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An exciting 7 days in the Pheasant class

The Pheasants have had a crazy-busy 7 days. Starting last week Friday we had the opportunity to go to the beach and bond with our new friends, as well as spend some time splashing about in the ‘not-so-warm’ water. Thank you to the parents who also joined us and took advantage of the opportunity to grow our Elkanah community. Some moms even braved the waters for a swim. Well done.

On Monday we visited the Animal Anti-Cruelty League where we leaned how important it is to look after our pets properly. We also learned about “living beyond self” by giving very generous donations of food and blankets to this worthy cause.

On Tuesday this week we introduced the iPads into our classes. The children have joined the various Google Classrooms, which will be one of the main avenues of disseminating and collecting tasks. This week we started exploring some of the apps as well as practicing our tables using some fun maths websites.

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We look forward to more fun as the year progresses.

 

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Welcome to Grade 4, 2017

The Fabulous Fours would like to welcome you to our blog. We are looking forward to a wonderful year. This term we shall be going on a beach outing on Friday, 3 February. Parents are welcome to join us at Small Bay that morning. The children will be collecting blankets, pet food, pet toys, old towels and washing powder for the animals at the Animal Anti-Cruelty League which each class will visit in the weeks to come. The highlight of the term will be our camp at Simonsberg. We are looking forward to meeting all of you!

Cycle Tests and Book Days

Our fantastic Grade Fours had another ‘first’ this week; they prepared for and wrote their first cycle test. While the papers are still being marked and moderated, and the results are not yet in, I can say that they were well prepared and for the most part quite confident about these formative tests. (I can’t speak for the parents though) In class, we refer to them as LFTs – Little Friendly Tests, or in some cases just as a “Check Up” to see how well they can apply the skills we have been practicing, thereby removing some of the stigma and angst associated with writing tests.

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This week we also celebrated “Book Day” at school and the students were involved in numerous activities designed to promote a love for books and reading. The day started with some Afrikaans reading in groups with Mrs Van Tonder.

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After that we went across and spent some time reading to our friends in the Grade 1 Sunbirds class. The Grade 1s were dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland. This was a wonderful experience for all the students involved.

We completed our celebrations with two activities. The first was playing ‘musical books’, much like musical chairs, but in this version they had to have a quick look at the blurbs and covers of a variety of books available from the library before moving on again.

The last activity was creating a ‘reading cave’ using our desks, some blankets and pillows and a few dictionaries as weights. The snugly reading cave was a real hit on a cold, blustery day like today.

All in, it was an enjoyable day to celebrate books and reading.

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.

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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.

Fantastic Pheasants at the Beach

On Thursday the 28th of January the Grade 4 Pheasants joined the rest of the Grade 4s for a wonderful morning of bonding and frivolity at Small Bay beach. The weather was perfect, with lovely warm water and pleasant temperatures. A gentle mist hung around for a while keeping the bathers cool while they enjoyed the waves under the watchful eyes of the teachers and lifeguards. Other members of our class preferred to clamber on the jungle gym or spend some quality time with mom or dad. The ice-cream man made his appearance mid morning, much to the pleasure of the pupils who quickly depleted his stock. All in it was a wonderful morning enjoyed by all.