Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Concert 2

We had another awesome lunchtime concert yesterday. There were performances from the orchestra, the singing group, and Ruma Kokako. Well done guys, I was so impressed. The Ruma Kokako piece was a piece based on something Joshua made up. Thank you Bevan. Awesome!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Lunchtime concert

Bevan and Mrs May have been doing some awesome work teaching music and dance at school and the students put on a concert at lunch to display it. Well done guys, awesome!

What to do with 1 million dollars.

We had some great discussion today around the above scenario. There was lots of discussion around the benefits and disadvantages of the different options. This included the value of things rising, when you will most need the money, emergencies, experiences vs things, accrued interest, long term and short term thinking, etc. There was a spread of decisions however the one with the most votes was the 20 year option with allowance for 2 access times (5% interest per year).

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Ag day

What a great agricultural day we had today. Well done to those with lambs, kids, or calves. You put in so much work and it was great to see the relationship you had with your animals.

Well done to those who had completed alternative challenges. There were some awesome electronic constructions, textiles, and a garden sculpture. Thank you for all your help being runners and helpers with the Ag day rings and the PTA.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Te Pahu Challenge - SAIL

Half the class went sailing today for the Te Pahu Challenge (the other half will go this Friday). It was such an awesome day with perfect wind and weather. It was a challenge at first but the students quickly picked up the skills and learnt to use the wind and rudder to move around the lake. There was new language to learn such as mainsheet, tack, centreboard, and boom. They learnt to tie knots, set up the sail, turn a capsized boat upright (with varying success!), work as a team, and duck to avoid getting hit by the boom! well done guys. You can be proud of yourselves.

Thank you to the coaches from the Volvo Give it a go programme. There is a free open day at the Ngaroto club on the 28th October if anyone wants another turn.


Thursday, 28 September 2017

Solar or wind?

The students have mostly finished their Solar or Wind Power for Te Pahu project. It proved to be quite challenging both in the complex maths and getting the required information. It was really interesting to see the differences between solar and wind and in general it was quite clear that solar is a more viable option for Te Pahu School. Creating an infographic was a new thing and there was plenty to learn around selection of content and layout. It is something we will come back to as it proved quite challenging.


Friday, 22 September 2017

Scale - accuracy matters!

Some of the students have been learning about scale and are completing a task which involves measuring the classroom and doing a scale drawing of the floor plan. They had to work out what units of measurement to use and an appropriate scale. They then had to draw it accurately and work out the carpet and lino areas.

This has been challenging and has really shown the importance of accuracy. The students have compared their drawings and identified where things are different and why.  Well done guys! You are learning such valuable skills. Here are a few of the finished ones.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Student teachers

The above article shows just how beneficial teaching others can be for your own understanding. At the moment some students have been consolidating their understanding of different writing skills and planning a lesson to teach some of their classmates the skill.

So far Lola and Antony have each run a lesson with 3 students on personification. Well done guys! You had a good clear understanding of personification and taught your classmates in a really clear way.

I look forward to more students being teachers!


The Te Pahu Landcare group kindly donated some plants to the school. The seniors got to plant them along the fence line below the courts. It is great to be a part of something that will be here for generations.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017


If NZ's prime-minister walked into room 7 I would shake his hand and say hi. If anyone entered our room I would give them the same greeting. Most cultures in the world are not like that. Most cultures in the world have different vocabulary and processes for greeting people of different standing, age, or gender. Today we looked at the Maori powhiri. The ceremony used by Maori to welcome someone or a group of people.

Traditionally when a group approached a marae the visit would have been unexpected and the tangata whenua (hosts) would not know if the manuhiri (visitors) were going to attack them or whether they friendly. The powhiri was used to establish if the manuhiri were friend or foe. Once this was found out then the tangata whenua would formally welcome them, establish their connections with each other, and eventually breathe the same air (hongi - pressing of noses).

The powhiri was and is a powerful way of making people feel welcome. 'Whanaungatanga' (A sense of belonging) and 'Manaakitanga' (the ability to show love and make people feel welcome) are guiding values in the powhiri.

Here is a video of a powhiri. It is in English so we get a sense of what is said during a powhiri.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Maori Language Week

It is Maori language week and we have started off by looking at why it is important for ALL children (Maori, European, and other cultures) to learn Te Reo. Maori culture is part of our identity as New Zealanders. We are all richer if we understand our shared history and shared identity. We also looked at how knowledge about a language and culture develops further pride in it as part of our identity.

We also looked at the haka, its origins and the different purposes of them.

We will be looking at some key Maori terms such as 'Mana' that are not easily translated into a single English word. We will also look at 'Whanaungatanga' (A sense of belonging) and 'Manaakitanga' (the ability to show love and make people feel welcome). We will also spend time on vowel sounds and common blends with a focus on pronouncing place names correctly.

Here are a few videos we are using to help us:

Friday, 8 September 2017

The piano - Creative writing

Here are a few sections taken from a few of our students' creative writing. Well done guys - some outstanding writing!

Ieuan - ...Hiding behind a tree I hear a strange sound, a melodic sound of pain and sorrow, heartache and loss. Moving out from behind the tree I see it. In the middle of no man’s land stands a piano with a soldier playing it. His fingers weave a tale of sadness that could never be described. The screams of jets and bang of bullets dissipated in this melodic moment. ...

Finn - ...The tune was soft, like grass on a summers day. It filled me with warmth, making my mind drift back to my childhood. The melody carried itself through the trees, causing soldiers to look up in confusion. He ignored them, and continued to play. His fingers were long and swift, like a magician, whizzing across the keys at a perfect pace. When his song stopped, it seemed all war had stopped. It was silent...

Sean - The smell of smoke was thick in the cool morning air. For a moment every thing seemed peaceful, but like many other mornings before it would not last. ... ...The gunfire began to sound again. I ran as fast as I could to the safety of my dugout. But then I heard something sweet and majestic, it was drawing me I could not stop my legs from walking to the song. Slowly I broke into a run and there it was a solitary piano in the middle of a single square of ground. ...

Sydney - ...The gust of wind made the trees shiver as if they are alive. I went around one of the trees… There one of the Russian soldiers was standing right next to a piano. I had a clear shot. But something stopped me. I was curious about what he was going to do. I waited. Then he started to play. The piece was familiar....

Jack E - ...Paths made by tears on his ash stricken face snake out like tree roots. His eyes red from crying. Suddenly he reaches out and hugs me with his bloody arms, sobbing into my now wet shoulder....

Tabitha - The distant crackle of gunfire and whistling bullets over ride my eardrums. I advance, careful to step in only the steps of my fellow soldiers. Feeling depressed about the situation I'm in, I abandon the group for a while, mental health break, as my friends call it.  Trudging through the piled snow, I am finally able to inhale lungfuls of better-than-on-the-battlegrounds air. It's silent. But only for a second.... ... The sight before me is the polar opposite of what I would've expected. A Nazi soldier playing a beautiful Beethoven piece. Listening intently, I creep closer....

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Dirty Beards and Ugly Feet

We had an entertaining literacy session with lots of screwed up faces and disgusted children. We listened to and read the opening chapter of Roald Dahl's The Twits. Roald Dahl gives a grotty description of men with beards. We discussed strategies he used to get the disgust reaction from his readers. This included contrast, vocabulary, specific detail, and examples. The students then had a go at getting a disgust reaction by using these strategies in some of their own writing. Their prompt was the photo below of ugly feet.

Here are a few sentences pulled out from their descriptions:

Tabitha - Curling over and under, wrinkly and cracked, toes no one ever wants to come across. 

KiranHe has abnormally long and crooked toes that don’t fit into his socks. So to solve that he cuts holes in his socks so all you see is his long mangled toes sticking out.

Cameron - Mr. Stout had warts mounted on every joint of his vile dried up toes. His repulsive rectangular toenails clung upon the sea of dry skin of which he called toes. ...Mr Stout never really seemed to mind just how beastly his feet were, but anyone who came near him would be greeted by a nauseating smell ...

Campbell -  If you look closely (Though I’m not sure you’d want to) then you can see things like dirt, dust, and dead insects jammed up her toenails. 

Jack K - He was no ordinary kid. His feet were rough, green, one toe folded in and another toe stuck out.

Te Pahu Challenge - SNOW

We had a perfect day at Whakapapa on Monday. Perfect in in every way - plenty of sun and plenty of fun. My highlight was seeing the first timers go from, lets say, less than capable, to skiers and boarders who could quite confidently get down the slopes. I know it required perseverance guys and I am so glad you did as your reaped the rewards. Some of you picked it up so naturally and progressed heaps in one day. I imagine for some of you this would have been the first day of many to come. I am looking forward to your reflections on your blogs and what tips you would give to others learning to ski or board.

Crashes of the day would have to go to Stephanie and Deegan.

'Most cruel to the teacher award' goes to Lola for the amount of snow I received down my back and in my face. The shot of the day does have to go to Zane though with a perfect one while I had my mouth open.

'Caught snoozing on the snow award' goes to Josh!

Straight-line speedster would have to be Balii and Deegan.

The most 'in control-out of control-in control' award goes to Cameron.

The 'where's my ski' award goes to Zachary.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Descriptive writing

We have been learning to use language features in our writing. We have looked at a some examples of similes and metaphors. We have also been looking at carefully selecting senses that will effectively take a reader to the setting. We read this description from the Wizard of OZ and the students wrote a similar description on one of the above photos.

Here are a few sentences from their descriptions.

Antony(Desert) -   The fiery sphere in the sky brings a yellow glow like a candle in a dark room.

Bonnie (Snow) - Up ahead the clearing was filled with radiating golden light. Pine trees topped with snow, glistened in the early morning glow. Hard ice crunched underfoot as I walked. Long tree limbs reached down to me as I ambled underneath them. Every now and then there was a small thud as a pile of snow tumbled off a branch, and hit the soft ground below.

Finn (Desert) - Scorching wind scratched across my damaged lips as I trudged through the barren wasteland. The ground cracked beneath me, making my walking jagged and uneven. Sun rays cast a orange glow to the looming mountain ahead, making the land seem tinged with orange fire.

Lola (Snow) - Withering pines stoop over the blanketed ground, like an old woman, all hunched over.

Jack E (Snow) - The last smear of light disappears behind the snow covered branches.

Ewan (Forest) - The forest was doused with an everlasting shower of rain. 

Ieuan (Desert) - I can taste sand in my mouth a gritty stoney mixture of glass and rock I spit out as much as I can and move on.

Te Pahu School electricity generation?

The students are currently doing the below project in pairs. They are looking at whether solar or wind power could be a possibility at Te Pahu school. We have explored how many kilowatts the school uses and how much it costs per year. We are looking to reduce that cost.

So some students are researching maximum and average wind speeds in Te Pahu, different wind turbines and their kilowatts per hour capacity, prices, possible locations, and maintenance costs. Other students are identifying the premium roof angles and locations to harness the most solar energy. They are also looking into the prices and kilowatt production of different solar systems available here in NZ.

There is loads of learning going on in many areas including maths, science, and literacy. I am really looking forward to the results.

A moral and ethics discussion

We had a fascinating ethics discussion around animals, food, and animal testing.

We discussed the statement - Would it be justifiable to whip pigs to death if it produced better tasting pork? This elicited some strong responses from students and led to some great discussion around treatment of animals. We discussed if we hold the same view for all animals, including flies and ants. It was interesting to look at peoples reasons for their opinions.

We learnt the term 'devils advocate' which means to argue the opposite position in a debate to get people to think carefully through their opinions. I played this role in our discussion.

We then watched the below animation and discussed animal testing and if, or when, it is OK. We also discussed how life could be different now if animal testing had never been allowed.

An interesting follow up question would be Will different cultures have different opinions on animal ethics? Why?

Champion Orators!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017


Well done Ruma Kokako. You can ALL be really proud of what you produced in your speech this year. I was really impressed by the quality of writing and the depth of thought that went into your topics. Some of you have a real natural stage presence and confidence in public speaking (Even if you don't feel confident). It was a real challenge choosing who would go through to the finals which is a real testament to how well you all did. It was so good to see how encouraging you were of each other too which shows real maturity.

Here are the results from the finals:

Year 7
1st - Josiah
2nd - Deegan
3rd - Sydney and Jack E

Year 8 
1st - Ieuan
2nd - Cameron
3rd - Jorja
Highly Commended - Kiran

Friday, 25 August 2017

The world of refugees

The class got a powerful insight into the lives of refugees yesterday. We watched a documentary of two people who went and lived for a month in a Jordanian refugee camp for Syrian refugees. They got to hear the stories of people who had to flee Syria. It was emotional hearing about the hardships that adults and children had to live through. It was striking how friendly and accepting the refugees were of the two Americans. On the last day they were all discussing together how they were from completely different cultures, but after they had spent time together they could see how similar they were.

We had a great discussion afterwards which was centered around the long term consequences for refugees as well as how lucky we are in NZ. The average length of time people are in refugee camps is 17 years.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Waikato Science Fair

A massive congratulations to all those who entered the Waikato Science Fair. We had 8 boards entered and all students can be proud of the quality of their entry.

A special congratulations goes to 6 students who received awards. You worked hard on these guys and deserve the results you got. Well done Te Pahu School.

Parents - Can you do it?

In maths we have been covering a variety of things but most students have a particular focus on geometry. We have done lots on area, perimeter, and volume.  Here are a couple of worksheets some students have been working on. Can you solve the problems? Ask your child if they can explain how to do it.

A number of students have been working with scale (Map scales, scale models, etc). They are currently drawing a scale floor plan of our classroom. They have to identify an appropriate scale and carefully measure angles on their drawing. They then have to identify the exact area of carpet and lino required for our floor.

Other students have been learning about equivalent fractions (fractions of equal value) and converting fractions to decimals. Parents make sure you ask your children to show you an example of what they have been learning.