Monday, 27 February 2017

Our Community

Our Community - What's important to us

We have started to think about what a community means to us - it is just the people, or the places, activities or a combination? There was a lot of good discussion as children debated various ideas. We began thinking out what is important to us in our school community - what kind of people, places , activities make our school community special for us? What do we value?

This week we will continue this and expand our thinking to our wider community. The aim is for all Quest groups to collaborate to create a video that shows what matters to us in our community.

We will then expand further to look at communities around the world - are they all the same? What are the similarities and differences to our community? This will give students some good lines of inquiry if they wish to look in detail at a part of our community, or further afield and research communities in different countries. Over the coming weeks we will also look at changes over time and see how changes affect our relationships with each other and with our environment in our communities.

Friday, 17 February 2017


For our first week of Quest we thought a bit about ourselves - things that we like, things that are unique about us and things we have in common with others.
We discussed names - where do they come from, what do they mean, how important are they? Some children wrote their names backwards and described that person with an opposite personality to themselves. Some researched name meanings, definitions of name-related words such as nom de plume, pseudonym etc, some created fictitious creatures using their imagination and an unusual name.

On Wednesday we had the excitement of seeing the cycle track being completed outside our window. Adam had the idea to make a time-lapse of the work, so he set up an ipod in the window - thanks for thinking of that Adam! This track was started by a group of year 6 students back in 2013. They started an inquiry into how to improve our school and after much brainstorming, research, surveys and discussions, decided that a cycle track would give children more to do at lunchtimes, as well as encourage road safety and healthy activities. They planned the track over several months with the advice of an engineer from Fulton Hogan who volunteered his time to work with them - thanks Kacha :)

Next week we will be starting to think about what makes a community.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

'Introducing' myself

I have known many of you for several years, some I am just getting to know, and some I have yet to meet. As we are focussing on 'connecting' I just wanted to tell you a little about myself so that children and families get to know me a little more.

My name is Debbie Thompson. I have been teaching the gifted and talented enrichment groups since 2010 at Whangaparaoa Primary. I also used to work for the Gifted Education Centre and taught One Day School for 5 years.

I spent my pre-school years in Whangaparaoa, and then my family moved up to Point Wells (near Matakana). I went to Matakana Primary School, and Mahurangi College. I grew up on a market garden next to the sea and have many happy memories of my time there - building huts in the hedges, making wooden contraptions in the shed, helping out picking watermelon, rockmelon, pumpkins, courgettes, tomatoes, strawberries, grapefruit, tangelos etc etc
I lived with my parents and two younger sisters. Mum was a primary school teacher too, and Dad was a quantity surveyor before he decided to give market gardening a go.

I spent many happy holidays at my grandparents' place at Manly Beach. My grandad  was a big part of this community - he started 'peninsula players' theatre group (I helped him when he was working on building the clubrooms at the back of Whangaparaoa Hall - now used by artlab). He was also a councillor, and helped get the leisure centre for our community. He was very involved in Manly sailing club too. My Nana was the practical one who made all his big ideas work!

I first started teaching in 1990! I took a break from teaching after a few years to travel to London, where I lived, worked and travelled around for 6 years with my husband.

I have been married to my lovely husband for 25 years - we met at school! We have two children who are both at Whangaparaoa College, and who both came to Whangaparaoa Primary School. They are teenagers, and are both taller than me! We also have a crazy little dog, two cats, and a turtle.

The things I love most are to read, travel, play board games, walk, spend time with my family.

I really enjoy teaching and love the challenge of trying to encourage curiosity and support interests. I am so lucky because I love to learn, and teaching is a job where you are constantly learning! I am looking forward to another year working with the Quest groups, and getting to know you all a little more.

Please forgive me if I forget names sometimes - it is not a strong point, and something I need to work on, but with so many names and faces from various groups I can sometimes have a momentary memory lapse! I will do my best to work on this :)

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Week 2 2017


Quest will start again next week (14th and 15th February)
It is on every Tuesday and Wednesday.

This term we are trialling a new format. Year 3-6 children will come to Quest twice a week, year 1&2 children once per week.

Here is the timetable:

TWO SESSIONS PER WEEK - Trial for term 1

Block 1 A (8.55- 9.45)
Year 5&6 20 ( A5, A6, B7, B8)
Year 5&6
Block 1 B (9.45- 10.40)
Year 5&6 21 (L3, M3, M4, O3, O4)
Year 5&6
Block 2 A (11-11.45)
Year 3&4 14 ( A3, A4, B5, B6)
Year 3&4
Block 2 B (11.45-12.30)
Year 3&4 19 (L4,L5, O1,O2,T1,T3)
Year 3&4
Block 3 1.30-3pm
Year 1&2 15 (A2,B1,B4, M1,M2,T2)
Growth class year 1&2 from term 2


This information was emailed to me to share with parents - a great way to meet other like minded children and families, and fun activities - in the past they have done robotics, lego, dissections, science activities etc - you can choose which ones appeal to you and your family.

EXPLORERS is a club for gifted children and their families. We are nonprofit and run entirely by volunteers.
Gifted children can make friends with others of their own age and ability in a comfortable environment.
Parents of gifted children can also meet and share experiences.
Explorers is the Auckland Branch of the national body, New Zealand Association for Gifted Children (NZAGC).
Club Activities include:
Club days
 We meet on Saturdays during term as advertised - each one with a different theme.
Holiday trips
 as advertised
 for 11 + children twice a term
 sessions for 9+ twice a term
Young Explorer 
activities for 6 and under

Parent Evening - 'Gifted 101'

What is giftedness? At a recent parent evening I talked about the different domains (areas) of giftedness and how we identify and cater for ...