Wednesday, 4 November 2015

My Reflection for the Week 2-6 Nov 2015

The question I would like to investigate this week is:
What are the benefits to myself and the children in learning Māori waiata?
The Practising Teacher Criteria says:
Key Link:
10. work effectively within the bicultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand
practise and develop the relevant use of te reo Māori me ngā tikanga-a-iwi in context.
Other Links:
2 ii. acknowledge and respect the languages, heritages and cultures of all ākonga.
3. demonstrate commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa New Zealand
 demonstrate respect for the heritages, languages and cultures of both partners to the Treaty of Waitangi.
9 i. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of social and cultural influences on learning, by working effectively in the bicultural and multicultural contexts of learning in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Recently, as I was teaching the tamariki a basic group clapping game, I shared with them that Māori children through the ages have sat together and played clap games too. This inspired me with the idea that Māori waiata can be used as a springboard for teaching them about Māori heritage, culture, and values. It doesn’t need to be complicated or in depth – just a sentence or two acknowledging Māori culture, used as an introduction to a song, can be enough.
One example could be the waiata Tohora nui, which is about a big whale. This could link to a discussion about the sea and sea animals and the special connection that Māori have with these.
These small nuggets of information help to gradually enlarge children’s world view, as they simultaneously embrace their perspectives and validate the perspectives of other cultures (this links to a Te Whariki Contribution Goal 3 learning outcome which says “Children develop an increasing ability to take another’s point of view and to empathise with others.”) Also, when you explain to children what the Māori waiata mean, it can help children to gain an understanding of te reo Māori as a living and relevant language (Te Whariki communication goal 2 learning outcome).

-       Ako Aotearoa recognises the importance of Māori waiata and the role it plays in language acquisition in Te Reo Māori. The benefit is multi-faceted – not only is it easier to recall new words when you have previously used them in a waiata (e.g. by remembering the Māori colours through sing the song “Ma is white”), but the sentence structures within Māori waiata reflect correct Māori sentence structure and syntax, making it simpler to learn how to create simple sentences in the Māori language when speaking.

-       Finally, I believe that when Te Whariki says in a learning outcome in Communication goal 4 that “children develop an increasing familiarity with a selection of songs that are valued by the cultures in the community”, its meaning goes deeper than children just “knowing the words”. It is one thing to be able to sing a song by rote from memory, and another thing entirely to understand a song and connect to the heart and emotions in it.

This is why I think that little introductory discussions about Māori waiata prior to singing them with the children are so important. It opens the door for us to discuss things like “the person in this song is feeling very happy, or strong, or they are worshipping God”. This has the added benefit of developing children’s emotional intelligence, and they might even find that sometimes they want to express their feelings through songs and music too.

As I incorporate these Māori waiata into my teaching, and talk about waiata and their meanings with the children, I am developing the Tataiako competency of Manaakitanga, in that I am demonstrating respect for Māori culture through the “delivery process” of presenting waiata respectfully to the children. Also, I am developing the Tataiako competency of Tangata whenuatanga, as I present cultural knowledge to the children alongside the waiata.

With all this in mind, over the Christmas holidays I am going to learn 2 new simple Māori waiata and the meanings and cultural links that those waiata have for Māori, so I can return next year and teach them to the children. Also, I will seek to educate others on the many benefits of learning Māori waiata, for both kaiako and tamariki.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Breaking Down the Fruit of the Spirit of Self-Control

Hey friends! Lately I have been thinking about the fruit of the spirit of self-control, and all the different aspects of this fruit, so I thought I'd share a little breakdown of my thoughts with you.

Some of it is based on things I have read, and some is based on my own personal revelations.
First, self-control = resisting temptation to instigate or participate in evil thoughts, words, or actions. This is kinda the obvious one.
Second, self-control = self - responsibility. Taking care of your own chores/work/study etc, not expecting someone else to do it for you. And if you have a issue that you can't resolve alone, you responsibly seek help from experts who are qualified to support you (eg teachers). Also, take responsibility for any mistakes you may make. Third, self-control = self care. Only you (and God) really know what you need, so take it upon yourself to get enough sleep and exercise, eat everything in moderation, have enough alone time and enough social time, seek help from doctors, counselors, etc as necessary to maintain your physical and emotional health. Fourth, self- control = self-management. Another word for this is autonomy. This is something you gradually develop throughout your life. It involves making decisions for yourself, such as what your boundaries are, what kind of company you choose to keep, what you will study at university (and possibly where you will study it), managing your financial situation and obligations, deciding where you will work, etc. And fifth, self-control = self - regulation. It spans from the idea that even a good thing in too large a quantity is no longer beneficial. It means being able to say no to yourself sometimes. This could involve not taking another biscuit when you have already had three, not spending all day in bed when there are other obligations already in place, not spending all night on Facebook when you have an assignment to finish, etc. Again, all these things are great, as long as they are done in moderation. E.g Facebook is a wonderful social tool, but it becomes unhealthy when it starts to consume your life and take up all your time. I hope this is helpful for you, dear readers!

Melanie Raye.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

10 Random Things That You Might Not Know About Me

Hey my friends! Well, I think it's time again that I should give you some random insights into who I am, so enjoy!

1. The first book to ever make me cry was Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.

2. I prefer eating raw vegetables over cooked ones.

3. If I was ever going to cosplay, I would be Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

4. I like to have lots of pillows underneath and around me while I sleep.

5. I also struggle to sleep when it is completely silent. I usually have quiet music or a soft YouTube video playing while I go to sleep.

6. I love planning parties. But only about 1 in 5 of the parties I plan ever actually come to fruition.

7. My favourite scents are vanilla, lavender, peppermint, and apple.

8. I like going to the movies by myself sometimes.

9. I can be hesitant to try new things, and prefer to stick with what is familiar.

10. I can read really really fast.

So there ya have it!
Bless you all!

Melanie Raye.

Monday, 22 June 2015

My Favourite Movies

Hello friends!
Since I have recently been posting pictures of the DVD's that I am adding to my collection on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I thought that this would be a good time to share my favourite movies with you all. I have divided them into 2 lists: my top ten favourite Disney movies (#1 being my favourite), and my top ten favourite non-Disney movies (again, #1 being my favourite). A couple of times, you will find a movie and it's sequel/s together - don't judge me ;) These top 10 lists have been carefully thought through, and there are plenty more films that I love that were contenders for these lists- I could probably make a top 30 for each list, if I had to!
My goal is to own all of these movies on DVD, so that when people view my DVD collection, they will get an insight into who I am as a person. At the time of writing this, I have 7 left to get (1 of which is not out on DVD yet- Pitch Perfect 2, and 1 which hasn't even come out in theatres yet- Mockingjay Part 2). But for now, let me just type out my lists for you :) Oh, and if you are a fan of any of these, please let me know in the comments (either here in the blog comments, or in the facebook comments), and we can fangirl (or fanboy) out together! I love sharing what I love with people I love!

My Top Ten Favourite Disney Movies:
1. Beauty and the Beast (and Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas)
2. Frozen
3. Enchanted
4. Into The Woods
5. Big Hero 6
6. Tangled
7. Princess Protection Program
8. Camp Rock (1 and 2)
9. Robin Hood
10. Mulan

My Top Ten Favourite Non-Disney Movies:
1. The Sound of Music (this is my favourite movie of all time!)
2. A Walk To Remember
3. Titanic
4. Raise Your Voice
5. Pitch Perfect (and Pitch Perfect 2)
6. The Hunger Games (and all the sequels)
7. The Swan Princess (and the sequels- and nope, these ones are not Disney!)
8. Mamma Mia
9. Dirty Dancing
10. The Babysitters Club: The Movie

So there you go my friends! Let the fangirling (and fanboying) begin!

Melanie Raye.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Melanie Raye's Vlog, Episode 88: Bad Blood

new vlog episode!


Melanie Raye.

Reflecting on the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi

This week I was thinking about the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi : protection, participation, and partnership.  I wanted to take some time to think about what applying these principles would look like in my practice.


Protection: I think that in my practice the principle of protection looks like not discriminating in any way against children/staff/parents and whanau of Maori or any other descent. It means having high expectations for Maori learners, that ensure that they will succeed academically, as this benefits their family and community in the long run. It means upholding tikanga practices and respecting Maori ways of being. I think it means continuing to use Maori language, so that the language does not become extinct. I think it means respecting the land and not abusing it, keeping in mind that we as Europeans are manuhiri, and that the Maori are tangata whenua- we should respect them and their tino rangatiratanga over Aotearoa by being respectful and treating the land well, just like we would be respectful of other people's possessions if we were experiencing someone's hospitality in their home.

Participation: I think that in my practice the principle of participation looks like everyone being involved in using Maori language, and taking part in Maori waiata and games. I believe that taking part in tikanga and kaupapa Maori is beneficial for all children, staff, parents, and whanau, regardless of their cultural heritage. This is consistent with Te Whaariki, which informs us that "curriculum in early childhood settings should promote te reo and ngā tikanga Māori, making them visible and affirming their value for children from all cultural backgrounds. 

Partnership: I think that in my practice the principle of partnership looks like parents and teachers working together collaboratively, sharing knowledge and strategies that will lead to the best outcomes for children. I think it means involving the local community, iwi, and kaumatua in our centre life, such as inviting them to our centre events. I think it also means teachers partnering with children, empowering children to take responsibility for their own learning. Finally, I think it means teachers working together as a team, with everyone contributing their strengths, to provide the best learning and environment possible for the children.


Some of these things I already do (such as singing Maori waiata with all the children at mat time), but I want to carry more of an awareness within myself about why I do these things- keeping the principles of Te Tiriti in mind as I work with the children during the day. I think that mindfulness about why we follow tikanga and practice partnership shows that Maoritanga is important to us, and that we respect it.

I will continue to uphold the principles of Te Tiriti in my practice. I will also share my thoughts from today's reflection on my blog and on a facebook early childhood page, and welcome discussion, feedback, and any articles they might like to share with me. In this way, I can actively contribute to the professionial learning comunity by sharing my knowledge and understanding, and also gain new knowledge, understanding, and feedback from other members of the learning community. I can then read and respond to their comments and/or articles. (I can take a screen shot of this in a week or so, to give time for people to respond, as evidence, and I can take copies of the articles and highlight/comment on them and put them in my portfolio).

Links to Registered Teachers Criteria:

3. demonstrate commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa New Zealand:
i. demonstrate respect for the heritages, languages and cultures of both partners to the Treaty of Waitangi.
5(i) : Actively contribute to the professional learning community.
Other links: 2 (ii, iii), 9 (i), 10 (i), 12 ​(i, ii).

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Melanie Raye's Vlog, Episode 82: Style

new vlog episode! the 3rd instalment in my Taylor Swift- inspired miniseries.


Melanie Raye,