 

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Week 5 (29 Feb - 4 Mar)

Swimming Sports
Fingers crossed for good weather on Tuesday for our junior swimming sports. Kohara's swimming time is 11.45-12.30 at the school pool. Don't forget the children need a pair of pyjamas to put on over their togs at the end for a pyjama race!! Postponement date is Thursday 3 March if needed.

Classroom Release Time
Room 18 children will have PE with Mr Lukes on Thursday morning.
Room 19 children will have Art with Mrs McHaffie on Thursday morning.

Staff Professional Development
As you may be aware, we are both part of a group of teachers who are continuing with a maths inquiry project at Waimairi this year. On Wednesday morning we will be released for half a day to continue our work on this project. Mrs Stoddart and Ms Kelk will be relieving in Kohara for the first part of the day.

Parent Interviews
Parent Interviews continue after school this week for Room 19 children.

Swimming Days
Monday - optional lunchtime swim for Year 1/2 children (if pool has reopened)
Tuesday - junior swimming sports
Wednesday & Friday - usual class swimming times

Library day is Friday.

Junior Kapa Haka is on Thursday.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Kohara Swimming Sports

Our junior swimming sports is coming up on Tuesday next week (1 March) and our class swimming slot is 11.45-12.30 over at the school pool. You are welcome to come along and watch us have some fun races and games and see some of our swimming skills on display.

Please send the children with their togs etc on Tuesday and they also need to bring along a pair of pyjamas to wear over their togs at the end for a fun pyjama race!

The children look forward to seeing you there :)

Amelia's Story

There was a fish and he was named Henry. He had a friend but he was not very friendly. Every day in the morning he pinched his tail to wake him up so what could Henry do? Then Henry had an idea. "I can say to him stop I don't like it" and they lived happily ever after. 

Joshua's New Friend!

Look at Joshua and his new friend! Our butterfly only hatched this morning and already he is making friends. We know it's a boy because it has two black dots on its wings.

Shyla wrote about it today:

I saw the butterfly and it was really funny but along came the teacher and she laughed and laughed and Joshua laughed too because he did not see the butterfly!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Week 4 (22-26 February)

Hard to believe it is week 4 already! We are looking forward to meeting with you all at parent interviews over the next fortnight and finding out more about your wonderful children.

Teacher Maths Inquiry
We are both part of a small group of teachers who are currently involved in a teacher inquiry into the teaching of mathematics. This is a inquiry project we began last year and that we have chosen to continue with in 2016. As part of our teaching inquiry we have some release time during the year - the first of which is this Tuesday from 11.45-3pm. Ms Jill Kelk and Mrs Bindy O'Callaghan will be relieving in Kohara during this time.

Optional lunch time swim on Monday for Year 1/2 children.
Class swimming on Wednesday & Friday.
Please ensure children have their togs at school on these days unless they have a medical reason for not swimming as we are busy preparing for our upcoming junior swimming day.

Library day is Friday. Thanks to those children who remembered their library bags as well last week - this makes it a lot easier to keep track of library books. They can be returned to the library containers any day this week - there is one at each end of Kohara.

Kapa Haka
Junior Kapa Haka is on Thursdays.

Thank you to those who have already signed up to our reading roster to help shelve our reading books. We really do appreciate your time with this.

A reminder that children need to return their weekly class reading books to the grey container in Room 18 on a Monday morning please.

Parent Interviews
Parent interviews are scheduled over the next fortnight. These are 15 minute interviews and are a chance for you to tell us about your child - their strengths and interests, after school activities etc. This provides us with really great information to help hook your children into projects over the year that they are interested in. We look forward to meeting with you all soon.

Friendship List
Thanks to everyone for returning their contact information for our friendship list - we will send you home a copy this week.

Monday, 15 February 2016

A night at school!!

Some photos of our evening together. Sharing stories and laughs!!

Lost Property

We have a number of things left behind at the pool after our family picnic. If they are yours you can find them in the lost property box in the hall foyer.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Week 3 (15-19 February)

Kapa Haka
Junior Kapa Haka starts on Thursdays from this week.

Monday - Year 1/2 lunchtime swim (optional)
Wednesday/Friday - class swimming

Reading books from last week can be returned on Monday to the grey container in Room 18. Please encourage your child to put their books there before school on a Monday.

Classroom Release Time
Tuesday 11-12.30pm
Room 18 will have PE with Mr Lukes
Room 19 will have Art with Mrs McHaffie

Library day is Friday

Please make sure children have their navy wide brimmed sunhat at school every day.

Parent Interviews
Bookings for parent interviews close on Friday 19th February so please make sure you book a time. You can do this at the office if you need to or online.

Parent Night Summary

The hows and whys of Kohara...

Kohara was born through our appraisal system. This raised some questions.
*At that time the junior children had Discovery Time and this was their favourite time of the week and our question was 'why was that?'
* What activities involved higher order thinking and weren't just for classroom management?
* Children learn through their peers - how were classrooms catering for that?
* Who are we to say what and when the children are learning?

* We wanted to honour the NZ curriculum by developing confident, connected, actively involved, life long learners.
* We wanted the children to live the key competencies (self management, thinking, relating to others and participating and communicating) through authentic experiences.
* Reading, writing, mathematics is still the most important part of our programme.
* We believe in knowing our learners.
* We have high expectations for all our children.
* Our key words in Kohara are quality, detail and sequence. These words were selected because detail is important in reading and writing, sequencing for literacy and numeracy, and quality is important for all areas.
* You could call Kohara an inquiry programme, where children are creating, inquiring, learning, and practising skills. Kohara means to enthuse/passions - this is central to our class programme.
* We say if you can do that at morning tea or lunch time, then it's not learning in Kohara (e.g colouring in for the sake of colouring in). This makes learning more meaningful.
* Studies show that creativity in education for the children's future can't be underestimated. If you are interested in learning more please youtube Sir Ken Robinson/TED talks.
* In Kohara our focus is on the process, not the product. We promote a growth mindset - skills like perseverance, risk taking, not giving up, we may not know it YET but we will get there.
* The block challenge allows for meaningful conversations, negotiating, discussing options, collaboration, problem solving and creating ideas. Children have a specific challenge each day, it is not free play and they are encouraged to use detail to make the picture.
* Sketching supports detail, fine motor skills, writing, letter formation and spatial awareness.
*In Kohara, our main difference from 'old school, traditional classrooms' is what the children are doing when they are not with the teacher.

So what are they doing when they are not with the teacher...?
* The children have choice over when they complete some learning tasks (independent writing, free writing/spelling practice, poetry activity etc) and these must be completed by lunchtime. Some children prefer to do this at the start of the day whilst others like to do it later in the morning. We have class systems in place to monitor that these tasks are done and the children are already quickly picking up these new routines.
* Kohara is all about both/and and not either/or so this means while literacy and numeracy remain our core learning it is complemented by our Inquiry approach as well. It is by no means less structured, as the children have many systems and layers of expectations in place (many you may not notice unless you talk to the children about what they are doing and why). The children still enjoy art, PE, music, and drama as well as project learning based around their interests.
*Through our individual and group projects which will get underway soon, the focus is on the process and the growth mindset and skills that they need to do to complete their project. The children plan, organise equipment, create, record the finished product (photos/writing) and then evaluate their learning. Our projects often inspire other children, or lead to further related projects.
* Our projects keep the children engaged and interested in learning. By pursuing their passions, they are more likely to be focused and be actively involved in their own learning.
* Kohara has no set timetable. At any time of the day you will find children writing, doing maths, reading, creating, problem solving, working cooperatively, discussing, organising, sharing, and doing many many more activities that are on offer.
* We usually have one teacher who is working with instructional groups for literacy and numeracy whilst the other is roaming and facilitating or supporting the learning of the other children. The children may have either teacher for reading, writing or maths and we deliberately cross group them to ensure we get to know all our children and their learning needs.
* A huge benefit is the relationships that we build as we are talking and working along side your child. We get to know all our children extremely well over the year.
* We have one book for most of our learning. Our book blog is a precious record of their learning over the year. Please feel free to look at your child's journey throughout the year. This year we also have a sketching book to encourage this aspect of our programme also.
* In Kohara we promote that we are one class although there are occasions when we split into R18 (Mrs Campbell) or Room 19 (Mrs O'Sullivan) - usually only for reporting/interviews and for classroom release time. In Term 1 Room 18 children have Mr Lukes for PE and Room 19 have Mrs McHaffie for Art while we have our release time.

We look forward to a great year with your children and learning more about what makes them tick! We can't wait for you to share more about your wonderful children when we meet for parent interviews. If you have any queries at any stage please feel free to pop in after school or send us an email.

Kohara Picnic

Wow thank you all for a fabulous turnout to our family picnic/swim last night. How amazing to see so many of you - thanks for all squeezing in to listen to our talk. For those who were at the back and maybe couldn't hear as well, we will post a summary on the blog soon. Thanks again for a great night and we look forward to seeing you all soon at our upcoming parent interviews.

Library Day Friday

Today is Library day. Thanks to those who have already sent library bags to school :)

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Contact Information

If you have not returned your child's Contact List details (from the class newsletter sent home in week 1) can these please be retuned ASAP as we need these so we can send out the class friendship list. Many thanks.


Our swan plant provided lots of inspiration today for those children who chose to practise their sketching skills. One of our key words in Kohara is detail and there was certainly lots of detail being observed and added to our sketches. Look carefully and see if you can spot caterpillars, cocoons and even a butterfly.

We also learnt today that sketching is a great way to improve our fine motor skills which also helps us with writing and handwriting!


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Parent Teacher Interviews

From today you are able to start making bookings online for our upcoming Parent Teacher Interviews. To make a time, please go to - the event code is 5C6PM.

Parents of Room 18 children will need to make a time with Tracy and those with Room 19 children will need to make a time with Monique. If you are unsure which teacher to make an interview with, just ask us or ask your child. If your child has a tote tray down Mrs Campbell's end of Kohara then those children are Room 18 so please make your interview time with Tracy, and those that have their tote trays down Mrs O'Sullivan's end are Room 19 so your interview time will need to be with Monique. Most of the children are now pretty good at knowing whether they are Room 18 or 19 :)

You can also book an interview by phoning the school office on (03) 352 9028 between 8.30am and 3.30pm or you can also make a booking in person at the school office during those hours.

Kohara Family Picnic Dinner/Swim

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday night (11th Feb) for a family picnic dinner and swim starting at 5.30pm outside Kohara. Bring along something to eat for your family, get to know some other Kohara families and then at 6.15pm we will meet inside Kohara for a brief explanation of how Kohara works. Then the children are welcome to use the pool until 7pm if they would like.

Hope to see you all there :)

Monday, 8 February 2016

New Brighton Beach Trip

What a fabulous day at the beach with our big buddies from Kahukura. We spent the morning collecting driftwood which we used later in the day to start creating our waka. A neat way to celebrate Waitangi day and get to know our Rakaia River team. Then after we had collected our supplies of driftwood, the groups were challenged to create a boat themed sand sculpture. What a huge array of different kinds of boats and we loved the creative touches and details the groups added. Thanks to our big buddies for taking such great care of our Kohara children and to all our parent helpers.

Class Caterpillars

There was much excitement last week as we watched our caterpillars start to hang upside down in a J shape. By the time we came back from morning tea they had each made a chrysalis! What speedy caterpillars!


Week 2 (9-12 Feb)

Wow week 2 already! It has been lovely meeting the Kohara families and getting to know a little bit more about the children. We had a fabulous first week together and hopefully your children are feeling more settled now and have found Kohara a happy place to be.

Beach Trip
A huge thank you to our wonderful parent helpers who came along on our trip last week to New Brighton. We couldn't have gone without you, so many thanks to you all. It was a great way to also get to know the year 5/6 children from Kahukura who are in our Rakaia River team with us. 

Tuesday Meet Up
Please encourage your child to be seated in the hall by 8.50am. This year the children can sit anywhere but if they are feeling a bit anxious please just look for us and we can seat them near to us or with some of their classmates. Parents are most welcome to stay for Meet Up each week so feel free to grab a seat and enjoy being part of it all. 

Kohara will be swimming on Wednesday and Friday this week so please ensure children have their togs at school on these days. 

Great to see most of our children have a navy wide brimmed hat at school. The children can leave these on their bag hooks when not in use. 

Our library day is Friday. Please bring library bags along this week. There are labelled containers at both ends of Kohara for the children to put their named library bags in. 

We will be starting to see the children for instructional reading this week so you can expect to see a reading book each night (Mon - Thurs) and a poem on Friday. Don't worry if the books are too easy or too hard in these first few weeks as we get to know the children. Just enjoy reading together and talking about the book. Reading books stay in your child's reading folder for the week and they get returned to the reading container in Kohara each Monday. Feel free to re-read favourites during the week as you wish. 

Whanau Picnic Tea/Swim
We look forward to seeing you all on Thursday night (11Feb) for a picnic dinner from 5.30pm and a short tour and explanation of how Kohara works from 6.15pm. The pool will be open after that if your child would like a swim. 

Have a great week :)

Friday, 5 February 2016

Beach Trip

We will make the final decision on our trip after 8am. At this stage we are hoping it will be clear enough to still go. Please make sure your child had a jersey and jacket with them. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Our First Day

What a fantastic day we had with our new Kohara children today. We are loving getting to know them, meeting the whanau and putting faces to names! We had a busy day exploring some of the activities in Kohara, sorting our stationery, and learning about how things work in our new room.

Here are a few photos from Day 1 for you to enjoy.

Follow Our Blog by Email

Many thanks to Emily (Lucie's Mum) for her great suggestion about adding a link to follow our blog by email. That way you will get our blog updates via email each time we update our class blog. Sounds like the perfect thing for busy parents!!

To follow us by email, look for the link on the right hand side of the blog, enter your email and follow the instructions from there.

Thanks for checking out our blog :)

Monday, 1 February 2016

Beach Trip on Friday

Please check school bags for the notice about our trip to New Brighton this Friday 5 February. We do require 10 parent helpers for this to go ahead so if you are available, we'd love your help. Please return these asap.

Kohara Teachers

We are looking forward to getting to know your children and helping them have a happy and successful year full of fun and learning. Kohara is all about celebrating things you are passionate or enthusiastic about, and we believe this underpins the learning that happens in our class.

So who are we....?

Mrs Tracy Campbell and
Mrs Monique O'Sullivan

Mrs O'Sullivan (Mrs O)
I'm very lucky as I get to wear two hats at Waimairi School - one as a teacher but the other as a fellow Waimairi mum! My two boys both attend Waimairi - Will is in his last year as a year 6 in Kahukura and my youngest, Jack is in Year 3 in Ara Atu. I am also on the PTA committee and have found this a great way to get to know other school parents and have lots of fun and laughter along the way. I also have two chocolate Labradors called Monty and Poppy and a cat called Star. I have been teaching for just over 20 years and have been lucky enough to teach in Oamaru, Ashburton, Dunedin and now back in Christchurch which is my home town. This year I am looking forward to enjoying my new house which we moved into during the holidays and hopefully the pile of boxes waiting to be unpacked will gradually diminish over the coming weeks!

Mrs Campbell
Welcome to the Kohara whanau. I guess I wear two hats too. One as a teacher and one as an ex-parent. All three of my children went to Waimairi (and loved it!) and as you can tell by the grey in my hair are now quite old. Helen and Matt finished University last year to pursue careers in Dentistry and Project Management respectively and Nathan is half way through his degree at Victoria University. I did my teaching degree while my children were at Waimairi and my husband maintains that he has half a degree because of all the making, cutting and inventing he has had to do over the years. I love sport of any kind. My children are all keen sports persons so I understand about standing on the side-line every Saturday morning in the hailing rain! I'm  really looking forward to the year ahead and  getting to know you and your child.

Welcome to 2016

Tena Koutou and welcome to Kohara's blog for 2016. We hope you enjoy looking around our blog and learning all about the wonderful work that the children in Kohara do over the year.

The blog is also our way of communicating with you and sharing weekly events, important information and class notices. Please take a few moments at the start of each week to see what is happening in our room.

Once we get underway with our learning, you will be able to leave us a comment or a message. The children always love hearing these and it is a fabulous way to support the children and encourage their efforts. When leaving us a comment, it will not appear immediately as it needs to come to us to be moderated before it can be published so don't worry if you can't see your comment straight away. To leave a comment, just click on the bottom of the post where it says 'comments' or 'no comments' and follow the prompts from there.

There are also some literacy and numeracy links on the right hand side of the blog. These are links to educational games that support your child's literacy and numeracy learning in Kohara. Enjoy exploring these with your child. (Please note that not all of these links work on an iPad).

We look forward to sharing our year with you!