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.

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.

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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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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.

 

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Picture drawn by Joley

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Picture drawn by Caitlin

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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!

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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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Science Wizards

We recently celebrated Science at Elkanah House Senior Primary, with our Science Expo.  It was truly a celebration, as it brought out the best in our children.  The Grade 5’s topic was ENERGY, and believe me, there was more than enough energy doing the rounds on Expo Day!  The children researched an experiment or an investigation of their choice, related to energy.  After attempting the experiments, photographs were taken and posters were made to communicate their findings.  The children had to consider their aim or the question that they wanted to explore, the apparatus that was needed, the method that had to be followed, the observations made through the results and then draw a conclusion.  On the day of our Science Expo, the judges made their rounds and the parents and visitors came to view the experiments and talk to our children to get firsthand knowledge about their findings.  Our children were well-prepared and confident when answering the public’s questions.  They were very excited to demonstrate their experiments.  So much learning, problem solving and critical thinking happened during this task.  This was so much more than just Science!

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Here are some of the Pelicans making their posters.

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Take a look at some of our final “products”.

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

Having fun, using the 5 C’s…

Creativity … Critical thinking … Collaboration … Cooperation … Communication …

These skills were the focus of our Integrated Learning Task this term, using Ancient Egypt as our theme. This ILT is one of our Grade 5 highlights. It involves research about Howard Carter and King Tut’s tomb, mummification, Ancient Egyptian farming and Ancient Egyptian family life. The children collaborate and share their findings with one another. They use the content of their research as a vehicle to implement these very important 21st century skills.

The children wrote Diary entries for English, built pyramids together, performed an archaeological dig in groups, used their pyramids to complete a measurement and shapes task for Mathematics, created an informative Powerpoint slide on pyramids and wrote a letter to their friends in Afrikaans, telling them about our recent Egypt Day activities.

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Exploring the many uses of plants

Recently the Grade 5’s researched plants that are found in Africa, with the focus on how they are useful to us.  They came up with a few wonderful and interesting facts, which they presented in the form of a poster.  This was a Natural Sciences task, which then flowed over into an English Oral presentation.  This is what a few of them had to say:

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karmen-plants

 

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lynn-plants

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

Time to Shape Up!

It is so exciting to explore shapes and measurement in Mathematics at the moment!  We have been looking at 2-D shapes and 3-D shapes, discovering ways of drawing them accurately and learning all about the difference between area and perimeter.  The lessons have been hands-on, including using the Geoboard app on their iPads to discover the formula for area, measuring and calculating the perimeter of various objects around the school, working collaboratively to analyse the characteristics of various 3-D shapes and using their geometry sets to make accurate drawings.

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Slice and dice – what’s inside?

We’ve learnt all about seeds – how they are formed, how they germinate and grow, how they are dispersed.  As a practical activity, the children all brought some fruit to school and cut them open to examine the seeds.  This was a collaborative tasks.  The children chose three different fruits and they drew a cross section of each fruit, while also making notes on the characteristics of the seeds, e.g. their size, colour, quantity, position, texture and even taste.  It goes without saying that the tasting was the best part, and of course all the “spoils” had to be eaten!  Nothing goes to waste in the Pelicans class.

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