As you may be aware, the school has a full robotics programme from Pre-reception to Year 6 in the primary school. In the high school we teach more advanced and age-appropriate planning for robotics, computer science etc.
You are not required to purchase Apple devices to accommodate this programme as the school provides this to the students on campus. Unfortunately, when a student is in quarantine, or at home for any reason, they will not have access to the school’s Apple devices. Under these circumstances, the teacher will provide alternative work for the student to complete at home.
Unfortunately, we had to quarantine a class this week as a teacher’s assistant tested positive for Covid-19. The staff followed all prescribed protocols and to date, none of our students have contracted the virus after being at school. Rest assured that we accommodate students under quarantine and ensure that no student is left behind.
Our school counsellor, Mrs Cindy Arenstein, has tended her resignation as she and her family are moving to KwaZulu Natal. Cindy has been with us for more than two years and has been instrumental in establishing support systems for students, parents, and teachers. We will miss her but wish her, and her family, all the best in their new adventure.
We have appointed a Mrs Kayla Smith who will join us in the 2nd term. This position is now a full-time one and Kayla will spend two days a week at Helderberg International School and three days a week at Blouberg International School.
As we are at the end of week seven it is almost unbelievable that the end of the term is in sight. Verbal report meetings are scheduled to take place in week 10 and the staff will communicate with you regarding the procedure.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
In Chemistry this term, we have focused on hands-on, student-centered learning. Chemistry is an interactive subject and what better way to experience science than to “do science”. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”.
In Year 9, students are learning about the structure of atoms and where electrons are found around the nucleus. In order to understand this concept, students played a game with giant-sized atoms and had to correctly place poker chips representing electrons around a nucleus. The game became quite competitive and students very quickly learned their way around the Periodic Table.
In Year 10, students made their own soluble and insoluble salts and filtered and crystallised these to separate them from impurities. Different separation methods are used for different salts and so it is important that students can correctly identify and explain these methods. In the external IGCSE examinations, students write an alternative to practical examination. Hands-on experience in the laboratory is essential for students to understand laboratory techniques and be able to design their own experiments.
The Year 11 students started the AS Chemistry syllabus this term. Students are required to master laboratory techniques as they are assessed on this in an individual practical examination next year. As we cover the necessary theoretical concepts in class, we have done practicals to apply these concepts. Students are becoming more and more confident working individually and are able to obtain accurate experimental results. They have done both titration and gravimetric practicals.
The students in Year 12 had a challenging start to the AS Chemistry course with COVID-19 last year. We were not always able to do a practical experiment at the same time as the theoretical concept was introduced. But students are back in the laboratory this term, and with some extra lessons and hard work, they have been able to complete many practicals already. We have covered all possible laboratory techniques needed in the course and I have seen a marked improvement in the students’ laboratory skills. We are focusing on accurate data presentation and using appropriate data calculations.
This year BIS is also offering A-level Chemistry in Year 13. The syllabus compliments the AS syllabus and students enjoy this course because the added detail explains the trends and concepts covered in Year 11 & 12.
Chemistry Teacher – IGCSE, AS and A-level
Last week on Tuesday, 16th February 2021, the Year 6’s took part in a ‘Cool to Lead’ workshop hosted by Clara Powell.
The workshop focused on fluid leadership which is the ability of the peer group to create an environment of individuality, mutual respect and collaboration that allows for the fluid movement between individual members of the group stepping up to lead, or using their power to follow, depending on what type of characteristics and intelligence each situation requires.
The Year 6’s learnt the following skills: that every individual possesses some positive leadership characteristics, every individual is intelligent in a different way and in order for fluid leadership to work they need to create an environment of mutual respect and appreciation.
Here is what some of the Year 6’s had to say about the ‘Cool to Lead’ workshop:
“I enjoyed the Inting and I learnt what characteristics a person needs to be a leader. I learnt a leader is able to work with anyone, teamwork is key to a good team and that a good leader is kind. In the Inting I thought that the team I was on worked well together and had many great ideas when we built our Noodle Tower and we had fun.“
– Juliette East
“The Leadership Inting was really inspiring. It taught me how to be the best leader I can be. I found out that I work quite well with a few people I don’t usually work with, and I know a few more things about my friends that I didn’t know before. I had so much fun and I’m happy I got to experience everything.“
– Lily Mawaya
“I liked when we had to make the tallest tower out of spaghetti, tape and place marshmallows at the top of the tower.”
– Cole Dreyer
“The Inting was truly great. We played a lot of fun team games and learnt many things. We discovered that being a monitor takes a sense of teamwork, leadership and kindness. As the future monitors, we need to set an example TOGETHER!”
– Lulu Venzke-Krecklenberg
Year 6 Teacher
It is hard to believe that we are already halfway through Term 1, with only five weeks till the holidays. This week we were able to reintroduce sporting codes after new regulations regarding sport at school were gazetted. Sport and physical activity play an integral role in a child`s development, health, and wellbeing. We therefore ask parents to encourage their children to participate in the sports offered at school.
Last year we all became overly familiar with the word ‘online’, using it in almost every sentence. The ability to do things online has it’s benefits, but it also has it`s dangers. We tend to leave our children to their own devices when they tell us they are busy online with schoolwork or the class WhatsApp group. The school has recently become aware of some of the conversations that take place on these social media platforms and we therefore urge parents to monitor their children`s devices.
Things we can do to keep our children safe online:
- Know what social media platforms your child is on.
- Be aware of age restrictions and read the T & Cs of each social media platform.
- Ensure privacy settings are secure on each platform they are on.
- Install parental control software on their devices. These apps are free.
- Ensure that screen time is limited.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Mr J Harrison
Head of Academics High School
The Year 2 students’ enthusiasm for their new Science topic, Rocks, is over-whelming. After the first lesson, where they learned the difference between Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic rocks, they scoured the playground and surrounding areas for rocks during their break.
We tried to find the correct category for each specimen and then match them to their possible uses. A few students had found small pieces of limestone and the class was so surprised when they learned that chalk and talcum powder were made from limestone. This prompted many questions! ‘Which rock did our roof tiles start off as?’ ‘Which rock did my mom’s kitchen counter top start off as?’
We will be building on this knowledge for the last half of this term, and I am looking forward to investigating the marvels of Rocks with my class even further.
Year 2 Teacher
Self-reflection: the single biggest driving force in the journey of personal growth. In order to decide where we are headed, we need to recognize how far we have come!
To start off 2021, the Year 5’s spent some time looking at the idea of chronology, timelines and the important milestones in our lives which have brought us to where we are today. We did some research on our own history – beginning at birth – and presented our lives back to our classmates with the help of some beautifully creative visual aids.
Through this task, we were able to take a look at where we have come from, and subsequently consider where the near future may carry us.
We, the Year 5 teachers, were blown away by the effort, pride and creativity displayed by our students in completing this project, and are excited for our cameos in Chapter 2021!
Year 5 Teacher
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”– Phil. 4:8 NIV.
To be mindful means to be conscious or aware of something. “It is a mental state that is achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment.”- Dictionary.
This is often easier said than done. It is easy to become fearful and negative in today’s world. Listening to the news, reading the newspapers, can be a depressing reminder of the situation worldwide.
I believe it’s so important, amidst the worry of our daily lives, to focus our hearts and minds on what is noble and lovely. We are in the middle of February and already our students and teachers have achieved so much. Public schools will only reopen on Monday 15th February and their teachers and students are only now preparing for the academic year.
I am proud that our students have been busy with their academic programme since the beginning of the year and commend their enthusiasm and dedication. Sir Winston Churchill once said, “young men and young women, take up your mantle and rise; it is time for change.” We, the educators and parents, are the ones who empower and equip this generation for change. Let us pass the torch with pride!
Our students are all dressed up and ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day today. Such celebrations are important for morale and fellowship. Therefore, it is with joy, laughter, treats and music they celebrate the day and share the love!
On Monday, 15th February, we will have all students back on campus and we are sure they cannot wait to join their peers. Teachers will continue to prepare work for students who are abroad or have co-morbidities. As communicated two weeks ago, all other hybrid teaching ends today. Although our hybrid programme is running smoothly, the students need to have the benefit of face-to-face communication with their teachers.
As we look forward to the weekend, I encourage you to share the love with your family and friends. We cannot know what tomorrow will bring but we can celebrate today!
(Follow us on Instagram to see some of the Valentine’s Day photos and videos.)Read More
“To solve math problems, you need to know the basic mathematics before you can start.” – Catherine Asaro
One thing that I have reiterated to all my students over the years is to consider Mathematics as a way of thinking. Kaye Stacey (2012, University of Melbourne) submitted that mathematical thinking is important in three ways.
- Mathematical thinking is an important goal of schooling.
- Mathematical thinking is important as a way of learning mathematics.
- Mathematical thinking is important for teaching mathematics.
As students are introduced to high school Mathematics, it would be wonderful if many students could have just a small taste of the spirit of discovery of Mathematics as described in the quote below from the Mathematician Andrew Wiles.
“One enters the first room of the mansion and it’s dark. One stumbles around bumping into furniture, but gradually you learn where each piece of furniture is. Finally, after six months or so, you find the light switch, you turn it on, and suddenly it’s all illuminated. You can see exactly where you were. Then you move into the next room and spend another six months in the dark. So each of these breakthroughs, while sometimes they’re momentary, sometimes over a period of a day or two, they are the culmination of, and couldn’t exist without, the many months of stumbling around in the dark that precede them.” (Andrew Wiles 1997)
Because Mathematical thinking is a process, l will discuss examples of what l do every time and again with my students in and out of the classroom.
- Logical Puzzles
A logical puzzle is a problem that can be solved through deductive reasoning.
In class we have used this website many times and my students find Mathematics easy if engaged in an interactive and fun way. They start to enjoy how mystifying, puzzling and challenging it is.
- 4 x 4 Magic Square Puzzles
In conclusion, math skills are about much more than all the minutiae we teach in school because they are a strong indicator of broader cognitive abilities. And because cognitive aptitude is one of the most predictive factors of job success, testing my candidates’ math abilities is a great way to assess their ability to succeed in any given Maths test and after school activities.
High School Mathematics
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world” – Buddha.
This week I have been particularly mindful of life’s journey. People often use the phrase ‘we’re all in the same boat’ and I believe this holds true to some extent; it’s just that our boats are all a little bit different. The way we approach life’s challenges is informed by our lived experience.
Whilst some have experienced the loss of a loved one, others are celebrating new life. Some have lost their jobs whilst others have discovered new revenue streams or embarked on an exciting new venture. There are those of us who remained isolated, finding peace and solitude in the quiet, whilst others have taken a walk on the beach and felt their spirits lift.
The experience of frustration and tiredness is a commonality at the moment; we have daily choices to make and some come easier than others. We might all be facing the same pandemic, but the way it affects each family is different. It is the same experience at school. Our teachers are affected by the pandemic, by the shifts between school-based and online learning, differently. It is difficult to be an educator during this time as the shift away from traditional teaching this year was sudden and steep. Despite all these challenges we remain, as always, resolved and dedicated to our craft.
As we celebrate “World Read Aloud Day” we encourage you to read with your children. Teach them that there are infinitely better ways to learn than from an electronic device. There is a myriad of interesting topics for us to share with our children so why not explore the options? Introduce your children to new ideas, stories, and perspectives. Reading is a wonderful pastime and invaluable family time.
“The MORE that you READ, the MORE things you will KNOW. The MORE that you LEARN, the MORE places you’ll go.”- Dr. Seuss.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend of reading!
WATCH: Year 3 student, Noma Mashazi, reads to us in celebration of World Read Aloud Day.
Our top achiever in the 2020 IGCSE’s recounts her experience and shares some advice with future candidates:
“A famous author once wrote “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” That author was Alan Alexander Milne, the creator of the “Bear of Very Little Brain”. A bear who would sit around all day, doing absolutely nothing but he enjoyed every second of it. So, if there was one thing I learned in the 2-year course that is IGCSE, it was that I needed to relax more, to take everything in my stride and to not worry so much about the little things. To take everything step-by-step, day-by-day, and before you know it, you’ll be running.
I remember in Year 9, when the concept of IGCSE was first introduced, everything became overwhelming. I found it tremendously difficult in the beginning. At first, I wasn’t able to grasp most of the concepts for certain subjects and I was very confused most of the time. I’d never say anything though because no-one in my class ever seemed like they were having trouble, so I assumed it was just me struggling. Thankfully I had my friends, parents and teachers to tell me otherwise. My previous idea of studying consisted of working all day at school, then coming home and doing the same thing. It took a lot to make me realise that this wasn’t going to work for me anymore.
So, by Year 10, I changed the way I studied. I stopped studying for long hours on end and began working for shorter periods of time with a little too many breaks. I found that I study better when I’m relaxed and not putting any pressure on myself. I study consistently through the year and study in moderation. In class, I told myself that I was going to start asking as many questions as it took for me to understand because understanding a concept makes remembering it easier. I’d try to make notes for my subjects in a separate book, to make them clear and orderly on paper hoping it would appear that way in head as well. I found the use of different highlighter colours made certain sections of information easier to recall during an exam because it had a colour associated to it. I tried my best in class to understand the concept first before I made notes on it so that when I did, all I had to do was solidify the ideas onto paper. My dad would make fun of my highlighters saying , “At school all I had was a pen, one that wrote if I was lucky.” But I’d like to think that it was the highlighters and the stacks of cue cards with equations that helped me retain the information better. I realised it was also very important to take care of myself first before my schoolwork, through staying healthy and remembering that school is not all there is to focus on. For me , staying relaxed, calm and enjoying my childhood would be my top priority. Getting all A’s was unexpected , my goal is simply to do the best I can.
“The forest through the trees” is something my parents would have me repeat to myself. It reminded me to look at the bigger picture and focus on the important things. Stressing about the small tests and assignments wasn’t going to do anything except burn me out before the race was even over.
My advice to other students would be: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe “
Year 11 Student
Blouberg International School