Feb 26, 2007


This weekend marked the first formal dinner of Salmond Hall. All of us living here were required to dress up for the event. The food was good, and fun chats were had by all.

The theory behind it is that it serves as a first taste of civilization and sophistication for all the young new adults living here. However for many of us in the senior wing dressing up in formal apparel is just a "novelty" due to it being a weekend day (and for the couple church goers even this isn't the case)

It was our official welcome though, and we were entertained by the headmaster Bruce (yes that is a Chinese peasants hat he's wearing and holding a rubber duck... it's a long story, that he is telling incidentally). We were welcomed into the hall, and wished a successful academic year.

The reason for this wish, all the normal university people start skool today is . They have it so tough.

Me and my classmates we enter into our first formal postings in schools this week. As of such my formal wear, seen here after the dinner, was put into use today, and will be for the next 4 Mondays and Tuesdays as I head out into a year 5-6 class (Grades 4-5 in Canada).

Also of note today was our official welcome to the Teachers College. We partook in a formal Maori welcome ceremony which was interesting, but having been here over a month I wasn't particularly needing a welcome per say. Oh well.

So like the posts title says last few days have all be formalities. With placement underway now I'm sure I'll have fun stories from out in the trenches soon enough!

I get to go to New Zealand camp next week! So be sure to stay tuned.

Feb 22, 2007

New Do and so much more...

Today has been a slightly big day out of the week, and represents the majority of events in my life as of late.

New Hair Do

After 1.5 months in New Zealand I was needing a haircut kinda desperately. Now I had been planning on simply going to the barber, but my mate Scott offered me the truly Kiwi solution to the problem.

I'd been noticing that a lot of Kiwi dudes had buzzed cuts, and there's a reason. They shave each others heads. I'm liking the price, and more importantly the style too! My first major move towards becoming more Kiwi that's for sure...


Classes have been marching on with intensity. This week has been science and dance.

Dance class sadly has been disappointing for the whole class thus far, but fortunately it'll be over tomorrow...

Earth and Beyond

In science this week we had to teach a lesson to 2 kids. I did mine on fossils to get it out of the way. Science has been proving thus far to be my favorite class so far (go figure).

We covered the curriculum area of the Earth and Beyond today which included ways to model and illustrate the movements of the Earth and the Moon that cause night and day, the seasons, and the Moon's phases.

Most of the modelling techniques are abstract or 2D and thus don't necessarily help teach the students the cause (the stats of grade 6 comprehension on the subject was scary... less then 45%!).

I realized fairly easily I can make some 3D animations that illustrate these processes, and have now embarked on this as part of my course requirements (it will count towards my science lesson planning AND professional development criteria! Yeah two birds one stone!).


The last big event of today was I FINALLY got hooked up to the Internet. That's right you're reading my first blog post written on my computer since I left Canada!!!

However as it was a long day, and I didn't sleep much last night I'm going to call it quits here for now, and go to bed.

Thus ending my big day.

Feb 19, 2007

Organization is Key...

Classes have been getting more intense as of late, and as of such my free time has been becoming more and more sparse. The weekend had some fun though. One of us Canadians celebrated a B-Day, and so there were festivities for that on Friday (sadly no pics were taken).

However with that fun came the need to pickup my socks and get to work on homework. Now one of the key aspects of being a teacher is being organized, and well after the crazy busy week my room was a disaster...

However unlike times of old I couldn't allow this to be the case. I need to get into better habits after all. So I forced myself to remedy the situation.



At this point I was then good to go on my homework.

In other news:

Salmond Hall is now fully populated. This weekend some 120 students arrived from all over the place to take up residence with the normal semester starting this week. The majority of these arrivals are 18 years old, and as of such gives me the feeling of being slightly old. Due to this being filled status we also were required last night to attend various welcoming and rules oriented meetings about the year, and the hall (adding to the killing of a fun weekend).

As part of the safety orientation we had a fire drill at 6am this morning that frankly was extremely disruptive to those of us who actually have classes. My whole day has been thrown off as a result.

I learned a bit more about the rules of cricket, and am on the brink of getting this interesting and wacky sport. I'm also somewhat capable of playing it. So I might look into playing on a team (I've been upping my exercise where I can these days).

Anyways hopefully something more exciting comes along for me to report on.

Feb 15, 2007

Skool Placements (Plus Scars from the Past)

So this week events haven't been as much fun as in previous. Yet underneath its otherwise con temporarily bleak surface lurks the potential for explosive excitement.

Well with that overall imaginative opening let's jump into some of the events as of late. First though we have a follow up to our last update.

War Wounds

Well you'll recall that I mentioned after my most excellent beach excursions two weeks ago that I'd gotten a "little" sunburned. Well here in this terrible pic you get a bit of an idea of how bad

(Though it's hard to make out the base of my neck has nearly 2nd degree burnage. Obstructing your view is the intense glare of the same UV radiation that did this too me outside. Without the protection of the Ozone hole down here all in New Zealand must respect and obey the sun! Otherwise it'll burn you like this, and too boot FOLLOW YOU INTO YOUR ROOM AFTERWARDS AND TRY TO DO IT AGAIN... all while you're trying to take a pic of those wounds!!!)

Now for those of you out there who might worry (especially Mom) about this occurring again not to fret. I've just purchased amazing spray on sun screen that works as well as normal, but is WAY easier to reapply then normal.


Skool itself has been going now for 4 weeks, and has only been getting more intense. Here are the first posted pics of the Dunedin College of Education (or sorry since Jan. 1 and the merger the University of Otago College of Education). We've thus far had courses as varied as Maths (down here Math is pluralized always), Science, English, and Professional Development. More are on their way for next week and beyond as well...


As of this week (week 4) we've also been out on our first outings to not one, but TWO kidling schools. The first one we went to was to teach a short math lesson to a couple kids (it also resulted in our first homework assignment I JUST finished!). The second has been to circulate around the operations of an active school, and observe the workings in and out...

New Peeps

As of this week we've also had a number of people moving in for the upcoming (next week) start of the real school year down here. Turns out we had a good full month head start on everyone else, SLACKERS!

So that has resulted in my meeting and hanging out with a bunch of new people. Like Peter up here above. He's a Economics PHD entering a Law degree, and is a very cool guy...


Despite the fact that after 1.5 months my immediate surroundings here in Dunedin are now all but familiar there is still plenty of new things and places to see (I'm restricted to the Northern Core of the City for the most part). I've taken a proactive approach to learning the new wild life around me with the purchase of three books. For this Red Billed Seagull above (which despite its pesty life style I think is still a beautiful bird) I have a bird guide to Dunedin. I now also have a guide to Estuary environments of New Zealand for my beach outings (and Crab hunts... I now know the identity of the mystery crab!). Lastly a chance encounter with a nicely illustrated and cheap guide to sea fish now have a book for when I go diving too...

So all in all things are going fine down here. Undoubtedly my next posting should (hopefully) be more exciting then this transitional one...

Stephen Colbert's Impact...

I'm sure this is old news to most, but as I don't currently get his show here down-under...
Stephen Colbert has just gotten a flavour of ice cream named after him. Check out the article, and probably the clip on youtube (though as my current net connection doesn't support video functions I don't have a link to give you) to get the full hilarity of his comments.
Best exert though
"I'm not afraid to say it. Dessert has a well-known liberal agenda. What I hope to do with this ice cream is bring some balance back to the freezer case."

Al Franken for Senate!

Well it's about time!

Al Franken of Saturday Night Live fame has finally announced his official intentions to enter American politics. Now if you're unfamiliar with his career this may sound far fetched.

Yes American politics are a joke at moment, but why send a comedian? you might ask.

Well Mr. Franken in the last several years has been an outspoken critic of the rightwing in a period of time where that has not normally been allowed. He has done a great deal of academic research that shows Neo-Conservatism to be the shame that it is.

In essence Al Franken is a sharp contradiction to the norms of modern American (and the world as a whole) politics by having clear and well defined views, and the intellectual knowledge to BACK them up!

Let's just hope after his tour in the Senate (as a Democratic representative from Minnesota) he'll think about the big job at the top...

Feb 7, 2007

Beach Week!!!

It's been a little while since my last post.

So here's the low down on Craig's life:

School is in full swing. For the first few weeks it was a nice leisurely pace of classes from 10am till 3pm. As of this week we completed our Maths (Kiwis pluralize Math when saying it) and English compentency tests. We now enter a slightly busier routine of 9am to 4pm. Nothing we Prime Dips (our shortened version of Post Graduate Primary Diplomaers) can't handle.

The kitchen here at Salmond FINALLY opened this week too. Thus freeing up much time from food acquisition (I shouldn't complain. The grocery store is only twice the distance from my room then the kitchen I've been using) and more importantly food preperation. Where's that time going. Well into such productive things as my blog!

Lastly hit the town on the eve of this past weekend in preperation of any and all future beach/ocean outings.

This is the main acquisition from that outing. My new 7mm wetsuit. Only set me back a couple hundred. I also supplemented her with a new set of fins, and a mask and snorkel set (my only complaint. As I brought my mask from Canada, but it was the ONLY thing damaged during my flights to NZ a month ago).

With all this gear I was ready for the beach. Fortuently I didn't have all that long to wait.

On the weekend I had a day out with the boys (which is something of a novelity since there are only 8 of us in the program). My main dudes Jason and Andrew (same order in the pic as typed). We headed out all Sunday in search of Sun, Surf, and Swim. In total we hit 2 different beaches which was sweet.

Also accompanying us was Kia, Jason's dog. He was every bit the beacher that we were. He followed us out in for swims whenever we went (impressive as at one point we were in 2 meter high waves where Kia couldn't standup). More importantly Kia was a critical factor in my learning to play Cricket. Sadly not the most positive, as whenever we hit the ball Kia would try and intercept it, and thus set the game back a few minutes each time he succeeded.

I put this picture up simply cause I don't have one of us playing Cricket sadly.

Of course what outing to the beach won't be complete without swimming. Here I am at Long Beach, New Zealand, entering the water without my wetsuit for protection from the "cold" water. It was very nice considering the 25 degree weather.

I also got to use my snorkelling and wetsuit at a different beach this day to check out a rocky cove, and check out the local kelps and spounges. Sadly no fish, but the tide was coming in and kicking up a lot of sand. Still was good to see that the gear all worked.

Also along Long Beach we checked out a rather impressive cave. It's perhaps a "good" thing I don't have a Camcorder as a million movie ideas jumped in my head walking into this thing. Its a pretty deep cave. Sadly this is the only picture that turned out okay (it's been hard taking pics in NZ as the sun is usually so bright I can't see the LCD display on the back of my camera).

Wow Gollum! Oh never mind it's just me. A wannabe Gollum rather. Well that was the weekend, and after this outing had to return to skool.

However this week we'd all get a bonus day off.

In the form of Waitangi Day, a national holiday "celebrating" the signing of the Treaty between the Maori and the British back in the colonial days. Sadly in modern times it has become a heated time of the year, and up on the Northren Island there were some dodgey (NZ slang) demonstrations and clashes. Fortunently (but the rest of the time unfortunently) there isn't a significant population of Maori around Dunedin so it was a nice calm day. Meaning you guessed it, more time for the beach!!!

Here is half the gang we got together for this outing heading out to a place called Doctor's Point. Where the intention was to get up to nothing but fun.

Here's a good view of our chunk of beach. In the middle of the channel you'll see a little black dot in the water. That's a Craig, who over the course of the day swam across there 3 times in total. Was a bit daunting as the water got pretty deep in the middle. I'm desperately trying to overcome my slight phobea of unseen bottom water.

Now sadly as I'd stayed up late the night before watching the Superbowl I got up way too close to our departure time, and didn't pack properly. Leaving my snorkeling gear behind. Oh well there will be plenty more times after this.

It also worked out cause there was a nice rocky out crop down the beach from our spot. Of course you know what that means...

Critters will be abound under them there rocks. Where you find critters you'll find a Craig. Was an okay selection. I give you only the two prime finds of the day. Not cause the others weren't cool. Just my camera didn't take very good close up pics of these guys. I'll have to try the Macro function next time.

This is a signficant find in a way. A spider crab. I'd only ever caught one of these once before in BC. It was an adult, and very impressive at about 5cm in body and 20cm in leg width. Here in NZ turns out you can catch TONS of them as babies. Took some of the crazy coolness out of the first one I caught to find out their everywhere (I caught the first 20 min into my hunt. So it seemed like a rare find. Turns out I just wasn't looking in the right spot. Other crabs are stuck on the ground when you flip the rock over. The spiders cling to the sides of them!)

This is my other exciting discovery. A new species of Crab I've never seen before with HUGE claws. Despite their impressive makeup these guys are the MOST docile crabs I've ever caught. They just chill out in your hand once picked up.

A fitting conclusion with the relative of a Lobster, as it turns out after all this time in the sun I now look like a Lobster myself. The Oozone hole is at its worst here in NZ out of the habatiated world, and as of such all that swimming in the water added up to a really nice BODY burn. Today during the tests I was in a LOT of pain.

Oh well it was worth it!

Don't expect this to be a lone entry on the Beach. I highly suspect I'll be heading there a LOT more yet.