Mortal Engines being brought to life

Ken McGaugh and Dennis Yoo are parents of children at Seatoun School and they work at WETA in Miramar. We were very lucky last week to welcome them into the library so we could learn something about their jobs.

One of their most recent projects has been Mortal Engines, a film based on a fantastic book by Phillip Reeve, set way into the future in a world that has started again after a 60 Minute War wiped out most of it. Cities move around devouring smaller towns and Hester, a strong, independent young woman is trying to catch up with London in time to face an old enemy.
Click on the image below to see the trailer:

Ken is the Visual Effects Supervisor for this film  – his team of artists had to first of all come up with some ideas about how London should look in this film and then once approved, computer programmers then had to use these ideas to build their version of London, quite literally from the ground up. Anything that might not be seen on the film could be reasonably plain, but otherwise even the finest details had to be remembered, such as air conditioning units and guttering. Ken showed us the transformation from the plain, 2D drawings through to the full colour version. It was excellent to see how they had used local imagery in the film – for example Breaker Bay is where Shrike, a mechanised ex-human walks ashore.

Dennis Yoo is the Animation Supervisor for Mortal Engines and his expertise lies in the mechanising and animation of moving parts using computer coding and programming. Shrike. although having a human actor to provide his voice, is an entirely computer generated character, and yet on the screen he looks human, albeit a slightly alarming one in a no-longer-actually-alive kind of way! All of this movement is achieved by Dennis’s animators studying people down to their finest eyebrow movements in order to make the on-screen character realistic.

Another example of the animators’ work is in the movement of the predator cities and towns – how their parts move and sway with the undulation of the ground is incredible and when watching the film, hard to believe that this was all computer generated.

This is an incredible film and with this insight we are able to enjoy watching it even more. The film is out right now – if you watch it stay to the end and look out for Ken and Dennis on the credits! Mortal Engines is the first of a series of 4 books and all are available from our library. Best recommended to year 5/6 upwards.

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Orca Room finding alternative means of transport!

Our newest students in the Orca Room read this delightful little reader in which Miss Pool’s car breaks down and she has to find another way to get to school. The Orca Room children had a good think about how they would like to get to school, and then we used the green screen to make it happen! You will see some interesting results and some great writing to go with them!

 

 

 

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Summer Reading Challenge 2018/2019! It’s back!!!!!

Last summer Seatoun School SMASHED the Wellington-wide summer reading challenge! We read and reviewed more books than any other school and this year I think we can do even better! The challenge is here to keep us all reading over the summer, and Wellington City Libraries have come up with a list of really great books for you to fit in around your holidays. You even win prizes, with the first prize after only 2 books!!! Here is all the information you need to get you started!

Click on the beachside snowman and it will take you to the Wellington City Libraries website. From here you can go to the list of books you can read, or straight to the review page. Here are the basics:

  1. You go to their list of books and choose one you want to read. The list of books is here.
  2. Look down the list and if you click on the title, author or cover image, it automatically redirects you to the library catalogue to see where you can find a copy. So easy!
  3. Once you have borrowed and read the book, you still have something to do:
  4. Go into the Review Form on the Kids’ Club page. Click on it here:
  5. Click on the Review Form and fill out your details and those of your book. You need your parents’ email address and your WCL Library Card number – this is not your school library number so you will need to ask your parents for your library card. Make a note of your number on your summer reading challenge booklet so that you always have it ready.
  6. Think about what you can say about your book – why did you enjoy it? Who were your favourite characters and why? What would you like to see happen after the end of the book? Could you write a sequel? Who would be your main character? What age group would you recommend this book to? What other books are similar to this one?
  7. Don’t forget to keep going down the page after you have reviewed your book to complete the Summer Reading Challenge information – make sure you select Seatoun School:
  8. Click on the red button for Submit your Review and you are in to win! Ask your parents to check their email in case you have won a prize. If you check back on the Kids’ Club page in two days you should see your review! Ask Mrs Bamber if you have any questions at all. Here are just some of the books on the list – and if it is in a series, each book you read in the series counts separately, if you read and review it. We have many of the books on the list – look at the display at school.
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What will your next book be?

We have such a great community of readers at Seatoun School that our combined reading knowledge is vast and our students love sharing their favourite books.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of our year 7/8 students from Room 2 keen to put some of their ideas in the recommendations jar.

 

 

This jar is full of recommendations from students and staff. For everyone taking a recommendation out of the jar there are always others willing to put another one in there, so the list is growing all the time.

Here are two happy customers! Whether students challenge each other to read whatever they draw out, or select a category that they know they love, or have to keep drawing out to find one they haven’t read, it is all positive stuff to provoke discussion and opinion about books, which we love.

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New audio books for the library

 

We are really excited to have made a start to our audio book library. These resources are particularly user friendly because they don’t require any kind of device to download the book onto. Each book is recorded into its own tiny MP3 player, and can be bookmarked like a paper book or Ebook. The controls are really easy to follow too.

 

The titles we have chosen to start with are those we have the paper copies of already – this means that students who are learning English as a second language can be reading and listening to the book at the same time. Audio books are also great for students who love reading and the benefits that come with that – escape, empathy, adventure, – but that can find reading frustrating due to learning differences such as dyslexia. These are the books we have chosen to start with and they are for readers from Year 4 up.

The Shapeshifter series by Ali Sparkes – Dax leads a fairly unsatisfactory life until an unexpected reaction to a tense situation leads to changes in his life in more ways than one. Skip forward less than a week and Dax finds himself boarding at a school for other young people with unique abilities and talents like him. This series is exciting and great for lovers of fantasy adventure.

 Noah’s Dad is sure that a casino boat is dumping its sewage in the beautiful Florida Keys, but after trying to take action he ends up behind bars. Noah is determined to prove that his Dad was right but it won’t be easy…

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, Roy’s first acquaintance in Florida is Dana Matherson, a well-known bully. Then again, if Dana hadn’t been sinking his thumbs into Roy’s temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy. And the running boy is intriguing: he was running away from the school bus, carried no books, and-here’s the odd part-wore no shoes. Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boy’s trail. The chase introduces him to potty-trained alligators, a fake-fart champion, some burrowing owls, a renegade eco-avenger, and several extremely poisonous snakes with unnaturally sparkling tails.

 Cat lives at the Theatre Royal in 1790’s Covent Garden London. This has been her home since being left there as a baby and the theatre folk and rough and ready street gangs are her friends and family. A missing diamond, an escaped African slave, bare-knuckle boxing and high society friendships provide entertainment to this headstrong female lead. This is a refreshing read in an old setting.

This is James Bond, 12-13 years old at Eton School in England and already showing tendencies towards dangerous situations and espionage. The first two in the series, James has to keep his wits about him as he encounters murder, kidnap and arms dealing. Typical Bond for a younger audience.

All of our audio books can be searched up and reserved on our library catalogue under Quicklists “Audio Books”.

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Navigating the Fake News digital landscape

We have been talking about the new Colossal Squid exhibition soon to be opening at Te Papa. Take a look at the sensational photo captured in May

My story was verified with some links to Te Ara, Te Papa, some reference to recent events both locally and nationally, and a picture of a stamp due to be released. Here are some facts:

1. The photo was taken in 2012, not 2018

2. The photo is from White Rock in British Colombia, Canada

3. This was in fact a whale that beached, not a squid.

Here is the original:

Now see how the fake news creator has doctored the image to make it look very credibly like a Colossal Squid

This may have been recognised as fake news by news agencies in 2015 when this story first came out, but the photo and back up information given to students makes it very believable and highlights the problem we have of the sheer volume of information available to us and how to decipher fact from fiction.

Snopes is the website where I found these pictures and is an excellent place to verify international media claims. They try where possible to contact the main subject of claims to sort the fact from the fiction, and failing that use knowledgeable, qualified experts and organisations, plus authoritative journals. Nothing like this exists in New Zealand and it is up to us to decide how well we trust our media outlets to be providing good quality news.

This video highlights how mis-information circulates and becomes actual news very quickly:By sharing fake news, we become part of the circular news problem.

Fake news is used by football agents to create excitement and build value in their players. Look at these headlines about the possibility of Ronaldo returning to Manchester United during the transfer window this year. Ronaldo did not once sit down and have talks with United.

Ronaldo signed for Juventus for $174 million. His agent will have earned a good % of that figure.

 

All of these other 57 players were linked with United during this transfer period of one month. Only one of them actually signed for United, the others will have benefitted from the link and raised good prices for themselves and their agents.

 

Have a look at another example of fake news in action. Recently anti-1080 protestors used an image of a group of dead kiwis to show the effects of 1080 poison on native wildlife. It turns out that this photo was previously released by a conservation group who were highlighting the number of deaths of kiwi by dog attacks and cars. The Facebook post was quickly taken down, but not before it had been shared 1000 times.

Newshub article highlighting misuse of photograph.

Another side  to the story! Who do we trust?

Department of Conservation take on the dead kiwi story.

Breaking News!!!! Media bias can create news where there isn’t really any. This article talks through the damage that can be caused through breaking news not being entirely accurate.

 

 

 

 Wikipedia get some bad press when it comes to being a reliable source – but just look at the number of sources they cite for their entry on the Colossal Squid! Their strict Verifiability Policy gives them a strong basis for choosing whether to allow posts to be published.

 

Basic things to consider before you reach for that share button:

1. Avoid following events in real time – give the news outlets chance to verify their breaking news and check in every hour or so

2. Follow actual news reporters – they are on location and often post actual photos on instagram of events as they happen

3. Media bias – find several news sources to help seperate fact from opinion. Find one you trust.

4. Verify before spreading – don’t become the source of fake news! Look at the sources your news has quoted – how expert are they? Can they possibly be verified?

This poster from the National Literacy Trust in the UK gives good advice about how to spot fake news and choose whether to share.

 

 

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Year 3/4 Stone Art in the library

Inspired by a beautiful picture book, this term in their Monday afternoon enrichment sessions the year 3/4 students from rooms 10, 11, 12 and 15 have been looking at the artwork of Nizar Ali Badr, a Syrian artist who creates incredibly moving images using nothing but stones. Author Magriet Ruurs heard about his work and found him through Facebook and a determined search through Syria and convinced him to reproduce some of his images for her book Stepping Stones: A refugee family’s journey.

During the session we watch a couple of videos about the making of the book and see the artist himself in action. By clicking on an image you can watch the video on YouTube.

Finally this video shows a group of children’s entertainers who have travelled to refugee camps to bring some joy and laughter to the children there. This has been a good way to help us imagine what it must be like by seeing the faces of actual children just like us who are living in quite difficult conditions and who have been through desperate hardship leaving their homes and communities.

We used some stones collected from the the beach and topped up by the generous people at Ablaze Firewood. Students then created a brief Book Creator document to capture their art and describe the ideas behind them. Have a look at some of their creations inspired by what they had seen:

 

 

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