Seeing as ANZAC day falls in the holidays and school is away next week on camp, we decided to commemorate ANZAC day today. The children worked in groups to make remembrance posters and then we raised the flag at the community hall.
With Easter fast approaching we saw that Mitre 10 Mega was running an Easy As Kids workshop to make wooden Easter Bunnies and thought we'd ask them if we could have some kits for a craft activity here at school. We got so much more than we asked for though as Mitre10 Nelson Helping Hands brought the workshop to us.
The kids had a great time building and decorating their bunnies under the guidance of Murray from Mitre10 Nelson Helping Hands and the under the watchful eye of the Easter Bunny.
Thank you Murray and Mitre 10 Mega Nelson Helping Hands! It was a fantastic workshop and the kids had an absolute blast.
April Fool's pranks were in full swing today at school as we had to make sure we topped last year's Easter Egg hunt and boy, did we get the kids good. We started relatively tame....the seniors got to school to find their passwords on their chromebooks had changed and when they finally managed to login, the screens were all rotated sideways! The juniors were all looking forward to making decorated brownies for their maths lesson today, only to find out they were making decorated 'brown-Es'
But we didn't stop there, our main prank for the day started at morning tea when we set the school on fire!
Well, we actually turned on a smoke machine but the children didn't know that. Once spotted the children did very well and followed procedure, one child coming to tell the staff, another blasting the fire horn and then they all turned up at the evacuation point...well, all children except one. Where was the one child? A sweep of the buildings and grounds still didn't turn up the child and with the village siren going, we left the searching for the firecrew.
The fire trucks arrived with lights and sirens going. The firecrew (including Mike) in all their turnout gear commenced the search for the missing child and ran out the hoses to put out the 'fire'. The kids now convinced it was totally real even imagining seeing sparks and smelling real smoke watched and waited and wondered where the missing child was. Turns out she was hiding in the back of the fire truck. Mike had taken her with him on the way to the fire call out, a prank on the rest of us and to see what we would do.
Laughs of relief abounded when the truth of the smoke machine came out and the kids vowed to get revenge...what a pity April Fools is on a Saturday next year.
Of course such an elaborate prank couldn't be done without some external involvement, so thank you to the St Arnaud Fire & Emergency team for supporting our plan for a kid driven fire drill, supplying the smoke machine, making sure the Operations Center knew they would be holding a callout practice which included setting off the sirens and producing fake smoke.
Last week DOC accompanied us to the local wetlands area where we spent some time exploring - discovering what creatures and plants live in the wetlands and what types of birds you may find.
The visit also turned into a physics lesson as the kids learnt just how much force is required to extract a gumboot from the suction of the swamp without taking your foot out or losing your balance. Sadly, Miriam missed this physics lesson and ended up flat on her back in the mud.
Last year Lake Rotoiti School adopted a Doc hut - Beebys. Adopting a hut means we signed up to look after and maintain it. Last week was our first trip up to do some R&M so we piled into 4 wheel drives in the morning and made the trek up. It was a fairly steep drive but after a fair amount of jostling and bouncing we popped through the clouds.
After some morning tea and a run around it was time to clean. With the adults supervising the kids split into groups of three, each with different tasks. There was rubbish to pick up, firewood to stack, windows to clean, walls and surfaces to wipe down and of course...the dreaded toilet clean. The kids got stuck in with some gusto and though some adult help was required to clean the chimney and design and install a new toilet roll holder the kids managed the rest by themselves.
A sausage sizzle for lunch and then it was time to explore the area looking at plant and bird life and completing a bird count. Our mission on the way down was to spot, identify and remove (if possible) pest species (gorse, broom and pine) for Doc to destroy.
Although there was cleaning work involved the kids all had a great time and look forward to going up again later in the year.
Our trip up to Beebys made the newspaper. Read about it here.
Today saw a herd of motorbikes progressively arriving at school. Why you may ask - because of a TT2000 Long Distance Motorbike Rally being held over the weekend. Every year the organisers choose a theme for the rally and this year they are celebrating small rural schools in the South Island. Leaving from Blenheim the riders mission is to take photos of their rally shirts and bikes in front of the signs of schools on the route.
Lots of excitement here as the bikes started arriving and we can expect to see more over the next 48 hours.
It's not everyday you can get up close and personal with a NH90 Helicopter, but this week we got the chance. The New Zealand Air Force were helping DOC out by moving bags of gravel to Mt Robert for track maintenance and we were invited along to explore the NH90, watch it take off and learn a bit more about this mighty machine.
Some of the cool facts we learnt were:
It's great to have the kids back to school ready for another fun (maybe not quite so busy year). Unfortunately with the exodus of the year 8s last year we are left with a school roll of 14. While this does have some administrative impacts it also means we have smaller classes, with 4 juniors and 10 seniors.
So far this term we have been making the most of the pool, often swimming twice a day...while it was warmer at least. Nothing says Summer quite like snow on the hills in February.
While we haven't packed the term with activities (yet), we do have a trip planned up to Beeby's Hut and of course our school camp at Hanmer Springs during the last week of this term.
It's going to be a great year!