Author Archives: Vanessa Bernhardt

About Vanessa Bernhardt

I am a Grade 5 teacher at an independent school in Cape Town. I have been married for 23 years and have two daughters. I love people from all walks of life. I believe strongly in purpose and destiny and in the difference that can be made by one person.

Hexagonal Prism … Square Pyramid … Cube ….

As part of our exploration of shapes, the children discovered the names of various three-dimensional shapes by looking at their properties.  Once they had learnt the properties of polyhedrons and prisms, they applied their knowledge as a group and set out naming the shapes – and they were very successful!

3D Shapes

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Vertel my meer …

Vir Afrikaans het die kinders ‘n taalspeletjie in hulle groepe gespeel, om hulle aan te moedig om te gesels.  Die kinders het antwoorde op vrae voorberei en moes daardie vrae aan hulle groep in volsinne beantwoord wanneer hulle op daardie blok op die bord beland.  Die kompetisie-gees het hoog geloop en die kinders het mekaar beter leer ken.  Hulle het ook dieper vrae beantwoord soos:  Hoe voel jy wanneer iemand jou terg?


Categories: Afrikaans | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Emotions were running high!

We have been taking a closer look at how we are feeling and taking our emotional temperatures.  Some open and honest discussion took place in the classroom and we came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a “wrong” emotion.  The differentiator in our relationships is how we choose to act upon our emotions.  The children worked in pairs to prepare skits that display four different types of emotions.  It made for a good few laughing opportunities, which of course forms part of everyone’s favourite emotion – joy!


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Let’s talk about seeds

The children worked in groups to conduct a seed search using a variety of fruits.  Paw-paw, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, avocado pears and many more were brought along for our seed party.  They discovered and recorded the size, shape, position, colour and texture of the seeds and made some beautiful drawings.  Everyone took part in eating the spoils afterwards, even the lemons!

Seed Search

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Is it raining today?

As part of our preparation for our Weather task in Social Sciences, the children worked in pairs and used their WeatherSA app to write weather reports for various towns and cities across South Africa.  The children made rain gauges in the Design and Technology classroom, which they are currently using to measure rainfall, while also recording the temperatures and the weather for one week.  All of this information will be collated into a Keynote presentation, along with a written weather forecast for one day of the week.  It would seem that we have quite a few budding climatologists.

Weather Forecast


Categories: Social Sciences | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Finding our way…

We put our map reading skills into practice by taking a walk around the neighbourhood with our street map in hand. The children were given the task to draw their route on the map, as we were walking to one of our local shops. They had to take note of certain landmarks and street names.

Back in the classroom, we used the map (and the experience, of course) to complete a map reading task. The children had to use written directions to draw a specified route on a map, and they also had to write down a route that was given to them into their own words. This is a very necessary and useful skill for them to develop.

Here are a few snapshots of our children in action.

Categories: Social Science, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Save our Trees!

During Environmental Week, the Grade 5’s created an awareness regarding deforestation.  We investigated the causes and effects of deforestation and explored ways of how to prevent it.  This was a collaborative task and the children used their own creative drawings in an iMovie to get their message across.

Here are some of our children hard at work…

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Categories: Natural Science, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Soil gives life!

Part of our soil investigation was taking a closer look at what is happening underground. Here are a few of the children’s interpretations of how they see life in our soil.



Picture drawn by Joley


Picture drawn by Caitlin


Picture drawn by Kate

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Exploring Fynbos

We had the privilege of visiting Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens this week. The children learnt all about the four main types of fynbos that we find in the Western Cape, they heard about the history of Kirstenbosch and about the rocks and soil that we find on and around Table Mountain. Walking across the Boomslang bridge was a highlight for most, and for a few it was an opportunity to conquer their fear of heights! And while we’re on the topic of “boom”, everyone had a chance to show off their tree-climbing skills. Of course there was also time for a picnic and rolling down the hill. As it was a very hot day, we were relieved to be able to cool off in the little river.

We all had a wonderful day in the outdoors, enjoyed spending time together as friends and gained a new appreciation for this beautiful spot in the world that we call home!


Categories: Natural Science, Outings | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 – On your marks, get set …

And go!

 The Grade 5’s started their new school year with a bang!

One of our first activities for the year was a treasure hunt.  The children “worked” (or shall we say “ran, brainstormed, panicked”) in their groups and had to scan QR codes for clues that sent them all around the school in search of puzzle pieces, which they had to put together.  This was a great test of their team work skills, as they had to move together as a team and make decisions as a team.

Being a little rusty after the holidays, we had to “oil” our brain machines by playing a few times table games, using cards and dice.  They enjoyed competing with one another, to see who could answer first!

Vir Afrikaans het hulle ‘n dialoog vir die klas aangebied.  Dit wat baie pret!  Die kinders het gedink dat dit baie snaaks was.  Hulle het geskater van die lag.  Ons moes heelwat van die uitsprake so ‘n bietjie oefen, maar daar is geen twyfel nie – dit was hierdie week een van ons hoogtepunte!

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We are learning about the different types of soil at the moment.  As an introduction, the children brought soil samples from home to compare with one another.  They examined the colour, texture, smell, size of the particles, etc.  We had a lively discussion regarding the importance of soil and the fact that there is such a little topsoil available to us for growing food and plants.

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