Back in the Classroom – Mini Funscapes and Staff Development

This week was a short one.   We had what we call Mini Funscapes on Monday.  Each child pays a nominal fee to have a day of fun activities with their teachers at school.   Normal school work happens until 10 and then each grade has four stations of activities with a teacher in charge of each.  The Grade 1s had – Movement to music and making a musical instrument,  A session of making a beautiful mask for a ball, A delicious session of cookie baking and out on the field there was a slippy slide!    My station was the mask making and oh boy was it interesting to see the difference between the boy and girl classes!  They all loved it but the girls certainly have the edge when it comes to cutting out and pasting at this age.   The boys took a little longer but were just as creative.  Each session was 45 minutes.  We were having so much fun that I forgot to take photographs!

But here is one of the girls on the slippy slide.

Fun on the Slippy Slide

Fun on the Slippy Slide

On Thursday, the children were sent home at 12:00 for a long weekend.  Lucky for them they do not have to return until Monday morning.  This happens every year so that the staff can get together for some training and team building.

Once we’d seen our learners off we indulged in a delicious lunch, listened to our principal on the topic of bias, had a discussion on how we could handle this in ourselves and came up with ideas on how to teach our children to understand, deal with and control their own bias.

Then the fun began.   We all got up and danced!   We were ably instructed by an expert who patiently demonstrated the steps while her regular pupils dressed in red t-shirts were there for us to copy.  Then the music started and we were off!   Now I am notorious for my lack of coordination and although I might be fit when it comes to remembering a sequence of dance steps – I am a complete dummy.   But I was concentrating for all I was worth and getting the hang of the step together step touch, vine, vine etc and delighting in my grace and rhythm when – oops I went the wrong way and stepped on a colleagues toes!

Getting into the swing of it

Getting into the swing of it

 

Some of our young male colleagues were showing just how good they were at this and were coaxed on to the stage to demonstrate their prowess.

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Cool moves

Look at those legs

Look at those legs

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Move it, move it

They had us in cheering, wolf whistling and laughing and completely leaving our serious teacher personae back in the classroom.

 

On Friday, we started the day with a wonderful Continental Breakfast – the croissants were to die for. They feed us well at my school. (Overheard:- “You can’t complain when your mouth is full”)

On our tables we found a small packet  filled with little treasures – a pack of highlighters – the foundation phase teachers oohed and aahed – nothing like colourful stationery to excite our breed; a notebook and pen, peanuts and raisins, Smarties and a flash stick.  I just loved that our school’s name was on the cover of the notebook and the pack of highlighters. I a a bit of snob about brand names!

There was also a programme and a grid to show us where we were to go when;  as we were divided into five groups of 14.   It took our dull brains a while to figure out the coordinates on the grid but we didn’t feel so bad when even our boss got it a bit confused too.  When it was finally worked out we set off to the different seminars – an hour long each with of course breaks for tea (delicious pastries) and lunch (mouth watering briyani).

I will not go into detail as to what we learned but each workshop was absolutely excellent.  We did not sit and listen to long and detailed lectures – we got involved, we discussed topics and learned from each other.  Our groups were a mix of different genders, generations and phases –  pre-school, foundation phase, sports staff, high school and intermediate phase.   We got to grips with issues that bothered us and to understand why this school puts the things into place that it does.  We were inspired to go back to our classes with fresh ideas for digital teaching, effective discipline, movement, care and effective report writing   I am proud to be working at such a dynamic school where we have to work as a team, where we involve parents, where the child’s interests are paramount and where we provide a safe base for them to learn. We are truly a 21st century school and we are teaching children for the future.

Thanks to our Leadership team for a great Programme.  Thanks to the secretaries, catering and estate staff for all the background work.  We really appreciate it all.

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