In German this term, the students in Year 1, 2 & 3 were welcomed to online learning each week with a greeting video and lesson. The students were able to feel right at home with the familiar animals who are always with me when I travel to their classroom at school. Anton der Affe (the monkey), Gerti die Giraffe (the giraffe) und Diddl die Maus (the mouse).
The greeting video included all the songs to say Hallo (hello) Guten Morgen (good morning) and Guten Tag (Good day), and to ask and answer the question Wie geht’s? (How are you?).
I asked the students each week to check the video to see if they could find anything new on the screen and to draw it on a piece of paper as a record of all the weeks. Then I would tell them all about the item from the previous week’s video.
Here are some of the items they found in the video; a shoe, a German soccer shirt, pens, rulers, pencils, Pritt glue stick, Aromat, pizza and a packet of sweets. These items introduced the famous German companies such as Adidas, Staedtler, Faber-Castell, Henkel, Knorr, Dr Oetker and Haribo. All products that we can buy in our local shops that are German.
We discussed celebrations in Germany around this time; Easter in Germany and made an Easter craft from the Hallo Anna Workbook. We learnt about the Maibaum (Maypole) festival that is celebrated in Germany to say goodbye to the winter and discovered that the Maikäfer (May Beetle) and Marienkäfer (ladybug) are all symbols of hope in Germany, that the summer and warm weather is near.
We were surprised about the fact that Fanta was invented in Germany and that the word originates from the words Fantasie (imagination) and Fantastisch (fantastic) and we were disappointed that Nutella and Kinder chocolate are not produced by a German company, but yet are part of the German culture. The chocolate even has a German name Kinder meaning children.
As a task to end the term, I asked the students to send in a picture that they had made or a photo of themselves and any of the German products. Thank you, it was Fantastisch to see your smiling faces and the German products. I could see that Dr Oetker pizzas, Aromat on popcorn and Haribo might just become a favourite in your home.
At the end of every lesson we sing Auf Wiedersehen (Goodbye), bis bald (see you soon) to all the animals. We have learnt that the words in German do not just say ‘Goodbye’ but that it always has a hope in it that we will see each other again, and I hope Klasse (Year) 1,2, & 3, that I will see you again soon. I am really looking forward to it.
Auf Wiedersehen, bis bald!
Frau Kerstin Pani
German Teacher Primary School
During the last two weeks of school our Year 12 Chemistry, Biology and Physics students came into school to complete practical work in the laboratories. Completing practical assignments is an important skill as it allows students to apply the theory they have covered in class and I am certain that when the Year 12’s return next term they will complete many more such assignments.
Finally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to every one of you. Thank you to every student, parent, and teacher for all the hard work and effort you put in this term. Without your dedication and hard work our program of online learning wouldn’t have been possible.
Please look after yourselves during this holiday and we look forward to welcoming you back next term.
Head of Academics High School
As we come to the end of this term, it is with much gratitude in my heart that I write this week’s newsletter. This has not been an easy term for anyone, parents, students and teachers alike. We have all had to adapt to a new type of “normal”, adjust our thinking and challenge ourselves in everything we attempted.
I hope you now understand what we mean when we say that ‘teaching is a calling’. I do not think there is any teacher who is in this profession for anything other than the love of children. After all, our children are our future. We nurture them so they may create a better tomorrow.
I salute every one of you parents. You have been challenged in this storm and have endured. At times you might have felt fearful of the unknown, yet every day brings new hope.
I am reminded of a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:
“I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.”
To every student, I wish you a wonderful time of rest during this holiday. May the time spent with family be one of joy and laughter.
To my staff, I wish a time of rest and refreshment. We will start the new term with renewed vigour and strength.
Stay safe and keep warm.
Something that has struck me throughout the term is the reaction my students have had to lockdown. It would have been easy for them to give up and simply do the bare minimum, but instead they threw themselves both into online learning and into projects at home. Not a morning meeting goes by without one or more of my students telling me about something they made, something they’ve done, or a cool new exercise routine they thought up. Moreover, generally the things they are sharing are things they’ve done with or for family members – going cycling or running with their parents, making a cake for their Dad’s birthday, looking after a younger sibling, playing with their pets, and so on.
The lockdown encouraged our students to experiment with what they could do at home. They baked, made art, and spent time with their families. Don’t get me wrong – they’ve had their frustrations, but they have taken what they had and made the best of it, and I am incredibly proud of them for it!
Year 5 Teacher
Here are some of the interesting things Year 5HK has been up to…
The world has inevitably changed how we teach and how students access, share and facilitate information. Mathematics has been fun for most our students, with the assistance of great websites like Quizizz, Kahoot, and SPARX, which allow students to be interactive while learning. The most popular way of teaching has been the use of pre-recorded videos, either from specialist providers such Khanacademy or produced by teachers themselves. The latter have typically involved teachers delivering lessons backed by PowerPoint presentations on Zoom, the most popular screen and video recording software.
I love hosting classroom quiz games. They can be great for formative assessments and a tool to help students review before a test. You’ve probably used (or at least heard of) the multiplayer gaming website Kahoot. There’s a lot to like about Kahoot: it’s free, works in web browers on tablets, computers, and smartphones, and you can input your questions (or copy a pre-made quiz from their library).
Quizizz is an alternative to Kahoot, and there’s also a lot for educators and students to enjoy. It is very similar to Kahoot, with a few key differences. Just like Kahoot, the teacher (or host) chooses a quiz to begin. A five digit game code is provided. Players (students) use their browsers to join.quizzizz.com and input the game code, along with their names. If students are using smartphones or tablets, I display the join link as a QR code.
Kahoot is designed to show multiple choice questions on a large screen, and students respond by clicking buttons on their devices that correspond to the answers they want to choose.
Quizizz takes a different approach. No projector is necessary because students see questions and answer options on their own screens. The question order is randomized for each student, so it’s not easy for students to cheat. With Quizizz, students don’t have to wait for the whole class to answer a question before they continue to the next one.
So, Quizizz is student-paced while Kahoot’s pace is determined by the teacher or host. This is the major difference and can be a benefit depending on the situation. If you want to pause after each question, then Kahoot is better. The class can stop and discuss after each question, immediately addressing misconceptions. With Quizizz, students zip through questions at their own pace, limiting all discussion to after all questions have been answered.
This pandemic has showed us all how important the bond between teacher, student and parent is. It is because of the parents that we are successful at implementing various strategies outside of classroom, since they are the ones who have more contact time with their kids.
I want to thank all the parents that have supported us throughout this unusual journey.
High School Mathematics and Physics Teacher
We all are aware that the main reason for a Verbal Feedback meeting is for the teacher and the parents to discuss a student’s progress in order to enhance their child’s education. There are also many other important reasons for these meetings, that many parents may not be aware of.
The Year 2 teachers have discussed the importance of these meetings and this is what we have concluded:
– A child’s education is a partnership between parents and teachers – especially in times like these. Verbal Feedback meetings allow the teacher to express how grateful they are for the parents being “sergeants” and ensuring that their children actually do the work.
– We would like to show parents we are here to support them as well as their child. We are here to listen and help where we can.
– Parents are able to ask questions directly instead of waiting for a reply via email. These meetings help the teacher to inquire whether parents have seen any areas of struggle their child faces that the teacher may not necessarily be aware of.
– These meetings allow for parents to be heard and discuss their opinions based on what may work better for their children and them. This dialog helps teachers adapt their lessons to suit the needs of all their students, especially at a time like this where online learning is the main learning platform.
As one of the arguably most famous German authors said – You can only achieve success through doing. This term has proven this to me again.
Eight years ago I did a course in modern language learning methods using technology. We learned about blended learning, flipped classrooms and different websites to use. Since then a lot has changed and throughout the years I always wanted to implement more technology in teaching. Unfortunately, it never came to fruition since teaching the traditional way was just easier and more accessible to students. This lockdown has forced us as teachers and students to finally use all those technological tools out there.
Learning German with online tools has never been easier. The German government has supported the teaching of German in other countries for years now and therefore we have many different online platforms to choose from. Sites such as Deutsche Welle and Lingoni offer great Video learning tools. Duo Lingo is a fun way to support what is learnt in class with fun activities. Additional to this it has become a lot easier to create your own online Quizzes or videos to share with students.
Even though this time has been trying and difficult it was a great step forward. Practicing a language does work better in a classroom setting, and will never become unnecessary, but the past couple of months have shown me how language learning can also be successful through other means. If you never try you will never learn.
To end off our science chapter, “Material Changes”, for the term the Year 6 students explored how to make their own filtration system. Their goal for this activity was to discover that ground materials can clean and purify water before it is returned to the surface.
The criteria for the investigation was that their filter system needed to be durable and easy to use, have three layers and the layers needed to be made of ‘natural’ materials that they could find in their yards or nearby park. They could also make use of recyclable materials.
Let’s see what the Year 6’s had to say about their experience:
I really enjoyed my filtration project. It was so fun making the filter because you had to make important decisions on how you were going to layer your materials. It was really fun and I hope we get something like it again. – Maia Davies
What I liked most about the project was collecting all the materials especially the gravel because people were looking at us very weirdly. I enjoyed all of it and it was a great experience. – Glanville Morgan
What I enjoyed the most was experimenting with the different materials and finding out if they filtered the water. Knowing that a material that I tested worked and filtered the water made me fill with joy. I learnt that if natural filtration did not exist most of the fresh and clean water we have would be dirty. I also learnt that different materials have a different impact on how it changes the water. – Saumya Maharaj
I enjoyed making the actual filter, choosing what to put inside it and what should go in first. I learnt about how natural items ,like sand and rocks, can actually clean dirty water and about how charcoal removes toxins from dirty water without removing important minerals. – Faith Chivaka
The thing that I have enjoyed the most was how filtration works. We have learnt that the filtering system removes redundant or unwanted particles in dirty water. Filtration is a process used to separate solids from liquids using a filter medium that allows the fluid to pass through but not the solid. – Teeyana Shaik Mahomed
We would like to congratulate our students for doing a phenomenal job at completing this project.
Year 6 Teacher
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
Here are 10 reasons why reading is important for children:
- Improves concentration.
- Improves memory.
- Discover other parts of the world.
- Brain exercise.
- Boosts critical thinking skills.
- Develops empathy.
- Develops & expands language skills.
- Enhances imagination.
- Better performance in school.
- Source of entertainment.
Year 2 Teacher
Today, Friday 22nd of May, our high school and admin staff were trained in Risk Assessment and Orientation for COVID 19. Our Health and Safety Committee met on Thursday, 21st May, to finalize the Risk Assessment Document for Blouberg International. As discussed previously, the school is currently being deep cleaned and sanitized for the return of students and staff.
The SMT of the school also met on Thursday to discuss the return of students and the address of our Minister of Education on Tuesday, 19th May. It is important that we keep to the legislation from the Education Department and the government. As an independent school we are awaiting the final decision as to whether we can allow other year groups to return to school; the Year 7’s and 12’s being the initial groups identified by the minister for first return.
We will communicate the year groups to return, date and manner of return, with you as soon as we are able. Even though the minister has authorized certain year groups to return to school, we are mindful that some parents are still not comfortable sending learners back. We are revising our plans accordingly and no learner will be left behind. Our Risk Assessment Policies have been documented and the information will be shared with both staff and learners on their return.
A detailed document will be sent to you within the next week after we have finalized our planning. Our learners will also go through an orientation program on Covid 19 Safety Protocols prior to starting school.
I thank you for your support during this time and assure you that your concerns and suggestions are taken into consideration.
Have a wonderful weekend.