Sunday, February 27, 2011

A journey around my classroom

My classroom stretches east-west, with the whole northern side made up of windows (in this part of the world, that's the sunny side!)
It's a long and fairly narrow room, which makes for challenges when it comes to arranging the tables in groups. At the moment I just have them in 3 long rows of 5 tables, facing the whiteboard, which is the other side from the windows. Please click to enlarge

If you come in the door and look left (east), you see this view

and this one

This is the view from the other (eastern) end, back towards the door:

Here is part of the western wall, with  students' work, 2 of the room's
6 desktop computers, and part of my desk -

My desk and the door through into my office.

 The south wall

Part of the southern wall including the whiteboard.

Looking out of the window


And straight across the quad to the Library

 Open-air seating outside the Canteen

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thematic Photographic 135: Letters

Yay! Thematic Photographic's back! Join in the fun here.

I didn't need to go far to find some letters: a few days ago I took a lot of photos in and around my classroom, with the idea of sometime posting a 'journey around my classroom'.
Here are the Letters which a junior class made to decorate the walls a year or so ago:

And this one:

These were made as a fun activity at the end of the year. They worked in groups and each letter had to have some theme or unifying idea.
This E is one of the best:

You can get an idea of how they sit on the walls in this shot; the Excellence is under the whiteboard, the English down the far end of the room:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Memories of Christchurch

Some of you may have read my post earlier this week, just after the disastrous earthquake in the city in which I was born and brought up.
The news gets sadder every day, with about 100 now confirmed dead, and another 250 still missing. I have been thinking about my years there and the places I used to know well; these pictures are how I would like to remember the city.

For about 8 years of my childhood we lived in New Brighton. My strongest memory, apart from our big wooden two-storeyed house, is of the beach - stretching for miles, windswept, grey-sanded. There was a long wooden pier, dilapidated and dangerous, under which I very nearly drowned. Today there is a new streamlined pier.

When I was a teenager we moved to Sumner, another beachside suburb. In those angst-ridden times I often used to walk along the beach at night and sit on top of the Cave Rock (centre of picture). I always felt perfectly safe, and never came to any harm.

I attended Christchurch Girls' High School, in an old building only a block or 2 from the centre of the city. Today, there is a new campus on far bigger grounds, further out of the CBD.

Another view of the old building:

One of the best features of the city is (was?) Hagley Park, a huge acreage of recreational ground wisely set aside by the founders for their descendants.

There were sporting grounds, walking and running tracks, lakes and playgrounds.
A busy main road runs through the Park, and along both sides of it are beautiful cherries which make a stunning show in the springtime.

Of course they have been renewed and replaced many times over the years, but I am very proud of the fact that my father was responsible for the original plantings, when he was an elected member of the City Council.

Christchurch has always prided itself on its gardens. Through the city runs the Avon river (yes, named after the English one). I used to love being taken boating on the river,

and to the Botanic Gardens and Museum

In the background of these two pictures is the old University, which I attended. These days it is an Arts centre; I wonder how much of it has survived the quakes?

Christchurch had a small but busy port called Lyttelton. This is where the latest quake was centred

And finally, another picture of the iconic (yes, that word is badly overused, but in this case it's correct)

Thanks for reading.
These photos are by David Wall or from this site by Michelle.

Monday, February 21, 2011

So sad for the city I was born in

I was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. Went to school, University and Teachers' College there. Married, divorced and married again. My two children were born there.

Cathedral Square, Christchurch NZ 

 I was never particularly fond of the city - didn't like the climate, the atmosphere, or the prospects; I was very happy to move northwards into warmer parts of the country, first to Wellington and then to the Bay of Plenty. But I have many happy memories of people and places there, and there are still many family members there.

On September 4 last year the city suffered the most destructive earthquakequake to hit New Zealand in 80 years when a 7.0-magnitude tremor damaged 100,000 homes, leaving a clean-up bill estimated at NZ$4.0 billion dollars (US$3.0 billion).
The city remained under a state of emergency for weeks with police cordoning off the centre for fear of collapsing buildings, as thousands of aftershocks hit the region. The only good thing was that no deaths or serious injuries occurred.

Today, however, another major quake happened - only 6.3 but very shallow (5kms), and only a few kilometers from the central city. This time it is a major disaster, with people calling the city "irreparable".

Many people are trapped inside what was a five-storey building.

What really brings it home to me, and makes me feel like crying, is seeing that the spire of the Cathedral has fallen. This building was the central point of the city (see top picture) and as a school and university student I walked past it every day, often several times.

I feel shocked, numb, grieving. I cannot begin to imagine what the people of my home town are going through.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What states have I been to?

I saw this on Max's blog and couldn't resist.
I think I'm not doing too badly, seeing as I live in the Southern hemisphere, in New Zealand - we are great travellers 

visited 23 states (46%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Go here if you'd like to tally your statestide total.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Friday Photo

I love the summer colours I managed to achieve in this planter:

and in this one too:

They cheer me up! Have a fantastic weekend, everyone.

The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming 
out of the flowers. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More Strangers

I've found some more pics which seem to qualify for Thematic Photographic's 'Strangers' theme.
First, two shots of ceremonial guards at the Mausoleum of Ataturk, in Ankara, Turkey:


These people are engrossed in what the guide is saying at the National Museum in the same city:


A group of friends playing a Spanish version of boules in Barcelona:

"Good things happen when you meet strangers."   ~Yo-Yo Ma 

Friday, February 11, 2011


Thematic Photographic's theme this week is strangers, and people are posting fantastic pics in response to Carmi's suggestion.

I'm pretty wary of taking photos of strangers - after all I wouldn't want anyone taking any of me. But I did rustle up a few:

These young guys were enjoying the sun and the water - I don't think they were catching any fish, though.

Meanwhile a mother and her two children watch:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don't do as they do...

I love old propaganda posters and often look on the net for different and interesting ones. Recently I came across one which refers to the contentious debate over the prohibition of alcohol -  a hot political cookie
in New Zealand in the 1920s.

Poster: Alexander Turnbull Library

 The poster, probably from 1925 or 1928, shows a New Zealand soldier kicking an old man representing Uncle Sam back across the Pacific from New Zealand to North America. It urges New Zealanders not to follow the United States in banning alcohol and claims prohibition there (in force since 1919) has caused more harm than good. A political party, the ‘Continuance Party’, was formed and waswell funded by the liquor trade. It spent heavily on advertising material in the lead-up to national referenda, especially in the 1920s.

Prohibition does no good, of course. Educational 'experts' constantly instruct us teachers that telling a kid NOT to do something immediately makes them want to do it... the same goes for adults, that's for sure. And when there's a whole barrel of money to be made.....

I love a glass of wine in the evening; in fact, I plan to go and pour myself one when I've finished this post. A cool, crisp, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc... mmmm, my mouth's watering. After a very busy week and a long hot day, there's nothing better. 

But no-one would deny that this can be a very dangerous drug, one which can cause terrible damage to individuals, and heartache and suffering to families. The problem of youngsters "binge-drinking" worries us in this country, as it does in many others I guess. Too often the result of a night out is dangerous, destructive and inappropriate behaviour. We've all done stupid things - well, I know I have. But truly it seems to be getting worse and worse - and younger and younger. Accidents, deaths, alcohol poisoning, assaults and pregnancies make for a depressing lists of consequences.

I'm afraid I have no helpful suggestions, or solutions.
All of this diatribe was started by thinking about the old poster and the ideas it was trying to foster in the viewer. 
I wish you all a pleasant evening:

Your good health!