Marriene Langton Principal

Marriene Langton Principal

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Punk The Clown Entertains The students at West Spreydon School on PhotoPeach

West Spreydon School Fun Day and BBQ on PhotoPeach

West Spreydon School Fun Day 2010 on PhotoPeach

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

West Spreydon School Triathlon Is Back. on PhotoPeach

Monday, December 6, 2010

Methodist Mission "Wise-Up" Breakfast on PhotoPeach

Edible Garden

I couldn't resist taking photos of the edible garden on the school driveway. Our caretaker Bill takes incredible care of the fruit trees, berries and spuds. Last year some meat heads came in over the weekend and destroyed the potatoes and yams so it has been a case of holding our collective breath until the potatoes have had a chance to mature. The children and parents love the blueberries and raspberries.
New potatoes for Christmas

Blueberries are a favourite

Old fashioned gooseberries

Blueberries and raspberries

An apple a day , so they say...

Nectarines have to ripen so we can get them before the birds do

Pears add another flavour to the fruit salad mix of plants on the school driveway.
Sometimes we do have a gardening group who "plough the bottom forty " under Bill's  watchful eye.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pohutukawa/Junior Sports Day/Tux Wonder Dog on PhotoPeach

Pohutukawa Sports Day or Herding Cats Day. on PhotoPeach

West Spreydon School Splash Day on PhotoPeach

Kids For Kids World Vision Concert

Kids For Kids World Vision with Suzanne Prentice on PhotoPeach

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


We were so privileged this year to have Al and Kari to assist with Kapahaka. Kari is mum to two of our students and has given her time to us to teach poi and waiata.
Al has led with his typical humour and determination to make a difference for children. He gives a lot of volunteer time to our school and the staff and children love him. I have to say he is a bit cheeky  and doesn't seem to realise how important I am.! Shirley Haynes is fluent in te reo and has been a fantastic  teacher support for them.

Al just seems to have an endless source of energy and goodwill. Try as we might we just can't wear him out and he keeps coming back to work with the students in kapahaka, Adventure Programme and Touch Rugby.

There are so many factors that contribute to a wonderful school but mostly it comes down to the people. We do have the best resources but without the volunteers, board of trustees, mums and dads, teachers and support staff we would be no different from any other school. And by gum we are awesome.

End of Yearitis and Retail Therapy

It's been interesting to plot the changes in some of our children over the past few months as we have adjusted to life with earthquakes. From time to time we are seeing evidence of stress in the form of  niggles, tears and arguments. Thank goodness the teachers are doing a lot better!!!
When I am stressed I go shopping and as a result of our roll growth this year we were able to replace a lot of technical equipment and appliances identified in our budget but pending funding. I have an amazing office executive in Jacqui who can turn a dollar into $10.40.
We had a pod of laptops coming out of their lease this month and we decided to buy twelve new laptops to add to the eight that the PTA had purchased.
Donna had the laptops in her class this week and it was fantastic to watch the children using applications to present their work in power points and movies. Donna is a bit of a techie freak and she admits that she learned new things by watching the students. How good is that? We now have a large range of cameras, flip videos, data projectors, laptops and desk tops for the students to use as part of their learning programme. Some of them are so quick at accessing information, photos, video etc and including multi-media in their ways of learning and presentations of learning.  Gone are the days of ploughing through a book to find the one paragraph relevant to the learning. In a few minutes children can access several sources of information about the same topic and they are learning to discriminate between reliable and dodgy sources. That involves higher levels of thinking and the ability to sort and separate facts from fiction.
What I enjoy seeing are the children who struggle with "pen and paper, teacher- talk -at -me" learning, actually making independent decisions and becoming involved in real learning because the technology makes the learning fun. Suddenly the "kids who can't" become the "kids who can and do!"

The lovely blonde is Olivia our teacher aide who graduates with her BSc this year and will go into teacher training in 2011. Olivia will be greatly missed by our staff and students. We have been very blessed to have had her on our team.

 We are installing a 42" flat screen t.v. in the admin area to run continuous data shows and videos of life at West Spreydon School. Kaye my clerical assistant thinks it is for her to watch daytime soaps and Oprah! She's in for some heartbreak. Mind you I can see the teachers in the foyer on a Friday night, passing the pop-corn and fizzy, watching a movie on the big screen. Yeah right.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Learners and Winners

Check out the cheesy grin of a little girl who's learning to read.

Amelia reads her first words.
I haven't been in too much of a fuss to blog lately as I have struggled a bit with the aftermath of the earthquake and the ongoing leaping about. Doctors are great people to talk to so if you like me have had a struggle to get a positive perspective don't be shy about seeking help.
You have to laugh really as last Sunday I was hanging onto the door frame with one foot on the deck and one foot in the house as the latest revolting shake hit and I know I looked petrified. My 16 year old grandson walked past me, said"You o.k. nanny?" and carried on downstairs and my dearly beloved called out from the bathroom "What's the problem? Is there an earthquake?"
To cheer me up I have been looking at children who are learners and this week I saw a little champion who has found learning to read a real mystery. She's been working with Marg our teacher aide and she came in this week with her book and a smile too wide to get in the door.
Amelia read her four words to me with such expression and pride. It is like solving a mystery and breaking a secret code when kids get the idea that those marks on the page mean something.
I'm sorry folks but national standards mean nothing when you see the break through that a child has at her own level. At this stage of her learning I don't care whether she meets the national standard (whatever that is and I can't wait for someone to decide what it is.) This child exceeded her own expectations all in one day. That's learning.

Hanmer Retreat for the WSS Board of Trustees

West Spreydon School Board of Trustees Retreat on PhotoPeach

Book Fair week

Book Fair Week at West Spreydon School on PhotoPeach

Monday, September 20, 2010

Post Discombobulation

I am very thankful that all of us are safe and a bit wiser. I can't even bring myself to say the E word at the moment. I guess it is to do with my personality type and strengths: I am used to being in control and this is not something I can have any say in.
Our school stood up like a little trooper and apart from some minor scratches has been unscathed. Thank you God. Our hearts go out to the school communities who have many months of rebuilding ahead of them.
Our Board of Trustees was magnificent. They were all mobilized along with Bill our caretaker ( who is extraordinary) in short order and were researching and making decisions before the MOE about school safety and closures. I guess that comes from having trustees who are leaders in their own fields.
I felt incredibly supported by our board as did our staff.
What did we do before cell phones?
I admire the MoE who faced with a very new situation where many of them were also affected, made sensible decisions and looked to support us all as quickly as possible. It certainly has not been easy to offer support when you are also stressed. This is true of our property manager Wynne from School Support whose home is close to the epicentre and who had to carry on  and sort other people's problems out before he could attend to his own.
Our teachers and students have been amazing. You wouldn't tell from the outside that anything has happened but our accident register tells the story of tired and stressed children. I know the feeling. I guess we see the signs because we know each other.
As for me; I give thanks for each day's blessings and the sight of all of the little faces (and big ones needing a shave both male and female) back with us at school.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pioneer Stadium Early Learning Center and Rosy Cheeks Pre-school on PhotoPeach

West Spreydon School Gets A Hand Up From Spreydon Baptist Community on PhotoPeach

Out and About at Spreydon Baptist Early Learning Centre on PhotoPeach

Out and About at Spreydon Baptist Early Learning Centre on PhotoPeach

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Complete Cure For The Blues-West Spreydon School meets Hoon Hay Community Creche on PhotoPeach

Where Does That Woman Go?

I am in a privileged position where I get to see pre-schoolers in their learning environment. This time it was at the  Lyttelton Street Playcentre. It was a pleasure to meet with Pip and talk through their learning philosophy and to see all of the parent volunteers working with their children to support their growth and learning. There is a big focus on socialization and learning through play. I was interested in their self review process and the ways in which they were reviewing the children's learning stories so that more could be captured about the spontaneous learning the children were doing.
There is a visible focus on te reo, awhinatanga and  Maori values and perspective.
Finding the links between Te Whaariki and our school's interpretation of the New Zealand Curriculum are critical if we are to ensure children have a successful transition to school.
Thanks for hosting me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Principal's Other Big Day Out,

What better way to spend Friday  morning than to take a group of Year 5 and 6 boys to the museum to discover examples of transport in the early 1800's?
Now I freely admit that I was a tad tired and had to remind myself that I was dealing with four boys. Once I got over myself I no longer minded the endless photos they took of their own tonsils, insides of their nostrils and the close-up back views of each other as they climbed stairs.
Trying to explain to them that taking a video of a static object may mean that  something gets lost  in the translation was also a lost cause.
I forgot that boys can and do giggle more than girls once they get an idea in their heads and the sense of the bizarre takes on a life of its' own.
Still I am nothing if not determined and we forged ahead. In the end they gathered a lot of information by moving around the museum,  taking photos and doing lots of talking. Did I mention moving around AND DOING LOTS OF TALKING? Did I also mention the interesting close-ups of nostrils, eyes, tonsils?
We had an iced chocolate in the museum cafe and I had a strong triple shot coffee.
I had to come back to school and have a little nana nap under my desk!!!!
Secretly I thoroughly enjoyed myself and as always it was a pleasure to take our students on an excursion. They really are delightful.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Principal's Big Day Out

Last week I was the driver and organizer of a couple of trips to the Canterbury Museum for two groups of students from Years 5 & 6. The movies of our adventures at the museum are attached to the school's website.
During a visit to their classes I learned that they were researching different aspects of life in the 1800's and remembered the wonderful resources we have in the museum.
It was a delight to take the children and very hard not to laugh when I overheard some of their conversations. Kids say the "darndest" things.
I admit that the drive home with the boys, after the sugar from the iced chocolate had hit their bloodstreams, was somewhat manky. It sounds like I am generous but in truth I needed the coffee and just couldn't bring myself to let them starve.
I am in the unique position of having the freedom to work with students as  they learn without the burden of assessment and monitoring. I'm not sure what national standard we met last week but the conversations the children shared about their learning were thoughtful, insightful and at times very funny.  The boys especially were all over the place like blowflies at a picnic BUT learning as they flitted from "sandwich to sandwich."
I love my job.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Learning How To Overcome Challenges

Last week the whole school spent a day at Ferrymead. We wanted to give everyone a "real life" experience about what it is like to face challenges on a daily basis and to have to use initiative, courage, resilience, creativity and perseverance to overcome them.
I was so thrilled with the ways in which the children took on the roles and  completed the tasks.
There was competition and bartering but also team work.
One of the lasting memories is of how they sat in total silence eating morning tea after the 1800's "teacher" reminded them that "children should be seen and not heard."
Our lunch was a chunk of crusty bread, a slab of cheese, a home baked biscuit, crisp apple and home made jam. It was delicious and very filling. Just the kind of sustenance needed for a day of manual labour.
Some of the junior children had been at school for four days and we took them off to this adventure. They coped so well with having to adapt to new expectations and with having to solve problems without the help of technology.
The boys will never admit it but they loved playing dress-ups too. 
I was so impressed by the levels of total concentration as the children had to learn tasks that they may not have seen before. Some had the notion  that the goal was to scrub the washing board clean rather than the clothes.

The idea of small boys being lifted into the oven to clean it once it was cool did not appeal to anyone. Thank goodness times have moved on. I would never have survived.

Life in the 1800's is Not As Easy As it Looks on PhotoPeach

Totara Team Meet The 1800'S At Ferrymead on PhotoPeach

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Principal On the Road Again

KidsFirst and KiddiTech on PhotoPeach

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Margaret Smart: teacher aide, all round good sort and pianist.
ROOM 7 sings their song about being healthy inside and out.

At the end of Room 7's inquiry learning about "Healthy Inside and Out" Mrs Williams and the students brainstormed all of the things they had learnt that they needed to do to ensure that they all stayed healthy. What a clever way to ascertain what students can apply to their own lives.
Suzanne wrote the ideas into verses and a song was about to be born.
That's where Mrs Smart comes in. She put the words to music. Margaret practiced playing a familiar tune so that the children could sing their song in assembly. "I'm a little Tea Pot" has never sounded so good.
It was a smash hit and reinforces our belief that learning should be about real life things and that it should be fun.

Healthy Inside and Out

Kahrn, Joe and Robbie receive their vertificates and kites from ASB.

I really enjoy  being able to give things away.
Molly receives her certificate and kite
Melissa and Alyshia set the tone for savings

ASB have a school banking scheme that operates in our school as part of their banking package. Last year Kylie and Dennis sold the banking scheme to us in and we now have a small group of children who regularly bank some of their pocket money. Learning to save a little is a healthy way to manage finances and habits learned now can have a very positive spin on for the future. This fits comfortably with last terms inquiry about Healthy Inside and Out and has made for a practical outcome that can be applied to life and living.
One of the littlies said in assembly tha tthe reason one has a savings account is "so you can give the money to your parents." Now there's a noble idea.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Westpac Presents $1000.00 to West Spreydon School.


It was a very exciting afternoon for us when Suzanne and Nina from Westpac came to school to present us with a very large cheque ( a little play on words) for $1000.00.
One of our dad's Justin entered a competition when he opened an account at West pac and he won our school the money and some money for his son Hamish's account. What a clever dad.

We are going to use the money to pay for the buses to transport  all of our students to Ferry Mead next term. This will be part of our inquiry topic called Intrepid Journeys where the children will discover what trials and adversity faced early settlers in New Zealand and the ways in which they overcame them. We want the children to understand that we face problems in all aspects of life and living and that we are incredibly creative and able to find solutions; sometimes not the solution we thought.  We just have to keep trying, rethinking, questioning and believing that we can do it.

Thank you Justin for thinking of us and to Westpac for the generous donation


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Student Led Conferences June 2010

In June of each year our teachers organize a time for parents and their children to get together to talk about learning. This is the second year we have planned this and it is thrilling to see how the children have grown in confidence to talk about what they have achieved and what they need to do to make  the next level of success. This fits beautifully with the New Zealand Curriculum that states that children need to develop the abilities to manage themselves and their learning, become self reflective and think deeply about their learning and choices and to make connections between themselves, others and the environment in real life learning contexts.
Sounds pretty high brow ,eh?  

Big ups to all of the parents and children who made the commitment to attend the conferences and to share the learning stories. It is your child who will benefit and so will you as you will have first hand information to be able to help your child at home.