Tuesday - Day 35 ( sorry no reflections today too busy !!! )

Kia ora folks ! Well it was an exciting yet sad day at PK today. Exciting because the holidays are due to start shortly and sad because it means that there will be an extended period of no PK classes.

Today was planned largely by the children. As in all democracies, there was a vote and the students' favourite activities were added to the plan.

The day started with a Spanish lesson . After some discussion about celebrations in Spain and vacations, the children learned to ask others where they are from. It was great to hear that much of what was learned in term 1 was still completely remembered and understood. Well done team.

The Students completed and presented their research about sleep and went some way towards offering answers to questions like Why do we yawn ? What are dreams ? What are some of the symptoms of sleep disorders and How do fish sleep. Each group presented their findings in dynamic and interesting ways .

Our last chess session for the year involved some great games and competitive challenges. See below for a few in competition pics. Many people were out on the attack today sometimes leaving themselves open without protection. Ensure that you consider protecting your army of chess pieces while you are playing over the holidays.

Angus Term 4 .jpg
Angus contemplating a move in chess
Dakota and Martin term 4 .jpg
Martin rising to the occasion and Michael offering advice to Dakota

Jeandre .jpg
Jeandre in the Technology challenge
Kadys term 4 .jpg
Kadys stopping for a pause in the Technology challenge

Megan term 4 .jpg
Megan on the attack against Tigue
nicholas and Ayla .jpg
Nicholas and Ayla getting some coaching from John

This afternoon the students took part i a Technology challenge. Can you build a table which could hold a large heavy book only using newspaper and tape. Perhaps a family activity for over the summer?

Today was a great end to an exciting year of fun, learning and growth. Thanks so much to everyone for our support, you've all made the year great.

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 34

Kia ora everyone. What and awesome sharing night ! It was great to see so many members of our Pakiki whanau there to celebrate in the students' learning. Thanks for making the night so special.

Today on our second to last day for the year no one showed any signs of slowing down but instead embraced today's activities with the same gusto they had in term one.

P 4 C today was a discussion around a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. The discussion was focused on around the idea of people doing things when they know they will get something as a result. Anyone behaved better later with their eyes on Christmas pressies ??? Lots of students could name examples of other kids changing their behavior only to get a prize, lolly or some other benefit. Nicholas thought that most kids would be behaving better at this time in the year because people are thinking about Christmas. No this doesn't make people good people but maybe they could become better if they kept the behaviour up ? Jeandre mentioned examples from his school of students sitting up straighter when it was time to give out the class awards. Interestingly, I had a nearby bag of fruit bursts which when they were placed on my lap encouraged everyone to sit up straighter. Michael and Solomon clicked quickly as to what I was doing and noticed that they had both sat up straight and quiet. The class erupted in laughter when they realised that no one was immune to the desire for a prize.

We revisited the sofa game and the class had developed their skills of strategizing and working as a team. Liam enjoyed this game and was quite cunning with his strategies and tactics.

In patterns today we broke into groups and have started to research and find answers to our class questions. Next week the students will be presenting their findings on questions like "what is a yawn" - Nico, Megan and I had a great conversation about this and about the contagiousness of yawning and about how boredom can make us yawn. ( not much yawning around PK today ! ) One group was investigating dreams and another was investigating sleep disorders and challenges which some people have with sleep. I look forward to hearing about the results next week.

The afternoon was dedicated to talent projects. Solomon developed his understanding of how to use scale. Ayla and Martin continued on their creative stories while Kadys and Emily focused on seeing the world through the eyes of a photographer or artist and analyzed what things look like when they fall - some great sketches of swirling leaves girls. Next week we will dedicate some time towards getting our projects as finished as they can be before we finish for the year.

Take care everyone !

See you next week

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 32

WOW Today was a crazy day full of heaps of hard work towards sharing night projects ! I won't spill too many details for those of you who are coming along next Friday but there should be some tired brains around Dunedin tonight.

To break up our day of presentations and typing, cutting and pasting... we were lucky enough to have Clare and Mike join us to day to tell us a bit about ethics and to run a super fantastic philosophy session. I know I learned a heap about Utilitarianism and decision making and from the discussions I was overhearing I know that many of PK Tuesday did too. Thanks to Clare and Mike and to everyone who added their thoughts and opinions to the session it was great to sit back and see how far the Tuesday class have come with their P 4 C learning. clare and mike .jpg

P4C 2 .jpg

P 4 C .jpg

Tuesday - Day 31

Some student reflections from the day ....

Ayla - Today I spent time thinking about my costume for sharing night. I will need to think flexibly and be creative to organise my costume. I liked the game today that we played called fortunately and unfortunately, I liked that you could make up your own crazy ideas. If one person starts off with a story and then each kid gets to say something after to continue the story but using fortunately or unfortunately. Today, I ate my lunch before playing chess, and I think that was a good idea for me because I get frustrated eating and playing at the same time. Also it gives me time to eat.

Nicholas - Today, I liked the fortunately and unfortunately game that we played as a philosophy warm up more than philosophy, the topic wasn’t interesting to me today.

Dakota - Today it was challenging when I played chess. I was playing Kadys and I won. I used the pawn , King and rook to check mate her piece. I learned how to do that this year. Today, I made progress with the Socrates project, I worked with the teacher and worked interdependently and I questioned and posed problems and was persistent.

Kadys - Today was challenging because we don't have much time left for our Affective Domain research, so we felt like we had to rush. Today, the best thing has been philosophy. I thought that emotions and thoughts were quite similar in lots of ways.

Solomon - In our sleep work this morning, I found all the ideas really interesting and it was fun to learn more things about sleep. I found out that when you wake up in a REM sleep you are likely to remember your dreams.

Martin - At the moment I’m doing very good at Affective Domain because I like being put under a bit of pressure because we have to finish it by week 6. I quite liked the philosophy discussion today, that was quite interesting.

Miss Leia - Today was quite busy as we are all working hard to bring our Affective Domain projects together. I thought that philosophy was interesting today because making a distinction was a difficult thing to ask the students to do - even I found it challenging and I was interested to hear everyone's different thoughts and opinions. I think perhaps we should have started this activity earlier because we hadn't really finished our session when the bell went and it was morning tea time.

Tuesday - Day 30

Some thoughts from the day ...

Jeandre - Today I learned about sleep patterns. I already knew about light sleep and deep sleep and I learned about others stages, I know why when I wake up I can open my eyes and still be dreaming and why things from real life appear in my dream.

Liam - So far the day has been challenging and interesting. I’ve learned about REM sleep. I got a bit distracted by itunes during my Marie Curie research because I accidently turned it on. In the future, I should leave F 12 alone so as not to turn on Itunes.

Sol - Today I learned that you have a small thing called a circadian clock in your brain which controls sleep and your daily routine.Our philosophy discussion was very interesting today and my ideas were very fluent. Today my Roald Dahl project, I did a very good job and thought of lots of ideas.

Ayla - Today at chess I’m feeling really challenged because Martin and me and playing John and I’m feeling a bit intimidated and he’s playing very well. Today our philosophy discussing about respect was helpful to have a story in it. I liked having a story because I was challenged and it was interesting. I liked my project about Sir Edmund Hillary, I hope my costume gets ready in time because I only have a couple of weeks.

Dakota - Today the best thing that has happened was chess, I was versing Nicholas and I won. I used my rook and bishop and I trapped him, its something I thought of doing and I got him. Today I was challenged by my Socrates work because I needed to get more information.

Tigue - Today the best thing has been chess because I drew between the computer and me. Something that challenged me today was our creative warm up about the noodle problem, I couldn’t think of many solution s only one.

Tuesday - Day 29

Here are some student reflections from today....

Milo - Today I learned about a bit more about Utilitarianism. Today we learned about Altruism and it was ok but I wanted to do deeper thinking and we couldn’t because it was the first session about Altruism and we were just learning about what it was. For me that made it a bit boring . I am looking forward to talent time this afternoon but today I enjoyed our creativity warm up and learning about my famous person.

Jeandre - Today the best thing for me has been the creativity activity. I enjoyed designing the “new smartphone” I like to use my creativity to design and make new things. I would like to continue with this activity next week.

Michael - Altruism is something new for me and its quite interesting.

Kadys - This week for research we had longer than normal and I got to write up my similarities between me and Sir Edmund Hillary. This was good because we made lots of progress. Our discussions about Altruism were quite fun because I learned something new.

Nico - The best thing about today has been the creativity warm up where we could design our own smart phone, I enjoyed it because I could design anything I wanted with my creativity and my sense of humour. I made a food court mega pad ! Our discussion about Altruism challenged me today because the topic was hard and I was having some trouble understanding , but then I started to hear some of the ideas, I started to understanding it more.

Emily - The best bit about today was researching my Gifted Person. I’m really interested in Einstein and I want to get lots done for the project for sharing night. This afternoon, I am looking forward to talent time.

Ayla - Today the best thing as my gifted person work because Im really interested in him and Kadys was doing a good job on the computer, we worked interdependently to complete the project. Today Philosophy was a bit better, I enjoyed making distinctions and deciding if events were altruistic or not and I thought that giving a seat to an older lady on the bus would be quite a good idea because you wouldn’t gain or lose any money but you would get a warm fuzzy feeling.

Nicholas C - Today the best thing has been deciding whether an event was Altruism or not. Today I was challenged when Nico wasn’t letting me have a go on Scratch. Miss Leia helped us solve this when she organized a schedule for us to share the project next week.

Martin - The best thing today has been chess. I enjoyed the lesson that John showed us and I was doing quite well and having a lot of fun doing Talent TIme writing my story. It was challenging starting off the story it helped that I had a template to plan my story. I knew who the main characters were so I put them in first and I knew where I wanted my setting to be.

Tigue : The best thing that happened today was doing the research, I liked finding out about who Shakespeare’s family was.

Tuesday - Day 28

Welcome everyone. I thought this term, I would hand over the reigns and let the kids help write the blog. This is being done to help you hear the day from their perspective and to help them reflect more deeply about their experiences at PK. So each week, a group of children will sit down with me and spend a little time reflecting. This will obviously take a little time so I will not be able to record everyone's thoughts every week. But, I will endeavour to have everyone contribute each fortnight. Today was a trial and so I only got to have 6 appointments ! So, next week I'll start earlier and get a few more comments.

Here goes ...

Milo really enjoyed our philosophy work this morning because he likes having a good think about things and hearing what people think while sharing his opinions.

Liam Enjoyed his work in Talent TIme this morning and learning about Babbage's difference engine. He learned this for his talent project and used the internet to help him . Next week, he would like to continue this research.

Solomon - I liked philosophy this morning because I liked hearing what other people thought, it was really hard to decide what I really thought without being influenced by other people.

Ayla - I didn't like philosophy this morning because I didn't like the topic ( intelligence and courage) I thought people disagreeing with the dictionary was weird. But, I did like the work on cultural pattens because , I used lots of colours to make my patterns really eye catching.

Michael - I enjoyed thinking about my new passion project today because there are lots of things I want to do but some of them might be too hard.

Emily - Today, chess was challenging because I didn't really understand what we were learning at the start. But, I watched more and saw the examples and that helped. The best part was talent time because I really like my photography work.

See you all next week folks !

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 27

This morning was a bringing together of our new learning in creativity and patterns.

The morning started with a “power of three” activity - this was not unlike the one at the beginning of the term. The children were asked to come up with a.) 3 news uses for golf balls, b.) 3 consequences of coming to PK and c.) 3 new names for a bicycle with no wheels. And like the activity that we did in this vein at the start of the term, this was no easy challenge. However, now we are able to rely on tools such as LACE and parts of Scamper to inspire and guide our creative process. I spoke with Tigue and he noticed that he was using some Scamper tools to help him and this was useful. Dakota liked using the brainstorming in a free way in order to up his fluency and creative a vast number of ideas instead of focusing on just one idea. Liam thought outside the box and looked more deeply at the properties of the golf balls and using those properties to create a new product. Kadys turned her golf ball into a cat toy with a tail. Interesting ideas folks.

Once we had warmed up the creative juices, we started on our rotations for the day. We focused on three tasks today - our Talent Time projects, our gifted person research and our symbols and patterns which represent the culture of Pakiki. There was a high degree of independence required in these rotations and so many students needed to manage their impulsivity to really make the most out of the rotation time. We spoke regularly throughout the day about how well we were doign with monitoring our work and asking ourselves " am I making the best decisions to help me work well?" Michael and Solomon reflected at the end of the first rotation and thought that maybe they would each work better if the weren’t too close to each other- a good reflective moment boys, now make that decision the next time for it to be a really pro active learning moment.

Some of the progress I observed on my journeys around the class included .... Emily was able to find a very informative biographical video about Einstein and was able to fill in a few blanks in her knowledge, Tigue and I spent some time learning about Shakespeare’s inspiration and about how he took plots written by other people and turned them into plays. We were unsure if we thought that this was still as creative as someone who thought of the story themselves too. Kadys and Nicholas have finished gathering information for their projects and are now ready to start summarising and recording the parts which they think are essential to the project.

Talent projects were progressing well today. Dakota , Martin and Angus are ready to start a creative writing project next term and Emily and Kadys spent some time re-taking photos for their photography project. Sol and Michael have finished their animation today - A big thanks to Jeandre for helping out today with any scratch problems that arose, you have a real strength in explaining new things to your peers ( and teacher) Jeandre Ka pai !!.

Over the holidays, I will mark any projects that have been finshed today so that those of you starting new projects will be all fresh and ready to go.

Next term, we will be starting from the first week to start preparing for sharing night. So, if you have any additional information that you find for your gifted person research over the holiday, please bring it along.

I hope everyone has a great holiday and some well deserved rest!

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 26

This morning the PK class were lucky enough to have Ayla's parents Göknil & Tom perform for the class. As professional performers, Tom on piano and Göknil with voice, they had a lot to share with us about developing their talents, their experiences in jobs which they love and about creativity. The PK students asked some very interesting questions and were all drawn in to the brilliant performance. Sadly, this teacher was so swept along by the music and emotion of the performance that I forgot to take photos ( despite having the camera all charged and ready to go ! ) sorry folks. A big thank you to you both, we really enjoyed it ! If you've heard about this experience from your children and you think you might have a talent or skill that you'd like to share with the PK class either as a performance like today or possibly as a mentor to a talent development project, please email me I' love to hear from you.

After our performance we used the rest of the morning to develop the gifted person research. Nicholas and I worked together to draft his research information about Galileo identifying any gaps that he may have in his research. Ayla and Kadys worked together on their project about Sir Edmund Hilary and started thinking about what it might have been like to be such a courageous person. Nico was gathering more information about Tolkien while Milo took the time to compare himself to his notable person. Jeandre spent a little time thinking about how he might dress like Sir Isaac Newton on night of the notables and Liam and I spent time time devising a plan for his costume and how he might create radioactive spills on his clothes from fluro fabric. With eyes on the final goal of sharing night, we will now be spending a little time each day preparing our research projects for the final presentation.

Our final activity for our cultural patterns unit was started today and it proved to be quite a challenge. The students were asked to recap the work that we have recently done on patterns and symbolism. The children made a big long list of the values that were represented in cultural patterns relationships, family, wisdom, knowledge, bravery courage etc were all values that were seen as important in many traditional societies. Now we were going to make a list together of the values which were important to us here at PK. Before we did this, we need to really understand what a value was. This took a little talking but with a little debate and reflection, the students were able to record many of the values that I think we can fairly say we think are important. Hard work, bravery (taking risks), innovation, creativity, understanding and togetherness were among some of values identified by the students.

The students were the asked to choose a couple of these values and try to develop a symbol which might represent them. Tigue and I spent some time discussing colour in symbolism and how deliberate colours were in cultural patterns . Michael and Solomon were developing some creative ideas together to create a symbol for new learning while Dakota and Nico were working on symbols for wisdom. This work will be developed further next week when the symbols are turned into patterns.

I'm looking forward to next week already.

ka kite !

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 25

Kia ora everyone.

Today was a busy and a blustery one. I hope everyone made it home ok this afternoon, I was sure I saw Mary Poppins float past the window once you had all gone home.

This morning for logic I offered the students two choices. The first one was a very easy table questions which meant everyone reinforced their skills with tables to solve problems and the second was quite hard and offered a Loop style of thinking as a solution. Try them out for yourself.

Puzzle 1
Four children have four different doctor appointments. Read the clues to find out who had the first, second, third, and fourth appointment.

1. Joe's appointment is after those of Kim and Bob.
2. Bob's appointment is before Kim's.
3. Amy's appointment is after Joe's.

Puzzle 2

A man is caught on the King's property. He is brought before the King to be punished.

The King says, "You must give me a statement. If it is true, you will killed by lions. If it is false, you will be killed by trampling of wild buffalo."

But in the end, the King has to let the man go.

What was the man's statement?

Once we had gone through the solutions to the problems, we jumped into our patterns work. We were able to complete our 3 ringed Venn diagrams from last time and make some good comparisons between different types of patterns. Emily made some interesting comparisons with Japanese patterns and we worked together to think about what the purpose of patterns is. Liam and Nicholas worked together on investigating the symbols in cultural patterns, I overheard a very interesting conversation about the Celtic knot patterns and what these might represent. I only allowed a short amount of time to finish gathering the final touches for the Venn diagrams and then asked the students to bring all of their new learning down to the carpet so that we could have a go at using Sandra Kaplan’s depth and complexity tools to start generating some big ideas about cultural patterns.
We used a frame tool to organise our thinking and to categorise the angles we were going to take. We focused on multiple perspectives, rules and details. The students poured out some great thoughts about cultural patterns. Some highlights included a discussion about the spiritual symbols which were present in cultural patterns and how they were commonly used to tell stories because some traditional cultures didn’t have a written language. A lot of discussion was generated about the rules associated with some cultural patterns, specifically around the different rules that men and women have to follow. Nico felt that the Minister of foreign affairs should be responsible for ensuring that any cultural rules are followed so as to not risk offending anyone, Angus thought that this was a job for the top spot and that the Prime Minister should take responsibility for such matters. By using the frame, we were able to bring these ideas together and identify some key themes.
The students agreed that while cultural patterns were predictable and went on forever, many thought that these attributes of patterns were more easily identifiable than perhaps some of the others like the purpose. Nicholas C and Solomon thought that there were cultural patterns which more predominately for beauty and some like the tattoos in some Pacific Island nations which brought an order to the village. I could see Megan having a bit of a think about this.. So what was the aim purpose of all patterns ? We asked ourselves this - If not all patterns were seen as beautiful by all people then what was the universal purpose. Michael was able to bring it all together with his BIg Idea “ Patterns are used to keep a culture protected over a long time” ( Words to that effect)
Nicely done Michael, you’ve summed all of our thinking up. Next week, we will be spending more time looking into the symbolism in cultural patterns.
After morning tea the students working in the Affective Domain and explored themselves as a creative person. The activity started with a discussion which was based around what the types of things inspire us to be creative and the type of environment in which we work best. The students created a web which collected these ideas together and helped them reflect on themselves as a creative person. Kadys likes to have access to the outdoors like Tigue who likes to have a bit of time outside playing before completing something creative. Jeandre noticed that he likes lots of clean white paper and Martin likes to work in a tidy organised space. The purpose of this activity is so that the students can take a chance to make decisions about their environments and to help them get what they need to work efficiently and creatively, hopefully while loving every minute of it.
After lunch, we spent a good hour catching up on lost talent time. I had a chance to speak with everyone today about their projects and help trouble shoot in a couple of cases. Ayla has made one of her own paper sculptures in the style of Peter Callesen and mounted it onto black paper. Dakota has reached the end of his project about Don Binney and will be due to start a new creative project next week. Vinnie used a great amount of perseverance in his scratch gravity animation activity. While this activity has room to become more complex in both content and scratch use, your attitude and independence was fantastic !! As was the great attitude of Nicholas C and Nico. They have worked together to create a plan to make a scratch animation about a trip through a canyon to find treasure. I look forward to seeing how this story unfolds.
Next week, we will revisit our famous person research so if you have any additional information at home, please bring it along.

Until then!

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 24

Today was a busy and fun day for all of the Pakiki Kids and their Buddies.

We started the day with some getting to know you games. Once we were acquainted with each other we were right into a Tech challenge. Can you build a tower with 20 pieces of fettucine and 8 marshmallows? It seems that some of our students can and so can their mates. The tallest tower created was 54 cms tall. The competition was fierce and the teams battled until the last second, modifying, reflecting and adapting their designs as they went. There could only be one team prize but all of the teams gained some valuable practice at working together and working on their design skills.

Before morning tea, I managed to squeeze in even more thinking with a “combine” creativity task. The students were asked to combine 2 items from the following list to create a completely new item. A jar, peanut butter, a mailbox, a bar of soap, a t shirt and a shoe. There were a range of inventions from glass see through mailboxes that don’t need to be painted to shoes with soap attached to the bottom to make skates. I was overwhelmed by some of the great ideas, so much so that I didn’t want to go out to morning tea, I wanted to look through all the great work!

After morning tea, the children took part in a Thinkers’ Keys task. A range of thought provoking activities had been designed to help the students think differently about patterns. Each pair chose 3 tasks to undertake. Some of the ones which caused a great deal of discussion included :
1.) Where would you NEVER see a cultural pattern from your culture?
2.) Explain why there is a man outside painting a cultural mural on the road outside the school.
3.) Celtic Knots are the answer - what is the question?

Perhaps these would create discussion around your dinner table?

John came to have our regular chess session today. He asked the regular PK students to assume responsibility for their buddy and to spend some time teaching their buddy the basics of chess. The buddy groups paired off and spent the time working alongside each other working through the names of the pieces and the moves that they use to cross the chess board. It was really great to see our PK students explaining the rules and and teaching their buddies, especially those students for who chess is completely new. Well done team !

After lunch we revisited our patterns topic and had a robust discussion about cultural patterns and the significance of the pictures and designs in cultural patterns. Milo noticed that much of what was communicated in cultural patterns was important to the culture. Food sources, spiritual well being and stories were common themes that the students noticed.

What was important to us here and now? The students thought that food sources, while still important, would;t have been the most important thing because it was easier for us to find food these days, we don’t need to hunt or fish. So we made a list of important things to society today, in Dunedin. Here is what the class came up with :
Time, Technology, Money, Family, Transport, Education, Amusement, Education, Nature, Business, Sport, Leaders, Medical/ hospital , Maori, Baldwin St and other landmarks like the Peninsula with it’s unique animal life.

With these concepts the students hen r=created their own cultural design interweaving their favourite ideas. There were some interesting designs including diagonal lines of Rugby balls to represent Baldwin St, some designs had incorporated spirals and symmetry while some students were still deciding if their work was a picture or in fact a pattern.

The day slipped away from us quickly and it was time to go home. It was a busy day filled with new friendships and challenges. Everyone looked very tired by the end as they zipped out the door at home time.

See you next week folks

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 24

Kia ora everyone.

To continue with our logic focus, today the students used tables again to help organise data but this time they were asked to complete the challenges on their own. I was pleased to see that most of the students were able to tick and cross where appropriate to eliminate impossibilities and there was plenty of logical thinking going on. There was definite progress but I think the question might have been to easy ! Have I underestimated the logical thinking skills of the class, have we progressed so much that we need to amp it up a bit ??? I think I’ll have to look around in the weekend for some trickier problems.

We unleashed our creativity again this morning but this time we used a tool to help us.
SCAMPER - see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8w0rJhztJ4 was used as a springboard for all sorts of wonderful, innovative ideas for what to do with a box of pebbles. See if any of your ideas are like the ones on the video kids !

Some notable ideas from our scamper included

Michael - Eliminating the chocolate and replacing it with ice cream.

Martin - Make them tiny so that kids can eat them in class without being caught

Solomon - Invent technology which allows the pebbles to read the favourite flavours of the customer through their saliva and then change to match ...

Jeandre - By replacing the chocolate with gelatin and genetically modified milk cultures you can fill the shell with yoghurt and potentially freeze them ( I would buy these ! )

Emily - Use them for monocles

We all enjoyed listening to each others’ ideas and I look forward to seeing some new innovative candy in stores soon.

Passion / Talent time today was again a buzz of new learning and challenge. Tigue and I spent some time overcoming a challenge trying to create a replica of a Peter Callesen picture - this was not easy task but by working interdependently we worked through it together. Angus completed a great “breakdancer” on Scratch. He is now starting to plan his animated advertisement for his innovated pebbles box using Scratch. Kadys and Emily worked hard on taking portraits of each other and applying the rule of thirds and focusing on the lighting. There were some brilliant pictures taken with Kadys’ very own creative twist. Some great projects are forming!

John came for chess and taught us about the Knights’ tour. Jeandre already knew quite a bit about how to move a Knight around the board without landing on the same square twice so he was able to help us along a bit. I wished he had helped me along a bit while Michael made short work of my time playing chess against him - At least being beaten was quick.

After lunch today we spent some time analysing and comparing patterns from Samoa and NZ. The students noticed a number of similarities between the two and some big differences. We spent time discussing the symbols present in the patterns and the reasons for communicating stories and ideas through symbols instead of words. The students used a three ringed Venn diagram to make a comprehensive analysis. We were right into this activity but the afternoon slipped away from us home time arrived.
We will continue with this task in a fortnight, after buddy day. See you all next week, buddy in tow.

Ka kite
Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 23

This morning’s Logic puzzles were designed to help the students focus on organising information to solve problems. Today using tables was the technique encouraged, this helped the students work on eliminating irrelevant information and impossibilities and again reinforced thinking logically about each clue. We worked through the problems together as a class relying on each other (working interdependently) if we were stuck.

For the folks at home....

1. ) Four people are traveling to different places on different types of transport.

Their names are: Rachel, John, Mr. Jones and Cindy.

They either went on train, car, plane or ship.

* Mr. Jones hates flying
* Cindy has to rent her vehicle
  • John gets seasick

2.) The Pizza Problem

A pizza delivery person turns up to a sleepover armed with pizzas. He has to hand the correct pizza to the correct person. Each person gives him a clue to help him know who gets each pizza. The four pizzas he delivers are Hawaiin, Vegetarian, Meat Lovers and Chicken BBQ.
Help him decide who gets each pizza

Clues :

Derek “ I love all types of pizza and can eat 4 in one sitting”

Anna “ I love pizza with tonnes of flavour but I can’t stand it when they try and hide Vegetables and fruit on a pizza, like I won’t find that”

Callum “I like a fairly simple flavoured pizza with only a few toppings”

Bernadette “ I love BBQ sauce on a pizza but I’m a vegetarian so I usually have to ask if I want BBQ sauce”

After our logic warm up we revisited out Affective Domain research today and thought a little more about what we could learn from our Gifted Person of interest. What could they teach me about giftedness? What challenges have they over come on their route to success? Who deemed them a success? How did they handle their critics? These were a few of the questions being used to guide the students’ inquiry this morning.
Throughout the morning, I enjoyed speaking with the students about their research and was interested to see how some of the student questions have evolved over the course of the year. Martin and I were discussing the sacrifices that Suarez has had to make by pursuing a career in football, Milo and I enjoyed decoding a quote from John Stuart Milne and decided that he was trying to teach us to be loyal to ourselves and our morals, it left us both thinking about this quote and questioning, Who were the bad guys? and Who were the good guys that let the bad guys get away with their plans..... I think I need to think about that one more Milo.

After morning tea we went straight into Passion projects. Emily and Kadys have begun their work with digital photography and spent some time learning about effective portrait photographs, use of the “rule of thirds” and how to use lighting to their advantage. Angus and I spent some time deciding on which passion he would like to pursue and explored the possibility of a scratch project. Michael and Solomon worked on the plan for their scratch animation about rugby and Nicholas persisted with his work on the pong game. I spent some time painting with Dakota and Martin, we analsyed colour and the lack of block colour in nature. We looked at the layers visible in a mountain and the stages between snow, rock, moss and then down to sea level, this promoted some changes in the original paintings and added to their authenticity. Well done boys !

After lunch today we started with a Community of Inquiry. As we have been looking at some beautiful cultural patterns lately, we looked at this idea of beauty and what it means. Some interesting thoughts came out of our discussion. Among these were the idea that beauty may not be the same for everyone, it depends on the person... age and maturity can impact on your opinion of beauty... as can time, maybe what was beautiful 100 years ago is not considered so now.... who knows what will be seen as beautiful in another hundred years.. there was some undecided discussion points about whether familiarity made something more beautiful or whether it was irrelevant. Perhaps comfortable is the word we were looking for ?

Alongside our Community of Inquiry session was a trial of a strategy designed to spread out the opportunities to talk. We discussed the need to share things around so that we got to hear from everyone in the class who wanted to share equally. Each person was given 3 sticks to hold and place in a pile in the middle of the circle once they had spoken. One comment was worth one stick. This made many of us think carefully about how we used the sticks and whether our comment was “worth” losing a stick. On a quick reflection of the process some of the students found this process and the restriction “horrid” while some found it challenging but worthwhile to think about what we were choosing to say and others chose not to use all of the sticks and instead used them in a later activity. Much food for thought kids....

Thanks for all your hard work today folks, I’m already looking forward to next week!

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 22

Greetings everyone !

This morning’s logic puzzle (see below) threw us all for a bit of a spin. No one managed to come up with exactly the correct answer but we had several close attempts and some creative bending of rules from Solomon and his group! At home, have a go with solid objects or by drawing different sketches to help you with the sequencing which is important in this question.

The Camels
Four tasmanian camels traveling on a very narrow ledge encounter four tasmanian camels coming the other way.
As everyone knows, tasmanian camels never go backwards, especially when on a precarious ledge. The camels will climb over each other, but only if there is a camel sized space on the other side.
The camels didn't see each other until there was only exactly one camel's width between the two groups.
How can all camels pass, allowing both groups to go on their way, without any camel reversing?
Today we started learning about perspective and how people use real experiences as inspiration for creative expression. The children went on a “safari” walk around the school to experience everyday things by being in someone else’s shoes. Some students were seeing the world through the eyes of an ant, some of a seagull, a new student, an artist and a musician. The students were able to take their experiences and use them to feel empathy for their ant etc and to think about what the world might be like from a different perspective.
Vinnie described being an ant in the grass as frightening and like being in a maze, Ayla spent some time observing sheep and trees on the hill across the road through the eyes of an artist- she noticed a commonality between the fluffy sheep and the clouds. Michael spent some time as a musician listening to the birds chirping and the ebb and flow of the cars passing by. he also noticed their unique rhythm and tone.
Once we came in from our safari, the students chose a task to complete which allowed them to express their experiences creatively. What did the artist see? colour? shape? Milo and I had enjoyed looking at a tree in a different way, observing the colour and texture of the bark and the way that the decay on the leaves changed the way it looked. Milo turned this into a very interesting Mind Map which linked many artwork features together. Tigue was a seagull and learned a lot about drawing pictures from the top down. ( this was not easy task ! )

After morning tea we worked on Passion Projects. Kadys and Emily have finalised their projects and will be using their creative expression to work towards making a portfolio of photographs. We finalised this plan and will work hard together over the next few weeks to help source the information they need to help them learn about how to use cameras efficiently and take effective shots. Tigue has started looking through some Peter Callesen work and was being wowed by the impressive 3D paper sculptures while Jeandre and I tightened up his plan to create a tutorial on scratch. Dakota and Martin spent all of the time busy painting in the kitchen, ( I will get to your projects next week boys and we can build a plan forward from there).
John arrived promptly at 12 for chess and gave us a brush up on some basics. This was useful for some of us with rusty memories ( me ) and for our new students. Megan was lucky enough to have a lesson with Kadys and Tigue where she could go over some of the basics and develop her pawn game. Vinnie was working hard during our lesson today to make suggestions for moves and predict consequences - did this help you in your game against Michael? I forgot to swing by and see how that game ended..
Patterns this afternoon was broken into two parts.
Firstly we revisited classes of patterns and the features of different patterns, a meander anyone ? and then we used our knowledge of different types of patterns to create a zentangle. A zentangle is a series of complex patterns draw by a person in pen and can be used as a stress relief technique, fun or as we used them today as a method of applying our new knowledge about different types of patterns. There were some awesome creations in the class. Dakota and Nico created some completely unique patterns and shapes, Liam made a very intricate tile which incorporated many different types of patterns into one. I’ve gone home to work on my zentangle skills !
Maybe the folks at home would like top have a go too ? Send in any home creations for us to see !! Enjoy
Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 21 -

Some new faces to the Tuesday class. A big Pakiki welcome to two new PK students this term. Angus and Tigue will be joining us. Welcome boys !

Today's warm up, for the folks at home, here are the logic puzzles that we started our PK day with.

Logic Puzzles


How is it possible to cut a traditional circular cake into 8 equal size pieces, with only 3 cuts?


A man needs to cross a river in a canoe. With him, he has a bag of grain, a chicken, and a fox. He can only carry one of the three at a time. If he leaves the grain and the chicken, the chicken will eat the grain. If he takes the grain, the fox will eat the chicken.

How does he successfully cross the river with his load?

Visual Logic Puzzle
Miss Leia is in the PIT ! If anyone would like to teach me how to drop an image into our wiki that would be a great new learning experience for me !

The PK kids today were lucky enough to explore the Dunedin Public Art gallery in search of new learning about patterns. The depth of symbolism and meaning in the painting that we examined blew this teacher away ! and definitely got a few of the students scratching their heads about what they thought "good art" was. We were fortunate enough to view a wide variety of art including paintings, fabric, furniture, installations, sculpture and photography. There were a range of different types of patterns seen throughout the morning and having this fresh in our minds helped us in our workshop.

The photos below are of our workshop. Through the work of M.C. Ecsher the students explored mathematical concepts such as symmetry in patterns by creating their very own tessellation. By working with hot and cold colors the students developed their tessellation to create a striking piece.

On our return to school the students used their Mind Mapping skills to record their new learning about patterns and art visually.

The afternoon was finished with a revisit to the classes of patterns. Each pair ( or individual ) was given a specific class of patterns to create a pictorial display of. Vinnie and I were learning a lot about fractals together while Emily was gathering some excellent examples of polyhedron patterns. As the unit goes along it it will be useful to be able to refer to your work and see examine the classes of patterns even further.

Until next week !

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 20

It was great to welcome our new student along today. Megan joins us from MacAndrew Bay school - a big kiaora Megan.

We started with some great logic puzzles this morning, I have attached them below for the kids at home. To help us solve these puzzles we remembered to read the question through twice to ensure that we understood. Drew sketches to help us comprehend the problem and then we went through each clue one at at time methodically. This reminded us a little of open day and trying to solve the crimes by using each piece of evidence. We eliminated information that was irrelevant and exhausted all options for solving. Michael was the first to solve the first problem (despite declaring that they were too hard a little earlier). Jeandre, Nico and Liam were able to share their ideas about question two with their group while Kadys helped me out with the maths in question three. This was quite a challenging warm up but trust me PK, with practice, they will be a piece of cake.

This term’s focus is creativity and so I started as I intend to go on. A SCAMPER thinking tool was used to help the students think outside the box. Any ideas on alternative uses for a teacher’s laptop ? Consequences of sandwiches without bread or a new dish made from lemon and pumpkin? Once we got going and allowed our imagination to help us the ideas flowed freely.

Some memorable examples of alternative uses for my laptop were:

Kadys, a blanket warmer
Nico , disassembling it and turning it into a robot or making a chair for tiny people
Nicholas C , making it into a sledge

Inventing a new dish from Lemon and Pumpkin ...

Michael , Lemon and Pumpkin chocolate
Martin , a pumpkin salad with lemon dressing
Emily , made an entirely different fruit a combination of the two to make a large orange coloured lemon

This was our first creative activity for the term and so the students will come back to these and reflect on how far their creative thinking has developed.

An interesting tech challenge today. The students were asked to work in groups to design a structure which held a marble off of the side of a table. In order to encourage fluency of ideas, these students had ten minute of planning of time. Ideas were recorded by the team members and at the end of the ten minutes, each ideas was discussed for and decided on. Some groups needed to try really hard to listen to each other and accept others' ideas as valid even if they were different than their own. This is an important part of working in groups and sometimes takes practice.

The winners of the challenge who received maximum points for not only the final product but fluency of ideas and team work were Michael, Martin, Kadys, Ayla , Nico . A special mention needs to go to the structure which held the marble the furtherest from the table, this was designed and built by Liam, Vinnie Dakota and Nicholas C.

Talent Time today was a buzz of excitement. Vinnie , Milo, Nico and Michael continued on their scratch tutorials, Ayla continued her research about Peter Callesen and is using her note taking skills to deepen her knowledge about this artist. Megan and I were able to choose a talent time activity for her to pursue and Liam and I had a chance to start the plan for his computers passion project. Emily and Kadys started to brainstorm about an area of passion for further research and development and will make this into more of a plan with me next week. Jeandre was busy with his tutorial that he is building for other kids while his Mum was helping Dakota and Martin with their Don Binney art project. Next week after our trip, the afternoon slot will be dedicated to talent time to allow us ample time to get these new projects underway.

Visual patterns was started today and the students began by looking at the classes of patterns. These classes : Mosaics, Spheres, Spirals, Polyhedron, Meander, Lattice, Symmetrical and fractals will be used throughout our visual unit. So keep an eye out for these at the gallery next week. Looking forward to it!

Here are the logic puzzles for the folks at home.


A milkman has two empty jugs: a three gallon jug and a five gallon jug. How can he measure exactly one gallon without wasting any milk?


There are three playing cards lying face up, side by side. A five is just to the right of a two. A five is just to the left of a two. A spade is just to the left of a club, and a spade is just to the right of a spade.

What are the three cards?


What is the four-digit number
in which the first digit is one-third the second,
the third is the sum of the first and second,
and the last is three times the second?


Tuesday- Day 18

This morning as the students came up the stairs there was a buzz of excitement which arrived with them. To celebrate the Pakiki 2013 open morning, the students came in forensic themed costumes. The class quickly filled with forensic scientists, robbers, cat burglars, victims of some quite gruesome looking crimes and private detectives to search for suspects. Thanks to all the folks at home who helped out with the fantastic costumes.

Our first activity for the morning was a forensic investigation. Each team of three or four students was given a selection of evidence and a report from a recently reported crime ( which were made up but so realistic that I think I had the students fooled for about 5 minutes). With their evidence and the scenario of their case in hand the students were given 1 hour to analyse the evidence and link it to each of the suspects from the NEV/ Pakiki community. The groups were humming as they: used the microscopes to analyse fibres and feathers, dusted evidence for prints, measured footprints to establish shoe sizes and make links to suspects and eliminated suspects by using knowledge about their hobbies. Some snippets I saw as I worked with different groups included : Oliver being very tactical in his analysis of his groups scenario and very quickly tried to eliminate suspects while suggesting some thoughtful possible motives and scenarios. Solomon was making some close observations of the fingerprints lifted from his evidence and was trying to decide if the prints were a close enough match to Mr K to make a conviction.. Milo was relying on his inductive reasoning to help him analyse the scenario and the possible suspects while Ayla was working on lifting some prints while not contaminating the evidence, not an easy job to do Ayla! ) and Michael was showing some excellent leadership skills in his group and trying to ensure that everyone was involved and taking responsibility for some part of the presentation.

After a thorough investigation of the crimes and evidence, each of the groups presented their findings in a courtroom situation and convinced the judge beyond reasonable doubt that they had found the guilty suspect. The teams worked well together and presented thought provoking cases. Each team was given a mark out of 20 for their collection and analysis of evidence, team work and presentation.

After morning tea it was time to test our knowledge The students were tested on their new knowledge related to our learning this term in DNA. The groups were able to show off their new knowledge by explaining what DNA does, what codes are used in the DNA and by remembering why the university have zebra fish. This activity was finished off with a note taking quiz. The following video __http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goKDRZS8I_Q__ was a start point for the students to take notes about how to draw a double helix. ( try it out at home! - it’s not easy ) During the quiz, the students, parents and teachers were scribbling furiously trying to gather the best answers from within their group. Jeandre was leading his group with his great knowledge of DNA, Michael was sneaking some answers to his teacher and Vinnie was thinking very hard about some of those tricky questions. All teams had some great looking double helix sketches by the end of the activity and some impressive scores to add onto the points board - well done folks !

Then, on to tech challenge ! The challenge today was to design and build a boat which could float and hold coins out of a 30 cm by 30 cm square of aluminium foil. There was a range of boats being made, some more tetrahedron shaped and others cone shaped, the flat boats had marginal success but all teams who used this design decide that there needed to be some design tweaks. Ayla Emily and Kadys worked methodically on their boat together showing a high level of team work and co operation, Team Adult created an attractive looking prototype to ‘play it safe’ before launching their foil boat. Martin’s group worked carefully to check their boat had no holes in it before they were ready for the testing and Nico considered possible changes to his group’s design. The activity was a lot of fun and lead to some good reflective discussions about the design of the boats and what .

John arrived for chess and introduced the concept of moves which may feel counter intuitive. The students tried to use what they had just learned in games against their open day visitors. There was some great games being had. Nicholas C was teaching Ayla’s Mum all that he knew about chess, Jeandre and Oliver were battling off against each other and Nicholas B had a chance to show his teacher what he had learned this year about chess. To keep everyone’s blood sugars up for thinking we took a break for lunch and munched together around the chess boards.

Thanks to all of our visitors who came along and enjoyed the morning with us.
See you next week for our last day of term 2 !

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 17

Written by Miss Leia with help from Milo

This morning we started by trying to define science. This proved to be no easy task and the class had a great time trying to explain how science could be described. By examining the possible purposes and intended outcomes of science we expanded our thinking beyond simply “doing experiments” some of the ideas included trying to prove new ideas or gathering new information about things that hasn’t been found out yet. Using our classification skills, which we have been practicing lately, we classified some ideas into two categories : science and not science. Some of the concepts that attracted debate included pottery, Milo thought that there was a distinction between clay and pottery and that perhaps clay started out at science and became art. Milo thought that it belonged in between science and not science because there was an element of discovery and learning more about techniques for working with pottery. This left me wondering where painting lay in this argument. Is it scientific if you test a hypothesis about how different chemicals might come together to form an acrylic substance used by artists?

We build on this learning and spent some time working on scientific method. The new knowledge of independent variables, control groups, hypothesis, observation and conclusions was all going to come in handy later in the pathology labs when we were able to observe real scientists in action.

After a quick snack and regroup it was off to the labs. Some of the highlights of the trip for the students included - the cell division process of mitosis on the video, feeding the zebra fish, seeing the genetically modified fluro fish, seeing the eggs and embryos under the microscopes and learning about how the zebra fish can be used to help us understand other fish, mammals and people. A few of the students even thought that being a scientist when they grew up looked like a pretty exciting job. The trip was a truly unique opportunity for us all and there was a buzz of excitement on arrival back in the classroom.

After lunch we unpacked our trip and analysed our experiences with a PMI. The students were full of positive things to mention about their trip and had very little to say to improve the trip. Once we had analysed the trip, we decided to refresh our brains with a mental edge warm up. Alternative uses for a bar of soap. Some creative ideas resulted like using the soap like skis and racing down hills with bars of soap strapped to your feet. Using it as a rugby ball, baseball and even as a building material. While strong, Martin did agree that rain would cause some problems for the soap house.

Now that the student’s minds were awakened it was on to designing a scientific experiment using the correct controls and independent variables to make it a fair test. The hypothesis presented by me ( Miss Leia ) was that if you cut fruit up for children’s lunch boxes instead of giving it to them whole, they would be more likely to eat it. Each group designed and presented an experiment which tested this theory. The groups worked hard and identified a number of control variables that would help their test be fair.

Budding scientists in the making ! Thanks to everyone at the Pathology Labs at the University of Otago for making our trip possible.

Remember next week is open week and everyone is encouraged to come along in costume.

Until then,

See you !
Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 16

Spanish - Today we slowed down and took some time to reinforce what we had learned over the last few weeks. By having a chance to record our learning on the board and practice our speaking in a “scavenger hunt” style activity most of the students we able to practice what they had learnt and gained confidence with their speaking. Muy bien !

In affective domain today, the students recapped what they had learned so far about different ideas related to giftedness. A quick review of Renzulli’s three ringed approach to giftedness, the GKP teachers definition and the students’ own ideas about giftedness were used as a springboard for exploring and comparing the the ideas of Gagne. There was much debate around Gagne’s distinction between gifts and talents and how this sat with the student’s opinions about these topics. We only really started to scratch the surface of these theories and will continue to learn more about them over the final few weeks of term.

During talent time today, it was a time for many kids to choose their new talent activity. Ayla has chosen to make paper sculptures inspired by the work of Peter Callesen whole the Binney painting group continued using the texturing and colour blending techniques that we learned to create life like bird pictures. A large portion of the students have chosen to work on a Scratch project involving designing their own computer animation. Today the scratch group worked on a teacher lead tutorial which helped them make a breakdance dance across a stage to a thumping hip hop beat. A brief introduction to computer programming but an excellent start. I look forward to helping the students develop their own ideas for animations using scratch.

John arrived today to give everybody a quick lesson about fool’s mate and then the students were on swiftly to competition. I didn’t have a chance to watch every game but here are some snippets of what I saw as I wondered around and things that I could hear from my game with Emily and Kadys. I saw Oliver and Emily enjoy their pawn game, there was a fair amount of mirroring going on from what I saw but hopefully some thought given to how the pawns can be used wisely in an actual game. Next to me I noticed John lost a knight to Vinnie in a triumphant move - very observant Vinnie! . Kadys drew with a stale mate against Emily, Jeandre was challenging the computer to chess, Martin enjoyed a game against Nico while Nicholas and Ayla had a short game which challenged them and left them ready for lunch.

After lunch for our philosophy discussion, we questioned the concept of bravery. What does this mean? How is making a brave decision different to making a silly decision. When would it be brave to jump into an ocean full of sharks and when would it be silly? The concept of fear frequently appeared during this discussion and many students agreed that an act of bravery meant that a person was completing an act which frightened them but they were doing it anyway because they had a good reason. Jeandre wondered about people who do things that don’t scare them but other people won’t do because it scares them, is that brave? hhmm I need to think about that one more Jeandre. To help us clarify in our own minds what bravery might look like, in pairs, the students classified scenarios in an attempt to define the terms more clearly. An example was playing rugby, is this brave or not brave? Solomon, Nicholas C and Michael thought that there were many factors that would impact whether or not it was brave to play rugby such as what type of rugby? How big are the other kids? Is it their first time or were they very experienced? This was great because the students started to question their original assumptions about bravery... Was it brave to pick a flower? Yes, No or did it depend ? and what did it depend on ? We left our session today with one collective question : What is the opposite of brave? What is cowardly? What does that look like? A question I’ve sent for the folks at home ! Enjoy.

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 15

Hola everyone !

Today, I have asked the students to help write the blog to give them a chance to ensure that their thoughts, feelings and opinions are shared with our wider audience. Today in Spanish we built on our greetings that we learned in term one and furthered that by learning about how and when to use a more formal type of greeting. While it was a bit tricky at first, once we had got the hang of it, everyone was able to choose which greeting they needed to use for which situation. Nicholas C and Martin mentioned that they found this quite a challenge today as there was a number of new words to remember, but don’t worry boys we don’t need to know it all today, languages are learned slowly and in little bits ( I’m still learning ! ).

In the affective domain today, we revisited our research projects about our famous gifted person. We reflected on our learning in term one about note taking and agreed that actually we were not using the skills that we spent time practicing. So we took a short time to practice taking notes by assisting me with my research about Pythagoras. We remembered to use words not whole sentences, draw pictures or diagrams to help, make connections between ideas and used short hand or abbreviations where easier. We watched a short video about Pythagoras and frantically took notes. A quick glance around the room let me see that people were trying very hard to only record the bare minimum while still writing notes that made sense to them. This was a worthwhile activity as it translated easily to the student’s independent research. Kadys and I worked on her mind map about Sir Edmund Hillary and recorded all of the things both tangible and intangible that you might need if you were going to climb Mt Everest. Oliver and I looked through some diagrams and explanations about Stephen Hawking’s thoughts about black holes and radiation, while we weren’t in the Pit with our new learning, we both agreed we needed some more information to understand this more and came away with some unanswered questions.

To continue with our learning about DNA we did a practical challenge which involved analysing a crime scene scenario, learning all about alibis and motivation for crimes and then matching up DNA xrays with DNA found at a crime scene to come to a conclusion about who the criminal was. Developing our detective skills! This was super important as we would need these in the afternoon. Liam was carefully checking the similarities between the DNA found at the crime scene and that from the suspects. Him and Oliver were able to identify the possible motivations of the suspects which lead to a discussion about why people make choices.

Chess today was an application of the skills that we have already learned. Unfortunately John was only able to stay a short while, but we made the most of it and played anyway. Some of us chose to play chess against the computer which was quite hard (Nico) but others preferred instead to play against other students. Michael took the opportunity to play against Oliver and teach him about Castling. I played against Kadys who was feeling very proud of the progress she has made in her knowledge of chess and game tactics. She definetly took a great deal of my pieces on the road to beating me.

This afternoon, we put back on our forensic science hats and learned all about fibre analysis and how the scientific method is used to create fair tests. The students were offered a scenario of a boy who had his lunch money stolen after school. Using high powered microscopes, kindly loaned to use by the University, they analysed fibres collected at the crime scene and fibres collected by the suspects. Solomon and Michael found this activity challenging because in their role as scientists, they were expected to give detailed descriptions about the fibres that they were analysing and compare them to each other. We talked a lot about the differences between natural and synthetic fibres and how they look different under a microscope. Nic and Jeandre found this interesting and used very descriptive language to explain the differences between the natural and synthetic fibres. Emily was very observant and noticed that the suspect’s fibres looked just like the one that I had on the screen which was an alpaca sample. Very good Emily ! this was indeed an alpaca sample that I used for the scenario, very observant. Vinnie learned how to focus the microscopes carefully so that he could clearly see the evidence and Ayla was working well in her group to ensure that everyone could write clear descriptions and draw scientific sketches to take their case to “court”. Check out the photos below to see how they went.



Tuesday - Day 14

It was a shame that we missed Pakiki kids last week due to the snow, but we all agreed that it was fun to play in the garden with the snow and make snow men !!

Today was chocka block in an attempt to gain back some lost time, we worked hard, thought hard, listened well and made the most of what time we had. We started with a mental edge warm up today where we used and refined our use of the PMI strategy. We spoke about creative fluidity and how sometimes by giving ourselves too long to think about something, we can actually hinder our thinking. So we thought we'd give this a try. The students were broken into "thinking groups" in order to complete a PMI chart (Plus, Minus, Interesting) under strict time restraints. So it was forcing us to think on our feet. The students enjoyed discussing and thinking about topics such as " children are allowed to have cell phones at school" , " clothes are disposable" and " wearing a uniform to Pakiki" . Each point was analyzed and points which were P , M and I were recorded at speed. Once the stop watch stopped, and pens were dropped, the students had a chance to walk around and read each other's charts - only to add their own comment or offer constructive positive feedback. While this was a challenge, it generated great debate and definitely pushed the students in their creative thinking. I was particularly interested on Jeandre and Dakota's discussion about uniforms at Pakiki and what that might do for people's perception of PK and people's awareness of the programme. Perhaps we could have a design competition?

After all this dedicated thinking time we swung our thinking towards ourselves and worked in the affective domain. We talked together about new learning and that funny feeling we sometimes get when we are learning new things that feel like quite a big challenge. We used the analogy "in the pit". Some of us had in the past felt a bit sick, nervous, headachy and like we had "snakes" in our belly, ( or everything all at once) when the going got tough. We discussed what made us feel like this and some suggestions included, being shown up as not being good at something in front of other people, not feeling confident at what we are doing and not enjoying the feeling of being outside of my comfort zone and "rocking the boat". We talked about how this might relate to the learning that we do at Pakiki and how some of us might feel about this learning compared to the learning that we do at regular school. Is it perhaps that we might feel a little outside of our comfort zone ? Perhaps learning chess, spanish or patterns is new for you? ( I know chess was new for me and gave me the wobbles at the beginning). We all had stories of new learning experiences which had challenged us. We enjoyed hearing each others' stories and some of us noticed that we had all felt the same way at some time. This now gives us a responsibility to help each other out of the pit when someone needs a hand. New learning is not always easy, but it is always worth it.

So after our honest discussion about new learning and the roles that we play in helping each other get out of the "pit" we embraced new learning in Forensics and were lucky enough to have Sarah Young ( Emily's Mum ) talk with us about DNA. By teaching us about blood, chromosomes, DNA, enzymes and the related technology we gained a new insight into the world of Forensics and the way that patterns in DNA an help prove someone's guilt or innocence. Below are some pictures to show you what we got up to.

Sarah showing us an Xray of DNA used to identify a suspect of a crime.

Sarah demonstrating how the hungry enzymes cut up our DNA into a pattern which is unique for each individual.

We thank Sarah very much for her time and preparation involved in her lesson today. We all learned a lot and many of us have been left curious to learn more.

After lunch we started with a philosophy activity which involved listening to Willy the Wimp by Antony Browne and discussing our "wonderings". There were some very interesting wonderings in the group.... Some folks wondered if the gorillas had really changed their minds about whether or not Willy was a wimp because he had changed his appearance where on the other hand, some people wanted to talk more about what a Monkey planet might be like...
Our discussion lead to an interesting debate about stereotypes. We discussed stereo types of things like scientists, academics and Mums. We all agreed that while these stereo types aren't always true, they are readily reinforced in the media and in movies. Nic raised the issue of expectation and the difficulties faced by people whose personality was the opposite of his/her physical stereotype. Yes I agree Nic, there would be some challenges there wouldn't there.

Today has left many of the PK family ( me included ) curious, interested and wanting more! I look forward to seeing you next week for more forensic fun.

See you then!

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 13
Today our class were fortunate to have a visitor for the day. We welcomed Sue Bufton , Lead teacher at the Gifted Kids Unit in Rotorua. Sue came and helped the class out with some affective domain activities and talent time. Below is a snapshot of what we got up to with Sue in her first ever visit to Dunedin.

Sue began our affective domain activity by asking everyone what they thought gifted meant ? Did it mean that you liked sausages? Tuesday’s class were full of ideas about what they thought gifted meant. Some of the ideas contradicted each other and some ideas need a bit more development but thats ok because we have time to continue on this learning journey. Once we had pooled our ideas together as a class it was time for the children to decide what they as an individual believed giftedness to mean. Ayla has thoughts about talents that were hidden and the role that they play in defining someone’s giftedness, Nicholas and Oliver thought that being gifted meant learning faster than other kids in your class, being intelligent and having lots of talent, he also thought that kids that were gifted liked leanring alot. Jeandre thought that it meant having these talents inside you from birth and not needing a lot of practice while Dakota wondered about his talents that he hasn’t discovered yet...

After discussing our own ideas, Sue discussed the Gifted Kids teacher’s definition of giftedness “ A gifted child is one who has an innate ability to achieve at an exceptional level, in relation to his/ her same age peers, in one or more areas. This ability may be demonstrated or potential”. After decoding any tricky words the children compared their definition to the one they had just written. Martin identified that he agreed with the concept of “demonstrated” talent, showing and using your talents, Milo felt that gifted children were high achievers. Milo, I wonder what your thoughts on all high achievers... are they all gifted and how does this sit with the GKP definition? This made the students think hard and question their original ideas. Don’t change your minds too soon folks we will be exploring the world of gifted education theorists this term and discovering a variety of definitions for giftedness.

From here Sue talked about Joseph Renzulli and his ideas about giftedness. Kadys agreed with Renzulli and thought that to be truly gifted you needed creativity but she alos thought that task commitment and above average helped you once you were working in your creative job. Nico and Lee agreed with Kadys about Renzulli’s theory. Nico explained that if you were a talented chef you would need to work hard and be good but a truly gifted chef who achieved very highly needed to be creative. Vinnie disagrees with Renzulli because he feels that gifted sports people do not need creativity only skill and hard work. I wonder what Renzulli thinks about giftedness in regards to sports? Michael thinks that sports people do need to be creative like Dan Carter when he is playing rugby.

Our discussion left us many unanswered questions about gifted ness and what the theorists think it means. We will continue with this next week, unfortunately without Sue.
However, we would like to thank her very much for helping us with our learning and hope that she comes back to visit soon.

Until then,

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 12

Buenos Dias a todos,
Today started with Spanish and an introduction of some new concepts including ways of saying goodbye. For those of you who wanted to practice this:
adios - goodbye , hasta luego - See you later , hasta pronto - see you soon , hasta la vista - till the next time. We also learned about how to use Sr, Señorita and señora to more politely greet people in a latin or spanish way. Martin took a risk with his Spanish today and used our greetings with success. Muy bien !

We continued with our philosophical discussions around truth today and debated the "realness" of and concepts and things. There was much debate around whether or not emotions existed or were they just things we felt were real but there was no proof to support our claims. Hhhmmm - Im still unsure of that one myself. Nic B worked hard to justify and clearly explain what his thoughts were on these issues while Liam had a lot to say about the existence of aliens but would perhaps agree that the evidence to support their existence is a little shaky. Mike was unsure about this one too. How much evidence would it take to convince people that something is true? Some people thought that it would depend on how off the wall or unlikely the thoughts were. The more unlikely, the more compelling the evidence has to be. We agreed some of what we were talking about got a bit confusing and it was quite challenging to debate things that we didn't always have an answer to. We will persevere with this learning, I'm learning here too and am definitely enjoying hearing what everyone has to say and having my thoughts challenged.

In Affective Domain today we touched briefly on Renzulli's theories of giftedness. While we started by talking about his 3 ring approach to talent and the cross over between things we are good at, things that we have a high level of motivation in and creativity. We will be focusing more on our creativity next week as we delve deeper into this theory.

Next came a highlight for the day. Constable John Somerfield taught us about being a forensic scientist and how the Police can collect prints from evidence to identify patterns and also how patterns of behavior can be traced through evidence left by the baddy. Nico and Emily were able to make connections between some of the concepts covered and their parents' work while it appeared many of us had seen a number of crime scene investigation television shows. What similarities did we notice? Ayla watched carefully as John collected the Solomon's prints off of the glass left as evidence using the black iron sand powder and Kadys made the perfect volunteer for having her fingerprints taken just like a real person being arrested. Vinnie and Lee were very interested in the equipment that John brought with him, boys I'm sure you'll enjoy having your prints taken by me next week.

In the "cross over of the Johns" chess started. Today was a day of reviewing and recapping. Oliver was able to share some of what he has learned from John so far this year with his Mum who came along for a visit. Jeandre and Nicholas C were at the front trying to remember the specific "Mates" that we have been taught. Fool's mate was up for discussion for a while while some of us were trying to remember smothered mate. We need to focus on managing our impulsivity during our chess lesson, some people touching the pieces while John was trying to explain was distracting for more than just me I'm sure.

The afternoon gave us a chance to squeeze in some talent time. The art group started with me while we worked together to create the success criteria for their Binney work. Emily and Lee are considering the white spaces in their work while Dakota and Martin learned more about Binney's use of color and landscapes on the IPads. Oliver and Ayla made progress on their solar oven today and ( sun dependent ) will be ready to test their oven and film their video next Tuesday. Nicholas C had some challenges with the computers today but luckily Liam was able to help troubleshoot. Nicholas, I'll help you get this second book review underway next week since there was a bit of time lost today.

Next week, we will be taking our own finger prints as well as welcoming a visitor from a Gifted Kids Unit in Rotorua ( Mrs Buxton) she will be helping us with our analysis of Renzulli's theory and helping out during talent time.

Hasta la próxima !

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 11

Welcome back to term two !
It was great to have everyone arrive this morning well rested and full of beans ready for another term of Pakiki Kids. As has become habit, we started the day with spanish. To continue with the learning that we did last term with Pablo, Nico's Dad, we watched a short film about Argentina. We continued our learning by identifying some of the twenty countries in the world that speak spanish and practiced the correct pronunciation of the place names. Vinnie found it particularly interesting that the word for spanish in spanish is espanol ... Solomon worked hard on his pronunciation and was able to read a number of words correctly, almost sounding like a native speaker, well done Solomon !

To start our forensic unit this term, we started by reading "Horton hears a who", by Dr Seuss. This lead us into a philosophical discussion about the notion of knowledge and truth. Nico and Liam has some interesting ideas around ways of convincing others that you are correct, while Kadys said that she was unsure about everyone's motivation for avoiding making comment. Truth it appeared was a little more tricky to identify that we had originally thought and sometimes got people, like Horton, into a bit of a pickle. Nicholas C was able to make a connection between Horton ( who no one believed ) and Galileo who was struck by challenges and being locked up for questioning the current beliefs of the time. Everyone had a chance to record things that they consider to be the truth and to justify them to me with evidence to provide proof. Some students found this part more difficult that they thought it might have been... people once KNEW that the world was flat, where does that leave us now ? How was our thinking changed? and how were our minds changed?
We will use this discussion as a springboard for further discussion about the truth within the context of crime.

Talent time today flew by with most people picking up where they left off. A highlight for me was being able to enjoy Emily's red bird. Lee and Kadys made good progress with their artworks but agreed that a background would help their work more closely reflect that of Don Binney. Nico and I spent some time reflecting together about ways to create an even better book review. Jeandre has started reading the book for his next review. Liam has started a talent activity about 3 D shapes which should prove to be interesting in the world of geometry and Ayla and Oliver had some challenges today as the script for their video seems to have disappeared ... Some people are nearing the end of their first talent cycle for the year and will have a chance to choose another one soon. There are some exciting times coming our way!

After a short warm up investigating mirror numbers and palindromes, this afternoon was almost entirely used by the tech challenge. Below are some photos of the fun that we had creating alien artifacts.

Until next week,

Hasta luego
Miss Leia


Tuesday - Day 10


Buenos Dias !
This morning for our spanish class, we were lucky enough to have Pablo, Nico's Dad come along and tell us about his home country - Argentina. The children enjoyed a morning of learning about the natural wonders of Argentina, the Puma's ( rugby team ), and about the cuisine in Argentina. I rustled up some Argentinian Alfajores to share and mark the end of term.IMG_0279.JPG

It was not only the end of term one, but was also time to say goodbye to Daisy. We will miss her but we hope she enjoys her new adventures and learning in Auckland. Daisy helped to welcome Martin into our Pakiki class today. We hope he enjoys his time with us and I know the children will make a special effort to help him with anything he needs to know.

Today, I had a chance to get around to everyone and talk about their research projects. Dakota has discovered that Socrates had a gift of being able to help people think by asking questions and that he was very wise - maybe next term you could consider that term ( wisdom ) and what that really means ? Kadys and Ayla were discussing Sir Edmund Hillary's career in mountaineering and as an Air Force Navigator in World War 2. Nicholas C was considering notable students of Galileo, while Emily and Oliver worked interdependently to research both Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Next term we will continue with this research to delve deeper into the personality traits and characteristics of these gifted people.

In talent time, the art group spent some time analyzing the techniques used in Binney's art and his use of New Zealand landscapes. They then set to work on creating some of their own. Nicholas C has finished his QR code book review and placed it on the web for everyone to read while the solar oven groups, while disappointed by the weather, used persistence to tidy up some recording of their process and complete the scripts for their short videos. This time flew by quickly and then we were were on to chess.

In chess today, John gave a lesson on different types of openings. We were able to compare the strength of each one and were even quizzed on how to put someone into check in half a move .... There were a number of great challenges and from the games I saw some great improvements too! Hopefully some of those improvements will be in my domain next term !!

I hope you've had as much fun this term as I have, see you in two weeks all refreshed and ready to go.

Hasta Luego !

Tuesday - Day 9

We started with a Mental Edge warm up which analysed a recent news article about increased tourism from China, in order to do this we used a P M I chart ( Plus, Minus and Interesting). The group were encouraged to share their opinions but to provide a well justified explanation and example where possible to help add credibility to their comment. Some thoughtful comments were made and the students were able to practice thinking through potential consequences which has been a recent focus.

Some comments shared included:

“ New Zealanders will need to speak Chinese and Chinese people will need to speak English in order to communicate” - Ayla

“ Increased pollution” - Oliver

“ There might be an increased risk to Bio Security” - Solomon

“ Shops and airlines will get more money” “ Businesses will get more customers”

Once the students were all warmed up, it was time to move into Spanish. Today the students spent time reviewing introductions and we adding in; asking and giving their name. Everyone had some time to speak with each other and iron out any confusions that might have crept in during this introductory unit.

After a short time planning what each student wanted to achieve in both their research and talent time today, it was straight into independent work. The Affective Domain research today dominated most of the morning. Emily and Oliver worked hard to over come some problems they have been having finding the answers to their questions. I was able to come in and help decode some tricky words as we read about what Einstein was like as a person and more specifically as a physicist while Oliver gathered information about Blackholes and learned about how scientists often work alongside each other and develop each others work further as we found out today when reading about Stephen Hawking.

Liam was starting to ask questions about why Marie Curies’s work was important. We debated about the potential negative consequences of Uranium’s discovery and whether or not these would outweigh these positives. Nicholas C and I made some good progress into his research about Galileo, he came up with a good number of questions to be answered next week about his influences and notable students. Kadys also ended her session with further questions for research next week.

Talent time today was a day of working interdependently. Nic, Mike, Solomon and Vinnie worked on delegating tasks and voting on decisions that need to be made towards the completion of their solar oven. The art group were using colour today to create more drawings to go ahead next week and mount and exhibit their work in the classroom ( make sure you check out Lee’s green and black bird when the display goes up) . Nico, Liam and I spent some time working through some challenges with the QR code activity. We worked through lunch and after class and think we nearly have it. ( Update after the blog was written - Nico, it worked !!!! ) Come along and see our QR coded library in a few weeks - it is bound to impress!

John’s focus in chess today was on the opening moves. The students considered different possible opening moves and evaluated the benefits of these and the potential threats to their other pieces if these moves were made. There were definitely some people playing safer openings during game time.

This afternoon, the students had a chance to break into groups and again work interdependently to classify images of patterns into their purpose groups : Survivability, Strength, Order and Beauty. Many a debate was had and it was great to hear the students using the language that we had learned earlier in the day to help them justify their opinions about their choice of classification. One group even invented their own category which melded Strength and Survivability together to make “ strengthability” . Milo was steadfast in his opinions about weather patterns and separated the concrete images of clouds from the concept of weather patterns, he was able to convince his group of this move by clearly explaining his thoughts and reasoning ( Nice one Milo, that challenged my thinking too ! )
Collectively, the group decided that actually it was very difficult to separate each of the categories because they were too closely related and often interlaced together.

By the end of the day, the students had just enough energy left for a quick game of buzz before heading home.

See you next week folks !

Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 8

Buenos Dias !

In Spanish this morning, the children learned how to count up to and beyond 20. Identifying the patterns as we went up further Mike and Ayla were quick to translate their basic maths questions into Spanish offering answers which were correct mathematically and linguistically. Next week, we will be continuing to extend our number knowledge upwards and learning ho to tell the time.

Drawing on the student’s prior knowledge of learning styles, they were taught different ways to record research information as they gathered it which complimented specific learning style preferences. Firstly they looked at lists and bullet points as a way to organise information and then compared this to visual Mind Maps. Using my model research project about Pythagoras the students helped me gather information from a timeless Disney Classic video which explored some of the basics of Pythagoras and his work. Before their eyes, a broad range of information was gathered, recorded, linked and prioiritised using pictures, images and colour in the creation of a Mind Map. The students were surprised to see that once we turned the video off, many of them were able to “read” the Mind Map from the pictures and recall high levels of information.

The students then had the opportunity to decide what strategies they wanted to use in order to organise their own information. Nicholas C and I made great progress with his project about Galileo, we learned about him being placed under home arrest for speaking out against the current church and sharing his new knowledge about the location of planets and the sun. This caused us to ask other questions about what life might have been like around these times? Oliver persisted through the problems that he faced around finding information which answered his questions about black holes. Oliver demonstrated slick text analysis skills by quickly identifying if a site was too difficult, and moving on until he found one that started to help him understand. This required a high level of patience on Oliver’s part ( I bet it felt good to find the answer Oliver! ). Emily is still gathering information about Einstein and developing deeper research focus questions.

Daisy, Ayla and Kadys are all researching Sir Edmund Hillary and are discovering just how much courage, self confidence and persistence was needed to become one of the best mountaineers in the world. Next week as you go on your quest for a deep and complex understanding of what overcoming these enormous challenges must be like, you might need to practice your persistence. Our research journey is just beginning.

In talent time today, the art group took the time to stand outside and soak in the rich Autumn colours and think about how an artist like Binny allowed the unique Otago hues to permeate his artwork. Colour was introduced today which encouraged the students to explore birds beyond the pencil. I look forward to seeing more from their collections over the next few weeks. The Solar Oven groups are leaning towards testing the ovens and organising their educational videos. (Everyone must do the sunshine dance for the following Pakiki day please in order for the Solar ovens to work). The QR code group made good progress with their reviews. We now have 2 completed reviews and QR codes with our reviewer : Nico and Liam, while Nicholas C and Jeandre are working hard on creating a useful review for students who would like to read more non fiction texts. I will allow students to come and have a go with my iphone next time so that we can test them out.

In Chess today, some students were able to develop their skills with the pawns while others battled it out with full games. I watched a great game between Milo and John which showed Milo’s ability to persist through a challenge, even when he was a Knight down very quickly. I’m sure all of this practice will pay off next Friday 5th April at the Pakiki Kids chess evening. ( More details to follow via email).

This afternoon was an amalgamation between Affective Domain and Patterns work. The students looked at repeated behaviour patterns in the form of Amygdala hijacking. In other words, having a severe and over reactionary emotional response before having time to think. While all of the students ( and teacher ) could identify our triggers for these and how it felt to have a hijacking, today was going to be the day that the children learned ways to surprise the Amygdala and slow it down, allowing our more sensible cortex time to respond with a more common sensical and rational response. Each child chose their own physical pattern interrupt to try out next time this happens to them. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about everyone’s experiences with hijackings but I’m sorry that we ran out of time and that we didn’t have enough time to share everybody’s stories.

Please remember that Tuesday is a holiday so there will be no classes until the following Tuesday.

Hasta la próxima
Miss Leia

Mr McMarrow and the PK Tuesday Class

Tuesday Day 7 - Yes we have moved to the top!

Each new Pakiki update will now be at the top so you don't have to scroll through the old posts unless you feel like reminiscing ....

Today the Tuesday students proudly represented PK on a trip to the Health Sciences library. While they were there, they were lucky enough to get up close and personal with a skeleton model and explore some of the different types of research sources used by the medical students. The students enjoyed making comparisons between The Health Sciences Library and other libraries that they have been to before and looking through medical textbooks and dictionaries to investigate the brain.

A major focus for discussion was gathering information that, while answering our challenging questions, still used words that we could understand and was a safe site for kids. Richard showed the students the child friendly Kid Rex search engine which goes some way towards helping these issues. See here __http://www.kidrex.org__/ to start your searching.

Thanks to Richard and Sarah for all their hard work planning our trip and offering the children an interesting morning at the library. The students all had a great time and learned a great deal which they can now use in their own independent research back at PK.

Also a big thanks to our parent drivers. Your support is always appreciated.

See you next week.

Miss Leia

Sarah shares her knowledge of bones with PK Tuesday class

Tuesday Class Day One

Bienvenidos and welcome Tuesday class !

We had an exciting start to Pakiki Kids’ Tuesday class for 2013. Some returning from last year but largely new faces including mine so, we started with a variation on the name game. Our morning continued with a warm welcome from NEVNS with a mihi whakatau. Michael was able to teach us all a quick waita which we sang in response. Luckily by this point the rain had stopped and we were able to get back and start our first tech challenge for 2013.

Only using 12 pieces of newspaper and 1 m of sellotape we made a full wardrobe for a person who was going to present a bill to parliament. After some debate around whether it would be a man or a woman presenting in parliament and much discussion around the reasons which lead us to our assumptions, groups were formed and the challenge began. After a slow start Liam managed to get down the catwalk in a creative pants suit while Solomon looked dashing in his newspaper tie. Ayla and Kadys dominated the cat walk in skirt, blouse and jacket ensembles which included matching shoes ! - Check out the Facebook page for pictures of this one! After the fashion show we did a quick reflection about the activity and what we would do differently if given the chance again, Nick felt that their group had not used their sellotape in an economical way and were perhaps a bit wasteful at the start, not thinking the task through carefully. (I don’ t think yours was the only team Nick).

After break we came back to talk about talent and attempted to answer such questions as - what is a talent? I While many of the students felt that a talent could have a potential element to it, meaning that maybe there are talents that haven’t been discovered yet, a few thought it was more like the muscle analogy - you use it or you lose it. This lead to an interesting discussion around people that have talents that they know about which maybe they keep a secret. Vinnie suggested that perhaps this is done to avoid a lot of practice and the possibility of the paparazzi bothering you. (I can imagine that would be a pain having all those cameras following you everywhere Vinnie!)

This discussion around talent lead us to unpack a quote by Rene Descartes (mathematician, philosopher, scientist) “It is not enough to have a good mind, the main thing is to use it in a good way”. It took us a little while to decide what Descartes might have meant by that. Liam, Oliver and Nico all strongly agreed with the statement explaining that not using a talent or a good mind would be a waste while Milo and Dakota weren’t so sure about it. What if the person wants to keep their talent for themselves? By placing ourselves on the person continuum across the classroom, it helped us acknowledge the grey area that sometimes exists between the two extremes when we are forming an opinion. Nicolas, Ayla and Daisy hung out in the grey for a while reserving judgement until they had a bit more time to form their opinion (feel free to continue thinking on this one).

Then it was time for chess! John our chess tutor came and reminded us of the basics from last year. John played some games against Vinnie and Lee who found it quite a challenge to beat him. Emily and I enjoyed watching and comparing the game of chess to draughts which we both play very well (maybe we should have a game Emily?). Our games spilled into lunch where I was able to play against Oliver who taught me a lot about leaving my pieces vulnerable to capture but luckily Jeandre came and offered some guidance to us both about the rules and to point out some moves that we might have missed.

The afternoon session saw us having a good debate about the classification of patterns ... Despite thinking we had a pretty clear idea about what a pattern is some of the pattern images were a little tricky to classify. We not only had a group for patterns and non patterns but we had a not sure group and a group of images which we thought essentially contained some patterns but also included some non patterns. This was where the zebra found himself. A black white pattern with lines that weren’t exactly the same width ... hhmm tricky.

We started to develop some big ideas for patterns and so far agree that
- patterns need to repeat
  • they can be used to predict and
  • have a variety of purposes, sometimes patterns are used to make things strong and sometimes just to make them beautiful

So a busy and tiring day for our Tuesday group! It was a great day, I learned a lot and had a nice time meeting everyone. I hope you did too.

See you next Tuesday folks

Miss Leia

Tuesday class Day 2

Bienvenidos and welcome back Tuesday class for another day of fun, challenges and new learning.

Affective domain learning this morning allowed us to delve into our own minds and try to identify our own individual learning stylea. While in some cases the students were not surprised to find that they were kinesthetic learners, eager to move around and do rather than listen, others were interested to find that they were more evenly spread across the three styles: kinesthetic, auditory and visual. Jeandre didn’t agree so much with what his quiz told him while Liam knew what the result would be before we even started! Let’s try to apply our understanding about learning styles and reflect on our progress to see if we still agree with our results.

Today in Mental Edge we introduced the 16 Habits of Mind. While we agreed that problems and challenges are inevitable in life, it can sometimes be difficult to find a direct route to a solution. We explored 16 habits or dispositions adopted by effective problem solvers. Today we started by focusing on 3 that we all agreed were quite pertinent to the start of the year. Nicholas agreed that “Listening with understanding and empathy” was a good place to start and can help us see situations from others perspectives. There was a very engaging discussion around “Persistence” where Nick, Vinnie and Miss Leia shared stories of triumphant battles over challenges through strong “ Persistence”. “ Creating, Imagining and Innovating” was the final habit that we focused on and used today in our scavenger hunt through the story of Tom and the Clockwork Dragon.

Many of us were feeling quite challenged in chess today (me included!). While some students were enjoying learning more about the move- un poisson, others were still trying to get their heads around the moves allowed by each piece. I think next week we will split apart into two groups allowing John to work with the more experienced players while others can join me at an introductory level. From where I was watching Ayla and Daisy playing I noticed some creative chess from Dakota and Milo, while on another table Solomon was enjoying some success.

After lunch we started with a debate around the concept of intelligence. Nicholas thought that there was lots of different types of intelligence and most of us agreed with that. Michael raised a common confusion that surrounds the word ‘smart’ which is also a synonym for intelligent. We had a great discussion around who was intelligent but made little progress deciding how intelligence could be correctly measured if it took different forms such as musical, mathematical and sporting. A very difficult thing indeed.

Our day finished with an afternoon of comparing the possible purpose of different patterns in our society such as strength, survivability and beauty. Finally a story which allowed us to connect with our earlier leaning about the Habits of Mind and relax a little at the end of a busy and action packed day.

Thanks for today folks, I had fun and look forward to next Tuesday’s class.

Hasta luego

Miss Leia

Tuesday Class Day 3 -

Bienvenidos y saludos were two new words that we learned today, can you remember the way we say good morning in Spanish? Buenos Dias! Next week we’ll have a go at basic greetings.

Today the students delved deeper into the concept of Questioning. After listening to the book “ The three questions” which addressed some of the big questions in the world like “ who is the most important one?” we broke off into independent work and wrote some of our own big questions. Dakota came forward with some super big questions about how people and the world were made - no quick answer but many theories to that one. I suppose it really depends on which perspective you were choosing to answer from ... Oliver wanted to find out about the universe and its size and Ayla preferred to look forward in time and wondered about what type of animals might exist in our future. So as you can see our Pakiki kids are broadening their questioning techniques and extending past closed yes no questions. Next week we will be integrating these skills into our gifted famous person research.

After drawing up some rights and responsibilities of students using a computer in the pakiki classroom the students designed their own computer license. For some of the students it was their first time using a Mac so there was some learning about that running alongside our work with licenses. ( Thanks for helping with the cameras Solomon, with a little more persistence on my part tomorrow, I’ll get to the bottom of the adaptor problem ! ). These will be laminated in no time and ready to be issued to the drivers of the pakiki computers.

In chess today the students were broken into two groups. I took a group and together we worked on the basics like setting the board up and what each piece on the board could do. We used this as an opportunity to practice thinking ahead and taking the time to think through possible move scenarios. I thoroughly enjoyed our games and look forward to trying some mini games next week. John worked on different ways of coming to a draw that weren’t only a stalemate. Vinnie had a chance to have a game with John today, I didn’t catch the score Vinnie, lets chat next week !

Before launching the students into our afternoon activities, we discussed our talent time for 2013. The choices this term include maths investigations, a science competition about researching, designing and making a solar oven, designing QR codes linked to book reviews for the pakiki kids library and art. Liam launched straight into ideas for a solar oven and Emily was looking pretty interested in the art activities. Don’t worry too much , there will be time next week to explore these further and choose your first talent project for 2013.

The students continued to explore patterns and used Tony Ryan’s Thinkers Keys to help think creatively about patterns in their environment. Kadys came up with some interesting questions to the answer - PATTERNS, Oliver was learning about architectural patterns and Ayla made some pretty neat looking combinations of patterns in her design task. Nicholas has chosen the BAR activity to start next week, I look forward to seeing your progress with this. We will continue this work next week to help extend our thinking around patterns.

Another great day Tuesday class ! We have a HUGE day planned next week with talent projects starting and research about to get underway. Make sure you get a good nights sleep on Monday night and you’d better have an extra weetbix, its going to get busy.

Hasta la proxima
Miss Leia

Tuesday - Day 4

Tuesday day 4 kicked off with another quick chance to develop our learning in Spanish. We continued basic greetings and comos estas? ( how are you? ). All of the students were able to explain whether they were good - estoy bien , sad - estoy triste, hungry - tengo hambre or sleepy - con sueños. Try these out on the folks at home! Next week we will try learning a few games to help us with numbers.

This morning, most of the students learning was focused on their work with questioning. We started comparing open and closed questions and ways that we can obtain a higher level of understanding by asking deeper questions, we started to work on socratic questioning methods to clarify our understanding of underlying ideas and concepts. The students learned that by asking for further information, examples and explanations, they can delve deeper into their research topic and look at issues from different perspectives. They took this work with questioning and applied it to their research project of a famous gifted person. Some of the great topics we can look forward to seeing develop include: Vinnie and his project about Vincent Van Gogh, Emily is going to discover more about the kind of science Einstein was famous for and how he developed his skills in this area, Oliver is going to extend his knowledge of Stephen Hawking, Nicholas C wants to learn about Galileo and will explore just how the telescope works... and the list goes on. If you happen to do any of your own research at home, bring it along to next week’s lesson which will focused on effective use of search engines to obtain valuable information.

This week the students made their choices about talent groups for term one. We have a keen group including Dakota, Lee, Kadys and Milo for the art project. They will focus their time for the next few weeks on developing and improving their ability to draw birds. A few teams are going to explore the world of solar energy - make sure you watch the videos folks ! while Jeandre is going to revolutionize our library corner with Nico and their online book reports complete with QR codes. Now that we have organised what we are all doing, next week we can come in after break and get straight to it!

Chess today worked on the end game. Ayla branched out and made some challenges today ( good for you ! ) While Nico was learning some good lessons from Lee. Our games crashed right on through lunchtime which didn’t matter because we were all enjoying our games.Nicholas B wrapped up his exciting game with John just in time to get a bit of fresh air before we came in to continue working on our patterns.

While it was a hot and tiring afternoon and everybody’s concentration was deteriorating in the afternoon, the students persevered with their Thinkers Keys tasks related to patterns. Daisy has started, what will become, an enormous list of questions about patterns, Jeandre, Nico and Liam are working on games with the central theme of patterns and Mike completed his alphabet list ( with a few creative stretches of the imagination, eh Mike? )
It felt like we blinked and it was time for reflection and pack up. So folks, another big day at Pakiki, lots of learning, thinking and fun. Next week will be big so rest up !

Hasta Luego
Miss Leia

Tuesday Day 5

Today was a challenging day for all of the students today. Through sheer mental effort and determination, many were able to make great progress with their thinking, Affective Domain research and passion projects.

This morning we revisited our Spanish work. This is proving to be very popular with many of the students. By the end of today’s lesson, all students were able to ask how old somebody was and reply with their age. For those of you who were on the afternoon pick- up you will have heard the chorus of numbers being sung in Spanish, they are making quick progress. Liam shared a strategy for learning a new word today which relied upon different learning styles all at the same time. A new one for me too Liam !

The students took part in a brief philosophical discussion about differences, beauty and morals. The story of Elvira - Margaret Shannon set the scene for a discussion about belonging, feeling different and other people’s perceptions. The students found it interesting that at some point in our lives we had all felt a bit different, like we didn’t belong - just like Elvira did. We discussed the idea of not being accepted by peers and family for having different traits and values. We empathised with Elvira because while she was a dragon like her friends she thought differently to them about lots of different things like what she thought was beautiful. This was a good springboard for a discussion about what influences, or as we phrased it ‘changes our mind‘ about what we think beauty is. The students felt that our families had a great influence on what we thought about many things. I wonder what else what might help us form opinions? Thanks to everyone who took a risk and shared their opinions about today’s topics. Remember there are no wrong answers and everybody’s opinion is important. I encourage everyone to take a risk join in next week.

In Affective Domain, the students were guided back to their research questions from last week. We worked with the analogy of drip, puddle, lake and ocean questions, each getting larger in its breadth and depth. While the drip and puddle questions are important, to create a rich research project we need to try and lean our search toward more questions which allow us to explore possibilities, details, predictions and to look at things from different perspectives. Oliver made progress with his questions about Stephen Hawking and his challenges and Mike was very keen to get stuck in and get writing on those ocean questions about Florence Nightingale. Nicholas C is already making suggestions about possible answers to his big questions related to the telescope, well done ! We will use these questions to start our research next week.

Our Talent groups today continued working on their projects. The solar oven groups were making good progress on starting their designs. Solomon, Vinnie and their group have made quick work of the design stage and are ready to start building. Don’t forget to write down everything you learn about solar energy so that it can go into your journal. Ayla and Oliver are all ready to start designing their ovens next week after some time today on the computers watching the videos and looking through the diagrams to help their understanding. I will be starting with the solar oven people next week to assess your progress and help where I can. The art group made a good start today on drawing their sketches of birds. Kadys, Milo and Daisy were trying to speed draw alongside the videos to develop their skills. Next week, this group will be observing the movement of birds and trying to sketch them ( let’s hope they can stay semi still long enough! )

This afternoon was dedicated to finishing off Thinkers Keys activities and doing some work with tesselating shape patterns which were inspired by Escher. Jeandre completed his game which inspired Kadys to invent a sophisticated game about patterns. ( Please share them with the others next week so that we can all play !) You too Nico !!

So as you can see, a very busy and challenging day. Most of what we were doing today will be continued next week, so don’t worry if there was something that you were feeling a little challenged by. Please keep asking questions to clarify your understanding, just like Socrates.

I’m looking forward to next week already- I hope you are too.

Tuesday Day 6

Despite the grey and dreary weather, the Pakiki Tuesday class busted down the door and arrived with a buzz ready to start their day. Today we learned a song in Spanish about a crazy aggressive spider that was hiding in the corner of the house. This was a highlight of Nico’s day, which was great because he helped me with my translation of a couple of words became a little unstuck. The students practiced the numbers one through ten by asking each other what their telephone numbers were in Spanish. It was impressive to see that Milo seemed to have a pretty quick handle numbers in Spanish and was able to tell me his phone number without looking at the paper for help. ¡ Muy Bien Milo !

In the affective domain today we talked about perspectives and what we thought it means to be a PK and what others might think it means. It is a little difficult to think about things from others’ perspectives but the students challenged their thinking and were starting to make some interesting suggestions like fun, challenging, too hard and thinking a lot. We ripped up those brainstorms and ideas and instead built our own list of what it is to be a PK. This sparked some serious debate around why some kids are chosen to come to PK and some aren’t. Liam explained his thoughts on the topic as cogs that move differently than other kids. Some of the students felt that they were able to do some things at school better than others. Solomon felt strongly that the PK were not better but just different than some other kids and that as PK had a responsibility to not make comments to their friends at home school that could perhaps be misunderstood as bragging. There was total agreement by the students with Solomon’s comment which lead our discussion towards a list being collated of rights and responsibilities of PK. The list is TOO BIG to put onto the blog today but its fair to say that our PK students have a good understanding of how their behaviour and effort in class could impact on the learning of the others around them. Let’s practice managing our impulsivity!

The students only had a short time to research for their projects today. Nicholas C and I searched for understanding of how a telescope works. He realised quickly that he needed a better understanding of how our eyes saw objects. It’s interesting sometimes when we research at PK, how other questions are necessary to help us with our understanding. Dakota continued with his research questions about the life and works of Socrates while Oliver was finding information about Stephen Hawking on the iPads. Emily and Jeandre will be ready to research on the computers next week and Daisy and Kadys are a good way through collecting their data about Sir Edmund Hillary.

Our talent groups continued today. The art groups faced the challenge of the weather. Not too many seagulls out to sketch today, but Daisy spotted a few sparrows and went off in hot pursuit, pencil in hand. Fingers crossed that next week the weather is a little cheerier and you can all get out for some sketches and perhaps some crayons to explore Binney’s use of colour in his bird art.

Solar oven groups are ramping up to make their ovens with a prototype already tested by Liam. Vinny and Mike learned that not having a clear idea of how the group is going to meet the days objective at the beginning of a session could lead to wasting time and having to eat into chess time to help meet their deadline. However once some more thorough research had been completed, Mike was able to give me an explanation of how a solar oven works and has helped his group get the thumbs up to start building next week. Ayla and Oliver still have a little way to go on their research before they begin their building phase.

Patterns today challenged the students as we looked at the purpose of collecting data and seeking out patterns in the census. This was a very challenging idea for the students to grapple with so we talked around some big examples like population counting - if a pattern emerged that NZ’s population was increasing very quickly, what planning would be needed for future housing, roads and food? If there was an increase in smokers or people with disabilities what might the implications be for Dunedin? public spaces? libraries ? Who would need to know this type of information? What might happen if the data wasn’t collected or people lied on the forms? The students were starting to see the importance of identifying patterns and trends in information of this sort for the future for themselves, Dunedin and NZ.

Speaking of the future, next week is our trip to the health sciences library. Thanks to everyone who brought the forms back super quick. In the next few days, I will contact the people who have kindly offered to help with transport to clarify details.

See you all next week !

Miss Leia