Sunday, 30 August 2015

Exhibition: Finding Out

We are just drawing to the end of our finding out section.  Students have been learning about using primary and secondary sources to do the research necessary for their topics.  

Primary sources are information learned from interviews, questionnaires, and emails. Secondary sources include books, research, magazines, the internet, recordings, videos and photographs.

The students are getting rapid responses from a lot of the companies they have approached.  One group is looking into the house prices in Auckland.  They emailed a real estate company in Auckland, and were very excited to receive this reply.

Dear Jason, Josiah and Fletcher,

Wonderful to hear from you guys. I applaud your initiative in taking on such a huge subject.

First up, in answer to your questions. I will give you links which will have answers to the questions you have asked:
1.      NOTE: within this link you will see the full REINZ report in a pdf format for even more detail. Alternatively, the REINZ website is full of good data.
2.       Can be answered by the link and data above.

Plenty there to get you under way on your project.
Next up though, to help you with your project, on behalf of Bayleys I would like to invite the three of you and your teacher up to Auckland for the day to see the residential property market in action first hand.
One of Bayley's senior residential managers can show you around some of the big residential development sites around Auckland (such as Millwater or Hobsonville Point) to show you how the city is growing. Then we can take you to suburban locations which have seen a huge demographic change in recent years.
We would then like to offer you the chance to have lunch in our head office boardroom and have the opportunity to meet our managing director, Mike Bayley, whose grandfather started this business more than 40 years ago.
After lunch, we would like to host you all at one of our residential auctions so you can see the Auckland residential market in action – with live bidding for homes which are often worth more than a million dollars.
Of course, your headmaster and teacher will have to approve all of this, but we can easily make it happen if this is something you guys would like to follow up to assist with your project.
Have your teacher give me a call and we can take it further from there.
In the meantime, good luck with your project.
Can you send me through a copy when you have completed it – I’d be very interested in your findings.

Scott Cordes
Communications Manager
+64 9 375 6856| M +64 21 922 750| F +64 9 358 3548 | Realty Group, Ground Level, 4 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Maritime Square, Auckland, New Zealand

As you can imagine, the boys were very excited to receive this reply and are working with their mentor to make the day happen.

Here are some pictures of students researching:

Controversial Quickwrite

Last week, we did a quick write in class that caused some discussion amongst students present.  Some felt it was totally unrealistic, some thought it could happen.  I personally wanted students to see the sentiment that if we change our words, we can change the world.

Watch the video, and tell me what you think:

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Science Fair Results

Tuesday night was an exciting time, as we celebrated the success by Berkley students at the NIWA Waikato Science Fair.  Students knew they were being recognised, but didn't know with what accolade.  The science fair is divided into 19 classes, with Berkley entering 7 of these.  

Prizegiving was an exciting time.  These were our results:

Class 2: Year 8 Living World
1st: Max 
2nd: Rose 
Highly Commended:

Class 3: Year 7 Material World
1st: Isabelle (our only Y7 entry)

Class 4: Year 8 Material World
Highly Commended:

Class 5: Year 7-8 Physical World
1st: Hunter
2nd: Aaron
Highly commended:

Class 6: Year 7-8 Planet Earth and Beyond
2nd: Aryan 
3rd: Zach
Highly Commended:

Class 17: Year 7-8 Open Observational Drawings
2nd: Alice
3rd: Josie

Special Awards:
New Zealand Institute of Agricultural Science (Waikato) Special Award for an excellent exhibit with an agricultural theme:

Major Prizes:
Babbage Consultants Trophy for the Best Physical World Exhibit:

As you can see, it was hugely successful, we were all very excited throughout the evening.

As the start of the year, I set the goal of Berkley winning the Top School, so was delighted when we were announced as the top school in the fair.  Words really cannot express how proud I am of our hardworking students.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Hamilton Gardens

The Hamilton Gardens was named the International Garden of the Year 2014.  The Waikato Science Fair was held in the pavillion at these gardens.  After the fair judging, we made the most of the beautiful day and spent some time exploring the gardens as a group.  Look at the beautiful photos taken by James and Brooke.

Monday, 24 August 2015

We're in the Media Again

Three of our students donned their uniforms on Saturday to talk to a reporter from the Waikato Times about their science fair projects.

Science Fair

Last Friday, Room 10 all went to the pavillion at the Hamilton Gardens to support the people with entries in the NIWA Waikato Science Fair.  As a class, we had 21 students enter projects, plus three photographic entries.  There were also three projects, two observational drawings and two photo entries from across the school.

When they arrived at the fair, they had to register then set up their projects on the spot given to them. Evahn and Ellie about their projects. They waited here from a judge to come and judge their project, by reading it and asking questions. For many, this interview was nerve wracking.  I will ensure my students next year get a lot more interviewing practice.  While they were waiting for the judges to come around, the Minister for Science and Innovation, the Honorable Steven Joyce, came to the fair. He took the time to talk to both of them.  Danielle also talked to the Hamilton East MP, David Bennet about her project.

This year's fair was the largest held in the Waikato, with 29 school represented, totalling almost 400 entries.  After students are interviewed, the judges then gather together, discuss what they have seen, and revisit displays that were thought highly of.  The judges discuss these and choose displays to be placed fist, second, third or highly commended in their sections.  There are also industry-sponsored special prizes chosen.

Schools with prize winners received an email saying which students need to be at the prize giving ceremony tomorrow night, but not what prize they have won.  I was absolutely delighted with the record number of winners we have from Berkley:

I am absolutely delighted that some many of our students have been recognised for their hard work.

Here are some of the pictures James took at the fair:

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Quickwrite: Response to Midway

Today we watched this trailer for the documentary Midway.

This is a dramatic clip, and can be quite disturbing to watch. After writing, the students returned to their desks and in silence, wrote in their Writer's Notebooks.

Afterwards, students met in small groups to share their writing, before choosing who was going to share their writing with the rest of the class.

Here are extracts from some people's writing:

"We are rats to the environment and are not giving back to the forests that gave us trees, the oceans that gave us fish and the ground that gave us minerals."

I think that it is really sad that we don't know how much damage we are causing on the world around us. We inflict damage and disease on those who have shown no wrong, no offence against us.  In our eyes, we see green trees and recycling bins.  In theirs are polluted waters and dark skies.  We, greedy humans, are hurting places we have never been.

Today we watched a documentary's trailer and it spoke to us.  We saw the beauty of an island, Midway Island.  We watched the birds of the islands, beautiful, elegant and majestic. And we watched the island being sabotaged without any direct contact with humans. Sometimes we don't even realise what we are doing and what effect it will have around us.  Once we do something, it ripples outwards, it can cause a small wave or gigantic tsunami.

In our discussion, we talked about the need to be aware of everyone making a change because we need the majority of people to change their actions.  We need to reduce our plastic use dramatically and look at how we dispose of waste.

Monday, 17 August 2015


Every year, as a part of Maths Week, Berkley enters teams in the Waimaths competition.  This is a maths problem-solving competition.  

Teams of three, have 45 minutes to answer 20 questions, one at a time.  They get three marks if they answer the question correctly the first time, two points on the second attempt, one on the third or zero if they are incorrect on the third try, or if they choose to pass. They then get handed their next question. This means that the maximum points a team can get is 60 points.

Berkley takes this competition very seriously, with students starting to trial early in Term two.  A large number of Room 10 attended the Year 8 team trials, with many going on to the second phase, which culminates in several practices a week. When the Year 8 team was finally announced, all three members were from Room 10 - Aryan, Jiarn and Max. Added to this, Sean was selected to be in the Year 9 team.

When the day of the quiz came last Thursday, the boys were feeling both
nervous and excited.  Aryan and Jiarn were eager to better their 2nd place in the Year 7 team last year.  They started off with gusto, being the first to correctly answer the first four or five questions, before having a rough patch (which they put down to rushing).  They regrouped, calmed down, and found their rhythm again.  In the end, they finished with 54 points, two points behind the winning school, coming second.  The boys had mixed feelings, overcoming a strong field from 27 schools, but they would've liked to have bettered last year's second placing.

I really enjoyed the evening and was disappointed to have to leave before the Year 9 competition began.  Unfortunately, Sean had an accident on the way home from school, so he was unable to compete.  However, he showed great responsibility in phoning Jason from our class, who had competed as a Year 7 last year. Jason was able to rush down and fill in for Sean.  Congratulations to the Year 9 team on their eleventh placing.

Also, congratulations to Zoe, who came third in the Y7&8 Waimaths Poster Competition.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Exhibition: Victor Nunes' Art

Artist Victor Nunes combines everyday objects with simple illustrations to turn them into pictures of faces, animals and other playful scenes. His images invite us to look at the world differently and find creative images in our surroundings.

We've been looking at his artwork as a part of our exhibition.  It is important that the students are thinking about the many ways possible that people can express themselves, and issues they feel strongly about, creatively.

Here are examples of Victor Nunes' artwork:

This week, when a lot of our class were at away at other activities, the remaining students had a go at creating some Victor Nunes art.

These creations are by Jayda:

These are Emily's art:

These are other creations from Room 10.
Click to play this Smilebox collage

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Exhibition: Silent Discussion

For the last two weeks, we have been preparing our students for exhibition by showing them a whole lot of different ways that people express themselves.  This was to increase students understanding of our central idea:

You can read more about our provocations in this blog post.

On Thursday, all of the Y8 & 9 Aranui students met together to prepare for the next step - forming our groups.  First of all, we put up nine large sheets around the room with a large idea on each:
  • Children
  • Economics
  • Technology
  • Environment
  • Animals
  • Cultural
  • Health
  • Religion/Beliefs
  • People/Families
  • Education
  • Science
Students were divided around each sheet and had several minutes to write down local, national or international issues under that heading (eg. poverty under 'Economics'). The sheets were then swapped, and the group wrote on a new sheet. All this was to be done in silence.

Once the sheets were full, they were put up around the walls, and in silence, students went around reading the sheets. The purpose was to find issues they wanted to inquire into for exhibition. The purpose of the silence is so students wouldn't be influenced by others because they needed to choose something they were passionate about themselves.

The final step was for each student to write down a first choice topic area and then two issues under it, then the same with a second choice.

An example:
  • poverty
  • Cheating in professional sport
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • The gap between rich and poor countries' access to technology

Sports Camp

This is the first year that Berkley has attended a sports camp at Totara Springs (in Matamata).  It is a five-day camp where 7 schools compete in heaps of different sports.  Berkley took a team of 36 students, and together they competed in 28 sports.

Here's the information from the website:
Places in the team were hotly contested, with many trials taking place.  Once the team was named, the practices began; there was some form of practice before school and at lunchtime every day, together with other practices for over a term.

In Room 10, we were thrilled when Leigh, Chloe and Hunter were selected as a part of their team. We witnessed the incredibly hard work they put into their training, as they got more and more tired.

At the camp, Berkley was competing against five teams from Auckland and another from Hamilton. They competed hard all week, often running from one event to another.  

As a part of the competition, each team needs to present a five-minute cheer for the cheer competition. This is presented on the last night (they must've been so tired then).  Here it is:

At the end of the week, Berkley was crowned the champion school for the week. As a school we are very proud of our students, it is neat to see the results come from all of the hard work the students put in - a life lesson for us all.

Well done Leigh, Chloe and Hunter.

Exhibition: Provocations

In class for the last two weeks, we've been doing a lot of activities to provoke the students' thinking about the different ways people express themselves. One of the areas we've been looking at is through media; we have been looking at the way media can influence our behaviour and beliefs.  We started by looking at how media portrays safe driving behaviour and how we think this influences both us and the wider community.  We did this by watching these non-drink and driving advertisements:

Both of these advertisements have been deemed successful.

We asked the students to these questions, and we discussed their answers:

  • What messages are they trying to put across to the audience?
  • Who are their target audiences?
  • What are the similarities and differences between the first drinking and driving clip to the second one? 
  • Are both of these clips effective in the message they are trying to get across?
  • What made them effective in bringing attention to the issue?

    Next we listened to this radio advertisement:
    Local Legends - radio advertisement

    We discussed these questions next:
  • Listen to the radio advertisement for NZ Transport Agency. 
  • What is the issue and message that the ad is trying to put across?
  • Who is the target audience of this campaign?
  • How is this different to the other clips used by NZ Transport Agency?

    The next clip we watched related to drug driving:

  • The questions we discussed were:

  • When you first watched this clip, how did you feel?
  • Did your feelings change from the start of the clip to the end?
  • What are the key messages you can take from this?
  • What is the purpose of this clip being shown on television?

  • The final clip we watched wasn't New Zealand made, but it was excellent:

    We then discussed this also.

    As a class, we felt these clips expressed their messages clearly, using a mixture of humour and shock. They were all successful campaigns, so we can learn for our exhibition projects. 

    The other areas we have studied are:

  • Literature
  • Media (smoking, bullying, social media and poverty)
  • Dance
  • Graffiti
  • Music

  • You can look at all these lessons here.

    Saturday, 8 August 2015

    70th Anniversary of Hiroshima

    Thursday was the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, by the United States of America. On that day, we read the story from a survivor and looked at a clip of what Hiroshima looked like after the bombing.  This clip is an interview with survivors and the men in the aircraft, as well as a dramatisation of what it was like on the ground.

    Following this, I read the short chapter book to the class called, 'Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes'.  A tells the story of Sadako Sasaki, an active little girl who was two when the bomb struck her home of Hiroshima.  She developed Leukemia as a 12-year-old.  Sadako's best friend tried to cheer her up by saying paper cranes bring good luck, so Sadako decided to make 1000 paper cranes, believing she would survive the 'atom bomb disease' if she did so.  The book says that tragically, Sadako died after making 644 cranes.  Her friends and family finished the other 356  cranes, which were then buried with her.    This story, however, is disputed by members of her family, including her older brother.  The say she exceeded 1000 and folded around 1300 cranes.    Members of the family have donated some of the cranes to places of importance around the world, such as at the 9-11 memorial and at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii.

    After her death, Sadako's friends and schoolmates published some of her letters to raise money.  They used these funds to build a memorial to Sadako and all the children who had died from the effects of the atomic bomb.  The statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was unveiled in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.

    At the foot of the statue is a plaque that reads:

    "This is our cry, 
    This is our prayer, 
    Peace on Earth"

    Every year, people leave thousands of paper cranes at the base of the statue.

    At this stage, the students of Room 10 decided that they too, want to make 1000 paper cranes too. A wet lunchtime yesterday set us well on our way, with our first 200 cranes nearly made. 

    Our wish too, is for peace on earth.