Middle School Blog

A summary of the exciting events in our Year 3 and Year 4 classes....

Fabulous Fossils

Artistic fossils in the making

This term in Science the Year 3’s have been learning about fossils. We have learnt about the differences between bones and fossils.

There are three types of fossils – body fossils, trace fossils and chemical fossils. There are many different ways that fossilisation occurs. However, we have been focusing on how fossils form in rocks (both body and trace fossils).

Fossilisation only takes place in sedimentary rocks as the heat from the lava that creates igneous rocks and changes the structure of metamorphic rocks would be too high for fossils to survive.

We are using the fossilisation process to create our own fossils!

Auckland Museum Visit

Students in Room B1 working with the Auckland Museum staff

Years 3 and 4 have been rocking this week with a visit from the Auckland Museum.

The students have learned where the many different volcanoes in Auckland are located - all 53 of them! We found out we have one dormant volcano, Rangitoto Island and 52 extinct volcanoes.

There are many volcanoes in our area such as Pigeon Mountain and Mt Wellington. They also enjoyed the hands-on activities identifying the different types of rocks.

Everyone had an explosive week finding out about the types of eruptions and volcanoes in our backyard- Auckland.

Owairoa Story School

Students in Room T3 dressed in their amazing costumes

On Tuesday 22 September Owairoa Primary School celebrated Book Day. Learners arrived at school with great excitement and eagerly waited to see what their class-mates were wearing.

Amazing character themed costumes were on show, some included; a range of wild jungle animals, Harry Potter characters, fairy-tale princesses and Dr. Seuss creatures.

Activities during the day included making picture books, sharing favourite stories and mask making, plus many other jungle themed activities.

During the day, the Middle School walked throughout the classrooms and appreciated all the hard work that went into creating the Book Week art boards. We cannot wait for next year’s Book Week.

Brilliant B Block

B1 children give their new classroom a big thumbs up!

During Alert Level 3, the Year 3 Teachers were busy setting up in their brand new rooms.

All Year 3 classes are now in the new B Block. The rooms are bright, colourful and inviting.

Year 3 love the new rooms and location. Everything is running smoothly, and the children are happy to be back at school.

Middle School Is Buzzing

Students working on their fantastic art creations

Year Three have been busy learning about bees during Term 2 and 3.

They have investigated the importance of bees in nature and what an amazing process they undertake to make honey.

Classes have been busy with some wonderful artwork to share their learning. Room 36 spent a day designing new bee prototypes to overcome the threats bees are facing.

There has been a hive of activity in Middle School!

‘Flying’ in the New Year

Room 30 flying their Matariki kites

The Maori New Year, Matariki, was officially celebrated on July 13th July.  Before the school holidays, Middle School classes learnt about the significance of Matariki. Room 30 read some myths about how the seven stars of Matariki came to be. One of these myths retold the story about how the kites of seven sisters flew away into the night sky and became the Matariki star cluster.

Inspired by the story, Room 30 decided to create their own kites to celebrate Matariki. Unfortunately there was little wind as it was a beautiful winter’s day. Hopefully this was a sign that Matariki will shine brightly, signifying a warm season ahead.

Great Learning Taking Place

Room 32 busy researching their insect reports

Students have been busy researching and writing some wonderful insect and animal reports to share in their classrooms. They have been investigating New Zealand native birds as part of their lessons at Owairoa Adventure Rangers and making good use of the refurbished school Bush Walk and Chinese Garden.

Year 3 students have been thoroughly enjoying some of the wonderful books of Roald Dahl. They have looked at the traits of each character and written some well detailed descriptions.

Room 33 has been using hot seating, which is a strategy in which a character played by the teacher or a student, is interviewed by the rest of the group. This helped them to write their character descriptions with deeper insight and have lots of fun too!

The Bush Walk

The redeveloped Owairoa School Bush Walk is now open.

Monday 15th June marked the reopening of the Owairoa School Bush Walk and Chinese Garden. They had been out of action since mid-last year due to the construction of a retaining wall and new drainage system, designed to prevent future flooding.

Both areas now look very different. Some established trees still remain, however, many had to be cut down. During the redevelopment, a large trunk from a Rimu tree was salvaged, this will later become a feature within our school grounds.

Many new trees, including natives, have been planted, plus new seating created, and the paths have been relayed. Students are looking forward to exploring these areas during lunchtimes and learning within the environments as part of Education for Sustainability.

School Life

Happy to be back to our regular classroom routines

After being reunited following the lockdown, it has been an exciting first two weeks. The children have settled into school life and loved spending time with friends and their teacher.

No time was wasted in everyone regaining enthusiasm for school and it has been wonderful to see the children’s mature approach to our new alternative start and end of the school day.

To carry on with all the wonderful work during the lockdown, we have been learning about insects and watched a wonderful short film called ‘Caterpillar Shoes’ which we used to inspire writing.

Year 3 has also been learning about the importance of internet safety as we explored the ‘Hector’s World’ programs which taught us that our data is secret and that we should not share it with anyone.

All the teachers are happy to be back at school and are passionate about continuing the positive learning momentum that has been generated throughout the term and school year.

Distance Learning Experience

A middle school student proudly completing his i-STEAM home learning task

Distance learning proved to be a unique experience that allowed learners’ hidden talents and passions to shine through.

Amazing art skills were demonstrated by a range of learners, masterpieces included ANZAC wreath sculptures, water-colour paintings, collages and submissions for art tiles for the Auckland City rail link stations.

A love for science was also apparent. Experiments conducted ranged from dancing raisins, lava lamps and milk swirls. I-STEAM related learning was also very popular with learners making bridges, towers and volcanoes, and attempting coding activities.

The teachers would like to thank their classes for all the wonderful learning during Level 3 and 4. Staff are excited to see everybody back at school.

Owairoa Adventure Rangers

Students role playing sea creatures

The Middle School have been lucky enough to take part in a new learning initiative called Environmental Studies. Once a week, learners are taught by Ms Sealy in G3.

The focus of the class is how we can look after our environment, including of our fauna and flora. Throughout the classes, students spend time learning in our school environment, showing commitment as a Green-Gold Education for Sustainability school.

During week five, Year 4 classes were learning about endangered animals. As it was Sea-Week, learners investigated how to save New Zealand’s own Maui’s dolphin.

Room 30 continued their learning about Sea-Week back in class. A virtual field trip was taken to Ohiwa Harbour in the Bay of Plenty. Learners had the opportunity to ask experts some questions and study how we can protect places like Ohiwa Harbour, all around New Zealand.

Engineers Everywhere

Room 35 students proudly show off their popsicle structures

It’s been a busy week in Team 3 with aerodynamics, glyphs and physics all topics of discussion – and that’s just the start!

Room 36 became expert code crackers this week with their backpack glyphs, while Room 33 put their engineering hats on to see who could build the tallest tower using only scissors, glue and two pieces of paper.

Rooms 34 and 35 learnt a new word this week – perseverance! And persevere they did, to make five popsicle sticks hold each other together without any glue or string. After many attempts (and some classmate help!), everyone proudly showed off their structures.

Over in Room 32, aerodynamic was the word as competition heated up between groups as they worked to design and make the best paper plane.

Meanwhile next door, Room 31 were busy exploring different states of matter by creating bubble art to show the effect of liquids and gases. The result? Beautiful Science cover pages.

We can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring!

Welcome to the Middle School, 2020

The Middle School science programme is already underway

Welcome back to 2020. It is wonderful to see the Middle School students back at school, looking refreshed and ready for the new school year.

There are 11 classes in the Middle School this year and each class has a full complement of enthusiastic learners ready to get their learning underway. The students have settled well and begun to make new discoveries and form new friendships. This term every Friday the Middle School will continue to have an ISTEAM day.

The Middle School is a place for students to develop their independence. Year 3 students will learn to become accustomed to having a desk and keeping track of their own learning equipment. Please remember all students are required to have their book bag at school every day for home learning and school notices.

Welcome to all the new families that have joined our school this year, we look forward to meeting you all and working together to provide the best learning opportunities for our learners.


Shining under the stage lights

Excitement and anticipation have been building in the last couple of weeks. Singing practice, dance practice, costume fitting, dress rehearsals and finally the BIG DAY arrived, the day of the End of Year Concert.

Year Four students performed an entertaining and catchy selection of songs from beloved musicals and TV shows: Make’em laugh (Singing in the rain), Mr Grinch (You’re a mean one Mr Grinch), Pandemonium (Spelling Bee) and the School Song (Matilda). The show ended with all students joining in a popular rendition of George Ezra’s Shotgun and a powerful interpretation of This is me from The Greatest Showman. The children committed all their energy and talent in producing a performance that was thoroughly enjoyed by the captivated audience.

The show was a celebration of all the wonderful things we have achieved in the past 12 months and a culmination of yet another successful school year. Well done to all the Year Four students, congratulations to the worthy recipients of the End of Year Class Awards and a big thank you to Mrs Ruske for her fantastic effort and commitment to producing the show.


Year Three Speech Finals

Our winning speakers from Year 3, 2019

On Friday 22nd September, Year Three and Four students gathered in the Hall for the Year Three Speech Final. The students have spent the last few weeks preparing for this moment. Our keen students had written, learned and presented a speech in front of their classmates before the best of the best were chosen to compete in the great final.

The participants all appeared eager to deliver their best performance. Miss Randhawa and Mrs Humphreys were selected as guest judges and at 1:30pm, once everyone was seated, the competition began. The audience and judges were entertained by a wide variety of topics. We learned about rugby, cats, diabetes and pet frogs.

After some deliberation, the judges stood before the students and announced the winners. Excitement was high. First place was awarded to Cyro Peng, second place to Kiera McConnachie and third place to Maggie Ball. The other participants all received a Highly Commended placing for their effort.

Well done to all the Year Three students who participated in this exciting event.

Grandparents Afternoon

Welcoming our Special Visitors into our Classroom

The Year Four students, together with the rest of the school, welcomed their Grandparents on what is now the traditional Owairoa Grandparents Afternoon. It is always a delight to have our nanas and poppas spending a wonderful afternoon at our school and in our classes.

Like usual, the Grandparents were treated with a spectacular concert in the Hall, where they admired the performances of the School’s choir, dance groups and the Kapa Haka cultural group. Then it was time for the class visits. Grandparents joined in a variety of fun activities with their grandchildren and were happy to draw and sketch, be given a VIP interview, complete and help with quizzes and surveys, read and tell stories and to acknowledge their granddaughters’ and grandsons’ learning achievements. We are thankful to those grandparents to brought little family treasures to share with us.

It was great to see all the grandparents at the end of the day, back in the Hall for an afternoon tea. And it was even greater to see the smiles on their faces, their enjoyment of the time spent with their beloved grandchildren, their delight at the chance of taking a short trip back in time, reliving memories of time in a classroom.

Year 4 Speeches

Our First, Second and Third Speech Winners

After weeks of intense preparation, it was finally the time for the Year Four Speech Final. Our keen students had written, learned and presented a speech in front of their classmates before the best of the best were chosen to compete in the great final.

The enthralled audience and guest judges were entertained by a wide variety of topics. We learned about galaxies, diabetes and the Apollo missions. We discovered new things about different countries, the dangers posed by electronic devices, enjoyed learning about the royal family and were left wondering about the power of positive think

 It was a strong competition and all finalists demonstrated that they truly deserved to be there. The overall winner of the event was Hamish Ward from Room 29 whose speech about the benefits of not wearing shoes to school in summer certainly left us with a lot to think about. Well done to all our finalists and congratulations to the winners!

Focus on Electricity

Room 35 students excitedly riding on the Tram

This term for the Year 3 classes have been focusing on Electricity. We decided to go to M.O.T.A.T where the Year 3 students engaged in a rotation of activities. First we had an educator led workshop session with Kathrine, which was in the discovery room. Katherine told us that M.O.T.A.T meant Museum of Transport and Technology. We were able to explore various electricity related activities in the discovery room. We built circuits, played with static electricity and used different conductors and insulators.

After our workshop we got to explore the M.O.T.A.T exhibitions. In the communications exhibition we got to use dial phones and actually talk to our friends! After looking around at the various exhibits we had a scavenger hunt around the M.O.T.A.T historical village. We saw an old school house, a cottage and a jail.

It was then time for one of the highlights of our trip, the tram ride. The tram driver took us on a journey back in time and he explained the history of the tram. We would like to thank each of the parents and caregivers who came on this trip with us and helped to make it such a success!

Our International Friends

Year 4 International Students and their Buddies

There is always a special buzz at our school at the beginning of Term 3. It is that time of the year when we welcome a strong cohort of International students who are joining our school for a few weeks. They are here to have a little taste of what it means to be a learner in Aotearoa, to improve their English language skills and to make lots of new friends.

Our International friends have thoroughly enjoyed their time at our school, they became an integral part of our classrooms, they participated with enthusiasm in cross country, they celebrated with us International Day, they have participated in our Spellathon fundraising effort and they became part of our learning community and our Owairoa family.

The Year 4 students have welcomed their peers from China with kindness and respect, being caring and helpful buddies, making their stay at our school a positive and unforgettable experience.

International Celebrations

So many countries proudly represented in Room 35

The students in Year 3 have celebrated International Day together with the rest of the Owairoa family. Our day started with a fantastic parade around the school, we proudly wore our traditional costumes and we waved our flags as we made our way around the school.

After morning tea we went to the Hall to watch some amazing cultural performances by students from our school. Some of the performances included, Irish Dancing, Singing, Martial Arts and kids playing the drums.

After lunch we had our class rotations where students were able to create art pieces that represented different countries. The highlight of the day was the shared lunch. It was a great opportunity to taste and try delicious flavours from different parts of the world.


Focus on Fitness

Cross country training in full swing

Winter is here, so it’s time to start preparing for the famous Owairoa School Cross-Country Races. The students in Year 4 have taken full advantage of the milder days experienced over the last couple of weeks and have started training for this annual event.

While some of the champion runners already stand out, all the children in Year 4 need to be commended for their resilience and perseverance to improve their level of fitness. The focus for now is to find the right pace and rhythm to try and run the full course without stopping. It’s amazing to see children encouraging and motivating each other while trying their best.

The Year 4 students are ready to keep training and some of them have pledged to continue practising over the holidays. Come race day, they will be ready for the challenge and all of them will be winners.

Celebrating Conferences

Our folios are ready for our conferences

We are fast approaching the end of Term 2 and with it the end of the first Semester. It was such a busy time, we did so many fantastic things and the learning was amazing. What better way to end it all, than having the opportunity to share our success with our parents!

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, parents are invited to participate in the Three Way Conferences. We will talk about our learning achievements, share our best work, and will discuss our Next Learning Steps and our goals for the rest of the year. Parents will take home our reports and will be informed about our test results and work habits. They will also have the opportunity to share our pride in the work displayed in our Folios.

It is always exciting to have our parents beside us and our teachers’ guidance when we talk about our achievements and share our proud moments with them.

Balancing Skills put to the Test

Challenging her balancing skills on the beam

At Owairoa we are lucky enough to have a wonderful and enthusiastic specialist sport teacher, Mr Rossiter.

During our Sport lessons so far this Term, Mr Rossiter has been teaching gymnastics, where the students are using the beam, the vault and climbing the ropes. This is an exciting and a challenging component of the Sports programme.

All the students are actively participating in their sports lessons and have been demonstrating amazing sportsmanship by encouraging each other to be successful.

We can’t wait to see what lessons Mr Rossiter has planned for the rest of the term!

New Worm and Compost Bins

Lunch for the worms

As a Green-Gold Enviro School, our goal is to have zero waste. What better way to use our food scraps than to turn them into compost for our gardens or food for our worms?

The Year 4 students are really excited to use the new worm and compost bins. They are colourful, clearly labelled and easy to use. The bins have lids that keep the rain out and the food scraps dry.

The two different coloured compartments inside the bins, along with the wonderful labels created by the Kaitiaki, make it very easy for students to decide where the different types of food waste need to go.

Well done to all our students who are helping the environment, by using the bins correctly, and to our Year 4 children who are the Worm Bin Monitors!

If it’s Thursday it’s I-STEAM

Ready for Testing

Inquiry, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics all join together in a day of fun and learning. I-STEAM is a new challenge, exciting and provoking, which aligns with our school’s drive for innovation and making learning meaningful.

Each Year 4 class is tackling stimulating projects and every Thursday the middle school is buzzing with excitement. Measuring, cutting, using glue, nails, weighing, designing, planning, reading a brief are all becoming familiar Thursday occurrences.

Here is a list with some of the things the children have produced so far: pop-up cards, rafts from recyclable materials, paper chains, marble runs, scale models, stools for Goldilocks to sit on, parachutes for Jack to jump from the bean stalk, papier-mâché animals, wooden boats and so on. And this is just the beginning…

Big Splash into Year 3

Year 3 students swimming in the school pool

Believe it or not we have already counted down six weeks of the new school year!

The Year 3 teachers: terrific Miss Turner, caring Miss Carswell, hard-working Miss Haugh, brainy Mrs Buys, magnificent Mrs Miller and humorous Mr Howard have welcomed their new students.

The sun has been shining all term and we have been able to make full use of our school pool! All the Year 3 classes have been enjoying their weekly swimming time where they have been working with their teachers to learn about pool and water safety, learn new swimming techniques and gain confidence in the water.  All of the students have been participating enthusiastically and have enjoyed splashing around in the water.

Year Four 2019

iSteam day in Room 39

Believe it or not we have already counted down five weeks of the new school year and the summer holidays are now a distant memory.

The Year Four teachers: lovely Mrs Humphreys, amazing Miss Ravji, fantastic Miss Bowles, and wise Mr Cornea have welcomed their new students. We are all settled in our new classes and the learning is exciting and engaging. The iSteam program is up and running, presenting us with fun challenges every week.

We took full advantage of the beautiful weather and the swimming programme was one of the highlights of the term.

We are looking forward to have a great year full of wonderful learning opportunities

Welcome to the Middle School, 2019

Middle School learners from Room 31 enjoying Musical Theatre

Welcome back to 2019. The learners have settled quickly into routines and are looking forward to another challenging and rewarding year of learning at Owairoa.

There are 10 classes in the Middle School this year and each class has a full complement of enthusiastic learners ready to get their learning underway. This term every Thursday the Middle School learners will be having an I STEAM day. STEAM is a fun and engaging way to integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics to guide learner inquiry, discussions, and thinking skills.

The Middle School is a place for students to develop their independence. Year 3 children will learn to become accustomed to having a desk and keeping track of their own learning equipment. Please remember all children are required to have their book bag at school every day for home learning and school notices.

Welcome to all the new families that have joined our school this year, we look forward to meeting you all and working together to provide the best learning opportunities for our learners.

Howzat! Year 4 Cricket Training

Cricket Coaching for Year Four

In Week 7 students in Year 4 had the opportunity to attend a 30 minute training session with representatives from Howick and Pakuranga Cricket Club. Even in the short time provided, students learned a range of skills including keeping your eye on the ball and picking up and a ball with two hands. The instructor put our students through their paces, but a great time was had by all.

The cricket training session itself was timely as Mr Crook held cricket trials for Year 4 and 5 students the same week. Once the trials are over, Owairoa will have its very own ten player Cricket Team consisting of both boys and girls. Students selected will play on Wednesday lunchtimes throughout the summer months.

Anne Kayes Author Visit

Excited Year 4 students meet author Anne Kayes

On Wednesday 31st October, the students in Year 3 and 4 welcomed visiting New Zealand author Anne Kayes. Anne, winner of the Tom Fitzgibbon award in 2016, is the author of the book Tui Street Tales. Tui Street Tales is a fun and slightly fantastical collection of interconnecting stories, starring the children of Tui Street. It takes a modern and quirky twist on traditional fairy tales, but more importantly interweaves New Zealand themes such as Maori myths and wildlife. Her inspiration came from a passion to write about kiwi kids solving mysteries.

During her visit Anne described to the students the characters she writes about and elaborated on each character’s special qualities. The students were enthralled as she read an excerpt out loud. Towards the end of the session students had the opportunity to ask questions, meet the author and have their own copy of Tui Street Tales signed with a personalised inscription.

How lucky we were to meet a New Zealand author in person. This was certainly a special day for all. It has hopefully provided new found inspiration to encourage our students to be budding authors too!