Author Archives: leerau

A short week

This past week was a short one after the long weekend but in true ‘ Elkanah style’  managed to create a jam packed week filled with new insights, discoveries and explorations. We celebrated Green and Blue week and the whole school was buzzing with environmental issues. We chose to explore deforestation with the children and we looked at various videos, had discussions and debates, used a flipped classroom approach and allowed the children to get their creative juices flowing. Their end product will be the creation of an iMovie which will tell a story about deforestation. The creative part is that they have been briefed to design and draw their own visuals using mixed media in order to put across their story. This is work in progress and we will touch on this again with final products and beautiful artwork in the weeks to come.

We also managed to squeeze in an outing to our beautiful Kirstenbosch. It is admirable to hear the children mention so many aspects relating to their learnings in the passed term. The visual world becomes the real insight to them and the learning becomes embedded. We looked at the trees in the area, discussed the fresh air full of oxygen, looked at various plants and their uses and the children are always fascinated with the stories of our Fynbos. Climbing the trees and side roots at Kirstenbosch is a real favourite of our children and we are reminded that they truly are still children who love to use their imaginations relating to the ‘Monkey King’ while they are at play. Kirstenbosch remains a rich and useful playground to all children and parents. IMG_2992

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Exploring the Fynbos with magnifying glasses.

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A week packed with endless fun and memories

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Colourful beach girls 🏖🏖🏖

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Boys know how to have fun 💥💥

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DEAR and a little play time. 🍭🍭

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….and never forget the learning. MATHS !!!

We loved starting our week by celebrating friendship day! I love the colours permeating through our school on this day and I enjoy watching the children interact on this day where we are given the right to reach out to others. Red hearts, chockies, baked biscuits and icing, sweet notes and hugs galore were the order of the day. It is always a good time to visit the ‘ kindness/ giving/ friendship/ warmth / reaching out theme on this day.

I managed to capture a few shots of my children enjoying DEAR – the reading in our class is on the GO and books are being completed and shared at a rate of knots. I am so happy to see the children also haul out there books once their allocated tasks are completed. I loved watching my boys also tackle the ‘ army men’ box during some free time during the week. I am always in awe as to how their imaginations can run wild. I try and remain in earshot so as to get a sense of how their game is working that particular time.

We were fortunate to go to Small Bay for a beautiful beach outing this past week. We managed to dodge the rain and cold wind and we ended up having a great time filled with plenty of swimming, games, chats, climbing and the much needed and most important ice cream buying. It is also a lovely time to include our parents on this outing and to all get to know each other a little better.

It was certainly not all play and no work… we introduced place value and expanded notation to the children and I hauled out some practical number concept activities which proved to allow for worthwhile interaction and learning to take place. The children paired up with their ‘Shoulder Buddies’ in order to take turns building large numbers which I had set for them. Children had to keep quiet during their turns, but then their partner could give feedback once the child had completed their turn. I also then allowed them to build allocated numbers together with a set time limit. It proved to be an exciting lesson.

We also started a research process for Natural Science. The children have paired up and have chosen a soil creature which they will do research on, write summaries and do a picture search in order to prepare for their ILT next week.

The children are all settling down well after 5 weeks in Grade 5 and it is amazing to see them become accustomed and comfortable with our ways and teaching styles. Here’s to a fabulous week ahead.

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Friendship day ❤️

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New friends. New year

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Beach outing

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Ice cream is the MOST important 🍧🍧

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Birthdays, Solar Ovens and Roald Dahl cheers.

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Cycle tests, assessments and the conveying of the last few pearls of wisdom from teachers, have been the order of the day in our classrooms for the past few weeks. In between all of this it is also great to celebrate. We have had Birthdays in abundance in the Penguin class these past few weeks. It is lovely to stop and think about the child who is celebrating their Birthday and we do that by sitting on the mat and quietly reflecting on the special character of the child whose Birthday it is. We light a candle and the children are given a chance, by choice, to share something special about the Birthday child. It astounds me to see how children reflect and have such insight at such a young age. It is lovely to see the ‘Birthday girl or boy’ being uplifted in such a kind and loving way. It is also so special to see how the children’s comments have developed since the beginning of the year- personal growth is after all as important as the academic growth. Kate celebrated her crown Birthday this week and the children loved getting ice lollies on a warm day. The children chose to be unicorns for the photograph. I just love their minds.

At the end of last term I was thrilled to have two Penguins standing up in assembly to receive a little award for their art contributions during our Roald Dahl celebration week. Luke and Sabrina were commended for their delightful efforts.

We had good discussion and input into ideas behind renewable energy this past week and it is so good to develop an awareness amongst the children in this regard. We constructed solar ovens out of pizza boxes and the most fun part was melting some chocolate at the end of all the hard work. The children had to hold on to their ovens outside as the South Easter swirled around, but we were fortunate to have our reliable South African sun shine brightly that day.

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Big on Birthdays

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Roald Dahl art competition

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Grade 5’s tackle the clouds up high…

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We love to pose!!!

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Right on top!

Sometimes we need to make difficult decisions as a teacher…. My mind was spinning last Thursday morning as I tried to decide whether it was worthwhile to head up Table Mountain by means of the cable car on a cloudy, windy and chilly day. What’s more is that we could actually not see the top of Table Mountain. Wise words of ” Just do it!” kept entering my head, and so we gave the go ahead. As per usual, I was once again ‘glad’ to make the decision to “Just do it!”. It was wonderful to twist and turn and gaze and squeal all the way up to the top. Some children had to dig deep and persevere to try and see through the swirling clouds in order to overcome their fear of heights. Learning to live. Learning to persevere. Learning to take chances. I was so proud, and they were too, for not choosing to give up and stay behind. Our guide greeted us with a warm smile, but made sure that he made it clear to me that the conditions were not favourable. “Sign here please ma’am, this is to state that I have made the conditions clear to you!”. Decide, question, deliberate, quiver…”Let’s go!”.

And so we were met with swirling winds, ghost-like clouds, eerie encounters, forces of nature and God’s beautiful creation. We loved it!! All 9° c of it!! Our guide told folk tales and questioned the children for their insights. We even got to experience the likes of apres ski as we were herded into the Wifi lounge for further teaching, hot chocolate and delicious treats. We spread ourselves out and lapped up the central heating, comfy furniture and joys of luxury. The children were in their element and a great day was had by all.

Roald Dahl celebrations were also a highlight for the week. Stories, reading, laughing, acting, drawing and writing creatively were the order of the day. Some of my girls went all out with their impersonations of their giant creations. A couple of children from our class entered the inspiring art competition in light of the Roald Dahl celebration. Luke made a delightful and creative, clay figurine of his interpretation of a ‘modern’ Bfg. Some of the girls used their drawing talents to do their creations and Sabrina did a beautiful drawing.

This all happened in between final assessments and two nights of an entertaining showcase
‘Open the doors’, put on by the entire SP under the capable direction of our dearly loved Mrs Van Tonder. Tick tick tick. Our tanks are full. Tick tick tick. We are happily exhausted.

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Inspired by the great Roahl Dahl

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Swirling clouds, 9°c and loving the exploration.

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Apres ski at the Wifi lounge.

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Happy times

 

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imageimageimageimageimageimageThis past week was marked with an enormous amount of hard work. The children were kept exceptionally busy so we were all grateful to have had an outing to the Aquarium. One often thinks that this territory in the Waterfront is old territory for the children, but once they embark on the journey through seaweed, salty water experiences, bulging fish eyes, lumo floating jellyfish, shark encounters and so much more, then I realise how special these visits to the aquarium really are. We are fortunate to have experienced a lesson in one of the auditorium classrooms and a delightful young lady shared her knowledge on sharks with the children. The lesson is enlightening as it not only explains the details about sharks in general, but it also covers issues around shark awareness, their environment and their threats. The children loved getting to finally open the plastic tubs in order to touch the baby camouflaged sharks.

The new section at the aquarium is exciting, colourful and inviting to the children. There was great excitement as we ventured into dark areas, luminous-lit mirror zones and ‘hidey holes’ around each corner. I love the way the children became absorbed by the antics of the giant sea turtle, enormous fish and electrifying rays.

Back at our Elkanah ‘home’ the following day we also completed our tasks which we designed during the Olympic activity days. We created Olympic magazines with the children and they got to design some beautiful renditions for a magazine front cover during their IT lesson. I was amazed to see how many of the children already have such a key eye for design at such a young age. I am sure that you will be enthralled with the examples shown.

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Fabulous iPads and IT in action

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Puppet Pals ‘Draak’ recording

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IT lesson

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Multitasking with my computer and iPad

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Sources task

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Our deeper learning tasks, using the iPad as a tool,are developing really well after having implemented them on a few occasions now. The children are embracing the iPads in order to bring these tasks to life. The latest task was an Afrikaans task based on ‘Ruby en die Draak’ which is a delightful story which we covered in Afrikaans. The children had numerous tasks to complete but a highlight was the Puppet Pals iPad task where they had to record their voices giving an oral presentation of a description of their ‘Draaks’ which they had written themselves. To add to that, they also designed their own hand- drawn dragons which were then photographed and included into their puppet pals presentations. The children were enthralled with this task and loved choosing backgrounds, experimenting with the APP and then enlightening each other about their discoveries. There were some challenging moments but they have managed to submit some lovely final recordings to Google Classroom. I am amazed at their use of creativity and willingness to experiment with new material.

We briefed the children on a Rainfall and Temperature task for Social Science which entails keeping track of the rainfall and temperature for the week. They constructed rainfall gauges out of a 2l cooldrink bottle during their technology lesson, so these were put to use this week. This is a two week task which includes numerous skills in order to create the final presentation for submission.

During IT this week the children also were presented with an element of exploration. They were briefly introduced to the topic of Primary and Secondary sources and then went on to watch a Powtoon based on an explanation of these concepts. They then had to use that information to design two slides using PowerPoint in order to show their understanding of the topic. Specific questions were put to the children to answer in their slides. The visual side was also catered for by offering numerous pictures to be included so that their understanding was enforced.

It is great to reflect on the skills that are encompassed during these sessions and it is only when one breaks it all down, how one realises what it takes in order for them to complete these tasks.

Categories: Afrikaans, Social Science | Leave a comment

A great and vibrant week.

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Drum Rolllllllllll…….. AND …… reports are done!!!! It has been an intense few weeks both for our pupils and the teachers. It is incredible to see hard work pay off and progression being shown in various learning areas. Classes have been abuzz with assessments, cycle tests and individual assessing of a wide range of skills based activities and outcomes. In between all the hard work we always find time to explore new subjects, have pertinent discussions and debates and fit in a fun outing here and there.

The children have enjoyed growing beans in class as part of their exploration of a lifecycle of a plant. The children took pictures of their growing beans on a regular basis and then created a Keynote presentation to present their findings. The wonders of nature were certainly saluted by the children. Other iPad tasks included inserting graphs into numbers, the use of numerous Apps during a deeper learning task and creating a slide to present their powerful verb creative writing pieces. The children bring so much insight to all these tasks and some children thrive on sharing their knowledge with others. The chitter chatter centred around iPad tasks is entertaining. The children have spent this past week playing around on Puppet pals in preparation for a Afrikaans task next week.

We all enjoyed a fabulous outing to Butterfly World last week. The children engaged well during a lesson given by one of their facilitators and they were thrilled to have some interesting creatures included in the presentation. After plenty of ‘touchies and feelies’ we were fortunate to roam around in the humid environment amongst the birds, butterflies and rather large bats. It is wonderful to see certain children relate so well to animals and a variety of creatures. I think some of the pictures will reflect a better story. It was admirable to see the children engage so beautifully with a large group of Grade two students who happened to also be visiting Butterfly World. These life experiences add so much to the development of a child on all levels.The day ended off with an exciting Interhouse hockey afternoon. It was tremendous to see so many children taking part.

We look forward to a great last few weeks of school before heading off to enjoy a pleasurable holiday period.

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The eve of a public holiday and long weekend!!!

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I would like to mention our Book Day from 2 weeks back. Although our campus did not carry one theme through for the day, it was most evident that the children were exposed to a rich array of books and characters and words and creative writing and wonderful input into the world of imagination that books have to offer. Our school foyer hosted a delightful reading chair and reading corner, our Grade 6’s ( and their spirit- filled teachers) dressed up as book characters and I thoroughly enjoyed their interpretations and creative style. I so enjoy seeing older children read to younger children and we are so fortunate to have our junior campus right next door. Our class set up a book display at the back of the class which featured all the children’s favourite books,
either from their home bookshelves, or from our school library. This table display was a centre of attention for the week and we had lovely conversations around characters, different scenes and general storytelling. Our pictures show some true bookworms in our class including the delightful ‘Mr B’.

Last week brought forth a most welcome public holiday….. Work, work, work, smile…….pause. The children delight in the mere thought of a public holiday, as do the teachers. There are always so many stories to share afterwards and our classroom mats during devotion time are scattered with flapping hands and arms wanting their turn to share their news. We have spent a considerable time in Grade 5 these past couple of weeks discussing ‘feelings and emotions’. We have brainstormed different feelings, we have shared stories personally and in diary format( this tied in nicely with our book week ‘diary’ focus) and we have explored different ways to deal with the various feelings and emotions that come our way. It is just amazing to see some children open up once the platform is there to share valid experiences and emotions.

We explored the fossilisation process in Natural Science during the week before last and we used our IT lesson so that the children could gain from a ‘flipped classroom’ experience by reading and learning from a superb website. This site is created by our local Fossil Park in Langebaan and allows children to investigate the fossil process by means of slides, which are animated. An informative paragraph follows before the animation is shown, so that they can capture the information in a cognitive and visual way.

We introduced the wonderful world of ‘Plants’ to the children this past week and our first lesson related the parts of a plant and the internal structure of a flower. The children were fascinated to learn that most flowers have both a male and female part to it. The flower lends itself to the essential practice of drawing a scientific diagram in their books.

One of our Social science lessons last week was also in the IT centre and we taught the children about capes and bays around our South African coastline. Google Earth was used to search for certain capes and bays and then they had to use the snipping tool to select a cape or bay in order to insert it into their worksheets. It was lovely to see the faster workers explore our coastline for other familiar capes and bays- each time a delightful story went with the finding.

I have also included some of my pictures which were taken at our museum outing and in the Company Gardens. Creativity is just everywhere where we look in Cape Town. What a privilege for us to teach in this environment and for the children to grow up here.

And now……. after another public holiday and a superb long weekend it is time to buckle down and prepare our Scallywags for the English cycle test this week.

Categories: English, General, Natural Science, Social Science | 2 Comments

The week that was……

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Four weeks to go and we will be ‘downing tools’ and heading off on holiday again. It is worth mentioning that the true pace of Grade 5 has reared it’s head this week, and we have increased our pace and expected a little more from the children. It is interesting to see them accept the challenge and engage after a few short weeks back at school. I have included a pic of our Friendship day as I just love group shots, and I enjoy teaching the children and having discussions with them about being part of a group. I think it is a good time to explain how we are working together as a team to make this year a happy place in the Penguin class.

As far as the academics are concerned, Natural Science has kept the children busy over the past week. The children created beautiful mind maps during their soil erosion lesson and we highlighted pointers around making an effective mind map. This was after discussions and teaching during our Life Orientation lesson relating to our MEMORY and tips on how to improve your memory. It is most beneficial to interact and collaborate between various subjects in this way. The children have also been working in their allocated pairs in order to do research on African Soil Creatures in preparation for their ILT (Integrated learning task) next week. We look forward to some interesting presentations next week.

I popped in to the Penguin Tech lesson a week or so ago and found them battling away at trying to master the skill of joining wires together. Mr B has done a sterling job by standing in for Mrs Louw while she has been away on leave. I enjoyed the cheerful banter between the children while tackling their tricky, yet stimulating task.

It has been Mapwork all the way during our Social Science lessons, and we have been flitting between atlases and Google Earth/ Goole Maps in order to bring political and physical maps alive to the children. Exploring in an atlas,with no time constraints,is a child’s delight -especially when they manage to master the skills of reading the grids correctly. Finding Mount Kenya brings cries of joy and discovering 3D videos of Mount Kilamanjaro is enthralling for most- Sebabatso was the star of the day in this regard.

On a much lighter note….. We have been brought great joy at school, both students and teachers, by our tasty, delicious and healthy mobile tuck shop. Nicky and her team offer wonderful goodies to keep those hunger pains at bay. The children can certainly benefit from this wonderful introduction to our school.

I also managed to catch this positive glimpse of my girls, reading on our couch, in between lessons this week. It is superb to see them embrace books and be excited about filling in their book review slips in order to gain classroom merits. Long may this passion last!!!!

Our congratulations went out to Oliver Whitehead and Calum Marriott on Friday when they were presented with their U12 cricket caps in Assembly. There was much cheering among their peers to show their excitement for them. Here’s to an eventful and pleasurable last 4 weeks of the term.

 

 

 

 

Categories: General, ILT, Natural Science, Social Science | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A HOT HOT week

 

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The first week in Grade 5 of 2016 is done and dusted and we had to hold our heads high and persevere as we endured the heat. The teachers were sure to ease in to the week by tackling book covers, working through the necessary classroom and IT administration with the children and making sure that there was sufficient time alloctaed to also cool off in our delicious and refreshing swimming pool.

A treasure hunt in between everything else was also the order of the day. The children were divided into groups of four and used an iPad to scan a QR code which gave them a clue to where they would find their next colour ‘paper’ treasure. Twelve correct treasures allowed them to assemble an intricate puzzle on the mat tucked away in a cooler classroom than the outdoors.

The children were also introduced to ‘our continents’ and the ‘Life of soil’ during their NS and SS lessons. The spinning of the globe countless times to explore the vicinity of the continents and a walk through our gardens to explore the soil around our area, were also fun features of the lessons.

A fantasy theme was also introduced to the children as part of our English theme for the term and the children did an activity around the Fattypuffs and Thinnifers. They also drew their impersonation of these characters.

Mrs Callhau was introduced to the children and they got to know her a little during their first LIS lesson which promises some exciting and innovative opportunities. Library books will be able to be taken out next week to start our journey with LOADS of reading (we hope) in Grade 5. The children were also very excited to attend their first CODING session with Miss Crous. These lessons promise to enrich the children to develop to think more laterally and become experts on problem solving.

To end off the week, we were all fortunate enough to load up the buses and fill our parents cars with bubbly children,clothed in cossies and smeared in the necessary sunscreen. Small Bay was privileged to witness the joy of our Elkanah children at the beach. Swimming and body surfing with the teachers was a must to cool down, and it was also lovely to see the children engage with each other by initiating their own fun. Slip sliding on seaweed, hopscotching over a towel and ‘foot spas’ in the rock pools are to name but a few of the goings on. Mr Raven hoarded us off to the island before the tide came in and took some out the children out of their comfort zone by encouraging them to jump into a deep pool (Mrs Raubie was of course on high alert and fretting a little). We were also fortunate enough to have some very organised Mommies in our midst, who set up camp chairs and a table so that wonderful coffee could be served. It certainly was a wonderful outing to end off the week. All’s well…..that ends well!!!

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