Friday, 5 February 2016

Year 9s - KAL 2016

So our lovely new Year 9s came to school yesterday and what an absolutely delightful bunch they are! Standing up for us women as we walk past, opening doors, smiling and stepping up to opportunities without too much prodding.

I have four new Y9s in KAL this year. Most likely more to come when more enrolments come through. Only three were there yestersay and our fourth came today so didn't miss out on too much other than our sports afternoon.

The best part about how Heights initiates our newbie Y9s is the icebreakers throughout their first day.

We start off with our powhiri, with the Y13 Peer Supporters leading the haka powhiri as the students and parents enter the hall. Our new principal greeted and welcomed them and carried on the tradition of welcoming them in as family, new members of the Heights whanau.

We split off into house groups where the house tutor group teachers collected their students and peer support students (I'm lucky this year to have had three Y13s in KAL step up!!). The boys were needed to help with other initiates in Kowhai and so Kennedy and I showed them around the school as we walked back to E9 :)

Those first few moments are the scariest. For them and for me. It's so so important to hit the ground running, make them feel welcome, get to know them individually immediately. That's what I've done each year I've been at Heights and am lucky because I swear our HTG class is the best in the school. The seniors and juniors talk to each other, laugh at and with each other, help each other and generally enjoy each other's company. I've fostered a KAL whanau and we stick together. It's pretty cool.

These new Y9s... I have the best feeling about them. They were a little nervous but we broke through that pretty quickly with Kennedy laughing and being her normal hilarious self.

We have a new Chinese exchange student for two weeks who also started with the Y9s yesterday and her name is Rebecca (but her actual Chinese name is ..Xuan). I buddied her up with one of the other Y9s and she seems to be settling in quite nicely too.

Our house assemblies today and yesterday helped to create a sense of pride in how seriously awesome Kowhai is and the students had their first walk across the stage to collect their yellow ribbon to welcome them into the house officially. I must remember to give the new Y9 student who came today hers on Tuesday.

We worked on house chants and I taught them our one from last year. My voice is still a bit scratchy but it was awesome. I would have loved to share our video of them doing their chant as a full Y9 and Y10 cohort today. They were just honestly amazing. Hands down. Proud already to the ones that stepped up and for the rest that just got in there and worked together to make it the best collaboration I've seen in a while.

At the end of the day we had house sports where we did a range of different sport blocks for 15 mins. Multisport, volleyball, touch, soccer and tug o war. Volleyball and tugowar are easily my favourite because in Volley they get taught the basics on about five minutes. Each time I've watched our BOP and National champion coach, who happens to be our Kowhai Head of House, it makes me proud because the ease of teaching what was something seemingly difficult when I was growing up, becomes so fluid and the students learn so quick from him.

The best thing though is watching him watch the boys as they went through the paces with the Volleyball Peer Support students who awhi'd the boys. Our HOH  was watching for the players he could persuade to come onto the voleyball team haha. Love it. One boy hit a ball towards the Y13 student and our HOH yelled out to him about how great that pass was and the look on this year 9s face was absolutely beaming. Just need someone there doing the same thing with the girls now too.

Quite a few keen rugby girls too which will be an awesome thing this year. Sevens might be a better idea though... just need to see how they go.

Tugowar was hilarious. The teachers one against the Kowhai students and the girls won against the boys. The boys grumbled as they sat back down and the girls couldn't stop celebrating. Strength to the girls!

Today was a good lead into what high school is really like though with their first rotation of classes for 30 min blocks at the end of the day. I met my new Y10 students for English and they seem to be a pretty active, happy bunch with internet access at home!! Will be seeing just how much I can do with these students this year, push them to their highest potential. Even gave them homework on the first day hahaha. Pro and con perspectives of the TPPA. Hopefully they find something for Tuesday so we can analyse some articles.

Our Y10 students integrated nicely with the Y9s in KAL and they helped with a bit of tidying up in class. Shared work is always easier when it's together. The class is a lot more focussed towards how I've been wanting it to look now - just need to finish sorting out the back cupboard and sort out the files from last year's students.

I have two clean and tidy desks!! One for me and day to day stuff, one for marking and conferencing with students. Until the projector is on the roof it has its own posi right in the corner of the L shape of the two desks. Loving the setup finally. Making the room more mine has definitely helped.

Looking forward to having the Y11s, 12s and 13s back in KAL tomorrow :) Then it's back to school as per normal on Tuesday!!