Tag Archives: learning

Peace Poppies

Felt poppies in jarsAs part of our Poetry Unit and theme of Globalisation we looked at a picture book called “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”.  The book brings to life in images the song of the same name written by Eric Bogle in the 1970s.  We listened to the song whilst watching a video of the book.  I also had a copy of the book for the girls to read in their own time in class.

I introduced the idea of “Micro Poetry” to you.  The idea is to create powerful visual images through words in short poems such as Haiku or Twitter Poems. These were the starting point of our exploration of similes, metaphor, personification, alliteration and onomatopoeia. I loved the way that you took to micro poetry easily – you found them non-threatening, you weren’t faced with having to write a long poem, make lines rhyme and you didn’t need to write sentences.  We looked at what nouns, adjectives and verbs were and you brainstormed words that you could use that summoned up the images you saw in the book. Then you set to creating your poems.  I was amazed at the ideas you came up with and the way that you naturally used poetic techniques without really thinking about them.  We then used yoir own poems to identify examples of the poetic techniques you had used which was far more effective than trying to identify them in poems that you had never seen before.  You realised that you could write poetry which was empowering.

I also wanted to connect the ideas from the book and song with something that you had experience of. I originally had the idea of knitting poppies and sending them away as part of the “5000 Poppies” project for the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli.  However, time was running out and I felt a bit daunted about teaching 28 girls how to knit!  Mrs McGowan suggested I could help her and a local group out as they were making poppies as part of the “Peace Poppies” project.  These were cut out of felt, sewn together and then a button added.  The idea is that they will be “planted” all the way from the Court House in Hamilton along the river to Memorial Gardens for ANZAC Day. You seemed to love having “practical” lessons. I was astounded at how many of you had never sewn before, threaded a needle or sewn on a button.  Even those of you who were reticent at first because you said you didn’t know how to sew were confidently sewing by the end of the three lessons we spent making poppies. I never would have thought I would have girls coming up to me excitedly saying “Mrs Robertson, look, I threaded the needle!” or “Mrs Robertson, I made one – I sewed the button on!”

girls in a classroom sewing poppies  Although this whole unit took much longer than I planned, I think it was extremely worthwhile.  You gained so much from it in terms of confidence, I think that you had plenty of opportunity to produce your own poetry and I am convinced that it also helped you to identify poetic techniques in other poems too.  Having said that, I believe that having the confidence to express yourselves far outweighs being able to identify similes etc in poems. When in your lives (apart from English exams) will you need to do that?  And how often will you need to express themselves? All the time! You also learned about the context for ANZAC Day and understand more deeply the impact of war and the implications for survivors. We had some very interesting discussions after listening to the song, watching the video and reading the book and many of you shared stories of your own relatives and friends.

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Here are some of the poems. (I have edited the spelling and punctuation where it hindered communication!) Not all of them fall into the category of a Twitter poem or a Haiku but they are short and powerful. It was interesting that some of you struggled with the concept of 140 characters and not writing sentences. With more time, I would have liked to explore strategies for identifying words that are essential for conveying images and how you can use poetic licence to leave out unnecessary words.

Well done all of you and I am sorry that I can’t display all the poems – there just isn’t space.

Blood, bodies, bullets in every direction like bees gathering. Bodies scattered the ground like shells on the sand.

Taylor

Poppies on the hills

Sons and fathers lay fallen

We remember them.

Flags, marching, last post

And poppies to remember,

Our fallen soldiers.

Madison

Blazing Red Fire

Bullets flying everywhere
Ash, sweat, tears, blood, pain

Thousands of men marching. Brothers, fathers, cousins, neighbours. In their not yet blood, ash, sweat, tear stained khaki coloured uniform.

Charlotte

As the Poppy’s blow in the wind

I think about all who died for me.

The sick, the blind, the deaf, the scared.

Bullets screaming through the air

The deafening gunfire

That hit the poor hard working men.

The blood flows painfully through the army uniform,

The thousands that cried

For our heroes

Daan

soldiers hide in their fox holes

rats nibble on their toes

bullets shot through the sky with a bang

death and destruction everywhere

christmas day all fighting stops as they sing their christmas song.

letters from home touch their hearts

we thank you anzac boys.

Alex

Blistering hot sun

Bullets flying everywhere

Blood stained fields

Marching into battle

The sound of wild guns

Will we ever see another day?

Laying in the poppies

Family in the front of my mind

I see blood.

Madi

In the light of dawn, the break of day  

Remembering the soldiers that fought all the way

Wearing the poppies red as the blood they shed before

Recognizing the heroes they fought with in the war

A symbol of respect

To the men  they will never forget

As sun shines down on the scene of strife

But fear they will be forgotten with each new generation of life.

Emily

on!”

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Creative Writing

painting of trojan horseSo, another step into the unknown; the murky journey of the short story full of fantastical, wandering story lines, abrupt plot twists, over elaborate descriptions and unbelievable leaps from one scene to the next.  I love storytelling, it is the most powerful form of learning there is.  Language has developed from the oral story telling of past generations, cultures have evolved and taken on their identities as a result of the tales passed on from elders to their mokopuna and on again. We are who we are because of the stories of the world.  Who doesn’t remember sitting on a parents’ lap lost in the imaginings of the stories they were read?  I recall crawling into my parents’ bed with my three sisters on weekend mornings to cuddle up with my Dad as he told us the story of the fairies who hid in a huge wooden horse to conquer the goblins who were overpowering their kingdom.  We begged for it over and over again and asked for more and more embellishments.  It was only much later that I realised that the fairies’ wooden horse was actually the Trojan Horse!

Anyway, I digress.  Cultures are built on myths and legends which help us make sense of the world around us and how it came to be.  We thrive on real life stories – just look at the number of reality TV shows, soap operas that tell the stories of “real life”, and who hasn’t stopped to say “Oooh! Have you heard about ….?  We are fascinated by people, by stories, by questions, by answers, by imagination, curiosity and invention.

So, we have embarked on story telling.  In the last week of term we explored 5 Card Flickr with interesting results as already outlined in a recent blog.  I was lucky enough to spend some time with Alan Levine when he visited New Zealand at the end of September and talked to him some more about digital story telling.  I only wish I had more time to explore the possibilities but we have made a start.  This week we used an idea I heard about as I was surfing the internet.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make a note of the webpage so apologies to the initiator of this idea.  We have called it #storymakers and the idea is that one of the class (this time it was me, just to get them started) puts a starter sentence into a Todaysmeet.com room and then everyone else continues the story until it ends.  It’s a bit like the party game when you have to go round the table and keep the sentence going.  We started with “One day I discovered a magic button….”

a red sparkly button

We had great fun and it was interesting to observe how you “developed” the story – some of you got a little bit carried away and relied on “waking up from a dream” when someone “killed’ the character off.  I think it was challenging for you to have to think of the next line quickly and it was a quite a public forum although less public than having to say the next line out loud in an oral context.  I wonder how we could encourage the flow of the story without you having to do it so much under pressure?  I wonder if that would lead to more thoughtful ideas?  I am sure too that some of you were embarrassed and were put outside your comfort zones because either you didn’t know what to say or you felt that what you wanted to say wasn’t good enough.  Resorting to “crazy” ideas provides a “cover” of sorts, doesn’t it?  Maybe we could build the story over a lesson whilst doing other activities?  You could just keep an eye on the “Tweet” stream and see when it is your turn, or jump in when you feel ready…?  Ideas to ponder…  It was great though to see you all engaged and prepared to have a go, though.  So, good on you and let me know what you thought of the activity in the comments.

After the story was “finished” we read it out and we talked about not being able to rely on “it was all a dream” to get out of strange situations and also developing the characters as the story develops. It is clear to see what has been in the news recently … and interesting also to realise that we can only write about what we have experience of and that we can only bring our own perspectives of our understandings of those experiences to our writing too.  I know that a different group of people with different experiences would bring their own perspectives to this starter and the story would be completely different.
Here is the transcript of the story; (unedited)
One day I discovered a magic button ….
it was a blue sparkly one and it was hiding in my room
The button was circular and had a diameter of 7cm
It looke like it hadnt been seen in 100 years
It open a magical portal
but i didn’t go through
I just stood there looking at it, but then I heard cheerful music so I decided to take a look inside
but i slipped and ended up falling in a meadow
The meadow was filled with bogtrotters and nymphs
In the distance I saw a group huddled together and curiosity had the best of me
I started running over to the group and I suddenly tripped over and face planted in bogtrotters poo.
I thought really gross because it was all over my face, some went into my mouth and it tasted like shampoo
And then in the far distance there was a big BANG!!!!!!!
I then realised that I had Ebola and I died.. But then I woke up!
after dying i was really tired, and hungry so i went for a sleep and started chewing my own hand in my sleep.
I woke up and I was a new person named Bella ………. who was a princess.
I ended up being a prince….
Then out all of a sudden pineapples rained down from the sky and a lion roared in the distance…
I looked over to where the roar had came from and saw a pride a lions
They came running towards us ready to kill their prey
All of a sudden there was a baboon on the rock holding a baby cub with two other lions.it was the lion king
but I blinded them with my lightsaver and ran away
Ahhhh Sabena mamma he manana
all of a sudden everyone that i had been in contact with died and so did the animals because i had ebola.
and then in the distance I saw a man. i married him
We had a pineapple themed wedding, but then he died the next day from my ebola
the reason why i wasn’t dying because i was an immortal ebola zombie victim i had depression because i was the last living man on earth
I awoke next to the magic button, laying in a hospital bed really dying of Ebola.
I survived, because i got the magic curer from the bogtrotters
Lol, jk I’m still standing here looking at the portal. It’s kinda hurting my eyes fml.
I suddenly woke up to a holt. It turns out I was sleeping in rehab because I am Hillary duff.
THE END

Hugo – Your Review

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We have now watched “Hugo” all the way through and you have started to work through the activities to explore the film. Please add a short review below.  Use the Review Preparation document to help you that has been shared in our Google Classroom.   Here is a brief checklist of things to include;

  • A star rating
  • What type of film it is
  • What happens in the film?
  • Who are the main characters and what are they like?
  • Did you enjoy the film? Why/why not? What were its good and bad points?
  • Write about a scene you particularly enjoyed or remembered. Why was it good/memorable?
  • Would you recommend this film? Who would enjoy it most? Why?

Poets one and all!

Our term of poetry is over and we move onto our novel study.  However, I couldn’t just move on without celebrating some of your amazing poems.  There were so many great ones to choose from and I can’t post them all here.  Why don’t you share some of your poems with each other on Google Docs and comment on them?

Here are a couple of my favourites.  The first one is from the activity to explore personification:

Image

Personification Poem by Olivia

Dawn awakes
Splashing colours all over
The blank canvas
Creating an oasis
That smears itself across the sky
Like an artist blending all sorts of colours
Together
With just one simple stroke

The morning sings
As the birds
Begin
Their well-rehearsed song
Tweeting peacefully
Splitting silence
Lingering in the air

As the heat of the day increases
The sun dances across the skies above
Shining it’s rays down
Over the cities below

Crash
The waves smash themselves forcefully
Yet so softly
Against the damp sand
Leaving a splash
Of cold salty spray
Clinging onto particles
Of the dusty golden goodness
The sea whispers softly
Words of encouragement
Filling the ears
Of scared little children
Taking their first steps into the water
Liquid licking their toes
Parents clutching their tiny hands

One mountain
Stands tall
Looking over the green countryside
Like a king overlooking his kingdom
The sky brings a beautiful bright blue
Contrasting with the trees
Dotted over the mountain

A stone sleeps
After a long day
Of hopscotch
As the sun gently melts away
Into darkness
Enveloped by long grass
Slightly swaying in the cool air

Night takes over
Shadows forming
A pitch black darkness spreading
Only once being brightened
As the moon comforts
Murmuring campers
As they await sleep to fall upon them

Stars guide the way to the morning
Leaving a sparkling trail
Like a snail
Twinkling against the black duvet of the sky

This one is Rosie’s final poem.

Image

The Llama who thought He was a Man

Stop! Wait. Go back.
Eating grass!
Cut some slack
you’re nuts

I’m not a llama
I don’t eat grass
At least, I don’t think
I have in the past

I am a llama?!
Seriously, cut the joke
You’ve said nothing but tosh
since first you spoke

Oh stop it!
I’m quite sick of this game
You don’t know a thing about humor
You’re jokes are laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame!!!!

Nope, I’m not listening
What childish behaviour
I’m going away now
See you later!

Stop following me, I say!
Please go away!
Can you not hear me at all?

I do believe
You don’t understand
Your listening skills are poor

But perhaps, I wonder
If you do understand
Then why do you insist

On insisting
I have a fury coat
Which my eyesight
Has somehow missed!

Fine, I shall prove it!
Come here to this puddle
I’ll prove I’m no animal
Your brain’s in a muddle

You see, you nutcase
My reflection is fine
I am a huma-
Wait! That face is not mine!

How can it be?
Things shouldn’t be as they are
Something is wrong!
Something is- AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!

I’m a llama! I’m a llama!
What a dreadful sight!
I’m a llama! I’m a LLAMA!
Goodness help me, YOU WERE RIGHT!!!!!!

And finally, Sophie’s poem about camp is full of energy and paints a great picture of what camp was all about.

2014-03-21 22.25.30

Year 9 Camp 2014

In bushcraft we made manuka tea
Which I had to skull down on 1, 2, 3
At archery we aimed to hit a bulls eye
But I did not I just hit nearby

In rock climbing we had to climb a big wall
While trying not to think what would happen if we’d fall
If your group didn’t work as a team in ABL
You would realise you were going to be unstable

Mountain Biking had its ups and downs
Which made some of us end up with the browns!!
At raft building we had to float our team
Which in some cases was a bit extreme

You had to be good at mountaineering
To complete the challenge of orienteering
Waka Ama was a race
And we had a hard time to chase

In kayaking falling into the muddy water
Was like watching a lamb at the slaughter
I finished my week with the tramp
Which was a great way to finished such a good camp!