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Back in the Classroom – Showing off to our Grandparents

We have been learning all about the seasons so as part of our Grandparents’ Day the Grade Ones gave a stage presentation all about what we know about the passing of time and the changing seasons.   Each class was responsible for a season, spoke about it, said a poem and we all sang a song about the seasons too.

My Girls singing their song

My girls singing the Seasons Song

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One of the boys talking about Summer

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Winter boys and Spring Girls

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One Grandparent and Granddaughter photograph I managed to get.

My girls were very excited to don their daisy chains and do their bit for their grannies and grandpas. Unfortunately I did not get much of an opportunity to take photographs as I was having too much fun engaging with the grandparents when they visited us in the classroom.  They spent time with their little ones, looked at their books and wrote beautiful comments on their special page.

Many of them told me how impressed they were with our school, our principal and the happy atmosphere that there was in our institution.   School was never like this in their day, they told me!

Thanks to these very special people in our children’s lives for visiting us.  We believe that grandparents play a very important role in the lives of their grandchildren.   The little ones were thrilled to have you in the classroom.  We hope you enjoyed the tea and meeting the other grandparents and the teachers.

 

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Back in the Classroom Blasting into the Third Term

Dear Parents – After three weeks in the foreign land of The Kruger National Park I had just one day to readjust into Teacher Mode before returning to the teaching of my little geniuses.   In order to prevent the wonderful memories of the wild time rI had in The Park regressing to my forgetterie, I relived the experience through blogging and neglected to post in Back in the Classroom in the first week of term. I am therefore making that up to you with a mega blog today.

What a pleasure to be greeted by on the first day by 30 eager little faces and the warmest and most affectionate of hugs.  It was great to be back!

Welcome  Back sweet girls

Welcome Back sweet girls

We settled down to serious work very quickly and I was super impressed and relieved to see that my girls had not forgotten their reading words, how to write between line and were up and ready with their calculations to 10.   They wrote wonderful sentences about their holiday and I was delighted to find that one or two had been to game parks too.  Julia and I, though, had been to the best of them all – KNP!  I knew Julia was to be there for a few days with her family and I alerted them to look out for the cheetahs on the Open Road.  I was delighted that they spotted them too!

It wasn’t long before our hyper-active school had us on our toes with events and outings to keep us on our toes.  On Wednesday we visited the South African Naval Museum in Simonstown and what an adventure we had there.  Our guides were experienced SWANS and they taught us about the Navy then and now, what it was like to be on the Bridge of a Ship, what to do if the ship caught fire and all the functions of the Navy during wartime.  We went with our brother class and of course the boys were in their element.  However, the girls found it quite fascinating too. One of our girls discovered that being the Captain was not all fun – she had to get the crew to obey her instructions and she had to stay with the sinking ship till everyone else was safe!  I will let the photographs show how fascinated they all were.

Trying an oxygen mask for size

Trying an oxygen mask for size

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Wow all this inside a ship

See that?

See that?

 

A torpedo - omigosh

A torpedo – omigosh

Old fashioned weapons  - used for ceremonial occasions only nowadays

Old fashioned weapons – used for ceremonial occasions only nowadays

On the bridge - we felt quite sea-sick

On the bridge – we felt quite sea-sick

Onto the lifeboats girls

The ship is sinking – into the lifeboats girls

She got the answer right and won a navy cap!

She got the answer right and won a sailor’s cap!

The navy divers waved to us while we snacked on their beach

The navy divers waved to us while we snacked on their beach

Next on our busy agenda was Creative Expo Day.  We have been learning about our community, its buildings and the people who help us.   So on Thursday we got busy with boxes of all shapes and sizes and designed and built our own town.  It was great fun using the boxes, brightly coloured paper, chalk and toys and putting our ideas together to make a wonderful creation.  We had many visitors come to see what we were doing and we hope they were sufficiently impressed to want to send their little ones to our fabulous school.

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Box 9

Box 8

 

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Back in the Classroom – Grade One Assembly and Farewell to a Legendary Colleague

My friend and Colleague whom I have known since High School retired on Friday.  She has been at my school for almost 30 years and been in Education for 40.  It’s a long time to invest in the youth of your community.  She taught my grandson in both Grade 4 and 5. For both those years I had the privilege of being her room parent and relieved her for a few months in the classroom when she had surgery that required some recuperation time.

I knew I had to come prepared with plenty of tissues because she was going to have one amazing send off. But I did not anticipate that it would start first thing on Friday morning when, while sipping my  obligatory caffeine fix, she came into the staff room, sat down to chat and we both had a little weep!  A younger colleague was with us too and she just hugged her mentor.

Before the whole school assembled for the farewell ceremony our little Grade Ones had to do their assembly – “I am Special”.  We’ve been practising for weeks and they did their teachers proud!   I did not get a chance to take photographs but I know a lot of our parents were there. There is just one little story I’d like to share. A shy little girl in my class had to say a special line – My name is …….. and I speak Persian.   I tried to coax her to speak her line loudly and clearly but during practice she was the quietest of all.  On Friday, as instructed, she came dressed in an outfit a typical Iranian child would wear.   We made a huge fuss about how pretty she looked. Her beautiful outfit must have given her confidence because when it came to her turn to speak she uttered her lines as clearly as a bell!

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Our Precious Little Persian Princess with her Friends

After our little ones performed superbly in their Assembly we had a brief time to regroup while the intermediate phase came to join us in the hall.  As “Little old Lady of Pasadena” rang out, Miss C was ushered through a guard of honour with two fairies in attendance.  She then sat upon a throne and was later presented with her wings so she could fly to wonderful far flung places in this next season of her life.

Listening to the choir singing

Listening to stories of her life at SVPS

Both the Junior and Senior Choirs sang for her and it was all I could do to stop the tears from flowing even though I’d heard my girls practising the songs for weeks in advance. Two teachers  also sang the powerful song, “You raise me up” which was my late mother’s favourite song so it was double reason to have me in floods of tears! And they sang it so very beautifully!

Some of the girls from my class who sang with the Junior Choir

I was so proud of  the girls from my class who sang with the Junior Choir

Saying a few words of her own

Saying a few words of her own

There was a farewell tea later in the staffroom and tributes were paid to a teacher who is truly a legend in this valley. I was undone specially by what a number of they younger staff members said.   She has been an amazing mentor and they all aspire to being just like her – a caring teacher, a wise teacher, a fun teacher and a very human teacher who has given her all to this profession and has absolutely no regrets for doing it!

Marilyn – I know our paths will cross many more times. Thank you for what you have meant to me so far in my life and to Jay in his. In his words – You’re the best!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back in the Classroom – Birthdays, Bonds and Cooperative Learning

No matter how well you plan  as a teacher you never know what is actually going to happen on that day!   Take Thursday for example.  As I greeted my girls no fewer than five arrived in mufti!   Five birthdays on the same day in the same class – what were the chances! Of course this meant five lots of treats to celebrate too. Oh boy – we worked flat out till snack time before I handed out the first party pack at 10:10.   And yes – the sugar high had set in and I had to do a lot of movement activities as sitting still was going to be a problem.  At 12:30 they got the sliced cake and cake pops and finally as they left at hometime cup cakes and iced donuts were distributed.

The Five Birthday Girls

The Five Birthday Girls

It's a Barbie Cake

It’s a Barbie Cake

We have been working hard on our number concepts.  We can count to 100, in ones, twos, fives and tens.  We have worked hard on knowing the difference between before and after, one more and one less, recognising numerals and number names and many more things.  Now we are ready for real sums.   To introduce the concept of partners in our bonds we play a wonderful game called dancing digits which gets the children moving – so good for the brain.   Each child is marked with a number (Don’t worry moms – it comes off easily!) and told to find someone else that she can partner with to make, in this case, five.   They scurry around and argue and debate, little fingers work overtime and finally they connect with the right partner holding tightly to her hand until the teacher congratulates them on their cleverness.

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Together we make five!

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So do we although its the other way round!

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Zero is a difficult concept but we’ve got it!

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Mathematics is so much fun!

In our groups we use concrete apparatus to reinforce the concepts.  I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for children to use all their senses to learn. Seeing the counters, touching them, moving them around, listening to songs and rhymes about numbers etc are all part of the learning process.  Learning bonds off by heart before the concept is embedded in the brain does more harm than good.

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Find three with your eyes and grab it make it one more – make it one less – how many do you need to make five

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Interpreting the written sum – Those signs can be confusing!

The girls also did another cooperative activity this week and learned from the previous weeks’ experience.  It was so rewarding seeing the lesson learned and the ones who were in conflict last week working beautifully this week.

This week’s activity got the girls looking for 3D shapes in pictures of actual things.  They made a graph of these.  They compared their columns but also discovered where they went wrong by comparing their graphs with those of the other girls.

It goes in this column I think

It goes in this column I think

This is so easy

This is so much fun

Do we have the same results?

Do we have the same results?

It is the Autumn term and the weather is getting chilly but we have been lucky with some lovely sunny days and inside the classroom there is always sunshine with these precious little girls.