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Gulf Harbour Primary School - Journey into Mosaics

"Our learners are showing a sense of pride and ownership of their hard work. It was evident at our celebration day when we invited our parents to share in our learning journey. Our learning journey detailing the process we went through making our decisions and choices is recorded on the DVD." Diane McLay (teacher)

A working relationship was already established between the school and the artist (Susan Boniface) before the school applied for the "Artists in Schools" project and was successful.

Detailed planning of the theme, time frame, the community and environmental impact, the alignment with NZC and the learning outcomes for the students was established by Susan and the staff of Gulf Harbour.

Years 3 & 4 classes and their respective teachers were involved in the enquiry learning and the production of the mosaics. Buddy classes were set up as passive observers of the process to broaden the depth of knowledge and understanding within the school community.

The Year 3 & 4 students were very proud of, and articulated well, the knowledge gained through various activity stations, immersion and investigation strategies (wonderings) of the history, the similarities and differences of mosaics before they began to make practice tiles of their own. All these stages were prior to and in preparation for the large mosaic panels they would all help to make to enhance the school environment.

A nautical theme based around the school logo and the decision made for a place for the final large mural was a collaborative decision. Students were asked to come up with visual symbols and their meanings for inclusion in the final mural design. The students voted on the designs/symbols.

Year 3 & 4 students made three movies covering the whole process, including the activities, developing the ideas and the production of the mosaics. Class activities from still photos of the procedure had been compiled as a short video clip for the school TV network. The students showed they were able to make the connections to other learning such as literacy, numeracy, and environmental science. They also showed evidence of thinking, participating and contributing, managing self and innovation, inquiry and excellence.

The final mural consisted of 6 panels and all the students from both classes (2-3 students at a time) worked with the artist and a parent helper to make the large panels. They used their prior knowledge about spacing, colour placement, cementing, grouting etc. to successfully complete the panels.

Time was extended into term 3 beyond the Artists in Schools project time to enable the large panels to be completed and erected and this additional time was given freely by the artist. A final celebration ceremony was held with the whole school community involved with Barbara Kendell, NZ Olympian Windsurfer, unveiling the mural.

The students and teachers showed genuine excitement about the project and are thrilled to be able to share what they have achieved.

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