Monday, December 18, 2006

Billy says try this....

A cool flickr guy called Billy sent through some links to these things for you guys to try after he heard what we were doing on blogger.
check them out - there will be free trials - don't buy.

they are visual effect software

Saturday, December 16, 2006

keep in touch

if you are one of the motivated successful bloggers from rm 9 in 2006, keep using the blog over summer. I appreciate your continued interest.

Monday, December 04, 2006

our mission is ...

to go where no man/woman/room 9 student has gone before!

Renowned British cosmologist, Stephen Hawkings, the really really brainy guy - as brainy as two lockleys and a logan roasted together, with a sprinkling of ernesto seasoning, mr brainy chips on the side and smothered in a lachlan and justin sauce - said:

"People must colonise planets in other solar systems, travelling there using Star Trek-style propulsion, or face extinction"

read on - what do you think? which planets would be most likely to be populated first? What would we gain from moving away to less hospitable planets?

Monday, November 27, 2006

comic me?

waddaya reckon? look like me at all?
What do you look like?
Have fun on doll wizard

the comic you

make your own comic styled image of yourself.
post the results here or on your blog.
have fun - good day today. well done.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

geography quiz

Can you beat my brainy cousin, the spy, who got 91%?
Can you beat me, your beloved [cough!] teacher, who only got 75% on my first go?
It is an easy, interactive 'quiz' about the countries in Europe. You just have to drag 'n' drop countries onto a larger map to show where they fit it. You will be given a score. It is easy and fun.
I suggest most of you either have some distant connection with some of these countries or will visit them in the future as part of your big O.E..

To try it out, go to student resources, ICT classroom, room 9 folder and look for "Map of Europe" power point.

Try it and post your score.
Good luck!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Go the ABs!!!!
Who are your favourite players?
Tony Woodcock has to be pretty high up there.
Actually they are all great - a very good team. Hopefully they can perform when it counts next year and waste the World Cup opposition.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

two cafe challenges

my friends own very cool cafes on the east side. one is ruby blacks. one is jacks. ruby blacks owner, akte, wants to get th ecouncil to organise someone to coordinate all the pig farmers in the area to use them for food scrap recycling. lots fo good food gets binned in cafes but its too hard for cafe owners to find out which pig farmers would take them and get the food to the farmers etc.
jacks uses environmentally unfriendly packaging and is interested in reducing such waste. however, stu, the chef/owner, has read that paper packaging is just as bad for the environment as plastic. can this be true? he wants us to find out. if we do, sasha will shout the winners hot chocolates at jacks. very yummy hot chocoloates. but the work has to be of a high standard.
does anyone think they could investigate these issues for my friends?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

film makers, enviro warriors, documentary makers

i suggest we make a short film or sitcom or tv show type thing in the uni studio. the team that works best and follows the rules and plans it properly will be the one to make their project with everyone else helping.
the other groups into enviro stuff could make a doco -[documentary] about something.
the groups into the environment could do a project base on planting up the school. another group could do the frog release project. both coudl be filmed.
people who have a passion to design something with an environmental theme could do that.
read this carefully before commenting.
all positive ideas welcome, but we must be realistic.


film makers?

Are any of you budding film makers?
Please post your ideas for potential storylines or scripts - we will only be able to make short films. Ideas with a twist would be best.
What do you think?
A lack of interest will result in a lack of film making action.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

art then, peut-etre?

perhaps you might be interested in an artistic perspective being applied to the environmental theme.
i recommend checking out hundertwasser's work - i will show you at school. he redesigns ugly spaces to be more attractive and environmentally friendly. have you seen the kawakawa toilets?
also, i am currently eating a series of documentaries about an artist called 'Christo' and his wife, Jean-Claude [which i would have guessed was a man's name]. he transforms places or things and creates large scale artistic talking points. very interesting.
let me know what you think or ask me to clarify at school.
bon nuit, mes amis

cow farts spell kiwi doom

yes - our economic doom - if we can't get our cows to fart less we might get in trouble with the principles of the kyoto treaty that we signed to help the world reduce 'greenhouse gases'.

do you think i am kidding?

please explain or post links to useful websites with relevant info.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

rodent tracker

please design a rodent tracking device for use in native bush or other areas.
draw it using your technical drawing skills - i.e. a ruler and pencil.
show detail and explain how it would work.

it must be:
weather proof
easy to make
enticing to rodents
able to give an idea of whether or not rodents are about - how many is not as important.
you must be able to carry many of them into the area where you are trying to eradicate rats and mice.

it needs to be designed on A4 paper - tidy, accurate presentation, clear drawings and explanations are important.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


this kakapo recovery programme website has info and activities for kids....

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

drat! cool! I wonder....hmmm....

darn it ...

"Native birds don't use nest boxes. Introduced birds may use boxes."- quoted from:

...but it also talks about which plant species to grow at home to allow fantails and other birds safe plants to nest in - obviously they need to provide cover from the dreaded neighbourhood cats.
actually, the work i did thinning the trees on my property over the holidays seems to have actually encouraged more birds in. they are better able to fly between previously densely crowded spaces and are sheltering and feeding in the grapefruit tree directly outszide our lounge window. it's great - i see waxeyes, fantails, blackbirds, thrushes, and some mysterious new visitor - some kind of finch. that's the new visitor. i cut open grapefruit for the waxeyes. of course, i feed them in safe places, up trees, where cats can't get them while they're distracted.
the waxeyes also peck the plants outside my office window for insects. i can see them at close range without them seeing me. it's great - by encouraging them in they are working for me, removing insect pests like aphids, scale insects, etc.
other benefits of thinning my trees out is that the ones left are growing better. and once in amongst them, i discovered all sorts of things about the trees - they are all natives - pittosporums, rewarewa, kauri, kahikatea, lancewood, and various trees ferns. what surprised me was founding flowers in the plain looking pittos, and red bottle brushes in the rewarewa. there are also amazing red berries with a shiny, black, protruding seed in the tikoki. such things i'd never noticed before.
now i'm trying to encourage ferns in the undergrowth beneath the tree ferns and other tree canopy.
i went for a bike ride today and got very excited when i visited my favourite part of thheye hamilton gardens - the sustainable backyard. its so cool. i snuck into the wormery and got a couple of composting worms for the two chooks. they got very excited and now i want some at home. oh, and a cow trough pond with a solar powered pump... and a trained aplle tree to run along my fence. ... and some wild flowers... and a farm!
hey - maybe we could make a sustainable backyard at school in the biotech gardens...


Last year the school chose to chop down half of our beautiful trees, including a famous old elm tree -the oldest one of its type in Hamilton... apparently. Now the school is boldly planning to wastify the existing native garden by our classroom, plus the very special designer water feature which is based on the ground-breaking scienitific ideas of Nikolai Tesla - a great thinker and inventor. They plan to do this to build the new canteen in its place. Personally i think this is pure evil and must be stopped. It is unnecessary and could be placed eslewhere. In fact, people from Mr Ccck's class have already suggested another more sensible plan. Can you come up with anything interesting? It must be practical for the school to consider it.
Would you actually like a nice place to sit and eat? Consider shelter from wind, sun, rain, beauty of surroundings, environmental issues like replanting of natives, bird attraction, litter issues, etc....


right squiddlers - please tell me what you do at biotech.
tell me what you like/dislike about it.
post ideas for what you would like to do in biotech.
also, please answer this question: do you think biotech could be used as a way to teach environmental stuff, animal behaviour, biology, etc?

thank you for your assistance.


Monday, October 23, 2006

native birds in your garden?

do you know what you might see in your garden? or how to enhance your garden to make it enticing to native birds? are all our actions beneficial to native birds? what if we invite them in only to be gobbled by voracious pet cats? or could they spread disease to one another whilst dining at bird feeders?
read on....

things to do in our urban gardens....

this is about birds in Britain, but it may apply to us too...

somewhere in this site is a weta house model i think...

Biodiversity - Mother Nature's intended way


Biodiversity is easily understood as the variety of life, an abstract concept measuring the richness of life by its variety. Variety is nature's way to create stability with maximum adaptability. As humans encroach, while altering their surroundings, wildlife disappears at a frightening rate. What is biodiversity? What is happening? Why? Do we care? What can be done about it?

Study and Save the natural world? Why bother?

To Study is to Learn... To Learn is to Understand... To Understand is to Appreciate... To Appreciate is to Value... To Value is to Save

This link is to a site that may be quite useful to us in our study...than again, maybe it's biased... Who created it? What is their purpose? Are they reliable? At a glance it seems okay. I leave you to investigate further. It may help answer some of your questions.

Enjoy the rainy day off. I'm enjoying making feeding stations for waxeyes and some kind of finch that has appeared in my garden lately.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

a great philosopher once said....

“be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

"if you never did you should. these things are fun and fun is good”

“you can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.”

“just tell yourself, duckie, you're really quite lucky!”

~ dr. seuss


things to design and build

over the next week or two i want us to have the pleasure of designing and constructing things.
it would also be a delight to be able to immerse ourselves in active learning of a subject - namely the one we're doing. you people could really achieve some amazing things.
so far we've listed tailor made bird houses for native species. would they use them? what would they be drawn to? what other things can we do to help our feathered friends?
who wants to help something other than a bird? i like wetas. we can make a weta hotel. i saw some at maungatuatari.
what about the rat traps? need more ideas. tunnels seem to attract them.
bird feeders? what might attract different types of birds? do tui and waxeyes respond to the same kind of feeders? how about kaka [and i don't mean poo]
any other ideas?
mr webster says we can use his room when he isn't. we need our own materials.


about this GATE class thing - since you brought it up [aMi] - it's good to actually see evidence of your GATEyness [rM9] from time to time. mAGster's paintings were impressive. i loved the guernica one. here's a link to the painting that inspired her. [there are better links available]

what did you think? it's also really great to hear people sharing resources, knowledge and ideas on the theme.
full credit - and gO WAIKATOOO@@@!!!!

[tumultuous sound of cowbells]

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Persuasive language

Since you will be learning about the features of persuasive language, you will have to prove your understanding by writing an argument in support of or against controversial statements. Those who wish to will be put in debating teams, based on merit.
Please feel free to add any topic ideas, but post them as clear statements - you don't have to believe them. They just need to be juicy, fire people up, and cause controversy.

Here are some examples of one we will debate.

"Because of the potential danger to native species, in NZ it will be illegal to own a pet cat, dog, rat, mouse, or mustelid."

HAve fun forming strong, logical arguments to support your position, whether you agree ro disagree. Especially if you want to be a defence lawyer, politician or professional liar.

Time for some light relief...

Don't try this at home:

How do I know if a website is right for my topic?

Things to consider when evaluating a website:

Content - Is the subject content relevant and appropriate to my learning needs? Can I answer some or all of my key questions using the site.

Coverage - What is the scope of this resource? Does it cover all aspects of the topic, with valid and appropriate examples?

Accuracy - Are the information and the presentation accurate, or could they be misleading?

Authority - Is it clear who is responsible for the resource, and all that is in it? Is this author an expert on this subject? Are links to other Web sites acknowledged?

Objectivity - Is the information well balanced or can I detect some prejudice or bias? Can i detect any PERSUASIVE LANGUAGE?

Up to Date? - Is the date of publication or update available and acceptable?

Presentation - Is the resource appealing? Is it clearly and logically presented? (And for online use, there are many more considerations, eg. Is the information accessible and the site easy to navigate? Is it full of advertising or other distractions?)

Usability - Will this be useful for my study? How can I use it?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

fun game

have some fun...
on my second go i lasted for 194 seconds.
post your scores
good luck!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

links to sites that may be of use for your study....

Please evaluate som eor all of these sites and post comments as to which ones are useful for aspects of our study.
At present you may not be entirely sure what the direction of the study is taking. Think along the lines of our environment, native species versus introduced pests and predators, habitat destruction, species extinctions, the web of life and how this is all related to us. Also, if there is a problem, can we do anything, and if so, what?
Who knows - maybe we should just kill everything,poison the Earth and live in megacity1 with wall to wall playstations everywhere.
You will have to have opinions and be able to justify them.
- this last one is an incomplete list of endangered speicies from NZ. You can add to it, if you are certain of your facts and spelling.

Feel free to post links to other sites of use.

field trips

I have one field trip to an 'island' in mind. It could also be fun to walk up to the uni, see their fernery, talk to experts, have a picnic, monitor bird types, check out what lives in their lakes, etc.
If we design good rodent monitoring stations, we could go to local spots worth regenerating and see if the rodents [or any other nasties] are there too.
I have heard that we have potential contacts for a behind the scenes look at the Auckland Zoo. How could we tie that into our study on the environment, endangered animals, introduced pests, etc.?
All sensible ideas welcome ...

Rat challenge

Design a portable, lightweight, weather-proof, durable, effective implement for tracking the presence of rodents for an outdoor setting. We will test it at school, then try to use it in then bush. Perhaps we could set some up in patches of native bush around Hamilton...? [Is there a suitable one nearby?]
Why do we need something like this? Well, since we know rats and mice are pests in the NZ bush ecosystem, we need to be able to reliably work out whether or not they are present if we are to reintroduce endangered native species.
What other creatures might we want to check for? Any ideas for tracking stations for those animals? Think about their ecological niches and how you would best test for their presence.
i.e. Would you test for things that eat native fish up trees?

the web of life challenge

Here is a challenge for you.
Design an active, outdoor game that demonstrates the interdependence of different species in food webs. It could be something like a 'tiggy' game where people play different roles - perhaps those of producer, primary consumer, secondary consumer and the gruesome decomposers....
We will play the best game. Try to keep it simple, active and fun, whilst reinforcing the concepts we have been learning.
Good Luck

p.s. post your ideas here for feedback - you could refine your ideas collaboratively online. Isn't that what you do in games like Runescape?

interactive pests n predators

Remember in library time when we discussed which predator was most destructive in the NZ bush setting? Well, this little interactive game might help you decide....

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Please Be Ready for ACTION

Day one will be go go go.
you need:

1. books to work in
2. colouring pencils or jovis or something like that for detailed colouring.
3. resources - you will have to get out to libraries or other sources of resources and find the resources we need
4. positive can do/will do attitudes
5. a folder to keep loose papers in.
6. good time management skills
7. the desire to learn, get involved in something bigger than yourself, and make a positive difference


the web of life

Is NZ really 'green'? Is the planet doomed? Can we make a difference?
do we understand the interconnectivity of life and the impact we do or can make on our environment?
Are cats cute pets or vicious killers and a blight on our environment?
Are mice and rats cute pets or destructive pests?
Is a stoat a charming pet or a potential menace?
If you have a pet rat, mouse, stoat, weasel, possum, or ferret, bring it to school if you think it will not be stressed.
if you have little native plants you could bring, bring them.
Any resources - books, pamphlets, posters, websites, videos, dvds, etc, relating to NZ environment, conservation, plant or animal or bird indentification, etc, bring them. Animal traps could be useful.

If you haven't finished your assignments, you can do them at lunchtime and after school this week.

Remember - be positive 8>)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

how to succeed in term four

Guidelines for successful G.A.T.E. students:

· Be creative in your approach.
· Look for quality in all your work.
· Be prepared to share your knowledge or understandings.
· Ask questions when you need to.
· Make suggestions.
· Manage your time well and develop positive work habits – self reliance is important.
· Share your answers – even if you’re not sure.
· Look at each experience as a learning opportunity.
· Strive for understanding and excellence.
· Evaluate your work and your progress.
· Provide honest, thoughtful, constructive feedback.
· Enjoy learning for learning’s sake.
· Assume there is an important reason why your teacher is providing you with certain learning experiences.
· Respect your teachers as they have your best interests at heart, work hard to provide you with valuable learning opportunities and are more experienced than you.
· Always look for the positives – this will help you to enjoy almost any experience more.
· Celebrate your successes

and Encourage others 8>)

Time to learn

Okay squiddlers - you've had your chance to choose your own topics and do quality work and I can't say it's been super successful. Now it's my turn.
Term Four is going to be teacher dominated, brutal and oppressive - well, okay, so maybe I will still be trying my best to make it interesting, relevant and purposeful and tailored to your needs - but please don't be disappointed if it seems to be on a topic you aren't too thrilled about - my idea is to introduce you to skills and information that will help you to be better informed about your world and to arm you with skills and attitudes that will help you to make positive choices. In fact, I am hoping that you will try to save the world - seriously. I think you can do it to.

You will have input into the design of your topic, make choices about field trips, and be able to design things, do experiments, do art, poetry, creative writing, work with animals, get outside the classroom, talk to experts, camp somewhere maybe, and basically actually learn something useful. We will goal set and work toward achieving those goals. I will be guiding the goal setting as it has been fairly meaningless in previous terms.
Secondary - but majorly time consuming - goals will be related to athletics and our team singing. We will also be trying to compete for excellence awards - anyone can achieve them!
DO your best - be focused on having a positive successful term where you will work hard but be satisfied with your results.
Enjoy your final days of rest and make sure the projects that are due get done to a high standard.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


who is interested in going to maungatautari ecological reserve, with the pest proof fences, to see takahe, camp on a farm, and walk in the bush at night to look for kiwi?
it is a great place! we went there for our anniversary.

the takahe is a bird sooo rare that it was once thought extinct - we could see it and help plant up its enclosure to make it better....

Monday, October 02, 2006

for the Magster [and other budding artistes]

picasso fun made easy

p.s. make sure you are doing work on your personal projects....

Saturday, September 30, 2006


WOW! you guys are so cool - poetry blogs, secret rulers of the earth masquerading as school children, lovers of birds... now i must discover what your totem tree is...

i think mine is the kauri, or pohutukawa, or cabbage tree. puriri rock as well. did you know, they only survive if kereru eat their berries then poop them out?

natives are best!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

NEWS flash

the inter-team singing competition and school athletics day will take precedence over your other education in term four.
what's your opinion?

and, can someone please contact others in the class and get them to contribute to our blog during the hols?
-we have important stuff to discuss

take it easy squiddlers


keep fit, or start getting fit. you will be doing four lessons per week specifically on athletics training, from week one. we MUST defeat all other teams and retain the shield - HUZZAH!

if you do not have PE gear, you will be doing it in stuff i get from the lost property - unwashed!
hah ahhahhahahahah!!!!
[evil teacher laughter]

so - gwe le of the kitties of doom, jess the cat protector, etc - you have been warned.

[who else is notorious for not doing PE?]


RIP Uncle ColinTucker - a funloving man who raised a strong loving family.

May we all live our lives with a smile on our faces, a whistle on our lips, a song in our hearts and with undying love for our family and friends.

What's your favourite native bird?

Our birds roCK! we have some of the rarest, weirdest, coolest birds on planet earth. Which is your favourite? I can't decide.
I love so many of them - of course the Kiwi is our icon and i LOVE that. .. .. I love piwakawaka, waxeyes, skylarks - cripes - i love 'em all!
go to this website to see which ones our politicians chose and why.


wow - check it out - a blog from the international space station by a wealthy female space tourist.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Holiday fun!

what is everyone doing to make the most of their holiday?
in two weeks you should be able to manage quite a bit of relaxation, recharging and exciting productivity.
believe it or not, i am getting into my gardening today - it's crazy fun!!
yesterday i had investigating a gully with my best mates.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

the hideous truth is...

there comes a point during the year when a teacher, such as myself, realises, they love their class, and feel the bittersweetnosity of knowing they only have one more term together...

this is that moment

you guys are ALL SO GREAT!

mR woOdy 8>)

Sunday, September 17, 2006


All assignments must be finished. It's important for you to understand that projects must be seen through to their conclusion with a QUALITY product.
Art design fashion project - due week one of term four
Accordion Novel - due week ten term three
Personal Research Inquiry project - due week one term four

This is not negotiable.

Time to get busy - term four is "prove it" term. Let us see what you have got. Impress us.
If you're in a poor head space - snap out of it. No excuses. Find a way to re-engage with your projects if you are losing motivation - it is up to you!!!
HAve fuN!

Time to spread our wings...?

righto - we have survived on just blogger for long enough - it's time to investigate ...

Web 2.0

anyone know what it is?
find out what it is, how we could use it to make our online world better and leave suggestions here.

[clue: many of you already use web 2.0 features and blogging is one]

Friday, September 15, 2006

Welcome fellow bloggers

online bookmarking?
all sorts of cool stuff is available free on the net to make learning easier and more relevant.
post any ideas for how to enhance 21st century educating here....
look for the posibilities...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I am thinking our theme will be related to animals, nature, the environment, conservation - whatever ! But I would like your feedback on things you would and wouldn't like to do - specifically, what have you done over and over again ad nauseum? [that means, until you are sick of it].
Keep it positive and state ideas for project directions you would like to head in...
Field trips to interesting sites would be good to mention too.


look up mentor in the dictionary if you don't know what it means - I propose to find each of you a mentor in an area of passion for you in term 4. It may not work but it's worth a try so you can pursue you rintersts with a career focus in mind. It may help you to make choices for subjects when you reach high school and university.
post you area of passion here for me to work on.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Inspirational movies

who knows of any inspirational movies we coudl watch? i think "The Dead Poet's Society" was a good one to help us realise we are the authors of our own destiny and there are important personal traits we can defend, like loyalty, integrity, living our dreams, etc.
I have "Mr Holland's Opus" in mind. Maybe "The School of Rock". Any others we could watch and review? "The Power of One", perhaps.
If we really grasp the meaning of a film and can sum it up we could pod cast the reviews. If we ever work out how to do it...
[I think we should get in an expert to shopw us how to do it.]

Thursday, September 07, 2006

random post for students

place your requests for people to visit your blog here - try to entice them....

DeaD POets SOcietY

what do you think of the movie? what is the main theme?
try to say something intelligent...
can you relate it to other works of literature?

fact versus opinion

what is the difference? use examples to illustrate your point.

for example - is the theory of gravity a fact or an opinion?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

beheading versus long term jail

who has it right? what are justifications for capital punishment? is it defendable? can you write a clear argument for or against either solution?

p.s. capital punishment is when you kill someone for their crimes....

great speakers, great speeches

what makes great speakers great? what makes their famous speeches so powerful and unforgettable?
how could you enhance your own speeches using tips from the great speakers of history?

great speakers, great speeches

what makes great speakers great? what makes their famous speeches so powerful and unforgettable?
how could you enhance your own speeches using tips from the great speakers of history?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Good LUck sportos!

Good luck sporty types who are leaving us this week for AIMS. I am especially impressed with those of you who have been 'digging it in' with extra training for cross country.
these days adults tend to view kids as more lazy and less active and more poorly fed than previous generations - we all ran to school, ate nothing but fresh vegetables, worked for our pocket money and respected our elders - in short, we were paragons of virtue.
I wonder if any of you other than the AIMS kids do any physical activity or cool non-technology- based hobbies in your own time. and how well do you eat? and do you work for pocket money? Please fill me in....

computer protection!

how do you guys protect your computers from spam, viruses, spyware, etc?
can you please list here all the things you know of that can attack or affect your comuter? and also all the methods you are aware of that you or your family use to protect your computer.
i had norton antivirus, but it used up too many resources and slowed down the computer. now i have bought etrust software which is meant to be better, but its doing some annoying things. my clever computer geek friends told me [after i spent my money] that they use free stuff off the web which works perfectly.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

SaKEmoTO!!!! Sudoku combat

Sudoku champs - i think Catgirl needs to be rewarded for the champion effort she put into her twistedly difficult samurai sudoku on friday whilst others were farting around.
The next challenge is to take on other players live online - are you up to the challenge?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

PD session on Blogging [for teachers, not students]

Hello blessed fellow educators - this morning you had another session on blogging. Thank you for coming and to those of you who showed an interest and asked interesting questions or gave feedback.

By joining Blogger you can comment here on ideas to help me provide useful information for you and for the other teachers who attend the miniconference in September.

I will appreciate any constructive feedback. I feel I'm doing okay at blogging, but professional development sessions are not my cup of tea. As some of you know, this sort of thing is listed as amongst my worst nightmares. However, with your support I am finding it easier.
It gave me a great confidence boost after the first session to hear from Michelle, Hailey, Haami, Maria, Lacreice, Frances, Sharon and co., that they really enjoyed it and wanted to try it out with their classes. i know some of you hav etried it our with mixed success. Similarly today it was refreshing that Blair had thought of a use for blogging in relation to his specialty area of sports at school.

I think challenging things and new ideas like blogging are a perfect time for us to demonstrate the professionalism that we have indentified as being part of our shared vision.
It is time to be open to new ideas. Educational paradigms are changing.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Teachers - Welcome!

Thanks for coming - please try to see past any language issues that bother you and try to identify any positive potential such a tool might have. I know my students and I enjoy using blogs and it helps us in many ways.
Researchers and educators around the world are embracing blogging as a means to break down barriers between school and home, between teachers, students and parents, as well as to help guide, reinforce, scaffold, inspire, bribe, and so forth.

SO, What do we need to start blogging?
1. a computer
2. the internet
3. an email address
4. interest
5. and for your students, permission from home and some guidance regarding cybersafety and netiquette.

What do you not need?
1. highly developed skills of any type - although typing skills are the main one, possibly.

What is a hindrance to using it effectively at school?
1. disinterest
2. an unreliable internet connection
3. exploding computers
4. cyber safety issues

By the end of this session, hopefully you will have thought about how blogging COULD be a POSITIVE enhancement to your learning environment. I would like us to explore possible uses - I could experiment with your ideas if you don't want to - and we can set someone up with a blog to show how easy it is. We can discuss the necessary steps to setting your students up with blogs in ICT.

Remember - it is available to ALL people in this school and it can be a really neat thing for some of your students. You don't actually have to have any particular magical powers other than imagination and your garden variety teaching skills.

Please feel free to ask for help creating your own blog or setting one up for your class. It won't work for everyone, but it has worked for me and most of my class.

HAve fuN!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Martial arts in class

As it happens, we have expertise in various martial arts in our class.
What do you want to know about martial arts?
Did you realise you were doing basic aikido today? Does anyone know what aikido is?
I have posted some links for those of you studying martial arts as a topic.

aikido pics clips and info:

Of course, we now have a dreaded new flea weight wrestling champ. Perhaps judo might be an option for our wrestlers?

The other main Japanese art is Karate, which comes in many forms:

Of course, there is something mysterious and beautiful about the more ancient and deadly way of the samurai:

Not to be outdone, other countries have their own arts. China has tai chi chuan and different styles of kung fu. Perhaps it all began with the Shaolin monks:

Even the seemingly peaceful Indian culture has a martial style quite unique in itself:

Of course, all cultures probably had their own ways of fighting hand to hand. In our own beautiful country we have the fearsome Maori warrior tradition with beautiful but deadly hand made weapons:

The Rules of Banking

Banking in Room 9 is designed to help you to moderate your own behaviour, to some extent, and to give you choices, creative outlets and to hav efun. However, it is also designed to offer you a chance to experience basic accounting or 'book keeping' and especially to help you learn to use spreadsheet software like Microdsoft Excel. [- this is convenient because we have it, but it's not the only option by any means.]
Please post your opinions about the banking process, new ideas for income or expenditure, marketing ploys you might use to entice customers ... has anyone thought of ways to use blogger to market their bank to the class?

AHA! Death to Spammers!

J, B and L - watch out.... ninjas may still exist and cyber ninjas may be employed to infiltrate spammer gangs - the consequences would be dire for the culprits if caught....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Educational Purposes of Blogs [for teachers]

Dear fellow educators of the 21st century,
there are many reasons for using blogs and many justifications. I am enjoying the experience and find it has added a meaningful dimension to my teaching world. Below I have placed several links to information about blogging in education.

[Students - if you are reading this, please comment regarding your own opinions of the worth of blogging for you, in relation to your school work. Justify your statements... and beware - teachers are reading this, so use correct spelling , grammar, etc...]

a summary of the usefulness of edu-blogging from Singapore
a summary of useful sites relating to blogging, RSS, etc.
Stephen Downes ( is a Senior Researcher with the E-Learning Research Group, National Research Council Canada, Moncton, New Brunswick. Comments on this article can be sent to the author at <>.

"I think it’s the most beautiful tool of the world and it allows us the most magic thing..."
—Florence Dassylva-Simard, fifth-grade student

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Oops - sorry wordsmiths

life got in the way of word study list tonight - my ap0logies. well done to Hannah and those who looked for it.
see you at school tomorrow with accordion novel material and personal project research materials. if you can, bring an A3 pad for your art project.

Monday, August 14, 2006


New or old? Contemporary or traditional? Which did you prefer? What did you like about each? Please be specific - I heard some very interesting opinions at the gallery.

Origami - art or science?

What did you think? Please explain your answer.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Personal Project Requirements

1. On your blog, make a space for your personal project.
2. Write your topic, essential question, subsidiary questions, sources and resources, as well as your intended audience and product.
3. Add info to that section of your blog as you make progress. Remember, your subsidiary questions may change as you discover more information.
4. Keep up to date

Make sure your essential question is open and fat.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Socio dialogical Colaboration

That sounds flash - Who can write a comment to explain it to the teachers who read this?
Can you explain what it means and why doing it is important for you and your learning?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

History and Mystery

A study of ancient History can baffle, amaze, excite and enlighten us.

In relation to some of your chosen topics, investigate these sites as starting points.
Remember to be critical of websites. Try to decide whether or not they suit your purposes. Are they accurate or trustworthy? Do they help you to answer your key questions/essential questions/foundation questions/subsidiary questions?


WHy was the SPhinx built?

Did the ROman eMpire disappear? Was it destroyed? How, Why and by Whom?

What was life like in Ancient China?

Are you a young Picasso?

So why did Egyptians revere characters with jackal or falcon heads? - the weirdos...

The Caesar Cypher - there was more than one caesar,
but we tend to think of Julius when we use that title. He was famous for many reasons and he had many tricks up his sleeve.

Those Greeks had a thing or two to say about life. Which one of the famous Greek Philosophers do you think was the most influential?

Now a unified Republic, the area known as Italy has seen many political divisions, including the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, the republics of Florence and Venice, the Duchy of Milan, and the Papal States.

Some people are fascinated by more recent history - the 80s were an interesting time in "fashion"... I know - I was there!

Perhaps the 50s and 60s might tickle your fancy a bit more - cultural changes were interesting and fashion changes were an outward expression of that...


Amazing Archimedes discovery

What an amazing find. If you're into ancient brainacs and their works being lost, disguised, hidden, and rediscovered, then read on....

Fact Finders, Problem Solvers, Technology Users

Remember - your personal project requires a knowledge attack on a topic. While you are investigating your topic, you should discover some interesting question that needs answering. You then need to plan your inquiry. Your audience needs to be identified - ask yourself "Who am I presenting my findings to?" Decide how to most interestingly present your final product. Use the technology we have in the room - plan to podcast if possible. You can use images and recorded voices and music.
The most important thing is, starting with an interesting, focused, open, fat question.
Second - research effectively, take notes in your own words [dot jot], and present your findings in a way that shows you have answered your question[s] and have used the iwrite software [with data projector], or the mp4 player [podcasting], or the internet [blogs, etc].
Be creative - remember, you must demonstrate above average intelligence, task commitment and creativity. Think outside the square and try to impress yourself and your audience.
Have fun!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Clever Latin Acrostic


'Arepo the sower holds the wheel with force."

Clever Romans, eh?

Inquiry projects

This is where we will post your broad topic for the knowledge attack phase of your inquiry.
i will list you individually, or in your pairs, with your topic. You must come and post your OPEN, FAT, ESSENTIAL QUESTION by the end of week four.
Further dialogue can be engaged in at school and through your own blogs.
Bring your resources to school on Monday.
Good luck.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

personal projects...

...reports and myths and stories to be podcast, fashion shows held, expos designed and modelled 3dimensionally using software Mr Ferry has, inquiry methodology, eco-friendly suburbs designed for council, underground good deed fundraising societies created, vertically-challenged techno asssitance ICT Fix IT MEn company germinated, physical training skill squads developed, and more!

HuzZAH!! 8>))

the world's your oyster
take up the challenge

"the saddest sight of all to see is, far far behind you, all that COULD have been"
...[someone once said something like that , i think.]

MP4 and iWrite

Had a great session with Jenny from Sitech today - she taught me some useful things to do with the iWrite software.
We now have an MP4 device like an ipod but with less memory.
We now have an interesting spanish learning slideshow designed for use with the iWrite pads. yay!
See you at school - bring music for team time - can't find Bohemian Rhapsody....

MAybe you could acquire it online - but don't deal in pirating or buy anything without permission from your parents.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Welcome ROom 9 and MisS PReW

this is the room 14 blog - use it respectfully and help the newbies learn how to use our blogs responsibly - keep an eye on their cyber safety and netiquette - but don't be too bossy! [donkeyla]

this is what i look like on the weekends...

so you see - things aren't always what they seem....

Friday, July 28, 2006


we need to plan a topic together for the second half of the term. if you could study anything, what would it be? please don't say broad things like "space" or "history". try to be specific - find an issue that you are reeeEEAALLy interested in.
look for issues, problems, things that get you excited or angry or make you want to do something to make a change.
I hope you can understand what i mean and take up this opportunity for involvement in your own planning.

good luck!


is RESPECT the most important thing there is?

respect for:

your family
your parents
your friends
your elders
your coaches
your teachers
your pets
the environment

what do you think? ask your family and friends about respect and post a comment on what you discussed. what is it? how do you earn it? how do you act respectfully? why is it important?

ow! my back!

take care of your backs, kids. mine has gone wonky and i can hardly get of bed, walk or do anything other than lie still reading about how to teach literacy more effectively.
hope you are well - miss you!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

useful anecdote

how's this for a clever way to communicate...

a tutor of a friend was teaching a bunch of kids in class how to use some new software. The kids weren't paying attention and were using chat software to talk to each other while he was trying to teach them so he disabled the chat server.

The tutor went on talking to the room and after awhile it seemed to the tutor that the kids were finally paying attention. However all was not what it seemed.

The tutor's PC was projecting an image onto the screen behind him showing a windows folder containing files that the kids were creating during the training. The clever kids in the class had begun creating files and copying them into the folder with names like...

"hey Frank meet you in the park at lunchtime"

turns out they had been using the folder to communicate behind his back while his attention was on the classroom and not on the projector

Eat The World!

Why shouldn't the Japanese or the Norwegians eat whales? What about the Chinese nibbling on pandas? How about roasting sumatran tigers? Is it okay to torture pigs in captivity then murder them horribly just because we like the taste?
Under what circumstances should there be bans on killing and eating certain animals? Please be clear about your reason and try to justify your argument. Post links to websites that back up your position.

Think of this as a debate.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Things to use in sentences

When does one use a colon? :
Or a semi-colon? ;
Or a dash? -
Everything has a specific purpose - can you explain the difference between these? I would like to know.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

all email alerts on?

please comment here to say when you have set up your blog to send you an email everytime someone posts to your blog.

this IS a form of assessment.

well done to all those people who have worked it out. get someone to show you. re-read my post before. investigate the settings on your blogger dashboard thingy.
have fun!
see who can become the class blogger champion - the person who writes the best posts.
the person who knows the most tricks.
the most helpful person.
any other categories you want to add???

Sunday, July 16, 2006

ICT in Term Three

In ICT, starting Tuesday, we will be learning to use iMovie to make an advertisement for Hamilton. This to help us round up our inquiry unit before we change it slightly to investigate myths relating to the Waikato and some scientific explanations relating to how the river got where it is.
In iMovie, you will need to use still images, related text and to do this you will need to have an idea of what you want to achieve before you begin, so think it over. What would you include to portray Hamilton as an interesting place? How would you include words to bring the photos alive?
We can use photos we already have from our scavenger hunt. We can use photos from the photo competition we have been part of in the riverside cluster. we can use images from the internet. if you're really nice, you could send me off with my trusty camera to snap away at specific locations on your behalf. you may of course take your own photos, but you'll have to be quick and have to get them to school somehow. can you suggest all the ways that could be done, please?
ka kite apopo

podcasting again

Aha! We are going to get to do podcasting finally - Jenny from Sitech is going to help us with some 'stuff' and Mrs McCullagh has found us these instructions:

All of a sudden it seems possible. Now we just have to decide on the content and format of our podcasts.

Shall we do news reports? [probably not appropriate as they are too quickly out of date]

Promos for Hamilton for our inquiry unit?

Book reviews?

Oral myths relating to the Waikato or other natural phenomena important to us?

We will need to include musical jingles, have a name for our podcast, and follow a format that we can use each time.

OH NO!!!

oH nO! tiger junior is in grave peril! it turns out he is a she and a big ginger tom is stalking her day and night. the neighbour has had enough of her poos on her lawn and tiger junior's days are numbered - does anyone know anyone who would like to give her a new home? she may not be entirely pleased about being moved but it's worth a try. she is still quite little and very cute.
there is also a lovely fluffy grey lady cat who is very smoochy and needs a home.
help! the days are running out for these poor pussies... they are both healthy now that i have fleed and wormed and fed them. both need desexing and i have a voucher for one thanks to your fine fundraising efforts.

Myths, Legends and the Mighty Waikato!!!

Our dear classmate Laffydaffy has inspired me to have you investigating the history of the Waikato through myths and legends, as a language activity, as well as through history, which is more like social studies. We will use inquiry methods to find out about our local history [herstory?] as well as geological facts.

AS clever GATE kids, I challenge you to find where the mythical ["The River That Ran Away"] and the scientific explanations overlap regarding the formation of the Waikato River. It is quite surprising how similar they are. Was it really Earth Giants rolling over that made cracks in the Earth for the River to follow??? How does a geologist explain the same phenomenon?

Also, we will prove our understanding of myths by writing our own to explain how a natural phenomenon came into being. Start thinking about a place thatis special to you.
For your personal mihi [described in term two], you should feel a connection to a river and mountain. Think about how you might make up a story to explain the creation of those places.
ALso, think about how to create a piece of artwork to represent your special place and the mythological creation of that place. Perhaps that will form the basis of your artwork for your clothing design...

We may go on a field trip walk around the riverbank to discover clues as to the history of our city.

MAths MAte

In Term Three, everyone will be doing maths maintenance homework. We will use the Mathsmate programme. Each sheet follows the same pattern and reinforces each area of maths. There are fun problems and puzzles as well as basic practice items. [Let's see if anyone can out problem-solve Mohamed the Champion!]
Your results are recorded each week and there is a test in the middle of and at the end of term.
If it is too easy it is maintenance. If it is too difficult, think of it as a challenge and a chance to learn. We will go over problem areas in class on Fridays.
Good luck!

Term Three Word Study Guidelines

In Term Three you will be working hard on word study.
You will learn to spell the top one hundred most frequently misspelled words.

They are available here with explanations....

Monday - choose any words from the first ten words from this list that you can't already spell. Add extra words to your list from corrections in your written work, or from the interesting words list on the board. You should have fifteen words altogether.
Learn them at home Monday night.

Tuesday - in class during word study time, write out the words neatly in your word study book. Use them in sentences that show you understand their meaning. Highlight each list word in their sentences. Ask a neighbour to check that your sentence does this.
For homework, construct a wordfind [or crossword if you are feeling diligent] in your word study book. Bring it to school on Wednesday to share with a partner.

Wednesday - share your wordfinds [or crosswords] at school during wordstudy time. For homework, learn the words again. Use a method that suits you.

Thursday - Learn them at home, including the meanings. Discuss the meanings with your parents. Be tested by your parents. Have them sign your notebook.

Friday - testing day - Notebooks will be checked by me for signatures. Complete partner testing straight after assembly. Record your results in a grid at the back of your spelling notebook. This will be used to show your progress to parents during parent interviews.

Be proud of your ability to spell difficult words AND know what they mean.
Using vocabulary well is a way to demonstrate your intelligence to others. More importantly, language is precise and it becomes fun to use interesting words appropriately.

Ask MR Stevens or Mrs Brown how they feel about using interesting language.

Who Rules the World?

Who does rule the world? What does that mean? Does anyone or anything rule the world? Perhaps it might be better to ask, who or what is the most powerful or influential entity, force, company, country, group, person, or idea that has an impact on human existence in the 21st century.
Ther have been times when you might have said the British Empire was most powerful, or earlier, the Roman Empire. Perhaps now it might be America - but is it George Bush, or his political party, or the US military, or the people of America who vited for him? Maybe it's not people or political groups. Is it Microsoft Corporation, or Bill Gates, or Google, or Coca Cola, or MacDonalds, or simply the idea of capitalism?
To answer this question, you have to decide, how do we decide what power is and what will help us decide what is th emost powerful 'thing' around at present? What is capable of making the biggest impact on your life without your permission?
PLay station? School? Your parents?
Try to think creatively of what if scenarios and post your ideas as you have them. You don't have to be right straight away. Just share thoughts about it. Generate a discussion and we'll see if we can work out what we think.
The people who come up with the best posts will be the news team for week one and have computer time to construct a news programme to be viewed on Friday.

Happy thinking....

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Scientific photography

For the photography topic, I think it is a reeeeaallly tricky topic - photographing sound has got to be tricky. How will you portray the feeling that sound is being made, rather than just photographing a particular scene? It is very challenging and I can't wait to see successful entries.
Some clues to help your project more detailed:

1. Record the conditions of light that exist when you take your photos
2. Record any camera settings you make or change, as well as the make, model and details of the camera you used.
3. Describe any decisions you made regarding the way you framed or composed your photos. For example, if you felt you needed to use portrait or landscape. Whether or not you needed to change your position to include or exclude certain details from a photo.
4. The general ideas you tried to develop and achieve relating to the topic - the difficulties you experienced and how you overcame them.
5. State what you like about the images you selected for inclusion.

SO, be thoughtful about your photography. Enjoy it. Be creative. Be conscious of what you are doing. Think about how you would explain it to someone else and be prepared to state what is successful about it.

Have fun!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Read this!

Dear students, your beloved teacher - me - is going away for a few days with his beloved wife.

While I'm away, enjoy yourselves, collect resources as proscribed onprevious posts, use the blog to answer questions i've posted here and help each other with science fair. If you can't understand what I'm saying get your parents to interpret.
I will give you time in class to do it in week one, but you must have most of the work actually done. I recommend you bring your nearly completed work to school on monday so we can look it over, put it together and make any changes or additions that need doing.

DO NOT TRY to StaRt on MoNDAY!
USe the internet and your parents for advice.

I will check the blog on Friday.

GOod luCK, take care, have fun and be clever.

READ my instructions and clues.

[you have until tomorrow morning to ask questions....]

innovative students

if you are a high flying student who wants to investigate interesting science projects, check out this website for project ideas.
By searching the net you can find all sorts of opportunities. You may even be able to win scholarships or get assistance with projects that tickle your fancy.
if you need advice, ask me.

Friday, July 07, 2006


for some reason i say this a lot - or more precisely, i tend to write it in emails, etc. the thing is, i don't know where i picked it up from... well, i have an idea, but i'm certainly not sure of its derivation.
so guess what i did to find out...
i checked out our free friend, wikipedia...

learning is such fun - and it never stops.

what are interesting words or sayings you use that, upon closer inspection, seem a bit weird? Like "rule of thumb" - look it up

Thursday, July 06, 2006

experts in your family

hey - we are a very lucky bunch of squiddly diddlies because you guys have experts in your own families that we may be able to convince to come and talk to us about their field of interest.
we have had many fabulous parents helping us with their specialist knowledge. can we get more?
anyone have a climate change specialist [we do! we do!], or a fashion designer or anyone who can tell us about power generation, or animation or anything that we might study?
if so, mention it here and let's get them in in term three to help us learn -afterall - current expert opinion is more valuable than something written in a book years ago.

another intriguing question... no nukes, or ...?

i am very proud of our nation's stance against nuclear weapons - i think former prime minister David Lange was a legend to stand up to american foreign policy and his debate against jerry falwell on the topic was one of our proudest moments as a nation.
NOW - consider our modern times and reliance upon various forms of energy and power generation. if you take any notice of the news, you may be aware that we seem to face the threat of power cuts each winter and costs are constantly rising. gas is running out. damming rivers for hydro electric power destroys ecosystems. burning coal at power stations like huntly causes air pollution and big ugly holes in the ground. what about nuclear power generation? should we as a nation consider using nuclear energy to solve our energy problems? it may mean amending our anti-nuclear policy. is our proud anti-nuclear stance now out of date? did you have any idea part of our self image as a nation rested on this stance? remember, there is a big difference between nuclear power and nuclear armaments.
what are the pros and cons [for and against arguments] of using nuclear power IN NEW ZEALAND. Not anywhere else. I'm only talking about our situation.
I will post some urls to sites for info after i've done a quick search....

[you might also ponder - what does it mean to be a "KIWI"] you guys understand any of this?

Nuclear Energy Prospects in New Zealand
Briefing Paper # 97

April 2005


New Zealand is one of very few developed country not using electricity (indigenous or imported) from nuclear energy.
As hydro-electric potential was progressively utilised, nuclear power featured in national power plans from 1969 to 1976.
Concern about global warming due to carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, especially coal, coupled with impending electricity shortages in Auckland, has put nuclear energy back on the agenda in New Zealand.


Background [see urls supplied by my cousin, the friendly spy]



interesting question...

hey kids - what is the cost of water....?

think about it and discuss it with your parents before you answer.
i'm interested to see who has deeper answers than may be apparent.

[clue: what do i really mean by 'cost'? Please note I didn't say 'price'...]


Resources to lookout for...

Find info on greenhouse effects, greenhouse gases, government plans and related articles or websites. We will be doing a short unit on greenhouse gases to see if there really is a problem that we humans can influence.

See if you can post some fat questions relating to the topic - think about human impact and whether or not we have any.

holiday design task

Over the hols you might like to collect images, drawing, photos, make sketches, etc of things you like or relate to. It could be World Cup football images, cute animals, outdoor scenes, Hamiltron icons - anything you like. When you come to school in Term Three you will be making pencil sketches of these items and developing them into patterns or designs suitable for printing onto paper or fabric. After that you will look at clothing and work out how to make a patterm for an item of clothing. You will eventually construct a model of a clothing item and use your design on it.
We will have a mini model fashion show to showcase your designs and judge winners. Winners will be sent to Milan to extend their talents... [not]
Sound good?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


oh nooo!! the neighbour has it in for tiger junior - apparently he poos on their lawn and endangers the lives of their children - what are we to dooo!!!
perhaps its a job for 'the kitties of doom' - [ a new secret society possibly in existence and maybe hidden within one of your classmates blogs...

or maybe the forces of sOg could come up with a plan. jessica's army of feline liberators?


who will save my little friend?? [incidentally, he is not toilet trained, particularly friendly or all that tame]

>:>[ hmmm.....


blog tricks

hey you lot - it's time for you to start sorting your blogs out to a more professional standard. check out the settings in the dashboard.

make sure your time is on NZ time.

set it up so if someone posts to your blog it is emailed to you - this will mean you always see comments when they're added and you won't have to search for them. as your blog gets bigger it will become harder to keep track of everything unless you do this.

any other practical ideas for improving your blogs, please share them here for others to read.

you are doing really well! 8>)

Friday, June 30, 2006


ask your parents to create their own blog to leave comments on our class one and to query anything they don't understand on the reports or anything else. remind them of the rules of cyber safety and netiquette. teach them how to do it if they are frightened.
guide them to positive feedback of your posts on this blog to help them see a bit more about how well you are doing.
remember - you are the magnificent peachgrove yr 7 GATE class - you are the coolest!!!!
keep the standards high - improve. listen. ask. create. share. help each other.

other classes are joining in now so you need to raise your standards to keep ahead of the multitudes.


a reminder of our rules for blog use by room 9

i must say, a few of you have really taken up the challenge and are posting brilliant content to the class blog. your own blogs are filled with meangingful, interesting information and opinions. it is great!
but some of you are slacking or not following my guidance.

the rules are:

1. create a blog and fill out your profile using cyber safety guidelines.
2. respond to my posts, stay on topic and reference your own information - write it in your own words or post it in quotation marks.
3. give each other constructive feedback.
4. ask effective, interesting questions.
5. create a part of your own blog for me to leave comments, ideas and guidance.
6. DO NOT WIPE THESE COMMENTS - it is part of your evaluation and assessment to have a record of a dialogue between us relating to your school work.

take care over the hols everyone - you are a cool class - thanks for the lovely cards today. i hope you have a fun, creative, satisfying, relaxing, stimulating, inspiring, invigorating, fantastic holiday!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Pitt Island challenge

I challenge you to find information on Pitt Island. Remember to quote your sources. If you are really clever you may find maps to post. I am particularly interested in how lifestyles for kids differ between Hamilton/Waikato and the Pitt Island environment. Please post your questions for the Pitt kids - hopefully they will respond here and a dialogue will be set up. We can then expand upon that once we get skype up 'n' running - if we can, that is.

Hi to Mr Whalley if you are reading this.

useful stuff - i think...

Greetings fellow educators of the 21st century. Please read for meaning and not just to look for typos.
The world has changed. So should we. At least, in my opinion and the Ministry of Education's and renowned educational experts from around the world. Let me begin by reiterating what it states in my profile - I am not a particularly skilled user of ICT. Like a laboratory rat, if something changes slightly, I am lost in the maze. Changing computers, rooms, a shift in temperature, Meddlers walking past my room, the presence of a room full of my peers are all more than enough to throw me off my track. Most of the time I can't remember passwords, recall urls or navigate back to where I want to be. However, I know that the tools available to us help engage children and allow them to perform powerful, complex and exciting functions that 20th Century method and technologies do not.
In Room 9 we either are using, or hope to use blogs, wikis, chatrooms, the LMS, mobile phones, skype, podcasts, forums, vi casts, skypecasts, digital cameras, webcams, the interweb and whatever else crops up that may be of interest or use.

You are reading this on our class blog, controlled and moderated by me on a daily basis [most of the time], and allowing ongoing communication, feedback, support and encouragement, whether the kids are at school or not.
I post topic starters, clues, hints, and hope to entice them into learning and sharing skills, attitudes and feedback.
This is a freely available tool open to all the horrors of the net. By being part of the real world they can learn to fend for themselves rather than being protected from real or imagined demons lurking behind every corner.
They interact with their peers and teachers - including other teachers I met on conferences - and children around the world - potentially.
We are currently setting up an arrangement with Pitt Island school to compare and contrast our lifestyles, with a view to incorporating the information into our "Hamiltron, City of the Future" inquiry. To do this, we need to use "skype", a free tool for making international calls over the internet. With the use of broadband internet, a web cam, microphone and speakers, we can see, hear and interact with the children on Pitt Island - easy peasy - hopefully.
For those of you who doubt the relevance of these tools, consider the success of Point England school in Auckland who have raised literacy levels, increased student engagement, attendance, enthusiasm and parental involvement using podcasting. In fact, they have gone from low levels of success to being world famous! It is inspirational.
[-search this blog for access to previous posts about Point England's "KPE" podcasting on iTunes and feedback from Dorothy, who is a blimmin' legend.]

i have found the blog on its own has enthused children who normally would be reluctant writers. They write their entries on their own blogs then feverishly seek out feedback from others. They are learning to give quality feedback and monitor each others' posts for appropriateness of content. It is not difficult for them or me. In fact, it is fun! We all love it.
Why don't you try it too? We will help you.

btw - none of them will read this post as it is too long. [to prove me wrong, kids, post a comment saying " Mr Woody, we can read you know..."]

other 'things' of use:

online bookmarking - save your favourites to the "delicious" site and have them available wherever you are - rather than at just the computer you saved them at.

Skype - an easy download for free international calls, webcamming, chat, skypecasting

Flickr is a site for free and easy sharing of photographs and images. It is a social networking tool with heaps of potential for engaging children and teaching about photography and giving meaningful feedback - also for encouraging appropriate "netiquette".

wikis ["What I Know Is"] - a way of sharing information via the net - it is something which others can add to. e.g. wikipedia which i edited to add relevant information to for a project we started in Term One.

Also there are heaps of free tutorials online that you can direct kids to or use yourself. Webmonkey is useful. I found free tutorials to learn how to use "Flash" there. Macromedia Flash is a great tool for animating. It is widely used on the web and is something advanced students can tackle as extension work.

This is something i just whipped up last night to show you the capabilities of I.C.T. in the classroom...

[just kidding - the author is credited within]

Have fun - laugh at yourself - give the kids a chance to run with the tools available.

Mr Woody 8>) [p.s. that's a smiley]

Monday, June 26, 2006

macromedia flash

use macromedia flash to make animations.
i challenge you to have a go and stick with it. you will be able to achieve amazing results if you show what Mr Stevens calls "grit'.

see the cool "animator vs animation" here:

use webmonkey to get free flash animation tutorials.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Changing gears with Marc Prensky

Marc Prensky says....

Listen to the Natives

Schools are stuck in the 20th century. Students have rushed into the 21st. How can schools catch up and provide students with a relevant education?

Marc Prensky

School didn't teach me to read—I learned from my games.
—A student

Our young people generally have a much better idea of what the future is bringing than we do. They're already busy adopting new systems for communicating (instant messaging), sharing (blogs), buying and selling (eBay), exchanging (peer-to-peer technology), creating (Flash), meeting (3D worlds), collecting (downloads), coordinating (wikis), evaluating (reputation systems), searching (Google), analyzing (SETI), reporting (camera phones), programming (modding), socializing (chat rooms), and even learning (Web surfing).
We need to help all our students take advantage of these new tools and systems to educate themselves. I know this is especially hard when we're the ones floundering, but teachers can certainly ask students, “Does anyone do anything on the Web that is relevant to what we're discussing?” or “Can you think of any examples of this problem in your computer games?”

As educators, we must take our cues from our students' 21st century innovations and behaviours, abandoning, in many cases, our own predigital instincts and comfort zones. Teachers must practice putting engagement before content when teaching. They need to laugh at their own digital immigrant accents, pay attention to how their students learn, and value and honor what their students know. They must remember that they are teaching in the 21st century. This means encouraging decision making among students, involving students in designing instruction, and getting input from students about how they would teach. Teachers needn't master all the new technologies.

All this and much more interesting reading is available via the links above. I find it inspiring.

fieldtrip feedback

On Friday you were lucky enough to be treated to a trip to the University of Waikato, courtesy of a lot of generosity and hard work by Barbara's parents and their colleagues. I thought it was an amazing opportunity to get to design computer games and use $30,000 microscopes to look at micron thick slices of rocks that changed colour! WoW!
If you show some interest in what you did you might get to do something else up there next term....

So, give me some fieldtrip feedback please - what did you learn? What did you enjoy? What else would you like to do up there? Are there any topics you would like to study next term as a result of your experience?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Vi Casting

what is it and how can we use it?
how can we find out how to do it?
can you find the Point England website and get access to info from there? [there is a link in this blog somewhere] or would going to iTunes be a good way to investigate it?
look for "KPE" and "KPEtv"
[ask for permission first and don't download things that cost money]

consider your ideas about designing fashion and having a fashion parade.

consider the Hamiltron Project

consider whatever you want to consider - be creative!


Alliteration for the Riverside Cluster...and more!

Hi kidlets - Mrs McCullagh just gave me a good idea. Since you are now alliterative linguists, why don't you put your powers to the task of writing sentences on the HamiltON theme? You could be funny, poetic, positive negative - whatever!

We will see what you come up with, review the entries in class and choose work to post on the Riverside Cluster LMS writing cave.

Go for it!

Master Yoody

p.s. why stop at alliteration - use the other partsof speech to express your cleverness. just make sure yo ustate what it is you are using. e.g. similes, metaphors, hyperbole, etc.

p.p.s. don't forget to find out what limericks are and try to write something to win Ms Marr's weekly chocolate challenge. if you don't like chocolate i know a teacher who two who do.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


you guys complained about not having somewhere to post alerts to visit your own sites. logan correctly suggested that you should answer questions in other posts then go "p.s." and write your alert.
but, since you asked, here is a random post to let you invite others to your blogs to read interesting information. don't use it foolishly....
or punish i will...
[who does that remind you of?]

Monday, June 19, 2006

Right, said Fred

you are grappling with alliteration, simile, metaphor, onomatopoiea [sp?] and the like.
show me that you understand some of it. post some funny, clever or poignant examples.
i dare you

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Get the basics right

Not only is it important for the All Blacks to get the basics right [like scrummaging, lineouts and passing], you people need to use basic english correctly.

[Or should that be 'English'?]

Please learn when to use "there", "their" and "they're" in sentences.

Kia kaha,
Kia manawanui.

Hasta luego, amigos.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

All Blacks

the All Blacks rule

worth it

this post is worth re-posting. the cool thing about it is that it is valuable inside information from experts who are actually involved in the "topic" or issue. you get to know things you might not ordinarily realise from looking it up on the net or something. so, think about the other rich sources of information that are all about you every day - people - life - experience.
value personal experience.
ask someone.

" Hey Mr Woody!!! Jess and I are probably going to the Humane Alternative shelter this weekend and interviewing Norma. Great post Zuleka!!! Anyway, My mum and I donate time and money, not food. The money is used for medical reasons and the time is, do I have to say, GREAT because then they get to do displays. TIP FOR CATGIRL: If you want to help, see if your mum or dad can help out at the stalls. It's great fun and you get to hug them all you want! But you have to make sure that their over 16 years old. OK? " - Sog on the blog


wow! yeah! marvellous things being posted by some people - well done everyone - good to have people coming on board and getting into making some interesting statements, asking questions, producing meaningful outcomes!
i am also most impressed with the wonderful language, creativity and humour that surfaces from time to time. i marvel at your artistic renderings.
when you treat each other well, show good judgement, act with reponsibility, and demonstrate skill or tactical cunning, it makes me feel so proud. well done people!
go you good things!

[go the all blacks! whooops - that just slipped in]

Monday, June 05, 2006

term three topic generator

this is a topic generating post - please post ideas for topics for inquiry units for next term.
see if you can suggest things that have some potential depth and aren't too broad. or, if they are broad - like some eejits last year who suggested 'space' after i asked the same question - try to narrow them down with juicy questions based on the topic. the best topic and questions will be what we do next term.

for example - Leonardo - is "The Mona Lisa" a self portrait and does this mean he was a weirdo? Or, what was Loenardo's greatest achievement and why?

See how those questions are more interesting than - where was he born, when was he born, when did he die, what did he do?

p.s. "La Giaconda" is the real name of the Mona Lisa [please correct me if i'm wrong]. Why do you think we change the names of foreign things that are perfectly pronounceable as they are?
e.g. Why change "Roma" to "Rome"?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Leonardo revisited

Leonardo da Vinci - was he the most talented artist and inventor ever?

Explore the website link below and answer the questions I have posed for you.

I would prefer you to come up with your own ‘fat’, ‘open’ questions, or perhaps even ‘fat’, ‘closed’ ones. So please post any sensible suggestion on this blog and we will evaluate each others questions as well as learning about Leonardo.

Qu. 1.
Which trait of Leonardo as a child do you think lead to his interest and skill in drawing and understanding anatomy. Explain Why.

The same interests and skills allowed him to study nature and experiment with human flight. Explain further and quote from the text to back up your opinion.

Which of Leonardo’s talents probably allowed him to excel in his studies of how things worked?

vocabulary to understand:


mega maths!

For those of you who do find maths interesting and are looking for a challenge, see these sites. there is one on Leonardo daVinci's works also. I think we will look at it in class, so if you want to get a head start....

if you find interesting sites with activities you would like to do in class post them on the blog. pick a topic, get your search terms right and 'google' it!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Tiger jnr

Tiger Junior is the little tigger who lives at my back door.
he has a snuggly hut made of boxes and a woollen blanket i got from the opshop.
He is cool, needs a visit to the vet and a good loving home.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

nickname rule

right - too many people are changing their names and being tricky about their identity - if you want to post here you have to have a nickname and profile which makes it possible for me to tell who you are.
that's the rule.
2nd rule - you all have to join up and have a profile and blog unless you have a note from your parents forbidding it.
everyone who needs it will be given time on the computer during the week to read and post to the blog.
the almighty teacher has spoken!

new school idea

how about if school was in a nice house in the country, near hamilton, with gardens, native bush, animals, rugby posts, a scrum machine, etc. and while we were there, from 10 'til 3, we decided amongst ourselves what we REEEEALLY wanted to do, then worked out how to do it. then we could keep in touch by internet, socialise at school, do a bit of planning, have work experience, talk to experts, be taught different things by people who were passionate and knowledgeable, play games, keep fit, make and grow stuff go on field trips whenever we felt like it in our magic school bus, make movies, save the world, etc.
waddaya reckon? what would your ideal 'school' be like?
please answer thoughtfully. it would actually have to be 'educational'. not just play time.
monsieur woody

p.s. there would definitely have to be chooks there.

p.p.s. onyl self-motivated people would be allowed to attend.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fibonacci Sequence? Golden Ratio? Leonardo's code?

what's going on? are there secret codes governing our existence? do mathematical patterns occur frequently in nature?

please investigate and report back...but only if you're interested.

[but be sure to think hard about whether or not your source of information is reliable.... how will you know?]

search terms:

Fibonacci Sequence

Golden Ratio

Golden Section

patterns in nature

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

First Learn to Serve

First Learn to Serve is our school motto - can you write it in te reo?

Please list projects we have done, are doing, or could do that would relate to our motto.

Let's show others that GATE kids can be generous and thoughtful like everyone else.

I think you're great.


Monday, May 29, 2006

rhetorical questions?

Should rhetorical questions have question marks?
It's been driving me nuts. I guess they should, but I'm just not sure because it doesn't seem right.

...maybe you could post that question on the Riverside Cluster LMS to see if anyone can prove it one way or another with referenced proof.

you can reference web information by copying and pasting the url into your documents after information you have used or quoted.

Save the kittens!

righto - i just realised we could use our time at school to do some good in a cause we feel passionate about and call it learning as well!
What do you think?

For those of you wanting to, you could change the focus of your Hamilton Inquiry to be specifically about something you feel strongly about. If you aren't feeling excited about your essential or 'foundation' questions perhaps you might like to come up with something different.
Could we take up the challenge of finding out what Hamilton is doing to look after its huge stray cat population?

Can we make a difference? Who is responsible? What do you think should or could be done?
IS there a social action we could take? What is the best way for us to get our message to an audience? Who should that audience be? The Hamilton City Council? Our school? The Riverside Cluster? The newspaper? Can we educate others? If so, what should our message be?

Post all the ideas you have. State questions that need answering. Propose ways of finding out information. State what you would like to do once you have done your research - you can always refine your project along the way.

go for it!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

InterWrite pad and data projector

this is a post for you to comment on how we could use the interwrite pad in class. also, what benefits can you see from having a data projector linked to the internet and our computer network?

Sunday, May 07, 2006



mayor island adventure

here is how to wrap up your tuhua terror/mayor island adventure:

collect all the info i've been asking for, present it creatively and attractively. after that, create a story to complete the tale of your time on mayor island and manufacture your escape or a ghastly demise. have fun with it, but use the writing methods we have discussed to make sure you create quality writing that people will enjoy reading.
this will be an ongoing homework project in term two as well as having some time in class each day for confering with your group and writing brilliantly!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Wedding Bells

I'm getting married. YAY!
So don't come to school on the first day or term, friday 28th of april, cos i won't be there.
Mr Woody

p.s. remember to collect info or sources of info for studying hamilton, what its image is like, and ideas for making us the most happening place to be!
who could we interview? what means do we have of gathering and recording information?
and remember to snap away for the online photography competition.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Image Challenge

here is a challenge:

find yourself a picture to represent yourself in your profile. use cartoons, animal images, etc.
try to find out how to post it in your blogger profile. hint - there are instructions on how to do this within your blogger account.

good luck!

[and stay 'safe' on your p.c.]

pic practice

i thoughtit might be useful if we learnt how to post images to our blogs. especially as we are entering the cluster photography competition.
here i go....

yey - it was easy. perhaps you might like to have a go...
BUT - don't post images of yourself. remember it is public and their are weirdos out there. my advice is to get used to protecting yourself from risks by being careful, giving away no personal details or images online. better to be educated and aware than to be afraid and avoid the web, which has so much to offer.
happy learning!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hamiltron, City of the Future

Hamilheaven, as i call it, is a great place to live, but not everyone agrees. In fact, even our own citizens, visiting rugby teams and media commentators sometimes 'put us down'.
Why doesn't everyone agree with me that Hamilton is a cool place to live? What can you find out about Hamilton?
What are its positives? Negatives? And, most importantly, what can we do as proud citizens of Hamilton, to make it a place everyone wants to live, visit or be from?

To answer these questions, we first need to find out everything we can about what Hamilton is all about.
Where can we get started?
If you want to be the most diligent student, start looking now and share your discoveries.

btw - start taking pics too - Mrs McCullagh has set up a photographic competition online for us to win - I'm keen!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Hi kids - what do you think 'netiquette' is?

Monday, March 27, 2006

room 9 rulz

usted es una gran clase. realmente estoy satisfecho ser su profesor.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

PM Amal bans smoking

It is 2025 - Our glorious prime minister, Amal, has changed the law to make smoking illegal - she claims it is evil and deadly and has no place in civilised society.

What do you think? should it be banned or is it an infrinegment of individual rights to ban it?
Please state your reasons to back up your argument.

Consider this also - might she decide to ban motorvehicles and sunbathing for the same reason?

Think about it.....

Saturday, March 18, 2006

apologies for inattentiveness

sorry kidlets - have been away from the feverish excitement of being lost on tuhua - i shall reappear triumphantly after camp - at this stage i am busy suporting sasha and her dad who has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. it is tough, but there is an upside as with all things... i guess.
anyway - don't smoke.
see you at school on monday bright an early for a bus ride to camp!
take care - mr woody

Monday, March 13, 2006

Te reo

Learn Te Reo - quickly! Without a basic knowledge of maori customs and langauge, you will face great danger from your fellow island inhabitants - you have until Friday this week - be quick or you may be murdered, eaten or taken prisoner and used as a slave. If you're properly educated and lucky, you will know what to say, how to act and be taken in as an honoured guest.
Also, it would be wise to find out all you can about taniwha....

As well as indigenous threats, there is a Spanish galleon looming on the horizon. There is no historical record of such a visitation, but perhaps we now understand why - remember the mysterious cloud that got us into this mess?? It must have struck again! Be sure you know how to converse in simple Spanish or you may face a nasty keel haul!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Research for rewards

From now on, you need to show evidence of real research - [not just stuff printed off that you haven't even read, and from more than one source] - to prove that you are taking this seriously - if you do, you will be rewarded....
good topics to research:

maori protocal for approaching a marae.

basic maori greetings, etc.

ways to start fires, find water without streams or lakes, make shelters, etc.

how obsidian is formed.

why Tuhua/mayor island is shaped like a bowl.

How to make a flammable torch for seeing in the dark in a tunnel or cave

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

special powers

being zapped through a time vortex seems to have had a strange effect on some of the class members.
[please excuse my lack of capitals.]
one class member has had a mysterious vision, leaving her with knowledge of a hidden 'treasure' of sorts. but beware, the treasure is fraught with peril as well!
another member, a secretive person, with special abilities seems to have developed the power to have visions of areas and events around the island. this person has inside information about your island co-inhabitants... beware - there is potential danger and advantage lurking around every corner. consider your choices carefully....see if you can find out who the special people are and what they have to share...
mwooohoohoohohhoaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!!! [evil laughter]