Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Ballast - Maths Pickle

Today was a lot of fun. In maths, we have been investigating problems which are open-ended and don't have an immediate solution. These require a bit of perseverance and resilience.

The objective of the puzzle is to balance the ship...but first of all the students had to learn the rules...not easy when the teacher won't tell them! Letting the class slowly learn by making mistakes was fun!!!

Keep your eyes on the students' blogs to follow how the puzzles are progressing

Friday, 16 March 2018


Welcome to our whole school Assembly


This week we have been working on a beautiful maths puzzle. Dutch artist Pieter Mondrian is famous for creating abstract artwork based on geometric shapes.

Our goal was to 'paint' an artwork just like Mondrian, but every rectangle had to be different. Each rectangle also had a score-the value of its area. The goal was to make the smallest total possible for each sized canvas. We did this by subtracting the smallest value away from the largest.

In writing this week we have been writing Found Poems. These are a lot like a word collage. To create a found poem you can find words anywhere and rearrange them...we took our words from last week's school newsletter... here are some examples


Griffen's Acrostic Poem

We have just finished reading Theodore Taylor's book The Cay. Here are some of the artifacts we have created.

Friday, 24 November 2017


We have been very busy this term. We have been out in the garden and planted many plants as well as making signs to make the garden even brighter.

A day in the garden Blog post

Te Ara Hauora Blog 1
Te Ara Hauora Blog 2

The Sombrero
The Ice Tray

Computer Science

We have been unplugged for our computer science topic. We looked at using a problem-solving task to brainstorm improvements. Our task was to make a boat out of tinfoil that would hold as many marbles as it could before it sunk. 


This term we have written a number of poems using a variety of poetic forms. We enjoyed Haiku and clerihew. Our task was to describe a member of the classroom in a fun way. 

Extension Maths

Kyle and Caitlin have been working on Trigonometry and Pythagoras theorem. Let's let them explain, shall we...?

Caitlins DLO
Kyles practical Presentation


Last week we went to Shantytown to explore Law & Order on the Goldfield. We dressed up and attended the Marsden Valley school, we were robbed on the train

and had a courtroom drama. The day was very much fun. When we got back to school, we wanted to write more courtroom dramas. Here is one by Caitlyn, Ben, Connor and Autumn

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Computer Science Discoveries- Aluminum Boats

Today we began our Computer Science Discoveries course. Our goal today was to build a boat that holds the most marbles, using a piece of tin foil. We were to build two boats and try to improve our design between the first and second attempts. The structure of the activity foreshadows different steps of the problem-solving process that students will be introduced to in more detail in the following lesson. At the end of the lesson, students reflect on their experiences with the activity and make connections to the types of problem-solving they will be doing for the rest of the course.

 The aluminum boats problem could easily be substituted out for any number of other problems that require students to define their goals, devise a plan, try a solution, evaluate their results, and then iteratively improve from there. The fact that the problem chosen is "non-computational" is intentional. Computer science is fundamentally a problem-solving discipline and staying away from traditional computer science problems at this points helps to frame this class as one about problem-solving more generally with computer science being a new "tool" to help attack certain types of problems.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Kalebs Boxes

It just goes to show, that learning in Totara 1 is not always confined to the classroom. Kaleb has a particular strength when it comes to using his hands. Kaleb made all of the planter boxes for the Kumara, and these have turned out to be pretty good seedling boxes as well!

 Kaleb took my simple design and has started making planter boxes for the senior classrooms. We hope to be able to grow things outside our door so we can pick and graze on healthy seasonal food. Kaleb wants to make these as kitsets so that the classrooms can put them together themselves.

This earned Kaleb, gardener of the week. Wel

l done Kaleb

A day in the garden

Since the weather has begun to warm up a bit, Totara 1 decided to spruce up the garden, and plant out the many seedlings we started to grow the last term. 
Seedlings ready to go!

Planting out the peas
Many jobs needed to be down. Plenty of weeding needed to happen as well as sweetening up the soil. Kaleb was amazing at making sure the beds were ready for those coming in behind with the seedlings.

Jessica was such a workhorse. Not only did she plant out all the pumpkins, she singlehandedly weeded an entire box and planted out all the red cabbages. 

All of the green manure (lupins and mustard) needed to be dug into the soil as well. Corianna may be small in stature but worked very hard.

Richard looking after the garlic
All in all, it was such as a fantastic day. We achieved so much. I don't think I've ever seen such a hard working class. 

Adding sunflowers to Jordie's garden

Friday, 1 September 2017

Assembly Week 6

Welcome to Team B Assembly


In T1 we've been writing arguments. Xav & Kyle will read theirs

We have been making so much mess in the classroom lately...but our Wearable arts costumes are finally starting to come together. Here is a preview of a couple of them.

Kaleb (start at 2.10)

Caitlin & Corianna have begun their speeches for the Rotary speech competition. They are still working on them and they are not finished, but they are going to read them to you.