Literacy at Tamaki College
October 2017 Newsletter # 5 The carved wood issue
The development of the modern wharenui or Maori meeting house was a complex process. In traditional times the chief had the largest house in the village but the development of the large meeting house, we see today, happened in parallel with the building of increasingly large churches. An unstated power struggle developed between Maori culture and the church for prestige and influence. Eventually, the two cultures merged and most contemporary villages have a wharenui, wharekai or dining hall and a church or whare karakia. In some cases, the two structures have merged.
A.) Kiwi Tamaki and the Structure of a Text.
The Tamaki College wharenui is a whare wananga, a house of learning, a place for young people to learn and to make mistakes. The structure of the building, just like any text, holds a key to how we read or comprehend that text. The wharenui at Tamaki College does not have ancestral status but it is named after a famous 19th-century chief Kiwi Tamaki. His image or koruru sits at the top of the barge boards and as a guardian, his body structures the building. In this way, Kiwi Tamaki protects and nurtures those who enter to study inside. The ridgepole is Kiwi’s backbone and the rafters are his ribs.
Kiwi Tamaki, the head of the whare, the source of knowledge and wisdom.
For many years there was a prohibition on the construction of Marae on school grounds. This restriction was lifted in the 1980s as Principals began catering to the cultural needs of the increasing number of Maori students attending Pakeha schools. At the beginning of each school year, a Maori welcome or powhiri for new students and staff is an integral ceremony for many schools.
The powhiri or welcome
The construction of the first school wharenui, or marae, was at the behest of Steve Kirkwood as Chairman of the School Board of Trustees. He led a steering committee under the leadership of Principal John Grant and the construction of Kiwi Tamaki was due to the efforts of teachers: Toe Puni, Thomas Ihaka, Warren Riwai and Nellie Kirkwood. Morgan Puru led a community-based carving team and the building was opened at daybreak in 1991. This involved blessings from a Minister, in conjunction with Kaumatua and Kuia, elders of the two local tribes Ngati Whatua and Tainui. During construction, the building is considered sacred or tapu and a blessing was needed to lift the tapu so it becomes noa or ordinary. Usually, a woman is the first to cross the threshold because in her reproductive capacity, she is seen as a conduit to the spiritual domain and the tapu returns to the realm of the ancestors. Once the tapu is lifted, the building becomes common and can be used for everyday activities such as teaching and learning.
The entranceway to the wharenui is protected by an image of Hine-nui-te-po, the lady of darkness or death. Where a wharenui has ancestral status, she represents a passageway for the dead to rejoin their ancestors in the heavenly realm. You may come from a woman but it is through Hine-nui-te-po that you return to the ancestors.
Knowing the Building’s Structure Enables Comprehension
The exterior structure of Kiwi Tamaki is designed to tell a story and this can best be seen in the decorated images found on the barge boards. This is the maihi or arms of Kiwi, and the overhanging sections are his fingers or raparapa. On the left-hand board, there is a waka or canoe and this represents the incoming students as they journey towards a summit. In educational terms, this is seen as tertiary training or university.
The waka climbing to the summit
The knowledge baskets, kete o te wananga
The bargeboard on the right-hand side shows students continuing their school journey. Again this is represented by the waka as they gain te kete, the three baskets of knowledge. This is the goal of a good education, one which produces a well-balanced student. This hauora or well-being is obtained when the three baskets of knowledge are gained in unison.
It should be noted the three baskets were obtained by Tane Mahuta, the demigod of the forest. Because trees, like the mighty Kauri, reach up to the sky it was he who was able to climb to the twelfth heaven and it was he who was able to retrieve the baskets or kete of knowledge. This Tane took from the realm of the gods, a resource which was jealously guarded. The baskets represent, kete-aronui, knowledge that can help mankind, kete-tuauri, knowledge of memory, ritual and prayer and kete-tuatea or knowledge of evil or makutu (that which is harmful to mankind). One's schooling is not complete unless all these are areas are learned simultaneously but Tane also shows us that learning or wananga is not achieved without a struggle.
In recent times meeting houses have been built where Maori are present in numbers and is not dependent on a tribal territory. These inter-tribal projects are often found in schools, tertiary institutions, museums and even libraries. While a wharenui is not considered sacred, Maori protocols are observed and consumption of food is prohibited, shoes must be removed on entering and speaking and seating rites are maintained. Often school meeting houses are used for a funeral or tangi. Twice in 2017, a tangi was held for a teacher and then a student. The cross on the amo or upright at the front of the meeting house indicates that this religion is common to all ethnicities and therefore all are welcome.
A major use for any wharenui is the process of official welcome. Again there is a structure to these oral ceremonies where the hosts, the Tangata Whenua, the people of the land welcome the Manuhiri or visitors. This has become a quintessential bridge between Maori and non-Maori at the beginning of each school year where new students and staff are welcomed onto the school marae. This ceremony is conducted on the paepae in front of the wharenui. In a process of speeches, waiata and haka the visitors go from Manuhiri status to that of Tangata Whenua as they become members of the school’s Maori community.
Marae Atea or speaking court in front of Kiwi Tamaki where the Manuhiri become Tangata Whenua. This is the realm of Tumatauenga, the god of war, where parties come together in a welcome and to debate.
Understanding the Text Structure is Essential for Comprehension
When students are given a writing task it is common to provide them with writing frames which help them identify the structural features of the task. Providing students with structural support for a reading task is less common but if we contrast two very different school texts it is easy to identify the type of support which would benefit student comprehension. In an explanation the most important information is stated in the first sentence of a paragraph, this is then followed by less important ideas or detail. A maths question, on the other hand, is a procedural text, similar to a recipe, it has a very different structure to that of an explanation.
In a procedural text, the most important information is often found in the last sentence and is often an imperative or command. ‘Find x’ for example. Many of our students have trouble separating important information from the detail and should be taught how to recognise the structure of a text found in each subject.
Knowing the structure of the wharenui, knowing it is constructed to represent a human body, helps us read the carved images found inside and out. We can easily aid student comprehension of a text by highlighting the structural features of a text. This can be done using graphic organisers and information transfers or simply by showing students how to annotate exemplars. This works when students are required to extract information from a text, it works because students are supported in how they comprehend the text. They are also given an immediate goal for reading the text. This also happens because students are required to re-read the text and they adjust the rate or speed at which they read that (something our students are often weak at or unwilling to do) thus it gives them time to comprehend what they are reading.
B.) Structural Support for reading a Social Studies Texts
What works well with a complex reading task like, AS 91039, is to teach a small dummy text first. (large font, 2 paragraphs maximum). Model the reading process out loud. Take students through the comment code strategy, and then the retrieval process for the Then and Now task, Problems and Solutions etc. Students will then be more inclined to have a go with a NCEA level text.
Achievement Standard 91039 Describe how Culture Changes
1.) Vocabulary: Add some synonyms from the lists below
-difference, instead, proceed, move, makeover, development, diversity, modify, shift, switch, transform, addition, turn, variety
-freedom, holidays, free time, spare time, recreation, breathing spell, time off, relaxation, screentime, entertainment, games, fun, R and R
Teacher: Scan the text (Page 9) with the students, help students identify topic and technical words which are likely to cause problems.
2.) Find Topic words in the text and add synonyms by using Define and Explore in
Teacher: Show students how words work together as collocations. Show them how to use Google to find definitions.
3.) Find Collocations and add them to the list below
interactive digital devices
Collocations I’ve found
boring old ………...
AS 91039 LEISURE TEXT Separating Facts from Opinion
Read the text.
As you read the text think about how the writer tries to change our opinion by stating his or her opinion. Do they use: strong, mild or weak opinion words?
Look for modal statements or opinion words in the text. Highlight them or write them out.
Degree of a belief is often expressed using these words
can, should, will, might,
quite, almost, nearly, totally, entirely, utterly, completely absolutely, scarcely, hardly, on the whole
Just, simply, ever, only, really, actually, seriously,
always, often, usually, regularly, seldom, rarely, never, occasionally,
4.) Create a Cline by placing opinion words (from the grid above) along the line: list them from Strong to Weak.
5.) State the topic and write out the opinion words or modal
Opinion or Modal
Label: strong, mild, weak
Working Saturday and Sunday
because people want to have a weekend
-loss of weekends
the demand for seven-day retail shopping
Opinion or Modal
Label: strong, mild, weak
...the most housebound and screen-addicted
Opinion or Modal
Label: strong, mild, weak
Opinion or Modal
Label: strong, mild, weak
Opinion or Modal
Label: strong, mild, weak
LEISURE TEXT -Structure
5.) Resource A. Re-read the text. As you read annotate the text.
Use a comment code to make notes in the margin. Try these suggestions:
A for agree, DA for disagree, MI for main idea, D for detail, CTO for check this out,
O for writer states his or her opinion
T/N for then and now (or change over time), P for major problems, S for solutions, E for effect or result
N.B. there are many problems listed but very few solutions offered
RESOURCE A: Increase in use of mass media and social media for young people
A University of Auckland Psychology survey found in terms of leisure time, New Zealanders spent an average of 11 hours watching television, films and videos, between 1-2 hours playing computer games, and between 4-5 hours exercising per week. This doesn’t include the amount of time spent on social media!
What about in other Western nations?
From a 2015 Telegraph (UK) article:
Mr Latta, the author of several books on parenting and a clinical psychologist in New Zealand has spoken out about screentime and its effects on children and families.
While having technology is not a problem, the lack of physical movement is, he said, and the problem was even more pronounced on small, interactive digital devices than on other screens such as televisions.
One particular study where they looked at kids' behaviour when they were looking at screens showed they were kind of frozen and immobile - even with the telly you kind of move around a bit but with screens people tend to sit a lot more.
Mr Latta said it was also very important to limit screen time before bed and to limit the places and situations where technology was acceptable - like banning cellphones at big family events or special visits - "like if you're visiting Grandma".
For mothers like Amanda Moss, technology has undoubtedly enriched the lives of her six children, age two to 15. Amanda, 44, a publisher who lives in Liverpool, says: ‘All the older children use the internet to do Maths challenges with other kids all over the world for fun. ‘I remember my homework being spent buried in a boring old textbook. The learning my children do seems so much more engaging and interactive. Outside school work, the internet has allowed them to have a whole world of information at their fingertips.
‘Each of my children have their own iPad and I put no limit on the amount of time they spend on them and they are all high achievers. We need to recognise that technology can be brilliant for kids, instead of issuing all these dire warnings.’
6.) After reading, review annotated sections and record important sections
Changes in society over time. How have we changed? State in your own words but include evidence or a quote
Effect on society
Solution suggested -if any
7.) Now Repeat the annotated reading exercise for each text or resource.
C.) Structural awareness and language support for a description writing task.
Teacher: Show students how to read a description text. Take them through the language and structure of the text. Before writing, ask students to use the models and the grids to draft examples of the language they plan to use when attempting a similar description writing task.
Read a Description Write a Description
1.2.4G Wireless touch screen Pen Mouse with laser presenter, 10m effective distance, USB receiver with plug and play
2.Detecting the mouse movement with inertia, free to move in any space except glass
3.Pen-type Body can be operated easily.
4.Operated with only a thumb, Off-table mini mouse
6.Page up/down function
7.Moving mouse point more delicately than a regular mouse point.
8.Button number: 5 buttons
9.3-resolution adjustable: 800/1200/1600dpi
11.Color: any color available, MOQ is 1000pcs.
Model Description Text -as a student reading task, students develop an understanding of the language typical of a description. This language awareness helps students improve their writing of a description.
One -Pen Mouse
The 4G wireless touch pen mouse has a pen-type body. It can be operated easily as the mouse pointer movements are made easier than regular mouse movements. These movements can be operated by simply using the thumb. There are five buttons with functions such as page up and down. As well as that, another button adjusts the resolution, ranging between 800, 1200, and 1600 dpi. The pen takes a single triple A battery. It comes in any colour and there are customised logo options. It also comes with a laser presenter which has an effective range of 10 metres.
has a pen-type body
Collocations Find and add examples of collocations. Create your own.
Modals or opinion words My opinion words are
It can be operated easily
movements are made easier
by simply using the thumb
The major Language Features of a Description
Past tense verbs
Present tense -relational verbs
800, 1200, and 1600 dpi
Metaphors and similes
Object or thing
Reminds me of
The 4G wireless touch pen mouse has a pen-type body.
Mouse pen My examples
The 4G wireless touch pen mouse has
There are five buttons
It comes in any colour and there are customised logo options.
-the mouse pointer movements are made easier than regular mouse movements.
-the resolution, ranging between 800, 1200, and 1600 dpi.
It also comes with a laser presenter
-the mouse pointer movements
-with functions such as page up and down.
-another button adjusts the resolution
Two -Flexibol Pen
Designed for schoolchildren, these brightly coloured ballpoint pens conform to the elastic movements of the human body. Between the rigid nib and pocket clip housings, is a ribbed portion that flexes with body motion, avoiding breakage when placed in a pocket. The ink runs in a flexible body-conforming plastic tube, which runs through the length of the pen alleviating the leaks associated with traditional rigid-body pens. When the pen body is twisted, the lower housing snaps upward to meet the upper housing exposing the pen nib and enclosing the flexible portion in a rigid shell for optimum grasping.
Action verbs -past tense
Action verbs -present tense
The ink runs
-exposing / enclosing
-is a ribbed portion
-these brightly coloured ballpoint pens
-a flexible body-conforming plastic tube
-with traditional rigid-body pens
-the flexible portion
-a rigid shell
-the rigid nib
-pocket clip housings
-rigid body pens
-conform to the elastic movements of the human body
-avoiding breakage when placed in a pocket
-a rigid shell for optimum grasping.
-alleviating the leaks associated with