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Welcome to the Principal's blog!

It seems an opportune moment to talk about maths. Last week we held a maths information evening which was followed the next morning with an announcement by the media that the New Zealand primary maths curriculum was not meeting the needs of our students. For those of you that could not make our meeting and who are interested in how maths is taught in our school I have identified the following key points.

Gathering data about our students and identifying how to use it is the first crucial step to a successful teaching and learning programme. Our contributing schools share achievement data with us before our year 7 students arrive. This certainly helps with transition and building up a picture of each student's ability.

Early in the year all our students sit a nationalised normed test, the Maths PAT. This gives us foundation data which we supplement with other tools like GLOSS (Global Strategy Stages assessment) and basic facts tests and we then use teacher observation and conferencing to determine strengths, needs and learning goals by the middle of term 1.
Maths teaching and learning in our classrooms may look very different from the maths many of us "enjoyed" at school. Maths is taught in authentic contexts with real life problems to solve. In each class there is differentiated teaching and learning to meet needs of learners. Each class has student experts to cement learning, there is "hot spot" teaching to address identified weaknesses and there is widespread use of games, resources and materials. Not all children can master maths concepts in theory or the abstract, they need materials and real life examples. There is always time to reflect on learning and record the main strategies or formula to revisit later in the week, the term or indeed the year – often a learning journal. Unlike when many of us went to school, collaboration and shared problem solving is encouraged. Students learn from each other.

The Numeracy Project is a programme introduced about 15 years ago that focuses primarily on number skills, strategies and knowledge. We don't think it provides everything for our students so we use a combination of the project and the New Zealand Curriculum. The Numeracy Project does not effectively support the spatial maths subjects - measurement and geometry which are vital for maths mastery particularly before college. 

As to the ability of our teachers to teach maths – I am satisfied that our teachers share a love of maths, always strive to improve their practice and have the skills to teach and engage students at all level of the primary curriculum.

Maths, in light of the digital future so many of our students will face, needs to be authentic and relevant. The total use of online assessments throughout secondary education will be here in just a few years. Assessment tasks will be those that cannot be Googled, meaning students will need to be able to respond to maths in real-life contexts and indeed make connections to a variety of contexts and situations.

The best way for parents to stay connected and informed about maths is to talk with their children and support learning with maths in the home contexts and everyday situations . . . pocket money for jobs around the house maybe? Good luck!

ANGELA LOWE, PRINCIPAL

SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

inter-intermediate sevens' tournament

Newlands Intermediate will send three teams along to compete at this tournament to be held on Wednesday, May 13 at Trentham Memorial Park. Our Y7 boys' team, Y8 boys' team and composite Y7/8 girls' team are all looking forward to representing NIS. Come along and support our students who will e representing NIS.

powhiri 2015

Our year began with current students welcoming new students, their whanau and  teachers with a powhiri.

2015 Year 8 students during the haka powhiri.

New students, whanau and teachers wait for the karanga to call them into the hall.

INtroducing Schoolhouse honey

Our very first jar of honey.

Starting the journey to getting honey for our school wasn't easy.

We started with getting the hives and the suits, hiring professional beekeepers to help get the bees into the hives then keeping them in good health until it was time to harvest the honey.

Once the honey was ready to be harvested, we had to suit up, pick up the smoker and go out to the hives. We opened up the hives to see that the frames were full of capped honey! The frames were incredibly heavy but we had to carry them inside to where the extractor was waiting to be put to use.

To begin the extraction process, we got a hot knife to cut off the caps that were holding the honey in place. The next step was to place the frames in the extractor and spin it. Centrifugal force ensured that the honey  would flick out of the frames and on to the sides of the extractor. The honey then dripped down the sides of the extractor and we waited ready to open the tap.

After spinning one side of the frames we turned them over and repeated the process. Opening the tap was very exciting, especially watching the honey pour out!

We filled the sterilised jars and then labelled them.

After giving jars of honey to board members and bee keepers, the remaining jars were available to teachers and students, for a donation.

Connor Smith (Bee Scientist)

NIS CALENDAR

School cross country

Our school cross country was held last Thursday, April 30 on the grounds of Newlands College. We thank our tuakana at the college for being a wonderful support on the day.It was a great day and all participants earned points for their respective syndicates.

results

YEAR 7 GIRLS': 1st Samantha Smith 2nd Tui-Aroha Fransen 3rd Blaise Clarke

YEAR 7 BOYS': 1st Lucas Maihi 2nd Jonny Cottle 3rd Scott White

YEAR 8 GIRLS': 1st Sharlotte Singh 2nd Alani Butters 3rd Chelsea Laing

YEAR 8 BOYS': 1st Reuben Allen 2nd Caleb Brunner 3rd Aaron Fawkes

2015 cross country spectators