Archive | February 2016

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Last week was dominated by our ILTs (Integrated Learning Tasks). For three days, from Wednesday to Friday, we suspended regularly scheduled lessons and embarked on a learning experience of a different kind. The Grade 4 learners were ‘abandoned’ on Survivor Island. While on Survivor Island the learners had to apply some of the skills and knowledge that they have gained over the last 6 weeks of school in order to complete various tasks and activities. The learners were divided into small groups of between 3 – 5 and then had to decide on a leader for their group, reflecting on the class discussions we had about good leadership. (Social Science and L.O.)


After watching a Bear Grylls video, to help set the scene with respect to survival, the learners dived into the first activity involving compass directions (Social Science) and deciphering clues (reading and interpreting) to find survival items hidden in various places around the school. The groups then had to discuss and decide which of the items were most valuable and then present their decisions to the class using a mind map (collaboration and communication). In another activity the learners had to use tallying and pictograph knowledge to count birds that are present on the island (Mathematics). The learners had to collaborate and follow instructions given in Afrikaans to correctly colour a picture of the island, and then they had to write cinquain poems about the delicious apples they discovered on the island. At the end of each day the learners then blogged on their iPads, reflecting on the various activities and lessons. The three days of activities were also a wonderful opportunity for the learners to practice collaboration and conflict resolution.

Enjoy the slide show below of some of the class’ cinquains.

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Partridges having fun with their iPads

The Partridges brought their iPads to school for the first time and

had an extremely exciting day from scavenger hunts to using QR codes. We are very privileged at Elkanah House to have every child having their own iPad for educational purposes. Thank you to the parents for allowing us to extend our education in creative, effective ways!

iPads, iPads, iPads!

As you are no doubt aware, the overwhelming buzz in Grade 4 this week was all about iPads! With much enthusiasm and excitement, the learners were finally allowed to trade in their iFrames for the real deal. The official launch of our 2016, 1:1 programme for Grade 4 was a huge success. The increase in the learners’ level of engagement, problem solving efforts, and collaboration, in just one day was really exciting to see, and as educators we hope to see this maintained throughout the rest of the year.


After a valuable discussion about basic iPad device management, safety, and care, and of course answering the vitally important question of “How many games may I have on my iPad?” (we recommend 6 – 8 good quality games b.t.w.), we introduced the learners to Google Classroom, which will be the platform we use to issue many of our tasks and projects, as well as the platform through which the learners will submit these assignments.

We started with a scavenger hunt which required the learners to think creatively in order to take photos of various academic subject related items and then arrange and display the images using Pic Collage. This collage was then submitted via email, thereby practicing how to attach files to an email for submission. The second activity involved creating a digital mind-map on Popplet in order to express a little bit about themselves. This popplet was then submitted via Google Classroom so that they could practice submitting tasks via the platform.

On Friday the learners used QRafter, an app that scans QR codes, to check the answers to addition and subtraction problems, thereby marking their own work and figuring out for themselves where they made they may have made errors. In this way we are encouraging the learners to take responsibility for their own learning.

While the iPads were definitely the highlight of the week, they were not the sole focus of our efforts. We also used some old-school, low-tech devices, like white boards and markers to learn how to use tally charts to count items.

Definitely another great week of learning in Grade 4.

QR Codes in the QUAIL CLASS

The 18th of February was a very important day on our calendar. Our Grade 4s brought their iPads to school for the first time this year.

We are currently doing addition and subtraction in Maths. During our Maths period, the students solved the problems on a recording sheet and then checked their answers by scanning the QR code. 

It was wonderful to be part of the excitement and enthusiasm for Maths.




A great week to be a Pheasant!

The Pheasants have had a really fun-filled week this week, both in and out of the classroom. We started out on Tuesday with a wonderful visit to the Animal Anti-Cruelty League where Mpho showed us why it’s so important to look after our pets properly. She also told us about the amazing work that the AACL does in helping the less fortunate to manage their pets correctly, as well as finding new homes for pets that have been neglected. The highlight of the visit was being able to play with the kittens, cats and dogs that are so desperately looking for homes. No doubt many parents received heartfelt pleas from their children to adopt one of these adorable animals. Check out the slideshow below to see a couple of images from our visit. My favourite is the smiling dog.

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In the classroom this week, we introduced the children to some traditional science experiments, and to the processes we follow when conducting experiments. The children had to create their own rainbows by reflecting light through water and onto a white surface. They had loads of fun trying different quantities of water, angles and distances, until they were able to get it just right to form a rainbow. And of course, anything that gets them out of the classroom is always a win.


In our second experiment we tested to see the effect of dish washing liquid on milk. We found out that the fats in milk react to the dish washing liquid and move about causing the food colouring to move.


And on Friday we celebrated Friendship Day by dressing up in pinks, reds and whites. We discussed the qualities of friendship and why it’s important to be kind to each other.


We look forward to another great week next week with the introduction of our iPads on Thursday!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Craig Bellwood



Quails @ the AACL

The Quails had an awesome time playing with the rescued animals. These dogs and kittens are rehabilitated for adoption.  We also wrote thank you  letters to Mpho who works at the  Epping Branch.  Each child experienced “Living and Loving beyond Self”.


Enjoy reading the authentic letters our children wrote to Mpho. Many hearts were touched! Learning beyond the classroom in full swing!