Wednesday Day 36

Kia ora everyone !

Today was a busy one but filled with laughs, teamwork, testing and challenges.

The day began with a finishing off and presentation of the sleep disorders research. Chris made a great "sleep apnea victim" while Annelise played the part of a doctor very confidently and almost had me fooled for being a medical practitioner. Luke and Kieran's group successfully used a "news report" style to report (by Isaac) a car accident caused by crash victim Lily's Narcolepsy. Very entertaining indeed.

After a round of the question game and the sofa game we went into the Technology challenge. A challenging activity, the students were asked to create a table which could hold our very heavy chess book. See the photo below for the most successful design. Well done for all the great team work and innovative ideas.

This afternoon was punctuated by Annelise testing her bridges these were here passion project this term. she designed a truss bridge and a suspension bridge. These designs were researched, designed and created by Annelise. The suspension bridge bend so much before breaking that we had to retie the container of sand and re do the experiment. We were surprised by the nearly 3 kg load that the iceblock stick bridge could hold. However, it was the truss bridge that proved to be our challenge after adding close to 10 kilograms of sand and book to the bridge nothing would make it budge. Annelise was sent home to find more weight to test her bridges with . Well done Annelise

Congratulations everyone for a great day and a fantastic year. Hope to see you all soon.

Miss Leia

wed last day 2.jpg
Working on the Technology challenge
wed last day .jpg
Creating their rods to make a newspaper table

term 4 tech challenges winner .jpg
The winning table
bridge .jpg
Annelise testing her passion project

Wednesday Day 35

Kia ora everyone ! A big thanks to everyone who came and supported our students at sharing night. What a great celebration of our whanau and learning.

Some great fun today. The day kicked off with the Sofa game. A strategy game which required lashings of thinking and memory. After we had a round to warm up the game got fierce. While some of the students were easily remembering the information they needed to help their team win some of us ( me ) were struggling to keep up ! It was a hit and will be repeated during the last day of term next week.

Coming back to our patterns work this week meant that we moved away from normal circadian rhythms and sleep patterns and instead turned to examine abnormal sleep patterns and sleep disorders. Small groups were formed and they were armed with the task of creating a skit to inform other kids about disorders like sleep apnea, narcolepsy and insomnia. While the group's were practicing I had an interesting conversation with Matthew, Lauren and Annelise about whether the doctor should be man or a woman and who the nurse should be in their play, Tobias and I discussed the impact that medical research had had on the lives with people with sleep apnea and Paxton was doing some great acting of being asleep. I look forward to the skits being shown next week.

Blog to be continued ......

Wednesday Day 33

Some student reflections from today ...

Finn - Today was fun because I almost finished my sleep project

Lauren - Today has been good because I have done lots of typing.

Isaac - Today I am glad for the chance to use numbers because I find it fun, easy and quick

Cathy - Today was interesting but not boring, it was a carefully planned day.

Lily - Today was a really good day to catch up on things

Luke - Today the typing was hard to get done quickly. It helped when Miss Leia came and typed really fast.

Aaron - Today was very challenging because we had to write the year reflections and I thought it was hard to reflect about my learning and myself.

Isla - Typing up my Marie Curie work was fun and knowing that I now have more questions to go way and work on.

Wednesday Day 32

Some quick reflections from today ...

“ I got a lot of my Affective Domain work done”

Luke - Today doing my statistics work for sleep was hard, getting it exact was hard.

Chris - Today, I worked a lot better on Affective Domain because I did not get distracted.

Isaac - I’m glad that I finished my Affective Domain Biography.

Megan - I enjoyed talent today because I got to paint my shield

Tobias - On my sleep contract I made a lot of progress because i was focused and working hard. I completed my 5 yoga poses for good sleep and I did a lot on my brochure, “tips for good sleep”

Paxton - I enjoyed doing the sleep contract today because I got loads done and I started and finished my new graph. I like my graph because I was persistant at it.

Today I made a lot of progress on my affective domain.

Finn - I finished my passion projects YESSS !! Next I will make a racing car game before the emd of term.

Aaron - I enjoyed typing my Affective Domain research and I feel I have made lots of progress.

We were lucky enough to have Joshua Housuaux, Civil Engineer from Beca, spend the afternoon with us to teach us about engineering and bridge building. I think we can all agree that it was a very worthwhile activity and we all took something different from Joshua's talk. Below are some pictures of PK students applying different bridge building techniques.


Miss L

Wednesday Day 31

Hi everyone, I've handed the blog over to the kids today and here are some of their reflections. I also handed over the day and each of the students planned what they were going to do and when. Generally, everyone made wise decisions, prioritised tasks and changed work situations to suit their learning style.

Here are some student reflections from today ...

Finn - The best thing about today has been getting to choose what we do when we do it, we get to work more on what we need to work on. Today I have been challenged when I came back to find everyone had done a special sleep diary, that made me feel like I’d missed out on something. I was worried it was something very important but it wasn’t really .

George - The best thing about today has been that I have been able to choose when I do things because I can be more flexible and choose how long something takes for me to do. A challenge for me today has been the noise in the classroom.

Lily- Something that has been really good today was that I liked we could plan our own day. We could choose what we wanted to do and when we were to do it. I found the sleep activity quite hard, to help doing this activity I made choices which stopped me from being distracted , I moved away from people that usually distract me.

Tobias - The best thing about today was being able to make our own timetable and get to do stuff we need to do, and choose which time of day. We got to choose activities that suit our personal tiredness levels and do the harder stuff in the morning if we wanted to . It was challenging during my Affective Domain work today when I was finding stuff out about gagne and how that relates to Einstein.

Isla - Making our own plan for the day today was fun, we got to choose what we did and when, we could do what we wanted to do. It was challenging when I couldn’t find all of the information that I wanted to about Marie Curie.

Annelise - My name is awesomeness and I am awesome. The best thing for me today has been talent time. Because I liked the feeling of making progress and nearly being finished because it was awesome. Something that wasn’t so good about today was that we could not find my research about Marie Curie research papers and had to do it again from scratch. To have stopped this from happening, I should have remembered where I put it.

Wednesday - 30

Sorry everyone ! seems I forgot the blog for the last day of last term. Muchas apologies.

The start of term 4 was great and the children were straight back into it. We started the day with a creativity warm up. The challenge was to take an astronaut a chef and a teacher with a secret and bring them together in some way. Some choices raised were stories, songs, cartoons and sketches. This activity took us by storm and we spent most of the morning working on our pieces. Paxton and Luke developed some interesting cartoon strips, George and Lauren worked on stories which brought these 3 unlikely characters together and Kieran wrote a parody for "I've got a feeling" . The children brought their ideas together and shared in small groups. Offering each other positive feedback was a good way for us to celebrate each other's creativity. Throughout this process, I was reminding students about what it was they identified about themselves as a creative person and asked if they were making decisions that could help their progress and ability to think about what they were doing. This reflective activity lead to a number of the students moving places, facing the window, using the computers or wearing headphones to put themselves in the best "place" for them. An important step towards learning how to learn.

We started our new topic this term - Sleep patterns and circadian rhythms. The students were asked to discuss their own experiences with sleep and to notice what things they did at certain times of the day. This lead to a great discussion where many of us were able to share our stories about sleep. Lauren shared that when she goes to bed earlier or later she still sleeps the same amount of time, Paxton noticed that for him to sleep well he needs quiet ad no distractions, Aaron and I wondered what might happen to people that worked in hospitals and worked shifts. There were some interesting biological questions too - George would like to learn about the relationship between breathing and our sleep wake cycles and I would like to understand the impact on the body and mind when sleep is broken or not adequate ... Everyone has gone home today with a sleep diary to record their sleep patterns, please try and remind them to write down when they fall asleep and when they wake up to analyse the results next week.

Affective Domain today was a rev up on the notable people projects in preparation for sharing night. I spent some time working with Keiran today finding images and answering the last of the questions from last term. Christopher continued his search about Archimedes and the death ray while Luke started typing out his information about King Edward I. If you find any images or additional information at home to bring along next week, please do. THis will be a major focus for us for the next 5 weeks.

After lunch today we started some Caring thinking. We discussed the concept of altruism. After debating the definition, everyone wrote down the names of people they knew were altruistic. There were all sorts of characters some from movies, some from the notable people research and many of the Mums and Dads at home. The students were asked to then agree or disagree with statements about altruism. Some highlights from the debate included: Discussing the possibility that people might perform altruistic acts to be seen doing them by other people, was this still altruistic? Can we actually do something for others and gain nothing? What about the warm fuzzy feeling ? What about doing good things which benefitted some people and caused other suffering - like Robin Hood ( Luke)
This was a great discussion and it was great to see everyone listening and responding to each other positively and pushing themselves with their critical thinking.

A great start to term 4 !

Next week, I'm going to ask the children to write the blog to help you see the day through their eyes....

Until then

See you everyone - Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 28

Today, the second to last day of term 3 was the day of independent projects and sunshine.

Our puzzles today were themed around preconceptions. See the questions at the end of the blog to try them out at home. It was interesting to hear the kids discovering that they had jumped to preconceptions and notice stereotypes. I can see there is more work to be done in this area.

Question 4 generated much debate and sparked an impromptu Community of Inquiry session.
Q - In which sport do metal shoes get worn?
A - Equestrian

The discussion which followed attempted to answer the question “What was a sport and what was a game?” Could a distinction be made? Finn consulted the dictionary whose definition was similar to what we had come up with but we still we had a few sticking points. Where does dancing fit? or gymnastics? or chess? Cathy decided that we needed a separate category for things like violin competitions, despite having an element of competition, points being collected and using your body - all elements of our sport definition. It was great to hear so many folks during the discussion offering counter examples and building on others’ ideas to build the discussion and debate the topic. Well done for taking risks!

We sadly needed to push on with our research and so we left this discussion unfinished for another day. We used the rest of our morning session to spend some time preparing our gifted person research. In preparation for night of the notables, the students spent their time today getting inside the head of their gifted person. Focusing on the different Habits of Mind used by their gifted person and comparing themselves to their chosen person. Kieran and I spent some time bringing his information together and summarising the key points about Notch’s early programming career. Meaghan, Annelise and Lily made use of the books in the library downstairs and filled in any gaps that they had in their research. Tobias was summarising his work with Einstein and Luke was trying to find out about King Edward’s critics. There was a hushed tone throughout the morning as everyone got stuck into their research.

Only interrupted by the need for food and sunshine everyone flew outside for a short break and then it was straight into a short patterns assessment task. A chance to notice how our thinking had developed around the conceptual work in patterns. With this wrapped up, it was on to Talent Time. Luke continued developing his sculpture by adding some players to his Football themed project and Lily was busy creating questions for her Greek Gods game. Paxton has made some changes to his Talent project and Isaac has started developing the new theme for his work. Annelise was busy glueing together her bridge project with Tor who was helping by striving for accuracy and precision. Lauren was making gradual progress on her pick a path story and spent some time today analysing her story plan and making decisions about where to next. Next week, I will be conferencing with the students to touch base with where they are up to and to help set goals for the ongoing projects over the upcoming term.

After lunch today, we began the final piece of work for the Cultural Patterns unit that we have been working on. It was time for everyone to now apply their understanding about cultural patterns, symbolism and values to create their own pattern which reflects the values that they feel are important. The activity started by reviewing last week’s work and listing different values which were important to different societies and how they were represented. Each student made a list of the values which were important to them. Common values included wisdom, initiative, curiosity, honesty and understanding.

The next job was to then try and identify ways that these values could be symbolized in a way which was not obvious but more subtle and open to interpretation like the other patterns which we have worked with. This posed a challenge ... We asked ourselves “if initiative was an animal what would it be?” “What makes up initiative and what does it look like?” . I modeled an example which I had developed over the weekend which was my interest in family, relationships with people and community. By linking the ideas together and thinking about animals that live together and support each other, I decided to use a wolf in my pattern. This was an aha moment for a few of the students and from this thinking the ideas started to flow- I saw worker ants being used to represent hard work and tortoises used to represent wisdom. These ideas will be further developed next week, giving us plenty of time for reflection.

See you next week for the last Pakiki day of term 3.

Miss Leia

Logic today - Preconceptions ....

1.)Acting on an anonymous phone call, the police raid a house to arrest a suspected murderer. They don't know what he looks like but they know his name is John and that he is inside the house. The police bust in on a carpenter, a lorry driver, a mechanic and a fireman all playing poker. Without hesitation or communication of any kind, they immediately arrest the fireman. How do they know they've got their man?

2.)There are six eggs in the basket. Six people each take one of the eggs. How can it be that one egg is left in the basket?

3.)How can you take 1 from 19 and leave 20?

4.) In what sport are the shoes made of metal?

Wednesday - Day 27

Logic puzzles - This morning’s example

Deadly Choice Puzzle

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?

Affective domain - This morning the students looked into how they best work creatively. Each of the students went on the search for understanding themselves and what conditions help their unique creative process. Through a series of questions, the students took time to environments which made them feel more relaxed and creatively inspired.
We discussed how factors such as the temperature of the room, the lighting, the mess and clutter or lack there of... snacks or forget to eat ? are unique and can help or hinder our thought processes.

Moving on from environments we talked about things and people which inspire us. There were interesting discussions going on around the room as everyone discussed what inspired them. Luke identified that encouragement and support from people around him helped inspire him in his creative work, Isaac likes to be inspired by movies and work on his creative activities in a warm sunny room while alone. Annelise and Cathy like to work in mess while Tobias and George prefer to work in tidiness. Folks at home, how do you prefer to work? We enjoyed comparing ourselves to those around us and seeing the unique picture of us emerge from our activities. With this new knowledge I will be encouraging the students to make decisions about how they choose to work at Pakiki which are aligned with their reflections.

Patterns -
To further develop our thinking around symbolism, we started today's discussion by focusing on the poppy. What does the poppy represent? Isla thought that because it is linked to the soldiers in WWI and the fallen soldiers it was not only used to show the poppys in Flanders fields but can change its meaning depending on the context and experiences of the person observing the symbol. Lauren shared her experiences with the Poppy and told us that to her the Poppy meant family and togetherness. This made us question other uses of the poppy in different contexts and this lead us to discuss "Tall Poppy Syndrome". With this new understanding that one symbol can have different meanings, the children were broken into groups and given a symbol to research. Dragons, lions, knots and flowers were explored across a range of contexts to see how differently the symbols can be interpreted, We just started to look at this before chess but Lily, Meaghan and Finn were noticing that knots were used in a wide range of cultures and in some cases the message of never ending and eternity were used, in some there were unique meanings too. Luke and I spent some time researching the Welsh dragon and discovering that the dragon use was linked to a war story, not unlike the poppy, and was used after that on armour to show bravery and courage. This was quite different to the uses of the dragon in Asia where the symbolism was more linked to wisdom. We will continue our work with symbolism and start to look at the values that we hold dear and symbols that we might use to represent these. Perhaps over the week, you could consider these values which we spoke about today and question which ones are most important to you.

This afternoon, we worked on our talent and passion projects. Paxton and I worked together on developing his plan to create an advertisement about Pakiki Kids using stop motion techniques. I look forward to seeing this plan develops ! Annelise and I made a plan for her bridge experiment and developed her sketches so that next week she can jump straight into building and then testing. Luke made some neat progress with his Peter Callesen work and made a 3 D soccer goal. He will now add some layers of depth and complexity to this project by adding some players and additional layers to the scene. Isaac has had some second thoughts for the theme of his scratch project and is thinking about what he might want to use instead while Tobias has had some success with his scratch project and solved his problem. Cathy just has a couple of bugs to iron out in her scratch project but it is starting to look great and has multi levels - I'm impressed. It was all a buzz this week and it was great to see so many of the projects come together.

Next week we will be revisiting our Affective domain research so if you have any additional research at home, please bring it along.

See you then,


Wednesday - Day 26

It was great to have everyone bring along a friend for Buddy Day. Everyone started the day with a chance to meet and greet each other and then launch into some thinking.

We used a combining activity to get our creative juices flowing. The students were given a selection of items with which they were to combine in new ways to create a completely new object. Today's objects were an umbrella, a laptop and a toaster. There has been some new and innovative products for anyone out there who would like to be able to used their laptop in the rain while hungry. This gave everyone a great lead in to start our tech challenge.

While the tech challenge appeared easy to start with, it posed some challenges for the groups. Each team was given bundle of linguine, and some marshmallows. They were then asked to create a tower from these materials. Points were awarded for team work and the height of the tower. The highest tower came in at 54 cms, no easy task given the substandard building materials and time constraints!! Some of the reflective comments I heard during the process included " we should have thought more about the base", " this should have been reinforced!" and the optimistic " How long does this have to stand up for exactly?" .... Great to hear some kids identifying their errors along the way and quickly noticing how they could have made it better.

After morning tea we warmed up with a choices game - In buzz pairs we discussed our preference to a range of hypothetical choices. Would you rather jump into a container of gelatine or honey ? if you had to would you rather have to always eat standing up or sleep sitting up? Each person needed to justify their answers with a reasonably well reasoned argument. Again, no easy task.

All warmed up, the students worked on some more thinking activities by using the Thinkers keys.
The students chose from a range of activities designed to help them think about our concept work in patterns in a different way. I was pleased to see many of the students both Pk students and buddies challenging themselves with the more interesting and complex tasks. The activities ranged from finding words related to patterns for every letter of the alphabet to naming 10 places that you would not see a pattern from your culture. These types of questions got everyone thinking - this teacher included ! and we definitely had some laughs as ideas were shared among pairs.

John came for Chess and handed the show over to the PK students. It was great to see the students teaching their friends how to play. This gave John and I a chance to wander and watch the students in action. There were some great explanations of the rules as I walked around and some new learning taking place from our visitors. Maybe you could play chess back at home school?

After a wet and miserable lunchtime, we shared our concept work with cultural patterns with our visitors. The students revisited some of the cultural patterns that we have worked on from this term and we spoke together about the symbolism which they held. Many great points were raised about the type of symbols used in the patterns and the different types of meanings they had. Many of the students realised quickly that these patterns often reflected what was important to the people who created them at the time.

The students set to thinking about what is important to people in Dunedin for today's residence. Rugby, education, conservation, Cadbury, technology and innovation and farming were all identified as some of the key parts in the culture of the area. With this list the students designed a patterns which encapsulated some of these key ideas. We tried to move away from the literal symbolism and tried to think about how things like competition and leadership might be represented but we were running out of time quickly so I will need to explore this more another time. Never the less, we had some interesting patterns which remained true to the repeating nature of patterns. There were jaffas and Baldwin Sts alongside computers and cell phones all encapsulating the spirit of Dunedin and its people. Perhaps we should consider sending them to the Dunedin Tourism board ?

At the conclusion of the day we all said a big thanks to each other for sharing the day and wished each other well.

Thanks everyone, it was great !

Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 25

FLEXIBILITY was the key to success today. We had a number of comings and goings today but we all coped very well with the changes.

Firstly we started our day with welcoming Anna Mueli from Gifted Kids in Wellington. She was here to offer guidance and professional development to Mr K and I. Her report back was that she thoroughly enjoyed her time at Pakiki and loved seeing all the great learning we had been doing. I know I valued Anna's input into my learning journey and look forward to her visiting again.

This morning began with a little inductive reasoning. See if you can have a go at this puzzle at home.

Logic Puzzles - Inductive Reasoning

There are 4 prisoners contained in a cell. The prison guard has given them a chance for their thinking skills and inductive reasoning to lead to their freedom.

The puzzle : The jailer puts three of the men sitting in a line. The fourth man is put behind a screen (or in a separate room). He gives all four men party hats (as in diagram). The jailer explains that there are two red and two blue hats; that each prisoner is wearing one of the hats; and that each of the prisoners is only to see the hats in front of them but not on themselves or behind. The fourth man behind the screen can't see or be seen by any other prisoner. No communication between the prisoners is allowed.

If any prisoner can figure out and say to the jailer what color hat he has on his head all four prisoners go free. If any prisoner suggests an incorrect answer, all four prisoners will spend the rest of their lives in prison. The puzzle is to find how the prisoners can escape, regardless of how the jailer distributes the hats.


After the students discussed the solution to the logic puzzle, they jumped straight into patterns work. The opening discussion was about patterns from the Pacific Islands, where we find them and what we think they mean. A short clip was watched which allowed us to hear a first hand account of the rituals and practices around Samoan tattoos and some of the beliefs which surround them. The students were busy gathering data on their Mind Maps during the video and had a chance to add additional information to these with the books and displays around the class.

Once we regrouped we analysed an article from the NZ Herald.The article highlighted a campaign by NIKE to make female athletic gear using traditional Samoan tattoo patterns for men. The children discussed the carrying perspectives on this issue and spend some time discussing their views on this. There was an interesting part to the discussion which in essence was defining the difference between a "rip off" and a piece of art that had been inspired by. Some questioned why NIKE just wasn't inspired to use these designs and then come up with their own? Others felt that even by recognising them as Samoan tattoos was enough to decide that they were copied and shouldn't be allowed. It was great to hear many students clearly justifying their thoughts and offering examples to support their arguments. Well done.

After Morning tea, we were fortunate enough to have Isaac's Dad come along and show us some of the things that he has done in his job as a computer programmer. Some highlights were hearing about how he used creativity to solve tricky problems and to see how computer programmers don't just write games, they can also write software used in hospitals and on television shows. All of the students got to have a go at using the heart rate software ( still not sure where my pulse was .... ) and have a chance to play the recycling game that he brought along. Thanks Sam for visiting us, it was great to hear about what you do.

After lunch, we had lost most of the class due to the O mathalon so decided to have a Philosophy session with Anna. In this session, Anna used Kaplan's depth and complexity cards to help us explore the concepts associated with art. There was some interesting debate around the topics and again some discussion about whether a copy was still art. hhmmmm , I'm not sure about that one. Once we had gathered the main thoughts on the topic, Anna helped us identify the Big Ideas of what we were discussing. This was an interesting activity which pulled together all of our thinking and synthesized our ideas together into one idea. This gave me a l great deal to think about for the future and how we work with Big Ideas at PK.

I hope you had as much fun as we did, see you next week for buddy day.

Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 24

Today’s Logic Puzzles were designed to help the students learn about how to organise information and eliminate impossibilities. Have a god at home and see how you go.

Question 1

Birth Month Logic Puzzle

Four children have different birth months, but were all born in the same year. Find out who was born in each month.


1. Cal was born before Deb.
2. Deb was born two months after Bob.
3. Bob was born after Amy but before Cal.

Question 2

Three children live at houses with different coloured doors. What colour door do they each have, what Number House do they live at and on what Road?

Child: George, Jake, Sophie
Door: Blue, Green, Red
Number: 1, 2, 3
Road: Bridge Street, Cherry Close, Sandy Lane


Sophie's house No. is 1 lower than Jake's.

George does not live at House No. 1, but does have a green door.

One child lives at No. 2 Cherry Close.

House No. 1 has a red door, but is not on Sandy Lane.

This morning gave us a chance to revisit the Affective Domain work about a notable person. Today the students were reflecting on their research so far and asking questions about what this person has taught them about giftedness, success, failure and challenges. Many of the students have started analysing the life of their gifted person and aligning Habits of Mind with actions taken by their person. It appears that Persisting is a common attribute in notable characters. Definitely something to remember when we are thinking about giving up during a challenge.

Talent time today saw some persistence pay off with For Keiran and Matthew. After a lot of time trying to overcome challenges with i movie, we managed to fix their stop motion animation and complete the project. Thanks Tor for helping the boys make their final recording on the lap top and get the project all wrapped up. Now onto a new passion project boys. Christopher also completed the glossary for his architecture project and continued on his birds eye view picture of NEVNS. George and I spent time today adding depth to his creative writing task and Isla continued with her creative painting project continuing to think flexibly throughout her process. I’ll try and take some pics next week of these awesome projects.

This afternoon we had a Community of Inquiry session during which we discussed a definition of beauty and classified some objects as beautiful or ugly. As one might expect there were several debates around what beautiful was. Finn reminded us all that definitions can be found in the dictionary and promptly provided us with a definition. Paxton made some subtle suggestions to personalise the definition and then we were off to discussing beauty. Luke made a well argued point about historical beauty and how perception of beauty changes. We had a good joke about what sort of looks I might get walking down George St in an Elizabethan style dress... A good joke and a good point Luke. We got to classifying objects and this caused some frustration for some of us. Proving the point that beauty is in the eye of the beholder agreeing on items being beautiful or ugly was nearly impossible. Throughout this process the students started to notice that their own personal stories were impacting their perception of the beauty of an object. This personalised the perception of beauty but was a challenge to get our heads around. A thoughtful discussion for all of us.

I’ll see you all next week for another challenging day !

Until then

See you !

Wednesday - Day 23

Greetings everyone!

This morning’s logic puzzle (see below) threw us all for a bit of a spin. Paxton and Matthew came up with the answer first, closely followed by Tobias. It reminded them of another problem with frogs that they had done in the past so were able to draw on prior knowledge. 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?
Yes, it can be done ...

After we had relaxed from the challenge of the logic puzzle, we started looked at the concept of perspective and spent some time talking about how artists, musicians and designers using 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 or in other words, seeing the world from someone elses’ perspective. Each child was given a different perspective either: ant, seagull, artist or musician. The students were able to take small experiences and think about what it might be like from a different perspective and really feel what that might be like.
The weather influenced the tasks greatly and many of the students were inspired by the blustering wind. Annelise used this inspiration to write a piece of music which showed the tone and theme of the quiet wind, this was complimented by a trio of tree sketches which showed how they moved with the wind. Lauren and George wrote some very creative diary entries from different perspectives which explained why ants might run away from us and be fearful of our movement. Finn and Isaac interpreted their experience into pictures which showed some of the emotions felt by ants and how they might feel small compared to others. Paxton’s picture represented the confusion that musicians might experience as they become overwhelmed by musical inspiration. Matthew through the eyes of an artist simplified the building and tree into just shapes and linear lines. A series of triangles and rectangles created a very creative sketch which drew me in and helped me think about how other buildings and perhaps the human form could be simplified down to shapes? ( Now Miss Leia has her creative juices flowing, thanks Matthew).
Tobias and Meaghan also had their creative juices flowing and have started some great poems about their experiences. Tobias used rhetorical questions to show the frustration of seagull being blown away and Meaghan too an even more minute part of her first poem and focused in on this to create a really unique piece. Let’s try and make time to rework and recraft these pieces so that you have time to reach a finished poem. There were too many great pieces to see to report back on everything, so please feel free to drop by and see the students work.
With all this creativity pumping, it was good timing as Talent/ Passion time rolled around pretty quickly. There was some great progress made in planning passion projects and overcoming challenges. Lily, Meaghan and I knuckled down and developed their passion plans. I look forward to Lily developing her game about Greek Gods and Goddesses and Meaghan is going to create some pencil sketches and painting about Vikings, ensuring that the dress, weaponary and tone are true to the time. ( I’m hoping to learn lots about the Vikings by helping you Meaghan, this is new learning for me). Kieran and Matthew and I managed to copy over the dictaphone files onto my computer and spent some time getting our heads around iMovie . Cathy and Isaac came to the rescue and helped us get a little closer to solving our problem. Next week, we will try a different tactic, we just need to be persistent. I caught up with Isla today, great progress on the Don Binney project Isla and great problem solving with the bird (wink). A reminder folks that if you have additional, helpful information or books which would be good to use on your passion project, bring them along so that you can use them in class.
After lunch, we got straight back into our patterns work and everyone seems pretty confident with classifying patterns now. Could you identify a meandering pattern? Or separate your spirals from your volutes? This new knowledge was applied in an afternoon of Zendoodling. A highlight for many of the students Zendoodles are a way that complex patterning can reinforce the ideas of repetition and symmetry in a fun and relaxing way. Our Zendoodles were not finished, but they will live in the cubbies to be brought out when we perhaps need a bit of time to relax and re-centre our energy.
A busy creative day full of learning and laughs. :)
See you next week.
Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 22

Logic Puzzles this morning took a visual turn....


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? ( try drawing a diagram to help organize your systematic solution).

Art Gallery visit
We promptly left this morning for our visit to the Art gallery. The purpose of this visit was to explore in a deeper way, the way that patterns are used in visual art. A big thanks to John who gave us a brilliant tour of the gallery opening our eyes to patterns in fabric, design, architecture and paintings. Here are some pictures from our workshop.


Buzzing from the visit to the gallery, the students returned to school and used their Mind Mapping skills to record their new learning about patterns. The focus of the Mind Map was making connections between ideas and identifying recurring themes. In some of the students' Mind Maps they identified the stories of sorrow that some of the pieces carried with them. Later discussion lead to many agreeing that it was interesting to see something quite interesting and beautiful created from such negative emotions. There was also interesting discussion around the "stories" or events which inspired visual art. Ralph Hotere's paintings drew a lot of attention from the students and the explanation given by John at the gallery of their meanings left many of us scratching our heads about creative inspiration and questioning the stories behind other pieces of visual art.

Next week we will continue with our work around the classes of patterns and will start to research in more depth patterns used in different cultures. If anything catches your eye over the next week, bring it along to share.

Until then, Take care !

Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 21

This morning the class were asked to put on their logical thinking hats again and tackle the following problems:
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?

Kids, don't give away the answers too quickly, make sure the folks at home have a chance to find their own strategies first.

There were a number of key thinking strategies that the students were encouraged to use as they went about solving the problems. Ensuring that the question was read through twice in order to thoroughly understand the question and clarifying it before starting was tricky for some students who wanted jump straight in. In doing so the students started to address what assumptions they had to make in order to proceed. Making a list of possibilities especially with the card and number type problems quickly became an obvious start point. The students were shown how to make simple lists to organize their thinking. Breaking the question up and dealing with one clue or piece of information at a time in order to think flexibility, change our minds and use the process of elimination encouraged logical and methodical thinking. We will continue to practice this typeof thinking throughout the term.

As a start to our creativity focus, the students completed a creative task which encouraged thinking outside the box. A new name for a fear of refrigerators ? Similarities between a pie and a headache? Consequences of having three hands ? Finn wondered which hand people would shake with if everyone had three hands. Tobias thought that it would be more difficult to play the piano while Kieran pondered the difference between having three hands and having three arms. A great deal of hilarity was had and we all enjoyed hearing each others' most original ideas.

A tech challenge this morning allowed the class to focus on using the LACE technique. This encourages brainstorming in a team without criticism from group members. Once the groups' brainstorms were complete, they engaged in an analysis process to choose which design of a structure, that can hold a marble away from the side of a table, would be the strongest. Here are a few pics from the experience.


Congratulations to the winning team of Tobias, Annelise, Lauren and Paxton who achieved full points in team work, fluency and final product success. A special mention needs to go to Matthew, Chris, Isaac and Luke who overcame creative differences and were able to eventually create a very unique structure as a team.

Patterns this afternoon gave the students chance to revisit the debatable truths and to keep these in their mind as began the new topic about cultural patterns. After an initial fact finding mission the students used Kaplan's "details" depth and complexity tool to look more closely at different patterns. Similarities between countries from the same continent were observed by Lauren and Annelise, Luke noticed how prevalent the rose was in English patterns and Cathy was able to share her knowledge of Chinese dragons in the patterns we observed on crockery. Mathematical features of patterns were noted and it was interesting for many of the students to notice the high level of symmetry and rotation in the patterns. Next week alongside our art gallery visit, we will be learning more about classes of patterns and ways that patterns can be classified.

Thanks for a great day everyone !

Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 19

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Today at PK, parents, teachers and Principals had a chance to come along and join us for Open Day. Everyone was invited to dress up in a forensics themed costumes and join in on the learning and fun.

After a greeting and run through of the plan for the day, the students settled into their teams for the day and decided on their name. The student’s first activity for the morning was a forensic investigation. Each team was given a selection of evidence and a report from a recently reported (mock) crime. The teams raced off with their evidence pile 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 and create a presentation to be made to the class. 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 : Isla dusting and lifting prints like a pro, Finn using his skills of elimination and logic to identify who the culprit might be but accidentally losing some of the evidence along the way. Paxton who was dressed as a fingerprint reading machine was meticulous in his documentation of the clues in preparation for the presentation and Lauren was taking the lead in her team checking that all of the clues had been measured carefully and were linking together to the same suspect.

After a thorough investigation of the crimes and evidence, each of the groups presented their findings in a courtroom situation and convinced the judge (me) 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.
Each team did a great job presenting their findings and explained their inductive reasoning behind their decision. The teams all presented convincing arguments and some even suggested possible motives to the crimes. Well done !

Next up was a quiz. The students were quizzed 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. Tobias was scribing furiously for his group while his team members were whispering answers and discussing the best answers to present, Lily’s group were hard at work gathering answers and comparing what they had come up with. Cathy and Meaghan were working hard for their teams too, trying to earn the highest points to add to their group’s total score. Hopefully some of the questions were a bit of a challenge !!

The quiz was finished off with a note taking task. By recapping the note taking skills that we used in term one the students collected information about how to draw a double helix as if you were going to teach another person how to do it. The following video ____ (for anyone who wants to have another go). There were some impressive Double Helix as I walked around but Christopher D’s was a definite highlight, maybe you could teach us all next week? I am impressed.

After a quick whip round of the test papers to be marked for point scoring , it was on to the 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. Each boat needed a creative name which Kieran’s did, but perhaps naming it the Titanic was asking for trouble. Luke and Aaron used an earlier devised paper boat design but instead used foil, this unfortunately became a bit squashed in storage over lunch and didn’t float so well. Some teams had sacrificed strength of materials for volume of boat but had spread the materials too thin leading to boats taking on water from leaks very quickly. Luckily Matthew’s Dad arrived just in time to watch the testing and to give us all a quick lesson on how to build boats. This gave us all some food for thought and allowed for some reflection about the designs we were using. Annelise and her team designed the winning boat which used up all of the coins that the adults could find. Well done girls !

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. I spied Isaac having a fun game against Annelise and Mr Harrison who had joined us from George St. The chess and shared lunch combined to keep us all well fed and entertained over the wet lunch time. When the bell went, we said good bye to our visitors and looked forward to the next open day at PK in 2014.

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

Wednesday - Day 18

Matthew checking out some zebra fish skeletons
Kieran the budding scientist

Lily and Cathy learning how to use the microscopes with Julia
Counting the somites with Julia

Annelise and Lauren observing the zebra fish eggs only hours old
George the scientist

Today's PK day was punctuated by an awesome trip to the Pathology Labs at the University to see the zebra research project. Thanks to Dr Julia Horsfield and her team our PK students were able to visit the zebra fish facility and learn about how zebra fish can be used to help us understand more about diseases and conditions in humans.

As an extension to the learning in DNA and genetics, the students worked alongside the scientists. They observed : zebra fish embryos at different ages, zebra fish skeletons, fish which had green proteins introduced and fish which had various genetic modifications which allow for easier visibility of different organs and systems within the fishes bodies. Many of the students ( me included ) were surprised to hear that zebra fish are so similar to humans !

We came back to PK buzzing with new knowledge and a few unanswered questions.

Next week is open week. All students are encouraged to dress up. A reminder that all parents are more than welcome to join us.

Until then !

Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 17

Self Review : Today the students started with a bit of a self reflection which to some felt a bit backwards but forced them to read the comments written on recent pieces of work, think about them, reflect honestly and add any changes to their work which might improve them. From here a “goal of the day” was set based on the Habits of Mind. Each student chose a habit to make a focus for the day and were encouraged to use it as the central point for their end of the day reflection.

With that in mind, the students approached spanish today in a very persistent and focused manner. Today’s lesson was the use of formal and informal greetings. The distinctions made between language used in a respectful way towards people who are older than you or in authority was discussed and the students were introduced to the idea of the USTED form of verbs in spanish. A comic strip activity helped the students decide when they needed to be more formal and respectful and when they could be more relaxed. We will practice using this in speaking next week.

With all this talk of respect going on, we moved on to our Community of Inquiry topic for today which was respect. What is respect? How is it different from manners? Is it granted or earned? The students were enthusiastic to share their thoughts about respect and the duck ( our tool to share around the speaking role) was flying around the room trying to keep up with the discussion. Isaac felt that respect was something you received from people if you were in authority while Isla thought that we respected each other through a ‘humanly understanding’ . What about people who break the law ? Are they respectful to other fellow humans? are they being disrespectful to the law? police? The questions were coming quicker than the answers... Aaron felt that although there may be other motivations for breaking the law, criminals would still be respectful of the Police and the law because of the power that they have.

Aaron’s comment gave us a new lens in which to look at respect. Respect and power was discussed and certain world leaders were noted for their respect or lack there of. Can you respect someone that was powerful for disrespectful reasons? Luke suggested that Hitler had the respect of many people during his time for two different reasons 1.) they either agreed with his ideas or 2.) they were fearful of him. So respect could be shown for different reasons? This seemed to be widely accepted but left us with several questions about respect and how it functions within our society. With this in mind, the students spent some time analysing scenarios and deciding if the action taken by the kid in the scenario was respectful or disrespectful.

People seemed fairly decided about teasing people and making jokes about them as being disrespectful, especially if it was an adult in authority like a teacher, coach or person in a restaurant. Lauren suggested that sometimes this wasn’t so black and white and was perhaps sometimes a little grey. What about if you know the coach really well and it was outside of the practice time? Perhaps this was just a bit cheeky and while not a great thing to do was still being fairly respectful ? We unfortunately didn’t have enough time to explore all of the lines of inquiry but did come away with a deeper idea of respect.

In talent today I was able to catch up with those people that I didn’t see last week. It was exciting to see a “night scene” in Kieran and Matthew’s stop motion animation. We were able to reprioritise the tasks still to complete and place a reasonable timeframe on their completion. Isla was being particularly persistent with her Biney art work and has explored the wings of birds, well done Isla !! Meaghan has make some good progress with her Vikings project and spent much of today reading about the Viking era to give her a breadth of knowledge. The scratch group of Finn, Cathy and Tobias spent some time planning out their games that they are going to try and develop. It was great to see the group taking time to think through the sprites and backgrounds that they will need and about the objective of the game. Our young writers Aaron, George and Lauren now have a designated writing space on the blue table in order to allow for peer collaboration, a little more quiet and easy access to reference books. I enjoyed working with them today on their pick a path stories and discussing ways that descriptions help transport the reader into the story, a feature so important in pick a path stories which rely on the reader to decide on the direction of the story. Luke and Paxton were working on their presentations and are nearing completion ready for assessment and reflection. Nice touch with the graphics on your work boys, an interesting way to draw your audience in to read your book review. Annelise and Lily were being creative with their art projects, Lily exploring the world of Charcoal and Annelise planning out her very own Peter Callesen sculpture inspired by a winter theme (very fitting for this week Annelise). Christopher was exploring the world of architecture and billion dollar mansions featuring cantilevers and round swimming pools to complete his PMI about different style of architecture. Isaac starting thinking about his next talent project which might be a scratch animation to help develop these skills further. A buzzing talent time today.

The afternoon’s program brought us back to our work with DNA. Half of the student’s used the Kaplan’s depth and complexity tools to add to our earlier research about the work of Crick and Watson while the other half recapped their knowledge of what happens between DNA samples being collected at a crime scene until they are used to convict criminals. The students made educational cartoons to teach others about this process. This will be good preparation for our trip to the Pathology lab next week.

The day ended with a quick self review about the Habit of focus for the day. Most of the students were mindful of the habit that they had chosen for at least part of the day and could recall situations in which they used it. This proved to be a good activity in reflection and will be trialled further over the next few weeks. Which habits could you use at home kids?

Have a good week at home school and stay safe in the wild weather everybody!

Hasta luego !

Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 16

Buenos Dias everyone !

A busy day today where the students juggled their roles as students, note takers, researchers, questioners, thinkers and forensic scientists.

The day started with some reflection about note taking. Were we using the skills that we learned in term one in order to make our research efficient and succinct? In many cases, no was the answer. So it was time to practice in order to more smoothly make this part of the way we research here at PK. I organised a short video about Pythagoras and the students took notes to practice. They were trying to make sure that they :
  • Used sketches and drawings instead of whole paragraphs.
  • Recorded key words
  • Used a few words instead of whole sentences
  • Made connections between ideas with lines and arrows

While the video was quick, the students were able to quickly gather the essential information. It was great to see some of the PK students developing acronyms and tricks that worked for them as learners. This will become very useful for you in your future research at PK and beyond so worth spending time perfecting.

After being warmed up we revisited our work with DNA. We were able to discuss what we had learned with Sarah and clarify any confusions that we had. Once we had clarified our understandings about DNA it was time to continue either making a cartoon about DNA, from crime scene to court room ..... or continue the research, using Kaplan’s depth and complexity tools, about Wilkins, Watson and Crick. Aaron and Finn found today that they were coming across some conflicting research about the acknowledgement of work completed by Watson and Crick and will be triangulating their research next week to get a clearer picture of what went on. Tobias and Paxton have come away today with several unanswered questions about Xray and how DNA was observed. Hopefully we can come closer to an answer for you next week.

In the cartoons today, Matthew was able to help add in additional layers to add more complexity to Paxton’s cartoon and Meaghan added additional text to hers to give the readers more factual information. Kieran included a crime scene twist into his cartoon which created an interesting context for his readers while Annelise and Lily opted for a verbal task which involved explaining the steps involved to each other using the correct scientific language.

Talent time today was a buzzing sight as many students were getting stuck into new projects. Annelise finished her fact file about Peter Callesen and replicated one of his works. Lily and Isla continued their beautiful bird pictures and Lily pulled herself from the pit by reaching out for some advice. A great strategy Lily! Luke faced a challenge as the book he is reviewing has disappeared making it challenging to go back and reference parts. A bit of creative thinking was required on his part ( think flexibly Luke! ) and he managed to work around it. George made a lot of progress with the writing of his pick a path story and has set the scene with a creative description and has quickly adapted to writing in the second person narrative, well done George. We will have a writer’s conference next week so that we can collaborate together on the choices that you offer your readers and how the stories develop. Paxton has almost finished his Keynote about his book review and will be ready to review the process shortly. Lauren and Aaron continued their research into the pick a path stories by reading and taking note of the style of the stories. Tobias, Cathy and Finn are at different stages in their scratch development but are primarily focused on adding depth and complexity to their understanding of computer game development in order to inform their decisions when developing their own game. Matthew and Kieran did some back tracking on their video and through reflection noted that keeping a track of the photos was very important. Meaghan has spent some time today asking questions about the Vikings in order to know about and understand their lives, challenges etc before planning her passion project about use of weaponry. Isaac finished his script for his video and was busy practicing. I look forward to seeing this video performed Isaac, your script shows a thorough understanding of the solar oven concepts that you have been researching about. I know I didn’t get to everyone today but I will try and get to the people I missed next week.

After lunch I asked the students to put back on their scientist hats and investigate a case. Using microscopes and keen observational skills the students analysed fibres collected from a “crime scene” and compared them to those collected from possible suspects. By analysing subtle differences between natural and synthetic fibres, the students were able to make suggestions about who they thought was the guilty suspect. Check out the photos below to see the forensic scientists at work.

I hope you all had as much fun as I did !

See you next week !

Miss Leia



Wednesday - Day 15

This morning we all arrived wrapped up warm from the icy elements and came to Pakiki to warm up not only our frozen fingers but our minds as well.

We began with a mental edge activity to work on thinking creatively and thinking quickly. We completed a timed PMI which involved taking a statement and thinking as quickly as we could of as many positives as we could in only 2 minutes. Tobias and I found this quite challenging as we liked to take our time with ideas. However, Finn thought that creative ideas came more easily when under pressure. Isla and I had a discussion about this idea of working under pressure and Isla wondered if it mattered what the activity was as to whether or not we worked better under pressure. After the class analysis of an idea, the students were broken into groups and they analysed an issue of their own. Ideas varied from the idea of student cell phones being available in class to uniforms being worn at PK. The pencils were moving at a high speed as the new ideas were analysed and argued. Kieran found his topic particularly challenging to find anything positive about technology being banned from classrooms was not something he agreed with. Kieran and I agreed that finding even a slither of positive within a topic that we found so negative was a mental challenge but not a challenge without merit.

Talent time this week was a time of new beginnings for many PK students. Aaron has decided to write a pick a path story using keynote as the presentation medium, he spent much of the time reading and researching the style of Pick a Path books. Alongside George and Lauren who are also doing this activity, we discussed the use of second person narrative in these stories and the way that this brings the reader into the story.. I look forward to seeing how your story board style planning stage comes together over the next few weeks. Kieran and Matthew learned from last week and had the batteries for the camera all charged up and ready to shoot. Much progress was made by the boys on their video. Tobias continued with with his scratch research by looking at the types of computer games that are appealing to school aged children, Cathy continued learning more about the more advanced features of scratch and Finn flew through 2 tutorials and is ready to begin talking about how we will add depth and complexity to his learning in this area. Annelise and I worked on her research about Peter Callesen and Lily completed on of her paintings of the birds that she is exploring and we negotiated using both crayon and dye and charcoal to explore the theme further. Meaghan spent some time researching for her new topic and has decided to explore the Vikings. I will try my best to support you in this new learning Meaghan, lets talk about your product next week! Christopher has got his architecture project off of the ground by starting the comparison of different mansions and collecting new words to help develop his vocabulary. Paxton and Luke both decided that working together was becoming distracting and have gone their separate ways for the conclusion of the project. Sounds like a mature choice boys and this reflects your ability to reflect on yourself as a learner and acknowledge how you work best. It was a busy day all round.

After lunch we began a Community of Inquiry activity which started by reading Willy the Wimp by Anthony Browne. Once we had voted on our question to explore, our discussion took many wild and wonderful twists and turns. By exploring stereotypes and personalities, we tried to decide of personalities were flexible or even voluntary or whether they were fixed forever and not able to be changed. This was an interesting discussion which, while was not concluded did force us to question our opinions and beliefs about why we are the way that we are and what might lead us to change. Some big questions PK which have send me home (again) with a lot to think about.

Maybe we’ll find the answers next week.....

Till then,
Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 14

Sorry about the delayed update PK blog followers.

Wednesday was a day where I was overly ambitious about how much we could get through, as a result we as a group practiced the skill of prioritizing. We spent much of this morning continuing our work with scientific method and revising what we remembered about controls, hypothesis and conclusions from last week. We took a look at some myth busters videos which clearly illustrated the lengths scientists go to in order to create a controlled environments in order for experiments to be truly valid. This learning was reinforced later in the day with Sarah Young, a member of our PK family, and our visiting Pathologist. Sarah was able to teach us all about how blood types and DNA can be used to help solve crimes. She explained how controls and sterile environments play an important role in keeping the evidence free of contamination and therefore available to be used in court. Here are some pictures of Sarah in action with Wednesday's class.



To continue our forensics work with a mental edge twist, we practiced classification by taking our own fingerprint and classifying the patterns that we saw. We also had a go at inductive thinking and tried to come up with possible suggestions and stories behind the state of evidence. Annelise came up with some very interesting ideas which bordered on very creative stories about how clues could be linked together and connections could be made. ( Perhaps think back on this activity when you are doing some story writing Annelise ! I enjoyed your imaginative ideas. Cathy thought very carefully about how different evidence might have been left at the crime scene and made some vey thoughtful suggestions ( Well done Cathy ! ).

All this focus on forensics today left a bit of time left for talent development. I was able to help Christopher with his passion project plan to explore architecture and designing mansions. Watch out everyone as Christopher has set himself the challenge of expanding his vocabulary to include the language of architecture. I look forward to adding some of these new words into my vocabulary ! Tobias and I have nutted out much of his plan to design a game in scratch, complete with backgrounds, sounds and an objective. There was a lot of activity with Kieran and Matthew this week as they were all ready to start filming their video today but alas did not organize batteries well in enough in advance and experienced disappointments. An honest reflection resulted in both boys and me agreeing to get them sorted before class started next week so that we didn't have the same problems again. Isaac has completed his diary for the solar oven experiment, now onto the video, Isaac let's talk about how we can get this done together promptly so that you can choose your next talent activity. It was a busy but shortened time this week so, sorry, I didn't have a chance to catch up with everyone today about their talent activity but I'll start with you folks first next week.

Until then !

Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 13

This morning we started with some honest reflection about new learning and how it can makes us feel. Using the metaphor of being “in the pit” we shared ( me included ) how new learning can sometimes make us feel. Some of the suggestions made were: “feel nervous” ( Miss Leia and Luke ) , “a bit sick in the tummy, scared and a bit wobbly in the legs” ( Lauren ) and “annoyed and a bit like I’ve lost control over learning if I have to do something I don’t want to” ( Annelise ) Some of us instead felt excited open and curious about new things. Once we established that new learning makes many of us feel a bit negative sometimes, we talked about what could put us into the pit and what could help get us out. Much discussion was generated about the role that criticism or feedback had on our confidence with learning. Paxton and Tobias felt that criticism isn’t positive or negative simply that it is what it is and that we have the ability to take it positively and see it as a path way forward to further improvements and use it to spur us on with more motivation than ever before. Or we could take it negatively and spiral downwards into a taking it personally, feeling bad about our progress and giving up. Lauren suggested that by talking with friends, family and teachers we could stop ourselves from slipping too far into the pit with new learning and could instead use them to help us out of the pit towards a place of confidence and satisfaction. George agreed that by talking things through we could all be helped out of the pit. With this in mind we moved on to Spanish.

After some speaking practice in pairs and our cultural video about nationalities, we launched into our Affective Domain research. Aaron and I had an interesting discussion about Dr Seuss and his introvert characteristics. We wondered how many other gifted authors or highly creative people were introverted and what that actually means... Matthew is having some challenges finding new in depth research about Vincent Van Gogh and decided that he needs to explore research sources from quite different perspectives. Perhaps spend some time trying to understand Van Gogh through his work? Annelise and Isla continued their work together about Marie Curie and Tobias enjoyed reading one of the new books from the National Library about Einstein. It was a productive morning and by the time the bell went everyone was ready for a brain break and a snack for energy. Thankfully everybody got to go outside for some fresh air.

A game of “real or not real” started our morning block with a robust discussion involving Finn, George, Lauren and Annelise (and others) about dreams and whether they were real or not. Finn suggested that dreams were real because of the ability to measure the electro magnetic pulses in the brain. Luke thought that dreams were real and an important part of our brain “sorting out the events of the day” I added that I agreed and was perhaps was why I sometimes wake up at 3 am and remember something that I forgot to do earlier. Most people were a little unsure about dreams and we were left a bit perplexed about the purpose of dreams and our inability to remember them well. I wonder who we could ask to help us with these questions?

We wrapped up our discussion and moved onto talent time. George spent some time researching for his pick a path style story and observed some confusing loops in the books we had. He decided not to do things the same when he writes his stories. Annelise and Lauren spent some time with me looking through the new talents time activities and weighing up the pros and cons of each. Aaron and Finn finished the video for their solar oven and Isla tidied up and printed the diary for her group and completed the reflection of the process. Christopher has decided on some details for his architecture passion project but needs to have a meeting with me next week to finalise the project plan. Tobias and Cathy continued learning more about scratch through the tutorials and are nearing the planning stage for their projects. Isaac finished his diary for the solar oven project and will be ready to work on his video next week. Luke and Paxton decided to abort the sticks enhancement to the book reviews and instead start a new review which is an improvement on the first attempt ( don’t forget to come and get a copy of the assessment sheet to better understand my expectations) . Lily started using paint with her birds and did a great job turning a sketch into a painting. This is part of an important learning and artistic process Lily and can sometimes make us feel like we are in the “pit” .

After lunch our learning of the scientific method continued and the students tested their paper planes and documented their experiments. Unfortunately we ran well over time and the winners will have to be announced next week.

Until then !

Hasta luego - Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 12

Spanish this morning raised some interesting cultural points about how we greet each other in different countries. Our short video demonstrated the latino kiss and the more "tactile" qualities of latinos. We spun this on its head and questioned what latinos might think of New Zealanders when they come here. Finn thought that maybe they would think that we were unfriendly. Much discussion was had about this aspect of latin culture and while some of us felt that it was weird and would make some people feel uncomfortable it was acknowledged that there are many cultural aspects in different countries that would seem weird to us. Isla mentioned her understanding of some Japanese customs and I agreed with her when she said that some of their customs might seem weird to people who weren't used to them. Today's cultural point was ways to say goodbye and use more formal titles such as Señor, Señora and Señorita. Checking in at the end of the day, everyone was able to say goodbye in spanish and use a correct title. Muy Bien chicos !

A game of Real or Not real stretched on far longer than planned as we debated things that we knew were real and things we perceived to be real. Finn had some interesting things to say about the definition of "aliens" and how this conflicts with animals that haven't been discovered yet in his thinking, I was getting a little confused by this but thankfully Aaron was able to summarize and clarify what Finn had been saying. Tobias still questions whether we actually know anything at all while Annelise felt sure that emotions were real. There was a lot of debate about the "realness" of abstract concepts like emotions and how we can know they are real if we can't touch them, they are difficult to measure and everyone probably feels them differently. We did start splitting hairs a bit and so decided to jump down the program a bit and have some talent time.

Cathy and Tobias started playing around with some scratch tutorials that I brought in, Annelise and Lauren spent some time reflecting on their process of building and presenting the solar oven. Christopher has started researching for his passion project on architecture and Isaac is taking his time to complete the write up of his solar oven experiment. Kieran and Matthew set the scenery for their stop motion video and George is making good progress with the plan of his pick a path story ( George, lets meet next week for some feedback and so you can show me what you've down so far.) Isla and Meaghan filmed their solar oven video and are now ready to reflect on that process next week. Paxton and Luke worked hard on their animation to accompany their review but we'll need to check the efficiency of this project soon as having the program crashing is causing you much delays.

After morning tea today we were lucky enough to have a visitor from the Police Force - John Sommerfield. He showed us what it was like to be at a crime scene, how evidence was collected and how fingerprints were collected. Lily made herself part of the crime scene by touching the glass and leaving prints but lucky for her this was only used to demonstrate how to use powders to collect fingerprints. We watched a very interesting video about evidence and the importance of not contaminating evidence or the crime scene with our own DNA. I was lucky enough to get dressed up in the SOCO suit which managed to protect the crime scene and make me look like a smurf. Much laughter was had at my expense haha , I do hope Mr K was made to dress up in Thursday's class. John left us some printing paper and fingerprinting pages for us to have a go at taking our own prints next week and we will be able to identify the type of pattern we have on our fingerprints.

After lunch, we started with a creative problem to solve about a shoe factory with a theft problem... ( I won't say the solution in case you want to try it on the folks at home ) the we linked this to starting to talk about gifted theory. We had some very robust discussion about intelligence and the differences between school intelligence and creative intelligence as described by Renzulli. Many discussion points were well argued but we let the afternoon slip away and didn't leave enough time to properly start scientific method. We will continue with our experiments next week in the great paper plane experiment.

Hasta la próxima


Wednesday - Day 11

It was fantastic to see everyone refreshed after the holidays and full of energy. We started our Pakiki day with a short video about Argentina and what life would be liked if we lived in Buenos Aires. We continued to practice with the spanish alphabet and used this knowledge to learn about cognates. Annelise and Lauren have made some great progress with the pronunciation of the spanish letters and were confidently spelling out the letters of their name Muy bien chicas !

From here we had a philosophical discussion about truth and knowledge. Firstly we reminded ourselves of how to have a challenging discussion where we debate ideas while still enjoying ourselves and not getting offended by others ideas. We agreed to use our blue duck to control only one person speaking at a time, therefore enabling everyone to have their opinion heard and have the opportunity to hear and respond. We all agreed that these were important in any debate. We started by reading "Horton hears a who" by Dr Seuss. The story raised many questions about how we know what we know and what we know as truth. Isla shared early on that sometimes we just know things and don't necessarily have proof to support our claims, Kieran disagreed with this and thought that people believed things once they were presented with enough of a well reasoned argument and evidence. Tobias picked up on the idea of evidence and thought that only hearing something ( like Horton did ) isn't enough evidence to support a claim nor convince others and instead it required a wide range of evidence from a wide range of senses to support a claim. Finn disagreed somewhat to this and felt that actually it doesn't matter if it is true, if it is widely accepted it will "become" true. So where does this leave us ? or Horton ? " How do we know if we really know if we really know anything" - Tobias. We left the story of Horton with more questions than answers but well on our way to questioning truth within the context of crime and justice which are two big themes for this term.

After a short reflection about our learning in term one and ways that we can better access our learning in term two, we moved onto our gifted person research. Aaron has decided that he instead would rather research Dr Seuss as he felt that the historical nature of St Peter is causing too many problems and has created too many road blocks. Annelise and Isla have decided to join forces and research together while still continuing to complete their own project. Lily worked with Tor on her project about Rosa Parks practicing her note taking skills while Isaac found an interesting but slightly off topic article about a new element that had been discovered but does not yet have a name. ( I wonder if they are willing to take suggestions ? ).

Unfortunately John was not able to join us today for chess so we used this time to play and refresh our memories of the moves and progress that we made last term.

This afternoon we started with an investigation into mirror numbers and patterns. George, Tobias and Cathy identified some interesting patterns about the addition of 2 digit mirror numbers resulting in multiples of 11 but Tobias later found that this didn't always work when bigger numbers were used. Again we came back to the big idea of how can we make generalizations? How far should we test something before it is accepted as true or right? Should the potential "importance" matter when it comes to testing ? What is considered reasonable? Should the number of people interested in it matter? How far do mathematicians go when testing a theory? How far should the courts go to prove guilt or innocence? As you can see, what started as a maths investigation brought up some big points for discussion which we will no doubt revisit next week when we look at part two of Mirror numbers :)

In talent time today ( which we moved to later on in the day) Christopher finished off and printed his solar oven diary and started his reflection of the process. Next week he will be working with me on developing a talent plan to explore the world of architecture. Matthew and Kieran worked on completing their story board for the lego animation which they will be ready for filming next week. While Aaron and Finn made tons of progress on writing the script for their video, worked on their diary and started organising the testing of their solar oven.

Everyone finished the day buzzing. I hope you all had as much fun as I did.

Hasta la próxima semana !


Wednesday - Day 10

Before the students started their Affective Domain work today we recapped on the Mental Edge techniques we had used to help open up our research. Deeper questioning, Socratic questioning, skim reading, synthesizing information and note taking with Mind Maps were just some of the ways that the students have learnt to help organize their research. We discussed how it would require the use of our Habits of Mind to help to integrate these skills into our everyday work which would take some effort. As I worked with the students today it was interesting to see how their researching is evolving. Luke spent most of the day gathering information from documentaries about King Edward I and using a "multi timeline" to parallel historical events against each other , Lily was reading around the theme of human rights and racial discrimination for her project about Rosa Parks, Isaac enjoyed his reading about the periodic table and Paxton listened to audio bytes about Einstein which helped him learn more about Einstein's experiences at school and as a young boy. There were definitely challenges and not everyone's research goes in a straight line, but what deep research ever does ? ( Maybe we should ask Mr K about this ? )

Talent time today lead to closure for the Solar Oven groups. A tidy up of diaries and videos for these groups. Thanks to the people that have helped with filming, these were challenging and required much patience. I will be looking through these over the holidays and sending the best ones through to the competition for science week. In Art, I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Lily today about Don Binney's work and what art means to the artist. We found a quote which spoke to us both ( I can't remember by who :( - can you remember Lily ? ) which described art as a dialogue between the artist and their environment. This gave Lily a new perspective on her drawings and she started drawing from her heart and her environment. The river which she has known for as long as she has been able to walk will feature in her bird paintings anchoring her work to the Otago region. I look forward to helping you discover how this could unfold through your art work Lily. George made an icosahedron and Christopher made a miniature chess set for John to take on the plane to Australia. It was a busy day time for everyone.

Tech Challenge - Alien Artefacts

Today our Habits of Mind focus for the entire day was
- applying past knowledge to new situations, and
- to think interdependently.

Our tech challenge allowed the students to practice both of these Habits. The students were encouraged to reflect on group work that they have taken part in either at Pakiki or home school and to identify what worked or didn't work last time. Keeping this reflection fresh in the mind the groups set off to create a set of Aline artifacts from debris collected by Astro Archeologists. It was fantastic to see many different ideas and some elaborate stories about aliens from other planets. We may have some budding science fiction writers among us...

Working interdependently on our tech challenge
Applying past knowledge to new situations

Wednesday - Day 9

Today was, as always, a busy day, full of questions, ideas and collaboration. With a buzz of excitement first thing this morning, the solar oven talent groups started their first test. The sun was up, the designs were ready and the food was prepared. What would happen? Throughout the day, the progress of steamed vegetables, bread and rice were closely monitored and documented. The position of the sun was observed and the different designs were observed by the PK students.

By the end of a day of suspense there were results to share. Some results were not exactly what we had expected. However, all of the student ovens changed the state of the food cookinginside in a noticable way. We may not have cooked a banquet, but bread rose and vegetables steamed. Next week, there will be a debrief and a reflection about what possible changes to; design, materials used, dimensions of oven, environmental factors and foods tested mightchange the results. Next week, Aaron and Finn will be trialling a very different design with a parabolic dish, we will wait with anticipation to see how their very different design does.

In the other talent groups today Lily overcame some frustration with her bird drawings. Don’t worry Lily ! Every artist has days where it doesn’t “come together” . Paxton got his book review on the Pakiki site and the Q R printed and ready for students to come and try out in the classroom library. George continued his work with platonic solids by creating Triangular Prism from a net and starting work on an Icosahedron.

This afternoon in patterns, we worked with the concept of classification. Firstly the students were given the four purposes of patterns labels in order to classify a packet of image picture cards. There were many debates around which categories some of the cards belonged to and in some cases the groups had to agree to disagree and place the card between two categories. Once each others’ card choices had been observed, the students were asked to make up their own classification. Dicussion about the arbitrary nature of classificaton ensued and the students set to work to decide how they thought the cards needed to be classified. Some groups analysed the human element in their cards, some focused on the animate qualities of the pattern. Each group came up with a totally unique way of classifying the patterns they had been given. Some interesting ideas folks, none of which I had thought of ! Fantastic !

Look forward to next week, our last PK day for term one.

Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 8

Have you got a good idea that perhaps you or others aren’t sure about ?

This morning the PK Wednesday group shared a newspaper article about Nick D' Aloisio, age 17 who, in his spare time taught himself how to write computer programs and subsequently designed a computer app which caught the attention of international investors including Yahoo. Now while some would choose to focus on the financial gain for a 17 year old in this situation, today we were more interested in which Habits of Mind he might have used on his road to success. Persistence, Creating Innovating and Inventing and Gathering information through all senses were all good examples of Habits of Mind which Wednesday’s PK thought would have been important for Nick becoming a success. We all agreed that, in order to be successful, Nick would have needed to believe in himself, especially when faced with other people who might not have thought his idea was very good or when he faced a problem or challenge. Just like our friend Pythagoras.

In order to further develop their research skills, the students learned about how to synthesise information from different research sources. By looking for clues not answers, the students were able to see how instead information needs to be pieced together and joined with their own personal inferences to reach an answer. In order to learn about this close reading skill, the class continued to help with my project about Pythagoras. Using both information from an article from the internet and a short Donald Duck video, the group synthesised their findings to help answer the research questions. This focus helped the students in their independent findings.

Luke raised some interesting points during this discussion about the possibility of encouraging people who were not fond of maths by using music and science alongside maths. Since the three were so closely linked perhaps other kids would find this a little more interesting..... Isla agreed that this was a wise idea and that by taking another approach more people could be more successful in maths. I wonder if the same could be possible for other subjects? We enjoyed this discussion so much that there wasn’t much time left for independent research. We’ll spent some time catching up next weeks kids!

Talent time today was unfortunately affected by weather for the solar oven groups. Never mind, such is the life of a scientist, experiments might need to be delayed sometimes. The rain gave Lauren and Annelise a chance to get started on their script for their informative video. Tobias and Cathy were in the same situation and were able to debate the best styles of informative videos. Isla and Meaghan are thinking about an interview style video - interesting idea !

Finn, Aaron and Isaac spent some time today, back tracking in their log books, recording their progress and making sketches. While this might seem like a slightly mundane stage in the design process, keeping notes of your work can sometimes help as your ideas develop. I wonder if Nick D' Aloisio kept a logbook of his developments ?

Paxton and Luke ( and a confused Miss Leia ) worked together on finishing off the book reports in order to create the QR codes. We faced some challenges loading the pages onto the Pakiki web page which we are still to overcome. I will endeavor to find a solution to this problem for next week boys. It was however, great to see how you were able to take risks and try things out to see if they worked. Lily also allowed herself to take a risk as she worked on some tricky legs on a native bird that she is sketching. Isaac offered her some considered advice which helped Lily change her mind about some of the features of her drawing. A great example of working interdependently.

Let’s try to continue to work interdependently next week as we will be dedicating most of our time to our independent research and talent projects.

See you then!

Miss LeiaIMG_0460.JPG

Wednesday - Day 7

Today the students extended their knowledge of Spanish numbers and used this to ask and tell the time. While comparing the way that time is expressed in both Spanish and English, the students were able to identify colloquial expressions used in English to clarify time. Phrases such as “on the dot” and “first thing” were raised as discussion points while some similar phrases in Spanish such as “mas o menos” and “de la madrugada” were learned to help the Pakiki kids add some authenticity to their study. George and Tobias showed their enthusiasm towards time and by the end of the day were able to discuss the current time confidently in both the “past” and “to” forms of expressing the exact time. Lily, Meaghan and I spent some time together reinforcing the patterns within the numbers being used and writing down how we could express time.

In the Affective domain this morning, the students had a chance to apply their new understanding of the research process and use different ways to record information and organise their work. Isla gave Mind Mapping a go to help organise her work about Marie Curie, Christopher made some great progress with his work about Archimedes and has developed some new questions about the development of Pi. Aaron has changed direction slightly with his research about St Peter and will be exploring ways that artists and composers have depicted biblical stories in which St Peter is placed. Aaron, I challenge you to analyse these works from different cultural perspectives and not only focus on European influences. All of students were encouraged to allow themselves to keep asking more thorough and deeper questions as they gather initial information and find specific findings interesting.

A large emphasis this morning was spent on Talent time. Tobias and Cathy have finished their unique design of the solar oven and are ready for testing next week. Finn and Aaron are still developing their parabolic dish to help harness a higher concentration of the sun’s energy. They are playing it safe and have chosen to make a prototype first before launching into a full sized dish. Annelise and Lauren worked on the finer details of their oven and had a brief test this afternoon. While the test was brief, there was a distinct smell of cooking potatoes on one side of the classroom this afternoon.... Next week, they will be testing a bread recipe and will need to start the script for their informative video which will accompany their research journal.

Matthew and Keiran are working on the story board for their video and are making good progress with a non violent storyline appropriate for a broad audience. Paxton is entertaining a similar audience with his book report about a Quentin Blake story that kids who make mistakes by being a little too ambitious can relate to ( Watch this space for the report over the next few weeks) . George has finished his investigation about recurring decimals and has moved on to a geometric project about platonic solids. There are photos below about the progress in talent areas today.

Chess today gave the students a chance to polish their skills in preparation for the chess evening next Friday night ( 5th April ).

After lunch, the children continued their work with strong emotions. Most have finished identifying their personal triggers and explaining how these triggers make them feel. A mini "brain investigation" took place as we learned about " Amygdala hijackings" and how we can avoid losing control of our strong emotions through some clever little pattern interrupt tricks. Every child has chosen a specific physical pattern interrupt cue to allow them to regain control of a potential meltdown. While strong emotions are unavoidable and we all feel them, pattern interrupts can be a powerful management technique for controlling them. Next week, we will look more at ways to relax and distract ourselves after having felt frustrated, angry or sad so that we can manage our feelings positively. I look forward to learning more about these too!

Until then, hasta luego

Miss Leia
Cathy and Tobias developing their solar oven
Annelise and Lauren putting on their finishing touches
George exploring the patterns in recurring decimals
Christopher and Isaac working on a solar oven

Wednesday - Day 6 Yes we have moved !

From now on the updated PK blog post will be placed at the top to avoid you having to scroll through the entire year.

Today the PK students had the chance to visit the Health Sciences Library at the University of Otago and use Kaplan's Depth and Complexity icons as a spring board for further investigation into the workings of the library. The students were able to investigate epilepsy using real Medical School resources and evaluate the effectiveness of each individual reference. By exploring the enormous textbooks, specialized dictionaries, medical comics and models of the brain, the students were able to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of using different resources to gain a deeper understanding of a topic.

Sarah helped the students take part in an experiment which would help the PK students investigate a question from live data - themselves. A sample of data was collected about after school activities, gender etc. This data was both gathered and displayed digitally allowing the students to draw conclusions about themselves as a group. This enabled the students to see yet another resource for investigation and an alternative way of displaying data which had been collected numerically. Once the students had completed their investigation, they helped Sarah label the skeleton model. Some anatomy whizzes surfaced from the group and shared their knowledge of all things skeletal.

Back in the classroom, the students explored different ways of organizing and ordering information in ways that complemented their preferred learning style. I modeled Mind Mapping as a visual way of organizing information which we had collected on our trip about the Ethical issues which surround research. The use of colors, pictures, diagrams, squiggles and arrows were used to create a Mind Map to record our thinking. While my model of a Mind Map was far from artistic, many of the students were able to reread back to me by expelling my pictures, what we had learned about Ethics both at the library and in class last week.

After lunch we watched some videos from the queen of doodling and using graphics to explain ideas Vi Hart . Here is part three to the Fibonacci video as promised.
The students had a chance to have a go at Mind Mapping themselves when we explored Strong Emotions; what our personal triggers for these are, how they make us feel both physically and emotionally and how we can positively deal with them. Many of the students identified with anger or frustration as strong emotions and many were beginning to narrow down their personal and specific triggers. Next week we will return to this and investigate positive ways that we can deal with these strong and overwhelming emotions and / or use them as motivation for good.

Until next week
Hasta Luego
Miss Leia

Investigating the brain

Wednesday Day 1 -

Bienvenidos and welcome to the Wednesday class for pakiki kids 2013. Today was a new beginning for the group and they did an excellent job welcoming me into the pakiki family and helping to settle in our new students Isaac, Cathy and Isla.

Today the students were greeted to a warm welcome from North East Valley Normal. A waiata was sung in response and a kind welcome from Mr McKenzie the Principal made us feel right at home. Then the class turned their attention to the morning program - the Tech Challenge.

Today’s MacGyver inspired Tech Challenge allowed the students to plan, be resourceful and think flexibly as they needed to use classroom materials like newspapers, string and tape to make a contraption that would move two screwdrivers 2.5 m across the room. Although all of the groups were unsuccessful in the challenge, Isaac and Luke’s group moved the screwdrivers the furtherest. After some reflection, all of the groups had modifications that they wanted to make to their original design in order to make it work better. A good start to reflective design process folks! The contraptions were all unique in their design, Annelise, Paxton, Cathy and Tobias’ group created an interesting one which required two people to make work it. ( I’m not sure that is allowed in the rules ... ). Keiron’s group added additional features to their contraption like the ability to be rolled up and taken anywhere for those tricky times you find yourself stuck in up to your knees in cement. However none high tech modifications of these seemed to help in the final product.

A second waita was song this morning but the second was to celebrate Tobias’ birthday. What a great day to have a birthday! and celebrate with all of your friends at pakiki. We hope you had a fun day.

Talent time this morning allowed the students to explore and respond to a variety of quotes from famous inventors, mathematicians and scientists around the topic of talent. Finn drew a direct response to text illustration about how talent without discipline was like an octopus with roller skates on - I wonder what else we could compare talent without discipline to?, Isla did a great job rewriting some of the quotes that she enjoyed reading and Annelise chose to express her ideas around the talent quotes as a Wordle. This left us thinking more about what talent is which is timely to do so before we start talent projects in the coming weeks.

John came along to continue teaching chess this year and was greeted by a warm pakiki kids greeting. The students had a chance to brush up on their skills from last year and it gave Isla, Isaac and I to learn from some of last years students ( thanks Annelise and Lauren) who were more practiced in chess than us.

The afternoon session took us to an interesting discussion / debate to kick off our new concept study of Patterns. Much time was spent arguing the point of whether or not a pattern repeats. It was great to hear people’s thoughts on this, Quakenstein did quite a lot of flying around the circle as the discussion heated up ! We came closer to establishing some debatable truths about patterns including their predictability and purpose but this discussion point needs more time next week.

I blinked and it was time to go home, after such a rich discussion this afternoon we all opted for a game of buzz to finish off our day.

See you next week and please try to remember your computer / internet agreement forms.

Hasta luego

Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 2

Buenos Dias ! Como estas ?

This morning the students started with a mini lesson in Spanish where they were able to greet each other and respond to the simple question - How are you? It appeared that there were a lot of tired and hungry students at Pakiki this morning however things perked up quickly and they got stuck into a morning of thinking and questioning.

In order to lead into our affective domain research about a famous gifted person, the students have focused on primary and secondary research questions. Our learning started with a read aloud of The Three Questions by Jon Muth. The story helped the students become aware of the big questions in their lives and how perspective can result in different answers to the same question. The students had a chance to develop their own questions which lead to exciting debates around infinity, purpose of life, the afterlife and the future. The discussion lead to trying to identify the disciplinarians that you might be able to ask to help you find the answers and how different fields of study are likely to lead to different answers. We only really just started scratching the surface of secondary research questions and will be revisiting this next Wednesday.

The need to share and care for our digital tools better came out of reflections last year so the implementation of a Pakiki kids computer license will be taking place across all three classes. The students designed their own license, had a standard issue photo taken and all agreed to the terms of holding the license. Don’t be the first one to lose your license for a silly offense such as eating near a desk top or not getting off when it is someone else’ s turn. Let’s aim to have all licenses kept until at least the end of the term!!

Talent time gave us a chance to explore the activities for this term. Tobias and Annelise seem pretty keen to have a go at the solar oven competition, Paxton, I look forward to seeing how you get on with the QR code book reports. Other options include art and a mathematics investigation about recurring decimals. Don’t panic too much yet, next week we will continuing our talent profiling work through the use of Renzulli’s ring model to help us before we make our final decision.

Patterns again proved to be an interesting discussion around the features of patterns and how they can be defined. Does it need to be defined and collectively agreed upon or can we live with our own definitions harmoniously in the same PK classroom and agree to disagree? Lets hope so. Tony Ryan’s “ Thinkers Keys” were used as a thinking tool to help us explore patterns in creative ways. Kieron came up with some creative questions to the answer “patterns” Isaac is working on a game about patterns, Lily, Isla and Lauren spent some time learning about equilateral triangles and how they tesselate into regular hexagons to mimic Escher’s work. All a work in progress and I look forward to seeing these creative ideas develop over the next few weeks.

See you next week folks where we will continue with our gifted person research in the affective domain and begin learning more about socratic questioning and clarifying questions.

Hasta luego

Miss Leia

Wednesday- Day 3

Today was a day of beginnings for Wednesday’s class. Most of the morning was spent working on our research questions to delve deeper into the lives of our chosen gifted person. The students helped improve my research questions about pythagoras so that they were ; relevant to the primary research question, used a variety of question starters and helped me analyse the work of pythagoras from a variety of perspectives. We reviewed the analogy of drip, puddle, lake and ocean questions to help us remember the different ways to write questions and find the answers we were really after. It was great to see a wide range of gifted achievers being researched, we can look forward to presentations about Leonardo de Vinci, Edward I, Knox, creator of the Minecraft, and Einstein. The students are at different stages with their research questions and will be finishing this stage next week while learning about using search engines to research effectively.

Talent groups started this week. Most of the time was spent gathering knowledge in order to allow the students to develop their project. George and I worked through some interesting points on recurring decimals and learned how to turn fractions into decimals without a calculator. The solar oven groups were established and spent much of their time on the computers watching short videos about how solar ovens are used in other countries and how they actually work. (Next week folks try the ebooks on the website to help you understand the science behind the process) - you will need to be able to confidently explain this in your journals and videos. Paxton and Luke spent some time reading good book reviews in order to offer interesting and persuasive book reviews for the pakiki library by using QR codes. What did you notice boys ?

Our chess lesson today helped us develop our skills and confidence in the end game. An area not always worked on so much. Everyone had a chance to apply their skills and play off against each other right into lunchtime.

Discussion point today came from a comment in a student’s reflection last week. “ It would be good if we had lots of licenses for lots of things at pakiki and not just computers”. We talked this through and thought about alternative perspectives of licensing. What if there was no licenses for anything? What if there were no laws? Aaron thought that there would be a major breakdown in efficient systems like what would happen if you broke your arm and had to get it fixed ? there might be no people working in the hospital because no one would need to work, everyone would just steal everything ..... but would they ? are we assuming that people only go to work because they want or require money? Are there other motivating factors? Kieron questioned whether or not people didn’t hurt others solely due to the fear of going to jail ? or do we have personality traits that make us more likely to harm or protect others. Hhmmm a big question. An interesting debate which helped everyone question social behaviour patterns and acknowledge assumptions that we might have made.

In our patterns work today the students continued with their Thinkers Keys. Lucy and Lauren continued with their tesselations work and learned about tesselating more than one shape together. Tobias, Annelise, Luke and Kieron made progress with their games, while Luke and Finn learned that if you don’t start with a definitive plan before you start working on an animation it is easy to waste time. Next week it would be nice if we could share our work with each other to help develop our understanding in patterns and share our successes.

We will continue our work with spanish numbers next week so if you have time try and have a little practice!
Hasta luego !
Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 4

Another busy day at Pākiki today. Again, the students started with español and took the opportunity to practice their numbers to twenty. By the end of the lesson, many were confidently asking each other how old they were and what their phone number was. Paxton was able to share his finely tuned ear for languages by speaking with almost perfect pronunciation. The students spend a little of their time listening to me speaking in spanish which they didn’t totally understand but instead were relying heavily on body language and listening for words that sounded a little like a word in English. Many were amazed at how much they were able to understand through body language alone. This is an important skill for a global citizen to have. For those of you keen to try out a bit more at home, try __ or . Both sites have listening activities, games and additional vocabulary you might be interested to learn.

The students continued their research into the life of a gifted person today with the focus being placed on effective digitial research skills. Using google scholar, advanced search options, narrowing down searches and identifying good sources from bad was the focus for our lesson. Students were able to practice these skills on their own research. Luke made some good progress with the advanced search options on Google today and was starting to find some useful information to help answer his secondary research questions, Chris and I were learning more about using the define tools on google and realising how important it is to thoroughly understand key vocabulary when gathering completely new information.

Talent groups today were given some time to continue on their group projects. The Science groups designing the solar ovens are all almost ready to start building. Annelise and Meaghan spent some valuable time today setting up their diaries digitally in order to record their progress for the judges. How are you going on your diary Finn and Aaron ? ( Boys, I have found you a tyre boys for your oven design! ). Please make sure that if you have found a design on the internet to help with your research, that is fine but your prototype must have additional features to make it different and innovative. Lily, lets keep our fingers crossed for no rain next Wednesday so that we can get you out to sketch some birds in the fresh air!

This afternoon the students were offered choices in their exploration of patterns’ activities. The games group from last week used today to come closer to finishing their games including writing sensible rules. A peer sharing/ review circle revealed possible improvements to design and rules in some games and gave the students the chance to give an receive critical, constructive feedback. The discussion lead to a debate around what defines a game. Is a competitive component necessary for it to be called a game? or Is a game without competition a puzzle?. Keiran and Matthew offered a strong argument as to why their Where’s Wally inspired game deserves to be called such, however, not all were convinced.

To explore patterns in a more visual way ,Finn, Aaron and George instead chose to celebrate World Maths day by learning about tessellation and the work of Escher. Each made a hexagonal tile using a compass and created their very own unique tessellation. We must get those up the the wall this week boys, they looked great !

As you can see again a full week. I am already looking forward to it.

Miss Leia

Wednesday - Day 5

Today started on a musical note with a Spanish song which was about the escapades of a crazy spider. Tobias mentioned that it was a bit quick and this made it challenging, many of the students agreed but from where I was sitting there were definite improvements being made in pronunciation and it got us all warmed up for the morning. We will come back to our song soon and I’m sure you will feel that you’ve made progress.

It has been decided to spend more time on the Affective domain this term to allow us to learn more about ourselves both as a learner and as a Pakiki kid. The students took some time to unpack what others’ perceptions of Pakiki kids were and what they got up to on a Wednesday. “Fun, challenging, too hard, boring and hard maths all day” were some of the ideas that the students suggested. This list was rubbed out and the Pakiki kids has a chance to give their ideas about what being a Pakiki kid was. “Having distinct differences in learning styles” was an interesting suggestion from Kieran while “epic, awesome and special” were words thrown up at the board so quickly, and by so many people that I lost track of who said them. The students started to have a clearer idea about what it meant to be a Pakiki kid to them personally, but next week, we are going to look at this in a more collective way and link together our ideas about our rights and responsibilities as a Pakiki kid that is part of a wider group.

After play the students continued with their Affective domain research of their chosen gifted person. Christopher and I worked together to help find the answers to his questions about Archimedes. We found some interesting videos about the Archimedes screw and read the Eureka ! story together. We’ve just started scratching the surface on this Christopher so lets come back next week and search for more depth in our understanding. Aaron has continued researching the first Pope and spent some time grappling with new vocabulary like disciple and trying to find answers to questions like why was the idea of a Pope ever decided upon? Sometimes, as Christopher and I found, researching can lead to more questions before we are completely clear about what we are learning. Next week, we will be concentrating on making inferences from text to help us answer our questions when the answer might not be so obvious and we will be learning ways to take notes when researching that suit our learning style.

Talent time today lead to some great progress for the solar oven groups. Finn and Aaron got dirty as they started their build inside a tyre, some adaptations to their original plan were needed as they found it challenging to find a satellite dish. Annelise and Lauren have their oven pretty much completed and ready to test. Christopher and Isaac had some problems today with making decisions together and are learning that sometimes compromise is needed to get closer to achieving a goal in group work. Over the next few weeks the students will have a chance to complete their ovens, they will be tested and the informative videos will be started.

Philosophy today encouraged the students to unpack what was meant by the term violence. There was a fairly unanimous vote that an intent to harm was present in something that could be called violence but there was a strong debate about whether or not physical violence was the only type of violence or whether emotional and psychological damage as a result of intent to harm could also be defined as violence. The jury was still out when the discussion concluded. In conflict resolution issues many students felt that violence wasn’t an answer to a problem in a personal, family or school situation but wars and defense were strongly argued by Finn and Luke as reasonable excuses for violence on a more global scale. Few people disagreed.

We allowed time today to finish off some pattern activities left over from last week. I was lucky enough to trial Annelise’s game with Isla and Lily and squeezed in just enough time to see Tobias’ game in action. Kieran and Matthew are nearing the end of their game creation and assure me we can have a closer look that the Minecraft inspired work next week.

Next week is our trip to the Health Sciences library. I am waiting on a few permission slips still so please either email them to me or bring them along on Wednesday.

See you next week.

Miss Leia