Sunday, 13 December 2015

Final Assembly 2015

Our last day at school for the academic year consists of the final assembly, where we celebrate the success of our learners. This was held last Friday. It was a day where we celebrated the success of some of our school's learners.
As you saw in the picture below, the assembly was hosted by Brooke and Hunter, who did an outstanding job.

Tech Arts' Prizes
Each year, our specialists choose 8 learners each to recognise for their efforts and successes (not an easy task, when you teach 730 students over the course of the year).

The following Room 10 students were recognised by the specialists:

Art: Zoe and Ellie

Science: Natalie and James

Food technology: Danielle

Materials Technology: Eddie

Media: James

Music: Jason (I apologise for not having a photo), Jayda and Rose

Classroom Awards:
As a classroom teacher, I chose four students to receive Classroom Awards. Below are the citations I wrote for each of these students:

Your enthusiasm and zest for life is evident in everything you do. Viewed as a positive role model by your peers, you work well with others. Your strong sense of justice, empathetic attitude and willingness to get involved has made you a valuable classroom member.


Your constant smile is infectious.  You are an instinctive inquirer and have worked consistently to extend your skills and knowledge in all areas of the curriculum and across the school.  You motivate yourself to reach the many goals you set, allowing excellence to be achieved.


Throughout the year, I have watched you grow in confidence.  You are now able to focus on your work further, whilst being much more confident to work collaboratively with your peers. Your enthusiasm and wonder at learning is appreciated by all.


Viewed as a positive role model by your peers, you project strength, confidence and positive leadership. Your writing displays giftedness, as you strive to find the perfect word and rhythm to express yourself to readers.

Year 9 Scholarships: Congratulations to Jayda, who received the tip academic award for Year 9 students (and a cheque for $250.00).

Her citation read:

Jayda is a learner who embodies the PYP key concepts of connection, responsibility, reflection and change. You demonstrate an innate curiosity towards learning and reflect effectively on your experiences.  You have taken up the challenge across the school, motivating yourself to reach the goals you set, allowing excellence to be achieved.

Top Sportsperson:
Another award that is eagerly anticipated all year is the top sportsperson.  This year, for the first time ever, we had joint winners.  One of these was Chloe, whom we congratulate fully:

Principal's Awards
The top awards at the final prizegiving are the 'Principal's Awards'.  For this, teachers nominate the Y8 & 9 students they feel best epitomise what it means to be a Berkley learner.  From here, the students are discussed and 16 are chosen to receive this prestigious award. I'm proud to say that six Room 10 students received these top awards.  You may remember that Aryan received his before he left several weeks ago. These five received theirs on Friday:


As well as being caring, you are admired for treating others with empathy, tolerance, appreciation, and respect. Your knowledge in the area of technology, as well as the organisation and reliability demonstrated, are valued. You have generously given up many of your own hours to support school events and as a result, have earned regard and admiration from the Berkley School community. 

You embody the learner profile of being balanced.  In your two years at Berkley, you have shown musical, academic and sporting talents, taking up the challenge by embracing the many opportunities offered. Despite the many times you are at activities away from your homeroom, you ensure that you continue to meet and exceed your classroom expectations.  As a result, you are very well respected by your peers as both a learner and a leader.

You set and maintain high expectations for yourself, and achieve excellence in all academic and sporting endeavours.  Despite all your successes this year you remain humble about your abilities and achievements.  You are a caring and talented student who is always looking out for, and leading the way for others. Across the school, you are very well respected by your peers; your fire ignites others.


You fully embody the Berkley motto ‘Take up the Challenge’, enthusiastically involving yourself in all aspects of school life. Viewed as a positive role model by your peers, you project courage, confidence and positive leadership. Your independence, commitment and will to succeed have helped you achieve excellent results in academic and sporting areas.


You are principled, knowledgeable and an inquirer in all aspects of Berkley life and learning.  Your independence and determination allow high standards to be attained across all curriculum areas. You approach each day with the conviction that something new and exciting is just waiting to be found out.  Your caring and empathetic nature shows through in the way in which you treat those around you.

Student Speeches
Right at the end of the assembly, three students present speeches each one representing their year group.  At this assembly, Brooke spoke on behalf of the Year 8 students, and Jayda, the Year 9s. Their speeches were both outstanding and made me so proud to teach these two.  The outstanding nature of all three speeches was spoken about by many teachers after the assembly.

Phew...we made it. I know this is an incredibly long post, but I felt it was important to recognise these successes. I also need to acknowledge that these awards are limited in number, and there were a few of Room 10's amazing students who were unlucky to miss out.

Tug of War

Over a series of lunchtimes, during the last couple of weeks, interclass tug of war competitions have been held.  Room 10 was very successful - we came second in the A league and won the B league. Following this, Room 10 took on some of the teachers in the best of three pulls.  I enjoyed taking on Room 10 (and winning!)

End of Year Dance

On Thursday 3rd December, We celebrated our year together, with our final dance.  Have a look at this snapshots from the evening.

EOY Dance

Remember to turn the sound on (it's on the slideshow if you hover over it).

Friday, 11 December 2015

Final Assembly has Begun

Brooke and Hunter have the privilege of hosting this assembly. They started really well.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

End of Year Dance - Preparations

Our team, Aranui, was charged with decorating the Rec Centre for our End of Year Dance.  The theme was 'Boho Bazaar'.  We spent the week before hand painting large pictures to put up around the room, and Mrs Wihongi spent hours and hours using the same images on bunting.

Last Thursday, a group of our students put up the decorations, then after school the four of us teachers blew up helium balloons, and added them to the tops of the bunting, before we strung the rows across the Rec Centre.

Well done Evahn on taking these beautiful pictures:

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Year Nine Leavers' Dinner

Last night, we held a dinner to celebrate the wonderful year the Year 9s have had, and to wish them all the best on their journeys to a variety of different high schools.  We hear that this was done many years ago, so we (the Aranui teachers) decided to revive this lost tradition.

Planning started well ahed of time, with the students choosing people from around the school who had been important to their journey to invite for dinner, and contacting of possible speakers was done.

The evening started with drinks and nibbles, before the students sat at their tables, and guests sat at the head table. The delicious mains were first.  Thank you to Mrs Wihongi for her fabulous cooking and leading of the food preparation team. 

After our main course, we had our first speaker of the night: Chris Steeghs. Chris is an ex-Berkley student, who has just finished at Hamilton Boys High School, and is moving onto Waikato University next year.  Chris is now a New Zealand representative badminton player.  He spoke about all the opportunities that sports have given him - through it he has travelled the whole of New Zealand, plus this year alone he has been to Australia and Peru. He spoke about winning a Hillary Scholarship to university next year. To win this scholarship he needed to be strong in three areas - sport, academic and leadership. He explained that the first two were easy with hard work, but that he had to stretch himself in the leadership area.  He encouraged our students to work towards keeping themselves rounded and making sure they focus on developing themselves from the start of high school, taking up all the opportunities available to them.

This inspiring talk was followed by a dessert of chocolate brownie and ice-cream.  To finish the evening, we had our final speaker, Whetu Douglas.  Whetu is the co-captain the the Ranfurly Shield winning Waikato NPC team.  Whetu also spoke of the value of hard work and goals.  On top of this, he talked of the importance of holding whanau and friends close.  He told us that he came from a small school and humble beginnings, but said that he didn't let that hold him back from having big dreams.  

Throughout the evening, we had this slideshow playing in the background to remember the good times from across the year.

Thank you to everybody who contributed to making the evening a real success, and we hope it will be a tradition followed for many years to come.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Literary Essays

Today we started preparations to write a literary essay. Firstly we viewed this TED Talk by Matthew Winkler:

The main aspect of this was the Hero's Journey Circle:

The task is:

Write an essay relating a book of your choice to this structure.

Your essay must be at least 800 words long.  Make sure it is correctly structured, using quotes from the book to back up your point of view and stance. Use the essay booklet to ensure your reference correctly.

Important Information: End of Year Calendar

Term 4 Week 7

Friday 27th November
- Library books due (LC closed)
- Literary battles (theme = families)

Term 4 Week 8

Monday 30th November 
- Big Day Out notices due
- Formal tickets on sale - LC - $10 from 8am
- Focus - Mahi Tahi

Tuesday 1st December
- Formal tickets on sale - LC - $10 from 8am
- Break 2 - Formal meeting - all students who are attending

Wednesday 2nd December
- Formal tickets on sale - LC - $10 from 8am
- Block 3 - School singing practice

Thursday 3rd December
- Formal tickets on sale - LC - $10 from 8am
- Literary Battles (theme = Animals)
- Formal = 7-9:30pm

Friday 4th December
- Last day for Tech / Arts / Teaming
- Reports go home
- All rubbish out of classrooms

Sunday 6th December
- Class break up at Zoe and Brooke's (12pm - 4pm)

Term 4 Week 9 (New bells - 9am - 3pm)

Block 1 = 9:00 - 10:30am
Block 2 = 11:00 - 12:30pm
Block 3 = 1:30 - 3:00pm

Monday 7th December (Mufti)
- Big Day Out

Tuesday 8th December (Mufti)
- Block 2 = Assembly practice
- Block 3 = Clean out classrooms
- Bus Students to meet at front of school for pick up

Wednesday 9th December (Mufti)
- Block 1 = Assembly performers rehearsal
- Block 2 = Assembly practice
- Block 3 = Tabloids
- Bus Students to meet at front of school for pick up

Thursday 10th December (Best Uniform)
- Block 1 = Speakers to practice
- Block 2 (11am) = Assembly 1
- Literary Battles (theme = Dystopian novels)
- Block 3 = Move classes
- Bus students to meet at front of school for pick up

Friday 11th December (Best Uniform) - School Finishes @ 12:00pm
- Block 1 (9:15am) = Assembly 2
- Berkley bus departs at 12pm

A Sad Farewell

Today is a sad day for Room we say goodbye to our classmate and friend, Aryan. Unfortunately, due to flights, he is leaving us 2.5 weeks before the end of the school year, to visit family in India for Christmas. 

Over the year, Aryan has contributed to every aspect of our life at Berkley.  In our class, he is someone who sees everything through a positive lens. Today we are feeling sad, and not wanting to say goodbye. For example, when Aryan was out of class this block, one of the girls suddenly said, "I don't want Aryan to leave." A sentiment echoed by the rest of us.

Each year, as teachers, we nominate students for a prestigious Principal's Award.  These students are discussed (in staff meetings), and 16 are finally chosen for this honour, which are presented on our last day of school, at the final assembly.

This year, Aryan was chosen to receive a Principal's Award, and I hated the thought of him not being present to received it, so I spoke to Mr Leith, who agreed to present it to him yesterday in our school singing practice. I then arranged to sneak his parents in without him knowing.

The certificates include a citation written by the classroom teacher.  Aryan's citation read:

You are a driven and focused student who excels in all areas of the curriculum.   Your tenacity as a learner is especially evident in mathematics and science, where you have represented Berkley with success at the highest levels.  Your passion for sharing your vast knowledge and skills with your peers, as you sensitively assist them, is appreciated.  You have also shone in the performing arts and technology facets of school life.

Earlier in the year, after the desecration of our crosses, the Anzac Remembrance Trust gave me a special edition Anzac tie, which they asked us to present to the school's top academic at the end of the year.  This was also presented to Aryan yesterday.

Farewell Aryan and thank you for your contribution to a wonderful year.

New Zealand Christmas Part 2

Dear Mrs R and your Wallabies,

We have sent you this poem to help you find out about a New Zealand Christmas. We hope you have fun reading it and you learn a lot about a Kiwi Christmas. There are some parts in it that don’t make huge sense as it was hard to rhyme, but we put heaps of effort into it. There might be a few words in it you don’t know.
Here is what they mean:
Togs- Swimmers
Jandals- Flip Flops
Pavlova- Meringue type cake

Happy Reading.

Lots of Love Georgia, Jodi, Ellie, and Evahn 

New Zealand Christmas

It was the 24th of December and we were excited to say the least,
We were looking forward to dinner though it wasn’t much of a feast,
We put out cookies, carrot and beer,
The carrots, of course, were for the reindeer,
Santa guzzled down his drink,
Read our letter and started to think,
These kids from New Zealand, they are quite a laugh,
One girl from Hamilton wanted a pet Giraffe,
He gave us his sincere and wished us a good day,
Then gave us our presents and went on his way.

We woke up early and smiled with glee,
Grabbed our stocking and ran to the tree,
Mum, Dad come see what we’ve got,
Santa has given us quite a lot,
The chocolate fish have melted from the heat,
It doesn’t matter, though, we have other treats,"
I ripped open my present with feelings of joy,
Excited to play with my brand new toy.

We jumped into our cool new togs,
Ran to the beach to play with the dogs,
Mum yelled to us,lunch is done,
Come play some cricket and have some fun,"
We kicked off our jandals, towels and hats,
Set up the wickets and grabbed the bats,
I hit a six, the ball landing in the sea.
Cousins all run shouting, It’s for me!!!,

We go inside to have some food,
Everyone in a fantastic mood,
The sun is shining on this festive day,
Kids in the park having a good play,
Three-legged races on the lawn,
Celebrations from dusk to dawn,
Petanque making lots of holes in the sand,
The radio in the background playing our favourite band

The BBQ cooked the steak to perfection,
The pavlova with a strawberry injection,
The potato salad being prepared,
The food that was brought was being compared,
We sat around the table ready to eat,
The fruit Salad looking so sweet,
We dug right in and scavenged for food,
Uncles making jokes that are a bit rude,
We finished our meal and talked for a bit
Walked on the beach with the sky moonlit
This wonderful day is coming to an end
I’m so happy that I could spend it with my family and friends.