25 May 2020

Lockdown Hair

We just couldn't resist creating beautiful hairstyles for the four boys with the longest lockdown locks.  It has been a long time since their last haircut, and so it meant they could even have wee pony tails!

13 May 2020


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Between now and next Monday, make sure you've done the home learning tasks that were compulsory.  Hopefully you've been keeping up with the work, so most of these things should be finished already.  These are:

  • Creative Thinking Keys - Lockdown Life - x4.
  • Book Review.
  • Final reading activities.
  • Human Body activities.
  • 'A Starry Night'.
  • Lockdown Life Colouring Competition.

You can now work on the other sheets in your HLP if you want to.  These are all optional.  That's pages 2, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and the word ladders.

When you return to school, you must make sure you have EVERYTHING on the list below.  It will take awhile to sort everything out, so make sure you're onto it:

  • pencil case - go through and check you have everything you need (make a plan to buy new stuff if you need it)
  • yellow atlas
  • all your school library books
  • your group reading book - some people have two of these
  • clearfile - with all your papers/worksheets/maths booklet etc inside
  • Home Learning Book
  • if you borrowed an ipad from school - bring it back on Monday (don't forget the charger)

I know many of you have become pretty comfortable and maybe a bit lazy at home.  By the time school returns on Monday, you will have had eight weeks holiday, and missed six weeks of school.  It will take a couple of days for us - me included - to get into a good routine.  

I need you all to have a REALLY good attitude.  Be positive.  Fun.  Kind.  Patient.  Ready to work hard.  Ready to have an awesome time with your friends.  Remember our class motto - WE WORK HARD AND WE PLAY HARD.  We don't want any comments about how you'd rather be at home, or about how you don't want to come back to school.  It's time for us to rejoin the real world.  It's gonna be awesome.

12 May 2020


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1.   Check your HRR is up to date.  Don't forget to include the book you've just read with your reading group.

2.   Just one activity to complete today - your Book Review.  There are two pages - first one looks like this:


  • This activity is compulsory.
  • This is a DRAFT - you'll publish this when we get back to school.
  • Do not double space your work.
  • You can review any book you like, but it should be one you know very well.  My advice is to choose a book you've read over the past few weeks, or the book you read with your group.
  • You must write between 150-300 words.
  • You could type your work up first (good way to check the word count and get the surface features correct), and then copy it onto the sheet.
  • You can sketch some ideas for the drawing part, but don't put much time into this - it's a draft.
  • When you've finished the review, ask a parent  or (smart) older sibling to proof read your work.  Fix your errors.  Make sure that all names have capital letters!
  • You do not need to upload your work to Seesaw - I trust that you'll get it done :)

What you could include in your book review: (see examples below)

  • A summary of what happens in the book, without giving the ending away.
  • Details about a favourite/scary/intense/shocking moment - and what your reaction to this moment was.
  • Information about your favourite character - and why they're your favourite.
  • A recommendation about who might enjoy reading the book.
  • Your opinion of the story, including a rating /10.  This should be positive (so choose a book you enjoyed).


WONDER - RJ Palacio
Wonder is one of those rare books that makes you want to hug everyone in it so tightly that they’ll have no doubt about how much you love them…and beyond that, it also makes you want to reach out and hug the whole world. It’s an upbeat, humorous, life-affirming story that deserves to be read—and it’s one that may just change its readers, too.

If you know how terrifying it was to be a kid on a day to day basis, you’ll appreciate August’s story. 10-year-old Auggie is going to school for the first time in his life, and he has to navigate new rules, learn to interact with teachers, and figure out how to make new friends. In addition, he also has a severe facial deformity that stops strangers in their tracks, so all the usual perils of the fifth grade take on even more heightened stakes.

This story is about growing up, and is full of heart and humour. Auggie’s smart, funny personality will win over readers who will agonise with him over the complicated web of friendships and family even as they cheer for him as he learns some of life’s big and scary lessons.

HOLES - Louis Sachar
'Holes' is an awesome book. It is full of mysteries that fill you with surprise and events that actually make it pretty hard to put the book down. The best part according to me had been the "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather", I read it a thousand times and still keep laughing. Another remarkable event was when Stanley gets covered in deadly venomous yellow- spotted lizards which actually protect him! The book has a perfect length, neither ended early, nor too drawn out. 

Holes is a noteworthy novel by Louis Sachar. The language used in the book is light and easy to understand which makes the book suitable to be read by kids. The plot is very well written and the reader becomes more and more engrossed as he flips through the beautifully written pages. The plot is also fairly humorous. Overall, this book is a literary masterpiece and a must read for all ages.

MATILDA - Roald Dahl
The main characters in this book are Matilda, Miss Honey and Miss Trunchbull. I liked Matilda because she was very wise and curious and I liked Miss Honey because she was helpful and kind.  Matilda is a little girl who loves reading. She has superpower eyes. She can use them for lifting and breaking things. She protected the other children in the class from Miss Trunchbull and she helped Miss Honey get her mansion back. At the end she defeated the evil Miss Trunchbull and it is a really happy ending (but you need to read the book to find out what happens).  This book is amazing. There is a lot of fantastic creative imagination. My favourite part was when Matilda poured the water all over Miss Trunchbull to make her swallow the lizard that was in the water. It was super funny. I learnt kindness, bravery and diligence from Matilda.  I strongly recommend this book to all children from ages 7 to 12 I believe they will enjoy the funny story.

11 May 2020


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1.   Red Group - complete your final activity.  See details on your group tab.

2.  Complete the final four Thinker's Keys as part of the Creative Thinking - Lockdown Life activity.  Take a photo and upload these to Seesaw.

3.   Here is a message from Jenette at Sport Manawatu, who was really impressed with our Walk The Manawatu video:

The video is so cool!! Love it!!
Everyone at Sport Manawatu says well done!!

5.   Watch the Mentos & Coke Challenge video - hilarious!  By the way, this is the 60th video we've put on You Tube during lockdown!  Not a bad effort!

07 May 2020


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1.   TODAY IS A CATCH UP DAY.  If you're not sure what to do, check with the instructions that have been given over the past couple of weeks.  Please ensure the following activities have been completed:

  • four 'Lockdown Life Creative Thinking' Keys.
  • three creative writing paragraphs (six sentences each).
  • final reading activities for Green, Red and Blue.
  • Human Body activities.

  • 'A Starry Night' paint by numbers activity.
  • Lockdown Life Colouring Competition.
  • Red - finish your book by then.

Mrs Simpson's maths class - do the maths activities she has given you - don't worry about the other booklet.  Any questions, just email her.

2.   Check out the results of our 'Walk The Manawatu' challenge!  We did it - we walked and ran more than 100km in the end.  Thanks to all those who got involved, especially those who ran or walked on both days.  I'll be sending our entry off to Sport Manawatu.  You guys are so cool.  Seriously.

3.   Check out the video of your rock towers - so good!  Thought you might like the music for this one too :)

4.   Mark the atlas skills and True or False activities from yesterday.  I didn't have the right atlas at home, so there are a couple of answers I haven't been able to give you.

* please note No. 6 for Middle East is also Great Sandy Desert.

4.   Complete today's challenge - 'The Mentos Challenge'.  Do this outside!  As usual, get someone to video your little effort and email the video to me by 6pm tonight.  Check the video for your instructions.  Tune in on Monday to find out whether or not MS survived the Mentos Challenge....

By the way, this will be our FINAL class challenge.  We've saved the best till last :)


(got a question?  email me)

1.   Keep working on your maths activities (there is no due date for this, just do a page or two a day), colouring competition and 'A Starry Night'.  Red, keep reading 'Tomorrow When The War Began' - must be finished by Monday.

2.   Complete the second atlas skills activity on pg 5 from your HLP.  You'll get the answers tomorrow.

3.  Complete the True or False activity on pg 6 from your HLP.  You'll get the answers tomorrow.

4.   Make sure you're all set for tomorrow's challenge - you need a 1.5L or 2L of coke and a pack of mentos.

4.   'Walk The Manawatu' challenge.... we're at 87km!  So close!  Well done to those who have sent me the details of their running/walking so far.  If you didn't do it yesterday, can you please do it today?  See yesterday's blog post for instructions.  If you did it yesterday and you want to have another go today, go for it!  Once we've completed this challenge, I'll share everybody's screen shots and selfies with you :)  (Riley - can you please send me a selfie?)

5.   Mark yesterday's quiz:

6.   Complete today's challenge - 'Backyard Rock Towers'.  Can you beat Miss Simpson's record of 16?

06 May 2020


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1.   Keep working on your maths activities (there is no due date for this, just do a page or two a day), colouring competition and 'A Starry Night'.  

2.   Reading:  Green, Blue and Black - if you didn't get your final reading activity done yesterday, do it today please.  Red, keep reading 'Tomorrow When The War Began' - must be finished by Monday.

3.   Complete two more 'Lockdown Life - Creative Thinking' Keys.  Make sure they're side by side.  Use the feedback I gave you for the first round to improve your work.  Take a photo of your work and upload it to Seesaw.  If you're one of the people who didn't complete the first round of Keys, check the blog post dated 29 April for instructions.

4.   Watch the video of the 'Stick Challenge'.  Not quite so many people involved this time, but it was cool to see some parents and siblings joining in!  Thank you!

5.   Complete the quiz - you'll get the answers tomorrow!

6.  Complete today's challenge - 'Walk The Manawatu'.  This challenge is being run by Sport Manawatu, and I have signed our class up!

Let’s traverse the length of the Manawatu (keeping in our bubbles) during the month of May.
From Rangiwahia to Himatangi Beach is 100 kilometres.

Register as an individual or register your whole bubble! You can walk or run the distance,

from the comfort of your neighbourhood in your bubble.

Spot prizes will be drawn along the way (and send out when we can).

Our class is going to smash out this challenge over the next couple of days. I think/hope 100km will be easy peasy! When you go for your walk or run, activate the tracking app you downloaded yesterday. During the event, take a selfie. When you get home, take a screenshot of the tracking app that shows how far you went and the route you took (I'll be rounding your distance to the nearest kilometre). Email both the selfie and the screenshot to me. I'll keep track of how far we have collectively run on the master sheet. Come on team, we've got this! I've started us off with a nice walk in the country :)

Keep doing this every time you go for a walk or run - I'll let you know when we reach 100km. It might take a few days!

05 May 2020


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1.   Keep working on your maths activities, colouring competition and 'A Starry Night'.

2.   Finish your creative writing (if you haven't already).  See details about what to do on yesterday's Lockdown Learning post.

3.   Group Reading:  Black, Blue and Green should be finished their books now.  Check your group reading tab for details about a follow up activity.  Red, your details are there too.

4.   Watch the video - 'Lockdown Dares'.... I hope no one was harmed while completing these dares!

5.  Complete today's challenge - 'Stick Jump Challenge'.  Using the video below for inspiration, give this activity a go.  Use a broom or similar if you don't have a stick.  Ask someone to video you completing (or attempting) this challenge and send the video to Miss Simpson by 6pm tonight.  This is a great challenge for siblings to get involved with too, so line yourselves up, and go for it!  If anyone can convince their parents to give it a go, that would be even better.

The 2017 class did quite well with this challenge!

02 May 2020


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1.   Keep working on your maths activities, colouring competition and group reading.

2.   Mark the Country Identification Challenge.  Going by the messages and emails I received over the weekend begging for clues, I know this was a tricky one!

3.   There is no new class challenge today... but it would be really super cool if the 8 kids who didn't do the Dare Challenge on Friday could give it a crack.  Send your videos to me by 6pm tonight.  Thanks to those who have sent in their videos.... very entertaining!  I'll share the whole video with you tomorrow, once I've received the others.

4.   Creative Writing - page 7 of your HLP.  Select THREE sentence starters and write a (very) short story for each.  Each story must be six sentences - no more, no less, including the starter sentence.  Write your stories in your HLB and choose your favourite one to photograph and upload to Seesaw.  You have two days to complete this work.  You are allowed to change the pronouns (that means you can change she to he or his to hers etc).  I had a bit of a go too:

Rule #1: avoid the woman in the strappy, green heels at all costs.  There had been rumours swirling around for years, about whether or not she was actually from Earth.  While no solid evidence had been presented of her true origins, all I know is that people had a habit of disappearing whenever they crossed her path.  I'm 93% sure that her strappy, green heels are magic, and that she uses them to zap people.  My buddy Thomas decided to find out for sure one day, and he snuck into her garden to spy on her.  Minutes later, a bright green flash erupted from her backyard, and Thomas was never seen or heard from again.

5.   To prepare for a challenge we've got coming up, you need to download a tracking app onto a phone, so that you can work out exactly how far you have walked or run.  Even if you have a fitbit, you still need this tech for the challenge.  It doesn't matter what app you use, but two good ones are Strava and Map My Run:

6.   Please start working on the art activity, the paint by numbers of 'A Starry Night'.  You can use coloured pencils, water colours, felts, whatever to complete this art.  You'll notice I've copied it on to fancy paper, so make sure you do a good job.  We're going to display these on the classroom wall, so keep it safe in your CF and bring it back to school.  This needs to be finished by next Monday.  Here is my effort:

30 April 2020


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1.   Quick Messages:

- Mrs Simpson's maths class - I have sent you an email, so please read it.

- When you complete sheets from the HLP, just keep them in your clearfile (don't panic if you've already glued stuff in your HLB - just keep them in your CF from now on).

- Make sure you read all instructions carefully... I've had quite a few emails asking questions about things that you'd know if you read the information properly.

2.   What a talented bunch these people are!  Watch the video for proof!

3.   Keep working on your reading - for Black, Blue and Green, you need to finish your book by Tuesday.  Red... keep going!

4.   Mark your atlas skills: (if you haven't done it yet, don't look at the answers!)  Please note No. 2, about traveling west from Egypt is wrong.  Correct answer is Libya.

5.   Attention Y8 Students who have excellent general knowledge and are quiz masters... you might want to check out this really cool opportunity.  You might end up on TV!

6.   FROM YOUR HLP - please complete the following: 

- Country Identification Challenge - page 1.  Work on this today and over the weekend.  This is more like a family quiz, so get your mums and dads into it too.  If you get stuck, send a photo of the quiz to one of your brainy relatives!  You'll get the answers on Monday.

- Lockdown Colouring Competition - yes, you're allowed to start working on this.  No due date... just do a bit when you can.

6.  Complete today's challenge - I DARE YOU!  Thanks for the great idea Mikayla!  I honestly can not wait to see your videos.  It would be really cool if EVERYONE could participate in this challenge.

29 April 2020


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1.   Thanks for your attendance at the ZOOM conference yesterday.  Was great to see your (mostly) gorgeous faces.  If you want to watch the video, here you go:

2.   Watch the video of the 'Handstand T-Shirt' challenge from yesterday.  This is a physically difficult activity (as you can tell from all the huffing and puffing), so well done to those who managed to do this!

3.   Do the next chunk of reading and complete the follow up reading activity (Padlet) - details are on your group tab on the Home Page.

4.   FROM YOUR HOME LEARNING PACK (HLP) - please complete the following:  

- Atlas Skills: complete the multi choice questions on page 3 and 4 (you'll get the answers tomorrow).  Use the yellow atlas.

- Creative Thinking: choose TWO Keys (there are eight altogether) from page 8 or 9 to complete today.  The two you choose should be next to each other on the paper eg. the interpretation key and the brainstorming key.  Once you're done, take a photo of your work and upload to Seesaw.  Remember, you can write information, draw diagrams or pictures - whatever.  When you draw stuff - it's pencil first, then coloured pencil, then a black outline to finish.  Here are my ideas (no coloured pencils at my house sorry):

5.   Complete today's challenge - 'Show Us A Talent'.  Thanks for the idea George!  Video yourself doing this challenge and email it to me by 6pm tonight.


(got a question?  email me)

1.   Prepare for the class ZOOM meeting at 10am - it's not the end of the world if you can't make it, but I am looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible.  I will email you more information, a code and a password, which you'll need to access the meeting, at about 9.45am.  You will need to 'allow' your device to activate the microphone so we can hear you speak.

2.   A 'home learning pack' is being delivered to your house today - some of you might have this already.  You can have a look through the stuff, but don't start any of the activities.  Please read my letter (front page of your clearfile) carefully.

3.  Watch this video of the 'Backyard Obstacle Course' challenge from yesterday.  So awesome to see your creativity in action!

4.  Do today's reading.

5.  Complete the follow up reading activity - details are on your group tab on the Home Page.

6.   Did you remember to put mentos and coke on the shopping list?  You'll need this stuff by next Thursday (and remember, it's fine if you can't get this sorted - don't stress).

6.   Complete today's challenge - 'The Handstand T-Shirt'.  Thanks for the idea Abbie, and thank you for showing us an example of how it's done!  Get someone to video you attempting this challenge and send it to me by 6pm as usual.  Good luck to all of you :)

28 April 2020


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1.   Watch this video of the Interhouse Dance Challenge.  Well done to those who got involved - love, love love this!

2.   Do today's reading - details are on your group tab on the Home page.

3.   Prepare for an online class meeting via ZOOM.  This will be tomorrow at 10am.  If you don't already have the app (your parents or siblings might have it, so just use their account), you'll need to download it.  You can sign up to ZOOM using a laptop/PC too.  You'll get more information about how this will work at 9am tomorrow.

4.   If you're allowed, add these things to your shopping list: a packet of plain mint mentos and a 450ml coke cola.  You need these things for an experiment we're doing next week.  When you do get them, do not open either item until I ask you to.

5.   Complete these Stuff quizzes:

6.   Complete a QUICK WRITE based on the video below (Danny MacAskill - what a legend).  Do this in your HLB.  Take an up-close photo of your writing and add it to Seesaw.  Use these sentence starters:  I SEE..., I FEEL..., and I THINK...  Try to use descriptive vocabulary, and add plenty of detail.

7.   Complete today's challenge - 'Backyard Obstacle Course'

23 April 2020


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1.   Watch this video - a slideshow of your 'Lockdown Life' Poems.  I was really, super impressed with your skills here Room 8.  If you need longer to read the poem, just pause it.

2.   Watch this video - 'The Paper Dart Challenge'.... we had everything from amazing to hopeless!

3.   Complete the Interhouse Dance Challenge (thanks Warwick, Fraser and Mikayla - I've got yours).  Click the tab on the home page of our blog to access all the information you need.  Videos due 6pm today.

4.   Complete the survey - I really would like everyone to do this please.

5.   Do today's reading activity.


       -  group reading
       -  Human Body activities
       -  listening to 'Sky On Fire'



(got a question?  email me)

1.   Watch this video.... and have a good laugh!  Those of you that found this really hard and felt instantly crook, you'll be the ones who have to puke over the side of the boat on the way to Nydia Bay.  Right next to me.  I don't think any mums were harmed in the making of this video.

2.   Do today's reading.  No follow up activities to complete today.

3.   Have a go at this special travel calculator:

4.   Poetry:  write a poem titled 'Lockdown Life'. There are lots of different kinds of poems, and you can choose whatever style you like (Google can help if you're not sure).  No, it does not have to rhyme.  Type your poem straight into Seesaw by clicking the 'Note' feature:

Lockdown Life - By Miss Simpson

Life in lockdown is pretty cruisy,
Nothing to do? Watch a movie!
Sleep ins, late nights and midday naps,
The hair is a mess, so I'll wear a cap.
Heaps of exercise has gotta be good,
Running and biking all round the hood.
Not too sure of the date or day,
But who cares really, we'll find our way.

5.   Keep working on this week's interhouse competition - the dance/lip sync battle.  I'm expecting you all to send me a video for this challenge.  Due tomorrow at 6pm.

6.   Complete today's challenge:  'Paper Darts'.  Send me your video by 6pm tonight.  I reckon my dart made it about 6m - can you beat this?

22 April 2020


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1.   This video of all your jokes is sure to make you smile!

2.   Complete the follow up reading activity for your group.

3.   Do today's reading.

4.   This is your final reminder about completing your Human Body activities, listening to 'Sky On Fire', and doing some work in your maths booklet.  You can keep working away at these things over the next couple of weeks.

5.   SEESAW:  When you post photos of your work, make sure:
a) your book is flat
b) your camera is looking at the work straight on and not on an angle 
c) you position your camera as close as possible to the work
d) change the camera to either portrait or landscape to suit the position/size of the work
e) crop the image to get rid of the stuff you don't need around the edges
f) when you upload the image to Seesaw, rotate it so it's round the right way.  To do this, click the hand at the bottom (that's the button you click to crop the image too), then the rotate symbol at the top:

9.   Rebel Sport is running a competition that looks like a bit of fun.  There are some great prizes up for grabs!  The link will take you to a Facebook page, so you'll need to get your parents to help with that (unless you have your own FB page of course).

7.  Complete today's challenge (thanks for the idea Abbie) - 'The Dizzy Challenge'.  You need a broom and someone to video you... hold the broom above your head and look at the end of it - don't take your eyes off it.  Spin around in a circle, fast, 10 times.  Try to run or kick a ball.  Send the videos through to me by 6pm tonight.  This should give everyone a LOL experience!  Use the second half of this video for inspiration (I have no idea why we were all dressed in black, or why we did this activity when it was raining, but I do remember howling with laughter... this is just one of those crazy things that happens in Room 8 I guess).

20 April 2020


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1.   Nice work with the art yesterday!  Check out the video:

2.   Complete the follow up reading activity for your group.

3.   Do today's reading.

4.   Continue working on your Human Body activities and listening to 'Sky On Fire'.  All going well, we'll be back at school in three weeks, so these things need to be finished by then.  You can keep working on your maths booklet too, though there is no due date for this.  

5.   COVID 19 Lockdown - Hats Thinking Chart.  Turn to the next page in your HLB.  Create a chart with three sections - Black (negative facts), Yellow (positive facts) and Red (your opinion).  Using the Hats to organise your thinking, write four bullet points in each section.  The topic:  THE LEVEL FOUR LOCKDOWN HAS BEEN EXTENDED FOR ONE WEEK.  Take an up-close photo and add it to your Seesaw journal.

6.   Make sure you are all over the Interhouse Dance Competition!  Your video is not due till Friday, but I am expecting to see some cool singing and dancing from you!  Remember, you're the oldest/bestest/baddest/coolest kids in the school, so it's up to you to lead from the front.

7.   Complete today's challenge:  'Jokes'  Email your videos through to me by 6pm tonight.

19 April 2020


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1.   Watch the 'Halcombe School Handstand Challenge' video:

2.  Complete the follow up reading activity for your group.

3.   Do today's reading.

4.   Continue working on your Human Body activities and listening to 'Sky On Fire'.

5.   Make a start on your maths booklet if you haven't already done this.  There is a good variety of activities so most of you should be able to find something that will keep you busy.

6.   Complete today's challenge:  'How To Draw A...'  Choose something from the You Tube Channel below and give it a whirl.  Make it pretty!  Add it to your Seesaw journal (click the green plus button in Seesaw to do this).

7.   Watch the Prime Minister's Press Conference at 4pm to find out whether we're staying at Alert Level 4, or moving to Level 3.

8.   Start planning for the next interhouse competition - due Friday: