Monday, August 27, 2007


speeches, arguments, logic, for and against...

arguments aren't just about getting stroppy with someone and trying to prove you're right by talking louder than them - it's about forming opinions and being able to structure a convincing argument.

Are there any interesting points to debate about our choice of chickens for mummifying?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

dispicable humans

sometimes i despair at how stupid and evil humans can be...

but there is also hope - think of the people who devote their lives to making a positive difference.

i once dreamt of being a primatologist...

and this hideous news ...
what can we do to help save our primates cousins? they need our help.

treasures destroyed and rebuilt

here is an article about the destruction and possible rebuilding of a great treasure.


what is out there???

what is out there?

this is an accidental post....
you can write something random here.

podcasts and vodcasts

podcasting [and now vodcasting as well] is something that i've never worked out how to do - obviously i know how to make a little video or sound recording, but its the publishing of it that has left me wondering. now it seems blogger are making it easier for us to do. no doubt with the rise of things like u-tube, it has become run of the mill to digital natives, but i still need to learn.
here is a link to some instructions for sharing video via blogger...

i am thinking it could be a good way to publish our documentaries about the inquiry topics you have worked on.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

chook money

because we have to buy chooks, salt, plastic bags, rubber gloves, baking soda, paper towels, etc, for ten groups, it will cost me heaps. your little class newsletter sugests 3-5 dollars per student. this depends on whether or not you are in a large, medium or small group.
to be honest, i haven't budgeted accurately and wonder if you could show some working here as to what it might cost per student just for the chickens alone. ten chooks, about $10 each maybe.... 33 students

and its going to take lots of salt, bags, etc on top of that.
btw - the bird pictured is not a chook - it's a wee duckling that was found near a drain at peachgrove - its brothers and sisters were stuck down the drain and no mummy was to be seen.... what will become of them!!!

congratulations to the science fair participants

please leave comments here regarding your own successes and those of your classmates. this years effort was the best i have seen.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

S Group literacy

For reading, can you tell me a bit about your current literature circle work on "The War of the Worlds", please, S Group?

cluster map fun!

Our clustrmap is getting quite exciting. We now have most of the continents represented. If only people would leave us messages so we could share learning and stories.

Room5ians - here is your task - list all the countries we have clustr map visits from.

I'll start...


Welcome Open Day visitors

Welcome to Peachgrove Intermediate.

Room5ians - what are the reasons someone might like to choose Peachgrove as their school?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Inquiry project alert!!!

If you feel you are struggling to manage your town inquiry project, you may decide to complete this online webquest instead.
you must discuss it with me, but feel free to begin anyway or even do it as an extra if you are feeling keen.


mummy time

here is the link to the chook mummification unit:

this is so we can access it at school to modify for our purposes - you do not have to read it or do anything.
it would be helpful if you started to think about how best to organise groups and resources.

this link also has the info for the egyptian novel study unit some of you are doing - it also includes descriptions of the literature circle roles:

Wednesday's work

Wednesday will see me still battling illness and allowing my antibiotics to kick in. I will come in to school in the afternoon to make sure we are ready for Thursday's four open day groups.
Please join small groups to work out how you would host the yr 6 students to make their stay memorable, fun and about what we do in Room 5 that makes school interesting or special.
Can Prim also lead a committee to make sure the room is looking highly presentable, colourful, bright, interesting and tidy?
Two suggestions i have for groups are origami and heiroglyphic named bookmarks.
Items for explanation are as we listed on the board on Monday - Kakepuku Catastrophe, Narrative poetry with stuffed toy making, etc.

Please also be sure to carry on with your literature circles. refer to your lists of reading strategies to take a note of which strategies you are using during your sessions.
Find those lists and explain them to Mr Cooper.

Maths - warm up games, times table practice, sudoku, problem solving, and measurement as the main course.

I miss you all, but I must get better or this illness will drag on for weeks - and it certainly wasn't nice at it's worst.

Also. things to remember that we must get onto if you're keen on them:

how to spend our winnings
what to do for the class reward
plan the trip to kakepuku
get chickens for mummifying and get started asap

be prepared to state very clearly what your final product for your inquiry unit will be and what you need to be helped with to get you there. it will take careful planning and good time management. you will need assistance.

take it easy.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

magic MATHS!

maths is great - afterall, we like shopping don't we? and working out how much pizza we can all have? and getting to the movies on time? - all using maths.

maths can also be magic - in fact, we can use mathematical language to describe almost anything in the universe. on a simple level, we can investigate the magic numbers appear to have.

have you ever investigated magic squares?

follow the link below...

and for a safe NZ government organised site with links to lots of NZ relevant maths stuff follow this link:

and for those keen to try out maths games and problems, check out this link:

more ancient egypt info for your inquiry study

here are more links for you to investigate:

[please note, some are totally information based and some may have the intention of advertising books for sale, etc. See if you can analyse the sites and evaluate their usefulness]

I hope some of these sites will provide valuable information for you to cross reference your different sources of information.

And hopefully more than the usual four or five people will visit here and leave relevant comments. Comment about which sites include useful info would be a good starting point.

Well done to regular and purposeful blog users. You know who you are.


I hereby bequeath you a canopic jar each!

Mummy Time!

righto - enough mucking around - it's time to mummify something!!!!
who is interested in making a real mummy?
it will incorporate science, maths, language, art, technology - the lot!
we will need several dead, plucked, non-frozen chickens, a pile of other stuff, some electronic scales and more.
it will take the rest of term to complete, but i reckon it will be a great way to do all those subjects whilst staying on our inquiry theme.

perhaps we could use our fundraising prize money to buy the necessary ingredients? - just an idea.

Egyptian Inquiry and Literacy

For your Ancient Egyptian Inquiry [or related themes], you will need to read and write reports, or explanations of facts and opinions. This is called transactional writing.
This link takes you to the official explanation of what is required for you to reach level 3 [where most yr 7's should be] and level 4 [where Room5ians should be aiming for].
This is meant for teachers, but you could look at it to help you learn.
We will read non-fiction reports and so forth in school to analyse what features exist that we can identify. By doing that we will be aware of what is required when writing our own reports for our studies.

The next link show you an example of what a level 4 students report might look like. It is re-typed in the students language with all errors included. the writing to the sides shows the explanations of what is being achieved. you can click on a link to see the original work in the students handwriting. you will notice that the presentation is not up to our standard.

And btw - apart from a nasty cough and a dribbly nose, i am feeling much better. Will be back tomorrow unless i relapse.

ka kite apopo

Monday, August 06, 2007


chocolate covered vocab lesson:


Part One: Introduction
The name seems to fit the commodity - the word "chocolate" sounds firm, brittle, with the "crack" of breaking chocolate before melting into the "l" sound.
While thinking about the word's ancestry, it's necessary to recall that most of the world now thinks of chocolate always being combined with sugar and made into a confection.
This was not always so. Unknown outside America until the mid 16th century, the flavour of the cacao bean infused in hot water was rather bitter, which was how Spanish explorers first encountered it and subsequently took the beans to Spain.
Variations developed there - adding cinnamon or vanilla, sometimes sweetening and sometimes not. The popularity of this hot drink spread widely throughout Europe. Adding condensed milk and firming fats did not begin until the 19th century, when solid confectionery chocolate as we know it now, was developed.

Part Two: Where did the word 'chocolate' come from?
Some scholars believe that in its place of origin the ancient name for chocolate was xocoatyl meaning "bitter water," originating from the Aztec language called Nahuatl.
But there is dispute about this - since the Nahuatl language appears not to contain that exact word. Chocolate historians Sophie and Michael Coe believe that Spanish conquerors living in America loved to drink chocolate but resisted the Spanish pronunciation of the Aztec word. Spoken in Spanish it had a "caca" sound at the beginning - reminiscent of the universal children's word for excrement, thus rather unwelcome in elegant society... especially when describing something brown.
To overcome this social disability, a sound from another American language - Mayan - drifted into use to make the original Nahuatl word somewhat more respectable-sounding. 'Choco,' (Mayan for 'hot') slid into use to replace the sound 'caca,' (Nahuatl for 'bitter').
The result was a hybrid of two languages - choco-latl which was socially acceptable when spoken in Spanish, and became the basis for one of the best-known international words.

Part Three: Words Words Words
There are lots of words connected with chocolate. Which ones do you recognize?
Nouns: (in no particular order) chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, cocoa, chockie, choc-bar, chocoholic, cocoa butter, cocoa solids, hot chocolate, iced chocolate, chocolate ├ęclair, devil's food cake, ganache, mocha, sacher torte, chocolatier... (Remember: "chocolate" is uncountable, but "chocolates" - as in "a box of chocolates" - are countable.)
Adjectives: chocolaty or chocolatey, and the interesting chocolate-box - which means being overly sentimental or cutely pretty (for example a photo of a chocolate Labrador with large, sad eyes).

Part Four: Questions Questions Questions
Here are some general knowledge questions.
Which are the top three chocolate eating countries in the world (per capita)? Choose from these countries.
The United Kingdom
What did the Aztecs add to their hot chocolate drink?
How many cups of hot chocolate a day did the Aztec emperor Montezuma drink?
When did the first hot chocolate cafe open in London?

Part Five: Did You Know?
Did you know that chocolate...
contains 'phenylethylamine' (try pronouncing that quickly), a chemical which is produced by the brain when you fall in love?
contains iron? (Now you have a good excuse to eat it, you need to keep your strength up!)
contains vitamin B? (A stress relieving vitamin. Every busy teacher needs to manage stress, so eat up!)
is a vegetable? (Remember your mother told you to eat plenty of vegetables!)
For more on chocolate, including its health benefits, see the Instant Lessons Chocolate Help and A Slab of Health.
Word Puzzle: How many English words can you make using the word 'phenylethylamine'?
Regards,Max. Vocab.

The Answers:
First Switzerland, and joint second Norway and the United Kingdom.
Chili pepper.


see also:


try this group activity at school:

Idioms - True and False - Heads and Hearts

This warmer about idioms encourages discussion and should also be a lot of fun!

Level: Upper-Intermediate and above

Language Aims: Learning idioms and discussing and sharing ideas.
Time: 10 - 15 minutes
Preparation: Take list of idioms below to class.

1. Hand out idioms or write them on the board. [or show this on the data projector]
2. Ask the Room5ians to work out the meanings of these idioms. Encourage them to be imaginative and to avoid using a dictionary. Get them to work out the meanings individually.
3. Place students in pairs to compare their answers and choose the one that they both think is right for each idiom.
4. Then put the students in bigger groups - groups of four if possible - and tell them that two of the ten idioms are not real idioms, they are made-up phrases with no idiomatic meaning! Ask the groups to work out which are the false idioms, and agree on the meanings of the true idioms.
5. At the end get them to use their dictionaries to find out the answers.

a bleeding heart
eat your heart out
a heart of gold
a flowering heart
cross my heart
bury your head in the sand
come to a head
cut your head
have your head in the clouds
off the top of your head


i will be rescheduling interviews for those who actually need them for wednesdays and thursdays after school over the next few weeks. i will phone parents to organise it once i'm back at school. i will not be thinking about it over the next couple of days as i am very sick.
please remind them they have just received a report.

now, remember to organise your reading sessions using material provided by the reliever or what i post on the blog.
please keep progressing on your inquiry work. make sure you are answering your subsidiary questions and recording notes and references which will help your assignment. keep planning and working on your ideas for your finished product.


[cough hack wheeze sneeze!]

Sunday, August 05, 2007

War of the Worlds

Below are some links to info about the Moon landings.

Could someone search through them, select reasonable passages for shared reading, save to a word document, print out, get Frank to copy enough for a group and use it for readers theatre or literacy circles please?

If you find it too confusing to select the material to read, get mR coOPer or the reliever [i don't know who it is] to help you.



transcripts of actual comments by atronauts

maybe this isn't so appropriate for reading material but it is interesting to read parts of the original Apollo 13 press kit released by NASA

or maybe this might be better for reading lessons - the classic tale - "the War of the Worlds", by H.G.Wells:

"soccer makes teacher sick"

actually it was just the cold, wet weather and being soaked in it for several hours while taking soccer for peachgrove kids. fun! but not good for getting rid of colds. now i have swollen glands, a sore throat, sniffly nose, sneezes, coughs, and a wonky head....
SO - no school for Mr WOody tomorrow and therefore no parent interviews either. They will be re-scheduled for a later date.
to ease the hassle of letting everyone know, could those of you who get this please tell your parents immediately and try to get in touch with any of your classmates who you know well enough to phone and who may also have an interview.
many thanks - isn't the internet handy?
i may also be away tuesday so keep looking at the blog for info to pass on to the relievers, etc.
Make sure you look after mR cOoper who will be starting on Monday.
and yes, i know i have written wonky letters - it's my cold making me do it. or is it the flu? hmmm.... do you know the difference? many people over use the term "Flu".
did you know there was a world wide flu epidemic many years ago? it actually killed thousands people!
make sure you do your reading lessons. ask the reliever to whip out some journals or copied pages of text for you to do readers theatre with.
T Group - please work together on the literature circles.
i would also like kitty kat and some careful proofreaders to work as a group on marking more Kakepuku Catastrophes. please be careful with them and leave constructive feedback with your marking schedule.
any photcopying can be done by Frank.
any questions - post them here...
have a nice Monday!

Thursday, August 02, 2007


or we could follow up on your interest in NZ history and Maori art. NZ history is fascintating and unique. i recommend you take the opportunity to find out about it. it is your [most of you] heritage. it is part of your identity.

you are KIWIS [most of you] - and that means you are connected to Aotearoa, NZ, maori, pakeha, tauiwi [spelling?] pacifica and more.

anyway - feel free to disagree - it's a conversation starter

i'd love to do some art and investigate our heritage.


p.s. did you know that people overseas think we are called kiwis because of kiwifruit, which they call "kiwis"? in fact, we are KIWIS because of our national bird.

in fact, we could go to kakepuku and the otorohanga kiwihouse in term four.

p.p.s. i LOVE being a NEW ZEALANDER

term four topics

think about what you'd really like to study in term four.

today i came into shcool to have a meeting with some nice folks who work for the government and microsoft and are going to provide us with digital learning objects to enhance our classroom programme.

we will get two more session in the ICT suite each week fo rsix weeks. we can tell them what we want to study.

so far i have suggested science to do with "planet earth and beyond".

did you know that there is a new replacement for the space shuttle being developed?

did you know that scientists are planning to try to develop a breathable atmosphere on Mars?

did you know that NASA is planning to try a new moon landing?

Do you think it was a hoax by the USA last time they said they landed on the Moon?


please speak to me directly if you have any problems with what is going on in class. i will listen to you. everyone needs constructive feedback and in room 5 i would like to think that we have a warm, caring, trusting environment.
i hope you are all feeling grand and learning something. i realise it is a very different learning environment from what you may be used to but i think there is merit in what i am trying to create for you all. it does rely heavily on your ability to be committed and passionate about what you are doing. i also rely upon you to express your opinions and show task commitment.
i care very much about your educational and emotional well-being.
Many of you are doing such wonderful things that it is a dream class for any teacher.


photos tomorrow

bring your sports gear

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

blogging with style and readign with panache

the word panache needs an accent, but look it up.

i was very impressed with your literacy efforts today. the reader's theatre group were outstanding! so much better than i expected given the lack of experience.

the two literature circle groups were effective too. i think once you all hav emastered the technique of running your own literacy sessions you will be able to impress the restof the school with your talents. most importantly, you will be learning to self instruct, encourage each other, provide valid feedback in a positive manner and evaluate your own performance for improvement - a valuable skill in today's world and applicable to any situation.

well done troops!

also, some of you created incredibly impressive "word webs" today with all the literacy knowledge you displayed.

congratulations you marvellous things!

p.s. start compiling a list of things you have achieved this year on your personal blogs - things that you are proud of. also state your inquiry goals. note down what your intended products might be.