Day 3, a week behind.

Trip Start Jun 08, 2012
Trip End Jun 24, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day 3: Got blogged down,  so week behind on my blog
Observed (translation, caused a ruckus with students) in another primary school, Mellons Bay School. The school was being observed by officials today, but they still managed to make  me feel totally welcomed, especially the principal, Judy Brown, who made sure I was where I needed to be all day long. Being a good principal must include being able to herd a visiting professor.  She even made sure I observed a Reading Recovery lesson and also scheduled me  with their SENCO, special education needs coordinator. Both were highlights of my day and I wish I could spend time here describing what I witnessed in the Reading Recovery lesson and what I heard about New Zealand's approach to special education.  
"Douglas doesn't fish in a square pond...."
I visited multiple classrooms and in one class helped students out with their maths.  You can imagine what that was like given my math skills.
Anyway after my brain struggled with math I went on to Douglas Choong's level 6 class.
 Here is how the principal had described him, "he doesn't fish in a square box." So of course when I walked into his class he points me to a chair at the front of the room, where his students (n=26, typical class size) are gathered and invites me to teach the lesson.

Mr. Choon was born in Malaysia and earned his master's in business at University of Nebraska.  Looking around the room I noticed they'd been learning about the brain. So I got the kids to do a hands-on, cross-firing activity that simulates how early nurturance (touch) stimulates neural connections in infants. Like my university students the children in Douglas' class enjoyed this simulation, which lead to a discussion of what happens when a baby doesn't get early nurturance and in what circumstances might a baby not get early nurturance, which lead to a discussion of scientific experiments (Skeels & Dye study with children in an orphanage), which lead us to a discussion of disability, which lead to a discussion of how people with disabilities wish to be perceived and treated, which lead to students telling stories and asking questions. The class ended with students presenting their research projects.  Never dreamed I'd teach a class in NZ, let alone a science class! Uh-hunh. Give a professor a cookie and he'll roam around the known.
Then Douglas  took me out to lunch! New Zealand is spoiling me like crazy.

They saved the best for last....
After lunch I was scheduled to observe in an enrichment class for Pacific Island and Maori students. The lesson was about Matariki, the Maori New Year, taught by a student teacher who is Maori.  Again to describe this class is beyond my nascent blogging talents. Here is the Youtube, The Seven Stars of Matariki,  shown during the lesson, an author reading her version of the legend of the star constellation that is honored in the Maori New Year celebration. This is one of several legends explaining connection between Matariki and the New Year Celebration. I’m having some technical problems few fotos today sorry.
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