Sunday, June 29, 2008

winter planting

What should we be planting at this time of year?
Do you know about Matariki and the maori planting calendar?
What are your favourite veges or fruit?

Winter Crops


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Aliens are real ... or not

HAve you seen an alien? I haven't. Well, at least, I don't think so.
My friend Deeknow just alerted me, by chance, to the fact that E.T. Spotters have come up with taxonomies of Aliens. [-Remember I mentioned taxonomy and taxonomical sciencey stuff in class today - do you remember what it is? No? Use a dictionary then.]
So, he mentioned "greys" adn I wondered, what doe she mean. I "Googled" it and discovered that various folk have indeed come up with their own taxonomies of aliens. Fair enough I thought. Maybe some of the little twerps in my class would find this interesting. SO, here it is... [sorry for calling you twerps]

"Huyghe [the guy who wrote a book about classifying aliens] states his classification doesn't pretend to be scientific but is based solely on how the aliens looked to the human observer, i.e., their phenotype. Huyghe has been able to distinguish four separate classes with several types within each class. The largest class, as one might expect, is the humanoids with five sub-types: nordics, short grays, short non-grays, giants, and nonclassics. Under the animalian category are also five types: mammalian, reptilian, amphibian, insectoid, and avian. Under robotic we find two types: the metallic and the fleshy. And in the fourth category, the exotic, we have again two types: the physical and the apparitional (ghostlike creatures)."

So, which type do you think this is...?

And what does taxonomy mean? When might a scientist use it?

Greenhouse measurement and modelling

No, the greenhouse isn't planning to become a supermodel. We are going to work out how to accurately measure it and draw up scale model diagrams of it.
Does anyone know how to do wany of that? What do you think you have to be able to do...?
Once we have successfully worked it out and drawn it in our maths books, fast finishers can use google sketchup to create a 3D drawing of it.
The basic shape is similar to the one pictured above. The dimensions and proportions are bigger.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Roo's photo comp

ask Roo about it

KA - KE - PU - KU !!!!

Well done troops - you got yourselves to your maunga in fairly average conditions today and gave it a go. Special kudos to the summit-reachers and a mention must go to the mud pirates, slippery slopers, and our amazing stairsurfer.
Too bad we never got to wrestle any cows, go back in time, meet superheroes, or fight off menacing trees.
Did you think the old dog was reeeeallly a dog... ???

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

i am amazed...

I have a photo of free range chickens on my computer. Every adult I have shown it to at school has laughed as if it's some kind of joke or I'm weird or a stupid greenie to believe that chickens shouldn't be tortured whilst being reared for meat of kept as egg producers. I find this odd and rather unsettling. All of the people involved are church going people. Is this relevant to animal rights ethics or not? [For the record, I am irreligious.]
What do you think of this - should people in a modern educated society realise that such cruelty is unnecessary. Or is it okay to ignore cruelty to animals because it makes it cheaper and easier to have the food we want??? Maybe you don't think animals do suffer or should have rights?
Thus we start to delve into the realms of fact versus opinion.
Another interesting issue is the one about which animals it's alright to eat or not. Who decides? Why some and not others?
People in some African, Asian, Central and South American countries eat endangered primates.
Some people in Scandinavian and Asian countries eat marine mammals like whales.
In South America guinea pigs are eaten.
In some countries horses are eaten - like in France.
Here we eat cows which are considered sacred in other countries.
In some Asian countries people farm and eat dogs, cats, etc.
I have met people in NZ who think it's cool to catch as many fish as they can. I have met people who fish in marine reserves. So why do we humans have such diverse, contradictory yet strongly held views about what is wrong and right when it comes to animals? HEck! Some of us even ate each other until relatively recently.
Why do we hold such different views on things and believe in them so strongly? hmmm....
We humans are strange creatures.

Great science lesson Mr Abrahams!

Mr Abraham's cool science lesson.

Mr WOody wanted to know where the bubbles come from when something boils.

Mr Abraham's designed a an experiment and discussion to help us find out. [Great Teaching Mr Abrahams!]

I found the discussion soooo fascinating and learnt heaps. [by the way - is it "learned" or "learnt"?]

What is our solar system mostly made of?

Where is most of the matter in our solar system 'stored'?

What are the units of matter that we can name?

[...are these questions very high up in Bloom's Taxonomy?]

Explain where the bubbles come from when something boils?

Imagine what it is like on other planets... or inside a molecule...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Survival trip

Remember how you had to plan and prepare for a survival experience on Kakepuku?
Well, plan and prepare for the same thing for Wednesday - it will be foul weather no doubt. Underfoot it will be wet, slippery and muddy. Shoes need to be water resistant and grippy. Socks need to be thick and warm. Pants need to be warm. Your raincoat needs to be good quality to protect you from hours in the rain. You need a food, drink, spare socks and pants. A small towel might be wise. A showerproof, warm hat would be a VERY good idea. Your drink should be water or something healthy. No fizzy drinks or caffeinated energy drinks. Chocolate is fine with extra for mR WOody and Mr Abrahams. Bring two plastic bags for wet clothes and shoes.
Cameras are a good thing to bring but need to be in a water proof bag of some sort.
Mobile phones are okay.
We plan to visit Kakepuku, Yarndley's Bush and the Sustainable Backyard at the Hamilton Gardens.
If you all get your permission slips in by tomorrow morning we will have a trip to the garden area as a reward and you will get 100 class points. If you all bring the cash for the trip you will get an extra 100 class points.

I can't wait!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


No more delays - rain or shine, we will get in our bus and go to Kakepuku this Wednesday. You must bring in your permission slip if yo uhaven't already.
We may take a slightly different approach if it is yucky weather, but we will still go.
It is only $5 now, thanks to Mrs Barham. Hooray!
We may be able to stop in on the sustainable backyard on the way back if we have time.
We should also plan a field trip to other enviroschools for the start of term three.
Hip HIp HOORaY!!!

What would you plant?

What would you plant if you had permission to use the greenhouse and could start tomorrow?
What would you need?
What would you do with it once it grew?
Ask your parents what types of plants they would be interested in receiving from school.

[oh, and make sure you're getting lots of sponsors for spellathon!]

p, e, r, m, a, c, u, l, t, u, r, e spells "permaculture"!

More links on permaculture:

Permaculture Association [Britain]

Permaculture; A Beginner Guide

Permaculture in New Zealand

organic gardening

Ski Trip

Secret message to Room5ians....
I'm in charge of taking 20 kids skiing for the last three days of term 3. Who wants to come... it'd going to cost about $500 including everything - transport, accommodation, three meals a day [good food too], ski gear [skis or snowboards], lessons, passes, hot pools each night and loads of fun! It's cheaper if you have you're own passes, etc.
Selection will be based on behaviour, work commitment, etc.
I know it's expensive, but it is great! If weather doesn't allow skiing every day, we have an alternative programme with outdoor adventures like white water-rafting, etc.
Who wants to come?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

learning by "doing" in a real context

I wonder if the Room5ians are starting to learn in a way that is embedded with the NZ Curriculum Key Competencies. . . ?

What are they? Well, read on and tell me how you have used them in your gardening project so far or how you think you could use them in the future.

Capabilities for living and lifelong learning

The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies:

  • thinking
  • using language, symbols, and texts
  • managing self
  • relating to others
  • participating and contributing.
"More complex than skills, the competencies draw also on knowledge, attitudes, and values in ways that lead to action...As they develop the competencies, successful learners are also motivated to use them, recognising when and how to do so and why...The competencies continue to develop over time, shaped by interactions with people, places, ideas and things. Students need to be challenged and supported to develop them in contexts that are increasingly wide-ranging and complex."
- The New Zealand Curriculum [page 12]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ThE AMaZinG mR TeeHaN's ClaSS

Read their blog to see what they learned about us and how we made an impact on the other side of the world. Let them know what it meant to you to be involved with them and what you learned about America; "The Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free"
- it certainly has been a pleasure :-)
Mr Teehan is an inspirational teacher and his class are very fortunate to have had him.

- one question - do the same kids come back to you after the holidays, Mr Teehan?

Blogger ~An0nym0usb0b said...
"I very much enjoyed working with the kids from new zealand, so to keep in touch with them i made a blog. Please go tho please post, comment and give some ideas and tips to improve my blog and make it easier to talk with the kids in new zealand."

Food Debate

In class today a stunning debate was raised about the quality of food available and whether or not it is worth us discussing it. Some people thought it was important to debate food quality because we cared for the general health of our society. Others thought that you can't blame fastfood companies for the behaviour of its customers - i.e. choosing to eat an imbalanced diet or creating litter. So, what do you think? Do we have a responsibility as informed members of society to spread knowledge? Or should we keep our opinions to ourselves and let individuals make their own choices , even if it leads to poor health. At what point does it become a group issue how individuals behave?
Can you relate this kind of reasoning to other issues in society? When do the rights of the majority mean we should interfere with personal choices? In what ways does the government make choices for us for the benefit of others? Do teachers do it? Do families do it?
Well done for thinking, justifying and expressing opinions.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sustainable Room5ians

Room5ians have expressed an interest in sustainable farming, growing 'clean, green' food and raising free range organic chickens for eggs.

If we can plan and implement a realistic programme for developing an area of the school as an organic, sustainable "farmlet", and we are prepared to stick with it and follow it through, we have permission to do so.

Please state all the positives, potential barriers, solutions and innovative ideas you have.

Why should we? How can we? Do you want to? What will we do to make it happen?

Add as much information here as possible and make posts on your own blogs to add further info. If we really want to we can make this happen.

Go for it!

Enviroschools philosophy is:

"Imagine...a generation of innovative and motivated young people, who instinctively think and act sustainably.
Enviroschools is working towards this vision through a whole school approach to environmental education. Students develop skills, understanding, knowledge and confidence through planning, designing and creating a sustainable school. Action projects undertaken by enviroschools have both environmental and educational outcomes that benefit the school and the wider community."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Howdy to Mr Teehan's class in New Jersey

These are Room5ians wishing you all a happy holiday - or something like that. I bet you can't understand them. Thanks for being our American friends this year.

Cheers Mr Teehan!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Prince Charles settles old debt

By crikey - I'm sure he's not that old. But he has paid up anyway. Now that's honouring your debts. Read on...

"Prince Charles has settled a royal debt dating from 1651.

The account of £453.15 was incurred by the future King Charles II, who commissioned the Clothiers Company of Worcester to make uniforms for his troops during the English civil war."

Sudoku spoils trial

Warning children - sudoku may secretly be a weapon in the war against law and order!
Read on...

"$1m drug trial aborted after jurors caught playing sudoku"

A drugs trial in Australia has been abandoned after jurors played sudoku while evidence was being given.

The judge at the Sydney District Court on Tuesday discharged the jury in the case, which had been running over the past four months and cost taxpayers an estimated $A1 million.

RIP CHeeky

CHeeky, our special ratty friend, died this week and was buried with her beloved sister at our school behind the caretaker's shed.
We loved her dearly. She was so cool.
Now she is in ratty heaven.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ideas for Voicethread

A class in Napier wants to skype us and use Voicethread [remember the thing we saw in class with the small boy who shared his monster pictures and where people left comments about them? That was Voicethread]. Their teacher, Chrissy Hellyer, [who is a Sagittarian and they are the best kind of person] and I thought maybe a photography competition might be fun. But perhaps you might come up with other ideas that tickle your fancy.
Let us know here...


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Pedagogy 2.0 for teachers

[Room5ians may ignore this]

From an interesting article in Innovate,

Future Learning Landscapes:
Transforming Pedagogy through Social Software

"Pedagogy 2.0: Teaching and Learning for the Knowledge Age

In striving to achieve these goals, educators need to revisit their conceptualization of teaching and learning. Educators need to engage meaningfully with the world in which students live and strive to integrate technologies and tasks that are meaningful and relevant to the demands of today’s networked society (NMC 2007). The connectivist model is particularly promising in the context of Web 2.0.

Connectivism describes learning as a process of creating a network of personal knowledge, a view that is congruent with the ways in which people engage in socialization and interaction in the Web 2.0 world—a world that links minds, communities, and ideas while promoting personalization, collaboration, and creativity leading to knowledge creation. Such processes lead to an interdependence of ideas, individuals, communities, and information networks, all supported by technology; a Web 2.0 pedagogy will capitalize on this interdependence. We call this approach Pedagogy 2.0. Pedagogy 2.0 is defined by:

  • Content: Microunits that augment thinking and cognition by offering diverse perspectives and representations to learners and learner-generated resources that accrue from students creating, sharing, and revising ideas;
  • Curriculum: Syllabi that are not fixed but dynamic, open to negotiation and learner input, consisting of bite-sized modules that are interdisciplinary in focus and that blend formal and informal learning;
  • Communication: Open, peer-to-peer, multifaceted communication using multiple media types to achieve relevance and clarity;
  • Process: Situated, reflective, integrated thinking processes that are iterative, dynamic, and performance and inquiry based;
  • Resources: Multiple informal and formal sources that are rich in media and global in reach;
  • Scaffolds: Support for students from a network of peers, teachers, experts, and communities; and
  • Learning tasks: Authentic, personalized, learner-driven and learner-designed, experiential tasks that enable learners to create content."
The magazine has many interesting articles and staff may be interested in reading online as they consider new ways to educate.

upcoming science lessons

These links are to science lessons we will be doing in class :-)
They should either help you develop concepts relevant to our imminent science fair, or be of interest to those of you with a scientific mind, or more specifically with an interest in 'space'...
Oh, and there's one relating to P.E. and fitness testing.

material properties - plastics

testing pulse rates:
ranking environmental problems:
using learning objects to understand day and night:
Using online models to understand the phases of the moon:
Changing theories about Mars:
how science ideas change over time:
types of scientific investigations:
Plus some quizes that may interest you.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

poster art competition

and our winners are:
Snowy and Marzy - well done Room5ians!
Constable Berquist deserves many thanks for his hard work on this project and thanks also to Casey Molloy from the HCC :-)
Thanks to the Waikato Times for the article and the photos

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

football/soccer or netball next?

Vote here for soccer/football or netball next in our P.E. sessions starting this Friday

Amazing presentation

Some of you are really impressing me with your work presentation. There are so many ways to do it; from blogs, to wikis, posters, podcasts, videos, songs, poems, scrolls, letters, paintings, etc - what are your favourite methods?

[...and have I used the semi-colon correctly or not???]

[...and what about that thing between the etc and the what? What is it and is it supposed to be there?]

[...and what are these three dots preceding my words? Should they be there?]

Would you rather sing or dance???

Would you rather sing or dance?
If you were in a band, what instrument would you like to play?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Latest Clustermap

Any new countries? Check out the island north west of Great Britain... and I wonder why all the interest from Brazil? Maybe we should learn some Portugese. I remember people in Portugal didn't like it if we tried to speak Spanish to them when I was travelling there. Why do you think thy speak Portugese in Brasil?

Great to see more countries having a look in the great continent of Africa.

Clustermaps rule!

oh - today I learned what ellipses are. Can you spot one in this text? You will find out tomorrow.


Who has done or currently practises a martial art?
I recommend it. You learn alot about yourself, your body, and you have to have discipline, fitness, and determination. It's good for your coordination, flexibility, breathing, balance, strength and memory, no matter which style you choose to learn. You make new friends and grow in confidence.
I started many years ago with Tae kwon do, which lead me into stick fighting, kick boxing, and a bit of boxing. After that I really enjoyed Aikido, which I recommend. Now however, I'm considering trying Kendo, as it looks like my decrepid old body could handle it. It also has a slight relationship to Aikido, which I really enjoyed, as they both relate to the japanese sword fighting techniques of the samurai.
I find it all rather fascinating - does anyone else?
Feel free to share your own thoughts or experiences here.

utube kendo in slow mo - very cool