Some ways to use whakataukii in the classroom

Its true. I do talk a lot about whakataukī. If you don’t know by now I absolutely love them and I think they should be an essential part of every curriculum topic.  They are an under-used resource. Any google search will pull up dozens of proverbs. They can easily be woven into the reading and language programs. It is easy to find a whakataukī to support  just about every topic and this is a perfect way of presenting a Māori perspective to that topic.
The values of ako, manaakitanga, kotahitanga, mahi ngātahi, kaitiakitangi can be emphasised through these clever kupu.

Te Aho Arataki mō te Ako i Te Reo Māori-Kura Auraki. Curriculum Guidelines for Teaching and Learning Te Reo Māori in English-medium Schools (Te reo Māori curriculum)-suggests we use whakataukī as one of the text types when teaching the language.
When I introduce whakataukī (depending on age) I usually ask if any of the ākonga have heard the whakataukī or any of the kupu before. I introduce interesting kupu or the kupu I know they are more likely to come across again.In this case:

Talk about examples of mahi tahi ( mahi ngātahi) in the classroom, at home, playing sports etc. I chose oranga because it has “ora” as its base word. We all know “Kia ora”-be well (healthy-alive-full of life). So much nicer than “Hi”.
 I always have an ongoing collection of Māori kupu on the wall and it helps to remind you to recycle the words and re-use them.
I would then ask what they think the proverb is telling us. 

The next stage is focusing on the big picture-getting the meaning from the whakatauki.

 Discuss-What is a Pa? Hapū? Rangatira?
(If you don’t know -you need the 33 Māori words all New Zealander learners should know.)
What sort of mahi tahi would the hapū be involved in……?

 Another activity is putting the “mixed up” whakatauki in order.
Kaiako can say it over several times and ākonga have the opportunity to put the words in order. (Pairs, groups or whole class)
If you are worried about your pronunciation, get someone who is more confident to read it on to your phone so you can replay it as many times is needed-you will be hearing lots of parroting from tamariki which is awesome to hear!

The Romans have a saying: repetitio est mater studiorum. (Repetition is the mother of all learning).

Now for me the cool thing about this activity is-when you have a few whakatauki you can have them all in together and when the learners get really good they can separate firstly, then  reorder each whakataukī.

This covers the Language modes-


• identify the sounds of letters of the Māori alphabet (arapū), letter combinations, intonation, and stress patterns;

• recognise and understand simple, familiar spoken words, phrases, and sentences.

Pānui – Reading

• identify letters of the Māori alphabet (arapū), letter combinations, basic written language conventions.
• recognise and understand simple, familiar written words, phrases, and sentences.

• imitate the pronunciation, intonation, stress, and rhythm of Māori words, phrases, and sentences.

Kōrero – Speaking

• imitate the pronunciation, intonation, stress, and rhythm of Māori words, phrases, and sentences.

The next activity involves the writing process.

This activity is writing but taking the pressure off the spelling part. After doing this a couple of times the tamariki want to write it themselves with no support.
Of course there are dashes to help with word choice, but again I like to read it aloud, and again, and again…”I’ll just read it once more so you can check”…. 
Kaua e wareware (don’t forget). Repetition is the mother of all learning.
This exercise supports-

Tuhituhi – Writing

• write letters and numbers;

• write vowels with macrons;

• reproduce letter combinations and punctuation for Māori words, phrases, and sentences in familiar contexts;

• write simple, familiar words, phrases, and sentences.

There are 4 of these to a page for thrifty photocopying.
Even when the whakataukī has been learned I keep a pile of these unscrambles and the tamariki love doing them over and over again.
I can definitely relate to that as I myself can be found (STILL) filling them out and feeling unashamedly smart afterwards!

As a follow up or extension exercise, stories on how the proverb came to be, can be written. A photo story can be made… I’m sure you all have plenty of ideas for presenting.

Hopefully these will give you some ideas of how you can use whakataukī.
if you are interested in the others I have on TpT here are the links:

I must apologise for how rough this page looks! The fonts are all over the place. I will do something about it tomorrow but for now I will get this posted so you can try this whakatauki out 🙂

Also****** this freebie is great if you are running a PD session with your staff******


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