Sunday, 10 June 2018

Find your Tribe...

As part of the NZ Gifted Awareness Week, articles are being shared that parents and students may be interested in.  

Tracey Riley outlines the importance of validating who we are and of connecting to like-minds, and how we can enhance self-concept.

 'Find your Tribe', by Dr Tracy Riley 
"Gifted learners, like all of us, are seeking a tribe, a powerful sense of belonging, that collectively honours and celebrates their individual strengths, differences, quirkiness, interests, abilities and qualities. Even those who may prefer their own company and working independently will ultimately benefit from being connected to like minds."


NZ Gifted Awareness Week competitions

Using the theme
"Celebrate Gifted Aotearoa: Catalysts of Success"
enter a piece of writing/poetry, a photograph or a picture of your artwork.
Entries open 21 May - 20 June 2018
Go here for details and to enter.  Closes Wednesday Week 8

Monday, 4 June 2018

Events relevant to gifted and talented education

The Ministry of Education posts upcoming events relevant to GATE students.  Below, are details of two of them.  We are not in a position to recommend these but just wanted to let you know about them in case you are interested.

Forensics@Kristin 2018

About the Programme:
Non-residential camp for Gifted Students Years 7-10
Students spend days in teams solving a dynamic crime with forensics tools and logic. They then swap to a two-day courtroom drama, complete with lawyers as judges. They prosecute their case in a mock trial whilst parents and family friends cheer them on.
With input from the NZ Police ESR Forensics scientists and lawyers, it is the most fun you can legally have with guns, knives, blood and fingerprinting powder!
To register your interest email Carol Rowley:
Times and dates: 9-14th of July
Monday 9th of July : 8:30-7:30pm
Tuesday 10th of July : 8:30-4:00pm
Wednesday 11th of July : 8:30-7:00pm
Thursday 12th of July : DAY OFF
Friday 13th of July : 8:30-4:00pm
Saturday 14th of July : 8:30-2:00pm
Location: Kristin School 360 Albany Highway Albany, Auckland
Cost: $260 Including morning tea and afternoon tea, dinner and lunch.

Academy Conference for Gifted and Talented Students

Inspire Ambition - Junior Stretch and Challenge Day Junior Students (Years 7 -9, Ages 12-14)
Wellington: Scots College, Tuesday Monday 6th August.
Students: A fixed fee of $45 if paid prior to conference. We have access to sponsorship for students wishing to attend but for whom the cost is a significant challenge for their families. Please contact us for further details.
Bookings: Please contact the office with your numbers as early as possible to secure your places.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Change in Timetable for next 3 weeks

Please note the change in timetable starting on Monday

Mrs Dunn will be on leave for 3 weeks to attend her son's graduations in Boston, USA.  Mathletes and Ext(reme) Writers have learning activities to complete in their own class over that time.  Science Fair and Tournament of Minds will continue to meet with our fantastic reliever, Nick, in the Learning Support Room. Please note, these classes are at different times.
Manawanui (The Originals) won't be meeting. Ext(reme) Reading with Mrs Stanley will continue as usual.

For Weeks 6,7,and 8 only:

Wednesday Block 1: Science Fair
Wednesday Block 2: Tournament of Minds

Friday, 25 May 2018

Two students set to be published

Izzi A and Nathan S are set to be published in the Beyond Expectations anthology to be launched on Saturday June 23rd, 2018, by NZ Young Writers.  There were close to 1000 Year 7 and 8s who entered the NZ Intermediate School Short Story Competition which led to this publication. The students are currently undergoing the final editing process with the publishers.
Congratulations to you both! 

'Fear' By Izzi A

'It's Hard to Stand Out' By Nathan S'

Below is the judge's comment on Izzi's story
Highly Commended: FEAR by Izzi A.
 "This first-person thriller captured my attention from its very first sentence. A touch of sci-fi and horror gave it just the spice it needed. I could really see this story being expanded into something more."

Feedback from Roxy 5 Film Competition Judges: Post #1

Film name: DIFFERENT
Filmmakers: Kate L, Lily H J,   Olivia M, Pretorious H,  Wills F, Ellen H, Daniel A,  Sophie G, Annika L-B, Walt H     

The opening shots of Different are terrific, creating an interesting dystopian world and a solid beginning to the film. We find ourselves instantly embroiled in the story, the pace is good, and the editing is well timed. The use of monochrome really adds to this effect - it’s dramatic, and disturbing.

You’ve employed a good range of cinematography throughout to tell the story well, presenting these young people as robotic-automated, and subservient, which was a really unusual and unique angle to take. Climbing over the chains is an inspired visual choice, as was the “uniform” of the students to help imply the uniformity, along with the glasses.

The ‘switch’ from monochrome to colour over the black and white bark was a good decision - it’s a seamless transition, which is very hard to pull off. Along with this, losing the score at the same time accentuates the un-settling change taking place.

We really enjoyed the opening and closing credits - they are absolutely brilliant and it’s a shame there’s no award this year for Best Credits (we didn’t even think of that!). It’s a great piece of illustration and wonderful use of typography, with a lot of energy and expression.  For example, having the title backwards was genius. Well done Team Harmony!!

Overall, Different is a well compiled short film, using some excellent elements of film making in an interesting way to create drama. He mihi atu ki a koutou katoa mō tō mahi pai. Keep it up, and we’d love to see you in the Roxy5 Competition next year!

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Year 8s looking ahead to 2019

Please note in the calendar that the Year 8s will be attending presentations this week from both Onslow and Newlands Colleges.

Another awesome week behind us...

So great to be getting to know our new Mathletes and to hear them delight in their new learning.  By ensuring they can understand new concepts, not just know them, the students are thriving in their discoveries.

Trials for the Raroa Chess Teams are over - the teams will be announced this week as the inter-school competition is coming up in Week 9 of this term.

Teams for the Tournament of Minds have been confirmed.  This year, we are entering three teams - congrats to all students selected.  Sadly, two students had to decline due to a clash with the Scouts' Gang show - we will miss you but welcome two team members from the waiting list.

Great to have the Year 6 students from our contributing schools visiting.  Thanks to those students with strengths in leadership who showed them around.

Monday night found me invited to the Board of Trustees meeting to report back on the Gifted Conference in Auckland that Angela Stanley and I attended.  The Board are very supportive of the way the school as a whole are supporting our gifted students and developing their talents. And were very interested in out key 'takeaways'.

Until next week,

Feedback from Roxy 5 Film Competition Judges: Post #2

Filmmakers: Izzi A, Sebastian P,  Rebecca M,  Anthony N,  Alex H, Breon S,  Daniel G, Milly M, Sophie B, Hannah S

What a great short film!

We really liked the start. It set up who the main character was, her opinions, her surreal sense of humour, and that she would talk directly to the audience. It was endearing and original. We also liked when you had her talk directly to the camera to say “Saved by the bell!” It was funny and reinforced that connection with the audience. 

We really liked that you incorporated special effects into your concept. We could see you were already thinking about how you could make your film with professionals in the industry. That being said, we also thought you did a great job without having to rely on complicated special effects - the simple yellow then blue backdrops behind her and her imaginary friends was effective!

We also liked the ending. It seemed to suggest that her friends would turn on her. It started to raise the question of how real they actually were, and if they did have a separate conscience what would they do next to make sure they remained alive in her imagination. What would they do to stop her from having a phone? Where would that take them next? 

Well done on a captivating and original film – keep up the fantastic work!

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Week 4

A HUGE welcome to all the Year 6s  who are visiting us this week...

Enjoy exploring Raroa!

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From one Roxy 5 student to his team...

This email was sent from a Roxy5 student to the rest of his team ... it says it all!
Our students are just amazing!

Kia Ora Roxy-5ers
I'd like to thank you all for working so hard on the film Different. It was well-filmed, well-scripted, well-conceived, and produced with minimal injuries (which we all know about-my bad). Although we didn't get in to the final, the best bit was sitting down (and standing up, obviously) and making this film happen with all of you people.  It was a brilliant experience that I'll doubt I will ever forget (and that's saying something- I can barely remember where I left my wallet this morning). Every single moment I spent making that film with all of you was wicked. It felt so great to be part of a team with such a great idea. 
Cheers to all of you- the teachers and the students- for such a wonderful time we had over the past four months.

Raroa Chess Team tryouts

These are still on this week - come to the Learning Support Room and have a couple of games.

The room is upstairs in Block 1, on the way to the staffroom.  
Come on Tuesday or Wednesday lunch

A lunchtime Chess Meet will be starting up in Term 3 to help while away the winter months.
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Remember, there is also a after-school Chess Club run by Scott Wastney, former NZ Champ.  
See an earlier post about this.

Week 3 update

We'd like to welcome the new students to the Mathletes group!
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    • pre-assessments are now completed and analysed
    • Students have identified their next learning steps
    • Their new learning is now underway:
      • Team 1: Statistics
      • Team 2: Number Knowledge and Strategies
      • Teams 3-5: Geometry & Measurement
Ext(reme) Writers
    • students are now underway with ideation for their own Slam Poem.  
    • Some students are preparing for entry into the Elsie Locke Writing Prize
    • We have heard that one of our students is to be published in the upcoming anthology for the Young NZ Writers - stay tuned for a post on that one>>>
Roxy5 Film students
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    • attended the Premiere Screening of all Wellington Primary School entries at Victoria University.  Their acheivments were celebrated by all, with parenta and students enjoying the films, pizza, chips and drinks.  Thanks to Roxy5 for making us all feel special!  The teams did not win a place to the finals but see the next post.... 
    • We reflected our goal from the previous week - to find a time that we were experiencing a thinking trap and name it for what it was.  Some very insightful and mature discussions were had.
 Science Fair 
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    • students are planning, researching and hypothesising their way towards "testing times" - lots of fun and discovering ahead!

Raroa Chess Teams trials were started...and Tournament of Minds Teams were selected...
Otago Maths Problem-Solving Set 1 was completed...
A busy but rewarding week!

Friday, 18 May 2018

Expect the unexpected

Your Smartphone VS NASA's computing in 1969

Your smartphone is millions of times more powerful than all of NASA’s combined computing in 1969

Read about it here
Image: NASA engineers operating IBM System/360 Model 75 mainframe computers.


Sumaze! is a terrific new game that tests your core maths skills.

You will have access to 9 levels of the game, starting with some really trivial ones to allow you to understand the game, followed by some trickier levels. You score 1 point for level 1, 2 points for level 2, 3 points for level 3 and so on until 9 points for level 9.
However, you will lose 2 points for every hint you use (available on levels 8 & 9). And if you have to restart a level then you will lose 1 point each time, up to a maximum of 4 lost points. So, if you need one hint on level 9, then your maximum score goes from 9 down to 7. And if you succeed after restarting three times, then your score drops from 7 down to 4.
It is easier to understand Sumaze! by experiencing it, but in case it helps here are a few important rules and tips:
  • Aim – to move your blue box to reach the “end of level” square.
  • Your box cannot at any time contain a number bigger than 1,000.
  • Your box cannot at any time contain a number that is a fraction.
  • You sometimes need keys to open doors to reach the “end of level” square.
  • Passing through an arrow means you cannot go back.
  • To pass through a green square you must satisfy the square’s condition.
  • Pink squares (and their operations) disappear when you move onto them.
  • Lilac squares (and their operations) can be crossed over and over again.
  • IMPORTANT – Sumaze won't run on a smartphone. If you are currently on a smartphone, then type this into your PC/Mac/tablet browser:
You can stop and start Sumaze!, and the website will use cookies to remember your level and score so far, but it is better to finish all the levels once you have started.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Manawanui - Thinking Traps

An interesting discussion and then personal reflections on thinking traps.  
Recognising them,  and recognising their effect, are the first steps.
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Maths' Illusions

Professor Kokichi Sugihara is world-renowned for using mathematics to make the three-dimensional objects to create impossible scenes and illusions. 

You know I'm a sucker for a great marble run...

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Meet the amazing Cliff Stoll and his interest in Klein bottles

  • This clip is from the Numberphile series and is about Klein bottles, featuring the amazing Cliff Stoll. He also has lots of other interests too. For example, in 1986, he investigated and captured the computer hacker Markus Hess, who was working for the Russian KGB and trying to breach American military security.

Roxy5 Film Competition Entries are in!

During Term 1, twenty students worked in teams to create two five minute films to enter into the Roxy5 Short Film Competition.
This involved planning, storyboarding, filming, directing, acting and editing. The focus for the competition was storytelling, with 3 elements that had to be included: "Kia Ora", a star and a piece of string. 
 The synopsis of the first movie 'Access Denied' is as follows: A child’s imaginary friends are always there for them - any time, any place - they are there. But can they be taken for granted? Will they always be there? Does the modern world have room for them? 
The second movie is titled 'Different'... Imagine a society where gifted children are brainwashed to be normal; to think that everybody and everything was the same. The strict regime keeps them in a compound they think is a school, and controls them using glasses. However, a simple accident on the playground could change it all… 
We’d like to congratulate the following Roxy5 students for their creativity, their commitment and their skills in working collaboratively to produce their films. And all the best for the competition, which closed this week. 
Team Falsa: Izzi A, Sebastian P, Rebecca M, Anthony N, Alex H, Breon S, Daniel G, Milly M, Sophie B and Hannah S 
Team Harmony: Kate L, Lily H-J, Olivia M, Pretorious H, Wills F, Ellen H, Daniel A, Sophie G, Annika L-B and Walt H


New Extension Group: Ext(reme) Reading

A new extension group started this week, Ext(reme) Reading. This programme is very ably led by teacher Angela Stanley. It primarily targets those students whose assessment data indicates that they excel in reading, but who are not involved in other aspects of the G.A.T.E. programme.
The focus is on developing greater breadth, depth, sophistication and complexity in their understanding of texts.
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Ext(reme) Writing: Horror Short Stories

A group of Raroa students recently entered into the NZ Intermediate School Short Story Competition. One of the sections asked for a horror story that was "Beyond Expectations" and less than 750 words - we thought you might 'enjoy' a read of few of them...
Foreign Bodies
By Scarlett Anderson
Foreign bodies are eating me, tearing down my life bit by bit. Debris from my now frail body evaporating into my system.

Life as I've always known it is boring. Sitting still, listening. It's BORING! Day in, day out, I sit here, nothing to do. That was until IT came along. Eating anything and everything in its path. Destroying me. Eating me alive, enveloping me like I’m nothing, like a child would a horde of chocolate. Without a thought, without a care. So now, now I’m fighting. Fighting like there’s no tomorrow - there might not be at this rate. Although it’s far more interesting than previous times, it’s not a nice way to spend your day.

But I’m just part of a bigger unit. We’re all made up of calcium, so we break and empty more easily. This disease is hollowing us all out like feijoas being eaten. Stuck in our own caves, this corruption is water eroding away at our sides and solid outer shells. Slowly dissolving us into swiss cheese. We’re all having to work harder now. I can hear the poisons fighting and battling, brawling and dueling against us. It’s an awful thing to hear - knowing you can't get over there and help take the poison down.

It feels like I’m dying; we’re all dying - slowly, very slowly. These foreign bodies are torturing me, inserting their tentacles of poison and twisting my insides into a evaporating mess of particles. It’s horrible. I’m trying; I’m fighting; I’m doing my best to stop them. But my best just isn't good enough. I feel this disease watching me, hunting me, haunting me - all of us. 

I may not live much longer, who knows? 
But I do know that for the rest of my painful life as a bone, I will battle this beast.
This beast known as cancer. 

By Evie Wright
Rolling over, hoping Mariane’s warmth will shatter the bitter cold chill rushing up my back. I reach out my hand like I always do, hoping for a sympathetic, tired squeeze.  
But there is nothing. No motionless, warm body to comfort me.  Panic. My eyes blink open like headlights on an antique car.  Looking around, all I can see through squinting eyes is the window.
Open. The curtains are alive. Moonlight streams in, flooding the ruffled duvet strewn over the end of the bed. The Wellington Harbour outline is still and placid.
My hands feel something scrunchy beneath Mariane’s pillow. Alert, I sit up, swiping it onto the floor. A piece of paper, half scrunched up, blood stains splattered over the faint scrawled writing.
Mariane’s writing. And a blood-stained blade.
I grab the paper, leaving the weapon to sit, and bolt to the open window. Moonlight beams down onto the handwriting revealing the secret.
Run Simon! Run and don’t stop!  
He is coming soon and I don’t want you to be next!
Then it says:
Mariane is dead. I am coming for you. Just turn around…

By Izzi Anderson
My breath rasps in my throat. My heart beats a wild tune of fear, the drumbeat of my legs and the melody of terror, so in sync they drown out all other noise. I don’t try to harness the adrenalin, instead I let it run loose, giving my body the power it needs to fly through the city; my legs pumping, panic forcing them to go even faster, because if I don’t, They’ll catch me.
But even with this amplification of my body, I’m not outrunning Them. They’re catching up, running effortlessly through obstacles, bending the laws of physics to Their will, and with that kind of power, nobody could escape. In the distance, the white domes of the labs shine in the sun. Their scaly coverings disguising the horrors inside. The horrors that I am running from.
I collapse, my legs giving out from beneath me, onto the hard earth of a graveyard. The mournful face of a stone angel looks over me, its concrete wings spread, but it gives me no protection.
Because They’re here now, with their metal skin, and their cold, steely, eyes, and their voices like new gravel, gritty and harsh.
I promised her, before they took her, that I would run. That I would try to escape.
I’ve let her down.
Since They came, our lives have changed. The frequent Takings have made us like rats, scurrying to and fro with our heads down, trying not to attract attention.
When she was Taken, the whole street mourned. She was unnaturally composed. ‘Que sera sera’ was always her motto. Whatever will be, will be.
The dry, sunbaked ground gives me up as they lift me into the Ship. It’s far enough away that I have time to appreciate the final moments of life as I know it. At this time of day, the streets around the graveyard are empty. I feel a small sadness that no-one will see me go. No-one will miss me. Que sera sera.
There is a sense of finality when the ship doors hiss shut, a foreboding implication of things to come.
I see in my mind the harsh white lights and the rows and rows of silver cages, all with someone or something inside them. I feel the fear emanating from everyone, crushing me with its strength. It’s a powerful thing, fear. It forces you to do things you never could have considered. The labs are like that.
And now I’m going back.

Term 2 Week 1 update

Great to see all the GATE students back at Raroa, 
refreshed and ready to go....

Mathletes from Teams 3 and 4 completed their pre-assessment knowledge for Geometry and Measurement. This week, they will be investigating the next  learning areas identified in their own pre-assessment. Team 1 continued their probability learning, especially the use of probability trees to determine the theoretical probabilities. This week, Teams 2 and 5 will be pre-assessing their current knowledge and skills in Number and Geometry & Measurement, respectively.

Extension Writers were introduced to the class project, Slam Poetry, via the poetry of Prince Ea, "Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?'

Science Fair students began in earnest - questions have been chosen, research is being undertaken and hypotheses are being created. Those students interested in Tournament of Minds trialled last week. They will meet again on Monday to finalise team placements.  Manawanui (the originals) met as usual - a new name for the group is our next challenge as the name Manawanui is now Team 3's name.  It was great to hear about how positive the students were feeling about being back for Term 2 and to hear that they each have many different staff members that they each connect with at a very high level. Enrichments  began this week for all - a great opportunity to gain from the many talented teacher we have at Raroa.

Just a reminder that an after-school Chess Club has been established at Raroa - on a Friday after school.  Please see the earlier post for contact details, costs, etc.

A new extension group started this week, Ext(reme) Reading.  See separate post about this.

Have a great week!

Can dominoes push over Empire State Building?

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Friday, 27 April 2018

Wanna Get your Basic Facts Speed Up?

Shannon recommends:
MathsBuddy logo

Maths and Art: Coding

Animated GIFs are truly a 21st century art form. 
Here are some beautiful, black and white, mathematical GIFs from Étienne Jacob.
Links can be found there to construct your own GIFs
Image result for Étienne Jacob.

Ever wondered what live in New York, 1911, was like?

NASA Reinvents The Wheel

NASA has developed a new wheel 

for the rovers to prevent damage

to see a cool visual showing the journey taken to get to this new technology. 
This video clip shows how flexible it is.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Persuasive Writing Competition

What issues do you feel passionate about? 

Which global goal do you want to stand up and shout about?

Poverty, inequality, climate change? 

Home and away – SDG writing competition

Primary Section:
Write a persuasive letter about a goal of your choice to someone who they feel has the power to make a difference. It should explain why the goal is important to you, and why it is important locally and globally. You should also include what you would like to see change and what role young people can play in making this happen.  

The letter needs to be a maximum of 300 words.

Email your letter to  All entries must be received by 28 June 2018.

Winning articles will be published in the August issue of Stride. There will be an overall winner plus 2 runners-up. Winners will receive Fairtrade prizes and their schools will receive a copy of Scotdec’s new Sustainable Development Goal resources.

Chess Club at Raroa

The Raroa Chess Club is due to start Week 2 of this term.  There are a few places still available in the group, so please contact Scott Wastney at for more information or to join the group.

When:         Fridays after school, starting 11 May
Where:        at Raroa Intermediate
Coach :       Scott Wastney 
Cost:          $90 per term
Group size: approx 12
Scott has been NZ chess champion three times and is a World Chess Federation Master title and Trainer title.  He has been coaching junior chess players for 15 years.  Click here for more information about Scott.  

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Term 2 Timetable

Mathletes 5
Mathletes 1
Mathletes 3
Science Fair

Mathletes 2
Ext Writing
™1, 2, 5
Mathletes 4
Ext Writing
™ 3 & 4