The Castle

My favourite toy is a Playmobil castle because it has a draw bridge and a jail and a secret passage wall. You could bring it on vacation because it has a red handle.  My mum paid $5 at a garage sale. Then I had to do jobs to earn it.  If you buy it on the internet it is $144.99. That’s a lot of money!

by Peter


Room 13 have been making dinosaurs from soda bottles, card, parcel tape, kitchen roll and PVA glue.  Here are a few to give you a better idea about how they are made.  More to come soon…

Room 13


A plesiosaur is a member of the sea reptile family and the name Plesiosaurs means “close to lizard”.  A plesiosaur is not a dinosaur.  Instead it’s a sea reptile.

A plesiosaur has 2 front flippers, 2 back flippers, a short tail, sharp pointy teeth and a very long neck.

They were mostly found in Europe and probably lived about 200 million years ago. Plesiosaurs are found in shallow seas and even freshwater lakes.

They are very fast and they had curved teeth useful for catching fish, but not for chewing or crushing. It’s also likely that they caught and ate the squid-like creatures that existed at the time. Some plesiosaur fossils have stones preserved in the stomach area, showing that they swallowed stones (called gastroliths) to grind up food in their stomachs.

They were able to dive down, but they fed near the surface and had no need to go deep. Being reptiles they had to breathe air, so there would have to be good reason for them to leave the surface for a very long time.

Right now there are no more because they are extinct.

by RobNad

Table Tennis

A hard, fast ping-pong ball going to swoop across the table.  I hit it as hard as I could!

words and picture by EllJac

Burma Trail

When we got to the Burma Trail it was icy cold.  I let go of the rope and fell on the bumpy and slippery ground.  I fell down ditches all the time.

When we got back to camp hot chocolate and biscuits were waiting for us.

words and picture by RonDar

At the Burma Trail

It was dim and dark at night.  I held on to the thick string, walking over the roots and through the trees, leaves crashing behind me, the wind slowly swishing on me.  It all happened at the Burma Trail.

art and words by WhiHan

The Climbing Tree

The tree is narrow, scratchy and tall.  I didn’t struggle to climb up the branches.  I felt thrilled that I got to the top.

words and art by LocPae


I steered the handlebars and the wheel bounced up and down.  I almost crashed.  The BMX bike almost fell down the big hill.

words and art By LanMic

Gravatar & Avatars

I discovered Gravatar over a year ago and have used it to represent me visually on blog comments and to give my online identity some consistency in other online spaces.  A few weeks ago I changed my Twitter avatar and, after recently leaving a blog comment with an avatar that didn’t match, I decided it was time for a Gravatar update.  If you’re not using  Gravatar why not give it a try?

Looking over the history of my evolving Gravatar avatars-

Avatar History

I remembered that between




@rakt had asked…


and the simple answer is… I don’t use an avatar creator.  I make them from photographs in a variety of ways.

I usually start with a full face colour portrait.  Then I’ll change the colour/contrast/fill settings using Picasa.  After that I open the photo in an older version of Paint Shop Pro, or GIMPshop, copy half of my face and play with the effects until I create something I like.  Sometimes I’ll flip the tablet screen and use ArtRage to draw or trace over a photo.  When I’m semi-satisfied I copy and mirror my half face, tidy things up and finish off in Picasa or whatever suits me.  Mostly it’s just playing and experimenting until I’m happy with what I see.

Here’s a few samples to demonstrate a little of what I do.

Of course it doesn’t always work…

Mirror Writing

Leonardo Da Vinci was an inventor, scientist, painter and sculptor in Italy and France.  He painted the Mona Lisa.  He designed and invented lots of things like cars, robots and diving suits.  He really wanted to invent a flying machine that worked, but nobody is sure if he ever built one that flew.  Leonardo used mirror writing so no one could copy his ideas. He died in 1519.

Here are some Room 9 students doing mirror writing as handwriting entries for our Learning  Journals.

Mirror Writing

Mirror Writing

We chose a poem from a school journal and copied it out in reverse.  I was really difficult.  Some people wrote theirs out and traced it on a window.   Then the poems were stained with coffee and tea to make them look old.  Finally we went over our writing with a black pen.  Here are some of them (click on them for a larger view).  Can you read them?

image0-7 image0-8 image0-9 image0-10 image0-11

By Room 9




Kingfisher is a diving bird.

A Kingfisher has blue feathers and a black beak and a white body.

Some kingfishers live in New Zealand.

The Kingfisher dives in the water to get a fish. They lay eggs and the kingfisher babies grow big. Then they fly away.

I like them because of their colourful wings.

Illustrated by LatJos and PedMax.  Written by LatJos



close up with a kākāpō

The kākāpō is the heaviest parrot in the world it can weigh up to 3 kg. Kakapo means parrot of the night

Kākāpō has yellow and green feathers with a hooked beak and orange feet with green wings

Kākāpō live in the South Island of New Zealand

Kākāpō make nests on the ground and are good at climbing trees. Their hooked beak helps them eat berries.

Kākāpō are related to owls and are the most endangered bird. There are between 90 and 80 left.

Illustrated and written by WilGor




Keas are the heaviest parrot in the world.

Keas are green and have orange underneath their wings.

Keas live in the mountains and mostly live in the South Island.

Keas eat dead meat and food scraps and plastic lids.

Keas scratch their head feathers with their feet.

Illustrated and written by HarAnn

Morepork – Ruru

Morepork or Ruru

Morepork or Ruru

Morepork are a bird of prey and a big owl.  Morepork are native to New Zealand.

A Morepork looks like a big brown owl with big wings and a hooked beak.  It has big eyes to see in the dark.

Morepork live in the New Zealand forests.  They perch on big branches with lots of leaves.

Morepork make a sound that goes “more pork, more pork”.  They eat bugs like worms and insects that fly.  Morepork lay 2 or 3 white eggs.  They hatch after 20 to 30 days.  Only the female seems to incubate the eggs and she is fed by the male on the nest.  The chicks fledge after about 34 days.  Morepork like to seek food at night.

Illustrated and written by TayCen




The Kea is a mountain parrot. It’s a New Zealand native bird. Sometimes it’s called a clown bird. The Kea is related to the forest kaka.

The Kea’s back and wings are green, its nostrils are grey and its beak is black. Their green feathers are edged with black. Under its wings it’s orange. Kea grow up to 50cm long.

Between 1,000 and 5,000 kea live in the wild. They live in the mountains, on the western side of the Southern Alps, Kaikoura ranges and Tararua ranges of the North Island. It might also be seen on river flats.

Kea eat food scraps, dead meat, snow berries, leaves, buds, fruits, seeds and grubs. Kea build their nests under logs. In July to January they lay two to four white eggs. Kea fly high when traveling far.

Kea are one of the most intelligent birds in the world: it is our funny, naughty native parrot.

Illustrated and written by KauRam