Monday, 20 April 2020

Music Lab

I am not a musician by any means. I can't play an instrument and sing like a strangled cat. But, during this enforced lockdown, it is a time to try your hand at something new, or something out of your comfort zone.

Thank you Jonathan from my class, for introducing me to Music Lab.

There are many different options. Click on the smiley face and you will be taken to the songmaker option. 

Even though I'm musically challenged, I was able to use maths to keep repeating a pattern until I had created something that sounds a bit like a real piece of music.

My piece of music

Jonathan's composition.

Cortez's composition.

Have some fun, and have a go.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Garden to Tables

Our class have Garden to Tables fortnightly for the first half of this year. Garden to Tables is a programme where we can get our hands dirty in the garden. It is a programme where we can make and create delicious meals in the kitchen.

We help grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh food. Today we made a basil pesto pasta and a blueberry and apple crumble. Some of the ingredients were grown in our own school garden.

We are lucky to have parents that come in and support the programme by helping Ms Best in the kitchen and Whaea Joyce in the garden.

This is the Garden to Table's website where you can find out much more about the programme. Maybe a school in your area might like to get involved.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019


We have been using to have a go at writing microstories. These are stories that are exactly 100 words long- not a word more, or a word less.

WE also use the One Hundred Word Challenge,, to also write microstories, although their word count criteria is a little bit more flexible.

Microstories force the writer to think long and hard about which words they actually need. It is challengung to open with a hook and finish with a plot twist, in just 100 words.

Here are a few of our examples. The prompt was "IT wasn't me" ...

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Drop, Cover, Hold

People throughout New Zealand participated in an earthquake drill today, the Great Shakeout Earthquake Drill
In an earthquake, it is safer to 

  • (drop) to the floor 
  • (cover)  get under a desk ot table 
  • and (hold) the legs of the table to stop it crashing over

We live on the Pacific Ring of Fire. That is why we have volcanic activity. Auckland is built on 50 volcanoes. Rotorua is an active thermal area with geysers and mud pools.

Image result for pacific ring of fire

Unfortunately, we also have earthquakes. The Christchurch earhquake in 2011, killed 185 people and did a lot of damage. Christchurch is still being rebuilt today.

Thursday, 26 September 2019


We have been making tessellations, patterns that repeat and cover an area without any gaps or overlaps.

We made some by using a piece of cardboard to make a stencil block. We started with a rectangle shape and cut a piece out on one side. Translate that piece across to the opposite side and tape it on. If you want to, cut a second piece out from one of the other sides and translate that piece across.

Then use the stencil block to cover a piece of paper, repeating the pattern without any gaps or overlays.

Repeat the colours in a pattern...

We had a lot of fun on this interactive website Shodor.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Compound Sentences

We have been practising making compound sentences using either a comma, or a conjunction to join the two ideas together. We wrote about a mystical, mythical, made up creature, and planned what ideas we wanted to join together into one sentence.

We also practised organising our ideas into a logical sequence, and arranging these into different paragraphs.

Here's one example.

Samcu’s belong to the lizard family. They have prickly, scaly skin and toxic, oozing sores. The sores dribble out a poisonous fungus that they rub onto the bark of the Quinzal tree.

Their habitat is the hottest place on earth. They crawl around in the sands of the Sahara desert. 50 degrees heat is when they move around unprotected from the midday sun.

They eat scorpions. The scorpion sting has no effect on them. A samcu will cover themselves in sand and wait. They breathe through a snorkel that they raise up from their burrow to breathe. When they feel the vibration of a scorpion on the sand above, they spring out and attack it from behind. Their sharp, pincer teeth squeeze the scorpion around the throat until it can breathe no more.

Samcus protect themselves with their oozing, pussy venom. The smell is so vile, all other creatures will move away, leaving the samcu to live in peace.

Samcus lay a thousand eggs on top of the Saharan sand. The eggs bake hard and crusty in the baking heat. Swallows fly down and devour the eggs. When they defecate, the eggs are dropped in the poo. The liquid in the poo dissolves the egg shell and gives the baby samcu enough nutrients for them to begin to grow. Only a handful of the thousands of eggs will ever make it to adulthood.

Samcu’s would survive a nuclear war. Like cockroaches, samcu’s would rule the world as the only survivors. Let’s hope that never happens.

We also used some online drawing programmes to draw our creature.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Tread Lightly Caravan

We recently had a visit from the Tread Lightly Caravan. We focussed on ideas we can implement to make a difference in our environment. 

Each decision we make in our lives each day, has some impact or effect on our environment. We saw how much effect these decisions have. We would need 3 or 4 more earths to support our population if everyone lived the same lifestyle as us. That's scary!

We were shown how the rubbish we drop and leave on the ground eventually ends up in our oceans. Outside drains should only drain rain. Oils and chemicals, and litter and rubbish, can all wash down our drains and end up in our waterways.

We all made pledges, where we promised to try and do something that would help us make a difference for our environment. They are small, manageable promises that can make a change.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Virtual Reality (VR)

We were lucky to have a session using Virtual Reality (VR) glasses run by the Sir Peter Blake Foundation.

In the VR session, we explore New Zealand's underwater world. The fish were spectacular, lots of shapes and colours. Most of the video footage came from some of our marine reserves, like Goat Island and  the Poor Knights Islands. Here, the fish are abundant because of the banning on fishing and collecting.

We also saw the sad sight of the polluted wasteland under the Leigh wharf just north of Auckland. There was ugly rubbish dumped here. There were no fish and hardly any plant life.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Rule of Three

We have been using the rule of three in our writing. The rule of three is when we add three examples that show what we are talking about. This adds important detail to our writing. It helps paint a picture in the reader's mind.

Do these follow the rule of three?

  • Give three examples to show the reader what you are talking about
  • Paint a picture in the reader's mind

1. The waves crashed on the shore, seagulls circling overhead, hats blown off heads, and sand stinging eyes.

Image result for rough waves

2. My sister excitedly prepared for the party, changing her dress three times, curling her hair, and putting on makeup from Mum's drawer.

Image result for girl preparing for party

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Showing Our Multiplication Strategies

We are using Screencasify to try and show which strategy we are using to solve a multiplication problem. 

Screencastify is a cool extension that records what is happening on the screen and what we say. You can find out more about Screencastify here...

I am demonstrating how to use the Tidy Number strategy. I forgot to stop my recording in time, and it goes on a bit too long after I have finished talking. Oops, sorry.  ๐Ÿ˜ž

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

March 15

March 15 2019 will forever be remembered as a dark day in New Zealand's history. Fifty people murdered in Christchurch by a terrorist as they prayed to their God is a tragedy we struggle to comprehend. 

Why people can't accept each other's differences is bewildering. This is something we try and teach our Tamariki every day at school. We try and accept and celebrate our differences. We acknowledge that it is good to be different. We don't want everyone to think and act the same. 

Our school values at Papatoetoe West School are that we value ourselves, we value others, and we value our environment. Hopefully, that means that we can accept each other's differences and live together in harmony.

We made cards and shared messages of love and support. We left them on the fence of the Masjid Manurewa Mosque in Maich Rd in Manurewa.

We all wore brightly coloured mufti on Friday and donated some money. Our school raised over $1000 for the Christchurch appeal.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Donating Blood

I have just completed my 100th blood donation. I donate blood once a fortnight. 

A nurse puts a needle into a vein in my arm. The needle is attached to a machine. The machine removes some of my blood. It then separates all the plasma and platelets and collects them in a bag. The rest of my blood is returned to my body.

It takes about an hour. I get served with coffee and biscuits or crackers and cheese.

The whole process is painless.

I made my donation last Thursday. The day before the terrible terror attack in Christchurch where 50 people died, and 50 other people were seriously injured. That event reminded me of how important it is that people choose to donate blood. Many people need these blood products to stay alive.