Sunday, May 1, 2016

Senior School Newsletter Term 2 2016

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 I hope you all had a relaxing Easter break and managed to get out and enjoy some of the fine weather. 

Term 1 certainly flew by and we seemed to pack a lot in!  It is exciting to see our students already settled into their leadership roles and taking these so seriously.  They have gelled well as a group and are interacting positively with each other both in and outside the classrooms.  We were most impressed with the dedication of the students in completing the HRSA ‘Battle of the Somme’ essay homework to such high standards.  Although this was a fairly challenging task for some, they persevered and we hugely appreciated your support in encouraging them to see this challenge as a rich learning opportunity.  Our visit to Parliament and Te Papa in the last week was most enjoyable and informative.  The students were a credit to Muritai as usual and asked fantastic questions.  We all learned heaps!  The term finished with the celebration and sharing of our Personal Passion Projects, which had dominated the learning for the two weeks following Easter.  It was inspiring to see the range of interesting projects, the independence and drive with which the students approached their learning and the ‘buzz’ it created around the Senior School!  Many thanks to all of you who helped make this possible and to those who attended our sharing on the Friday.

Term 2 is set to be a busy one with a strong focus on the classroom programme. Below is a run down on what your child will be focusing on.


Term 2 is all about Science! Within the context of ‘The Living World’ strand, and interwoven with our Physical Education and Statistics, we will be exploring the inner workings of respiratory and circulatory systems. We will investigate systems utilised by various species - making comparisons between aquatic and terrestrial organisms and the morphological adaptations that make them suitable for their particular environment. We will also be measuring our heart rates, recording our findings and using the data to monitoring the effects of exercise. 

We are on the hunt for experts!  If you have a background in Medical Health Sciences, Marine Biology or something similar that is relevant to our inquiry and you would be willing to come in and talk to our students as a ‘real world expert’, or work alongside them in their inquiry, it would be hugely appreciated.  Please contact your child’s classroom teacher or Annette on the email given below.

Also on the 6th May all the classes will be visiting The Island Bay Marine Education Center for a talk to increase appreciation of our unique marine environments and the importance of caring for this fragile ecology.  This follows our visit to the Roxy Cinemas for a ‘Documentaries for Schools’ screening of ‘I am Eleven’.  More information about this visit can be found on the Senior School Blog, 30th March.

Science Fair.

In addition to the classroom Science Inquiries, on Friday 1st July we will be holding a Senior School Science Fair.  This is an opportunity for the students to pursue their own scientific interests and present their findings to an audience.  The preparation for this will form the basis of this term’s homework.  Tasks will be allocated and discussed in class and students will be encouraged to work through the tasks in manageable weekly ‘chunks’ towards the end presentation.


We will be focusing on two main genres in Writing this term. Our main focus is explanation writing to link with our Science Inquiry.  The aim of  these lessons will be to build students’ capability in non fiction transactional writing; planning and organising ideas in paragraphs and following an appropriate structure.  Secondly we will be exploring narrative and creative writing which will link to our Art unit and Myths & Legends.  This will give the students the opportunity to develop their use of rich and descriptive language and the more sophisticated demands of punctuation, spelling and grammar required in storytelling. 


Reading will continue to be used across all areas of the curriculum.  In addition, guided reading groups will focus on developing students’ inference skills (reading between the lines to gain the deeper messages in text) and evaluating texts (making generalisations based on the ideas and information given).  Students will actively participate as part of reading groups exploring both novels and non fiction texts, as well as our CSI Literacy cloud-based resource, which allows students to interact with texts online.


Maths will continue to be taught in home classes.  The teachers have been enjoying the flexibility of ‘taking the teachable moment’ that this change has brought with it, enabling us to link Mathematics more easily with other areas of the curriuculum.  We are looking forward to building students’ flexibility with knowledge and strategies from Term 1, with a particular focus on developing number (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) alongside statistical literacy and investigations.

Mathletics will continue to be an integral part of our Maths programme.  Each child will have tasks assigned to them by their maths teacher which will need to be completed for homework. The tasks that are set  relate to work that is happening in the classroom so it provides you with a useful platform for seeing what your child is focusing on in the class.

 The Arts. 

This term we be exploring the 3D work of Australian artist Shaun Tan.  Inspired by his book ‘The Singing Bones’, in which he created clay sculptures to illustrate the fairy tales of The Brothers Grimm, students will create their own illustrations for Māori Myths & Legends.  They will work through a process using drama, pencil drawings and finally clay to produce their final illustration.
Ruth Hooke will continue to work with our students on performance arts.

Physical Education. 

This term our focus is gymnastics. Each class has a weekly session on Fridays so it would be appreciated if all students have appropriate clothing to participate in all activities on these days. Fitness is programmed in for every morning (weather permitting). We will be cross country running to build up our fitness in preparation  for the Year 3-8 School Cross Country event on Tuesday 24th May.  Suitable footwear for running will need to be at school every day. In the second half of the term we will be focusing on large ball skills. Our sport programme will continue on Wednesday afternoons.


This will continue as last term with students rotating through; Wooodwork, Ukelele, Spanish and Cooking.

Other things to note... 

National Young Leaders Day.

On Wednesday 18th May we have booked for 30 students to attend the National Young Leaders Day , a large scale event aimed at developing student leaders.  A letter giving more details is coming home today and will also be posted on the Senior School Blog.  The cost for this event is $52 and tickets are allocated to our Senior School leaders and then on a ‘first come, first served basis’ – so be quick!

Dream Team Visit.

Also on the subject of leadership, we have a visit from one of The Sir Peter Blake Trust Dream Team lined up for our last week of term.  The Sir Peter Blake Trust Dream Team is an exclusive group of inspirational Kiwi leaders who every year aim to inspire thousands of Kiwi kids to follow their dreams. They tell their stories, plant seeds of inspiration, and encourage young New Zealanders to have big dreams and back themselves to make them happen.  It is still all quite mysterious as we do not yet know names, so watch this space!


Due to the amount of work that will be required from the students for their Science Fair project, this will be the major focus for homework this term. They will have several deadlines to meet throughout the term, which they will be regularly reminded of. They will still need to read for at least 15 minutes every night plus complete their mathletics tasks. There will also be a spelling or grammar task to be completed.  Additional Inquiry work may also be included throughout the term.  Please take it as given that there is homework EVERY week unless you receive an email to specifically say otherwise!

Wet Weather. 

With the winter months fast approaching, many of us start to get a bit touchy being stuck indoors all day! Wet lunchtimes can often be difficult so we welcome students bringing to school indoor games, such as board games or cards.

 Learning Journeys and Celebration of Learning. 

At the end of this term the classrooms will be open for the afternoon for your child to share their learning with you from the first half of the term. This year your child will have two platforms to record and share their work with you; in their clearfile and online on Google Drive. The date for this celebration is Wednesday 6th July (3pm - 6pm). We would love to see as many of you attend as possible as it's a great opportunity to hear first hand (from your child) about their learning.  So go on, ask the boss if you can leave work an hour early on the 6th!

Finally if you have any concerns or questions regarding our classroom programme or your child's learning, please don't hesitate to make contact with us. Feel free to pop in before or after school, or the easiest way to touch base with us is email:


Thank you again for your support,

 Annette Borgonje
 Associate Principal

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