Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Links from MIss ["Mrs" actually, but it doesn't rhyme] Twiss

The following two emails were sent to me by the fabulous ToniTwiss for your edification. The article on philosophy in the previous post was also from her.
Read on:

"You may have seen this but thought your kids might be interested

is very funny - and is along the lines of people getting frustrated with people (ie. the whole of NZ) giving Hamilton a bad name"

- Toni

"After reading your students' post about gravity I found this game

You are the little yellow ball that you have towards your goal. You have a knife and have a certain number of cuts you are allowed at each level. Some objects can be moved but not cut, so for example if you are on a piece of wood you can cut that and it will fall therefore because of gravity the ball will start to roll too. I made it to level 3 - but I am not very clever!"

- Toni

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Who is this character? He is a famous chinese philosopher.
What is philosophy?

Who does it?

Why do they philosophise?

Who are the most famous philosophers?

What can you tell me about Plato, Aristotle and Socrates?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Photo Competition


Our Room5ian trip to the gardens resullte dinsome finalists for our photo competition.
Here are some of the photos that made the finals.

Please vote for your favourite in the poll to the side.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Why can't we put out fires?

How come, if we can blow up whole cities, fly around the planet, go to Mars, unravel our genetic code, make machines smaller than pin heads, construct space stations and chat to classrooms in NZ from them, we can't put out bush fires???
Where do these terrible fires usually rage out of control each year?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Coolest Xmas thing ever!

Muchas gracias to SuzieVesper - the living legend. This rates up there with Tramp'o'Claus for fun factor and laugh out loudness.
Full credit!!!!

"Elf Yourself"

Gravity hurts my brain

Why can't we explain gravity?

Any ideas or researched answers [with references] that could help my poor brain cope with it?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Maths lessons with Smarties

Post your discovered links to maths lessons involving smarties [or pebbles] and fractions, ratios or percentages, (or something like that) here to win the ultimate prize - chocolate!!!!
Oh, and a good report for ICT

Please also list the key competencies you have used by finding and evaluating these resources for use in class - here's the list:

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.

Kei hopu tōu ringa ki te aka tāepa,
engari kia mau ki te aka matua.

What is mathematics about?

Mathematics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships in quantities, space, and time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

From the files of the splendid JaneNicholls...

- ring any bells, Room5ians ???

[found in JaneNicholls blog]

Miss Signal's insight

I was reading this very clever person's blog this evening and I noticed something you guys might enjoy... and it kinda sounds like you guys anyway :-)

"Class discussions based on what the kids wanted our class to look like brought on more and more gusto as they threw themselves whole heartedly into what they felt was an interesting classroom. This saw CDs being brought in, plants and other items that reflect my students and their interests. This has allowed for our gardeners in the class to take on board their interests. Same with the artists, the designers and so on…"
- Miss Signal

Athletics Day 2008

Retell your adventures here...
'Twas a long hot day in the sun putting a high jump pole back up every few minutes for me. However, I was very impressed by the sheer determination of one student in particular. 

Write on, MacDuffs... [don't worry - I'll explain it in class]

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Musical congratulations

Hi kidlets - well done for raising money for your end of year trip in today's gala. I shall be sure to punish everyone who paid to have me "gunged" even though I escaped unharmed.

To reward you for your entrepreneurial diligence, I am sharing this on lin ecollaborativ emusic maker... try it out if you have broadband [but ask your parents first please].


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

two minute noodle scandal!!!!

I love my two minute noodles even though they're bad for me.
So does Neina-Marie, but, being a great GATE student, she investigated by going straight to the horses mouth!
Here is her post from her blog on what happened....

Maggi Noodles - are my curry-flavoured treats harming Orangutans?

Yum... once a weekend, I have 2-minute-noodles for breakfast. Unhealthy, I know, but tasty! However, mulling over the fact that these were listed in the "Use Palm Oil" category, I looked at the ingreidents. It did say quite clearly vegetable oil, but that just means it could use palm oil. The packet did not clearly state that it used PALM OIL. Vegetable oil, as I have now found, is just NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
So, contacting them from their website ( I gave them a little email, which went something like this:
Dear Nestle,
I really enjoy Maggi Noodles, but would also like to know what you stick in 'em. You say you use Vege' oil. Is that oil Palm Oil? If so, can you please clearly state it on your packet? And is it from a sustainable source?
Here is the reply, fresh from my inbox:

Hi Neina-Marie,
Thank you for contacting us regarding the vegetable oil used in our MAGGI Extra Delicious 2 Minute Noodles.
All the noodles contain Palm Oil and this is listed on the ingredients panel of all our packaging (bar one which is the single chicken varient and this will be changed in the future).
Nestle does not use crude palm oil but rather buys products derived from crude palm oil from reputable manufacturers. About 95% of this oil comes from suppliers who are members of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) and who therefore have a declared commitment to sustainable sourcing. Indonesia and Malaysia produce 85% of the world supply and Nestle agronomists in these countries world with suppliers to encourage suatainable practices.
We trust this information is of assistance.


Consumer Services Executive

WOW! I asked my mine of information (Dad), and he gave me SHOCKING news. One variety doesn't mention it uses vegetable oil! And, the oil they get... it's too hard to explain. You read it for yourself. All I have to say is...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Student Youth Council

Dileepa from the University of Waikato and Anaru from Hamilton Boys High School visited us on behalf of the Hamilton Student Youth Council today. They came to discuss the proposed developments in several of Hamilton's strategic growth areas. Our feedback was sought and we had a chance to have a voice in the city, once again.

Room5ians, please state your ideas, questions and input here. No doubt HCC people will take note and maybe even leave you comments.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fun School

games. polls, etc - enjoy

can you read? do you write?

Is your brain engaged in your reading and writing activities? Room5ians brains are - they do all these things when reading actively....

  • Summarize: Every once in awhile, you should stop, look at a portion of text you just read, and try to summarize the content in your own words. This is a good way to test your understanding of the material.

  • Make Predictions: To keep your brain fully engaged in the text, you should make predictions about what you think might happen next based on what you already know. It's always fun to see if your predictions are accurate.

  • Formulate Opinions: We have opinions on everything from the weather to politics. When you are reading, allow yourself to form opinions about the characters, the plot, the style of the writing, etc.

  • Make Connections: A good way to understand something that is new and unfamiliar to you is to connect it to something you already know or have experienced. Can you connect the text you are reading to a personal experience? Does it remind you of something else you've read or seen?

  • Ask Questions: Don't expect that you are going to understand everything in the reading with complete clarity the first time through. What don't you understand? What confuses you? What words are unclear to you?

  • Analyze the Author's Craft: As you are reading, you may notice certain things about the writer's style. Is there a lot of description? Is there too little description? Is the reading easy to follow or difficult in some way? Does the author use a lot of literary devices like similes and metaphors? Do you understand how and why the author is using such devices?

  • Reflect/React/Comment: What do you notice? What surprises you? How do you feel about what you are reading? What do you think about what you are reading?

  • Look for Patterns/Repetitions: What do you notice about the way the text is structured? Do you notice some kind of pattern? Is there some element in the text that is repeated? What is important about this pattern or these repetitions? How does the structure contribute to the overall meaning?
[- as described in Angela Maiers blog]

And thoughts on actively engaging with a txt:

Lets kill creativity

Does that sound like a good goal for educators?
I didn't think so either. So what are we trying to create?

Angela Maiers asks, as have others, if we are killing off potential "Leonardo DaVincis" in our school system. Read some quotes and other info i discovered on her extensive and interesting blog....

Kris Bradburn says:

"We kill the spirits of our up-and-coming da Vinci's. These ten things are the most commonly cited characteristics of highly creative people… and they’re heavily discouraged in the early years by the education system and social climate of adolescence. This is why we won’t see another da Vinci for a long, long time - or why, if we do, he/she would not have come from the system we currently have in place. At every turn schools and society are set on pushing back the most creative individuals. Their common traits are not welcomed nor encouraged, and certainly not nurtured. This must not persist, because I think the world is long overdue for another da Vinci-type right now..."

Albert Einstein himself said [and I agree]:

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

get some perspective

thanks to the two kiwi bloke principals who fwded this clip to each other and via their interesting blogs, to me, so i can share it with you...

teachertube clip

Teachers need to learn too

teachers need to be learners to be able to help students be better learners - see Angela Maiers quote:

"Teachers need to be great learners to lead great learners. I believe that learning is a lifelong journey, an ongoing exploration and way of life. I challenge myself and others to always be striving to find and share big ideas in every million dollar conversation."

Her blog is a repository for some interesting thoughts and resources... enjoy

Saturday, November 08, 2008

What can we do with computers?

Having seen the results of your Aussie Rules computer skills test, I realised there might be some fundamental 'stuff' you kids should or could know to help you develop your computer literacy.
I looked at the wise and wonderful Suzie Vespers ICT wiki and found a page which has someones list of what US 7th graders should be able to do. You will not know all the software or applications, and that doesn't matter, but you coudl checkout what you can do off the list. Maybe you will investigate some of the other things online and report back to us all if they seem useful or interesting.
Enjoy ;-)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Cool organic gardening resources

Here are some resources to check out relating to organic gardening...

check it out - there are little videos and info

Thursday, November 06, 2008

FW: Looking for Focus Group participants

Let me/Amy know if you would be interesting in participating in this campaign to help raise awareness about water conservation in Hamilton


Hamilton City Council is launching a water use awareness campaign, part of this campaign will be involving members of the public to take part in a summer-long water conservation campaign in their own home.

We would be;

    • Fitting a water meter in your home (at no charge and no charge for your water usage)
    • Having the end of November as a control period with the conservation of water/changing of habits beginning on Dec 1 2008.
    • Providing a tool kit of water saving products to use in your home.
    • Arranging media interviews with the newspaper and morning television to update Hamilton residents of the actions being taken and progress made.

Does this sound like fun? Is your household up for the challenge?

Please call Amy van Garderen on 07 838 6679 or email 

Amy van Garderen
Communication and Marketing Assistant
Communication and Marketing
Hamilton City Council
Floor 1 Council Building Garden Place
Private Bag 3010 Hamilton 3240
DDI 07 838 6679
Fax 07 838 6761

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Other Enviroschools in action

St Joseph's school also has an interest in sustainable gardens and chickens.

Here is their website:

Checkout the links in the sidebar menu - they have many similar interests and have been making things happen.

Can you find websites or blogs from Hamilton schools that also have similar projects ?

I hear Hukanui is a cool school and I saw another school on TV who have sustainable gardens and their own flash kitchen for the after school kids to make food in.

Monday, November 03, 2008

online tutorials with "Woopid"

Try this out to learn how to do stuff with computers...

will show you how...

Thanks to twitter friends Heymilly and Sujokat for the tips
It pays to learn online as part of a personalised learning community. This is what kids are doing when they play collaborative games, etc. And they learn fast! [- or should i say, 'quickly'?]
For me, Twitter rocks for sharing stuff like this.

Forests of Life

Forests of Life is a NZ website dedicated to the collaborative learning of students teachers and scientists in relation to forests and the issue of sustainability.
Check it out...

some more 21st Century Education in NZ...

[For my ICT PD group...]

Here is an example in Wellington... At least, they seem to be heading in the right direction by integrating ICTs into their learning in a fluid and natural manner. It remains to be seen how they approach the context of their learning, but by being in partnership with Te Papa, it sounds like they too are trying to break down the barriers and get kids out of the classroom. I like the way they mentioned allowing kids to choose how they presented work and were using tools like Google Sketchup to model projects 3Dimensionally.
Notice they said computers, etc, are just tools that are part of their learning. They don't go off to "do ICT". The Internet is a normal and necessary part of their learning world and allows them to develop critical thinking and to become discerning "filterers" [my word] of information.
Today alone our learning was restricted by lack of access to Google tools [Google calendar to plan our week with M3 couldn't be done because we can't access gmail], Youtube [to support our research into Globalisation, deforestation, palm oil production and Orangutan extinction] is blocked, and of course, we still can't make posts on our blogs after three years of trying. Instead we went to the library where the kids discovered 25 yr old text books that had outdated information. Mind you, we were able to then compare and contrast, think critically, learn referencing techniques, etc. So libraries are still VERY important. And of course everyone loves Mrs Kneebone and her amazing wealth of knowledge and willingness to help people out by finding resources.
Anyway, here is the Wellington school that has taken the initiative:

21st-century-education at Brooklyn School in Wellington - in conjunction with Hewlett Packard and The Ministry of Education.

Orangutan Conservation

I have always been passionately interested in primates. Perhaps it's because I resemble one so closely. Or perhaps it is because they are such amazing animals.

Here are some sites to investigate:

Globalisation assignments

Let's clarify our globalisation assignments here....

1. Homework - Personal, creative, high quality, "model" project [not necessarily a model, but something physical, and representative of your learning in globalisation]. Must be extremely high quality so you are proud of it and everyone else is amazed by your brilliance.

- due week middle of week 8

2. Paired Youtube documentary project - done collaboratively with your pair of M3 students.

Includes a story board and a record of your timetabled interactions with M3 - Using Small-World wiki, Edmodo microblogging, our other blogs, Skype, telephone, and email.

3. In class group projects such as developing a globalisation newspaper, magazine or website. Perhaps something creative projects like a drama, song, dance, musical piece, Marvin animation, etc.

4. To regularly interact with the class blog and to develop an e-portfolio of related resources and opinions on your own personal blogs.

5. You may use Glogster also, but it must be linked to the class blog and your personal blogs. It is my preference that you continue to use blogger to keep a record of your learning.

6. We will also be doing a letter writing campaign to try to convince politicians to put a stop to destructive palm oil plantations in places where orangutans should be living.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Poverty sucks - do you understand what it means and how millions of people around the world miss out on basic things we take for granted every day?
One of my cool teacher friends showed me this site - it's a game that helps you understand a bit more about poverty in our globalised world....

Really it's about knowing geography so Hamiltron is th eman to beat.
On my first go I got donated 137 cups of water but i missed the first choice cos i didn't know what to do. See if you can beat me. :-)

Famine is another terrible thing, hence the highly distressing photograph - sorry if it's too awful for you, but ignorance is bliss and people need help.