Friday, September 18, 2009


It's been a great year in Social Studies and we've covered a lot of things. My teacher gets a lot of discussions going in class and we've been learning through a variety of resources, such as videos, books, text, verbal discussions, graphs and maps.
We learnt to do maps and graphs using FACKTS. Frame, arrow, colour, key, title, scale.

Early on, in February, we did New Zealand's flag.
"New Zealand's flag compromises of a plain, blue background. The cross in the top-left corner is a Union Jack. This is here because New Zealand used to be a colony of Great Britain.
The four stars on the right form the four stars of the Southern Cross, a constellation in the skies of the Southern Hemisphere.
The current flag first came into use around 1900 and was made the official flag of the country in 1902, replacing the Union Jack."

I scored a 5/5 for this piece of writing:
"My special item is my Millennium Box. It was made for me in 2000 at the time of the new year. It's a gorgeous box, with photos of me carefully stuck on the lid. Inside are all the little souvenirs from our holiday over the new year. Grass from the hill where we sat and watched the fireworks, sand in a sealed container... the many, many treasures take me back to when I was four."

Our next unit was about Migration. The first wave of migration to New Zealand were the Early Polynesians, from Hawaiki. They arrived centuries ago in a waka and came with the prospect of starting a new life in a new land.
The second wave of migration to New Zealand were the Europeans. They came from Italy, England, France, Ireland, Scotland and many other countries. This happened in the mid 1800's and they came on ships. Push factors, making them leave, were overcrowding and unemployment but they came to NZ because there were less people and higher living standards.
Next came the Pacific Islanders, from Tonga, Niue, Samoa, Cook Islands, e.t.c. They came in the 1950's to 1970's on aeroplanes. They left because of the poor schooling and no universities and came for the opportunity to go to school and have an education.
Lastly came the people from Asia. That is, from China, Korea, Cambodia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and various other places. They too came on aeroplanes because their homelands were unstable and governed in discriminatory ways. NZ had a stable government, cheaper houses, a lower crime rate, a clean environment, good healthcare and schooling, so the arrived in the 1980's to the 1990's.

In March, we had to write a This Is Your Life about one of our relatives. I wrote heaps after an exclusive phone interview with my Grandma. (Later in the year I took it down to her and she enjoyed reading it.) My teacher was very impressed with presentation and content: Excellence for me!

We moved on as did the year and came to study "Am I King Of My Castle?", which was about all the different councils and the authority they have.
"Householders can't make all their decisions in NZ because they might not have enough knowledge, end up doing something illegal, or end up destroying their houses, which wouldn't please the neighbours."
"Councils plan ahead so they know what's happening, what they're doing and when, thus preparing them for any changes in laws, rules or legislations."

And then we covered amenity values in our school, and what makes a certain area nicer. We went for a walk in our school and as a class concluded that
"The amenity vales at the front gate, tennis courts, library and Rhubarb Square are very good. However, the amenity values at areas by the noisy road and the tuck shop, e.t.c are low. Personally, I think Rhubarb Square and the outdoor stage have higher amenity values and the traffic noise was atrocious for teaching in."

Topography means the shape of the land. The source of a river is where is starts, and the location is where it is found, while the course is where it goes. We have an urban stream nearby, so we did a big study on it. This was our first major assessment for the year and I got a Merit (where that was the highest possible grade) and an Excellence from my peers and teacher. I think the booklet that I completed was handed back in, but I too, was very pleased with the presentation. It is on black paper with a Stream Study definition dangling from a luggage tag on every page and all documents are in blue or with blue decorations. It contains my opinions on the stream and amenity values, definitions of Stream Study words, a map of the stream drawn by me, a sketch of the stream drawn by me, and answers to all the given questions.

"I, too, think that it is important for the local government to take responsibility in making decisions for the public good of that community. I think that in a local community where many people spend the majority of their time, it is beneficial for someone to take charge. In any decisions made today as big as community-wide, a lot of thought, planning and debating is involved. If any local government is to change something, their only hope of succeeding is if they have justifiable evidence, and persuasive, appropriate reasons. Thus, any local change made is expected to be for the good of the public and to make the community a better place. If no-one were to take charge then there wold be no rules and laws, and everyone's safety would be jeopardised. I understand that some people may perceive their community as a 'pretty good' one and not needing even a minor adjustment, let alone a local government, but I assure you that in the long run it is definitely essential that a community have a government to create laws that will ensure a beautiful and safe place to live.
In relation to our local stream, if someone had not seen a possible urgency for engineering to be done, then the stream would still be quite flat and flooding frequently. The stream would be a lot more dirty, if it were to flow unwindingly, thus slower flowing, causing it to become clogged with offcuts from trees and bushes. Erosion, too, may have occurred, and generally, a far more polluted stream would have had dramatic outcomes, such as no stream-life. I personally think that it is a relief to us all and a weight of our minds that someone else can govern and see what needs doing so that all we have to do is follow suit of the people doing some good in the community and saving the planet."

"In our community we have our local stream. The local government plays a very important role. They must organize what is going to happen to the stream. They were in charge of all the engineering work that changed the stream and they had to plan with the engineers so that the sides were steepened, the stream straightened and the base concreted. This, of course, would change the natural look of the stream, but they had to weigh all that against erosion, stream clutter, pollution and flooding.
Amongst major changes to the stream, the local government and similar associations are left with the decisions of if and where to erect a sign, how people are going to cross the stream and all the ideas or complaints from the community have to have something done about them. The local government has a big job."

Stream Project Evaluation:

What did I do well? My presentation was effective, my sketch didn't turn out too badly, I made a glossary, I had a colour scheme, I numbered the activities, I added a bibliography, I fully justified my statement response and my map turned out OK!

What I need to improve on: I undermined the amenity values, I had trouble fitting everything into the booklet, the marking sheet looked out of place, I did too many geographic ideas, I could have extended my geographic ideas, I cut the edges on the picture a tiny bit wonky, I could have coloured in my sketch, I had too much space at the top of my back page, I forgot the Maori Perception article, I wouldn't have been able to fit it in anyway and I could have improved my title page!

Term 2 Goals and Reflections

1. Keep my bookwork neat.
My bookwork must improve some more next term.

2. Achieve Merits or Excellences only!
So far, so good.

3. Make Social Studies one of my best subjects.
I'm getting there! I'll try and improve.

In Term 2 we looked at One World and the Divided World. This covered early explorers and their ideas about the earth's shape. Later on in the unit we learnt about the first contact with the Maoris and Pakeha, Aborigines and Europeans, and finally, the African-American slaves.

"It was the height of the hot season, when, in the early hours of the morning I crept out into the cool bush without waking the others. Heading onto the beach I dug my toes into the golden sand, alight with the first rays of the sun. I took some deep breaths and gazed out at the horizon, as I always did, when I noticed a dark silhouette out at sea. I was in awe, but frightened. What was it? Why was it here? I ran through the bush to find the tribal elders. Waking my brothers, a group of us ran back down to the beach. The ... thing ... was much closer and I could make out deathly spikes and big, powerful looking shapes. We woke up the others and grabbed our spears, lining up on the shore to face our opponents. When the big thing was 300 yards from the shore, it stopped. For a while, nothing happened. Then all of a sudden, we saw some more things, smaller than a waka, be lowered down with people in them. They didn't seem too scary but they were so pale! Were they foreign taniwha? And their ... cloaks ... covered their whole bodies and they were all matching. They looked very intelligent. Maybe they knew what they were doing? I felt like I should have put some fine garment on for the occasion.
The next thing I saw was the strangest of all. My brothers gasped as the human forms advanced upon us, pushing forwards yet travelling backwards. Perhaps they could see in two directions! We raised our spears a littler higher and waited their arrival in awe.
And then the chief did a very brave thing. He paddled out to the people on the sea with my cousin, his father and ten other warriors to stop them coming ashore. We on the beach squinted against the glare to see the white ones show them some weapons. After this I was so relieved to see our people come back."

In particular, we heard a song about Parihaka in New Zealand. We heard the song by Neil Finn and had a go at writing one ourselves! Here's mine.

Parihaka Parihaka
Happiness reigned here
"But if we don't fight
The land will disappear!"

You see
When the white men came.
Gone darker
Life was not the same.

Feuds in the land
Battles in the sand
Still God held us in His hand.

And so on.

I glogged this concept and although I had a bit of trouble fitting it on this blog, please view it through the link!
Parihaka Glog

Our next unit of study drew our attention to the Australian Aborigines. We looked at population statistics and watched a video to help us understand the chaos that came with the white people.

We learnt about Push and Pull factors, a recap from our Migration unit, and applied the appropriate ones for South Africa, Dalmatia, Germany, India, China, Samoa and Tonga.

And also Chloropleth maps were taught to us so we could map the areas of Africa from which people were taken as slaves. Most were taken form the Congo, Gabon and Angola.

Term 3, and we covered Making A Difference. The types of governments we learnt: Dictatorship, Revolutionary Government, Regional or Local, Monarchy, Republic, Federal, Anarchy, Capitalist, Communist, Democracy, Transitional and Totalitarian State. Democracy started in Athens and comes from the Greek word "demos", meaning people.

In New Zealand's democracy, to create a law, it must first be suggested, by anyone, then drafted, then read in parliament, then studied by the Select Committee, then reread in Parliament and voted for, then voted upon clause by clause, then reread to Parliament and voted on again, then signed by the Governor General. Phew!

To wrap this part of the unit up, we had to form our own political parties and have an election! I was the leader of my party; we were the CLAM party. CLAM stands for the Circle Of Liberty and Multiculturalism. Our slogan was "Surpass Your Limitations", and our logo was an albatross, to support our concept of freedom. Our colours were dark blue and silver, and I was also the Minister Of Foreign Affairs! We made business cards, a poster and our pamphlet, which is below. Please click to enlarge.

Then the election was held. My party won this with an overwhelming number of votes and out of all the party leaders, I won the electorate vote by one point!

We have just finished up on our assessment of a DVD called The Wave. We originally watched it last term. It was a true story set in California, years ago, about a teacher's experiment with dictatorship and discipline in order to answer a question about Nazi Germany. The class followed and it soon all started to snowball out of control. The whole school was eventually pulled along in a movement called The Wave by what they thought was right. For many, it was a harsh pull back to reality to realise that they had been tricked and sucked into the movement too easily. Our assessment was to write a detailed, pre-structured essay; I'm very pleased with mine!

We did focus hugely on Nazi Germany and the early life of Adolf Hitler. The Nazi beliefs, propaganda, the movement, the Hitler Youth, the racism, the "Final Solution" and the devastating consequences, shown to us in a horrifying video.

My Current Events Alphabet
February 2009

Australia suffering form bushfires, floods and monsoons.
Both heat and snow disadvantaging many.
Chaos and snow delivered to England.
Disruption in New Zealand as temperatures soar.
Extreme temperatures both here and in the United Kingdom.
Fishermen stranded on ice floe due to warmer weather.
Global warming affecting puzzling weather.
Homes lost as Australian fires rage.
Ice floes melting due to extremely hot conditions.
Jammed traffic in Paris because of thick snow.
Kangaroos fleeing, bounding away from fatal flames.
Lives in jeopardy in Australia.
Meteorologists discovering the effect of monsoons.
New Zealand sends firefighters to help in Australia.
Ozone layer hole requiring New Zealanders to slip, slop, slap and wrap.
People in despair / Pollution in Asia affecting funny weather.
Queensland deals with floods.
Rapidly rising death toll in Australia from fires.
Snow and slush currently in the Northern Hemisphere.
Transport disrupted because of snow in European countries.
Uncontrollable fires wiping out Australian towns.
Violent blizzards uncontrollably whip through the United Kingdom.
Weather creating catastrophe worldwide.
Xeric conditions break temperature records.
Young people enjoying the snow in France.
Zero degrees and below as Europe freezes.

Again, this term, we touched on Human Rights and looked at Amnesty International. We each had to choose one article from The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights and make a poster; I chose the right to shelter. This is my draft copy.

Term 3 Goals Reflections

1. I am immensely pleased with the new, tidy standard of my bookwork.

2. Social Studies, now more enjoyable, could be one of my best subjects.

3. My CAT "The Wave" essay got me an Excellence! I am so happy!

And our final unit is Money Talks. We've defined an enterprising character, with characteristics such as assertiveness, creativity, courage, boldness, integrity, adventurous, initiative, leadership, determined, persevering, motivated, e.t.c.
We looked at various businesses, like Nike, McDonalds and Facebook, and found out when they started up, who by, and how. Google was made in a garage!

Our homework was to do the same for a New Zealand business.
AJ Hackett Bungy began in the 1980's by AJ Hackett. The business describes themselves as the Home of Bungy!

A couple of days ago we watched Doherty's Jam, about an enterprising boy who made his own brand of jam and his road to success. It was a successful story.
Again, we watched 3 short clips about New Zealand businesses, Minx, BloKart and Dawn Raid Entertainment. These were started by 2 sisters, 2 friends, and a father and son. So far it's fairly interesting, even more so as of Friday, when we played Business Tycoon, which is similar to Monopoly! I won the lottery twice and everyone else's cash at one point, making me win the game! Yay!

We have just completed our fourth Common Assessment Task, which I found easy, but ran out of time for the last two questions. Today we did the test on graphs, cartoons, text interpretations and current events. Hopefully I did as well as I think I did, but I am grateful that the tests are over; now I have exams and that will be Social Studies finished for the year!

The two tests got me an Excellence and a Merit! I'm very happy with that.

No comments: