During the second term the Year 1 classes have had individual, small group and class Zoom meetings.
The class zoom meetings have been fun times to see friends, share news, play games and even dress-up. The students have really enjoyed seeing their classmates even though they can’t play together it has been a way to connect with each other. As their teacher it has been a chance to see the class and catch up with what they are doing and how they are coping.
On Friday, 5 June my class enjoyed another Master Chef class. This time they watched a cooking demonstration on how to make Cheese puffs. The students then received the recipe via email and were encouraged to bake some for their families. Judging from the photos I received, they are all budding chefs!
Year 1 Teacher
CHEESE PUFFS RECIPE:
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup grated cheese
Salt and pepper
Mix these ingredients together.
1 egg (beat with a fork) add about half a cup of milk.
Mix with dry ingredients. Spoon into a muffin pan and bake at 220 for 10 minutes.
Recipe from: Gabriel Bamani
Year 1 Student
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
Some of the things we do on Fridays include:
1. We dress up, including themes such as funky hair/hats, bring a book, superhero’s, cool shades, character day and wear your favourite colour.
2. We played online games such as scavenger hunt, funny face screenshots, charades and amazing race.
3. We go on virtual tours all over the world. Recently, we visited the Amazon, Universal Studios Orlando, NASA and Pirates of the Caribbean.
4. We learn to draw. Our Year 4 students have created amazing drawings following ‘Art Hub’ on YouTube.
5. We do some amazing art. Learning about Picasso and Cubism and One Point Perspective.
6. Story time. We read some inspirational books using ‘Storyline Online’ on YouTube. We listened to Oprah reading the Hula Hoopin’ Queen and practiced our own Hula skills. We also listened to the inspirational story ‘The house that Jane built’ and our students shared some ideas of what they can do to help people in need.
We miss our friends and we miss our school, our teachers miss us too, BUT it hasn’t been all bad and we will get through this stronger than ever.
Year 4 Teacher
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts
The Year 3 students have tackled learning from home with great eagerness, bravery and enthusiasm. There were a few expected hiccups along the way, and it has taken a few days for students, parents and teachers to adapt to this different style of learning. However, this is a wonderful opportunity for all to truly discover what they are capable of and to challenge themselves.
Our aim in Year 3 is to try and get the students to complete all tasks as independently as possible. We have tried to achieve this by simplifying the tasks, making it interactive and structuring the lessons in a clear and concise manner.
We do realise that our Year 3 parents are also lending their children a hand in helping them to understand exactly what to do and aiding the students to achieve their true potential, despite having their own work to complete from home. Thank you parents – you are truly appreciated!
This past week our Year 3’s have engaged in several exciting activities such as designing and creating their very own frame out of foil, conducting a cloud experiment and creating a food groups display.
We are so proud of all of you and can’t wait to see you back at school.
Year 3 Teacher
As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all confronted with uncertainty. Research tells us that uncertainty increases anxiety and worry in both children and adults. We cannot remove much of the uncertainty we currently face, but what we can do is look for opportunities to feel some certainty and control. For this reason, following a normal routine and having some structure to the day is likely to be useful for kids and parents.
Attempting to school children at home puts pressure on parents at a time when anxiety is high. This is not helpful for them or their children. An alternative is to let the children play at certain times. The benefits of play are ranging. When children have more opportunities for play, they have better physical and mental health. It significantly decreases their stress levels, and more importantly it facilitates learning. Examples of play activities include building dens, dressing up, play dough or sensory play.
What is sensory play?
Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates a young child’s sense of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing, as well as anything which engages movement and balance. Sensory play is not video games and TV. We use our sight and our hearing for those activities but sensory play involves actively engaging the senses to discover and explore the world around us.
Some examples of sensory play:
Sensory play for toddlers– observing light and shadow created by torch light on objects of different sizes, or watching colours mix and the patterns formed by finger painting.
Sensory play for pre-school aged children- creating shapes and playing with sand, or playing with musical instruments and listening to the tone and pitch as they strike or blow through instruments softly or forcefully.
The benefits of sensory play:
Many well-known early years pioneers such as Montessori, Froebel and Goldschmid recognised the importance of sensory play as a fundamental experience for a child’s growth and development. Such benefits include:
- Experimentation skills and recognition of the sense used during the exploration of different items.
- Attention and concentration by focusing on the given stimuli, such as exploring a light box or torches with coloured cellophane.
- Increased hand/eye co-ordination and both gross and fine motor skills.
A lack of sensory play leads to the brain not getting accurate information about its surroundings. As the child gets older, experts typically refer to this as a sensory processing disorder. A lack of sensory play may lead to a child with anxiety and poor coordination. It can also lead to difficulty learning and paying attention. It’s important to give the child ample practice in all the senses.
That is why its best to let them play!
Martie van Dyk
Reception Year Teacher
Here are a few ways to remain positive during this time:
- Set boundaries and take care of yourself, both mentally and physically.
- Take time away from the online world (internet, social media, emails etc.).
- Pursue a neglected hobby or take up a new one.
- Keep informed about the situation, but do not become burdened with negativity.
- Reach out to others (within the boundaries of social distancing) and be a blessing in someone’s life.
- Make time for family activities and value the time spent with loved ones.
There is a writer in you, in all of us! This is the perfect time to write that story which may prove to be the inspiration someone else so desperately seeks.
We are all looking forward to hearing our President say that our lives are going back to normal, but hopefully this experience will affect our perception of normal; hopefully it will have taught us new skills and offer us a different way of looking at life.
I wish you all a blessed Easter weekend and hope you enjoy some wonderful family time.
The year 4 classes started the second term launched into virtual orbit. We have all had to learn how to navigate Google Classroom, when to talk and when to be quiet in a Google meeting and how to upload and mark completed work.
I am so proud of how our students have owned their own learning. Cambridge education emphasises the development of students who can think, solve problems and actively take responsibility for their own learning. We must be doing something right, for this is what I saw over and over again today.
What absolute stars our students are. Thank you to the parents too, for making launching such fun. I look forward to tomorrow and the rest of the adventure online.
Welcome back to Term 2, only this term things are slightly different. On Wednesday, the Year 1 classes had their first day of E-learning.
What do I mean by E-learning?
It is a learning system based on formalized teaching, but with the help of electronic resources. By using Google classroom, videos and resources the teachers put together, the students were able to start their curriculum as normal. Our students receive regular learning objectives and we offer real time online support to parents who may need additional guidance.
A few parents shared photos with us showing how much their children are enjoying learning online. It is interesting to see the different ways they have set up their study spaces at home. There are wonderful tips and tricks to create an effective study space for your child online and would be worth looking into.
Here are some basic tips to create a great study space for your child:
– Position the desk to look away from distractions like windows and doors. Have them face a special wall where you put up the alphabet and other helpful materials for them to easily refer to.
– Set up supplies (computer, headphones, books, stationery, art supplies, etc) before studying begins and explain to your child how to keep them neat and in their place.
– Light is very important, a well lit area will make for better concentration.
– Control the clutter by encouraging your child to have a special place to keep their little trinkets and treasures in. (For example a container, drawer or shelf)
– Headphones are a great tool for E-learning and will minimise distractions if you have a busy household.
– Device downtime is extremely important and taking brain breaks to burn off energy cannot be overemphasized. Allow your child device free time and motivate them to get fresh air. Free and imaginative play will be a very beneficial addition to your child’s E-learning schedule and ultimate learning success.
We look forward to seeing many more E-learning photos and videos!
Year 1 Teacher
On Wednesday, 26th to Friday 28th February, the Year 6’s went on camp to Big Oak Adventures.
The Year 6’s had lots of fun. They worked on their teamwork, communication and leadership skills. They did a variety of difficult activities, but the Year 6’s were determined to accomplish all of them, and they did.
They did activities such as cliff jumping where they had to jump off a cliff into a river which helped them realise that they could accomplish anything they put their mind to no matter how scary.
We ended the camp off with an exciting group concert. Everyone came out of their shells and performed like they’ve never done before.
What we learned on camp that we can apply in our daily lives:
Learning about leadership and applying it in our daily lives was Big Oak Adventures Task and they succeeded. I am sure to apply responsibility in the life ahead of me. Kindness will be my daily task and leadership will follow me for the rest of my life. They taught us a lot but friendship was probably the most important to me.
I learnt to respect other people’s personalities as a leader and use their talents for specific tasks, to get to know people you don’t really know because maybe they could be nice and good at things you can’t do and to communicate and to be patient with your team.
I could learn to respect other people and to listen to people’s opinions in a better way.
During the last few years I have been thinking about the latest trends in foreign language learning and teaching and how as teachers we can use them to help our students learn Spanish in the future. I have found that one of the most successful ways to teach Spanish to kids is through technology.
I am confident to say that we have found a perfect formula for our students to success: the combination of Spanish videos, catchy songs and interactive games with vibrant images, accompanying worksheets and now also our new Spanish books.
During this year in the Spanish Department we are very excited to announce that all the students at Blouberg International from grade 1 to 6 each have their own access with their own username and password to the learning online resource called Rockalingua.
As many of you already know – Rockalingua is an interactive website where you will find songs, worksheets and games all in Spanish.
You can access Rockalingua by following the below 3 steps:
- Go to the web site https://rockalingua.com/
- On the top right of the page click ‘Login’ in and enter your child’s unique username and password.
Please note this website only works on tablets and laptops, Not on cellphones.
Start to enjoy the videos, songs and the games and complete the assigned tasks.
These videos are designed to combine vocabulary with high frequency structures so that students don’t feel like they’re “learning Spanish”, but instead enjoying it.
Since last year, students have been learning from this online resource in the classroom, and they really enjoyed singing along to the songs.
This year they will have to complete certain assigned tasks every week to progress and gain more vocabulary together with the exercises in their Spanish books.
By customizing the curriculum for each class by blocking and unblocking certain content the students can focus on the topics they are working on in class and complement perfectly the content of their textbooks.
Please allow the students to log in to complete their tasks. To play these games is vital because it takes the pressure off learning the language and provide an opportunity for students to have fun and practice the language at the same time.
In each task you can also view the instructions from the teacher that will indicate all the related content from the Spanish book that the students should complete together with their weekly task, offering in this sense a perfect complement for the Spanish lessons and learning. On the other hand, parents can also easily view their child’s progress during the year.
Rockalingua is a fantastic tool to test their knowledge, and presenting the exam in a more entertaining way, lowering the level of stress, and helping them to increase their vocabulary and knowledge of verbs: essentially to be able to speak Spanish in the future.
The structure is also effective because it promotes repetition by presenting the material in many different formats. Repetition helps students develop the four basic skills of communication—listening, speaking, reading and writing.
In these first weeks I have noticed that the students were very much engaged, working on the tasks I had assigned them, and that differentiated instruction was easily implemented since the program allows me to assign tasks to a whole class or to specific students that might need easier or more challenging assignments.
When I assign tasks the analytics will allow me to see, at a glance, how the class is performing those tasks so I will be able to see which students are already working on the assignments and which students have not yet started make it easier for me to keep track of students’ work and progress.
I will also be able to gauge which concepts each student, and the class, are having trouble with. This data is useful in order to structure the class and for preparing revisions.
Students can immediately see which assignments within the tasks they have already done and which ones they have yet to complete. This interactive learning management system gives students a sense of independence since they can work at their own pace and they can also see their % of right and wrong answers. They can also redo specific interactive games to improve their % of right answers! Keeping them motivated.
To ensure the success of “gamification” in learning a new language, we (teachers and parents) need to work together to capture and retain learner’s attention by allow them to play the games and listen to the songs at home. www.rockalingua.com
Everyone loves games. Albert Einstein himself indicated they are the most elevated form of investigation. He knew games are avenues for something deeper and more meaningful than a childish waste of time. Often times, playing games are the first method children use to explore higher-order thinking skills associated with creating, evaluating, analyzing, and applying new knowledge.
Profesor Javier Vidal
Spanish Teacher Junior School