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.
We look forward to more fun as the year progresses.
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.
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.
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.
Unless you have been in witness protection for the last few weeks you would no doubt be aware that the buzz at school has been around our annual Grade 4 Camp. Camps are one of the highlights, if not the most popular highlight, of each school year. 2016 was no different. We packed up 44 super-excited Grade 4s on a big, luxury Elwierda bus and headed of for the Simonsberg Christian Campsite near Stellenbosch. Along the way we stopped off at Giraffe House where the learners had the opportunity to watch a live show about some of the amazing and wonderful creatures that live in our world, as well as wonder around the facility and view some really beautiful wildlife. A couple of brave and/or lucky volunteers even got to hold (and in one case, kiss) some of the interesting creepy crawlies.
After arriving at Simonsberg and settling in to their rooms, the learners spent the next 2 days involved in various formal and informal activities, all designed to give them a different learning experience to the one they get in the regular classroom environment each day at school. The formal activities involved activities like raft building, obstacle courses, blind fold courses, zip-lines, puzzles and mud swings, all of which encouraged the learners to collaborate and work as a team to reach certain objectives. The informal activities involved the kids making their own teams and building forts in the forest during their free time. For many of the learners this was their favourite part of the camp. Without them realising it they were involved in collaborating, cooperating, conflict resolution, strategising and creative thinking while building their forest forts. Some of them even pondered and/or experimented with the health benefits of being covered in mud from head to toe. For those who were less interested in building forts, the pool provided much enjoyment. In the evenings we went a night hike and created ‘mummies’ on the first night, and enjoyed campfire songs and stories, and stalked the lantern on the second night.
All in all it was a wonderful learning experience that the kids will certainly not forget. Thank you to the parents for supplying the delicious baked goods which kept the learners (and the teachers) going between meals.
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.
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!
When I arrived at Kanana, I felt excited and overwhelmed to be at the guest house. The children in the crèche were very cute and I was really looking forward to meeting them, but one child always wanted a piggy back. I looked around and saw dogs barking, people washing their cars and some others were walking their dogs. The visit to the township made me realize that I should be grateful for what I have. The thing that surprised me the most was that they can make such delicious meat, pap and chaka laka. The most memorable part of our visit was when we went to the crèche.
When I arrived at Kanana, I felt grateful for having a home, made out of bricks and for a wonderful school to work and learn in. The children in the crèche were so cute and one of the girls kissed my hand when we were going to leave. I looked around and saw shacks and wondered how could they survive in the cold and the hotness? The visit to the township made me realize how hard they work. The thing that surprised me was that they had to share taps. The most memorable thing was that Donald worked so hard to build a house out of bricks and it took a lot of years to build the house.