Friday, December 18, 2015

Mini yarn hats

This week we have chosen to make these mini Christmas yarn hats while speaking English in class. These yarn hats are adorable and so easy to make. I'll hang some in my Christmas tree and maybe one will have to go on the top of my head today - which is our last day of the semester.

Here is a collection of yarn hats being made in the classroom this week. 

Here is how you make them...

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mystery Skype with Melbourne, Australia

Today at 11 a.m. some of my 8th grade students were called up on Skype from somewhere in the world. At this moment in time Microsoft has a Skype-A-Thon and the students that we met were from Melbourne, Australia and they had prepared fantastic information about their country and I was especially interested in "the lamingtons" that they described as part of Australian cuisine. Sounded lovely and like something I'll try to make in the future. 

Thanks to Benjamin Lannen and grade 5/6 at Holy Spirit Community School - you did a great job! :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Year 9 - deadline for handing in your essays and answers

Thursday December 3rd is the absolutely last day for handing in your essays and answers (Holes - the Whale Rider). My e-mail address is:   - I do prefer e-mails. Best of luck! :)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Year 8 - There is/are/It is - give this a try

The coming week we will finish the work with Human Rights and we will also go through the pages in the workbook to make sure you have understood everything. Here is an exercise where you can test your knowledge:

"It" and "There"

Holidays are coming...holidays are coming - assorted material

Documentary about Bruce Mertz, a.k.a. Mr. Christmas.

1. How many lights are put up every year?
2. How long does it take to put everything up?
3. What is the total of the electricity bill?
4. What happened to Mr. Christmas' wife?
5. What happened to his cat - Trixie?

"A Social Network Christmas" - the story of the nativity in the context of social media!

Anglophenia tells us how a British Christmas is compared to the American counterpart.

1. Why are letters thrown into the fire?
2. Instead of putting out milk and cookies for Father Christmas, they put out what?
3. What is a Christmas cracker? 
4. What is the main dish on the Christmas table? 
5. What is bread sauce? 
6. What is Boxing Day? 

"A brief history of Christmas traditions from around the world" 

"How to make Christmas crackers" - a step by step guide

"Who is Santa Claus?"

"December" - a short short film from the perspective of ...?

Link to Christmas resources - Teaching English/British Council

Link to Hanukkah - the history (video)

Link to Kwanzaa- the history (video)

Link to Christmas - the most wonderful day of the year? 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How to signal that you need help - snapshots from today

Students no longer need to keep their arms flailing in the air (or shout my name) when needing help, they can simply signal by turning the red "help" side towards me on their laminated card. We're giving this a try and so far it has worked just as well as the other options.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Theme: Human Rights - Malala - year 8

What are human rights? Write the answer in your notebook. 

What happened to Malala? Describe the incident and what followed. Write your answers in your notebook.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Holes - questions for 9A

NOTE: I will omit a few questions, due to popular demand. :) This is an updated version:

Questions to Holes - year 9 Holes by Louis Sachar
Write the answers to the questions in your notebook:

PART ONE - Chapters 1 & 2:
  1. Explain the irony in the name Camp Green Lake.
  2. Why will campers sometimes permit themselves to be bitten by a rattlesnake or a scorpion?
  3. Why did Camp Green Lake always manage to find campers despite the appalling conditions?
  4. What choices did the judge give Stanley?

Chapters 3 & 4:
  1. Why did Stanley have a box of stationery?
  2. How do we know that Stanley was very unhappy at home?
  3. Briefly explain the curse of the gypsy.
  4. Why did Stanley’s apartment smell of burning rubber and foot odour?
  5. What did everyone in the family like about Stanley Yelnat’s name?

Chapters 5 & 6:
  1. Why was Mr. Sir in such a bad mood?
  2. According to Counselor Pendanski, what one rule should Stanley always remember?
  3. What nickname did the boys in Stanley’s tent use for Mr. Pendanski?
  4. For what crime was Stanley sent to Camp Green Lake?

Chapters 7 & 8:
  1. How did Stanley’s weight help him for once in his life?
  2. Who was Elya Yelnats?
  3. Describe Madame Zeroni.
  4. How was Sarah Miller different from Myra Menke?

Chapters 9 & 10:
  1. Explain why the sign on the rec. room said “Wreck Room”.
  2. Why is Stanley’s letter home so comical?

Chapters 11 & 12:
  1. How did X-ray get his nickname?
  2. Why was Stanley glad to be called “Caveman”?

Chapters 13 & 14:
  1. Describe the object that Stanley had found
  2. What occurs when the water truck arrives that indicates Stanley’s status in the group of boys is improving?
  3. Describe the Warden.

Chapters 15 & 16:
  1. Why was the Warden treating the campers so well?
  2. According to ZigZag, how did the Warden know all their names?

Chapters 17 & 18:
  1. Why was Stanley relieved when the boys returned to their regular spot to dig?

Chapters 19 & 20:
  1. How did Magnet get his nickname?
  2. What is the secret ingredient of the Warden’s nail polish?

Chapters 21 - 24:
  1. Describe Green Lake as it was one hundred years ago.
  2. How did Mr. Sir punish Stanley?

Chapters 25 & 26:
  1. According to Sam, what could onions cure?
  2. Describe what happened to Sam.

Chapters 27 & 28:
  1. What is Zero’s real name and why is it significant?
  2. Explain how Kate died.

PART TWO - Chapters 29 & 30:
  1. Why did Mr. Pendanski fire his pistol into the air?

Chapters 31 & 32:
  1. Where did Stanley think that Zero might have taken refuge?
  2. Why did Stanley steal Mr. Sir’s truck?

Chapters 33 & 34:
  1. Why did Stanley think he might have to return to the camp?
  2. Why did Stanley’s heart stop when he peered into the bottom of one of the holes?
  3. Describe what Stanley found while walking across the dry and barren wasteland.

Chapters 35 & 36:
  1. Who was under the boat?
  2. What did the boys see when they finally reached the western edge of the lake?

Chapters 37 - 40:
  1. Why was Stanley reluctant to stop and rest? 

Chapters 41 - 44:
  1. Why did Zero steal when he was young?
  2. What did Stanley uncover in the hole?

Chapters 45 & 46:
  1. Why did Stanley start to think about his mother?

Chapters 47 & 48:
  1. What did Ms. Morengo advise Stanley to do when the Warden ordered him to open up the suitcase?
  2. Do you think she gave him good advice? Explain your answer.

Chapter 49 & PART THREE - Chapter 50:
  1. Describe the new product that Stanley’s father has just invented.
  2. What happens at Green Lake for the first time in over one hundred years?
  3. Describe the woman who is singing the lullaby to Zero at the end of the story.

Essay topics (choose two to write about)

  1. Compare and contrast the characters Stanley and Zero. Use physical and personality traits in your descriptions.
  2. Discuss the significance of the nicknames of the boys at Camp Green Lake.
  3. Why is the book called Holes?


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Hangout with Laura Dron (L. S.Matthews) today

Having finished reading "Fish" we were delighted to be able to speak to the author Laura Dron today. My students had prepared a few questions, a couple questions came from our friends in NZ and some students came up with some new ones during the session - some a bit original, like: 

* Do you like porridge? (yes, but she doesn't like making it)
* Have you had a fish yourself? (yes, when she was younger... a carp - Laura told us a story about this)
* What's your favorite food? (Thai)
* Can you make a living as an author? (No, that's difficult, but she's also an artist)

and some that had to do with the book:

* Why is Tiger genderless? (because we can all make up our own vision of Tiger that way)
* Where does the book take place? (wherever we want to...)
* What happened to the donkey and the Guide at the end? (well, their purpose was done so they could vanish from the story...)

We also found out that Laura lives in Bridport, England with husband. She has two grown-up children and her son got married recently. She has eaten Swedish meatballs and thought they were ok. She also asked us a few questions and when she found out that the students were 14 years old she recommended her book "The Outcasts" which may be suitable for older students .....we'll look into that one. 

Thank you Laura! :)

Mystery Hangout with Brno, Czech Republic

It was time for a new hangout today - this time 9A got the chance, for the first time, to ask questions and try to figure out where we ended up. After figuring out that we were in Europe and that the country had no coastline we focused on the countries in the middle and soon we guessed the Czech Republic. It was tougher finding out in which city they lived but after a handful of guesses we settled on Brno, which was correct. A big thank you to Katerina and her students for hanging out with us!

The Whale Rider - questions - 9B

Book circle year 9 The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

Write the answers to the questions in your notebook.

  1. Look at the cover and backside (the blurb) - what do you think this book will be about? Explain why.

Chapter 1 & 2:
  1. Describe what chapter 1 and 2 is about, in a few sentences.

Chapter 3 & 4:
  1. Who is Koro Apirana?
  2. Who is Kahu?
  3. Who is Nani Flowers?
  4. Who is Rawiri?

Chapter 5 & 6 & 7:
  1. What happened to Kahu’s mother Rehua?
  2. What does it mean that Koro Apirana was a chief? Explain.

Chapter 8:
  1. What problem was the village facing?
  2. Why was Koro Apirana bearing less of a grudge against Kahu?
  3. What did he hold against her?
  4. Who was Koro Apirana considering as a successor?
  5. Who is Tangaroa?

Chapter 10 & 11:
  1. What did Rawiri do when Kahu was 4?
  2. Why did he stay so long in Australia?
  3. What was his life like in Sydney?
  4. What was the phone call that changed Rawiri’s life?
  5. What kind of reception did Rawiri get at Jeff’s home?
  6. What did Porourangi report to Rawiri about Koro’s search for a successor?
  7. What finally convinced Rawiri to return home?

Chapter 12:
  1. How was Rawiri’s homecoming?
  2. How had people changed?
  3. How was Kahu a “sucker for punishment”?
  4. How is Kahu like Mihi?
  5. What moved Nani Flowers to tears?

Chapter 13 & 14:
  1. What happened when Koro took the boys out in the boat to retrieve the stone?
  2. Why did Nani Flowers not want to tell Koro about the experience?

Chapter 15:
  1. What happened on the beach of Wainui that caused sorrow and anger among the people?
  2. What did Rawiri and his friends do?
  3. Who arrived to help take the stranded whales back out to sea?
  4. What did the rescued whale then do?
  5. What finally happened to all the whales?

Chapter 16:
  1. Why is Koro so upset when he arrives back home?

Chapter 17:
  1. How does Kahu save the whale?

Chapter 18:
  1. How does Kahu manage to save the people?

Chapter 19:
  1. Out at sea, who notices Kahu first?
  2. What does the old one think?
  3. What happens to Nani Flowers when she realizes that Kahu has disappeared?

Chapter 20
  1. Days later when Nani Flowers wakes up what does she discover about Kahu?
  2. How does Kahu wake up?
  3. What do the whales rejoice about?

Chapter 21:
  1. What does Kahu hear?
  2. What is the message?

Essay topics (choose two to write about):
  1. Does Kahu demonstrate the traits of a good leader? If so, which specific traits does she demonstrate?
  2. Whale rider demonstrates the conflict that is caused when the past meets the present. Explain your thoughts.  
  3. The Whale Rider illustrates that girls are just as capable as boys and when people accept this everyone benefits. Do you agree? Explain.
  4. The Whale Rider illustrates that culture and tradition can be both a positive and negative thing in people’s lives. Do you agree? Explain.