We have had an immensely busy term thus far and this got me thinking the other day about goals.
We navigate through our lives running from one task to the next, sometimes missing beautiful moments along the way. It feels like we barely blink and our children are walking, going to school, graduating, getting married and suddenly it is time to retire.
Perhaps it would be good practice for us to sit down and take stock of where we have been, where we are now and where we want to go. This is a wonderful exercise to teach our children as they work towards their goal of graduation. However, the ultimate goal of graduation must also be met with balance.
Teaching our children to enjoy the journey will ultimately help them achieve success. It is all too easy to lose sight of your goals when you are overwhelmed and stressed. Taking the time to allow yourself to breathe and enjoy the moment will help you re-evaluate yourself and your goals. This introspection will lead to healthier, happier and more successful individuals entering the adult world with confidence.
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Albert Schweitzer
As we are nearing the end of the third term, I would like to remind parents to start purchasing the correct uniform for the summer months. It is very important that the students wear the correct uniform and that we, as parents and teachers, encourage them in this endeavor. In doing so, we instill a sense of pride in the students with the end goal that wearing the correct uniform is not a chore, but a matter of honour. I therefore urge parents to prepare now for the change in uniform next term.
Last night was the opening night of our high school’s musical production ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. Although a successful opening night, it was disappointing to see the lack of support for our students and for the burgeoning cultural program at our school. The students and teachers have worked incredibly hard to put this performance together and last night was an awe inspiring showcase of their talent. I encourage all our students and parents to purchase tickets for the last two performances as we owe it to the students to support their efforts and to support the growth of arts and culture within our school community.
On Friday the 23rd of August the grade 9-12 art students had the propitious opportunity to attend an outing to visit the Zeitz MOCAA – a stirring occasion that enabled us to view the largest collection of African contemporary art in the world.
In the early morning we departed from school to the V&A Waterfront, where the museum stands. We had arrived slightly early which gave us the chance to explore some of the clever constructions that stood just outside the museum – which included chairs that were built to not stand right up but instead roll around whilst an individual is seated.
After some fun and laughter we were taken through the employee entrance which lead us all the way down to the basement, where you could look above to view the impressive architecture of the monument we stood in. Our introductory guide had explained some brief history of the building and how in the 1920s it had been built as a grain silo but was later altered to house countless works of modern artistry. The historical landmark itself was considered art, not only it’s contents.
The exhibitions were briefly talked about – including the new opening of William Kentridges’ : “Why should I Hesitate.” Although that was not yet open, us students were told to make our way to the 2nd and 4th floors where we could gaze upon the exhibition “Still Here Tomorrow to High Five You Yesterday,” which spoke about the importance of political and social issues spanning over the continent. We were given a worksheet to complete to aid us in analyzing 3 chosen displays on these floors to help us better understand how we can use these techniques to better convey a message in our art pieces. Once finished with traveling around everyone returned to the basement to complete the write ups.
At lunch time we hopped back onto the bus to take us to the Waterfront food court where everyone ordered food and socialized a bit before leaving back to arrive at school at 2 o’clock that afternoon.
The experience is one that can not be easily forgotten and I believe us students not only enjoyed ourselves greatly but gained more outlook into the world of art and how you can use various mediums to convey a message through space, lines and shapes.
Student Year 12B
What makes a good assignment?
This term, the Year 7 and 8 students had to complete a creative assignment for which they had a variety of options from which to choose. These ranged from practical tasks supported by explanatory theory, including dioramas and masks, to written assignments like articles and essays. All were aimed at revealing student understanding and interpretation of a literary text.
The Year 7’s focused on the drama Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, and the Year 8 students centered theirs around the novel Lord of the Flies, by William Goulding.
Having taught English for many years, I have seen students produce assignments that were of the highest standard, with insight and creativity beyond their years. In stark contrast to this, many students put little to no effort into their work, belying their capabilities.
I am pleased to say that the majority of students at Blouberg International School had my soul singing with their astute, inspired and detailed projects. What is more important is that they took on the challenge and were, through their intensive efforts, beaming with pride in themselves.
One might wonder what it takes to produce a project that will bring a teacher to joyful tears.
Beyond carefully following the instructions and ensuring that all of the necessities are included – which will certainly result in a good mark – there are a few ingredients every student could add to their scholastic recipes.
Below is a list of strategies every student should attempt when tackling their next daunting assignment:
- Begin with the task as soon as it is assigned. Even if you work on it a little every other day, this will provide ample opportunity to clarify concerns you may have with your teacher or to correct any mishaps that may arise.
- Pay attention to the instructions. Use it as a check list to ensure that you have included all of the elements essential to the task. Tackle every objective.
- Use the resources your teacher provides, but conduct your own research as well. There are many reliable sources online.
- When compiling your research data, use only key words and phrases from your sources and rewrite information in your own words unless quoting. Always cite your sources. Your teacher wants to test your skills and understanding, not that of a university graduate – or a parent.
- Include your own opinion, but ensure that it is backed by fact. One should not have the opportunity to question your ideas, they should clearly link to accurate information.
- Thoroughly edit your assignment to safeguard against any trivial errors.
- Work as neatly as possible. A task that is well-organised and tidy immediately appears of a higher quality and will be more pleasant to assess. It is arduous for teachers to mark work that is illegible or poorly structured.
- Use your own initiative, be as creative as possible within the task framework and go the extra mile. Teachers revel in the little details you include and enjoy it when you think outside of the box, sometimes astounding us with components beyond that of the grade requirements and insights we might not have considered.
Students who used all or most of these strategies in this term’s assignments deserve an honourable mention:
– Catherine Fortuin 7B designed a beautiful diorama for which she created clay figures on a stage setting in the throws of an important fight scene between Romeo and Tybalt. Her talent and attention to detail is admirable.
– Marco de Mattos 7A cleverly included a public announcement and advert with his article about the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
– Maya Mthwana of 7A designed a well-written, neat article, closely adhering to layout requirements.
– Mihlali Lumkwana of 7A went to great lengths to create her storyboard for Act IV in Romeo and Juliet.
– Ryan Barker in 8A put great effort into his Lord of the Flies Survival Manual. He’s the one with whom you want to end up stranded on a deserted island.
– Vincent Chamunorwa, 8B, designed an inspiring cartoon for Chapter 11 of Lord of the Flies. He has incredible talent!
– Athena Thomas, 8B, has a gift for watercolour painting. Her contributing explanation as to what Piggy’s glasses in Lord of the Flies represents was thorough.
– Philade Luthango’s poster (8A) about the character, Piggy, immediately caught everyone’s attention due to its bold design and beautiful drawings.
– Layla Moodley, 8A, went the extra mile by designing a symbol to represent each chapter in her plot diagram of Lord of the Flies.
– Taylor Williams, 8A, not only painted an extremely detailed image of the conch from Lord of the Flies, but ingeniously included symbols associated with it and presented her explanation on a creatively designed poster. Her attention to detail is admirable.
– Mia Ross in 8B moulded these fantastic masks to her own face and painted them to represent characters from Lord of the Flies. There is even symbolism in the colours used.
– Oscar Berger, 8B, wrote a fantastic essay in which he explored the theme of Civilization versus Savagery in Lord of the Flies. His oral presentation was accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation filled with bold sub-headings and images to bring his points home. This was a far better option than simply reading out his essay.
There are more students I could individually praise, but alas I will simply state that I am ever so proud of all of the Year 7 and 8 students as I know that they put in their best effort.
High School English Teacher
“Have you ever played outside all day and noticed that the length and location of your shadow changed as the hours went by?”
You probably also noticed that the sun changed location in the sky throughout the day too. The sun’s change in location caused a difference in the size, shape and direction of your shadow.
This week our Year 2’s grabbed the opportunity to work with a real sundial and see first-hand how it works.
We set up a “home-made” sundial on our tennis court using a bucket filled with sand, holding a tall stick in its center. Each Year 2 class was taken out to observe this “make-shift” sundial at 3 different points in the day. Every time a child is chosen to draw a line in chalk exactly where the shadow of the tall stick is at that point. The time of observation is written next to the drawing, for the next class to come out a little later to observe and record their results.
The students thoroughly enjoyed the realism and practicality of this experiment. They enjoyed being able to go back to class and record the data they had collected, drawing pictures for each observation taken. They have now seen, first-hand, the way in which a shadow moves throughout the day as well as how and why the sundial came about.
Sundial for Kids: Facts & History
Year 2 Teacher
It was a very early start for our Foundation Stage classes this past Monday as we came to school ready for our Outing to the Artscape Theatre.
The students were very excited to see some of their favourite characters on stage. This year’s production was called “Kipper and the Storybook” and featured beloved characters such as Kipper, Biff, Wilf and Wilma as well as some new and exciting characters.
There was the evil witch, who ate children’s imaginations, and off course the silly trolls. As Kipper and Biff (helped by all the girls and boys in the audience) defeated the evil witch all the stories in Story land returned to normal.
The production focused on the importance of stories and reading, encouraging our students to use their imaginations and read as many books as they can.
Our students were asked to write down some of their best moments from the Outing. Some wrote about their favourite characters, some even wrote about the set and how the stage turned.
It was a great adventure, enjoyed by all.
Reception Year Teacher
Physics is a branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. The subject matter of physics includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms. The world of Physics is an exciting but daunting field of study and spans many different aspects of our universe.
We develop different theories to understand and predict the world around us. Experiments are then conducted to validate or disprove our original theory. Theory, without practice would be very boring and very difficult. For this reason, we conduct regular experiments and visit industry where many of the theories can be seen in action and the power of our knowledge be harnessed to benefit mankind.
Our Year 10 & 11 students recently conducted experiments to prove Ohm’s Law. Definition: a law stating that electric current is proportional to voltage and inversely proportional to resistance.
For more information on the application of physics follow the link to this brilliant article.
High School Physics Teacher
Robots have always been a captivating piece of technology, programmable to move, make noise, light up, and follow instructions as directed. There is nothing quite as fun — and educational — as building one’s own robot and setting it through the paces of a race, an activity or a challenge.
In the school setting, robots encourage problem-solving, creative thinking, and a healthy sense of competition that drives innovation from students.
As robotics and computers become increasingly prevalent in students’ lives, understanding programming and programming concepts is becoming very important for students’ success. Robots are a fun, easy, and effective way to learn about computer programming. Programming a robot has tangible, observable effects.
Having to control a physical robot and seeing what goes wrong, students learn what robots can and cannot do. They also learn the need for precise instructions. Robotics helps address the growing demand for teaching science, technology, engineering and Maths in schools.
Robotics use the making of a prototype easier so it will help make the problem better. Students get the time, space and purpose to build robots and solve open-ended problems. Program building robots aims to help students develop logic building and critical thinking skills at a very young age.
Robotics is a branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronic engineering and computer science. It deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.
We would be amiss not to place immense value on incorporating Robotics into our children’s lives. As our future engineers, programmers, pilots and doctors, to name only a few, we have to empower them for them to be successful.
Robotics and Programming Teacher Junior School
This past Sunday, the 18th of August, seven of interact members spent the first half of their day assisting the Blouberg Rotary Club stall at the annual One to One event.
One to One is held every year at the Green Point Stadium. It is a day that is focused around differently abled kids and adults from Cape Town and its surrounds. With some people being bussed in from as far as George. One to One is orientated towards providing a fun filled day for them.
There were various games to be played at the many stalls, prizes to be won and lots of free hugs all around.
The day is organized by various clubs, such as Rotary, Lions Club, Roteract and many interact clubs from schools.
The few hours that were spent at the event were filled with laughter, cheering, music and performances. While spreading love we were able to forge new friendships with people from other schools. It was a humbling experience that we all enjoyed being a part of.
We are looking forward to next year’s event with our eyes set on our own Blouberg Interact stall.
Interact Member – Year 10
The history of our beautiful land can only be depicted through the magnificent stories and writings told by our talented authors. This week BIS has dedicated Book Week to honor our South African Children’s Authors.
On deciding to do this, I, myself had surprisingly made the discovery of how many brilliantly written local children’s books existed. I took some time to read a few books, and was touched by the realities and beauties of our very own land. It is so important for us to pass on the diversity of cultures and heritage to our children and the best way to do this is through a book.
On Tuesday we were fortunate enough to receive a visit from an amazingly talented South African Children’s author, Lori-Ann Preston.
“Lori-Ann Preston is an award-winning children’s author who lives in East London. She won the Golden Baobab Prize in 2016 for her Early Chapter Book, The Ama-Zings! Her picture books, Mr Cocka-Rocka-Roo and Snails Have Feelings, Too! were short- and long listed for the same prize, respectively. She holds a BEd Honours degree from the University of South Africa and spent 20 years as an educator.”
A magical week was had by all. We had many other visitors and events at our school, “Help the Rural Child” mobile book shop, “Hooked on Books”, Story Book Character Dress up day and a Cake sale, all of which makes Book Week something to look forward to every single year.
“When we read we are able to travel to many places, meet many people and understand the world”
Let us continue to empower and grow young minds through reading. Happy reading all.
Year 5 Teacher
As a much younger teacher, I remember emphasizing to parents, the importance of reading aloud to their children. It was really only after having my own children and practicing what I had preached, that I began to understand that I too was benefiting!
I recently read an interesting article, published by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, in which they set out the basic “hidden” benefits…
While reading is a necessity for learning, it is also one of the best ways to develop bonds with your children; researchers say reading to your child is “a gift for time-challenged parents who may feel guilty about missing special moments with their kids.” (www.scholastic.com) The book publisher suggests parents schedule reading sessions often and use the moments to enrich their relationships with their children, as well as build their vocabularies. Parents will forever cling to such innocent moments. Children, meanwhile, are learning about complex aspects of life and relationships when they are engaged in stories with themes that can be more mature than anything they’ve encountered in life. Going through those educational moments with a parent allows them to confront these issues in a safe space.
Secret to Success
The article goes on to explain that research showed that children four to five years of age who are read to three to five times a week are six months ahead of their peers in terms of reading acumen. Those children who are read to daily are a year ahead of those who are read to less frequently. ”It does appear to be the case that children who are read to more often keep doing better as they age than other children.”
Rich Vocabulary Equals Advantage
Educator Jim Trelease notes that there is a clear difference between conversing with a child and reading to him or her. As he points out in his book “Read-Aloud Handbook,” literature is more intricate than speech and therefore vastly more educational.
“The language in books is very rich, and in books there are complete sentences. In books, newspapers, and magazines, the language is more complicated, more sophisticated. A child who hears more sophisticated words has a giant advantage over a child who hasn’t heard those words,” Trelease says.
Teaching by Example
“A child who has been read to will want to learn to read herself. She will want to do what she sees her parents doing. But if a child never sees anyone pick up a book, she isn’t going to have that desire,” Trelease points out in a conversation with GreatSchools.org. Reading increases a child’s attention span and a parent’s own cognitive ability, the best-selling author says. It is one of the most essential and valuable activities children can inherit from parents simply by observing them being engrossed in a book or magazine. Knowing how many habits children pick up from grown-ups around them, reading is one activity parents should aim to get caught doing in front of their children!
So, enjoy cuddling with your child and reading that bed time story.
Year 2 Teacher