Posts Tagged 'laine dolan'

Week 7: The End

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog

p121The time has finally come: the last week of student teaching in New Zealand is over. However, here is a recap of the final week of this incredible experience!

My class had been working hard at their play of The Rainbow Fish and finally got to perform it for some other classes on Monday. The costumes turned out adorable and the students read their lines very well! I think I might have a few future Broadway stars in my class.

The last week of school we also had a water day where the kids enjoyed soaking me with squirt guns and a huge slip ‘n slide was set up on a hill. Another student teacher and I may have enjoyed the slip ‘n slide more than our students! My class also created their own jandals (sandals) after we read the story Crocodiles Christmas Jandals. I also continued to share my passion of lacrosse with my kiddos as we had some chances to practice their skills more. Finally we ended the week with some well earned ice blocks (popsicles).

Oh! Don’t let me forget about the final assembly! There were awards, each year level sang songs, and most importantly… the American teachers put together a little something for the school. We also were lucky enough to be pulled on stage with the Pacifico group to try to learn their cultural dance moves. It is a Pacifico tradition to bring people into their culture by having them try the dance with them. It was quite the surprise to us to be pulled on stage again but we did our best!

It’s the people that really make the most impact on experiences in life. I am so grateful to have been places with Janet these past seven weeks. She has been so fun to work with and has helped me grow as a teacher in so many ways. On our final day, after the bell rang and school ended, all of us American student teachers headed to Bethells beach for one last afternoon hangout.

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I am so thankful for each and every person that I met while student teaching in New Zealand. There were countless people that went out of their way to make us all feel welcome. Lisa (a teacher at Swanson) hiked and got burgers with us the first weekend. Mike (a teacher) dedicated so much time to help us make traditional Maori bone carving necklaces. Hazel (a teacher and host of Sarah) took us hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling. Matt (a teacher) took us surfing. These are just a few of the numerous people that made this trip so special.

Most of all I am thankful for the girls asleep on the beach above. I could not have asked for a better group of girls to be stuck with every day for the past seven weeks. Sarah, Alee, Erin, Maddy, and I made so many memories this trip that I will never forget. I’m lucky to have four new best friends! See you all at St. Norbert College when I visit soon!

Thanks for following my blog!

The End.

The Final Hui and Growing the Game

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog

p141_origThis second-to-last week of the school year was filled with a lot of learning and fun. We have been working this entire term on passion projects. Each child was able to choose their passion that they wanted to create a project on. Passions ranged from baking and horses to robots and Minecraft. Each of the students had to pick a topic, create questions about the topic and find answers to some of their questions. They then created a poster and presented to the class their passion.

Knowing before I got to New Zealand that the students would be doing passions projects, I was able to gather a few things to bring to share my passion to the class. My passion is lacrosse, and this past week I was able to share it with my class and grow the game of lacrosse all the way to New Zealand. Although lacrosse does exist in New Zealand and they do have a national team, it is very rare to play and few people know the game. I gave my students a presentation on my passion and explained the game of lacrosse to them and my involvement in the sport. It was really exciting because the students were extremely engaged. I had not seen them sit so still and listen so well on the mat until that moment. Since I knew that students at Swanson would not know the game of lacrosse, I brought a little set with me. This set included a few sticks, goalie stick, ball and net. After explaining in my presentation all about boys and girls lacrosse, I was able to take students outside in small groups to teach them a little lacrosse. They all had a blast learning the new sport and asked every day after if we could play again. I absolutely loved sharing my passion with these kids and hope that some will continue to play after I leave.

Along with our passions projects we completed some missions in maths! Yes I said MATHS and not math because that’s what they call it here. Another highlight of the week (and, really, my entire trip) was going to the final Hui! Students from the kaphaka group sang Maori songs and performed traditional Maori dances, including the Haka, which is a war dance. This was one of the greatest experiences ever. Six weeks down and only one more week to go!

 

Every Country Should Have Thanksgiving

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog

p98“Every country should have Thanksgiving” said a random New Zealand lady at a rest stop on the side of the road, and I could not agree more. This woman had started up a conversation with the other American student teachers and me when we stopped for a quick break to take in some views on our drive back from a weekend trip. The friendly woman overheard us talking with our American accents and was quick to ask if we were from the States. She then started to express her love of the idea of Thanksgiving, and wished that she and every other country in the world celebrated it too. It was in this moment that I realized I had never appreciated thanksgiving enough.

Every year, as every other American does, I express what I’m thankful for around Thanksgiving. Usually it’s the typical things like family, friends, food and a house I am thankful for, but this Thanksgiving I am thankful for Thanksgiving. It really is amazing to think an entire country as big as the United States all stops on the last Thursday in November every year to be thankful. Students get off of school. Majority of adults get off of work. People travel home to their families. All to sit down and share a meal with your loved ones and give thanks.

The woman at the rest stop was not the only New Zealand person who mentioned to me that they love the idea of Thanksgiving and wished they celebrated. Multiple people throughout November mentioned to me how much they wish they celebrated. With each person who mentioned something I became more grateful that I am able to celebrate it every year in the States.

During the week of Thanksgiving in the States, I got to teach a lesson to my New Zealand students about Thanksgiving. I read a few Thanksgiving books that they loved, and they wrote about what they were thankful for and what they would do if they were a turkey on Thanksgiving. I of course also had them do the classic activity of creating turkeys using their hands for the feathers and feet for the body. It was so fun teaching kids who knew nothing about our holiday of Thanksgiving. It was also extremely interesting because New Zealand has a similar but different history than the United States. Like in the United States, native people (the Maori) were living in New Zealand before the English came to settle. Although they were different periods in time, the English in the United States and New Zealand were presented with the same situations but had handled it differently. The pilgrims in the United States forced the native Americans out of their land. In New Zealand, the English and the Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi. This treaty ultimately gave the Maori people power to continue to celebrate their culture and traditions. It led to more Maori culture being in the New Zealand curriculum and ultimately taught in every classroom in New Zealand. Although it is said the English people in New Zealand might not have had the best intentions with the treaty, it ultimately was what gave the Maori the power to get Maori culture integrated into New Zealand curriculum.

I enjoyed sharing the American holiday of Thanksgiving with my students in New Zealand this year, however, I think I will need to have a proper Thanksgiving meal when I get back to the states in the Spring. Thanksgiving without a turkey and stuffing is just not the same.

Embracing Maori Culture

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog.

p112Before I even got to New Zealand, I started to experience the immense integration of the Maori culture within New Zealand. I was greeted in multiple emails from the New Zealand faculty saying “Kia Ora.” From the context of the emails I could make the assumption that this was a greeting, however, I didn’t look into what language this greeting was and where it came from exactly. I quickly learned when I got to New Zealand that it was “hello” in the Maori language.

Here is the long story short: the Maori are the native people in New Zealand. In the early 1800’s the English were trying to colonize in New Zealand. They eventually created The Treaty of Waitangi, which was signed in 1840 by numerous Maori chiefs. However, the English translation and the Maori translation have different meanings for the treaty. The English began to take advantage of the Maori, and the agreements of the treaty disappeared for numerous years. Eventually the Maori people were able to fight back and clarify and ratify the treaty with the English. This then led to Maori language being a part of the New Zealand curriculum and taught in every school.

One of the first things I noticed in my classroom at Swanson was the amount of Te Reo (Maori language) posted on the walls. There were translations for the days of the week, the months, the numbers and more. The language was everywhere. In addition, every morning when the teacher takes roll they say “Kia Ora” and then the person’s name. After roll, everyone stands up and we all say the Karakia together. This is a Maori prayer or ritual that we say to start the day. We also say a Karakia to end the day before the students go home. After we say the Karakia we usually sing a Maori song in Te Reo.

After the Karakia and some songs, we usually do mat time where we will go through the days of the week in English and Te Reo. Teachers also frequently ask students to stand up or sit down in Te Reo. Te Reo and Maori culture is part of the New Zealand norm. I see the language frequently written places like on trains and bathroom doors in public. People frequently use Te Reo words while speaking or greeting others. They also refer to Maori culture a lot and many wear Maori necklaces.

One of the greatest parts about all of this is that it is all people that are celebrating the Native New Zealand culture. There are white New Zealand people and brown New Zealand people who all celebrate their country’s native culture. I have learned so much about the Maori culture while being here for this short time and it has had such a positive impact on me.

​I love the way New Zealand celebrates their native Maori culture in everything and every day. I think it would be really amazing in the United States took a page from New Zealand’s book and started incorporating more Native American culture in classrooms. The Native Americans were the first Americans and they deserve to have their culture taught and celebrated in all classrooms.

Here are pictures of Te Reo in our classroom!

Why is Cheese in America Orange?

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog.
downloadThink about it… milk is white… why do we have orange cheese in America?! I was mindblown when this idea was brought to my attention here in New Zealand. We were sitting in the staff room during morning tea chatting with a reliever (substitute teacher) when this was brought to my attention. She had lived in the United States for about five years in her teen years when her dad had moved there for work. We were talking about differences between the States and New Zealand. She explained the thing that confused her the most in the States was that we had bright orange cheese. At first I was confused by her comment because I’ve just grown up “knowing” cheese is orange. When you put a slice of cheese on your burger it’s bright orange, when you make Kraft Mac ‘n cheese and most kinds it’s bright orange, and if you buy a cheesehead in Wisconsin it’s bright orange! If someone asked me to draw a slice of cheese I would most likely draw it orange.
However, as I say that, I was perplexed by her comment and put it all together: cows make milk which makes cheese. Cows’ milk is white… so why and how is our cheese orange… Milk is never orange! I was dumbfounded. What are the cheesemakers of America not telling us?! So… I did some research to find the answer to this mystery that I had natural believed my whole life. According to a NPR article, certain breeds of cow had a natural yellow-orange pigment when they were being grass fed. Grass fed = greater quality cheese. Well cheese producers decided to make a little more money by skimming off the cream to make butter separately. However, this took away some of the color of the cheese. So they started to color the cheese to make it seem like it was still quality cheese. Then they started getting even more tricky and coloring it brighter and brighter orange because people believed it was greater quality the more orange. This started in England and was carried over to the States. And that is why our cheese is orange! It is indeed colored with dye! There is my spiel about cheese being orange because I was so rattled by the fact the cheese I had grown up with my whole life was not the same color as milk.

Now transitioning to school… school is still good! I have taken over the first blog which has primarily been reading and math. I have really enjoyed the freedom of planning and teaching here. There is not a strict curriculum so I can choose what I want to do and how I want to do it. My teacher I am working for has been really amazing to work with and has helped me grow a lot. Next week I will fully be taking over the classroom.

Over the weekend we drove up north to the Bay of Islands for a few nights. The beaches were incredible and the view was unbelievable. We went sailing on Saturday and enjoyed 6 hours on the water with the most amazing sights. Sunday we relaxed on the beach and enjoyed some good food. We then made our way home. I successfully drove on the left side of the road the whole way so that’s a win.

It has been the most incredible experience here and I cannot wait to see what else we explore!

Week 2: The Big Orange Box

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog

downloadI have officially been student teaching in New Zealand for two weeks now. I have loved my time so far and have learned so much from my cooperating teacher, class and school. I have finally started to get into the groove of things and am getting a hang of the schedule.

I mentioned briefly in my last post about how students at Swanson have a lot more play time than students in the US do. So here is the average day teaching in my Year 1/ Year 2 class at Swanson school:

Swanson Daily Schedule
9:00 – Learning Block 1 (2 hrs)
11:00 – 1st Break (40 min)
11:40 – Learning Block 2 (1.5 hrs)
1:10 – 2nd Break (40 min)
1:50- Learning Block 3 (1 hr)
2:55 – Dismissal

This totals to about 6 hours at school, 4.5 hours of learning blocks, and 1.5 hours of break/lunch time. In addition o the breaks, we frequently take breaks during learning blocks to take a lap or two jogging around the large bike path or playing a game. We also have fitness once a week where we do track and field activities for 40 minutes. My school I was just at in Wisconsin had 7 total hours at school and only a 20 minute recess and 20 minute lunch. Our brain breaks would be quick and limited because we were always inside. Another difference between Swanson and my school and most schools in the States is that when a students finishes a learning task at Swanson, they are usually free to play until it is time to move on to the next thing. Frequently, in the states when a students finishes a task, they are either directed to another task.

One of my biggest takeaways so far is that it is okay for students to just play sometimes. If they are getting their work done then they deserve some time to just play and be a child. A lot of learning and creativity happens through play, too.

I have learned over my time here that Swanson is a unique school in New Zealand. Not many schools have this much play time or free play (no rules) at breaks. If you have not checked out the tab of my blog about Swanson school, I highly recommend checking it out and watching the Free Play videos. Swanson has a unique policy of allowing kids to do whatever they please at breaks. Teachers are not allowed to say no and do not step in. I had not seen anything too crazy while on duty during breaks until this Friday when the big orange box arrived. This box was added to the field as storage for bikes, however, adventurous Swanson kids saw it as a great big climbing wall. I could not believe my eyes when I saw a herd of children climbing the box and standing on top. I even saw a kindergarten boy make it to the top of this box which was probably 12 plus feet off the ground. Although this was terrifying, it was also amazing to see the teamwork happening on this box. Older kids were helping younger kids make it to the top. I saw two 12-year-olds hoist up a 6-year-old boy while another 12-year-old grabbed him at the top and pulled him up. I also saw lines forming and kids patiently waiting for their turn to use the ladder they had dragged over from the hut building station in the trees. Anyways the big orange box was a wild experience to watch, but I can see a lot of benefits from letting children explore and learn from their own mistakes instead of an adult telling them no.

This week was a crazy week, but I loved every second of it!

On Friday I had a picnic with another American student teacher and her host family at Bethells beach. Never a bad day with food and a beach. On Saturday we ventured off to Waiheke Island and explored some beautiful vineyards. The views were incredible.

New Zealand has been good to me, and I can’t wait to explore it even more!

Week 1 – Barefoot Kiwis

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog

downloadHello Everyone and Welcome to my First Blog Post!

​I have made it to New Zealand and have lived one full week with the Kiwis. After three flights and about 32 hours of travel, I was glad to get to my host family’s house Swanson, Auckland, on Saturday October 26. We spent the long NZ Labor Day weekend exploring the near by area with our hosts. We saw great views from the Arataki Visitor Centre and the Pukematekeo lookout. We also went to a nice beach, city area called Mission Bay and stuck our feet in some black sand at the Piha beach.

Going into the first day of school here, I knew from my research that Swanson School was going to be a more relaxed style of learning than the States and that there was a big emphasis on play for students. However, I was still extremely shocked — in a good way — by the first day. I am with year 1 & 2 which are the same ages as Kindergarten and 1st graders in the states. A big part of the day was spent outside during their two 40 minute breaks and another 45 minutes for “fitness.” This fitness block happens a few times a week. During this time, all five of the year 1/2 classes head outside, and each teacher runs a station. Currently the stations are focused on track and field activities such as the high jump, which my station worked on. In addition to these breaks and fitness time, frequently when students finish a learning task they are free to go play as long as they stay close to the classroom when outside. This amount of free play is significantly greater than I ever experienced as a student and ever saw while getting my education degree. I am excited to continue to experience it and learn about the benefits.

Now let me tell you the thing I love about New Zealand… BAREFOOT FEET! It was a little startling the first time I saw people barefoot in places that it seemed improper to me, but now that I am used to it I love it! I’ve seen kids barefoot walking the aisles of the grocery store, a barefoot man getting his food at a kebab restaurant, and people at the train station or walking the streets barefoot. At school, all of the students are expected to take their shoes off to come in the classroom. They are also not required to wear them during breaks so majority of students do not put them on again the rest of the school day. Barefoot feet is normal here, and I love it. Although I have not fully embraced it yet, I am sure I will soon be walking around barefoot all the time.

My first week here I have spent a lot of time observing and taking in everything. There are a few other things I found to be different than the States, or at least from what I have experienced in the States. First off, although they speak English, there are a lot of differences in what we call things. I added a new tab called “language” on my blog with a list of a few of them. In addition in the States when students are asked to sit up and show they are listening, they generally are expected to fold their hands. In New Zealand, students are expected to cross their arms. Another difference is when students in NZ raise their hand they point their pointers finger up. Last difference I have noticed between NZ and USA is that NZ includes a great amount of Maori (native NZ people) culture in their classrooms and every day life. The United States does not include a lot of Native American culture in the classroom. This is an interesting topic I will definitely blog more about later.

After the first week of school we hiked Rangitoto ,which is a dormant volcano. We also explored some of the lava caves. The weekend ended with a Halloween BBQ with our host families. Halloween has just recently started to happen in NZ so very few people celebrate. Only five out of my 25 students went trick-or-treating. That sums up life so far in NZ.

If you made it all the way to here thanks for reading my novel of a blog! Sorry for the extreme length! There is a lot to take in the first week! Hope you enjoyed 🙂


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