Wednesday 5th November

Kia ora to everyone who tunes in to read the PK wiki each week. A little more this week about the “how” we learned and a little less about the “what”

Some of what we aim to do at PK is to help the students understand themselves as a learner and as a gifted individual. Through regular reflection and learning about learning styles, how we learn and traits of giftedness we hope to give students tools which they can use on the future to manage their own learning and become truly self managed.

Today I decided to hand over a large part of the day to the students to structure and manage as they saw fit provided they were working towards our shared goal of ‘presentation work for sharing night’

The students started their day with a brief video about the role that neurons, electrical impulses and pathways played in their learning. Using a fitness analogy ‘we only get stronger when its harder’ the students developed their understanding of why new learning can feel difficult at first and why practice makes perfect. Even if it makes us feel uncomfortable. Some of the students were forced to question their initial ideas about intelligence and considered the notion that brains or intelligence can change.

In addition to this mind blowing learning, the students learned more about the optimal conditions for learning and listed brain breaks, snacks, water, fresh air and happiness or little stress as things they needed to add into their day plan so that they were able to work hard to think deeply and complete the tasks they needed to today. Students made decision about where they worked, how they would manage their distractions and what they could reasonably achieve in the given time. That together with a new found understanding of why challenge is important for their learning set the tone for a day of hard work and determination.

Each group was given a planner and collaboratively they planned their day and set some goals. By developing their own schedule for snack breaks and even creating their own brain breaks ( physical activity ) they took charge of their day. It was impressive to see the students coming in from a quick run around the building or a water break straight back to work feeling refreshed and energized. Groups scheduled in meetings with me to bounce ideas off of, receive feedback on their work and to evaluate their ideas. I was truly a facilitator today. As a result of this industrious spirit, most of the groups met the goals which they set at the start of the day to bring them closer to completing their work for sharing night.

Wednesday 29th October

Welcome everyone. Today we really amped up the focus on Discovery and dedicated more time than usual. We did however carve out some time for a divergent thinking task, chess and some talent time.

This morning the students were give two internationally familiar symbols " passport check" and " escalator". The task was to come up with as many different ideas as you could within the ten minute time period for what else these images could represent. There were some interesting ideas from "computer games here" to "this way to the playground" . The time restriction added an additional layer of challenge for the students, they really needed to push themselves to increase their level of fluency.

The morning was dedicated to talent development. Isla and Martin enjoyed their time with Mary and learned the basics of giving feedback to each other as writers and about how to redraft their work in order to create a polished piece. In addition to Mary, Mr K swung by to work with Hamish on his songwriting project. Mr K put him through his paces on Garageband and gave Hamish a few tips about how to get started as a young songwriter. Below is a quick pic from their morning.

29th Hamish .jpg

Much of the rest of the day was spent on the discovery projects. Each group made progress in their own way. Viviane solved some technological problems and made great progress in drafting her group's theory on how their civilization started. Hamish and I worked together to synthesize the research that his group had gathered about ancient Rome with new research about Education in ancient China to form a new system suited to their civilization. Annelise worked on their theory while Sol and Milo continued on developing the theory. Divide and conquer !!

Elia, Vinnie and Martin worked more collaboratively today and were able to make some decisions about their theory. By communicating with accuracy and precisions ( Habits of Mind !! ) they were able to make pleasing progress in the development of their theory.

There was some impressive jumps in thinking by Luke today as he added significant layers of details and evidence to their theory. Ethan jumped in an helped Nico work on the weapons research presentation while Liam made a start on the artifacts presentation.

Next week we will again dedicate a sizable chunk to this project so bring along your hard working caps for next week.

See you then.

Miss Leia

Wednesday 22nd October

22nd October Luke and Liam .jpg

Kia ora to the folks at home. Today was a full day of exciting new learning and pushing of our personal limits. PK was lucky enough to have two mentors join us this morning to help the students with their talent development projects. Above is Jason Silby helping Liam and Luke with their deep and complex questions about how computers translate and process programming code. Returning next week will be Mary Telfer - Editor to work with Martin and Isla on the editing process of their story writing. I'll try and snap a pic next week.

Hamish and I spent some time together today working on our songwriting. While neither of us were particularly impressed with our first attempt, we agreed that we were improving and had some good ideas to go forward with. The animation group were working on their individual projects which spanned a range of stages including making plans for animations, researching how animated movies are produced and completing their own productions. The student reflections at the end of the session tell me that it was session of challenge and progress. The students were asked to tell me what would help them progress further in their progress. It was great to see so many students advocating for their learning needs and having a clear vision of what they were going to do next week. Great stuff team!

After morning tea the discovery groups worked together on their projects. The focused was turned to writing the theory of how the civilisations came about. The students were encouraged to be very critical of their work and ask themselves if they had provided enough evidence to support their hypothesis. Luke and his group went back to their original story and have added some extra detail to help the readers. Annelise, Sol, Michael and Hamish divided their tasks up and developed their story and created their agricultural practices. Viviane, Isla and Megan made great progress with their project and developed their local dress, pulled together their ideas about the architecture and worked on their story. We stopped half way through for a brain break which included some quick exercises in the middle of the room to allow us to clear our heads and stretch our legs.

The afternoon session started with a metacognitive session where the children reflected on their role within their discovery group. What were they doing to progress the project and what were they doing to hinder progress. Students were asked to think about how they worked within the greater whole and to consider what they would like to do differently next week. The last session of the day was spent finishing off work which summarised the children's earlier learning about perfectionism. With some classical music playing on the screen everyone gone on with the task. It was a lovely end to the day.

Have a safe labour weekend everyone, I'll see you next week.


Blog - Wednesday Term 4
Welcome back to term 4 everyone. It was great to hear about everyone's holidays and to make plans together as we look forward to sharing night.

A few ( not all ) highlights from today's learning

We started with a Philosophy discussion this morning based around the concept of Power. The focus of the lesson was on justifying our discussion points with thorough explanations and examples. I made this quite challenging for the students and insisted that their ideas were explained and that they could back the up with examples. Ethan made good headway in sharing his thinking with the group by giving good examples of how a big corporation like McDonalds might make people to want their food through advertising, Viviane made several well reasoned statements about the idea of power and about how power can be gained strategically.Luke added some historical perspectives to the discussion and pointed out examples of Kings who passed on their power to people who had promptly lost it due to poor decisions. This had a number of us thinking about the fluidity of power and the degrees by which power could be measured. Here is a picture from the board discussion with just a few of the statements recorded.
Philosophy discussion Wedneday - Power .jpg

Philosophy discussion - Wednesday - Power .jpg

The students spent a good part of the morning working on their discovery learning in groups. I roved around catching up with the groups discussions and decisions and offered some questions which hopefully lead to deeper thinking.
Elia, Martin and Vinnie's group learned today about how listening to each other can help the group move forward more efficiently with the task at hand.They also did some deep thinking about the reasonableness of their claims and their ability to justify their ideas with fact. They are on track to begin writing up the story of their civilization next week. Sol took a lead on his group today and delegated tasks effectively in order to break up the project. A great job folks, I saw great amounts of research and work being completed by this group. Megan and her group were thankful to have Viviane back and to be workign together on their project. They have downscaled their project a little to make it more manageable within the timeframe which we have. - A good idea.

I look forward to seeing this thinking come to fruition over the next few weeks as we prepare for sharing night. Next week, I'll try and get the students on the blog so that you can hear the students' voice.

See you next week folks.
Miss Leia

Blog Day 20
Buddy day today meant that everyone had the opportunity to invite a buddy from regular school if they so wished. Most people took up that offer and it was great to meet so many neat kids ready for some hard work and challenging thinking.

The day started with a short creativity warm up whereby the students ripped a piece of coloured paper into an unidentifiable shape, pasted it onto white paper and made it into something by adding more detail and elaboration with felt tips and pens. There was a range of quite elaborate aliens, creatures, cars and mysterious pets. Well done Erin and Megan for pushing their boundaries by adding more and more detail to their pictures when prompted.

A few people started their creation and then while reflecting as they were "doing" developed their ideas and wanted to start again. A good metacognitive task as there was some new learning which took place there about the way ideas can grow. Luckily we had plenty of paper so they could expand on this thinking. Each student was asked to assess their own work for its elaboration, originality and their effort.

The majority of the morning was taken by a creative tech challenge. Each civilisation group, with additional buddies, was split in half and asked to build a structure from a pack of cards and a roll of sticky tape. This was to be no ordinary structure though. The teams needed to create a structure which was informed by civilisation research and was identifiable was being from that culture. There were many ambitious ideas, quite a lot of group chatter and sellotape Ipads being fired up as the teams busily started their task with 15 minutes research and planning time. Once the idea was clear and the group agreed, each team was given their cards and sellotape to make their freestanding structure.

I was blown away at the complexity of some of the structures and by how well some of the teams explained the use of their structure linking it to their earlier research. Well done to Annelise, Sol and their buddies who created a Roman bathhouse and ultimately won the challenge. Milo, Hamish and their team had an ambitious idea to make a Japanese castle/temple and made a good job of a freestanding A frame structure which was in the right direction - more resources and /or time and who knows what the completed project might have been ! . Also hats off to Luke, Ethan and their team for their impressive structure and for an excellent team effort. Well done. As part of the competition scoring each team was asked to rate themselves on their team work: listening, sharing and involving everyone. It was great to see how thoroughly each team reflected together and how insightful their assessments were.

The afternoon programme was a more creative look at the civilisation work. I reminded the PK of how to use a SCAMPER thinking tool to create new and innovative ideas and products. Each team was given an hour to choose an artifact from their civilization, apply SCAMPER and create a display suitable for a museum. Again, the students got their things and raced away to their groups to recreate their artifact. As I walked around and worked with each group I could see that there were some inspired ideas. Roman helmets, arrow heads, architecture and weaponary were being changed to become more creative, artistic, efficient and useless. A highlight was watching the students develop their ability to justify their thoughts as they put together their plaques which described the origins of the item and how their new artifact was used by their civilsation. All that archeology must be rubbing off ! Well done teams, there was some deep thinking done this afternoon, this will hold you in good stead for next term as we charge through and complete the discovery/civilisation projects.

Thanks to all the PK students and their buddies for making buddy day such fun.

Everyone have a good holiday and travel safely.

Miss Leia

Blog Day 19

Milo : Today I liked the debate we had in my Discovery team. Through the debate we made a connection between the Romans and the Japanese. I like debating. We were able to make a decision in the end and were able to use all of our research. We started listening better to each other and having good research helped justify our thoughts. Today I was proud of my creativity work, I thought it was going to be hard and once I came up with one idea then I was able to come up with heaps.

Luke : In th future I need to clarify and understand things. In the creativity warm up I got a bit muddled. I like the discovery projectI like it because I get to use my history skills.

Annelise : Today discovery was hard. None of our group worked together and we had lots of problems to sort out and time periods to agree on. We also needed to make connections between Rome, China and Japan. Miss Leia helped us research connections and we found out about the silk road which was used for trading silk, spices, other materials and tea. This solved a lot of the problems. We decided to place our civilisation near the silk road in China. The silk road goes to places in India too. Once solved the problem with the timeframes everyone calmed down and we started talking and listening with each other.

Isla : Today I liked discovery because it was fun and interesting learning about the culture's rituals and religions and some of the things that they believed in.

Solomon : Discovery was interesting today because we got closer to our finished project and it all got a lot clearer. This was because we clarified where out civilisation was going to be and the whole story behind it.

Hamish : Today I enjoyed chess because we learned about how to use the timer.

Martin: My discovery project is going very well because everything is working out, I'm finding quite a bit of good information, also everything else is going well too. Today I enjoyed playing against John in lightening chess.

Blog Day 18

Thanks for the warm welcome back this morning everyone. It was great to begin the day with a catch up and a discussion about the direction we will be taking now with our learning.

We woke up the grey matter with some creativity warm ups. Focused on fluency, innovation and originality there were some funny, insightful and sensible alternative uses for shoes/ Hamish designed a shower head from a shoe and Ethan came up with a way of rock climbing with the shoe tied to the end of a rope which is then tossed over a wall or ledge for safety - sorry Ethan you'll have to remind me of the name !!!! With all this inventiveness over, it was time to consider some challenging critical thinking.

We had a 3 part focus to our discovery work today. Note taking for research, making connections and justifying our thinking. We started by revisiting earlier learning on how to effectively collect information when we are researching either from a guest speaker, from a video or from the internet. We focused on key words, linking ideas and making connections and using symbols or abbreviations to make the process quick. We all did a practice and found it quite challenging. We really had to be listening out for the key words and not try to write whole sentences. Luckily this was just a practice and we will have plenty of time and opportunities to work on this skill and put it into action.

The students put these skill straight to work with some work on discovery. We went in a slightly different direction today. All of the groups in the class today were given the same artifact. We examined it, look carefully and then discussed our initial thoughts about its significance. Each group was then asked to link the item to their civilization which is still under construction. This was a good challenge for the students as it encouraged them to clarify some key ideas related to their civilsation such as spiritual beliefs, use of trade routes, and the impact that migration had. As I walked around asking sticky questions to ignite the fires of debate and consideration I overheard some great thinking. Luke was doing some hard thinking about his civilisation and the possible geographical based arguments which help prove their "the statue was from Mongolia" theory. Viviane, Isla and Megan were debating the role that Africa played the settlement and development of their nation. There was the start of some well justified arguments there girls ! Solomon thought of several different theories and questions which he would need to answer before the were able justify their ideas and Vinnie, Elia and Martin were working collaboratively at the computers to flesh out their explanation. Some excellent thinking everyone - I look forward to seeing this project unfold.

This afternoon was talent projects. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with all these exciting talent projects. Hamish and I spent some time developing a talent project together. We are going to work together to use our creative thinking skills and learn more about how to write songs. Hamish led the way in this by spending the rest of the session researching about what made good songs and what leads to good, catchy lyrics. I love a good challenge so lets get into this song writing !

Sol and Elia spent time adding some depth to their Fibonacci project - it is hard to go back to something once we think its finished but worth it in the end.Look at all the new learning you gained !

Martin, Megan and Isla continued to work on their writing projects ( we will do a session together next week ) .

The animators were busy giving each other constructive feedback on their work and sharing ideas for how to add humor, tricks or complexity to their animations.

The science group finished off their projects with Amadeo. It was busy.

It was a great first day back. Everyone worked hard, had some laughs and got into some serious thinking.

I'm looking forward to next week already.

See you then,

Miss Leia

Blog day 17 -

Amadeo - After a couple of weeks with field trips to the paleontology and the archaeology departments today we enjoyed a full day in school! In the morning we started thinking about what perfectionism is with a creative activity in which everyone started a dream diary. It was interesting to see that some people were more perfectionists with drawing than with writing, or the opposite! And some found hard that the pages we were using had squares instead of lines.The instructions I gave were to draw a dream and write the story behind it, and we identified many challenges as we did so. During Discovery time we explored how paleonologists can help us plan for a better future by looking at what has happened in the past. It was interesting to think how we might be able to deal with issues like global warming in the next few hundred years. We also did talent, and chess as usual. At the end of the day everyone wrote some reflections making references to the habits of mind we always keep pointing out. It was a full day of activities that will carry on next week as we have our open day!

Annelise- Today my favourite thing was Dream Diaries. We were each given a quad book to put beside our bed to record our dreams in. The very first thing I put in was a day dream about a hypnotized apple, a giraffe and the bad version of Merlin.

Nico - I really enjoyed the dream activity because I got to go back to when I had my dreams. I also liked how we got to share our dreams and how we got our own dream book. I used the habit of mind of creating, imagining and innovating in this activity. In Discovery we got to keep digging our fossils out of the sand. I used the habit of mind of persisting. In chess I had an exciting game and I won!!! In talent today I completed my animation plan.

Isla - I enjoyed the drawing part of the dream activity. I used persisting when trying to come up with something to write about because I had trouble coming up with it.

Solomon - Today I found it very challenging because the lines in the book we had to draw in made me sick. Amadeo came and helped me by putting yellow paper over the lines. I persisted and did a good job in the end. I enjoyed digging out our fossils. I used managing impulsivity when some of the shells broke but I did a good job with one of the cool shells. It was hard to get my head around their age.

Luke - Today i used metacognition as I had to think about my dreams. I enjoyed sharing as we got a chance to show our dreams and learn about others. When we digged our fossils i took responsible risks as I decided to dig in one particular space. Also during chess I took responsible risks as I tried different moves. I enjoyed trying different moves as I learnt more about how to move.

Elia - Today I used lots of thinking flexibly, thinking interdependently and questioning and posing problems. I enjoyed talent because Solomon and I made an interesting number sequence.

Blog Day 14-
Amadeo- Its been my first full day at Pakiki! It has been great to start the Discovery Topic and see everyone working through all the challenges. It was good to see all the learning styles in the class popping out during the activities, from the analytical to the creative. I look forward to seeing how it all comes together as we keep learning and using our strengths to build a great group that is aware of how we can all add to the learning environment in different ways.

Viviane-It was a good day except that I did not really enjoy making fossils because everyone was so focussed on eating them later the classroom got really noisy and hard to work in I felt people wasted time and I got bored
I played Isla in chess today and we drew. I enjoyed the new discovery topic and even all the people who wasted time would have enjoyed this awesome day.


ETHAN- we made lollie fossils today amadeo is taking over Im in an amazing group for talent!

Solomon- Today it was our first day with Amadeo. I found it new and interesting. Vinnie was two points ahead in chess but I came back to win in the end. I also found interesting our new discovery topic which is to do with paleontology. I am also looking forward to our trip next week.

Isla- I really liked doing the introduction for discovery and making the lolly fossils out of chocolate!

Nico- Yay! Today we got to make gummy worm and chocolate fossils! we got some chocolate and a gummy worm and we put them together in a plastic bag. Then we put them in boiling water for at least an hour. When they were all mushy and weak we forced them together. We then put them in the fridge, and wallah! You have jurassic worm fossils!

Elia - I enjoyed discovering how life was made. I was challenged when thinking about how life developed.

Liam - today i really liked chess and played Amadeo.

Blog Day 13 -
Martin- I made lots of progress on Talent and Michael and I bet John at chess! It was an awesome day!

Luke- Today I enjoyed Talent as we got to do molecules. It was funny as I had neon which is a noble gas. This is funny as neon does combine with any element because it is perfect! It is also sad that Miss Leia is going. Overall it was an awesome day!!!!!!!!!!

Liam- Today we put the finishing touches on our posters in chemistry (with Amadeo)

Annelise- Today was fun @ chess when John played everyone at the same time.

Solomon- I really enjoyed chess today because we did a new thing with John where he played all of us coming round all the tables.I also tried really hard in my maths project by persisting on trying to draw a fibonacci spiral.In the end I tried a different way and I got it done.I thought I did a really thorough assessment task.

Elia- I really enjoyed when John came to play chess with everyone.
vinnie!!!- enjoyed chess because John did it differently and it miss Leia last day sigh... Amadeo is taking over this is his first day teaching
Nico- Today we finished some of our medical research and personal development. We also did a mass chess game with John, our chess teacher and I was unfortunately forced to resign.
michael- today I was quite sad because miss leia was leaving but I was happy because Amadeo was taking over teaching pakki kids. In chess Martin and I beat John.
Isla- Today I finished my talent time project and that was really cool. But its sad that Miss leia is leaving.
Blog - Day 12

As a final summarising experience to our Medical Discoveries unit, the students explored the concept of ethics in research. Thankfully, Milo’s Mum Claire has a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area and challenged our thinking by sharing some ideas around ethics and presenting us with some very interesting scandals from around the world to illustrate the importance of having ethical practices in research.

There was some exciting debate and discussion which took place today as a result of Claire’s session. We followed up with session which involved the students forming ethics committee teams and deciding on the fate of different research proposals. There was some excellent critical thinking which took place in each of the groups. I was particularly impressed by how well the students justified and explained their thinking with clear reasons and explanations and by how well they listened to each other to consider the responses from the other teams. Well done guys, I really enjoyed our discussions and think we've made some great progress in our deep thinking about quite complex ideas.

A quick collection of some of the comments and questions from today’s ethics work included

  • “People should be allowed to conduct experiments on themselves if they are aware of all of the risks. It might go well and other people could be helped too”.
  • “People should not be paid to take part in medical trials or research projects of any kind because some people who really need money might lie to be included in projects or make poor choices for their health due to being in need. That’s not fair”.
  • “Using ethics to decide on research projects is a good idea because it means that everyone has the same rights”.
  • “If there is any doubt about hurting people, maybe the experiment could go ahead but it probably shouldn’t - just to be careful”.
  • “It’s quite hard to decide what is right an wrong sometimes”.
A big thanks to Claire Gallop for joining us this morning and helping us with our new learning.

Other highlights today included talent time. ( Most ) students have just one session left to finish their projects so many were using their time wisely to finish reflections, finish off tasks and some were starting to consider their new projects. I was largely offering advice today where needed because most students were busy bees working away on their talent projects, getting things done to hand in for assessment. I look forward to catching up with the chemistry group next week to hear about the progress they have made in their learning over the term.

The afternoon finished today with a continuation of last week’s personal and social development work which focused on understanding our own giftedness and developing our own ideas around giftedness. The students who have been in the programme for several year worked today towards classifying their own gifted traits into positive and negative and started devising some goals to help them identify the strengths in their giftedness and manage the parts which they find challenging. This will continue next week. As will the activity which our newer students took part in which helped them explore how they have developed their thoughts and understanding of giftedness since their initial understandings at the start of their time at PK. Nico and I had a particularly interesting conversation about the move in his understandings. Nico noticed that his definition was far more complex and less “black and white” than last year when he joined PK. We discussed how lots of people’s thinking about giftedness was regularly challenged and that by considering lots of different ideas and thinking around this, we can develop our own. I wonder what your definition will be by the end of the year Nico?

Next week will be BUSY ! it will be my last day before starting my maternity leave and we have lots of finishing off to do together. Let's all have a good night's sleep and a great breakfast ready to fire on all pistons !

See you then.

Miss Leia

Blog - Day 11
Welcome back after a restful holiday everyone!

Today, while it was a great day full of reflection, creative and critical thinking, it was a sad one as we waved goodbye to Paxton who will be leaving us. We wish Paxton all the best of luck on his adventures overseas.

Here are just sample of student comments from today's class.

Michael : Today I enjoyed the “my giftedness” activity because it told me things about myself that I didn’t already know. It surprised me that I have some creative traits. I liked getting the feedback on my animation from my peers, although Im not going to change it this time, in my next animation, I will focus on my timing , anticipation and use of pose to pose.

Annelise: Today in talent I was a bit pressured. Mostly because there was a limited amount of information (on arsenic) and the atomic eight said 74.9216 and it didn’t say how it was measured. That annoyed me. Today, I’m quite tired because I’ve been on a fortnight and a half long trip on the other side of the world.

Isla: Today, I really enjoyed talent because I got to research Vincent Van Gogh. It was really interesting to learn about his life and how before he was a painter, he wanted to be a preacher. This morning, I liked hearing different people’s ideas about what giftedness is.

Hamish : Today I really enjoyed the gifted lesson and by identifying some of my own gifted traits. I enjoyed learning more about those. Identifying my emotional traits surprised me. I liked using the cards to agree or disagree with statements about giftedness.

Paxton : Today I enjoyed talent time and I got a lot done and practically finished my project and I had fun judging others work. By judging my own and others work I feel that I improved my animation skills and knowledge. The most challenging part was the research this afternoon because it was bringing a lot of work together to be finished. I’ve had a great last day at PK .

Luke : Today I enjoyed talent as we got to finish our posters , mine was about neon. I enjoyed the post it note (personal development activity) I liked that it combined personal thoughts about giftedness and some theory and some computers. I found the personal bit difficult part was writing the draft of my post it note by hand. I was surprised that I had some creative attributes. It was a good day, it was Paxton’s last day and I was happy that I could share his last day with him.

Ethan : Today I really liked today I was really challenged by the research because we had to decide what information to add. I really got further with my talent today and I feel more ready to perform. Today in chess, I beat Liam, he moved his King into where my bishop could go but then couldn’t move it back. I liked my personal development, it was the first time that I learned that I had emotional ( gifted) traits - it surprised me. I thought that I was just creative but actually I was emotional too.

See you all next week folks!

Miss Leia

Blog - Day 10
Anita Dunbier Wednesday .jpgKia ora everyone. We were all surprised that we had arrived at our final PK day for term one.

Our morning started with a presentation from PK parent and Breast Cancer researcher - Dr Anita Dunbier ( see picture above). It was fantastic to meet an inspirational researcher with a real passion for helping people. The children took thorough notes and asked some very good questions about personalized medicine and ethical testing of medication. During our reflection, several students noted the high level of commitment and persistence needed to fulfill ones dreams and passions and to work in the field of cancer research. We discussed motivation and how easy it is to commit to a project which we feel passionate about.

After m tea, we got going on our talent projects. The students revisited their original project brief and made a plan of attack for the upcoming 3 weeks. The animators group worked interdependently critiquing each others' work and making adaptations to the original animation plans, these projects are nearly finished and close to public viewing ! I canit wait! The chemistry group made excellent progress with their personal research about an element. Annelise and I finished the session trying to find out the actual colour of arsenic in the powder form... This remains an unanswered question, Liam was left pondering why carbon was called carbon.... The story telling group spent some valuable time practicing the story telling techniques that Katrain had taught them and finalizing their performance pieces. Isla was drawing like crazy to complete her 6th sketch, we had a short time reflecting together about her improvements over the project and deciding possible next steps to continue developing this area of interest.

Martin had a chance to work alongside Gay Buckingham,Radio NZ short fiction author, on his fantasy themed story. They worked side by side as writers discussing his work and ways that the story could be developed further for publishing. MArtin and G BUckhingham .jpg

This afternoon allowed us to make some excellent progress on our medical discoverers research. Paxton and Luke were adding details to their answers about penicillin, Hamish and Solomon were exploring further the different types of seizures associated with epilepsy while Annelise and Isla were reading about the less appealing symptoms of cholera and how it was spread. The students have assured me that they are one session away from presenting their research information and sharing their findings. I look forward to it.

Sadly our say drew to a close with a farewell to Frances. She has only been with us for one term but has already made a lasting impression on us as a group. We wish Frances all the best with her new adventures in Australia.

I'd like to thank everyone who has helped to make this term so fantastic at PK. I hope that everyone stays safe ( and dry ! ) over the holiday. I will see you all net term. For those of you who have been curious, I am planning to be in class for the first three weeks of next term, Amadeo and I will be working alongside each other to ensure a smooth change over when the time comes.


Miss Leia

Blog Day 9
Vinnie- I hade fun today especially because a teacher from a gifted school in Wellington she was extremely nice and helpful I loved learning about conjectures and writing why they are interesting. :)

Hamish- i really enjoyed research today because we got to start our research :}

Martin- Today I learned a lot at everything! I really enjoyed chess ( that means I enjoyed it more than usual because I always like it ) and Talent was very interesting. I am doing my introduction to my story again and it's a lot better. Today was challenging.

Elia- Today I enjoyed talent because because I have nearly finished my conjecture. That was hard!

Luke- I enjoyed Talent today because we got to make a model of our elements. I made a model of Neon's atom. It had 10 electrons and I had only two circles as Neon is a noble gas. We made our nucleus out of a small stone and our electrons were made out of leaves or grass!
Also I liked Creativity Warm Up as we got to do the 3 answer questions. I tried to use a variety of answers. One funny bit was when we had to find an alternative use for a hospital bed I said that it could be used as a steeplechase jump, an obstacle in an obstacle course where people have to dodge and a weight for weightlifting in competitions. Overall I had an awesome day and it was totally worth coming here rather than normal school!

Paxton - Today I enjoyed Talent Time because I worked a whole lot on my animation. I am almost done - and I nearly have 1000 frames! My goal next week is exactly that - to reach 1000 frames. And maybe even finish my animation!
Today I also enjoyed the Creativity warm up because I got the chance to release my almost infinite supply of ideas. I got to think of some new crazes for food for breakfast, and my choices included JELLY BEANS!
Overall, I entirely enjoyed today. Probably one of my favourite weeks EVER in Pakiki this year!

Isla - Today drawing dolphins with shadows was really hard and I found it challenging but overall today has been great!

Viviane - Today in Chemistry we made atoms I made Zinc with 30 electrons the electrons were leaves and the Nucleus was a rock it was really fun!

Frances- Today with Amedeo we made atoms and I made lithium and it had 17 electrons on it, we also had a fun time discusing matters of intelligence!

Nico-Today I enjoyed talent because I got to work on my animation. It is almost finished!

Blog day 8
PAXTON - Today I enjoyed Medical Discoveries because Professor Stephen Robertson came. He taught us about chromosomes, and how babies are made with genes and DNA. He also talked about a family that had a disease: half of the baby boys were dying! So we watched a video of how he went up to Oxford, talked to some advanced scientists, and used these Habits of Mind to find the answer:

1. Applying past knowledge to new situations

2. Striving for accuracy

3. And most of all... PERSISTING!

I was kind of annoyed that we didn’t get to do Talent Time today. But at least we get an hour and a half of it next week!

Overall, today was quite fun. I would have DEFINITELY chosen this over normal school.

Michael - today I enjoyed that Dr. Stephen Robertson came and I’ll get his autograph. It was cool that we learned about haemophilia and Queen Victoria passed it down generations.


FRANCES-Today I enjoyed the medical lecture with professor Stephen Robertson because it was very intresting and educational and I got his autograph!!

NICO-Today I enjoyed meeting Dr Stephen Robertson and learning some new things about DNA and genes.

Luke- Today I enjoyed the talk Professor Stephen Robertson gave. I liked this because we got to talk about genes and we got to question about when he did something and helped a family where their male children were born with bones that weren’t so strong. He told us about how he went to Oxford University and discovered that there was a ONE letter difference in the MILLIONS of letters in DNA.
Overall I really liked today and I gained lots of new knowledge.

Elia-Today I enjoyed that Dr Stephen Robertson came and talk to us. It was very interesting
how the disease worked. It was amazing that it took 7 whole years to find that it was a disease. The thing I liked the most was learning how the disease worked.

Martin- Today I liked learning about haemophilia and Doctor Robertson’s talk. I also liked chess.

Blog - Day 7

Liam- Today was interesting, chemistry was exciting. But most of the day was the same as most days

Frances- I thought that talent with Amedeo was very fun because we got to put dry ice in balloons to self-inflate them. I also really liked chess.

Luke Geddes - Today I liked Chemistry because we got to put dry ice in balloons. I liked this because they self inflated with the gasses coming off the ice. Our balloons ended up popping as we couldn't stop them inflating. After the first ones popped everyone tried to pop the balloons. Also I liked the question game as we had to use our brains flexibly to be able to answer in a question and resist the temptation of answering in a normal answer. Also I found humour in when Paxton and I made a forever lasting conversation that we just had to stop in the end!

Paxton Hall - Today I enjoyed Talent Time because we (Michael, Nico and I) got to finish our epicly awesome animator's dictionary. We also all got to start on our official good copies of our animations! I was so excited when I first found out about this. I also enjoyed playing the Question Game because Luke and I started a long conversation: "Why on Earth are you asking that?" "Why on MARS are you asking that?" "Why on JUPITER are you asking that?" "Why on SATURN are you asking that?" "Why on NEPTUNE are you asking that?" "Why did you skip Uranus?". Anyway, funny stuff like that. We were totally using the "Finding Humour" habit of mind when we did that. My summary of today in one word is: REALLY-TOTALLY-EXTRA-VERY-EPIC-AWESOMENESS!
Nico-I enjoyed talent time because Paxton, Michael and I finished our animators dictionary. I also enjoyed chess.
Isla- I thought that talent was really hard because I had to draw lots of dolphin tails and I found that quite annoying and could not always get the tails right.I also liked chess and I had to think flexibly to get all of the moves right.I did beat the person i was playing.
Ethan- I liked talent because i was taught some tricks with string.
Milo-I liked doing the medical discovery because that kind of stuff is my interest
Elia- The very best thing about today was talent (math) because I made my very own conjecture. I also liked chess because my opponent was very challenging.
Martin- I progressed loads today in my talent project, which is writing. I also enjoyed chess.

Michael- today I enjoyed doing discovery because we got to make a timeline and I also enjoyed doing the QUESTION GAME even though we didn't have a competitive game.
Annelise-Today I enjoyed talent.(Chemistry) We put dry ice in balloons and they inflated and got so large they exploded. I also enjoyed the Question Game.
Solomon- today I really enjoyed my talent time project (maths) and also found it a wee bit challenging.It was hard because I had to test different mathematicians conjectures.
Blog- Day 6
Luke - Today I enjoyed tech challenge as we had to think creatively and original. Also in Talent we had to work on the Periodic table and chose one element to work on. I chose Neon as it is cool because it is very flashy. Next week I am looking forward to working with dry ice.

Annelise - Today I enjoyed Talent. I found this a bit challenging because we were learning about the periodic table and we had to chose ONE element, that we were going to find out about. Next week we will find out more about our elements and work with dry ice.

Isla - Today I liked Talent because it was really challenging to draw the tail of the dolphin i was tying to draw but,it was still really awesome

Frances- Today I really enjoyed talent groups with Amedeo because we got to watch magnesium dissolve to make hydrogen. We also got to choose an element [our favourite!] This was quite tricky as we were only allowed to choose ONE ELEMENT!! But overall everything was great!

michael today I enjoyed talent because our dictionary is going so well. next week on talent I will finish the dictionary along with paxton and nico. I felt challenged with the tech challenge.

Nico-Today I enjoyed talent because it was challenging and fun.

PAXTON - Today I enjoyed Talent Time because we got loads of progress done on our new animator's dictionary. Nico, Michael and I also found it challenging because there was a lot of research to be done. Next week I look forward to finishing the animator's dictionary and getting my Stykz started.

SOLOMON -Today I didn't really enjoy our medical discoveries discussion because it made me feel sick. But I did enjoy talent time because I got to learn new things about maths and test conjectures.

Elia- The thing I liked the most was talent because we got to test Collartz conjecture (maths). Next week I would like to play a game of chess because I didn't play a game last week.
Blog - Day 5

Hi everyone, due to the server being worked on today, the children were unable to jump onto the blog to share their thoughts. So, you just get a recount of the day from my perspective. I'll do my best.

Our morning started with some exploratory activities related to Discovery. Amadeo joined us for the morning and the students were able to experiment with water and surface tension - real life discoveries. Alongside this activity, the students were reflecting about the processes which they were using to make discoveries and develop theories. Observing, questioning, reflecting, applying past knowledge and thinking interdependently were all employed and seen as useful strategies to help build new understanding of these concepts. Amadeo helped the students with their understanding of water molecules with a very exciting hand holding demonstration. Even I had a great morning with some new learning. Great times!

To continue our morning of Discovery, we took a language approach next and worked in partners to unpack some quotes about discovery. There were some interesting ideas shared in the quotes and the students were asked to think about their meaning and record whether they agreed or disagreed. A personal favourite was and AA Milne quote which ( from my memory ) was something like... - One of the greatest things about being disorganised was making regular new discoveries. I enjoyed my discussion with Elia about the possible disadvantages to being disorganized versus rediscovering things which we thought we had lost. I tried not to look too closely at the teacher desk when I thought about disorganisation ! Annelise, Frances and I discussed a quote together which encouraged taking responsible risks in order to embrace the new and the challenging in search of new discoveries. I wonder if this is something that discoverers to deliberately or instinctively? hhhm

On to Talent Development and the Chemistry group were busy in the staffroom continuing their learning about the periodic table of elements by working with hydrogen and helium - I believe there were some explosions but no windows were rattled in the process of this learning I have been assured. The animation group worked flexibly around not being able to access the internet and instead started developing the storyline for their animations. Next week they will have a chance to explore more specific elements of animations and to critique other kids animations online. The maths group worked on some problem solving and pattern identification which helped them make their own conjectures about sets of numbers - mathematicians at work. Isla and I worked together to help confirm the theme of her art project and then she set about with her first dolphin sketch to begin her portfolio. I look forward to watching how this work develops as the weeks go by.

This afternoon, the class started with a quick reflection about Talent Development project they are working on then it was on to developing a class treaty. An excellent robust discussion took place about the type of respect which we should be able to expect from each other as learners together. Some great suggestions were offered and Frances made some great suggestion to classify the expectations into groups which encompassed more than one behaviour. Great thinking Frances. It was great to see that many of the students included playground behaviour as part of their agreed treaty and were determined to self manage their issues. A great democratic process kids.

We finished the afternoon with a creative thinking activity where the students used their skills of synthesis, fluency and elaboration to create a completely new invention from a 2 - 3 completely random items. Viviane developed an interesting trolley to move suitcases around in the rain, Liam was thinking about different energy sources for computer s and Luke made a range of robotic based designs one of which played string instruments live for an audience. I promised prizes for those people who were really applying their full effort and PK attitude but I had trouble picking just through observation and didn't have time to look thoroughly at everyone' s designs. I have brought your designs home to take a look at the level of thinking evident in the designs. I look forward to sharing the results of my thoughts next week.

Until then, take care and keep on learning !

Miss Leia

BLOG - Day 4
hamish-today i liked chess cause i won twice and had to think about my moves
Luke Geddes-5th of March 2014. I enjoyed Talent as we got to do lots on the Periodic Table of Elements. Also we found humour as Frances accidently said Periodic Table of Elephants! Also Iiked the 'Vore' activity as I was a Crickavore. I ended up finishing my 'Vore' in 'Catch up Time' . Yay!!!!!!!!!!
Frances-today I most enjoyed science with Amedao because we found a lot of humour when I accidently said elephant instead of element!

Nico-5 march 2014 I enjoyed philosophy because it was interesting and I like how we were encouraged to think deeply.

Vinnie gable-5 march 2014 i quite liked the P4C active because i like arguing my case and is was great experience than you for going on our blog :)

I thought that our philosophy discussion was interesting because we could come up with different ideas, I also liked chess because I won!!!!!!-by solomon

Isla-Today i really like talent time because i got to start my drawing thing and that was really fun!

Elia-Today I liked talent because I learnt about prime numbers.
Paxton Hall - 5th March 2014. Today I enjoyed philosophy because I like to justify and reason my comments. I also liked "Catch Up Time" because I got to finish my Minecraftavore mini-poster, and it was very fun to draw stuff from Minecraft on it

michael- today i enjoyed p4c and the discussion about smartness between discoverers and inventors.
Blog Wednesday - Day 3

Today, I decided to hand over the blog to the students so ... here it is

Michael- today I really enjoyed chess because I developed the pawn&rook game. I felt challenged when I thought I was going to lose against Miss Leia. Today, I learnt that I work best when I work in a quiet and peaceful environment.

Frances- today I enjoyed doing the creativity activity and the chess, I WON, it is really fun to learn a new move every week! The creativity task was a bit challenging because it took a while for me to decide what to put on my island

Megan- today I really enjoyed chess because chess is my favorite game.

Today, for some reason just i loved chess (maybe because i never got to finish my game?)

Today I enjoyed the island activity because it involved lots of creativity and thinking.-Milo

Ethan - Today I really liked the creativity design work when I got to design a T shirt about Habits of Mind, I liked it because I liked being creative, I also liked the creativity task when we were allowed to create an island.

Hamish - I liked the T shirt design activity because I got to be as creative as possible and it wasn't too challenging. Today I didn't like the island activity because it was too challenging and I didn't understand what to do at the start, but I asked the teacher and then I understood better.

Martin- today I really enjoyed everything! It was really interesting.

Today I liked our habits of mind activity because we got to be creative and have new ideas about something already answered. I thought the creativity was fun because we could create something new. -Sololomomonon

Elia- Today was my first day of Pakiki Kids. The thing I liked the most today was creating my own island. The other things I liked doing were designing my own t shirt, playing chess and talking about challenge.

Blog Wednesday - Day 2

Kia ora everyone.

Great to see everyone both returning students and our new classmates back with smiling faces for Day 2 at PK Wednesday. Today felt like many of the students were settling into 2014 and were finding their place in this year’s Wednesday’s class. Great to see nearly everyone ready to give the day their all from the moment they arrived. The blog today is a quick run down of today’s excitement from my perspective. Over the next few weeks, I will be starting to hand over the blog to the students so that they can give you their thoughts and recounts from their experiences.

We started off the day with a creativity warm up where the students were asked to synthesise different hobbies and sports to create new Olympic style sports. Michael created some interesting sports which included shark wrestling - sounds dangerous !! Isla combined football and equestrian and Martin took several different combat sports and martial arts and created a sport which involved attacking stuffed dummies. The start of a crazy Olympics here ! What great creativity !

Much of the morning was spent reacquainting ourselves with the Habits of Mind and helping our new students learn all about how these nifty Habits can help us in situations where we are not necessarily sure of what we should do, how to think or what decision to make.. After having taken the habits wall display down, the students and I worked together to create a new and personalised version of still “dramatic” images. The idea of the images was for the students to act, create and become the habit, really think about what it means and how it might be recreated using facial gestures and body language. Once the students and their partners had decided on a pose, a quick photograph was taken and will be placed on the wall over the next few weeks. Hence there will be a permanent reminder of the habits and what they personally mean to the students. I’m looking forward to embedding these habits more in our Wednesday class over the next few weeks.

The creativity continued throughout the day while the students continued working on their self reflective “vore activity” Today I noticed many students thinking more deeply about the kind of person they are, their likes, needs for learning and what fuels them during their day. Some great drawings were created to display the vores with many students working hard to reach their own personal best. I will be searching for a nice place on the wall for these pictures once they are all finished so that the students can proudly share who they are with the world. (Well their peers at least)

John's chess lesson today gave us the opportunity to learn a new variation of the pawn game. Annelise and Paxton had quite a lengthly game of this new style of mini game, Which included several retracted resignations, while Michael and Solomon had a very long game of chess which stretched almost to the end of lunchtime and also included resignations. I on the other hand have come home feeling quite reflective about how I tend to use the pawns on the board and some of my own common goofs. Watch our kids I’ll be a force to be reckoned with by next term !

After a well deserved rest at lunchtime the students got stuck in to some deeper thinking about the Big Ideas associated with discovery. Some suggested generalisations were discussed and there was some interesting points of disagreement raised with some even more interesting counter examples presented. Some specific discoveries were analysed and a PMI (Plus, Minus and Interesting) analysis chart helped the students think more deeply about the potential consequences of discoveries. Fire was chosen as a discovery to think more deeply and there were some great points raised on both sides of the register. I challenge you all to discuss this as a whanau at home and see what potential consequences you can come up with for different discoveries.

Take care everyone,


Blog Wednesday - Day 1

Kia ora and welcome to everyone in our new Wednesday 2014 Pakiki class.

It was awesome to see so many bright, smily and energetic faces arrive for the first day of Pakiki. After our Mihi Whakatau (official welcome) with the North East Valley Normal school whanau we were straight into it.

A little time was spent introducing everyone, sharing a little something about ourselves then it was onto Content work. The students explored the concept "Discovery". Could we define what a discovery was? Michael and Luke jumped at the challenge and started the ball rolling by making suggestions that discoveries need to uncover something new. This started an interesting debate about discovering and whether or not something had been discovered if it was something new to you but you were not the first person to discover it. Luke started to develop some categories to classify different types of discoveries which included exploring, inventions and discoveries of new knowledge (A great start to developing Big Ideas Luke ! ). The group continued discussing and defining discovery. I look forward to continuing this discussion as we work towards exploring more Big Ideas.

After the students minds were warmed they became discoverers themselves. By using inductive reasoning which helps big ideas and themes emerge from small details, the children created a profile of a person and their life from a small bag of artefacts that belong to the (imaginary) person. Golf tees, foreign currency, kids toys, hiking boots and snorkelling masks helped the students make and question assumptions about their mystery person. It was fantastic to hear so many conversations between students which involved justification of assumptions and different ideas evolving. A great start to thinking at a deeper level this year.

After all of this thinking, I asked the students to turn their thinking inwards and reflect on themselves as learners and as individuals. While many students were familiar with learning styles and the notion that we might process information differently than the person sitting next to us... today I wanted to focus on decision that we can make to help us with new learning, following instructions and remembering things. The class helped me form a visual mind map almost entirely in images of all of the tricks and and tools that we could think of which would could help people with different learning styles. We will add with more tools as we develop our learning around this area.

After a frustrating inside lunch we had our first tech challenge for the year. The students started with a brief lesson about periscopes, mirrors and how light travels. They were then set to work in groups to make their own persiscope from basic and limited resources. This proved to be a tough challenge and many groups worked very hard together to embrace challenge, experiment, think flexibly, elaborate their ideas and evaluate the effectiveness of their ideas. With a bit of extra guidance and some alternative design examples on the screen by the end of the day, there were four functioning periscopes. Well done kids !

Today was a great, busy, challenging and new day for us all. I hope you are all looking as forward to next week as I am.

See you soon,