Saturday, 26 September 2015

Exhibition: We did It!

Exhibition day finally arrived, and for the first time in this process I felt truly stressed.  All the last minute demands - printing, space, ActivPanels, extension leads, paint, blue tack, double-sided tape etc, left me feeling like I was running around non-stop.  Finally, things were coming together nicely though.

In Blocks 3 and 4, the rest of the school had the opportunity to visit our exhibition.  This was especially important for our 300+ students who will find themselves doing their own inquiries for exhibition next year.  Our classrooms felt chaotic and overcrowded, but the process was extremely important for our students to gain confidence in speaking to people about the process they had been through and their findings, together with action.  

After talking with the teachers who came through in Block 3, we had three important things that they felt the students could improve on:

  1. Initiating the discussions with people coming through;
  2. Showing them their work in the [group] big books - we all felt it was important that parents, in particular, could see what the groups had done throughout the eight weeks;
  3. Action - telling people where to next for their issue, whether that was for the wider community, the group members or the audience.
The end result for us as a school was that we (teachers, administrators and the students themselves) were extremely proud of what we had achieved.  They were impressive in their preparations, presentations, discussions and knowledge.  The parents seemed thrilled with what they saw and I appreciated the positive feedback.

Here is a slideshow with a brief glimpse of each group.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Literacy in Term Four

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of Term 3.  As I look forward to planning for next term, I am aware of how busy we always seem to be, and how quickly time seems to fly by.  In terms of our literacy lessons.  I have three things I would like to do, but am not sure we'll be able to fit all three in.  Therefore, I will give you a chance to share your preferences.

List these in order of preference, with your reasons.
  • Debating
  • Short story writing
  • Poetry slam

Friday, 18 September 2015

RWC 2011

The Rugby World Cup in 2011 was an exciting time for New Zealand, we were looking forward to showcasing our special country to millions of people across the world.  It was also an incredibly exciting time for my team, and Berkley as a whole.  One of our team's students was in the running for a lead role in the opening ceremony.  Ethan Bai, or as we called him, EJ, was down to the final two for the role.  He wasn't allowed to tell us what it involved, but we knew it was big.  There were two boys who travelled to Auckland for rehearsals and they weren't going to be told if they were successful until less than 24 hours before the event.  When I talked to EJ about it, he was getting more and more nervous, and became convinced he wouldn't get the part because the other boy was 'really good' and he came from Christchurch.  EJ felt that because it was months after the fatal Christchurch earthquake, they'd choose him as a 'feel good' story.  We were all over the moon when EJ's dad phoned the day before the opening to tell us he had the part.  The hardest part is that we weren't allowed to tell the students or anybody else.

All of Berkley was glued to their screens to watch the ceremony.  Here is a clip of the part with EJ in it:

Wasn't he fantastic?  On the eve of this year's Rugby World Cup, Seven Sharp caught up with EJ, to talk to him about his experience, and what he is doing these days.  He seems as neat as he always was and shows us the benefits that come from hard work and determination.  Click on the picture below to have a view at the interview.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Makuhari Update

Our four students have arrived safely, and Mr Lorentz says they are happy and enjoying the sunshine. On their first full day, they overcame their tiredness to enjoy all the wonderfulness of Tokyo Disneyland (a special 13th birthday for Rose, I'm sure). Our new Principal-to-be, Mr Leith is there with his current school and it looks like he's enjoying getting to know some Berkley students.

Exhibition: It's almost here

Here's a final confirmation of the dates and times for families to come to exhibition:

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Monday, 14 September 2015

Speech Competition

As I told you all about today, the Inter Intermediate Speech Competition is coming up at the start of next term. This is not compulsory for Room 10 because of exhibition, but I'd love to see lots of you take up the challenge.

I don't have many details yet but will post as more comes to light.

Speech topic:               No set topic
Time:                          Maximum of three minutes
Team Competition:       Monday 12th October (Day 1, Term 4)
School Competition:     Tuesday 13th October (school entry is due)
Speech Competition:    Tuesday 20th October at Melville Intermediate

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Makuhari, Japan

Every year, a group of students from across the Waikato head to Makuhari in Japan, for the last two of Term Three.  This year, 4 of the 13 Berkley students are from Room 10.

Renee, Jodi, Rose and Ethyn will be leaving at 2.00am tomorrow.  I know they are very excited and we look forward to hearing about their experiences over the next couple of weeks.

Have a wonderful time and ganbatte kudasai.

Makuhari is a commercial district just outside central Tokyo along the shores of Tokyo Bay in Chiba Prefecture. In the late 1980s, the district was built on reclaimed land in a modern style of architecture and with noticeably organized city planning that includes elevated promenades and walkways as well as wide, well-designed streets. The district's attractions include a convention center, baseball stadium, lots of shopping and dining and an expansive seaside park.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Cranes

About 5 weeks ago, I wrote a post about 'Sadako and the Paper Cranes', and said that Room 10 had asked if they too could make 1000 cranes too.  I taught the class to make them (which some found a lot harder than others). Unbelievably, using breaks, time at home, story time and other stolen moments, it only took us a week to make the cranes, and I made the last one golden, just like Sadako's first crane.  I love them and am thrilled with how they look.  What do you think?

Thank you for the photos Miss Sheehan
Here's the original post, if you want to look back at it.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The Friendship Factor

Last week, we had Nate from Attitude come and give Berkley a presentation on friendship. 

Nate used a lot of humour and personal stories to teach us about friendship.

He started with some Tips n Tricks:
  • Guys and girls are different!
  • Guy friendships are activity based.
  • Girl friendships are based on talking

Guy/girl friendships:
  • Guys need to learn to ask questions and just listen
  • Girls need to get active to maintain friendships with guys

Followed by information about friendship myths, which he dispelled with:

  • Get involved and talk to others
  • Good friendships take time
  • Friendships are about quality, not quantity

Nate then moved on factors that don't allow friendships to work:

  • Mean humour is like hitting someone on their sore spot. Apologise if you take it too far.
  • Back stabbing always backfires. Say nice things about others.
  • Take smothering as a compliment and remember to hang out with a range of people.
  • Showing off can lead to injuries. Pick the right moment and always remember to show off in moderation!
  • If you are being bullied try and remember that NOTHING is wrong with you and you don't deserve it. Asking for help doesn't make you weak, it makes you smart!

And lastly Nate talked about some helpful tips....
  • You have to be friendly and smile at people, wave, or use the eyebrow-head nod combo.
  • People won't always remember your name, but they will remember how you made them feel.
  • Remember people's names. Use rhyme or associations to help.
  • Learn to listen. Become a good listener by asking good questions.
  • Be positive. See the brighter side of life and say nice things.
  • Remember special times, like birthdays and funny times you have shared.
  • Be yourself and always be proud of who you are and where you come from.

If you would like to talk to someone confidentially or any further information you can contact:


Although I felt that some of his comments we a little stereotypical, his message was excellent and there were tips and ideas that we could all benefit from.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Exhibition: Three Weeks to Go...

...and we have A LOT of work ahead of us.  As teachers, we became concerned our students don't have enough of an understanding of what is meant by action.

To increase their understanding, we met as a team today before our next exhibition session.

We started by sharing these two sheets and discussing them:

We talked through this sheet, highlighting that action is a lot of thinks, not just a huge gesture that changes the world.  We followed this up with this next sheet, to show what different categories different actions can fall into.

Taken from:
Students were a lot clearer after talking about this.  To cement their new ideas in place, we watched the first 40 seconds of the following clip:

Each group should be able to say "Can our __________ improve/raise awareness/make people _________"

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Exhibition: Presentation has Begun

The first three groups have started creating their visual displays for the exhibition.  Time is flying by. It is hard to believe we have less than three weeks until exhibition now.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Exhibition: Mentor Group Meetings

Each exhibition group is assigned a mentor.  This person is an adult who is not their teacher.  For Aranui, our mentors are mainly teachers, members of senior management, student teachers and a wonderful parent.

The mentors meet with students weekly or fortnightly to discuss what they have done, plan what they need to do before the next meeting.  The students are responsible for booking in their meetings, making sure that it is a time which suits everyone. Students have a sheet to fill in before and at each meeting.

The other day, Miss Walker took photographs of two groups in their mentor meetings.