today was the first day of pakiki we did chess I enjoyed it because it was challenging and we would have to think about how we would move and it is much harder than checkers

Today was my first day of Pakiki Kids, my favourite part was when we did a thing about MacGyver and we had to do make something to get the cellotape and the screwdriver. Caitilin

Today was my first day at Pakiki. We played chess it was fun but quite hard. I won once and I lost 2 times. I played against the computer 3 times. Next week I will play a human. It was hard because I forgot to change the difficulty. (Paolo) It was my first day at Pakiki, it was real fun and I played chess on the computer and I was also the first person there. It was fun because we got to go on the screen heaps. I enjoy computers. Noah O

hi all from day 1 it has been fun today cause we had to do name games and met lots of new people who we all hope will be friends soon. Today was cool because we did stuff that we would never do in normal class. I made a huge fishing rod with Lucy we made it out of paper, string, paper clips a plastic bag and 3 meters of tape. THE END Te Awa and Lucy

DARRIN - I liked Chess the most today because I almost beat Mr. K. It was challenging working out what the quotes about talent were saying. I agreed with the one that said talent needs hard work.

Kia ora from the first day of term 4.

We have a very busy term ahead of us (see the curriculum overview in the Pakiki newsletter for all the details). On top of our busy classroom schedule I am writing reports at the moment which means not a lot of time after school for things like the blog. So, I put my thinking cap on and have decided to get the students to write the blog as their end of day reflections. I have created a page for each class ( you can find it on the left pane). I hope you get a chance to read what we have been up to and engage with your children with some of the big ideas we are looking at this term. The belief systems unit has already created a lot of stimulating and thoughtful discussion and is a great one to talk about at home, given everyone has a perspective to share (a little less expertise needed than quantum physics as well : ). We will discuss philosophical, religious and political belief systems over the next few weeks, so hopefully there is something for everyone.

Cheers, Scott.

Hi all from Day 26
Today we started with a creative thinking warm up...different uses for a pumpkin. There were a few fun original ideas, some memorable suggestions included a disco ball and a fish trap. We followed this with a discussion about the role of stamina and focus in our learning. We identified learning activities we were able to focus on for long periods of time and learning activities we preferred to do in short, sharp bursts. Then we took our reflections and used these to guide how we timetabled the rest of the day. Once the students had written their individual timetables they set to it. We had passion projects, game systems and quantum thinking all going at the same time. Abigail was working on her and George's olympic game; George refined his brain study and added a section on how the brain has been understand across time; Odette worked on malaria and plans to look at other mosquito carried diseases; Jayden tidied up his dog study; Eila planned and began work on an art study on the physiology of cats; Devon wrote the next section of her story; Jack edited with Susan and has planned out the solutions to the 2 problems in his story; Kieran worked for a long time on magic tricks and has 7 card tricks he is practising already; Arlo and Noah worked on their game board and have begun refining rules; Sophie worked on her Greek mythology game and was able to test it on two St. Brigid's teachers who visited us for the first morning session - it is always great to see teachers from home schools interested in what we are up to.

After morning tea we continued in the same vein. Maia has almost completed her paper sculpture - today she made it 3D and is planning a border for it. Tamara tried to find the cheapest way to get from Beijing to Moscow because she is fast running out of money in her virtual world tour; Xanthe has completed her 'you choose' story and now just needs it checked and tested - next weeks task; and Fergus gathered questions for his car board game.

John came for chess and before playing he had us reflect on teaching chess (something that had happened on buddy day the week before). He also spent some time talking to us about esperanto - the international language which is in its 125 year (a baby in language terms of course). This is another area John has an interest in and it is something we maybe able to explore further at some point - the big appeal (apart from the many benefits of learning any second language) is the teacher can learn along with the students : )

After lunch many of the students were working on quantum grid activities - Schrodinger's cat is very popular. It was great to see Sophie combine what she found out about this thought experiment with some beginning understandings of the uncertainty principle. A teacher loves to see student's making connections : )

Well done to Abby who won most focussed student today.

Cheers all, till next week...
Ĝis revido : )

Buddy Day.
A fun day for all. Thanks buddies for joining in so willing and ably : ) Our day revolved around our games study - we were testing, inventing, playing and selling games. Here's some shots : )
tech challenge begin!
a2.jpg a3.jpg a4.jpg

cat in the hat strikes a pose
Katniss Evergreen
a masked swordsman...guess who

super George
Thor and his minnions
Roman Gladiator and onlookers
Lady Gaga? and random dancer
testing games
A quantum challenge

a16.jpg a17.jpg
chess time!

last minute board adjustments
selling games of the future

a27.jpg a31.jpg a28.jpg
mind controlled chess - the mind is behind the table : )
a30.jpg a24.jpg

Kia ora - Day 23

Today the students were given a blank timetable sheet for the day. I outlined what must be done during the day and what were options but the students were able to choose when they would do what. We discussed the potential risks and benefits of investing too much time into one thing and they spent their first 10 minutes outlining their own day. The idea behind this approach is to get the students self-managing their efforts and to engender in them a greater appreciation for how fast time goes and consequently how important it is to on the task as best you can. I definitely heard comments about how fast time seemed to be going : ) Some students wanted help outlining their timetables, which was fine, but many set out a clear plan for the day and set to it. Most students in the morning chose to do either talent time or game design. Noah and Arlo are developing a quest based game using Lego. They have worked intensively on this today and I am looking forward to seeing how this game works out and helping them fine-tune it. Tamara and Xanthe are making a game about travelling through London. They have worked out a neat way to include challenges which we brainstormed together as a class. Abigail and George spent the first half of their morning on their Olympics game. Today they planned the board and thought out obstacles and things to help you succeed. Daniel brainstormed a game about hedgehogs and then went on the internet to find out facts about hedgehogs that he can incorporate into his game. Fergus invested his whole morning on talent time. He has almost finished his scratch animation and next week it will be ready for viewing and critique before final refining. Jayden constructed the origami tokens for his dogs vs cats game. Devon, Maia, and Eila spent some of their time working on a product to tell us about a famous quantum idea - they chose the thought experiment "Schrodinger's cat". Odette started looking at the concept of superposition and Schrodinger's cat. She cleverly noticed the connection between the problem of defining what state something is in without measuring it and the classic philosophical question about whether a tree falling in the forest makes a sound - nice thinking Odette : ) Jack was able to combine tow things for his work this morning. He is investigating the idea of multiple universes (one that arises from physicists wondering where electrons go) and his passion project which is a story about a character being trapped in another dimension. George made excellent use of the second half of the morning working on the last edit of his brain study (mostly just reorganising things).

After play we had a community of inquiry discussing the conditions which we think help our learning. Many of the children said that having choice, plenty of space, low noise distractions, rewards - internal and external, having fresh challenges, scaffolding and understanding what was useful for the future were all useful conditions that helped them focus on their learning. Tamara recorded our ideas on the laptop and then we moved into chess. Today John's lesson was about the kings gambit opening. This is an adventurous opening that sets the game rolling quickly but white needs to be a little careful to avoid an early checkmate.

After lunch we went back to our own timetables. Jayden started on his quantum investigation. He is looking at entanglement. George is planning to create a rap started investigating various areas of quantum thinking, he has written the first verse already. Daniel found out what superposition means and worked more on his hedgehog board game; Kieran has come up with an idea of a role playing game with a board that unfolds in front of the players as they move through the dungeon; Odette and Maia are developing a trivia based game; Devon and Eila started creating the tokens for their cat warrior game; Jack and Fergus made tokens for their quantum board game and plotted out how the board will look. It was frantic stuff but loads of fun.

Enjoy your weekend team - see you next week!

Cheers, Scott.
Day 22
Kia ora.
we started today with a critical thinking exercise. We watched a short video clip about the idea of manipulating matter with personal fabricators - this is a quantum possibility that depends on understanding the atomic patterns that 'things' in the world are made of. The idea is, if those patterns were known they could be reproduced and a machine could create some thing by organising atoms into the correct pattern. We did a PMI on this - identifying positives, negatives and interesting consequences if such a machine actually came to be. It was pleasing to hear several students refer back to our economics study and think about how our economic system might change - e.g. if we could make whatever we wanted would we have the same need for money? A lot of interesting ideas came out of the students thinking - great start to the day.

We moved onto talent time for the remainder of the morning. Tamara has made good progress on her travels. I have granted another $5k, simply because flights were taking up all her $ and hindering her travel. I wanted the focus to be on working out the cost of each country so I don't want the cost of getting there to be too inhibitive. Xanthe finished her dog sonnet - hurray!! THis is the last piece of her Shakespeare study. Well done Xanthe. Odette started planning her new passion project - a study on poisons and diseases (charming :) She is going to present her work in a 10 minute lesson to the class. Abby and Eila used the knowledge they have been gathering about photography to take some photos - working on how to focus on a single subject. Noah worked on his scratch advertisement, Jayden and I went through his dog study so that it is ready for a second draft, Sophie created two new parts to her scratch owl presentation. Maia gathered some information about the artist Peter Callesen and she has begun to paraphrase her work. Arlo is making a haunted house game on scratch and is highly motivated - he even worked on it through lunch. Daniel is making a stykz movie and has been challenign himself to find ways for the viewer to understand the stories plot. He is doing a fine job of a difficult task with this. Kieran and I have finally agreed on a lego project. His movie will outline aspects of the Battle of El Alamein. Jack didn't make the most progress today because he is feeling unwell - he did read a lot and discovered a cool page on nano technologies which relates to our discussion on personal fabricators. After a long run of illness we're glad to have him here even if he's not at 100% productivity : )

After play we looked at Dabrowski. We reviewed what we had thought about internal obstacles and then we started to consider external obstacles to our learning. Many children could think of a number of things that distracted them and how this was triggered by external conditions meeting their internal sensitivities - e.g. when Abby sees a car go by out the window her imagination takes over and she can get into a bit of a daydream - don't sit near windows Abby! Chess with John rounded out the morning. John refined our understanding of the 50 moves draw today and Devon and George teamed up to beat John! Fantastic.

In the afternoon we conducted another double slit experiment, this time using light instead of salt. We first looked at how waves interfere with each other, the troughs and crests clashing to cause destructive and constructive interference. This results in a striped pattern. Then we made a double slit out of cardboard and aimed a laser pointer through one of the slits onto a blank piece of paper behind it, to see what kind of pattern we got and to infer form that whether light travelled in a wave or not. And indeed, we got an interference light must be a wave! That was great, except we knew from Dr. Scharpf and our look at Einstein that light was a particle - a photon? Hmm, how can light be a particle but a wave at the same time? Quantum dilemma. We watched a short clip outlining this strange phenomena and the even stranger part that when we observe the slits light behaves as a particle, when we don't it acts as a wave. We have to settle ourselves with its strangeness at the moment because no-one has yet figured out what is going on. The students had some ideas. Odette thought that maybe photons and electrons and the like have minds and decide what to do depending on whether we are looking or not. I look forward to hearing what else the kids think about this...who knows it may be one of them that comes up with an accepted rationale!

Cheers team,
see you all next week.

Day 21

This morning started with game analysis. I had planned to do this later in the day but so many students had brought and were playing board games before school started that I thought we might as well run with that first. The students have all completed several analysis now. Next week we will consider what we thought were important features in making a successful and enjoyable game and then they will start creating prototypes of their own, in groups. We had a quick creative thinking exercise next, aimed at fluency of ideas. The students had a choice of several "what ifs" and had to think of as many ideas as possible stemming from it. Thursday averaged 6.3 ideas per person, once again establishing themselves as the kings of creativity for the week. Well done Thursday. We finished the session with talent time. Odette and Maia battled technology most of the session (sadly this happens from time time as I'm sure many of you have experienced). With my help, we did crack the problem in the end! Tamara also had some problems but showed fantastic tenacity to make progress on her maths trip around the world. Noah worked further on his Scratch advertisement, George completed writing up his neuroscience notes and Sophie has thought of an innovative way to present her owl project - it looks great so far. Eila has put her cat study onto a display board and it is looking informative. Jayden completed his study and has printed it for marking. Abigail found out more about photography, today finishing looking at the importance of light and starting to look at background; Fergus had to invest this time catching up on a few leftovers from term two - he has almost written up his Granny O'Grimm notes.

After play we looked at Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration. SImplified, this argues that we ought to be reflective to recognise internal and external conditions and values that hinder and aid our learning. Sophie was critical of the lack of "it depends" on mood and context in Dabrowski's ideas. To be fair we were using a decontextualised quotation and not the whole theory but it was great to see critique going on amongst our team. We also discussed what I find to be a major flaw - the artificial division between internal and external conditions. Critique notwithstanding, the students then set about answering questions to try and identify what internal conditions helped them succeed or were obstacles to their learning. Many of them found this tricky but they persisted well (with a little encouragement : ) It was interesting to see how many (especially boys0 felt that planning and reflecting regularly were not useful to improving their success : ) We finished the morning session with John unpacking the various ways we can draw in chess - stalemate, repetition, forfeit, and a theoretical draw.

Hi all Day 20

Today we had a visiting teacher who wants to pick up some of the Pakiki methods for her own classroom - thanks for your interest Mrs. Dow and your help this morning. We started our day with another creative thinking warm up - "what if mosquitos were as big as cats?". Today's focus was on elaboration - trying to dig as deeply as possible into the potential consequences and what might be the results of each subsequent consequence. We followed this up with some critical thinking integrated into our investigation of games. We played games and analysed different aspects that make a game a good one (according to a board game creators group I found online). I had created a sheet to guide the students thinking and we set about playing Yahtzee, Rumis, chess, and cards and analysed what we thought. Rumis scored very highly. The idea is after a couple of weeks thinking critically about games we will start thinking creatively and, in small groups, start making prototypes of our own games. We finished the morning session off with talent time. There has been a big uptake this term on a maths talent group - try to see how far or how long you can travel around the world on $5000NZD. The students were highly focused at talent time today - well done team, some good progress is being made. The Shakespeare team have finally finished acting and videoing their scene from Twelfth Night - well done - we are going to watch it together this afternoon. A central focus at talent time at the moment, is the importance of reflecting regularly to see what is working, how problems are being solved and what your next step is.

We spent sometime discussing Dabrowski's ideas around intensities - that people have certain stimuli that create more intense responses than others and the stimuli is different depending on the person. Research has been done around this idea with gifted learners and found that typically the intensities were greater. We unpacked what the emotional, sensual, psychomotor, intellectual and imaginational categories that Dabrowski had created referred to, then we did a stocktake of what we thought were our own intensities.

At Chess Mr K had a very unlucky day, both George and Arlo beat him. At least he beat Devon, who was top of the ladder. John showed us a bunch of famous checkmates - scholar, Legal's, fools and one we can't remember. After lunch Mr K read us a chapter of Frindle, then we watched a clip about how quantum physicists are able to manipulate muons (cosmic rays that are like a heavy electron) so that they live longer than they ought too and in a way are travelling into our future. Then we had to use our creativity to think of other things that we could imagine happening if we could manipulate subatomic particles. Some of the ideas were teleporters, a doppleganger finding machine (it scans your atomic structure and looks for duplicates), a refabricator which takes rubbish recycles the atoms and creates something useful. Cool thinking team.

See you all next week! Take care

Kia ora from day 19 - the first day of term 3.

Today started with a quick creative warm up - the aim was originality and the students were required to create a series of pictures by building on or combining 4 squiggles. They were engrossed - the first 5 minutes was pure silence, almost unheard of in the Pakiki world : )

A great trip to the physics lab this morning - here are some pics:
Jayden, Arlo, Tamara and Sophie (hiding : ) watch atoms at work from a Van Der Graff machine. Dr. Easther Haines looks on in the background - thanks Dr. Haines!

Pakiki Kids test a spectrogram. Reading light spectrums can tell us about the elemental composition of things. We checked out a fluorescent, natural light and light from a hydrogen lamp.

Anyone for doing the dishes in liquid nitrogen? Xanthe watches as the liquid nitrogen meets some water and dishwashing liquid - frozen bubbles!

Maia,Jack, Noah, and George look on intently as cosmic rays and decaying atoms reveal themselves in a cloud machine - very cool with lots of awe inspiring ideas for us to think about, including where do I get one!

Chess before lunch and in the afternoon we got into the real world of econ island! Lots of fun, problem solving, doing and thinking economics. A great day at Pakiki, hope the kids have plenty of thoughts to share with you and have the good feeling of a full day's learning.


Kia ora from day 17

Sorry about the extended delay Thursday. I have been meeting with schools a lot lately and we had a professional development day from our national mentors on Friday - all great stuff but time gets a little squeezed. We were lucky today to have Anna from Wellington, an experienced gifted educationalist, teach a lesson on creative thinking with us. This involved eating potato chips and creating a super hero - a lesson that was universally enjoyed. The students used a LACE brainstorm, then judged their ideas to decide what charactersitics to use in their hero. Then the class worked in small groups to come up with as many unusual uses for a chip they could think of. We then put our ideas together, categorised them and rated ourselves on originality and fluency. This approach gives the students a way to begin thinking about creative thinking as something that can be worked on and nurtured, rather than something someone simply 'has'. These lessons took us close to lunchtime. We rounded out the time working on our critical reviews. There is little time to finish them with a trip next week and open day on the last week. In the afternoon we practiced our last round of econ island before things start for real. Today we were introduced to stone as a commodity and the idea that bad choices can lead to misfortune and economic disaster, not jsut for us as individuals but as a group. Next week the aim will be to see if we can keep our group alive and gain a standard of living we can be proud of (and beat the other classes ; )

Cheers Thursday, and a big thanks to Anna for sharing her expertise with us.

Kia ora koutou from day 16.

Today we checked our shares, wrote some questions about the share market using our Depth and Complexity icons as guides, then headed off to the 9th floor of the Forsyth Barr to find out what the experts could tell us about this kind of investing. Gordon Tucker was the investment advisor who guided us through the ins and outs of how the market works and fielded our sometimes sticky questions. Well done Kieran and Eila who were stand out questioners. Odette, Maia, Jack, and Sophie and Jayden also asked some tricky and insightful questions. All in all this was a very interesting visit - a big thanks to the parents who were able to help and to those who offered, it is great to have all your support. When we got back we had a quick morning tea, then we unpacked some of what we had heard - the students were able to recall a lot of information - including price/earning ratios and what they meant, the idea of liquidity and the basic ideas that guide investment advice. One of these was that you "like what a company is doing". We explored this a little further and discussed ethical ideas about how a company makes its profits, this lead into an impromptu discussion around a well known thought-experiment about the choices we make as consumers. Would you ruin your expensive shoes to save a drowning child? Everyone said yes (they normally do). The next part of the experiment asks would you not buy the shoes (or ipad or whatever) at all given that the money would save many more than one child. This part challenges the ethics of our consumer choices. Abby was quick to realise there was something about the immediacy of the first scenario that made it more pressing. Odette thought it was obscene to spend a lot of money on shoes and wondered about the way we are tempted by goods we like, Noah noted it was about the difficultie of wanting things, or as Jayden put it giving ourselves pleasure through our purchases. There are no simple answers to thought-experiments like this, they are simply intended to give us dilemmas to chew over. I hope it set a few thoughts in motion. John soon arrived for chess and we learnt about sacrificing pieces for advantage or to open a game up. Sophie challenged me - she showed some improvement but still needs to watch out not to leave unguarded pieces; at the top of the ladder Kieran and Daniel fought out a stalemate.

After lunch we read a Ray Bradbury story to commemorate his death yesterday, at age 91. Ray Bradbury was one of my first introductions to the thought inspiring world of good science fiction writing. I think the students enjoyed the sad tale of Margot and the children of rain soaked Venus.
Finally, we moved onto Econ island. Today we were introduced to the island proper. At this stage of the game the students are battling for survival by trying to carefully maintain the scarce resources their island has. Sadly, many did not survive past the first round. WIth supplies so scarce prices were high and students were willing to pay whatever to try and secure their basic needs (Abby gave up all her money for one wood card). No-one survived the second round but Abby and Daniel almost made it. This was a lesson in the importance of managing resources and not overharvesting! Fergus wisely noted that we needed greater government regulation to try and keep more players alive. Well done Fergus, though that is for a future stage. Daniel was declared the island winner today, with Abby a close second.

Cheers all for a fun day.
See you next week

Day 14
Again we checked our shares to begin. More bad news but thank goodness for diversification. We are still seeing some upward movement for those who invested in Ryman healthcare and in Trademe. After we looked at the next stage of Renzulli's thoughts on giftedness. Today we discussed whether what counts as intelligence changes across time and space. Here are our notes:

    • Eila thinks different cultures value different things e.g. animal welfare has changed across time and place - intelligence has the same kind of change. Fergus thinks sometimes it depends on practise e.g. some skills would be extremely difficult in different times e.g you might not know you are gifted at maths if you are in some tribal place that doesn’t use algebra but if you are in another place you would discover you had that gift. George agrees e.g. being intelligent at survival skills might be something in some places whereas maths might be intelligent in another. Odette agrees with the others as well. Sophie partly disagrees because she thinks survival skills are common to all of us they just seem different - e.g in the jungle you might need to survive predators but in the city you might need to know how to dodge traffic. Tamara agrees with George Arlo thinks time and place doesn’t mater -if you are good at maths you are good at maths it doesn’t matter you would be relatively as good for any time or place you are a part of...Fergus has changed his mind a little and now wants to add there is an idea of intelligence that is bigger than the examples we give. Jack agrees with Fergus...Tamara adds an example about the ice age and argues that intelligence is different across time. Jack disagrees he says if you could survive the ice age that intelligence is the same as gifted intelligence now. Noah thinks it doesn’t matter what time and place because intelligence is about creativity and that happens everywhere and everywhen by the intelligent people. KIeran diagrees with Renzulli because intelligence is common across contexts, it shows itself differently but it is still just the ability to learn; Xanthe agrees with Arlo and Kieran that if you are good at something, even if it was a long time ago and simple by todays standards, you would be good at the equivalent thing today. Abby also agrees with this...intelligence doesn’t matter when or where, if you were good at maths in the 1600s even if it seems easy now, you would now be good at the hard stuff. Jayden agrees that if you were a good learner in the past or in another place you would be a good learner here and now. Maia agrees with this point too. She says different types of intelligences exist for everyone e.g. reading or maths but they all are intelligence Devon thinks intelligence is the same across time and place, i.e. it changes how it looks but it is relatively the same.

After we moved into talent time. Odette and Xanthe have selected a scene from Shakespeare's play Twelfth NIght and began practising their parts. George investigated why brain cells die; Sophie researched elf owl population numbers and had to concede that the information is not fully knowable; Eila worked on the final presentaiton of her cat study - it is almost finished. Devon and Abby are creating an origami stop motion movie. Other animators like Kieran and Fergus were supposed to review their animation study but instead created another stykz - I admire the passion boys but it's time to get metacognitive! Noah did review his work (hurray for Noah!). Arlo and Maia discovered why a steamy wall does not allow a statically charged balloon to stick (the humidity allows the balloon to lose its extra electrons quickly) and Jack reviewed his sound story and began a new project - a comic story. Tamara looked at famous examples of Phi (e.g. the parthenon and Da Vinci's art) and Jayden researched what breeds of dog are most responsible for deaths. He found some longitudinal studies completed in the United States. Hopefully, next week, we can find some from New Zealand as well.

After morning tea it was time to revisit Granny O'Grimm and continue working on our critical review. Many of the students are finishing these now and, for them, it is time to word process and complete a final edit. Chess with John finished off the morning.

After lunch we were into eco island 7. This was an examination of the free market - there was no support for those who were unable to meet their needs. THere was a mixed response to this approach, though it would be fair to say the majority preferred the draw of incentives over the extra support of the command economy. It will be interesting to see how next week goes when the team is introduced to the idea of taxation as we investigate a mixed market economy.

Cheers, Scott.

Day 13
This morning started with a quick share check. Most of noticed the pain of the share market’s movements around the world. George’s portfolio was over $100 down, for example. A few of the students had heard about the continued problems in Greece, Tamara also knew that they were thinking of going back to their original currency (the drachma). Once we had checked our wealth we turned to Renzulli. Joseph Renzulli is an academic who has specialised in the area of gifted education. We are critiquing his theory about gifted ed as a way of fine tuning our self-understandings of being a gifted learner. Today we looked at his claim that there are many different kind of intelligences. Many of us agreed. Here are the notes from our discussion:

Kieran partly disagrees because intelligence means ‘smartness;, or being good at something - i.e there is one main type of intelligences and the particular subjects we do are just lots of smaller parts; Eila agrees with Renzulli because it depends on how your brain thinks, it might not think mathematically but it might have creative intelligence instead; George also agrees because there are lots of ways of thinking - e.g. you might know how to do math, like algebra, while others might not but instead they might know how to do e.g superb writing; Sophie also agrees - if everyone wasn’t good at different things we’d all end up not being unique; Arlo also agrees because he is not very intelligent at maths but he’s good at reading and vocabulary and (philosophy : ) and he knows others whose intelligent is specialised; Odette also agrees for similar reasons as Sophie; Tamara agrees because she is good at math and reading but she has spelling ‘issues’ whereas others she knows have different issues; Noah agrees too - he also notices that he is good at some things that he doesn’t like - so sometimes intelligences are varied and link to what we like or are passionate about but not always. Fergus thinks sometimes we don’t even know we are talented or intelligent at something. Abby says everyone is intelligent in some way but she says this doesn’t mean every student could be at Pakiki because...there are different degrees of intelligence...Eila adds it depends on the way you think, not just being clever but you might need a few different kinds of exceptional thinking....Sophie thinks Pakiki kids are more creative and academic but that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be other kinds of Pakiki (e.g sports, sewing) but that our Pakiki is a school/creative kind of Pakiki. You need a certain ‘thing’ -e.g. like what Sophie says, agrees Tamara; Daniel agrees there are many kinds of intelligence but he is still not sure why, he thinks everyone is good at something but you need a bit more “spark” to get to Pakiki - i.e. you have to have multiple intelligences and you need to find school too easy....Xanthe agrees with Tamara and says that understanding words is one of the most important things for Pakiki because we use “flash” language; Jayden thinks there are many different intelligences too - e.g. sports intelligence is different to reading or maths; to be a Pakiki kid he thinks you need to be good at multiple things; Maia agrees with Noah - i.e. you can be good at things you don’t like; Devon agrees there are many kind of intelligences because reading isn’t writing and math isn’t philosophy and they all have their differences. Jack also agrees with Noah because you can’t all be intelligent at the thing you love but he thinks passion is really important to being at a place like Pakiki, in fact, he thinks that is the most important thing because we learn so many new things.

After our first look at Renzulli we moved onto talent time. Jack added a lot of sound effects to his story and finished : ) This was a good effort because he had to listen to his story, find the appropriate effect, paste it in the correct place, and learn how to splice his recording to get rid of the unnecessary gaps. Well done Jack! Kieran, Noah, and Fergus all loaded their movies onto our computer stop motion programme - FramebyFrame. Kieran started to try and find out if he could add music to his - I am keen to find his results. Otherwise these movies are ready for viewing. Arlo and Maia worked on another static experiment involving getting a strip of tinfoil hanging on a paper clip to move by bringing a statically charged object near the top of the paper clip. They were having no luck with this and were stumped. I came over to see how they were getting on and noticed they were using a plastic paper clip - we had a quick think about this and they tracked down a metal one, and bingo - away it went. Odette read a synopsis of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Her next mission is to figure out which part of the story she wants to learn and act : ) George and Xanthe were working on brain studies - trying to find out, amongst other things, what the left and right hemispheres do. Tamara was collating her information on Fibonacci; Sophie started ,at much better pace, on her elf owl study and had begun getting her information ready for dissemination; Eila is down to the last two questions about cats; and Daniel wrote a chorus for his song and started a short narrative.

After morning tea we revisited our critical literacy learning. Today’s lesson focussed on representation and how the choices the author made about this helped or hindered conveying the message of the film. We talked about the importance of reasons and evidence from the text to support our claims, then set about drafting this part of our review. There was some excellent persistence shown with this as students grappled with making connections between their evidence and how that supported their claims about the clarity of the message. Next week we should start seeing some finished product on this project.
Chess rounded out the mid-morning session. Kieran was brave enough to challenge our tutor, John : ) John and I checked to see if students were remembering the tips from the previous week in their playing, and I was canvassing students to see if they wanted to form a Pakiki Kids chess team to take on teams at the Otago/Southland primary chess competition.

After lunch we read some of our novel, Frindle, and used a new Depth and Complexity tool we have to help us more deeply engage with our literature. This is a simple spinner and stack of cards. The cards are categorised into the various D&C icons (they are on our front wall for those who are interested : ) and have a series of questions to match each icon. Today we looked at some Big Ideas around the characters in the story. We finished the day with Econ Island. Today’s lesson introduced us to a command economy (communist/socialist style). There were no incentives but everyone was guaranteed their needs were catered for. In writing their account of the scenario I asked that the students added their opinion (with reasons of course) about today’s play. It was very intriguing to see a clear split in responses between those who thought it was worse because there was no incentive to try harder, and those who thought it was fairer and more equal because no-one missed out on their needs and everyone got the same amount. Sound like familiar points of view re socialist vs capitalist economies? : ) What I enjoyed most about their responses was that I didn’t need to offer any input before they came up with them. They’re thinkers, our Pakiki Kids.

Cheers all,
I’ll see you all next week.

Day 12
Today started with 10 minutes checking our shares. We then took some time to examine what was happening in Europe, politically, and to see what impact this had on share markets around the world. We considered the share market in light of our four types of systems - is it complex or chaotic? How predictable is it? We are still unsure about our answers to these questions but soon we will meet with some people with more expertise - so we are including these questions in our list for them. After sharemarket/system thinking we moved into talent time. Xanthe started her sonnet after reading some. She completed teh first stanza her poem is about dogs. Arlo conducted an experiment using magnets and boats. He then created his own experiment with batteries a magnet and wires and lit a led light and moved the boat. His next step is to record the second experiment. He has already written up the first. Noah almost finished putting his stopmotion onto imovie - he will finish next week and we will all watch it on the big screen. Kieran and Fergus put their photos onto imovie as well - they have some editing to do next week. Tamara learnt the relationship between Fibonacci and the golden rule - next week she is going to find out where the golden rule exists in our world. George sent his email to Grant Gillet and he wants to find some more facts about the brain next week. He also summarised the different ways the right and left hemisphere work. Devon and Abby started their stopmotion animation with chess pieces. They spent some time to make sure the cameras position was perfect - they recorded how to re-set it up straight away for next week. Sophie found out the elf owl population and improved her research skills, next week she will try and find out how much the population has changed. Daniel turned his mediation vision into song lyrics for his song and he practised singing and playing it together. Jack Started putting sound effects to his story and he recorded the story onot garageband.

After morning tea we watched Granny O'Grimm, a humourous, short animation that deals with themes about how society views elderly people. We turned to our critical literacy language to help us consider the ways the author had represented his/her main character, how these matched our own experiences, why the author might have chosen to represent her in the way that he did and so on. We recorded our thoughts, began planning a critical review of Granny O"Grimm which we are going to continue working on next week. John arrived to round out our morning with chess. Today's tips were about why we make certain opening moves. Chess challenges followed, and as we finished our games we practised end moves with only a king vs king and queen.

After lunch we moved onto the next lesson for Econ Island. Today's lesson introduced the idea of competition and the law of supply and demand. Today the labourers had to purchase their needs, sell their labour and make as much money as possible. The business people had to sell their goods at prices they set themselves but could only sell certain amounts depending on how many people they employed. This was very similar to last weeks lesson except the crucial difference was that each business had all of the goods available for sale. This meant much greater competition and the labourers were able to bargain for better prices and, consequently, have more money left over at the end of the game. We held a discussion to finish around the ideas of competition, and the law of supply and demand. We were able to talk about the latter in light of the online maths game 'Coffee Shop", which helped the students make better sense of it. If you get the chance to have discussions about these ideas at home please do - the more they are reinforced the easier it is for our kids to gain a solid grasp on these abstract ideas.

Cheers team, another fun day's learning,

Kia ora from day 11 of the year.

This morning started with checking our investments from the previous week. The share market made some gains over the week so most people made money : ) Eila and Sophie made almost $300, George and Jayden made $150 and earned $500 Pakiki dollars for being the first to complete their investments. Odette and Maia made almost $70. We invested whatever money we had left - looking forward to next week! We did passion projects after this. Maia and Arlo figured out what the atoms were doing to make the water bend - the balloon gained electrons from the hair it was rubbed against giving it a negative charge - they are assuming that water must have a positive charge because they know that opposites attract. Sophie discovered what was causing habitat loss for the elf owl next week she is going to find out population change over time. Jack finished his Owlboy/Catman story and edited it. He is almost ready to add the sound effects. Tamara found out that the golden mean was a ratio of 1.618 and that the Fibonacci spirals can be found in music, paintings. She is learning about the relationship between the golden ratio and FIbonacci's numbers. Abby and Devon finished their stykz animations and are learning about how to put a stop motion animation together which they will start next week. Eila found out why cats are so agile and how cats were domesticated. Next week she is going to find out about the relationship between cats and humans in different cultures. George found out what some of the risks of operating on a brain are. Odette wrote a sonnet about poison after reading a few, next week she will edit and recite it to us. Kieran created characters for his WW2 stop motion animation; Jayden finished his stopmotion animation and put it onto imovie - next week he will add music to it. Daniel created a more intricate version of his melody and adapted his chord changes. We have set a date of the 24 May for his performance of his piece to the class. He also set a new coffee shop record at interval. Xanthe started a sonnet about dogs, next week she is going to read some of Shakespeare's to get a good feel for the rhythm. Noah and Fergus were not happy with their stopmotion so they created a new scenario to work on. Next week we will aim for shots that only have the background they want.

After morning break we watched another short animated movie - Starless NIght and continued to explore our concepts and language from critical literacy to help us discuss what choices we think the author has made and what s/he was trying to convey. Eila argued the film told us that even enemies can help each other", Daniel made links to the movie and his own experiences, We wondered why the characters were represented in the way they were and linked our ideas to messages we thought might be in the film. We critically engaged with some of these representations wondering why was the dog the helper, why did many of us think the dog was a male and the cat a female - and did perhaps the author think that too? George thought it was because the dog is man's best friend and 'helps out'. He also wondered why the author had chosen to reverse the traditional cats vs dog theme but not the idea of the dog as more helpful than cats. Many of the students contributed thoughtfully and critically - well done. We finished the session off with chess. John, our chess tutor is starting to develop a relationship with this class and I can feel an increased buzz for chess going on - awesome. Devon played out a great game with Kieran that resulted in a stalemate; Daniel exploited a weakness he had noticed in my game and almost toppled me. It was great to see a clear reflective approach to his thinking.

After lunch it was econisland time! Today we reexamined scarcity, incentives, commodities and money. We took on board new ideas about needs and wants, economic choices, labour and leverage. We practised negotiating and made economic choices based on set needs and wants. We had to negotiate a price for our labour and use the money we earned to provide for our needs. This really is a lesson that the students take on enthusiastically. Susan was in this afternoon - a great time for an extra pair of hands through 7 and a half minutes of frenzied economic activity. Thanks! Econ Isalnd focuses coming up include competition and command economies.

Cheers team - a fun day,
Catch you all next week.

Hi, first day of term 2

Hi again - a big welcome back for Tamara who has returned from her overseas adventures. Our first day was busy focussing on finance. We are studtying on economic systems this term. We invested the first hour by investigating the share market, discussing some specialist language and choosing companies to invest in. We looked online at the NZSX50 and discussed what the figures and columns represent. We identified how to see trading patterns then, with our Pakiki dollars (x 100) in hand we set about investing. We charted our portfolio in Numbers (excel for mac). This was an enthusiastic event!

We finished out the morning session working on talent time. Maia finished and we checked through her powerpoint on Promethium. Then she looked at the nest stage of her plan and set about bending water with static electricity and a balloon. Maia and Arlo checked their notes on atoms and electrical charges to try and figure out, atomically speaking, what was going on. Next week they will write up their report and, if there's time tackle another look at atoms in action. Devon and Abby have moved onto stykz during talent time and both shoed they could operate the programme successfully completing an exercise and dance routine for their respective stick figures. Eila discovered the secret behind cat agility and the stop-motioners were well engaged with moving lego creations.

After play we turned to mental edge. We started by reflecting on learning, reading the teacher reviews of some of our work from term 1 and setting goals for ourselves for the coming term. We followed this metacognition up with the first of our critical literacy lessons. We were exploring the terms 'representation' and 'exclusion' and used a short animation This Side Up as our text. We asked questions about how the author had represented her/his protagonist, and discussed why s/he might have made those choices. We asked who might be excluded from the way the story was put together and what do we gain from considering a text this way. Many of the students, notably today, Odette, George, Arlo, Sophie and Fergus made thoughtful contributions - we noticed the potential for offense in the story's joke, and we realised some people might not have the kinds of experiences that gave the story meaning. We also thought about how this kind of approach to literacy lets us in on what is going on behind the first level of a text. Not necessary when we read or watch for entertainment but useful to hone our analytical skills for when they are needed. We shifted from this to Chess around 12. Today we started our chess leaderboard (Devon made excellent progress up and Daniel defended his top spot) and we had a visit from a chess helper, John, who has a lot of knowledge and experience about the game. He worked with one group today while I roamed with the others, starting a game with Abby, who improved noticably during the course of the match.

In the afternoon we started on econ island. This is a series of simulation activities and a kind of game that exposes the students to key economic concepts. Today we looked at trade/barter, scarcity, incentives and money. Our next lesson is on needs and wants. The students completed the activity by recording what we had done in such a way that they used the language of the discipline correctly. There were some very good accounts written - well done Tamara, Jayden, Jack, Kieran and the others who did an excellent job of correctly using the economic language we are trying to acquire.

A fun first day back - thanks team!

Hi all from the last Thursday of term - Day 9.

Sorry to all re the Thursday delay - I am having a few issues with wiki spam protection blocking my blogs from school. I will do my best to remember what we got up to but might be a bit short on noting individual efforts and achievements for these two days. All will be resolved for next term - I'll take my notes and do them from home : )

Here's the day plan:
Thursday 5 April

Must Do
You Choose
Term Reflection
Talent Time
Frame Portrait
Systems Cube activities
Do extra debate planning
Talent Progress Report
Easter Scamper
Select, reflect and organise 3 items for L.J
Kaplan’s Icon Design “across space”

Mental Edge Technology Challenge
Talent Time - Including Progress Report
Term Reflection
Must Do - finish portraits & poem if you have not already
You Choose
Must do/ You Choose Afternoon
Clean Up (10 mins)
Game (5 mins)

Today we started with a tech challenge - building a table that could hold as many books as possible from paper, 1 piece of thin card, popsicle sticks, straws and tape. This proved quite challenging for our Thursday teams : ) We all have skills in different areas! Nonetheless, these lessons provide opportunities for teamwork - which we saw plenty of - and all that implies: compromise, negotiation, assigning and taking on different roles, encouraging others etc. The rest of the morning students worked on their talent time projects.

After play it was down to finishing term one work and reflections. The students have all finished their portraits now and they are on the wall framed by a list of what they think makes them a Pakiki kid. A number of students also finished their poetry - Abby, Arlo and others persisted superbly to finish their I am from poems. I had created a term overview reflection that canvassed a lot of what we have learned over the first term. This allows me to check exactly where different kids are at with their understanding of key points and thinking tools as we move into term two. The students also had to do a short halfway progress report on their talent/passion projects and to reflect on pieces of work that will be included in their learning journals, at the end of the year. Two of these pieces from this term will be the portrait and poetry but the students chose the third themselves. These reflections involved a lot of hard thinking and for many of our Thursday team it was relatively new - so well done.

In the afternoon we moved into a you-choose session. This included a series of activities the students could choose from (talent time, chess, systems cube activities) many of which have been ongoing throughout the term, with one easter idea - SCAMPER the easter bunny, thrown in for good measure.

Well done on the last day of term Thursday.
Have a nice holiday all!

Hi from day 8

Thursday 29 March

Warm Up
Unpacking some Quotes
Mental Edge: Socratic Questioning via Frindle:
Probing Reasons and Evidence
Talent Time (animators start with me : )
Affective Domain
Thinking about what it means to be a “Pakiki Kid”
Portraits/Poetry/Talent Time
2 weeks to go - finishing work time!
Systems: Roll the Dice - Choose an Activity
Reflection Practice
Clean Up (10 mins)

This morning we started by working out a some quotes about talent from two well known 'gifted folk' - George Lucas and Albert Einstein.
"I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive."
-Albert Einstein
"Everybody has talent, it’s just a matter of moving around until you’ve discovered what it is." - George Lucas

Once we had the meaning in our own words we discussed whether we agreed, disagreed or partly agreed with, primarily, what George Lucas was saying. The children decided that everybody has talent but that these are different for all of us. This discussion was the beginning of extending our affective domain studies from a study of ourselves per se, to a study of ourselves as gifted/Pakiki learners. This exploration will continue throughout the next term, including discussions around theories of giftedness, common complaints of gifted kids and perfectionism. We followed this with more focus on our questioning skills. We read a few pages of our novel Frindle and the children questioned the viewpoints and assumptions the characters, and the author were making. We then moved into talent time mode.

Today Maia continued on her own element study, while Arlo was away. Next term she will begin to explore the relationship between atoms and static electricity and conduct a few experiments around this. Odette and Xanthe watched Midsummer Nights Dream and and are deciding on a scene to act out. The animators are split between stykz and stop motion movies. There is some sound progress being made on these, though there is still learning to do regarding making a simple story line that transfers easily to the demands of animation.

In the afternoon we looked at some cartoons on giftedness and had a discussion around what it is like being a Pakiki Kid, how this affects relationships with colleagues, and how being identified as a gifted learner affects their experiences in mainstream class. There were some interesting insights, and this seemed a valuable discussion for children to reflect on their learning relationships, and to hear from others who had both similar and different relationships. Everybody in the class contributed to this discussion and we recorded our thoughts. Next week we will continue to explore our Pakiki-ness. We finished the day with some systems activities and chess, before clean-up and reflections.

Thanks crew,

Cheers, Scott.
Kia ora from day 7

This morning we focussed once again on questioning. We started with the idea of ignorance and our ignorance logs - these are places where we record questions we wonder about. They are not intended to be questions we necessarily find the answers to; rather the primary objective is to encourage and celebrate our curiosity and wonderment. This morning we warmed up by thinking of questions we had about our talent time topics. In some ways this is a little contrived, as the idea of ignorance logs is as a place to record spontaneous questions that come to us, however, it was a good way to remind the students the logs are there and to reiterate their purpose and importance. We followed this with a mental edge questioning activity that allowed us to revise our Socratic questions (probing assumptions) from last week. The new Socratic line of questioning introduced today was challenging reasons and seeking evidence. We started reading a short novel (Frindle - a humorous story of a gifted boy who invents a word) and the students used their Socratic questioning sheets and their thinking to challenge rationales, seek evidence, question assumptions and clarify meaning throughout the chapter. It is very evident that most of the students are improving their questioning skills - this is really encouraging. A next step for us to watch out for is to see if this improvement translates into other areas of their thinking e.g. better questioning in research projects, at home and at their home school etc.

After questioning we went straight into talent time. Several of the animators had brought along lego for stop motion films. Noah created a storyboard about a tourist, some aliens and some soldiers. HIs short tale had a simple problem (alien abduction) and a simple solution (alien conversion). He then set about the arduous task of the many shots it takes. When reflecting on his first draft we noticed some areas moved too quickly, emphasising just how small the movements need to be. Kieran continued with his stop motion, while Fergus moved onto exploring the stykz animation program on the computers. Jayden was also doing this and completed an animation he had begun the previous week. It now has over 200 frames! He also found time to research some historical information about animation, watch Steam Boat Willie and Humourous Faces, two very early animations and take notes on some of the approaches to animation he saw in these short films. Abby and Devon have scaled down their drawings and Devon has several of her flipbook pages completed. Her flipbook is ambitiously showing several movements at once - a fish swimming through seaweed, bubbles coming up and a school of small fish moving in the opposite direction. This may sound simple enough but it takes a lot of care and accuracy to get it to work. Abby has finally settled on a creature and scene and has this drawn up and scaled. While this to-ing and fro-ing between ideas soaks up time so long as the students keep ALL of their work (including the ideas they reject) they are able to demonstrate their thinking and the progress they are making. The Shakespeare team had managed to find all but two of the questions they were seeking about Shakespeare and tried to read some of the Tempest. As many of you will know Shakespeare's language takes some getting your head around when you first meet it, so I set up a BBC animated version of the Midsummer Night's Dream for them to watch. This let them take in the story without getting stuck on the words. They will continue with this next week and start to select a section to learn and recite. Arlo and Maia worked on their elemental study. Today was a lesson in paraphrasing for them. I noticed they had been quite innocently cut and pasting their information (plagarism is not something typically talked about at primary schools, sadly). One method I use to help younger children figure out how to write in their own words is to get them to read a section, then without looking tell me what it said. Then they simply write almost exactly what they said. Children tend to find talking easier than writing so this method works well, and it did for Arlo and Maia. I had each of them read , then tell the other person what they had found out and the listener acted as scribe writing down what they heard. Then they simply swopped roles. Well done scientists! Daniel has worked out a section to get his song from the bridge back to the verse section. This part of songwriting can often be a little tricky so I was impressed with the way he persevered until he finally found a melody and chord sequence he was happy with. I was also impressed with the fluency he is gaining on the first parts of his song - he is clearly practising at home too!. Sophie and Eila's animal research is coming along slowly. Eila had some technical difficulties today which she needed to reflect on how she might more efficiently problem solved her way out of (come and see me Eila! : ) and Sophie has a long list of endangered owls but still needs to pursue some depth about one of these species and what might be happening to it. She began to look at the 'elf owl' but still has some important ideas to find out about and discuss. George has constructed an email to forward onto to the ex-neurosurgeon I know, and Jack made superb progress on his 'story with sound' - Catman and Owlboy meet the terrible mice monster robot. Writing doesn't seem to bother Jack when he is typing instead of using a pen - hurray for modern tools.

After talent time we got down to the serious business of finishing our portraits. Everyone got some paint on these today and many of the students have now finished this part of the unit. There was an excellent all round willingness to persist and strive for accuracy shown during this session. Xanthe typified this attitude and determination to get it as right as she could. TIno pai Pakiki! The next step is for us to reflect on and discuss what it means for each of us, as individuals, to be a 'Pakiki/Gifted Kid'. The black and white portraits will then be mounted on a frame where the student's reflections on their "Pakiki-ness" are displayed.

After lunch we watched a short clip of the Simpsons that demonstrated in a humourous way the butterfly effect that we had discussed last week as part of chaotic systems. Popular culture is a great way to present and help understand deep ideas and the writers of the SImpsons seem to have covered most of these ideas in one satirical way or another over their 20+ years onscreen. The students seem to have a sound grasp now between the various categories of systems we have looked at this far. We followed the Simpsons up with a systems time where the children could choose an activity from a number of options based on thinkers keys. I had these on three cubes placed around the room which the students were able to look at and decide which activity appealed to their strengths. It is always impressive to see what choice does to motivation in the classroom and we quickly had everyone busy creating, designing, listing, and defining their way through the afternoon. As they finished in their own time each student moved onto chess to see the day out.

Well done team Thursday,
I look forward to working with you all again next week,
Ciao, Scott.

Kia ora from day 6,

Yesterday, thanks to the United States' approach to displaying the calendar date, was world pi day! So at Pakiki Kids we have been celebrating and exploring pi all week. Today, we quickly figured out our relative expertise in the subject via a line up and then set to tasks relative to our skill level. We took string, a ruler, a calculator and some recording equipment (pen and paper : ) and began measuring the circumference and diameter of all the circular objects we could find in the class. There were plenty. Once we had both measurements for a particular item we divided the circumference by the diameter to see if we could find pi! Jayden, Noah, Fergus, and George all got pretty close with a 3.14 calculation measuring the clock - well done. We then had a quick discussion of pi's origins, its irrationality and transcendental nature and the reasons we were unable to get it exactly in our explorations.

After this mental edge warm up we went straight to talent/passion time. Arlo and Maia decided on their element to study and set about gathering information and thinking of a way to present this. They seem to be genuinely interested in their research asking throughout the day if they could get back to their research. Odette and Xanthe dug through the many library books on Shakespeare's life and times to find their information and began reading the tragedy Romeo and Juliet. They soon found the language a little peculiar : ) Next week they can watch a version on YouTube and get a handle on the whole story before returning to the interesting vocabulary. George and I fine tuned his passion project and have sent an email to a former neurosurgeon I fortunately know - he is happy to talk to George, so next week George will be writing an email to arrange an interview, and writing interview questions. Daniel and I worked on his song. He has written a new piece (without finishing the first one : ) but this one is better and quickly he was able to construct a bridge and a happier sounding chorus (those good old major chords), so that now he has three distinct parts to put into a structure. Next week he can work on an introduction and ending - and after that I will challenge him to write some lyrics : ) (I don't think he is too keen on that part : ) Kieran and Fergus made excellent progress working on a series of stopmotion animations. Working as a team really sped up this process and they showed excellent persistence, attention to detail and an ability to find humour (albeit occasionally a little macabre). Next week their mission will be to learn how to transfer their work onto imovie, get it to run smoothly, and start exploring how they can use the computer to install backgrounds and music. Noah and Jayden had moved on in their animation to working on Stykz which is a computer programme allowing the user to create and animate a stick figure. Noah made a cool dance animation and his mission will be to see if he can match it to music, Jayden created a yoga type character who could fold him/herself into a very small space. Both of these animations were good ways to explore the programme and the kind of movements they could make. Next step here is to develop a simple storyline and turn it into an animation on the computer. Abby and Devon are still working on their flipbooks. This isn't because they are not making as much progress as the others but because they are developing their characters to a greater degree of complexity. They will be able to use their creation to make a series of flipbooks - perhaps they could combine their creations and work on a series together. Eila worked with me making sure her cat project had the right degree of depth and complexity. We were able to ensure this through some research that will involve changes of time and place, including multiple perspectives. She is committed to working on these parts of her study before gathering too much fact and figure style detail (e.g. she is very keen to find out about unusual breeds of cats). Sophie has been researching owl numbers and has found there are a number of endangered owls. She is trying to find actual figures and then we will explore the kind of things that might be contributing to this decline and consider if these may affect our own native owl, now or potentially in the future.

After play we swapped to portraits and poetry. Everyone is at different stages with this work and so there was a lot of individualised guidance. Because passion/time is now well underway this means that students who are waiting for me often get 'bonus' time during this session to continue with their passion projects. While this can make progress on the self-portraits and poetry a little slower, it does demonstrate that many of the students are striving for accuracy, are not content with mediocrity, and still can make efficient use of their time (by going on with talent projects). Some of the self-portraits have reached painting stage. Abby, Sophie, Eila, Jayden and Arlo all got to begin painting today, first underpainting in white, then layering on progressively darker shades in light of what their black and white photo dictated. There were some very good results and I am very keen to see how these will turn out on completion.

After lunch we turned to exploring chaotic systems and fractals. First we watched a YouTube clip, pausing to discuss interesting ideas, especially the butterfly effect. It was great to hear some interesting and deep thinking from Abby, Devon, Maia, Eila, Odette and Sophie on this subject. We then had a go at exploring some fractals ourselves - noticing the idea of self-similarity, and the depth to which fractals could be explored. The students were challenged to watch out for fractals in their everyday world ( most aspects of nature can be thought of in terms of fractals - e.g. vegetables, clouds, trees, waterways etc. )

Cheers all, see you next week!

Hi from Day 5
Last week was a busy one with a visiting GKP associate principal from Wellington and a professional development day for the teachers from our kids' home schools. This week we started with some maths - finding our way to 42 without using the digits 4 or 2. We checked each other's answers out and agreed on a most complicated. That was too long and complicated for me to remember! (from Arlo, I believe). I remember the most creative approach, which was to gather up some students' ages and 'add' the names together. Well done George. We practised our Socratic questioning, this time looking at probing assumptions. We thought about what assumptions were and threw some examples out, then we probed and questioned Noah's example - that the sun will eventually destroy the earth. We then read a short fable, listening for assumptions and interjecting when we heard some. We each have a Socratic question sheet guiding us- it was great to see students using them in the impromptu questioning game at the end of Pakiki.

We followed this by getting to choose which affective domain activity we went on with - self portraits or poetry. Jayden watched some YouTube clips on underpainting and had a go on some photocopies of his self-portrait. Abby added a full smile, like in her photo, and Tamara worked on the mouth and head measurements, as did Maia.
Devon figured out she needed to move the eyes and nose, Kieran completed his 'Kieran in cap' shot to a fine level, George and Xanthe have decided to get better accuracy on the head size because this has affected their proportions, Arlo, Eila and Sophie have all almost completed their self-portraits and they have captured their likeness well, Sophie's is especially accurate. Jack turned his notes into an "I am from" poem, having first read his poem onto his dictophone, Fergus worked his way through his poem trying to think why the things he had chosen were important to him; sometimes, when things are so obvious to ourselves it can be tricky to become self-aware of them - good persistence Fergus. Daniel completed his poem brainstorm gathered what he wanted to talk about and set about adding the "why" directly into the computer. What was great about this was that Daniel recognised that was the best learning approach for him, and it proved to be. Sometimes I think we ought to be teaching typing at primary school - I wonder what that might do for many students' relationship with writing.

After play we moved into talent/passion time. We had a lesson on Kaplan's Depth and Complexity tools and developed joining this with the ice-berg planning idea I have been toying with since Friday's p.d. It is working well and many of the students were able to present and develop ideas that would increase the depth of a study. Fergus suggested a sewage system might be a study to examine (I think Fergus must have read a lot of Captain Underpants : ) Students suggested pollution issues (ethics), multiple perspectives (environmentalists, council, public), history (sewage system changes over time), trends in cost, differences across space (how common is the flush toilet around the world?), and health differences in relation to the systems people use. Marvellous stuff : ) We stressed this is the kind of content thinking we want to aim for at Pakiki. Following the lesson, off we went into our talent and passion projects. Sophie completed her plan adding depth questions, the animators got a great lesson from Devon on a more accurate approach to the flip book, Arlo and Maia completed their first atom investigation and conducted a short experiment, Tamara worked out how long it might take someone to steal 1 million gold coins (it was over 13 days : ) Daniel worked on a verse for his song but suffered from writers' block (next week I'm bringing a guitar to help), Xanthe and Odette discovered a lot about Shakespeare's life and are ready to start examining a play. George read about the brain, and Kieran worked tirelessly on his stop-motion animation - a super persistent and increasingly creative effort Kieran, well done.

After lunch we reviewed the categories we looked at about systems - simple and complicated, then introduced some new ones - complex and chaotic. Today was complex's turn - these are systems that are not fully understandable and only reasonably predictable. We explored the example of traffic then we set to using google images to find and arguing for the inclusion of some other systems - the students put forth ideas like viruses; the construction of DNA, war, and evolution. We finished with chess, reflections and our first group of Thursday students putting some work on

Good work team,
have a great weekend!

Hi all from Day 3 at Pakiki Thursday,

Today we started by warming our brains by thinking of 'unusual uses for hair clippings on the hairdressers floor'. The students worked in small groups aiming for flexbility (a range of ideas) and originality. They used a LACE brainstorm which requires recording all ideas without judging, and then judging according to a criteria at the end. We used originality as our criteria. Some interesting ideas for hair clippings we had were artificial christmas trees, tennis strings, a toilet brush, dyed to make the top of a chessboard. We followed this with another exercise to develop our questioning skills. We talked about open and closed questions and how different types of questions ellicit different depths of information (we call them drip, puddle and lake questions). Then we got a couple of volunteers (Fergus and Daniel) to hide with a picture I had photocopied earlier. For the first picture the students had to ask closed questions that only required a yes or no response. They had to draw what they thought the picutre was of from the Q&A session. We then compared that with the second picture where they were allowed to ask open questions. This was a lot of fun and the children quickly tuned into the kinds of questions that would give them the information they needed.

We shifted to our poetry unit next. Several students have completed final edits of their poems and moved onto publishing - well done Jayden, Noah, Tamara, George, Odette, Maia (great persistence on your curtain poem), and Sophie ( intriguing layout and presentation) for getting your publishing completed. Next week these students will move onto their 'Where I am from" poems. Students are showing an excellent willingness to learn and return to their work when I ask for and suggest more imagery or interesting language - Daniel, you did a great job of this today even though you thought " i'm no good at this stuff". It is always rewarding for a teacher when a student surprises him/herself.

After morning tea we turned to our portraits. We had the black and white photos printed from the week before and examined these with a quick reminder discussion on "value". Sophie, George and Arlo demonstrated they had remembered this term, in art, was to do with the varying degrees of shades of black, white and grey. I look forward to seeing who can remember next week. We looked at soe of our own photos and examined the value they showed then we took a highly mathematical approach to proportion (following our lead from Leonardo Da Vinci) and measured our head size, facial features and their relative positioning, so that we could accurately represent these in our self-portrait drawing. Most of us showed excellent striving for accuracy in this exercise. Jayden measured, sketched and added fine detail to his in amazing time and with excellent results - well done. Kieran made a great start with a difficult aspect of his self-portrait ( a cap over parts of his face), Abby thought flexibly in adding detail to make it easier to draw her hair, while Arlo and Geoge showed excellent persistence in trying to get the difficult nostril shading accurate. Well done team!

We switched to Chess before lunch. Having marked all the chess tests I now have the students in groups and they are given a teaching point and play each other within the group. Today one group were learning about knight moves and the different values of individual pieces; the next group looked at what constitutes a stalemate and the other group looked at the finer points of castling. There is great enthusiasm for chess in this class which is exciting to see.

After lunch we turned to our concept learning. We grabbed dictionaries and unpacked defninitions of a system. Then we explored the notion of real and abstract (a system can be a real or abstract entity). We thought of things we considered were 'abstractions' then looked over a list I had created which helped us think of more. This discussion was useful for our activity which was to take a pile of examples of systems and to create categories we thought the examples could be dividied into. When we reflected on our results we noticed two things; one - how we did it was different and depended on the perspective we had taken (cue introduction to the idea of 'multiple perspectives); and two that our categories were different because categories are abstract ideas. It was encouraging to see the level of discussion and debate that went into this activity - this is the kind of complex thinking we strive for at Pakiki.

We got to finish the day with a questions only game - our scenario was two owls sitting in a tree - lots of fun and challenging at the same time - perfect.

Our new words and concepts for the day, some of which would be great for home discussion, are entities, perspectives, value (a reminder), abstract and real, and feasible.

Thanks team. see you all next week,

Welcome to day 2 at Pakiki Thursday. Today we started with a "what if" question, "what if plants grew limbs". This type of activity is intended to warm our brains up with some creative thinking. The students are encouraged to seek fluency and elaboration in their answers. We had some great ideas today including students considering alternative scenarios based on whether the plants were evil or good minded. Jack suggested their personalities might match their flavour. We followed this with a round of the question game. This is a game designed to encourage us to ask questions, a key skill for curious Pakiki kids. We watched a clip from the show whose line is it anyway , then brainstormed some themes (we had cave people wondering how to light a fire, two bacteria conversing in a bathroom, lost in a jungle, and a meteor has just hit earth). We worked in pairs to start with then had a 'real' game with two teams. It was great fun and very challenging. Devon was the star of the show, with Kieran a close second. We finished the morning session with word play poetry. We took the idea that writing poetry is like sculpting. We brainstormed a bunch of words about mundane objects and this was our clay to work with. We then discussed how we could be detailed in describing our item, consider its purpose and value, its positives and negatives and set about crafting our poems. Several of them are ready for publishing and we will try and get them up online somewhere soon. The students all had success - even those who thought they didn't have a poetic fibre in them. Jayden managed to get three edits on his poem completed in about 20 minutes! Fantastic persistence and focus. There were many more poetry stars this morning and I'm sure you will enjoy reading them when they are ready to publish.

After morning tea break we focused on portrait drawing. This is the first step in a larger affective domain unit that will look at our values and beliefs and portray these on a black and white self portrait that we paint. Today we looked at Leonardo Da Vinci's notebook drawings on proportion and worked hard for success at mapping facial features so they were in the right place. This seems to be tricky for many children (and adults!) and the persistence and willingness to return to strive for accuracy was outstanding. We completed the mid-morning session with a chess pre-test from the NZ Chess foundation. This allows me to group children for chess skills and to see what gaps there are in their chess knowledge.

After lunch we played philosophy. We asked ourselves the question "how do we know when someone is responsible for their actions?" We explored complicated cases where blame could not be easily attributed, and dug deep into the complexities of ideas like agency, choice, intention, and doing the right/wrong thing. (p.s I have 3$Pakiki dollars for anyone who can remember and tells me what "agency" means) We finished the day writing reflections about our learning. It is a goal this year to increase our ability to be reflective practitioners of our own learning and today we took some small steps by ensuring everyone gave reasons for their responses to the learning experiences they chose to write about.

Cheers Pakiki Thursday,
looking forward to next week,
Mr. K.
p.s here's the dayplan:

Thursday 16th February
Warm Up
What if plants grew limbs?
Mental Edge:
The Question Game
Affective Domain/Talent:
Playing with Poetry

Affective Domain/Talent
Self-portraits - proportion and value
Chess: Lesson; pre-assessment and play : )

Mental Edge/Affective Domain:Philosophy -”Responsibility”
Reflection Practice
Clean Up (10 mins)

Welcome all to the first Thursday of the Pakiki year. It was fantastic to meet so many new faces and to catch back up with the returning students from last year. We had a busy first day that started with some introductions and a name game to familiarise ourselves with each other. Then we were welcomed with a mihi whakatau from NEV and a quick tour around the school with NEV budddies. Following this we took on a tech challenge where we had to build a pataka (store house) out of newspaper, string and sellotape. The challenge was to make the post (pou) freestanding. Students worked in pairs and came up with some interesting solutions to the problem. After morning tea we begun the profiling process that is so important to the first days at Pakiki. This allows me to get a sense of students strengths and passions and prior knowledge they may have about some of our curriculum areas. We finished off our mid session with chess. I worked with some chess novices while those who were more experienced played amongst themselves. The beginners were quick learners and were able to start a 'limited piece' game and I was able to take a look and offer advice to some other players. In the afternoon we talked about systems and completed some more pre-assessment and then talked about reflective writing. We did a shared writing lesson reflecting on our day. Next week this will be done in small groups as another scaffold prior to students writing this independently in the near future. All in all a good first Thursday - I look forward to catching you all again next week.

Here's the day plan and a few photos.
Thursday 9th February

280 minutes
Morning = 115 min
Warm Up/Ice Breaker:
Circular introductions using duck or ball.
World’s fastest Marae Protocol lesson
Name Tag/Name Roulette
Talent: Singing waiata - E Tu Kahikatea
Mihi Whakatau
Mental Edge: Technology Challenge - Te Hanga Potaka
Middle = 90 minutes
Finish tech challenge
Overview and Profiling
Renzulli: Profiling
Mental Edge: Pre-Assessment
Chess: Lesson - and play : )
Afternoon = 75 minutes
Systems: pre-assessment
Monitoring Sheets
What is a System??!!
Brainstorm and categorise systems
Reflection Practice

Clean Up (10 mins)

Game (5 mins)