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Kia ora te whānau,

Welcome back to term 3! I hope you are all safe and well. I’m sure the holidays were a little different from usual. My name is Kara and I’m the teacher allocated to the year 1 to 3 children in your sector. I know it can be hard adjusting, but I’ve received a report from Mae’s previous teacher and I’ll be making sure to tailor the course materials to her needs. Please make sure you tick the box to agree to the terms and conditions and data waiver.

Each week Mae will have maths, reading, and writing assignments to complete. The value we are exploring for the term is kaitiakitanga—guardianship of the environment.

This week, Mae’s activities are:

  1. Maths. Go for a walk in your sector. Count the cars you see on the street. How many green stickers do you see? How many red? Write down your answers every day and see how it changes over the week. Ask mum or dad to explain why some of the cars are being taken away. Make a graph of your results on a poster.
  2. Reading. Pick one of the allocated stories from your sector’s google drive each day. Read it and then send me a voice message of all the things you noticed that wouldn’t happen anymore. Did they travel on a plane? Drink a glass of milk in the evening? What were their clothes made of?
  3. Writing. Write an email to someone who lives outside of your sector. It might be a grandparent overseas, or a friend from your old school. Tell them about something fun you’ve done today. Pick someone new each day.
  4. It’s good to reflect on the things we’ve achieved at the end of the day. Try and sit down as a family and discuss something you did that you’re proud of. You could include your daily reflections in your letters as well.

Kia kaha, stay strong,

Whaea Kara

Ka pai, Mae! Well done! I love the colours you used! I’m sorry about the sad face you drew on Thursday’s bar of the graph. I saw in the letter you wrote that was the day your car was taken. Sometimes kaitiakitanga can be hard. I’m sure your Grandma misses you as much as you miss her.

Welcome to week 2! I know some of you have been struggling with internet access. That sure was a big storm on the weekend! If your home has been affected, please let me know and don’t worry too much about getting work handed in. Sector hubs are still under construction, but once they’re finished you’ll be able to access learning materials in your community. If your family has been selected for relocation, I will work with your new sector teacher. The activities this week are:

  1. Maths: Draw a map of your house. How many bedrooms are there? For how many people? Have you put a drawing of a snail in your window for the families who lost their homes in the floods? Go for a walk in your sector and count how many snails you can find. Can you round the number to the nearest 10? What about the nearest 100? Now, see how many snails you can find in your garden. Try adding the numbers together. Can you subtract one from the other?
  2. Reading: Do you know why we draw pictures of snails? It’s because home isn’t the house we live in, it’s something we carry with us. Your reading this week is on the animals that carry their homes with them. Maybe you could draw a poster about your favourite!
  3. Writing: This week we are going to try our hand at acrostic poems. Pick some words about kaitiakitanga, guardianship of the environment, and write one each day. Here’s an example I wrote for you. Look up the words you don’t know with your parents:

Saving the world by staying local
Environmentally friendly activities only
Carbon emissions dropping
Temperatures stabilising
Outside, seas still rise and storms still rage
Remember the most important thing is people.

Wow, Mae! You’re lucky to have a room all to yourself and a study to do your schoolwork! I bet mum’s finding it hard to grow the seeds from the Government with all those snails around, too! Your poems were beautiful. Did someone help you? Equity was a great word to pick, and I think a lot of adults are scared, too. I won’t be able to reply to your work for a couple of days. I’ll be back soon though!

Week 3 already. Doesn’t it seem like we’ve been working like this forever? I’m sorry this is late. I was caught up in one of the evacuations. Here’s your activities for the week:

  1. Maths: If there are 100 houses in each sector and each house has three bedrooms, how many bedrooms are there in a sector? A bedroom can fit two adults or three children. If 20 houses are lost to sea-level rise, and there were 40 adults and 30 children in the houses, how many bedrooms do we need to find for them? How many houses would that be?
  2. Reading: Superheroes are another kind of guardian. This week, you’ll be reading about people who dress up funny to save the world! We can’t buy the same clothes as we used to. Maybe you can send me a photo of something funny you wear now to help save the world.
  3. Writing: Our writing is much more interesting when we use describing words. This week, think about using each of the five senses when you write. Tell me what you see, smell, taste, hear, and feel. When times are hard, it can make you feel better to look for the helpers. Tell me about the people you see helping others around you. Here’s an example I wrote for you:

I see a grid of earnest faces on the screen, teachers holding the fabric of our society together. The smell of my kawakawa tea drifts up from beside me. Its warm steam on my face is like the friendly ghost of my last ration of coffee. Its peppery taste is now enough to wake me. I close my eyes and hear disembodied voices surrounding me.

Ka rawe! Excellent! You’re right, the maths question wasn’t quite correct because it didn’t talk about solo parents who have to share a room with their children or people that need a particular kind of house. I love the photo of you in your mum’s shirt. It makes a great dress. And I love that you picked your mum to write about. She sounds like a great helper. It’s OK that you didn’t complete all your schoolwork. It sounds like five extra people in your house is going to make it a bit tricky. I’m sorry your tummy aches, now. Those seeds will grow soon. Do the best you can and be kind to each other. That’s all any of us can do.

Melanie Harding-Shaw is a speculative fiction writer, policy geek, and mother-of-three from Wellington, New Zealand. Her stories have appeared in publications such as Daily Science Fiction and The Best of British Fantasy 2019. You can find her on Twitter or at
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