Friday, 10 May 2019

Introducing new authors...

Harry F and Isabella R received their copies of Toitoi #15, in which they both had poems published. Harry's poem, 'Wilderness' and Isabella's flash fiction, 'Snap!' have been beautifully illustrated by artists from other schools. We think they have done a brilliant job. Congratulations to these talented students!

Monday, 1 April 2019

Coral Reef City awarded Highly Commended

Congratulations to Robbie de Groot-Tsuji, who was a finalist in the NZ Association for Environmental Education's Seaweek Poetry Competition. 

The competition's theme was  “Tiakina o Tātou Mōana - Care for our Seas”  and received over 170 entries from schools across Canterbury. Robbie's poem, titled 'Coral Reef City' was awarded Highly Commended. Robbie was invited to attend a formal prize-giving ceremony at Tūranga on Wednesday 27 March. 

You can read Robbie's poem here:

Coral Reef City

In the coral-reef city
the starfish are lying down on
their balconies with the hot sun panting
down on them

The turtles, flying from city to city
carry massive loads of fish

The fish, crossroads,
looking out for other fish,
walk down the streets
and shop for groceries

The coral houses strong and sturdy
keep the fish safe…
crumbling and fading
losing calcium in our sunscreen,
destroyed by us.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Sea Week Poetry Competition

Our Russley Writers have been busy writing ocean-themed poems for the Sea Week Poetry Competition.

Robbie and Jack M were fortunate to be able to attend a School for Young Writers Master Class with poet Gail Ingram.

You can read their work here on the blog, along with poems from our other Russley Writers, who rose to the challenge to craft a poem for Sea Week.

Sophie's Quiet Sea


The sea is a swirling sprinkler
diving like a dolphin
It shines like a paua shell

Seagulls screech
I stand in the salty foam
Crabs clip my toes

Waves smash the sandcastle
As I stand on a shell
it cuts my foot

Seaweed wraps around my legs
It makes me feel
like I want to fly

Robbie's trio of poems for Sea Week

Robbie Is A Stingray

As I flop into the water,
I gracefully let my blue and white arms out.
I lazily flap them up and down
As I open my mouth to eat.

As my tummy gets bigger,
I feel like it’s time for a game,
so I start to dive-bomb 
and crazily flap my fins in the air.

As the sun goes down, 
I sleepily sink to the bottom of the ocean,
getting ready for a new day.

Hokitika Beach
As we came out of the bush, 
the warm sun poured down on us.
Soft golden sand got everywhere.
The rough sea chasing us, 
but running back to its home,
for the hot, dry sand was too much for it.
The quartz felt as smooth as polished pounamu,
but as rough as my dad’s hands.
That memory will stay with me for a long time.

You Better Hide, Crab!
You better hide, crab, or they’ll grab you!
You better fight them, and they’ll take flight.
And when the tide comes, you better sink, 
or you’ll find yourself in the deep fryer!

The Dancing Sea by Robbie


Crabs tango through the ocean floor
Turtles fly through the reefs
Octopuses waltz through the coral
Yellow finned tuna ballet dance through the ocean

plastic pollution spoils the fun.

Robbie's Wild Sea


As the wild storms breaks out
the bobbly waves turn
into snowcapped mountains

Small ships bounce around
waves crash onto each other like cymbals
playing wrestling games

Some waves race each other as fast as they can go
but when they reach the sand
they tiredly lap the shore

A Dancing Sea Poem by Nathan


It waved.
The sea loved to wave.
For some reason, it loved to dance too.
It did the shimmy.
It did the disco.
It did the waltz.

The sea loved dancing
and when the wind felt wild
they both did their favourite…
the tango.

Sea Week Poem by Nathan H


It swirls through the pipes
falls into the water
sinks, sinks,
and sinks further
It hits the floor with a small bump
It joins its million other siblings
and then the news…
Plastic bottle number 3,260,876,193

has arrived to its ocean home.

Jack Maca's Starfish

Jack Maca’s Starfish

Slinky starfish
I know what you are
and you’ll end up in my collection jar

Disgusting fish
with all those legs
so floppy you’re like a wreck

Wonderful wish
that’s what it shall be
otherwise you’ll never see
the end of me

Sappy starfish
that’s what you’ll end up
in bad stuff

So that’s right starfish
back away from me
with all those legs

you’ll end up being my dish

Another Sea Week Poem from Jack M

Me and my Pop walking across the beach
The smooth, silky feeling
is what we came for

Whenever we heard the sound
of the waves
we would look

Sometimes the seaweed
had a strong smell
of salt

After an hour or so
we would go and watch
the sunset eating pink popping

in my mouth

A Poem from Jack M

I lay my back
against the sand

in my grey tracksuit
to blend in

I let my back float up
not again, I’m getting pulled
and now the sea blows

I’m on land
Don’t pick me up
I can’t breathe

I lay my back
against the sand

Hugo's Poem

by Hugo W.

The sea is a crystal wave, crashing on the sand.
The sea jumps above the sand all the time
like a kangaroo.
The sea is Sand VS Water.
The sea makes me fly back
and I shiver.

Another poem, from Finn

TAKE TWO (by Finn D.)
Waves crashing like the
great God of the Sea, Tangaroa
Yelling, screaming,
charging with his great ally,
the Wind.

A Big Blue Poem from Demi

by Demi F.

The sea is salty and mellow
the soft sand and the shining sea
Waves swirl like windmills

The sea floor is dark and creepy
The blue shining water is flowing
Green crunchy seaweed
getting stepped on

It makes me dance
to be at the beach

A Sea Poem from Cole

by Cole S.

Splish, splash, splosh!
Waves beat down on the ocean floor,
anenomes sway like trees in strong wind,
sardines swim in shiny schools
in the undertow.

The wind howls, the sky turns grey
it starts to rain.
It howls, waves go wild
and crash against one another

The hail stops, the sky pops
Crackle, Boom!
Crabs get washed to shore.
The storm stops.

There is a big mess to clean up,
then there is a rainbow.

Ocean Poetry from Adrianna

by Adrianna P.

The sea is like blue crystals
The sea floor like rocks
The sand is soft, like marshmallows on your toes
Seagulls yell at each other like siblings
When I look at the sea
it makes me smile

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The General Store by Mekhi Tauakume

Congratulations to newly published author Mekhi Tauakume, who was in Year 8 at Russley School in 2018. Mekhi's poem, 'The General Store' was written during a poetry workshop with the School for Young Writers at the Ferrymead Heritage Park. The poem was published in Toitoi 14 in February 2019.

The poem was illustrated by Rosie Meyer, also aged 13 years.

Congratulations Mekhi

School for Young Writers

Monday, 11 March 2019

Kyla is a published author!

Kyla received her copy of Toitoi 14 (A Journal for Young Writers and Artists). 

Kyla's poem, Quiet Time published on page 95 was illustrated beautifully by 11 year old artist Heath Slater-Brown. 

It is a long process from when an author's work is first accepted, to finally seeing it in print. It is always really exciting to see the finished product, and the collaborative effort between students not only from different schools, but from different parts of the country.

Kyla's poem is extra special to me, as it is about one of my favourite things to do - writing a poem! Reading Kyla's piece takes me back to the day she wrote it, sitting under a tree, 'branches waving, swishing like butterfly wings... quiet birds whistling, cicadas screaming...' Kyla was still and quiet, using her senses to listen, see and feel the world around her. 

I especially love the tattoo-shaped leaf and an orange spider who crept into Kyla's poem. Congratulations Kyla!

Thursday, 15 November 2018

An inspiring spot to write

Our Russley Writers found a lovely, shady spot to sit outside and write on this beautiful Thursday morning.

We have been working on adding detail to our writing, to help the reader imagine they are right there, in the story. Choosing specific nouns, strong verbs and creating surprising similes and metaphors are just a few of the skills our writers are mastering.

The Sunny Past

Another Summer poem... from Robbie:

The Sunny past

I remember all the salads with crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes.

I remember the salty sea at Taylor's mistake.

I remember the whack of a ball against a cricket bat.

I remember the hot fireball shining down on us.

I remember ice cold water spraying on my face

and a water gun in my hands.

But, putting on sunscreen always annoys me.


Summer is on it's way...

by Kyla Holmes

I remember trees with leaves like pounamu

I remember Mum cutting up the juiciest watermelon
I remember playing What’s the Time Mr Wolfie with my family
under the sun.

I remember the sound of the birds chirping like flutes

I remember the pen writing in my book under the maple tree

I remember splashing in the river at Rai Valley

I miss wearing my blue jandals

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Writers' Walk panels

Mr Griffiths has been busy nailing the Writers' Walk panels to fences around our school and community. Check them out at the below locations, and enjoy reading these amazing poems and stories from our Russley authors.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Writers' Walk Assembly

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Russley School Writers' Walk!

Here are a few photos from this morning's assembly, some of the winning authors receiving their panels and being congratulated by one of our esteemed judges, Bill Nagelkerke.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Being inspired by peers' writing

Our Russley Writers' Club are hard at work on some descriptive pieces about a special place. Here they are being inspired by the amazing poems and descriptions in Toitoi 13.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Here at last!

These amazing writers have had their poetry published in Toitoi 13.

Robbie de Groot-Tsuji's poem 'The Strangest Art Gallery' describes the Christchurch Art Gallery in wonderful detail, with the "windows like a patchwork quilt" and the "bull, about to jump from the piano and crush it into a million pieces".

Rebekah MacClure's poem 'Waiau' captures a wonderful moment of fluttering fantails and secret ice creams.

Kayla Raadgever's poem titled 'Hanmer Springs'
is a feast of similes with "hot pools like blankets" and "slides as slippery as soap".

Congratulations to our published authors, we are so proud of you!

Words by Rebekah MacClure, Pictures by Ariana Ala'ifiva

Words by Kayla Raadgever, Pictures by Marne Le Roux

Words by Robbie de Groot-Tsuji, Pictures by Vickie Jiang