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.   

Monday, 23 November 2015

New Zealand Christmas

Our friends at Hawthorn Primary in Wales asked us about what Christmas is like in New Zealand. They wondered how it was different from their cold Christmases.

Today some groups started working on ways in which to explain the differences. Here are the first two groups' contributions:

Eddie, Fletcher, Richard, and Hamish:

In New Zealand, it is quite different to other countries Christmas like our Santa looks a bit like this.

This is because we have Christmas in the summer where it is hotter. With it being hot we stay outside and we may go to the beach or go in a pool. We also cook food on a barbeque and some people play backyard cricket.

We also prefer to wear are bare feet or jandals instead of socks and shoes. We don’t have a full Christmas lunch and dinner unless we are with friends; even then it’s made up of less traditional foods, like sausages, potato salads burgers and more. Instead of staying inside we go to the beach or do an outside activity.

Here is a video of some kids that made a video of the story of Jesus’ birth

Here is another video of a New Zealand version of the song ‘Jingle Bells’.

Emily, Renee, and Olivia:

Once upon a time, on the night before Christmas, children were asleep, snow was drifting down… Wait, hold up, that’s not how it’s told.

Across the world, the last of the sun is shining and joyous shouts are heard across the fields. Cricket balls are hit and soccer ball are kicked, as backyard games are played. The smell of barbequed steak wafts over as the cry for dinner goes out. Gathering around the table, the sun setting, laughter echoes around as stories are shared, jokes are cracked and early presents are ripped open.

Carefree cheers fill the air as pavlova comes into view. Cut, shared and demolished. Dinner is over and the night sky seeps in as the kiwi kids drift to bed, happy and content. Excitement pierces the sleepiness as they realise…

Tomorrow is Christmas, to be filled with presents, trips to the beach, fish and chips and family.

Sean, Jackson, Jiarn and Jason:



It's the time of the year for Christmas,
It's a time you don't want to miss,
Here we still have fun,
Running round in the sun
And Santa still gives us presents.

We all still like Christmas pudding,
We wouldn't miss it for anything.
The tree goes up,
Stars, bells and stuff,
And some Christmas carols we sing.

Mrs Hogg:

These students have summed up the differences beautifully, but they haven't really focused on the things that are the same:

Santa - if you go anywhere with a Santa (shopping centres, Christmas parties or parades), he is still dressed in the full red suit with a beard, hat and black boots. It must be awfully hot in all of that.

Christmas cards - these days, people tend to be sending out less and less cards, but most of those that are sent feature trees with snow and 'English' type white Christmas scenes.  Having said that, there are more New Zealand type scenes appearing in them.

Food - Although more people are starting to have barbecues for their main Christmas meal, there are still a lot of families who have quite a traditional hot meal. For example, at my house this year, we'll have roast lamb and ham on the bone (I love roast turkey, but my husband's family don't), but instead of hot vegetables, we'll have salads.  For the younger children, there'll be sausages and patties barbecued.  For dessert, I'll make pavlova and trifle, which we'll have with fresh fruit salad, strawberries and ice-cream, and my mother-in-law will make a Christmas pudding with custard.  So you can see, we have developed a hybrid meal - some from colder climates, and some recognising our environment.

Entertainment - People often go for walks as a family or play outdoor games. Those by the sea or with pools may spend the afternoon swimming.

Christmas carols - we have a few New Zealand carols, but most of those we sing come from Great Britain or the USA.  They're still singing about snow and warm fires etc.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Pacific Rose Bowl Festival

Judging roses for the children's choice award in the Pacific Rose Bowl Festival has long been an annual Berkley tradition.  This year it was Room 10's turn. It started last Monday with Mr Paviour-Smith from the Waikato Rose Society coming to meet us and teach us about roses.  We learned about the history of roses, the use they have and how new varieties are made.  Most importantly, we learned about how to judge roses.

Following that, last Wednesday we traveled to the Rose Gardens at the Hamilton Gardens.  Once there, the students were given a judging sheet to list their five favourite roses from the trial beds. New varieties of roses are planted (in bulk) in these trial beds for five years each, after which they are replaced with new varieties.  Thank you to Zach and Danielle's mothers for accompanying us.

Once we had completed the judging, we had a short opportunity to visit the gardens again, this time visiting the modernist garden, and revisiting the char bagh garden to see the flowers in bloom.

Thank you to Danielle for making this Kizoa of the photos both Evahn and I took on the day.

Then on Thursday, Mr Paviour Smith came back to school, to work with 6 students.  These students worked with him to choose Berkley's best roses to enter into the Rose competition over the weekend.  The next morning, Danielle's dad took the students and roses to the pavillion at the gardens, where the students learnt to display their roses.  We're eagerly awaiting the results.

Thank you to the parents who made this possible.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Google Expeditions

Today, the students at Berkley were extremely fortunate - we had the opportunity to trial Google Expeditions as they introducing their programme to New Zealand.  If you're wondering what this is, here is an explanation:

When Room 10 went on an expedition today, we started off by visiting and following a free climb up El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in the USA.  Following this, we went underwater and learned about a variety of sea creatures. Finally, we took a short tour around the canals of Venice.  In each place, the teacher is able to direct students to points of interest, and share information with them.

I would love to show you photos of Room 10's expedition, but unfortunately, I was so engrossed that taking photos completely slipped my mind.  Here are some photos from another expedition I led for Room 1...

It was interesting that the students chose to sit down when the staff didn't this morning:

There was an article on Stuff about the visit today (although it was the whole school, not just 24 students). Here's the article.

Friday, 13 November 2015


Last term, five students from Room 10 represented Berkley.  This hour-long summary has just been released.  Can you spot anyone you know?

Thursday, 12 November 2015

UOI 6: Who we Are

For our current IB theme, we've been inquiring into the Central Idea: All living things change nd adapt to meet their needs.

As a part of this, we have been spending some time in the science room. On Monday in Block 4, we went in to carry out cow eye dissections.

When we first went in, Miss Williams offered Aryan the chance to lead the class through the introduction, information about they parts of the eye and how it works. He then talked through how to complete the dissection. Here is our teacher Aryan:

We then moved onto our dissection. In general, the students found it fascinating and enjoyed being able to find the different parts Aryan had talked about. Most students did an amazing job at being able to find what they were looking for. I think we were all impressed with the precision Emily showed - I wonder if surgeons would have been so skilled at this age (no pressure, Emily)?

The lesson gave us an excellent insight into the ways in which eyes work (the human eye is similar to the cow eye), which we can apply to the central idea.

Thank you to Brooke, who was our fabulous photographer. She took so many excellent photos that I have put them into a Loupe Collage - hover over a photo and it will enlarge.

Athletics Relay Finals

Two weeks ago, I posted about our school's athletics programme (you can read about it here) and I talked about how much we were looking forward to the class 4 X 100m relay finals. On Monday, the day finally arrived and our teams carried themselves with pride, all exceeding their personal expectations.

An extra special congratulations go to our girls' A team. They went into the final with the second fastest qualifying time, and ended up winning by at least 10 metres. They were just over 1 second off breaking the school record, which has been in place since 1988.

Here are some photos Natalie snapped during the races:

Japanese Lessons

This week in Japanese, we started learning to talk about how we are physically feeling. The students will learn to say, "__________ ga itai desu,"  which means my __________ is sore. For example, hizu ga itai desu means my knee is sore.

The first step is learning the vocabulary for the all the different body parts.  Yesterday, after 15 minutes of learning, the class were working on perfecting this song:

I think Room 10 are very clever.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A Special Start for Berkley

One of the special events which mark a turning point in any school is the employment of a new principal to lead the school.  Last week, Berkley was excited to welcome our new leader, Mr Nathan Leith, into the Berkley family.  It was a special day, which all involved felt honoured to be a part of.

To welcome him, we held a Pōwhiri, which is a traditional and formal welcome from New Zealand's Māori culture.  This is a ceremony where the tangata whenua (home people) welcome the manuhiri (guests).  In a nutshell, it is where the Mr Leith's old school handed him over to Berkley.  A pōwhiri is a time of sadness and happiness.  If you would like to learn more about how a pōwhiri progresses, it is set out simply on this website.

Here are some glimpses of our day (remember to unmute the movie):

We are delighted to welcome you Mr Leith


Zach has asked me to share this post from his blog. 

My Aunt (Amanda Garland) and her partner, among many others, have got a website that specializes in promoting eco-building and saving that planet from toxins that come from building chemicals that we are using far too much. They live in a product of their website, which is "Earthsong." Earthsong is an eco-built-cohousing - community that has been a success in their work. 
Here is the link to their website: 
And here is a link to Earthsong's blog: 
Finally, here is a link to some drone pictures of Earthsong:

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

ICT Lesson: Future Careers

There has been a lot of media coverage lately about current careers that are disappearing.  Watch this clip:

After you have watched it, read this One News article.

Now, in the comments below, write three paragraphs to answer these questions:
  1. Do you believe what they are saying, and what do you think of it?
  2. How does this make you feel about your future, what changes do you think you'll need to make to your current thinking?
  3. After hearing these ideas, what sort of things can schools be doing to prepare their students for the future?

Monday, 2 November 2015

A Great Act?

In the last 24 hours, much has been made of Sonny Bill Williams giving his medal away after the presentation at the Rugby World Cup final.

When I first saw this, I was really impressed. However, the more I thought about it, the more I came up with reasons why it wasn't a good thing for him to do. Did it disrespect the work that everyone had put into winning the tournament, did it reward the boy for breaking the rules, did it take the attention away from the retiring players or the rest of the team, or if he wanted to give it away, were there better places it could have gone (like Starship hospital)? Do you think he regrets it a day later? Isn't that something that his children might like to have in the future.

What do you think? Give your full thoughts (including your reasons) below.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Athletics Rotations

Here is a timetable of the field rotations, which will start on Tuesday.

If it is wet at lunchtime, then high jump in the rec centre will be scheduled.  Keep an ear out for which group will be doing high jump if necessary.

We did It!