Tuesday, 19 November 2019

A Place to Visit

Kamusta readers!

I have been dreaming about my next holiday and was curious where 7/8Al would go if they could have a special vacation. I have asked them to create a well-written blog post explaining where they want to go and WHY?

Things I am looking for at Year 7/8:
- a properly structured paragraph
- descriptive language in your writing
- blogging etiquette - title, introduction to the task, asking for feedback, tags etc.
- examples of WHY
- photos or videos to make your post interesting!

I have already had the chance to read some excellent pieces of writing. I really enjoyed looking at Callum's post on Jeju Island, Vann's blog about Italy and Nici's writing about Berlin. These are three awesome examples of Year 7/8 quality blog posts!

I invite you to have a look on their posts and leave them some positive, thoughtful or helpful feedback on their work.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

What I Want 7/8Al to Know About Me

Kia ora readers!

This term I have the special opportunity to teach 7/8Al for one hour each week! I am really excited about this opportunity as I have not had the chance to teach many of these students before. I love getting to know other learners in Year 7/8 and getting the experience to teach them. I know many of the Year 8's in Mrs Allan-Fletchers class as I have worked with some of them last year for Passion Projects (stone carving) or Business and Enterprise kete where we created projects for Market Day. There are a few boys who I have taken for basketball for the past two years and I have really enjoyed getting to know Vann, Lars and Axle through sport!

I have a few things that I want 7/8Al to know about me as a teacher and a person:

1) I really love blogging and I think it is a great way to share our ideas in a fun way while practicing our writing.

2) In my spare time I like to read and I always like to talk to students about new books! I previously worked for Scholastic Books and I have read many young adult titles.

3) I really like to award CARR stamps for students I see showing our school values. I know I am so proud of my students when they bring me back full CARR cards from other teachers, so I would like us all to do the same for Mrs Allan-Fletcher and make her proud!

4) My favourite food is ice cream, even though it's not the healthiest choice! I like ice cream on a hot summer's day but also cozying up in winter time to watch a movie with a big bowl of ice cream. I wonder, how do you think we can have an ice cream party this term?

5) I love travelling and have been to a lot of different places. I have travelled to Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Australia and all over New Zealand since I moved here in 2017. A place I would really like to visit is Bali and the Philippines. If you are from a different country, I would love to hear all about it!

6) I can teach and give instructions best when the students are self-managing and showing 'active listening' on the mat. I love to answer questions and help you if you are stuck by explaining the topic in a different way if you are confused; don't be afraid to ask for help!

I look forward to spending 1 hour a week with 7/8 Al and have asked them to write a piece to me on their blogs sharing more about themselves and what I should know as a teacher in their classroom!

Friday, 9 August 2019

Deputy Principal for the Day

Kia ora everyone!

In Year 7/8 we have a Hui each week where all of our Year 7/8 students come together to share their learning, sing waiata, hear important notices and messages, and best of all, we have a prize draw! You should be familiar with our PB4L (Positive Behaviour for Learning) CARR card process. Students are given a CARR card which they collect stamps on for showing our school values, Commitment, Achievement, Resilience and Respect. After the student completes a full card this is given to their form teacher to be put in the draw for Wednesday's Hui. Alongside that, there are incentives for the more cards that get filled in:

- 5 completed CARR cards (50 stamps) - CARR postcard mailed home
- 10 completed CARR cards (100 stamps) - $5 cafe voucher
- 20 completed CARR cards (200 stamps) - $10 voucher, either to Hornby Hub mall or school cafe
- increments of 10 onwards - $5 cafe voucher

Our Deputy Principal, Mr Scott does our CARR card draw, one from each form class each week. These students receive a $2 voucher to our cafe. Each term we also have a value of the month, where students can get a one-off ticket for showing that value. These go into a separate draw where students can win a $5 voucher each week. This is pulled from a combined kete of all the Year 7/8 classes.

If that wasn't enough, Mr Scott has generously gotten us some 'big token' prizes such as sports balls, movie vouchers, board games, books, headphones etc. where a prizewheel is spun and 1 student from Year 7/8 is chosen from ALL the collected CARR cards and values tickets for the whole team each week. On the prize wheel there is also a special spot called "Deputy Principal". The student who spins the wheel and lands on this prize gets to shadow Mr Scott for a few hours and help make changes and decisions for Year 7/8.

We were very lucky to have one of our Bh students, Jrae, selected to be Deputy Principal for the day. Mr Jrae worked with Mr Scott and student Hamid from Tz for the morning and helped make some very important decisions. As follows is a short breakdown of the day:

- formal meeting, where ties were checked, hot chocolate was drank and an action plan was made
- they did a sweep of the staffroom to make sure all the teachers were on task
- planned a 'farewell to Jblock' party leading up to leaving our old buildings prior to moving into the new kahui at the end of this term
- special rewards for Bh and Tz; lollies (bought by Mr Scott) and 20 minutes free time

I was really proud to see Jrae step into this role, with a HUGE smile on his face. He had the chance to ask his classmates what they would like to see, and I can tell he used their feedback in some of the decision making process... who doesn't love lollies and free time!?

Great work Mr Jrae, I hope you had a lot of fun being the Deputy Principal!!

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Community Impact Projects - It's Cool to Be Kind!

Kia ora everyone!

Hornby High School is in the midst of some very exciting curriculum changes and this year we have introduced Community Impact Projects (CIP). This allows students some choice to work on a project that interests and inspires them. For 3 periods on a Wednesday, staff collaborate with each other (and with the students!) to create engaging learning experiences that enhance or work alongside our local community.

In Term 2 I was lucky enough to lead a project called, "It's Cool to Be Kind!" and our group came up with the idea to create a colouring in competition for three of our local primary schools. I have shared below some of the highlights on a presentation created by Bryce (Bh), Tai (Bh), Tamani (Tz) and Nathan (Tz) who will be sharing what we have been up to at our Year 7/8 Hui tomorrow!

Myself and the other teachers involved with this project were very impressed by the collaboration we saw as we organized this event. Students volunteered to write sponsorship letters for prizes, deliver these letters in person, email schools and principals, create posters/DLOs to share our event to the community, design and create our colouring in sheets, vote on which one would be used for each group, photocopy and stuff envelopes with our colouring sheets and the list goes on! Last week we delivered prizes to the schools to be given to our winners!

Did you participate? Let me know in the comments below! We would love to hear some feedback about your experience partaking in this collaborative, student-led project. :)

Thanks to everyone involved at Hornby High School and those contributing primary schools who participated in our event! I look forward to sharing more of what we get up to in our CIP this term!

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

LCS | Staff Meeting 19 June

Kia ora everybody.

On 19 June our two e-Learning Coordinators Whaea Rowena Clemence and Miss Katie Tozer presented to our staff team about what Learn, Create, Share can look like in our classroom lessons. They provided us with some guidelines and reminded us about the infamous 'bus' we are on moving forward with our school's direction and Manaiakalani pedagogy. For example; we use Google Sites within our daily routines, we support students to complete at least 3 blog posts per week across their subjects and we leave comments on student blogs modelling "positive, thoughtful and helpful' criteria.

The session was run similarly to what we might do within our class; sharing the topic, engaging prior knowledge, short discussions, researching on our devices and working collaboratively with a partner to share our ideas and create a DLO. We also had the chance at the end to share feedback and what points we have taken away from the lesson (session). Overall, I felt that the session was a great learning opportunity, and I enjoyed the opportunity to be a 'student' in a LCS setting so I could get some perspective on how my students may feel during my lessons!

Our overarching topic was "Blackbirding" and the Pacific Slave Trade, which, by a show of hands, was not a topic that many staff members had much knowledge about, yet has a huge place and effect in the history in Aotearoa New Zealand. I was reminded of a time when I was in my first year at uni in Canada and we were discussing the underground railroad, which was used for African American slaves to escape to freedom from the oppressive United States. However, the plot twist at the end of the lesson was that in fact, the primary sources we were looking at were from Canadian Black perspective and those in slavery were in my home country. As a class, were shocked as we had thought this brutal time in history was solely an "American problem." It really changed my perspective on Canada and our history as a whole. This was the link to my prior knowledge.

We were to identify some possible resources we would use as credible sources to teach this topic to our students and create a fictional DLO that reflects what students could potentially learn. My interpretation of this instruction was to create a mock up DLO of what I would expect a student to produce, but it seemed that was not how most interpreted the instruction when we did our staff sharing. My partner Mr Nick Williams and I split up the work; he was to find academic sources on this topic (his strength as he has a better understanding of credible New Zealand sources than I), and I did the creative part by beginning the DLO. I chose to use Google Drawing to share our learning. We then collaborated and came up with some key questions that students might be able to do an inquiry about regarding the Pacific Slave Trade and Blackbirding.

I have attached our Google Drawing poster below as evidence of our work.

During our reflection time, Nick and I agreed on the following steps as to how we would provide accountability to our students completing this work. 

1) Put a timer on for students to complete the task within a set time frame, this allows focused work. We would roam, provide support or answer questions while also providing stamps on CARR cards for positive work habits. 

2) When the time was up, we would get students' attention or bring to a mat space (Year 7/8) and provide time for all students to share their partner work or DLOs to their blogs. We could monitor device use on Hapara. 

3) Students could show us their published blog once it is finished or on their way out to their next period. This could also be monitored on Hapara, or students filling out a shared doc with their blog links - this allows for easy access for peer comments/feedback next lesson. 

4) Teacher would comment on blogs before next session to provide feedback and take a more in depth look at the work which was completed for assessment purposes. 

Overall, I thought this was a great session led by our e-Learning Coordinators that gave specific and explicit examples of what Learn, Create, Share could look like within our classrooms, regardless of the subject area. Thank you Rowena and Katie for a valuable session!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Term 2 Year 7/8 Dance Video

Kia ora everyone!

As well as teaching a wonderful Year 7/8 class, I also have the privilege to organize and run the Year 7/8 dance group. I picked up this activity last year for two terms and this year, we are still going strong with a lot of interest from our talented tamariki.

Each term Year 7/8 boys and girls have the opportunity to sign up for this activity. We practice for one hour each week during our Wednesday Community Impact Projects and CIP Day. I grew up competing in local dance competitions while I was living in Canada and have really missed it, so this is a great way to be active and get moving again!

This term we had a few interruptions to our schedule and students only squeezed in 3 practices before our big performance was upon us. We had some technical difficulties with our music and the sound, but our group showed a ton of Resilience and continued on... as we always say, "the show must go on!"

I look forward to some more dancing this term, maybe adding some more choreography to this routine, and creating a new routine for Term 3. Thank you to everyone who was part of the Year 7/8 dance group this term. You can read about their experiences on their individual learning blogs!

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

CIP - Take Notice - Gratitude

This term in our CIP (Community Impact Projects), we have been looking at the idea of 'kindness'. Sh, Bh and Tz have done a variety of activities from making cards, to sharing our thoughts on Pink Shirt Day and anti-bullying. Last week we started to look at the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and how this ties into what we are learning about.

This week we are focusing on "Take Notice" and the simple idea that being grateful can help improve your wellbeing and overall happiness. When you are happier, scientists have proved that you can live longer, be healthier and more positive about your life.

Our students were challenged to create a poster to share 10 things they are grateful for. I have created a version on Piktochart to share as an example of what this might look like. These are 10 things that I am grateful for.

I hope you will take a look at some of our student's work on their individual learning blogs. You can find a link to each student in 7/8Bh on my side bar. I invite you to leave them a positive, thoughtful or helpful comment on their posters.

Reading Homework - Year 7/8

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Hornby High School Year 7/8 teachers are focussing on improving our student’s Literacy skills. Along with our teacher led Reading groups, we have two programmes that your child will be using, either Lexia Core5 or Reading Plus. Both programmes are online and accessible from any device with an internet connection.

For the best results on either of these programmes, students must be maintaining approximately 100 minutes a week of focused usage. Within our weekly timetable, students have at least 60 minutes scheduled on these programmes. We are asking that each week, students complete a minimum of 2 x 20 minute sessions at home for homework. This will ensure that time quotas are being met and we are confident that your child will begin to make even more progress with their Reading.

Students will have Monday to the following Monday to complete their 2 x 20 minute sessions, 7 full days. If homework is not complete, they will be expected to use Monday morning interval to complete their weekly total of 40 minutes under my guidance.

We understand that not everyone has access to their own device at home or internet connection. We invite students to complete their Reading homework after school at our Homework Club which is facilitated by 2 registered teachers. This is in the Learning Commons from 3:15-5 pm and students from any school are invited to attend.

With your support, I am sure we will see the gains and benefits that these reading programmes have to offer. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time with questions or queries on your child’s progress.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Welcome to Term 2!

Kia ora everyone and I hope that you had an excellent holiday break with your friends and whanau! We are off to a great start for Term 2. We have started off revisiting our expectations and what it means to be 'ready for learning'. A big part of this means that we have all of our gear each day.

Things we need to remember to bring are:
- chromebook (charged!)
- charger
- PE gear (Tues, Wed, Fri)
- proper school uniform
- pencil case + supplies
- books to class

7/8 Bh have also been talking about the word integrity and what it means to do the right thing even when teachers aren't watching. I have challenged our class to show integrity both at school and at home. Sometimes the hard thing and the right thing are the same.

We had a very successful Cross Country race on 3 May and are proud of TJ (Year 8 Boys), Jesse (Year 7 Boys) and Tasharn (Year 7 Girls) who all placed within our school competition. Well done to these students and everyone who tried their very best last week!

Upcoming events:
- Winter Sport competition starts Week 3
- Year 7/8 Rugby Competition 7 May
- New Passions starting on Wednesday 8 May

I look forward to a very busy term!

Monday, 11 March 2019

EXAMPLE Crystals

Aim: To learn about a saturated solution and how to make crystals

Definition of solution
A liquid mixture, when something is dissolved into a liquid (eg: sugar in water) 

Definition of saturated
Having or holding as much as can be absorbed of something (when no more sugar or borax can be dissolved into the water)

In groups of three you will make three different types of crystals and compare the results.

Borax Crystals

Image result for borax crystals

Ratio; 3 Tablespoons Borax per 1/2 cup water

1) A cup or a glass
2) Pipe cleaner
3) Borax
4) Popsicle stick
5) String
6) Warm water
7) Spoon


Step 1: Grab a cup or glass
Step 2: Put 3 tables spoons of borax and 1/2 cups water
Step 3: Add ingredients to the cup
Step 4: Mix it together with your popsicle stick
Step 5: Tie your string to your popsicle stick
Step 6: Make a star with your pipecleaner, tie this to the string 
Step 7: Put your star into the borax and water solution

Sugar Crystals

Grow your own Sugar Crystals

Ratio: 1 cup sugar to 1/2 cup water

1) 4 spoons of sugar
2) String
3) Cup 
4) Warm water
5) Popsicle stick 


Step 1: Get your cup
Step 2: Measure four tablespoons of sugar into your cup
Step 3: Add a half cup of warm water to your sugar
Step 4: Mix the solution with the popsicle stick 
Step 5: Tie a string to the middle of the popsicle stick
Step 6: Dip the string into the solution, rest the stick across the cup

Salt Crystals

Image result for how to make salt crystals

Ratio: 4 Tablespoons salt to 1/2 cup water

1) Popsicle stick
2) Salt
3) Warm water
4) String
5) Cup


Step 1: Grab a cup
Step 2: Put 4 tablespoons of salt in the cup
Step 3: Add warm water to your salt
Step 4: Mix the solution
Step 5: Tie string to popsicle stick
Step 6: Dip the string into the solution, rest the stick across the cup


Describe your crystals in the table below.

Crystal Type
(Describe the shape)
(of individual crystals)
(Crumbly to Rock Hard)



What crystals worked out best and why?:





Image result for salt crystal image
Salt Crystals

Image result for sugar crystal image
Sugar Crystals

Image result for borax crystal image
Borax Crystals

7 different crystal shapes

The 7 types of crystals

Number of sides
2 examples

7garden shed, tombstone 









6dice, box


Explain how the following crystals are formed?





Thursday, 21 February 2019

Filtration Blog Post - EXAMPLE

Aim: To make a filtration plant using household materials

What is filtration? Filtration is separating solids from liquids by adding a medium through which only the liquid can pass. 

Examples are:

  1.  Teabag
  2.  Coffee plunger/coffee filter
  3.  Swimming pool
  4.  Kidney


1. dirty water
2. filter paper
3. sand
4. pebbles
5. cup
6. scissors
7. bottle
8. funnel
9. coffee filter

Process - ( use verbs or doing words in each step )


Cut the bottle in half.


Put the top half upside down inside the bottle.

Step 2

Add layers of filter paper then add your sand/pebbles.


Get 1 cup of dirty water.


Pour dirty water into the filter inside the upside down bottle.


When Mr Palmer did his experiment today, his filter did not work well. The water went too quickly into the bottle and it was still brown. This experiment was not a success. Next time we could try to make a stronger filter so the water was more clear. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Tuesday's Task | Gratitude

In our Morning briefings, staff are given a daily anecdote to help our wellbeing, for example, Mindful Monday, Tuesday's Task, Thought for Thursday etc. Today our wellbeing team has asked us to think of 10 reasons why we are grateful for our job. I thought it would be a nice thing to share on my blog, as there are many reasons why I am thankful for the opportunity to teach.

1) I am grateful to have a career that I am passionate about and that excites me every day.

2) I am thankful for the opportunity to work in such an amazing and forward thinking school environment.

3) I am grateful for the fact that we have the most amazing young people at Hornby High School and I feel lucky to work with them every day.

4) I am thankful to work with colleagues who are hardworking and passionate about what they do across the entire school. Our differences create a cohesive whole.

5) I am also thankful for the camaraderie, the laughs and the support that I have specifically within my Year 7/8 team. I am lucky to have an amazing teaching whanau.

6) I am grateful for the kind words I receive from students, it reminds me that I am having a positive impact (which is what we all want as teachers!) For example, today some former students emailed me small notes or memories to improve someone's wellbeing as part of their Health class. This made my morning.

7) I am thankful for the professional opportunities we are provided, and encouraged to take, in order to better our teaching practice. For example, PLD, conferences, committees within the school.

8) I am grateful for my class, both this year and last. They are the reason I come to school each morning excited for the day. I couldn't ask for more wonderful students to teach!

9) I am thankful for our beautiful new school buildings and the rebuild we are continuing to have. I cannot wait to see the way it comes together and the impact it will have on the students, staff and wider Hornby community.

10) Lastly, I am most thankful for those who have supported me along the way. I would not be here without the endless support from my own teachers, family and friends, professors through uni, the senior leadership team at Hornby High School who took a chance on me last year and of course, the staff and students here. I am most grateful for the people.

He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.