This Friday, the 14th of August, we are launching our new Virtual Open Days. We are fast approaching the end of the 2020 academic year and are thus in the process of finalizing plans for 2021’s academic year. I am sure many of you are also planning as the current uncertainties have an influence on all the plans we make in our personal and professional lives.
School tours are different than they were before. Open Days are now virtual and the interaction minimal. We are also having an Assessment Day on Friday, 14 August, for prospective students. We are looking forward to welcoming them to our school.
I found myself in a very frustrating place this week. I thrive when I can plan, identify potential pitfalls and plan accordingly. Over the past few months, I have had to change many of my planning strategies, leaving room for possible changes. Change is good, but the unknown can leave one with a sense of uncertainty. It is the role of management to ensure that any change has a positive impact.
The following are steps in change management:
- Awareness and the time frame or urgency of change
- There needs to be a desire for change
- Change should be enabling
- There should be a driving as well as sustaining of change
- Evaluation and reinforcement
We have all been challenged with sudden change and yet we persevere. Take some time today or over the weekend to reflect on how you have coped with the changes of the past few months. Embrace every victory and give yourself a pat on the back for surviving. Then decide that no matter what change is yet to come, that too will be a steppingstone and not a stumbling block.
“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”- C.S. Lewis
Have a great weekend.
Biology is the study of living organisms, both in terms of their structure (anatomy) and how their different parts function (physiology). The cell is introduced as the basic unit of life, which then form tissues, organs, systems and ultimately an organism.
Biology can be divided into many different fields of study, such as biochemistry, genetics, microbiology and biotechnology to name but a few. Each of these directions delve deeper into the complexity of being alive. As a school subject Biology skims the surface on all these topics to provide a platform from which to launch for those interested in further studies at university level. It is important to understand how the different components of an organism function together as a whole. The intricacy of organs such as the heart or the eye is astounding and every part of these structures have a very specific and complementary purpose. Emphasis is placed on the practical application of Biology in the real world, from developing vaccines for infectious diseases, how gene therapy is able to provide hope to people with currently incurable conditions to understanding the impact of lifestyle choices on our health. Biology often overlaps with Chemistry as we investigate the chemical components of cells and study the equations of photosynthesis, respiration and the binding of gases to haemoglobin in blood. Mathematical calculations also make a regular appearance in Biology papers and is a necessary skill that students require.
Practical work is another important component of Biology as it gives students the opportunity to handle apparatus and chemicals, while conducting a scientific investigation based on work covered in class. Other skills developed are the ability to present the results obtained from practical work in a suitable table as well as reading and interpreting graphs. AS students begin preparation for their practical exam from Year 11 to ensure they have the necessary confidence and skills when the Cambridge exams arrive. The Year 12’s recently did a practical where they investigated the effect of different concentrations of an enzyme (catalase) on the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide. Filter paper discs were soaked in a solution containing catalase and then placed in a container with hydrogen peroxide. As the enzyme breaks down the peroxide it produces oxygen gas which causes the filter paper discs to rise to the surface. Students had to time the movement of the discs dipped in different concentrations of catalase.
Biology is a subject which provides countless career options, especially in the field of medicine or research. It is a diverse Science involved with finding answers to some of life’s most interesting questions. Despite the biological advances made over the years there are still many things to learn and discover.
The Year 4’s spent the past few weeks learning about the spectacular Science topic: States of Matter.
They learned about the different phases: solids, liquids and gases; and had to apply their knowledge with some very interesting practical activities. These investigations allowed them to observe matter changing from one phase to another; and they discovered various changes in matter properties such as colour, size, shape and texture.
They built rivers, investigated growing Gummy Bears, made Ice Candles and Mystery Matter; and conducted numerous other exciting experiments.
Take a look at some of the fantastic photos that the students sent in. It is clear that they absolutely loved the “hands on” approach to learning.
A huge thank you to all the students that submitted photos of their marvelous experiments. We are so proud of you!
“Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organizing our curiosity.” – Robert Frost
Year 4 Teacher
There are a number of reasons why poetry is important for young students. It helps motivate young readers to want to read, it builds on their vocabulary, fluency and writing skills. These skills are crucial in the development of strong readers.
This past week, the students in Year 2 learnt about a poem written by Julia Donaldson, “The Food Train” poem, which brought a lot of fun and creativity in the class when the students were asked to write their own Food Train poems.
The poem uses words about food to make the rhythm of an old-fashioned train. The students therefore needed to create their own poem using different food names from their kitchen to recreate their own Food train poem which needed to sound like an old-fashioned train.
We used these poems for Show and Tell and included the students at home on a Zoom meeting. They read their poems out to the class. This brought a lot of laughter, excitement and some nerves as the students had not been able to stand in front of the class for Show and Tell in a while.
Teachers have always found that poetry allows for students to express their feelings, which is of great importance during this time of an emotionally changing situation. Keeping poetry alive in the classroom has proven once again just how creative and insightful students can be, and going forward, we will continue to develop and find creative means to spice up English, with the use of poetry.
Year 2 Teacher
The Year 1 students love Design Technology and there is always an air of excitement when they get to build their very own design. During history they learnt about the Wright brothers’ first flight and we thought it would be fun for the students to design and build an aeroplane.
First, the students used play dough to build their aeroplane and then did some research at home to find different recyclable materials with which to build their design. They were very creative in making aeroplanes of all shapes and sizes.
Usually in our Design Technology lessons the students collaborate and assist each other to build their designs, but this time they had to be physically distant. However, they still managed to tell one another how they could put the planes together.
Year 1 Teacher
We may all feel overwhelmed at times and begin to second guess our decisions and the value and purpose of our actions.
Ms. Kiley and I met this week to discuss the challenges, and possible solutions, faced by our teachers and students. As a school we are blessed to have a counselor who can offer guidance to students and staff alike. It is important that although times are not easy, we focus on the positive aspects and not the negative.
On Wednesday afternoon the primary school teachers met for a workshop lead by Ms. Kiley and facilitated by Mrs. Cindy Arenstein. Teachers were given the opportunity to raise concerns and offer solutions to the challenges of dual teaching. After a productive discussion, each staff member was given a stone and encouraged to write on it a message of positivity and give it to another staff member. This was an awesome way of encouraging each other and strengthening the bond amongst staff members. We should all be looking for ways to encourage one another, to engender trust and build a sense of community. For children, this comes naturally, but as adults it is often a skill which must be remembered and developed.
Our staff are committed to ensuring the safety of our students and maintaining the protocols we have in place. We remind our students continuously about social distancing during break and in class and we ask that you remind them at home as well. This is all very unfamiliar to them and constant reminders are necessary until social distancing becomes habitual.
Our year 10 and year 12 students are starting their mock exams in a week. We are confident that they will be ready to write their final examinations in the October/November Cambridge sitting.
As we are preparing for a much-needed long weekend, I would like to encourage you with the following quote from Anne Frank.
“Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish and what your potential is!”
Have a wonderful long weekend with your family.
This term, Year 3 have completed an English unit called Poems from around the world. In this unit, the students read and performed different poems from around the world. They investigated how poems are linked to places and explored the words and sounds in the poems. At the end of the unit, they needed to copy the style of a poem and write a poem of their own.
We decided to focus on Japanese poetry and the students wrote their very own Haiku’s. A Haiku is a Japanese poem with a total of just 17 syllables and three lines… but that’s not all. Line 1 must have 5 syllables, line 2 must have 7 syllables and line 3, 5 syllables again.
Year 3 took on the task with great zest and promptly chose an animal each to write about. Next they created a word bank which had to include noun phrases and adjectives. Once the creative juices started flowing, they set about arranging their word bank into a Haiku. The results were amazing!
Well done, Year 3! We’ll make poets of you yet!
Year 3 Teacher
It is the end of the third week of term 3 and all our year groups have been phased in as per our return to school plan. Although all students are not at campus, we are well on our way to running at full capacity again.
There have been quite a few changes this term: from the morning routine and the way classes are conducted, to the collection of students in the afternoon. Despite the changes, disruptions, and uncertainties, we remain positive and in good spirits.
I wish to thank all our parents for adhering to our Covid protocols when dropping and collecting students. Please remember that if you wish to meet with a staff member, you need to book an appointment beforehand and go directly to the front office for the screening process. This is for your own protection as well as the health and safety of our staff.
To ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, we conduct risk assessments and screening throughout the day. The questions that arose this week, regarding quarantine procedures and contact with possible cases, led me to address the following in this week’s editorial.
Direct contact and casual contact
The issue of direct contact and casual contact is important to understand. Any direct contact with a positive case will result in such a person being isolated for a period of 14 days and possibly even tested, should he/she experience any symptoms of Covid-19. Direct contact in this case would mean physical contact with a positively tested person or someone sharing an immediate space (within 1,5m without wearing a mask) or shared such a person’s belongings. By merely sharing a classroom or workspace does not constitute direct contact. Such a situation is regarded as casual contact, without any risk as all the necessary health and safety precautions are strictly observed regarding social distancing, the wearing of masks and the washing and sanitizing of hands.
I wish to re-iterate that there is no shame in contracting the virus as it can happen to anyone and no stigmatization will be tolerated at our school. We all need to continue exercising the necessary health and safety measures such as the wearing of masks, proper social distancing, regular sanitizing, and thorough washing of hands. The school is sanitized regularly according to all protocols.
Let us be mindful that we are in this together and it is only through understanding and cooperation that we will endure this time of hardship.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
It has been quite a wonderful return of the Year 5’s this week. There was a little bit of nerves and worry, however it was quickly eclipsed by the excitement of seeing friends and teachers again.
Our first day back saw us going through our Covid-19 classroom rules and getting to listen to everyone share their experiences of Lockdown. Our online students then joined us and it was wonderful to see them all. We spent some time chatting and catching up.
Work continued full steam ahead and we got stuck into making Probability Spinners for our mathematics class. Both students, in class and online enthusiastically enjoyed this task.
Break times required a little creativity and fun social distancing games of “123 block”, handstand competitions, and even a little exercise.
We are exceptionally proud of our students, the ones returning and the ones online. Each of them have shown great tenacity and determination. It has not been easy to adjust and make changes to something they have known to be the normal, however their willingness to learn, stands stronger than any virus or pandemic state we may be facing.
To Quote Dr Seuss, “And I learned there are troubles of more than one kind, some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat, I’m already you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
Year 5 Teacher
This week our theme was countries around the world. We enjoyed leaning about the following countries:
South Africa– After locating South Africa on the map, the students learned that Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and that Cape Town is known as the Mother City as it was the first western settlement established in our country. There are 11 official languages in South Africa, but English, Xhosa and Afrikaans are widely used. We also know that South Africans eat a wide variety of foods similar to most western countries. Some traditional foods are biltong, rusks, potjiekos, braai, samp and beans, melktert and bobotie. The South African flag represents the coming together of our Rainbow Nation in the new democratic South Africa. The students loved decorating the South African flag.
China- The students discovered that China is the fourth largest country and that the capital city of China is Beijing. The national flag consists of a red background and five golden-yellow stars. The Chinese are known for eating a wide variety of foods. The staple foods however, are rice and noodles accompanied by vegetable or stir fried meats. The Lantern Festival is a fun festival where people flock to the streets with a variety of lanterns under the full moon, watching Lion or Dragon dancing and lighting up fireworks. The students made a dragon during art and craft time.
Australia- We did Aboriginal Art while we learned more about Australia. Australia is the only country that is also a continent. It is also one of the driest places on earth. It is a multicultural country and they have cuisine from all over the world including Greek, Middle-Eastern and Asian food as well as good English fish and chips.
Russia- We made a Russian cityscape collage during art and craft time. We learned that Russia is the world’s largest city. Russians enjoy eating caviar or fish eggs, served on little pancakes called ‘blini’ topped with sour cream. Borscht, a hearty soup made from beetroot is also very popular during the cold winter.
We enjoyed learning about these countries and we will discover more about France, England, Spain and America next week.
Martie van Dyk