Monday, August 30, 2010


On Friday 27th August the Intermediate Team were responsible for organising The Gardens School monthly assembly. Each team takes responsibility for an assembly on the last Friday of each month- this time it was our turn.

We were ready a few minutes early so while parents and other classes were arriving, we quietly sang some of the songs we had learned in Spanish, accompanied on guitar by Mrs Lee.

Because the previous week had been International Languages Week in New Zealand and because we have many different languages spoken by the students or families at our school, we decided to have a multi-lingual introduction to our assembly. Check out the video below to see some of this introduction, plus the National Anthem sung in Maori and English (accompanied by Mrs Lee, Rebekah and Mark on guitar). Kumiko began the introductions in Spanish and Japanese and the video starts just as she finished her part.... (please note - we are having technical difficulties uploading this video.... we will keep trying)

Kea 1 and Huia 2 read aloud some of the sonnets they had written and showed some of their art work. Then we watched a slide show about our Team camps at Awhitu prepared by Nikeeta, Brittany, So Yeon and Alexis.

"High Five" certificates were given out by Ms Gifford (for people with any five certificates received this year) and then Tracey from Kea 2 gave an account of their class activities so far this year, including an explanation and demonstration of the hobo stove which had been so much fun at camp. (Check out Kea 1's blog to find out about their new gardens.)

Our item was next, and Ben introduced it by saying, "What's special about Huia 1?"

Kumiko answered, "We do roll call en español! " and then we all called out our numbers in order from wherever we were sitting in the assembly, finishing with a very clear "veintiocho" from Hunter.

Kumiko continued,"
We talk in Spanish every day!" and Rebekah called out each of the questions we go through in class at the beginning of every day, while Ben held up charts with the subtitles in English, and the class replied in Spanish :

Rebekah: ¿Qué día es hoy? (What day is it today?)

Todos: Hoy es vienes. (Today is Friday.)

Rebekah: ¿Qué fecha es hoy? (What is the date today?)

Todos: Hoy es el veintisiete de agosto, dos mil diez. (Today is the 28th of August 2010)

Rebekah: ¿En qué estación estamos? (What season are we in? )

Todos: Estamos en el invierno. (We are in winter.)

Rebekah: ¿Qué tiempo hace? (What is the weather like?)

Todos: Esta lloviendo. (It's raining.)

Rebekah: ¿Qué hora es? (What time is it?)

Todos: Son las dos y cuarto (It's quarter past two.)

Rebekah: ¿Qué pasa? (What's happening?)

Todos: ¡Asemblea! (Assembly!)

and Ben continued...

"We have a blog, we enjoy learning about poetry and illustrating our Anthology books; we have learned about Shakespeare and Wordsworth; we can use big words like shadenfreude, posthumous, sanctimonious, draconian and lieutenant; we love reading Michael Morpurgo books; we use our dictionaries every day; we have taken over one of the Poutama gardens to make a cuttings garden; and… we have made a class movie about gumboots which has already had over 500 hits on you tube….

Mrs Lee's Year 7 Spanish class performed a Spanish alphabet rap and a group of Year 8s did a short play with two girls (Rebekah and Shae) discussing, in Spanish, what they would wear to a party.

R: Buenas tardes (Good afternoon)

S: Hola, ¿Qué pasa? (Hi, What's up? )

R: ¿Vas a ir a la fiesta de Alexis, esta noche? (Are you going to Alexis’ party tonight?)

S: Sí, ¿y tu? (Yes, are you?)

R: Sí, por supuesto. (Yes, of course.)

S: ¿Qué vas a llevar? (What are you going to wear?)

R: Compre una camisa roja. ¿Te gusta? (I bought a red shirt. Do you like it?)

S; Qué guapa! He ido a comprar también. Compré una bufanda negra.

(It’s great. I have been shopping too. I bought a black scarf.)

R: ¡Que sorpresa! Yo también. Tengo una bufanda crema. (What a surprise! Me too. I have a cream scarf.)

S: Tengo un vestido verde y las sandalias cremas. (I have a green dress and cream sandals.)

R. Me gustan tus sandalias. Tengo unas botas blancas. (I like your sandals. I have white boots.)

S: Excelente. Hasta noche (Excellent. See you tonight).

R: Bueno. Hasta pronto. (Ok, see you soon.)

After that, all the Intermediates sang "Blue Suede Shoes" accompanied by about 15 ukulele players and a group of back up singers. Our assembly finished with a mass Jump Jam performance of "Kiss Me, Honey Honey" led by Claudia, which was repeated as an encore as the guests left.

For many of the participants, it was their first experience in public speaking. Most were nervous and all did a good job. It was a very successful assembly and everyone was pleased it went smoothly after all our practices and preparation.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Move over William Shakespeare - here comes William Wordsworth

This week we have been learning about Daffodil Day in New Zealand, which is happening this Friday 27th August.

We learned about the Cancer Society which helps people by:

- encouraging the government to change laws to help people stay healthier and avoid cancer such as making it illegal to smoke in some public places

- funding research into better treatments for cancer.

- giving support to people who are ill with cancer (and their families) through providing great information, nurses, counsellors, volunteer driving and meal service.

- providing free accommodation to ensure that people have somewhere nice to stay while they have treatment for cancer.

The daffodil is the symbol used by cancer societies all around the world as a symbol of hope, representing new life and possibilities.

So.... it was a good time to learn about one of the most well-known English poems, The Daffodils by William Wordsworth.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Things we noticed about the poem:
  • Every line starts with a capital letter
  • It has iambic something but it is not like Sonnet 18, by William Shakespeare, which is iambic pentameter because that has five feet (beats). This has four feet and we researched to discover that it is called iambic tetrameter: I wandered lonely as a cloud
  • Every stanza has a quatrain and a couplet (quatrain is four lines and a couplet is 2 lines)
  • Each stanza has 6 lines
  • A stanza is another name for a verse
  • Every second line rhymes except for the last two of each stanza which rhyme with each other
  • The rhyme scheme is abab cc
  • It's about a person walking
  • It's got some old-fashioned English in it such as o'er, gay, jocund, oft
  • He uses metaphors e.g. a crowd (of daffodils)
  • He uses personification (giving human qualities to something which isn't human) e.g. (daffodils) dancing, tossing their heads, waves dancing, his heart dancing
  • He uses similes e.g. I wandered lonely as a cloud; (the daffodils were) continuous as the stars that shine
  • Words which some of us didn't know: vale - valley (not a veil, which goes over your head!); o'er - over; oft - often; glee - happiness; gay - happy; jocund- cheerful, light-hearted; vacant- empty head, day-dreaming; pensive- thoughtful, thinking deeply; solitude - being alone
  • He has changed the order of some of the words such as" Ten thousand saw I at a glance" and "For oft, when on my couch I lie", "And then my heart with pleasure fills"
  • This is called anastrophe i.e. when words of a sentence are changed in order for effect - to make it sound interesting and to fit the rhythm

We discussed each stanza and noted that in:

Stanza 1:
  • it is written in the past tense
  • he was walking when he saw daffodils by a lake
Stanza 2:
  • he describes the masses of daffodils using a simile and personification
Stanza 3:
  • he says that the daffodils outdid the waves in dancing
  • he could not be anything but happy there
  • he didn't realise how much happiness (wealth) they brought him
Stanza 4:
  • it is in the present tense
  • the inward eye and the bliss of solitude means his mind, when he is alone and could be his "happy place"
  • he feels happy and enlightened when he remembers the daffodils in the field
Here is a cartoon satire of The Daffodils.

Here is an animated version of The Daffodils with some music you may recognise... and a very modern example of someone lying on the couch in a vacant mood...

And, (be warned!) a rap version of Daffodils . Some of Wordsworth's original words were harmed in the making of this video...

Here is a short video about the Lake District where Wordsworth visited and was inspired by the daffodils.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Visitors in our class...

Huia 1 reporters, So Yeon and Nikeeta, report on reporters reporting on us and take photos of the photographer taking photos of us!

Kelly is taking a photo of us and Joanna is talking to Mrs Vincent.

Click here to see The Aucklander report about our class.

A couple of weeks ago Joanna, Kelly and Hannah from The Aucklander magazine came to our school because they were working on a feature story about languages and language teaching, and after speaking with the national language teachers' association, they found about our school (The Gardens School) which had a very cool language programme and they wanted to add it to their story.

Kelly, Joanna and Hannah watch what happens in our Spanish lesson. (Note Rosie's latest edition of The Maungakiekie Times Intermediate Newspaper is in the front of the picture, all ready for distribution)

We asked them about other places they had been to and discovered that they have been to a variety of different countries like Europe, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Lithuania, Italy, Israel, USA, Germany, Wales, UK, Welsh, Australia, Greece, South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Scotland, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, and Switzerland. We were in a shock when we heard that they had been to so many places.

After a little while it was time for Options and Spanish. Some of the students had a short time to talk to Joanna, Kelly and Hannah. We learned that the message Hannah wanted to pass on was "Learning different languages is great!" She loves to travel and being able to talk to the locals, in their own tongue, and is very interested to learn about different cultures and this is such a big part of learning a new language.

Joanna wanted to pass on that learning different languages is a really important school subject and she personally would like to see learning a second language made compulsory in all schools. In Wales, where she is from, you have to learn both Welsh and English at school until you are 16, and if you want, you can learn another language too. Joanna thinks it's good to keep other languages alive, because more people can learn and see things from a different perspective. If only Joanna could find a Welsh class here, then she could try and remember it all. Kelly wanted to pass on that learning a new language is great, keep up the good work at The Gardens. (Yay us!)

Joanna interviews some of the year 8 students.

Since they are such good news reporters now, we wondered what they personally wanted to grow up and become when they were little. Kelly answered that she didn't want to be a news reporter because she wanted to be a marine biologist and train dolphins. Kelly got interested because she took photography as a subject at school and loved it, and now she is lucky to be working as a photographer.

However Hannah had something different in mind and she actually dreamed of becoming a (famous) author when she was little, because she always liked reading newspapers and magazines. Hannah got interested because she liked the idea of working with many different topics, meeting lots of interesting people every day and to be always 'up to date' with the latest news. And, she also thinks that reporters are doing a very important job informing the public about 'what's going on' in the world.

Joanna wanted to be a writer and decided on becoming a reporter when she was 14 she enjoyed reading magazines and newspapers. She got interested in becoming a news reporter because (like Hannah) she loved meeting lots of different people and doing different things everyday. She likes the challenge of finding stories and trying to write them before a deadline, and she thinks newspapers are important for people to know what's happening in the places they live.

Joanna, Hannah and Kelly talked about what made them interested in visiting The Gardens School. Joanna said that she was working on a feature story about languages and language teaching, and after speaking with the national language teachers' association (NZALT), she found out that The Gardens School had a very cool language programme, and she wanted to add it into her story.

Kelly said that Joanna, (their reporter) heard about our Spanish class, and they thought it would be interesting to come and find out more. Joanna, Kelly and Hannah did go to other schools and wanted to find out what languages the students are learning now days. They went to an international language school, to see what they offered to students.

Often, when you're writing a story to deadline you don't always have time to visit lots of schools. Joanna didn't go to any other primary schools, but she did visit Euroasia, which is a language school that does evening classes for adults.

We learned a lot from Joanna, Hannah and Kelly and probably some of the students in Huia 1 have already got an idea of what they want to do in the future.

By So Yeon & Nikeeta

We compare where we are in New Zealand and where Senora Lee is in Granada... and discover that it is as far as you can go from New Zealand before you start to come back.

Senora Lee sent us an email telling us about what she was doing and the meals she had eaten in Granada. We could work out what most of it meant by starting with what what we already knew, and using Senora Lee's photos and writing from her blog to help work out the rest.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Getting to Know Shakespeare in Huia 1

Our Intermediate Team are learning about sonnets as part of a competition for New Zealand school children to write their own sonnets.

In Huia 1, we started by looking at one of the most well known of William Shakespeare's sonnets, called Sonnet 18, but better known as "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

Monday: First, all we had to do was look at it for five minutes and make any comments about anything we thought was interesting.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee

Things we noticed about Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare:

  • He starts with a question
  • "thee" in the middle of the first line rhymes with "lovely" in the middle of the second line
  • In the last two lines "can" and "and" rhyme in the middle of their lines
  • He does not say who "thee" is
  • He refers to the seasons and weather
  • It is really hard to understand
  • It is more complicated than any other poem we have studied
  • He talks about changing
  • He is obviously in love with a woman because you would not compare a guy to summer's day
  • He starts with a question in the first line and then answers it in the second line
  • Every second line rhymes except the last two which rhyme with each other
  • Every line starts with a capital letter
  • There is punctuation at the end of every line except one
  • It's olden day English from the 1600s
  • Isn't Shakespeare a famous poet?

This is a facsimile of the original printing of Sonnet 18.

Tuesday: We looked at a You Tube video of David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd) sing a version of
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day. Then we looked at some of the numbers involved in the sonnet.

We discovered - and found examples in Sonnet 18 - that Shakespeare's sonnets:
  • have fourteen lines
  • have three quatrains plus a couplet - and we discovered that there's a bit of Maths in this because (3 x 3 quatrains)+(1 x 1 couplet) = (3 x 4)+(1 x 2)=14
  • have a rhyme scheme of abab, cdcd, efef, gg
  • are written in iambic pentameter which means each line has five beats (or feet)
    eg.Shall I compare thee to a summer's day
Here's another version of the poem on You Tube.

And another one, this time animated....

and this one which is a modern day version of the poem which helps make it a bit easier to understand, but.... do you think it maintains the sonnet form?