Creative Chaos

Creative Chaos

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Random - my life!

Random photos. My life seems to be totally random at the moment, which is normal for the beginning for a school year!

Backyard tui (native bird)/romans/ year 7 doing homework - a totally new experience! / hydrangea love in Opotiki/ old church love in Opotiki / year 8 books from last year being culled - huge amount of work! /  and Elaina's jam - divine.

I'm at a school which has been flipped upside down. All good. Trying new things - major new things to boost results. My head is a whirl. I have processed 350 new books (80 for library; rest resources) in 3 days; I have covering for Africa. I am wiping dozens of student and teacher overdue records and starting again... I have transferred class lists and spnet 90 minutes scanning 500 cards and putting in new class piles (that is a JOB).
I've been in PD; relayed my own experience of a DP telling me that children like one of mine fail as the NZ education system is  not set up for them - I was told this when he was 6. A strong kinesthetic
learner. He is in a new school now (next level and should be okay. They are a bit more non-conforming.) We've had many, many discusssions around maths at school and between schools. One school is saying few of the new pupils (flying in from all over the city) are at the level of maths that they should be (students have already been at school a week) and they are ditching the NZ material and introducing NSW maths. And writing. Huge issues around it under National Standards. Many discussions around different expectations and levels in different schools.  I've listened to a principal say we are in a major crisis with our Pasifika students.
Watch this - this guy rocks. Right up my alley and so damn true every single word he says.

It is long. It is confronting and might be a bit out of a lot of kiwis comfort zones. And knowledge zones. I'm quite over low decile schools being bagged. I am involved at both ends of the scale in NZ and know that low deciles deal with different issues. I also know that either end also has no idea with what each other deals with. I want every New Zealander to be aware of the difference and the struggle that goes on particularly at the other end - the other end that most NZers are in denial about. All our students deserve the same opportunities - it does not happen under the current governement.

Anyway, I'm exhausted and not even any students! It is till crazy hot with 88% humidity and 28-30 deg every single day. The hottest summer I can ever remember. Our backyard does not look good.

Uni study awaits.
Ps - the older kid flew through his exams. A*/ 3x A grades/a B/ a C grades. Things do work when families are supported and helped by schools. And children actually get the help they need with schools just doing their job and parents not begging. :)

Sunday, 25 January 2015

the bedroom floor

Oh YES. Here we go again. The bedroom floor! This is what happens when all day long you are writing notes, and memorising said notes, while you knit OF COURSE!

There are study notes that need to be better sorted (and that involves a trip to the shops to get plastic sleeves or bulldog clips and quite frankly, I AM doing my best to stay away. I did go for a walk on Friday evening around the shopping centre and spent a grand total of $36 on these pretty pillowcases-  and

UM. That might make it 10 or so new ones since Christmas including 2-3 pairs for Christmas too.),
magazines (trying, trying not to buy any...), wool, knitting of 2 sorts, wool basket, books, shoes, Auckland City Counil nonsense about the 10 year plan, of which I will be putting a submission in. (My rates have already gone up by 74% in 3 years due to our addtion, so we were not able to get the cap that most other ratepayers got... and with our massive new valuation, let us watch them skyrocket again this July... not happy), and just STUFF.

What is your floor like? I am terribly afraid that when it comes to craming time, everything is ignored, everything. Even children... (old enough to look after themselves...). I do have to help organise the youngest school books for him. The fab husband cooks dinner night after night. I do laundry as I love doing it, but that is it...

Do you come to a roaring halt for anything in your life? I think creative people can be messy anyhow - waht do you think?

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Chocolate Weetbix slice - one for the school lunchboxes

I grew up with this chocolate weetbix slice and the boys love it in their lunchboxes. (They all make their own lunches these days - I have a variety of things available/baked and they do the rest).

Chocolate Weetbix Slice

oven to 180 deg c

180g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup dessicated coconut
3 weetbix crushed
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa

melt butter and add vanilla.
combine dry ingrdients in a bowl. Pour in butter and mix well.
Press mixture into a lined slice tin and bake fro 15-20 minutes until firm.
Allow to cool.
Then ice with chocolate icing and sprinkle with either coconut or hundreds and thousands.
Once cool, cut and store in an aritight container.


Enjoyed with a lovely cup of Darvilles of Windsor (England) English breakfast tea sent to me by Penny. I am pretty sure the sweet mat was part of the huge daily Christmas gift swap of 2013 sent to me by Elaina.

PS - I am still not coping with this hideous heat/ humidity and sunshine day after day BUT it is great for the mountains of laundry being dried outside - especially with a child with blood noses!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

A plea to parents of school age children in New Zealand

first rant of the year...

Dear Parents/caregivers  of New Zealand,

From Term 3 this year, National Library will stop sending curriculum based books to schools. This means that if your child's school library is rubbish, if they do not have a library or if your school has a library but with no budget, then effectively your child will lose their main source of inquiry based resources. Nat Lib will still send books to school - but the teachers will have no choice in what they get, one person in the school will be responsible and the books stay there for a year - if your child is doing a particular topic (which they do), they will no longer have any access to books on that topic. No school library can have enough books for an entire school wide topic....

Auckland Libraries are also down sizing non-fiction books. The emphasis from Nat Lib is switching from topic based books to reading for pleasure. Most schools in NZ are under funded ; many still have few computers and most certainly not enough for most children in classes to do research from. This will change NZ education as we know it. Children all over will be disadvantaged by this major change, of which, of course, under National, no school has had any input into, no librarian, no teacher or no principal. Younger children should not be using computers for information - it is known that comprehension levels go down 20% when reading on screen and the vast majority of students struggle finding, comprehending and deciphering information on line. Students need real books. High school students use more books than on-line for research - it is quicker...

This is a horrific situation particularly for year 1-3 students starting their literacy journey; for ESOL students, for special needs students, for the thousands of students with low literacy levels, the thousands and thousands 2-3-4 PLUS years behind (yes there are that many!). They NEED BOOKS at THEIR LEVEL, not information on-line which means little.

I implore you to wrote to Parata, Peter Dunne, National Library School Serivces,  your local MP AND front up to your BOT and ask for a school library budget increase. Make your school community aware of this.

We have to stop this madness ! (and I am rather hoping it will open the govt's eyes to the state of school librarians/ status of school librarians - bottom of pile - in NZ and realise that things are not at all rosy.)

Thanks from one of the many, many NZ school librarians who are HORRIFIED at the implications of this for every student in NZ.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

high season in New Zealand

A couple of beaches outside the township of Opotiki on the East Coast of the North Island.
Stinking hot day. No-one else around.... I still giggle at this! Beautiful our country.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

daily life

I am in denial that two of my boys start the new 2015 school year in two days time. TWO days. Crikey. I think we are pretty much organised - still waiting for a couple of textbooks to arrive.

oh. WAITING. Tomorrow night. 6pm. Cambridge IGCSE results are out. As a mum I am nervous. The 16 year old is starting to freak out... he has run away to a mate's house today. Will probably run away and do something to keep himself busy tomorrow too until 6 pm. The school thinks he should fly. I am hoping that. Fingers crossed. I think this may be one of the biggest things in his life yet. Big for him and big for the parents. We all want our kids to do well. As a kid with aspergers and dysgraphia and dyscalculia, we have had a lot more hurdles than most to get to where we are. It has been hard. We are in a good spot now and at a brilliant school who has bent over backwards to help.

The heat is still ON. It is hideous this summer. Quite ridiculous that children have to sit in a classroom in the heat, and this is not the warmest month either.

I'm still knitting. Another one of those cardigans - hee hee. This time in red.

I've been sorting wool - this is FUN. (I have also given away A LOT of wool).

I've finished another essay and submitted it. Now for exam study....

I've been into school for a few hours and sorted out my office (all to myself now - yay) and piled up the huge pile of new books on new shelving - more space is glorious! Bought a pile of new magazines today for school too.

And look at my other rosebush - glorious yellow and so many buds!

How are your days?

Saturday, 17 January 2015

A Handmade Wardrobe and Romans

I sewed both these skirts a while ago, but both were too long and one need further adjustments. Both are wrap skirts and were pretty easy to sew, but due to the length, I had not worn for a long time! I was sorting out my wardrobe last week and found them again and still love them, but they needed to be shortened.
I did a barter with a friend - she got a school PE uniform and a couple of books I bought for her in Australia, and in return I had these two skirts shortened , lickedly quick, for me. A win, win in my books as I am not the world's fastest sewer and would worry that  I had not sewed the hems straight!
Loving having two new items that i will wear a lot this summer. The green one is reversible too.
And - ooooh - new roman sandals. These are some of the last 'made in New Zealand' ones that I snapped up on-line last week. The company which has made them for decades and decades has stopped. I am gutted. I have 3 pairs now - a red punched ones, a blue and a black hole punched in leather slides.
Most NZers my age owned a pair of these and they are still complusory wear as a part of school uniform,s at lots of schools but most people buy the made in China copy versions for a fraction of the price. (I am pleased with the $40 price tag of my new ones. The really great thing is that they can be re-soled too).
I also own a pair of "slave"sandals (without the straps) which the trendy girls wore - I always had to wear romans though.
(I love shoes and have 3 new pairs this summer... not as bad as the girlfriend who has bought 7 new pairs! ha.)

You either LOVE or LOATHE roman sandals! Which one are you? Were you made to wear a pair to school? Anyone else, as an adult, still wear and own a pair of the NZ made ones? Or did you wear slave sandals instead?

Remember charlie blacks or browns? Treks or Nomads? I always had charlie browns and felt jealous of those with treks or nomads. I finally got treks in form 4 , when I had saved up enough of my pocket money. They were so expensive back then!