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Teacher-authors around the world: meet Rosie from New Zealand!

One of the best things about TpT-ing and blogging is getting to meet so many great teachers.

I also love the fact that we are from so many different places and we still get to connect. Some may take for granted that they can chat with people thousand of miles away, but I still marvel at that.

From my little corner down here in Brazil, I had the idea of shining a spotlight on some of my teacher-friends who are all over the world.

Every two weeks starting today, I'll be interviewing teacher-authors from different countries.

Follow my blog if you don't want to miss out on what these amazing people have to share.

Click on the image to check out Rosie's TpT store

Today, I'm interviewing Rosie, a teacher-author from New Zealand.

1. Can you tell us about the place you're from?
I grew up in Whangarei, a town in the upper North Island of New Zealand with a population of about 81,000 people. It’s famous for its beautiful beaches! I currently live and teach in Auckland (NZ’s biggest city of about 1.4 million people) It is one of the few cities in the world to have two harbours on two separate major bodies of water……. and of course lots more beaches!

Rosie and Little Grub at a local beach
2. How diverse are the classrooms in New Zealand?
Very, very diverse! A study was just completed that shows 40% of all Aucklanders (our biggest city) were born outside of New Zealand, and 30% speak more than one language. Elsewhere in NZ, schools are much more bi-cultural (English & Maori) but in the bigger cities they’re very multi-cultural. Auckland in particular has large communities of Pacifica and Asian peoples.
Most NZ classrooms are inclusive and include student with special needs and unique learning styles, as well as the high flyers!

Little Grub touching a Maori carving
3. What's the best aspect of the educational system in New Zealand? And the biggest challenge?
The best aspect is relative freedom to design your own learning experiences to meet the specific needs of your class. There is big emphasis placed on staying aware of current pedagogy and best practice for teaching and learning. Most Kiwi teachers would also pride themselves on a fairly holistic approach to teaching and try to make sure sporting and cultural experiences are interwoven into daily school life.

The biggest challenge currently (my personal opinion) is the changing requirements in education from the government. There’s been a strong move towards more standardised assessment, data gathering and reporting. This is fine when used to inform and tailor your teaching, but really depressing when it feels like so much valuable teaching time is spent on assessing.

Playing with a Paua shell
4. Have you always created your own educational resources?
Yes, I’ve always really enjoyed making my own resources. Now I’m not working full time and it's been nice having more time to indulge in making my resources more lavish! (All the things I wish I’d had more time to do when teaching full time!)


5. I absolutely love your product covers! Are you, by any chance, a graphic designer?
You are so kind ;-) Nope, no graphic design expertise, but I did complete a degree in Visual Arts before teacher training, and before that I studied conservation and ecology. I like to think my products are a good combination of both of those areas!!

6. Are there any specific tips you'd give to teachers from New Zealand looking to sell and share their resources on TpT (or similar websites)?

I think being aware of some basic differences in the way America operates is really important, especially as they are the majority of the customers on TpT.... some things to consider (besides the fact the US dollar converts really well to NZ!) include:

· Basic spelling differences (colour/color, etc.)

· Metric vs imperial (I always try to include both in my products)

· Differences in paper size! (A4/A3 vs legal/letter size)

· The fact that their year levels/grades don’t match completely with ours

· A difference (obviously!) in curriculums – I haven’t worried at all about aligning my products to common core and no one seems to mind

I now create all my products in US letter size with American spelling. Customers have the option of requesting an A4 version with alternate spelling, but after more than a year of selling, I’ve only ever had 1 customer request the alternate version! (P.S – it’s much easier to reformat a US Letter size to A4 than the other way around)

A close-up of a silver-fern frond - one of the symbols of New Zealand
7. Just for fun, are there any words or expressions that New Zealanders use that English speakers from other countries might not understand?
Kiwis have all sorts of quirky sayings…… the ones I’m most fond of using on a daily basis are:

· “Good as gold” (I’m fine, it’s great)

· “Yeah nah” - slightly complicated to explain…. It generally means you agree with what the person’s saying but not entirely. Or depending on the emphasis it could also mean: "Ummm I'm thinking", or "yeah-NAH" = "over my dead body", or "YEAH-nah” = "maybe, but probably not!”

· “Sweet as” (Awesome, great)

· “Aye” (rhymes with HAY. This just gets tacked onto the ends of sentences for emphasis, e.g. “It’s all good aye?”)

And that's all folks!

Thank you, Rosie, for kindly accepting to participate! Interviewing you was a joy!

Now go check out the most amazing pictures that Rosie shares on Instagram, peruse her smorgasbord of quirky nature pins or just chat with her on her Facebook or G+ pages.

Don't forget to follow my blog to be the first to read my next interview with a teacher-author around the  world!

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Lindy from South Africa!

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Lisa from Scotland!

READ: Teacher-authors around the world: meet Catia from Portugal!

Thanks for reading!

A quick and easy test: the difference between "they're", "their", and "there"

Hi there (and not "their", nor "they're")!

Some students get confused when using the homophones "they're", "their", and "there".
Here's a quick, easy and fun "test" I've done many times to find out whether they really know the difference or not.

I simply dictate the following mini-dialogue:

- Where are your friends?
- They're talking to their parents right over there.

The words are contextualized and their meanings should be clear for students.
If they get everything right, they're good to go. If not, some reviewing might be necessary.

Bear in mind that this "test" should only be done to check previous knowledge and not to introduce the homophones to students as that could confuse them.

Here's a variation to the mini-dialogue:

- Have you seen Jake and Kate?
- Yes, can't you see them? They're there (pointing in a direction) walking their dogs.

Students find the proximity of equally-sounded words funny and they don't notice you're testing them.

If you happen to be reading this post because you'd like to know the difference in meaning between the homophones, here's the explanation:

  • They're - this is the contraction of "they" and "are".
they + are = they're
  • Their - this is a possessive pronoun. It's related to "they" as "my" is related to "I"
I love my cat.
They love their cat.
  • There - this is an adverb of place as opposed to "here".

And there you have my blog post of the day!

Since you're already here, why don't you check out my Birthday Giveaway (win a $25 TpT Gift Certificate)?

Don't forget to check out my anchor charts and be sure to follow my blog to read my posts hot-off-the-press!

Thanks for reading!


10 words that English borrowed from Spanish

Today is Cinco de Mayo and I thought I'd continue my series about words borrowed from other languages with a list of 10 words or expressions that English borrowed from the Spanish language.

Are you aficionado of languages like me? "Aficionado" is the past participle form of the Spanish verb aficionar, which means "to inspire affection". If you're using the word to describe a man, you have to say "aficionado" and if you're talking about a woman, the right word if "aficionada".

Have you been daydreaming about spending summer evenings in your patio eating barbecue (which comes from the Spanish word barbacoa)? If so, you're really a teacher finishing up a school year!

First thing that comes to my mind is the TV series. No, I wasn't around to watch it, but it was my father's favorite show and I always thought, as a child, that Bonanza was a last name, like Simpsons. The word means "calm at sea" in Spanish, but has taken a different meaning in English: a very large amount, something very valuable.

This comes from the Spanish verb rodear, which means "to surround".

Literally, "little donkey". The "-ito"is a suffix that means small, and that leads me to…

"Mosquito" is a small mosca (fly).

The fifth of May is NOT Mexican Independence Day. It's actually the celebration of the Mexican victory over the French in 1862. Do you celebrate it in your classroom?

The original Spanish word is rancho, but somewhere down the road, English lost the "o".

If you go "mano a mano" with someone, it means that you two are in direct competition, fight (physically or not). This expression can be literally translated as "hand to hand".

The US has many states and countless cities whose names come from Spanish.
"Colorado" is the past participle of colorar, to color.
"Nevada" is the past participle of nevar, to snow.
"Florida" means florid, flowery.
"Montana" is derived from the word montaƱa, mountain.

READ 10 words that English borrowed from French

READ 10 words that English borrowed from Portuguese

Read: Teacher-authors around the world

Thanks for reading and hasta luego!