Monday, October 05, 2009

Who would like their blog showcased?

At Ulearn09 I will be running a workshop on how to get people like you [squiddlers, kidlets, students, Room5ians - whatever it is you're called] to write brilliantly online through blogging :-)
I need some quality bloggers to volunteer to have their blogs showcased. You can even recommend one of your peers if you like.
Let's see if you guys have superior blogs to the Woodmonstas...

And guess what - the poor Woodmonsta kids haven't had a chance to do something like the Kakepuku Catastrophe! Poor them!

Of course you may all be at the beach or off skiing...

How about Hamiltron or Rosiegal or Kittymilo or Nei-Nei-NeinaMarie! or Roo or Mojo?
And, of course, we must check out the glorious student who gave us our name:
Im a Room5ian :-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where does the responsibility start and end?

When sharing online learning with young people, like Room5ians, how far should the school go to make sure no one sees anything "dodgy", like advertisements aimed at adults...?
Do we stop young people from watching tv, reading, newspapers, walking down the main street? All of these places have mild adult content everywhere.
Does learning in the real world environment allow teachers to help students understand safe ways to cope with things they will be bombarded with anyway, outside of school?
It's like the cyberbullying issue. We ban phones to avoid txt bullying and worry about kids bullying online, but most if not all bullying happens face to face or in whispers around the playground. Do we ban access to the playground?
What do you think? Kids? Anyone?
Just wondering... :-)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Well done Mr Jones and Rocking former Room5ians!

Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Please ask him to clarify and send him my congratulations :-)
Also big ups to former Room5ians who were going for it at the Band competition on Friday :-)
I see the defection of Mrs MacKenzie has meant that Fairfield has won this time, just like you won last time with her help. She must be great! You must be great!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Room5ians Rule

Roooom5iaaaaans ruuuule!!!!
there is no one like a Room5ian.
I have some new kids in my current class who would make excellent Room5ians.
I would love to hear from you. Any tales of life at PeachyGrove?
Big hugs to you all [- ask Mojo] ;-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Dog Walking along the Mighty Waikato

The lovely Waikato river on a morning walk [Flip Video test]
Lack of zoom is noticeable outdoors, but no prob when in class.
The sound is good too.
I want one because it is sooooo easy to use.

ICT PD Day at Smiley's Lovely School

What a powerhouse group!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Samuel Morse's birthday

Morse Code - can you use it? I challenge the inventor centre types to make a morse code machine with an audible, electronically generated signal.
Then you have to learn Morse code and demonstrate your ability to say, "Ha ha, Mr Woody - See? I did it!"

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Wow - there have been about 300 hits on this blog in the last fortnight...which is interesting only because I don't actually use this blog anymore... maybe i should though... Any former Room5ians out there still peeking?
Remember to check out the current incarnation of this called "Woodmonstas!"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Allanah King's dancing breakout

We broke into a practice session of "Matt's Dance" [you know - that happy guy on Youtube] in preparation for a flashmob warmup for Wes Fryer's keynote tomorrow.
Poor Wes... ;-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New blog = "Woodmonstas"

My new class blog is called "Woodmonstas" and is at
Come and join us there :-)

New Blog

I am going to create a new blog for us to share called "Woodmonstas!"
It is possibly going to have all of the content of Room5ians Rule transferred onto it. I am unsure at this stage how that will affect our audience as the URL will change....

So, prepare to Google "Woodmonstas! if you wish to stay in touch :-)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Cyber Safety reminders

Hi kids - Room5ians, meet some Room 18 "Woodmonstas". They will soon have their own class blog [Gaboose will laugh - we have had no internet at school until today so blog plans have been slightly delayed] and will be becoming world famous just like you guys ... although, I believe they need some guidance from the experienced Room5ians to help them shoot to e-learning excellence.

Of course, another major requirement of successfully using e-learning in a positive way is to remain cybersafe. That means protecting your identity and avoiding trouble from cyberbullies.
Room5ians were so mature that we never suffered from any problems on our blog. We had 3 years of trouble free blogging with all the wonders of sharing our learning with people all over the planet.
If anyone had broken the rules, all children would suffer because schools and caregivers would make it harder to use the internet and to learn as connected, creative, responsible, self-directed, 21st century learning citizens of the world - just as the new NZ curriculum says we should be.

So, here are some internet safety resources online to share with parents who are concerned. Please also engage in dialogue with each other to share your experiences and knowledge. Remember the world is watching and hoping to learn along side you.


Your holidays through poetry

Are you a reluctant writer? Or do you love the power of words?
Here is a starter to help you write more expressively about your holidays... And as a bonus, you need less words too ;-)

New Zealand has several famous writers and poets. James K. Baxter is one of them. He writes thus:

"The town was usual enough; it had
A creek, a bridge, a beach, a sky
Over it, and even a small tin church
I never went to. My brother, my cousins and I
Did what boys do - dozed in the hot
Schoolroom, made bows and arrows, dodged the mad
Boatbuilder, crept like rabbits through the black
Under-runners with a weak torch,
Burnt dry rushes, wrestled or swam
Doing nothing important"

- James K. Baxter

Re-write the poem, filling in your own details, using strong verbs, interesting nouns, and appealing adjectives, yet maintaining the same rhythm. Post it on your own blog or as a comment here.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


oh my goodness... i have to do a mihi and sing a waiata in front of about 900 people tomorrow morning as a "welcome"or powhiri at my new school. It's a cool thing to experience, but it's also scary when you don't quite know what to do.
Oh well. When faced with difficult expectations one is better to face them and get them over and done with rather than worry and try to avoid them. In fact, now that i have received some assistance from the fabulous Miss Freeman and Heheboy I am actually feeling like it will be a cool thing to do.
I will take my Peachgrove waka huia to explain how we are bringing experience and knowledge with us and expecting to receive more knowledge and experience from the new school community.
Here is some of my mihi. Please offer advice or correction where you think necessary.

Tena koutou tena koutou tena koutou katoa.
Ko David Woodcock toku ingoa.
Ko Susan Tucker toku mama.
Ko Eric Woodcock toku papa.
Ko Pirongia te maunga.
Ko Waikato te awa.
No Kirikiriroa ahau.

Then I will use the waka huia as a metaphor for our new beginning at Fairfield and the sharing of our collective knowledge, skills and wisdom [the last being debatable of course].
To finish I may share the words of the the Second Maori King, Matutaera Te Wherowhero Tawhiao:

"Kia hora te marino
Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana
Kia tere te Karohirohi
I mua I too huarahi"

May peace be widespread
May the sea glisten like greenstone
May the shimmer of light guide you on your way."

Tena koutou tena koutou katoa

Saturday, January 31, 2009

New School

Hooray! I have had 8 marvellous years [mostly] at Peachgrove and have made firm friends there. It really is a special place.
Now I get to start again in a wonderful new school with loads of nice people and interesting students.
I'm a bit freaked out by Monday morning's powhiri where four of us need to sing a waiata in front of 900 people and I apparently have to speak on behalf of the newbies in response to the tangata whenua.
I met most of the new yr 7's on Friday and they all seemed cool. I even met a few of the returning yr 8's who also seemed lovely. There were MacLayne, Madison and Micaela - all the M names!?
I hope we have a really amazing class like my dear Room5ians. I know it will be different than an online school, lots of great interactions. It will definitely not be anything like a college class either. It's a shame that some silly people have tried to cause negative problems before we even started, but I know that the mature people will all cope with getting a new teacher and we should have as much of a good time as we did at Peachgrove.
Some of the exciting things we have at Fairfield are a tv studio, a radio station, flash rooms with loads of ICT stuff and a full time technician who is able to allow us access to anything educational that we need to be 21st Century learners.
I can't wait!
Have a great year all you bloggers out there in cyberland.
I shall create a new room 18 blog soon and provide a link to it here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Small World

Appreciate what you have... watch this video to see why. It's about imagining the population of the planet as being only 100 people and showing the proportions of ethnicity, wealth, etc. as they are today.

You will need flash and broadband... [approximately only 3% of the world's population can achieve that]

Miniature Earth

Friday, January 16, 2009

sage advice from former teacher

If you think back to what you learned from me, you will almost certainly remember that you shouldn't eat nails [especially rusty ones], glass, and skyscrapers...
Well! As it turns out, somebody agrees with me.
I enjoy POkestuff's art as seen on Flickr :-) There is lots of cool art on Flickr if you go searching.
[Safe Search only Please]

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Curriculum vitae

I need an updated c.v. for the job I just won and for potential future opportunities.
KittyKat wrote me a lovely reference [see post below], as have several other students and parents. I am hoping interested people might leave a comment here that I may use for reference purposes. I can then place a link to this post in any online c.v.'s I might construct.
Being specific about just how marvellous I am would be useful.
Also, if anyone has access to worthwhile c.v. resources, a push in the right direction would be appreciated as I haven't written a c.v. for over 8 years :-)

Sour snakes for anyone who leaves a useful comment ;-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dog Monster

I love my dog, Manolo Guevara - Manny for short.
We love to go on adventures. I stretch the boundaries of what we should get up to by letting him off the lead a lot. He gets to run and chase bunnies and swim in the river and sometimes dig tunnels into rabbit burrows in the side of banks along the Waikato River [as pictured above]. He's an energetic boy and every day he gets out for at least two walks - walks that include a lot of running, sniffing, and usually some chasing. But don't worry, he doesn't hurt any bunnies or ducks he might happen to catch. He seems to have some sort of retrieving instinct that means he doesn't hurt them. Most interesting...
His heritage is a mystery to us except that he is a staffie cross and he was left to starve to death in a cage by his evil former owners. Scum like that should be locked in cages to starve i reckon.
I meet interesting dog owners on the river walks that suggest he is part boxer, part lab, part pitbull, etc. All I know is he's all lovely. I hate it when snooty people pull their dogs away from him as he goes for a bum sniff. Or people who won't answer a cheery "hello" except with a scowl. Those people are ignorant and rude and the media hasn't helped. The media shows stories of dogs like Manny hurting people, but they never show stories of labs biting people - and labs bite more people than any other breed in NZ.
Staffies are beautiful dogs with a friendly, loving nature. They are smart, energetic and fun.

I love my boy :-)

Thank you god of schools

Kitty Kat said...

hey mr woody,

i figure you'll probably get this through your email so i just decided to write on this post because it seemed to make sense.

i'm writing this to say good luck for next year (at fairfield?) and the rest of forever. i had an amazing year last year (well 2007) and that was mainly thanks to you.

i've figured out what made you such a good well as teaching me how to teach myself and things, you taught me people skills. you created a fun and happy place where i could learn and enjoy myself. and that suited me really well. you made school something which i enjoyed rather than something which was...boring? so far you are (over all) the best teacher i have ever had. and i think i'll remember that year forever.

i didn't really talk to you last year but by the sounds of your blog you had a good year.

sorry i didn't get to come and see you on the last day and say this in person but i was a bit teary and not thinking straight.

thanks so much mr woody. i hope your having a good holiday. mum and dad say hi.

from kate.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MeMe ! 7 things you may not have known about me...

I am reluctant to do this in some ways, but on the other hand, why not? The "science" of memetics has been studied and discussed in relation to our societal evolution. I find this interesting enough to stick my oar in...

So, by sharing 7 "interesting" [supposedly unknown] things about myself then tagging 7 friends [no obligation of course] I am engaging in the development of my PLN friendships :-)

1. When i was a baby I hung out with chooks and i apparently I ate their poo. This could be why I now have four hens in my backyard... [I do not enagage in the fecal freakishness anymore].
We lived in Hamilheaven/Hamiltron, City of the Future, but my father was originally a farm lad who became a shearer and along with his elder brother Dawson and my grandad Jack Woodcock, they became the Woodcock gang. This unnerved my other beloved grandfather, Claude Tucker, who thought they were a real gang and felt this was inappropriate for his eldest daughter, my mother Susan, to marry into. But she did and here I am.

2. I've been doing various martial arts since i was 15 [with breaks], including tae kwan do, philipino stick fighting, kick boxing, aikido and now kendo, which many of you know from my ramblings. However, the embarrassing part is that as a teen, I wanted to be a ninja! I even went to Togakure Ryu Ninjitsu school in Australia to visit and see what they were up to. It turns out they were whackjobs and I thought i might be better off becoming a wildlfife documentary maker like David Attenborough. A close call....

3. I've been diversely employed in my time... from accounts clerk, to water bed installer, to futon bed shop manager, to govt property valuer, to systems auditing consultant in London, to ostrich pimp. There's more but you get the picture. Teaching is the first job I've done for more than a year and i spent the first 8 at the same school.
When I was young I wanted to be a David Attenborough type. Now I want to make weird graphic novels, digital stories and short films, work in conservation and be independently wealthy so i don't have to be a wage slave.

4. When I was 20 I snapped my anterior cruciate ligament and tore my knee cartilage. Ten years later, and after many unpleasant experiences where people had to help me put my leg back into order so i could stand up, John Sullivan [surgeon, R.I.P.] did what my first useless surgeon refused to and fixed it by drilling holes in various leg bones, cutting out patella tendon and screwing it into place with titanium screws to replace the torn ligamant. Works nicely thanks John! Now, ten or so years later again, I am visiting John Sullivan House to deal with another irksome medical issue. Coincidence? Or is John Sullivan my medical guardian angel hmmm...

5. One of my favourite NZ experiences has been staying and working on Little Barrier Island for two weeks when I was at uni studying biology. It is a wonderland of bird life. It's a shame we have ravaged so much of our land that our unique native fauna is virtually non-existent by comparison. Having breakfast with kaka sitting on your head and shoulders is quite a nifty experience.

6. I draw comic type doodles and have a draft version of a graphic novel based around the idea that a genetic code was sent here by a dying race from Sirius. The dna "virus" infected life on Earth at an early stage, influencing evolutionary trends, ultimately leading to the development of what we now see as human beings and all their strange ways. This all comes inpart from my grandfather Claude who is convinced of this due to his discoveries whilst in Egypt during WW2 as a member of the 5th Field Ambulance.

7. I find religion reeeeally really fascinating. I have been raised completely irreligiously, which i take as a great boon. I generally consider religious people to interesting because I find it difficult to understand why people believe in things that are so far-fetched and based on such out of date ideas that are contrary to modern understandings of the world - especially if they deny science or take ancient religious texts literally.
I went to uni in 1988 with the goal of discovering how the world works through the study of earth sciences, biology, paleontology, etc. I also took religious studies - you know, studying the history of and practice of religion from an academic perspective. I graduated many moons later after a study, work and travel [20 countries in all] cycle, with a B.A. in religious studies and Biology mainly, with a little politics, philosophy, sociology and Spanish thrown in.
I found I became more tolerant in some ways and less in others. I continue to struggle with my critical dismissal of some of the more outlandish beliefs held by some religious folk whilst harbouring a tendency to want to believe in some peculiar and foolish things myself - I guess these both count as ways in which humans attempt to make sense of the world; understand life, the universe and everything.
As an answer to the life's mysteries 42 doesn't quite do it for me ;-) although i do respect Douglas Adams' perspective more than most.

So, who [or is it whom?] should i tag???
I think some of the people I would pick have either done it or would mock me for sending it through.... but i'll pick them anyway plus some others

Amanda! [cos I know she's reading without participating and she has to upskill in ICT this year]
Mr Teehan

Monday, January 12, 2009

why do we blog?

Some teachery perspectives on why we blog with our students, the benefits, etc....
Thanks to "Her Majesty" for passing this on :-)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

Cold Fusion

I saw a cool t-shirt with this on it so i looked it up. It has little to do with t-shirts, but MEchboy might enjoy the post anyway :-)

So, Wikipedia says cold fusion is:

"In the broadest sense, cold fusion is any type of nuclear fusion accomplished without the high temperatures (millions of degrees Celsius) required for thermonuclear fusion. In common usage, "cold fusion" refers more narrowly to a postulated fusion process of unknown mechanism offered to explain a group of experimental results first reported by electrochemists Stanley Pons of the University of Utah and Martin Fleischmann of the University of Southampton."

[thanks to AgentK and various other Twitterites who have recently mentioned the t-shirt, hence my interest]

Thursday, January 08, 2009

freedom of speech doesn't exist

I found out this week that you can't ask rational, reasonable questions if it relates to certain groups of people... Like asking if Israel is committing human rights abuses against Palestinians. You can't ask that, apparently, without being anti-semitic.
That strikes me as uncool.
I didn't even share an opinion about it [as i don't know enough to have an informed one yet]. I merely asked a question.
Another question is, could the USA be considered the world's largest terrorist organisation for violating international law to invade Iraq, along with every other atrocity they've been behind in the name of democracy [or should i say, Western capitalism?]. - See Chomksy to see where i get my indoctrination from.

I was delighted this year when a student asked me to stop promoting cocoa products as this was supported by child slavery in West Africa. I tried to get them to think further on the subject by teasing them about how that might be a good way to avoid child unemployment, and i found that some of them were as indoctrinated and unwilling to think beyond their curently held, overheard, half-truth version of events as many adults are. Others were prepared to step aside from existing ideas and think for themselves before slamming my ridiculous thought provoker.
There is hope.

note to self...

Don't blog when grumpy

One for the teachers...

Of course, i suspect my blessed Room5ians will chip in with their two cents worth [no connection intended, David Warlick], but this is a thought for teachers....

Is anyone else starting to think that their might be a massive [perhaps not intentional] charade going on? I'm kinda happy to take part in it too, to some extent, and I have/do. However, something has occurred to me...

It all started by me spending the last three years going to the cool educational conferences.
I felt privileged to attend. I loved it! I got paid to go away, meet cool people, get excited, and come back to school full of enthusiasm and feeling as though all those things you knew, but didn't know you knew, had been illuminated for you by "experts"- people who really know what's going on and are prepared to tell you. . . [get where I'm heading yet?]
I would then, of course, be brought back down to earth by the mundane requirements of school and the ever so important details of the attendance register, the before school, during school and after school meetings to discuss all the dreadfully important things that teachers need to dicsuss [like whether or not to arrange a bike shed monitor for after school, or how to come up with the five magic words that represent the values of the school, or to go over what was said at the previous meeting about how to reduce the amount of time spent in meetings, etc.]
Those conferences became the highlight of my year. No meaningless assessment tasks to satisfy administrators, no duty, lot's of socialising - you get the picture. At them, experts would fly in from abroad to tell us what they thought. Or locals who had heard it before somewhere else would repeat the same message in a different way, in smaller sessions. If you were a really on-to-it teacher, you would be able to rework other peoples' theories and present them to people who hadn't heard them before, thus joining the elite club of those who know...
Sadly, the poor people not chosen to attend would then be in the dark. We enlightened ones would find snippets from Youtube, Twitter, TED, and so forth. We'd chuck together a wiki, or reveal some new and incredibly helpful techno thingy that would revolutionise teaching and voila - suddently we appear to know more than them, so long as we quoted Prensky or some other luminary and had a good joke or cartoon to start with.
Once hooked on the dizzying rush of academic advancement, we would spend our days and nights meeting together, twittering in online hoardes, sharing these esoteric gems so that we would know more and be more effective and, most importantly, know more than everyone else, all the while, never coming up with anything original or in anyway actually meaningful to the day to day lives of school children, but ever so effective at making us appear clever, because plenty of others don't know what we're on about. [agreed, i'm not very good at it yet so i'm bitter] ;-)
But in all seriousness, I do wonder if most of us aren't just repeating the same buzzwords, just trying to keep up with the most current trend, or be amongst the first to know about the next fleetingly "important" thing, because it makes us feel good and seem as though we are initiates into some higher echelon of educators.
But who really thinks that reworking Blooms taxonomy makes any difference to a child's love of learning and ability to do so effectively. Conversely, who thinks being a good actor and story teller makes more of a difference to children's engagement? What about being flexible enough to actually findout whats childrens needs and intersts are then cater to them - that's why i think it's BS that class sizes don't make a difference. How can you cater to individual needs effectively when you've got 30 plus of the little blighters?
I think I really got suspicious when two more of these experts actually got paid tens of thousands of dollars to come to our school to teach us how to brainstorm so we could work out how to construct our perfect school... Yes, you read correctly. To make it real, we then had to form research groups that worked hard after school each week for a couple of years to work out how to do what it was we thought we wanted to do.
After much stress and unnecessary extra work, we discovered that
A. Most of us didn't know very much about anything and certainly didn't agree on what we did know, and
B. Our school needed to have values, like respect, passion, etc.
Nothing changed of course, except that the experts got to drink more expensive whiskey as they chortled all the way home and we got five words to stick on our walls.
You can imagine the rest. They had at least fifty other schools paying them for this brilliant scheme. They had mastered the art of the conference presentation and made it a more profitable beast by delivering it directly to the multitudes. I think the key was to start by telling us a few things we really wanted to hear - like, homework is pointless and marking everything is unrealistic - they had me there!
I think I want to do what they do.
Anyway, I don't mean to offend. It's just something I've been wondering about. And I certainly don't know what i'm talking about.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Maybe even "Mr Cynical" [guess who i mean] will like this one...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hone your computer skills

try this site out for modules designed for kids your age [supposedly] to learn the skills involved in using several everyday computer applications like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.
Let me know if you think they would be useful for kids with limited experience of these things.


Left or Right Brain?

There are theories about how our brains work and how we use them. One such theory relates to being left or right brained [- something which has no doubt been countered in recent times, but which is still interesting].
I looked at the spinning image in the linked article and saw the figure going a certain direction. That apparently indicates that i am right brained. I read the descriptions of left versus right brained people and yes, it described me accurately.
Which are you - left or right? And do you think the result and description match your way of thinking?

the science of candy

How to make science irresistable??? Well, it should be anyway, but a little sugar seems to help :-)

Making Candy

Motivating Creative People

Yes, you little critters from Room5 are in fact people too. You are also creative [many of you]. Here is an online e-book to skim over regarding how to motivate creative people. If you're not interested, maybe your parents will be.
Check it out... if you can be bothered ;-)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Science for kids

Science is great because it helps you make sense of the world around you - it is a way to unravel mysteries [without switching off your brain and turning to ancient superstitions].
For example, how did life start on Earth? Did meteors have something to do with it perhaps?

Why would we turn to bronze age, pre-scientific, explanations of our world when we know so much more now?

Cool Clustermap update

Check out our visitor numbers by country via clustrmap :-)

Finally we can find out exactly which countries we are "famous" in.

TED and interesting human stuff

Here is a link to a video clip with a dude chatting about some interesting human bits n bobs:

During part of it, you may recall what I told you about Protestantism, schisms within the Christian church, the significance of a monk named Martin Luther and the invention of the printing press. Interestingly, you guys had a more in-depth discussion about it than these educated adults do, but it is an entertainment "lecture" rather than a discussion - enjoyable though :-)

There are also references to space travel, meteorites and the energy required to read this post.

[Thanks to MrsBanjer from my Twitter community for the link.]

Saturday, January 03, 2009


what is an eportfolio? how have you used them? what are the benefits or drawbacks?
In Room5 last year many of our books ended up being pretty lame as we did alot of work on things like blogs and wikis. Most parents never saw this wok for one reason or another. Yet i suspect the work online counted as an eportfolio of some kind. what do you think?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Coping with a 2 yr composite class

I've always thought composite classes seemed weird. Who has been in one and what was your experience like? Can you give me any tips for success or describe things about working with y0unger or older kids in the same class that worked well for you? Can you advise me on aspects to try to avoid?
Also, please provide me with a list of skills, attitudes and values you think are important to learn and refine over a two year period.