Wednesday, 31 August 2016


We are into our 4th Week of #NZreadaloud6TGoT.
Our story The Ghosts of Tarawera by Sue Copsey has provided us with MANY opportunities for learner driven inquiries.
What are the Pink and White Terraces?
What is a 'fumerole'?
Who was Guide Sophia?
What is the Buried Village?
What is the Taupo Volcanic Zone?
What are igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks?
What does a volcanologist do?
What is a seismograph?
What is 'paranormal activity'?

Our language wall is getting full ... learning about personification and similes in context helps our kids understand how they impact the reader and why they are powerful to use in their own writing.

Open Evening saw the kids dressing up as their favourite characters from the story. What fun we had sharing our passion for #NZreadaloud with our community as they came and visited our room. The kids from Room 11 created this amazing mural for the night with the kids photos across the bottom in character!

Thanks to Miss Kersley and Mr Tavendale and a group of kids, we even had a 'volcanic zone' in our room for the night ... the dry ice and vinegar and baking soda worked a treat to create some atmosphere.

It has provided opportunities for collaborative learning ... with kids across New Zealand AND the author. This Storify includes nearly 600 tweets from our chat yesterday. Such a wonderful chance to ask Sue Copsey some questions and to have some discussion with other kids about what they are thinking.

This is the last #NZreadaloud for the year as during Term 4 we participate in The Global Read Aloud. I have already connected with a class in Canada, a class in Wisconsin and a class in NZ for this collaborative learning experience. The #GRA16 starts in early October.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Writing a back story!

Over the last couple of weeks we have been learning about how to write a 'back story' for a character in a story. This idea came from our visit from Des Hunt and we thought we would have a go writing Anastasia's back story.

The kids really got into it and have written some detailed back stories. Here are two for you to read...

Sup, I’m Anastacia, by the way before you get it wrong, it’s pronounced ‘star’ cia not ‘stay’ cia. Because I’m a STAR. Geddit. I’m from Los Angeles, I went to a private school there. Despite all those kids being spoilt by their rich parents I still had all the latest fashion, way before them. Ha, to have them call “me” spoilt, they were just jealous. I was born into a regular family as the only child in 2003, I grew up with a lot of pets. I have my pony, Stella. My cat Skip, and my pet rabbits Diamond, Fluffy, and Coco. Luckily they are being looked after by our family butler back in L.A, but I still miss them. Anyway, most of our holidays are to either places around America, but this is the first time I have left the country for a trip. I expected it to be like one of those tropical islands like on tv and the internet, but I didn’t expect to be visiting a volcano spotted island with hair ruining steam and pools of weird bubbling mud. But in some ways, it felt better to meet some friends and visit type of place that was new. Tropical countries are always talked about online, but not countries like this. VIsiting a new place was good, and I enjoyed it more than I expected.

That’s what made my first holiday away from America the best I will ever have.
By Jack

Hello my name is Anastasia and i was born in L.A. I am a 11 year old girl and recently moved to New Zealand for my dad's career. My mother chose my name Anastasia Paige Rae, she said that I would suit it. At first my father disagreed with her but he had Gabriella Leigh Duff and I didn't want that so my father agreed.
I am really talkative mum says my voice is like a broken record. My mum’s  a teacher at my school I reckon it’s a bit awkward having my mum teach at the same school as where I am.
My Father works as a movie director so that’s how I can see movies before they even come out.
At school I am the leader of my crew, All my friends adore me, I am all the teacher’s favourite well that’s what I think. When I first came to school I thought I was going to be a loner but then I made a lot of friends, I have even made a Best friend named Beckie. We hang out everyday and since then we became best friends. She asked me if I wanted to go on a trip with her and her family in Rotorua. I was a bit scared to say no but my Mom said just go it will be fun. So I went, When we arrived I stepped out the car and the smell “Pewww” it stinks like a dead seal. After awhile we got back in the car and drove to the cabin. We have arrived Beckie’s Mom had said. It was a big suprise me thinking it will be a condo like they are in L.A but not even. I asked for the Wifi password and the worst response i could have gotten, I got it. Beckie's mum had said “Sorry darling we don’t have internet here” I froze i almost had a tear drop coming out of my eye.   
By Grace


Thursday, 11 August 2016


This week saw the start of #NZreadaloud6TGoT...

The Ghosts of Tarawera by Sue Copsey is our story for the next 6 weeks. Another fabulous book from another fabulous New Zealand author.

The first 3 Chapters have been captivating! I have enjoyed bringing out my 'American' accent when reading 'Anast-arrrrr-sia's' lines ... this character being the topic for our writing sessions at the moment with the kids writing her 'back story' after learning about the importance of this when creating characters for a novel (Des Hunt). 

Here is Sharn's version of her ... (I am sure there will be many others on the way!)

So many vivid language features so far too, here are a few...

pg 33 "It was like a cauldron of boiling chocolate..."

pg 36 "... their faces tomato red."

pg 36 "The sky was empty of clouds apart from a few wisps still hugging the summit of Mount Tarawera". 

Here is our 'note taking' from today ... 

It is looking like Rocky will be a fun character too. As Jack said to me today "Hey Ms T... Rocky is really a walking pun!" it!

His real name is Rufus, he is a volcanologist, he has pets called Iggy (igneous), Seddy (sedimentary), and Morph (metamorphic), he likes to eat rock cakes, has Geology Rocks on his coffee mug, and has a number plate with ROCDOC on it. More to come I think:)

Be on the lookout for weekly updates on our adventure with Joe, Eddie, Beckie, Anastasia, and Rocky and their holiday adventure at Lake Rotomahana.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Master Presenter


I have been involved in MANY visiting presenters over the years. From magicians, to story-tellers, to mime artists, musical bands etc. 

But today we had a very special person in our school. 

For the four classes who were involved in #NZreadaloud last term and read the book The Phantom of Terawhiti we were privileged to be able to spend an hour with New Zealand author Des Hunt today.

What an absolutely inspirational speaker!

 He had all 100 kids silent and listening and watching and laughing for an hour, as he told us his story of becoming an author.

With his science teaching background, Des shared a funny, informative, and interactive presentation in which he used his science understanding to help explain story-writing.

Science was his metaphor and the kids LOVED it!

He explained to our kids how when he was a child they weren't really exposed to Kiwi writers. So his mission when started writing was to infuse his passion for science and wildlife into a great is what he aimed to do in his novels...

For us at #NZreadaloud, these are the books which we LOVE. 

I would love you to reply and comment on what you all thought of Des Hunt's presentation and what you learnt from it:)