Thursday, August 22, 2013

Longfin Eel Day Part 1

Wednesday was a very educating day. It was eel day. Wai Care Kate and Paul the fishman came to teach us about the special things the longfin eel does. Mrs Whitehead and Kea 1 invited all the other Intermediate classes to visit them to learn more about the longfin eel.  Here are some of our stories and observations.

We were met by Wai Care Kate, an expert from Wai Care. She explained to us about the conditions of streams, such as the Puhinui stream near us,  and how they can tell if it's a healthy stream or an unhealthy stream. Paul the Fishman, a longfin eel expert, told us some interesting in-depth information about the NZ longfin eel, about the Australian longfin eel and some background information about the shortfin eel. He shared amusing recounts about his encounters with this extraordinary creature, and more facts about how this endemic creature behaves.  I believe all of Huia 1 appreciated  Paul and Kate's time, as they have opened up our young brains to a new underwater realm.

Wai Care Kate told us about some of the conditions of some of the streams in estuaries in the Manukau area. We got to use the clarity tubes to see how clean the water is. It felt like looking through a telescope full of muddy water.

We got to pass around a life-size replica of the eels; they were immensely huge and fairly heavy. In the end, we got to look at the eels inside an aquarium.

We looked at some of the other classes' posters and projects and  some of them are amazing - people have put a lot of effort into them.

- We got to ask more questions about the amazing life cycle of the eels. I learnt that  no one has seen the longfin  eels' breeding ground yet.  (Cameron)

- I learnt that eels have scales that go in a herring bone pattern. (Alex)

- I learnt that to find out the age of longfin eel you have to kill it (euthanise it) and take out its ear bone and count the rings on it (like a tree). (DC)

- I learnt that when the eels are going to breed they go into the deep oceans near Tonga. (Karmveer)

- I learnt that the eels can't chew, they have to spin around like a crocodile. (Corbin)

- They rip their food and then swallow it, and they eat small eels. (Aaron)

- I learnt that the NZ longfin eel  comes back to NZ only, the short fin eels go other places as well.

- Paul thinks that the longfin eel's navigation is based on magnetic fields. (Cameron) 

- Eels will eat anything that will fit in their mouths (Lili)

Amber investigates a longfin eel, and a longfin eel investigates us. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

We have just finished reading Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Spoiler alert:  
Do not read any further if you have started the book and have not yet finished it. You may not want to know how it ends until you get there yourself.

We have just finished listening to Mrs Vincent read aloud the novel Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo.  

By reading this story together we learned:
-  to recognise foreshadowing in a story and to recognise when foreshadowed events occurred later in the story 
- to recognise different types of conflict in a story and to identify if it is conflict with self, conflict with others, conflict with technology, or conflict with the environment 
- to identify themes in the story - such as war, family, time, bullying, and bravery 
- to recognise imagery and symbols as they appeared and recurred in a story and how they are used to link the first part of the story with the second part - such as birds, mud, time, the song Oranges and Lemons 
- the background of the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons
- to know and love - or hate - the characters, and to feel genuine sorrow at the way the story ended
- to compare our own experiences with the characters' and to find similarities and differences 
- to enjoy listening to stories, to enjoy sharing a story together, to enjoy discussing, wondering, predicting, discovering, and confirming our ideas and opinions 

- I can't believe he is going to die.  I thought that Charlie would not die because he's strong and brave. I'm a bit angry that the book didn't continue because it should have ended when Tommo went home so we could see Molly's and Mother's reaction. At the start, I didn't get it much and found it boring, but slowly I started getting it and started enjoying it.  I was really happy when I found that Horrible Hanley died because he was really cruel and I hated him. Overall, I love the story and I will read it again. (Ramandeep) 

- I thought the story would be longer and that Charlie wouldn't die. I really enjoyed the story and there was a lot of drama. I feel a little angry that Charlie died and was happy when Horrible Hanley died. It was a mysterious and really nice story to listen to. I'm wondering if there will be a Private Peaceful 2. (Lili)

- I enjoyed all of the story parts unravelling piece by piece, like pass the parcel. (Jamarl) 

- I am angry because it ended so quickly, and there has to be another book. (Dominic)

- Around the end, I think I picked up more things about the story and I could tell some things were going to happen before they happened. I started to realise that things happened at the beginning of the story  that  also happened at the end. Charlie knew all along that Tommo thought he had killed his father. I think Charlie getting the cane from Mr Munnings was the same as Charlie getting shot at the end of the story. (Syvannah)

- I wish there was a series of books of Private Peaceful. I wish Horrible Hanley wasn't so mean to Charlie and Tommo because they both had their lives ahead of them. It was quite sad when Hanley put Charlie on Field Punishment Number One. I would like to reread the book because I am a little bit lost. It will take me a while to get over it. (Brylee)

- I really think I understand the story and how it all came together. I wanted to hear more and I wanted to know more about what happened back at home - more about Tommo's life and feelings. I 100% understand what the story is about and I now understand more about any novel. (Mason)

- It's really touching and gripping. (Alex) 

- I love this book. I hope one day that someone else could feel about the book as we felt. (Amber-Lee)  

- I felt Charlie didn't deserve to die, just for looking after his brother. (Aiden)

- The times all add up now. After doing so calculation, I worked out that Tommo wrote the book in 7 hours and 55 minutes. (Mwaniki)

- I was teary when Charlie died. I liked the part when Charlie gives Tommo the watch and handed him the responsibility of little Tommo.  It should have ended like this: Tommo goes home and meets little Tommo and tells the family that Charlie has died. Big Joe runs to the church and climbs to the roof and looks at the sky, remembering Father and Charlie. I learnt a lot from this book. (Vanshika)  

- I think the end was really sad because Charlie died and it didn't feel as if the story had ended. When Charlie got shot in the foot and he didn't come back to the camp it felt like he had really died.  I now understand foreshadowing better. (Jupman) 

- The story had many emotional scenes in it which makes the butterflies on the cover of the book relevant to the story. (Alisha) 

- I'm frustrated  because I wanted there to be more of the story. I was thinking that Tommo and Charlie would both survive.  I loved the story and I can understand foreshadowing and conflict.(Sheffy)

- I think that the book should have kept on going because I wanted to know what happened to Tommo. I didn't like how Charlie got shot and I didn't like the ending. (DC) 

- Charlie sacrificed his life for Tommo to live; he is a really brave guy. I was angry because I thought there should be more about what happened to Molly, Tommo, little Tommo, Mother, the Colonel, Wolf Woman and Big Joe. What happened after all that? Horrible Hanley should have died by Charlie and then everyone could have blamed the Germans. I loved it so much and I can read it again. That book is the best book ever. With calculation, Tommo wrote the book 7 hours and 55 minutes before Charlies dies. (Sukhdev)

What was in the letters Charlie gave to Tommo to take home for him? 

We wanted to know what Charlie put in his last letters home, so we made some up for ourselves. Here's some of the things we thought he could have written:

 - to his son, Tommo Junior

... I stood up for everyone. Sergeant Hanley said we must run out there and give it our all, and we all thought and knew it was suicide. So I didn't listen. i was looking after your uncle ... (Alex) 

... I'm about to die, but it wasn't my fault. I wasn't a coward - I was protecting my little brother Tommo. He was really wounded and I needed to help him. My time has come. 
From your beloved father, Charlie Peaceful 

- Hello, son. No doubt your uncle and mother are caring for you a lot. I love you, Tommo, and I'm sorry I wasn't there for you. I hope you forgive me. 

- to Molly: 
- Sorry, Molly, but I couldn't leave Tommo behind because  he was wounded, and he's my little brother. I know you would have agreed with me. But don't worry, Tommo will take care of you both, and I know he will. (Jupman)

Everything Tommo has told you about the execution is true. I died with dignity and I wanat our son to know that. I died singing Oranges and Lemons. Let Big Joe know that I am with Father and am taking care of his mouse. (Cameron) 

- to his mother:  
I disobeyed the sergeant's order because it was a stupid and suicidal order. I had no witness - not even Tommo, as they said he was my brother. (Sheffy) 

- I will not be making it home due to punishments for not following orders from the sergeant when looking after Tommo. 

Joanna's  drawings to show different examples of conflict with self and conflict with others.
Here's a video of some children interviewing some of the people involved in making the movie Private Peaceful.

Here's a video of Micahel Morpurgo talking about how he writes his books - and his thoughts about education.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What do you know about the Panama Canal?

Today Huia 1 learnt about the Panama Canal, which opened 99 years ago on the 15th August 1914.

We learnt King Charles V of Spain decided there must be an easier way to get from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. This is when they decided to make a canal through Panama. The project was delayed for 300 years due to wars in Europe. This project would make a 2,000km trip only 80km.

In 1819,  the government announced the official construction of the canal. The French started the official construction, but failed due to the tropical disease known as malaria.

    In 1904, the USA helped Panama gain independence from Colombia; in return Panama let the USA take over the project. Ten years of American construction led up to the official opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. The project overall cost US$327 million (a lot of money in the time).

    In 1999, the USA gave the control to Panama again,  and in 2007 the construction for the expansion of the Panama Canal began.  

 Unfortunately, the building of this great canal came at a horrible cost. About 26,000 of the 40,000 workers died due to malaria and landslides.

Written by:
Mwaniki, Mason and Karmveer
  • We learnt what an isthmus is: Panama is an isthmus and so is Auckland. An isthmus is a narrow strip of land between two larger areas of land, and has water on two sides. Auckland isthmus is between the Manukau Habour and the Waitemata Harbour.
  • We learnt that malaria is a disease spread by mosquitos.
  • We learnt that there is another major canal in the world; the Suez Canal is between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

This week's learning - the sequel

This week's school newsletter.

This week we are also learning about the possessive apostrophe, but we ended up learning  about the apostrophe to show missing letters (elision) at the same time.  The apostrophe of the day today is for not: 

did not = didn't      had not = hadn't      will not = won't     were not = weren't 
could not = couldn't        have not = hadn't       is not = isn't       does not = doesn't 
We learnt that
- the writer George Bernard Shaw did not like to use apostrophes and only used them when they were needed to make something clear 
-  the apostrophe  punctuation mark came from France
-  the word apostrophe comes from Greek:  apo =  away, and strephein = to turn 
-  the word apostrophe also has a meaning nothing to do with punctuation; it is used in the theatre in plays  when an actor is talking to someone who is not actually present, or is talking to an abstract noun - such as 'honour', or to something which is an object - such as the moon
- the English language has gone through  at least three stages of change
- Old English used to have the suffix -es to show possession or ownership,  eg the cyninges haet meant  the hat belonging to the king; this became the kinges hatte in Middle English, and then the e was dropped and replaced by an apostrophe for the king's hat in Modern English (We should thank the French for that, says Mwaniki)

We are also learning the difference between passed and past. We know that passed is always a verb, but past  can be an adverb, an adjective, a noun or a preposition

Best in the class so far: Cameron and Lili, who can write sentences for all forms of passed and past - and identify the parts of speech. Clever!

- it's complicated but when you get the hang of it, it's quite easy (Cameron)
- practice is all you need to get better (Brylee)

Here are some examples of our class's work today. We had to write short sentences to show we understood the different ways passed and past could be used

I passed the salt. (verb)  Cameron
I tip-toed past. (adverb) Cameron
We are sorry for our past actions. (adjective) Cameron 
I went back into the past. (noun) Cameron
We sprinted past the house. (preposition) Cameron
I passed the fish and chip shop. (verb) Jason 
The runner passed him at the finish line (verb) Mason
The past years have gone quickly. (adjective) Kylah
Jamarl passed the Percy Jackson book to me. (verb) Alex
A wasp flew past. (adverb) Lili 
In the past, we went to Rainbow's End. (noun) Lili 
She went past the school. (preposition) Lili 
The child was sorry for his past actions. (adjective) Brylee

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
We are now in part two  of the story, and we are looking for parallels that were foreshadowed in the first part of the story, for example, Mr Munnings, Tommo and Charlie's headmaster, was a bully, and in the army Sergeant Horrible Hanley is also a bully.  Charlie sticks up for Tommo when he is bullied by others at school, and he does the same when Tommo is bullied by others in the army. 

Here's the link to the "You can't do correct English under pressure" game. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This week we have learnt:

--> This week we have been learning more about Vincent van Gogh. 

We have also been learning to select information from different sources: books, videos, websites, You Tube,  and artworks,  and to synthesise  this information (combine, compare, evaluate, select, and  summarise it). 

 We have learnt that:
-  he had mental illness
-  he only sold one painting in his life
-  his paintings went from darker and sombre to lighter and vibrant and swirly
- he used to paint hard-working people
- today his paintings are worth a fortune 
- he saw everything differently to everyone else 
- he didn't want his photo taken; he thought his real self was in his self-portraits 
- he only painted what he saw
- he told his story through his art
- everything he did was done well because he did it with love
- he believed his paintings would one day be worth more than the cost of the supplies he used to paint them
- he loved to paint nature
- his self-portraits were based on his reflection in a mirror
- as an artist he never got any money or recognition in his lifetime
- he wrote a lot,  and many of his quotes are now well known
- he was obsessed with the poor and drawing and painting hard-working people and ordinary scenes
- he liked to write to his brother Theo
- after he died, his paintings got more recognition
- his brother Theo's  wife  worked to get recognition for van Gogh's art
- he did in fact have schizophrenia along with Bi-Polar, and ADD - according to Wikipedia

I find it cool how he can cope with painting with all the mental stress. He really had a passion for painting. (Mwaniki)

 We have also been learning about the longfin eel. We have found information mainly from You Tube videos and other information online, and some books belonging to Mrs Whitehead. We are using our research skills to select, evaluate and synthesise information to complete a project. 

We are also learning to present our work in interesting ways to help show understanding of the topic and for our projects to be eye-catching and clear to read.  

The longfin eel:

Did you know that:  
- they are native to New Zealand
- a female eel can grow up to 2 metres long
- a male grows up to 1 metre long
- they will eat anything they see moving in the water 
- the dorsal fin (the top fin) is longer than the lower fin
- one of their main threats is overfishing by commercial fishers 
- they've got really sensitive skin 
- after they breed they die 
- they go to Tonga to breed
- on their way to Tonga they don't eat anything 
- they go through three different stages before becoming an adult eel
- when they are born, they don't know who their parents are 
- the Maori name for eel is tuna,  and the Maori name for the longfin eel is kuwharuwahru 
- their bodies change before they migrate

Here's the link to the site:You Can't Write Proper English Under Pressure.
Congratulations to Sukhdev who completed the game up to Level 8.