Due to the recent freezing cold weather, rain and the schools lack of heating, we decided a more creative lesson was in order. As such, we spent our evening hand-cutting forty eight triangles for the children to decorate the next day. A slight hitch in our plan: what with our usual classroom (the field) being rather wet and cold, we used the only slightly warmer church hall. After digging out some old tables and chairs we had a just about serviceable classroom and set about handing out the pens. Considering the joy that follows a normal biro, felt tip pens and stickers caused an uproar. The children also seemed unable to comprehend that they could draw whatever they wanted. After writing their names they waited for further instructions, as unusually there was not a board for them to copy word for word, after realising the little slip of paper was completely their’s they were off, covering not only their work but us as well, in stickers.
After then spending the evening sticking these forty eight triangles onto some bunting, we brought it in to show them what they’d made. Oddly, they seemed completely shocked to see their own work displayed, and twenty children continued to charge towards us, pointing and yelling about which one was theirs, to the point where we had to swiftly stuff it back into the bag so they didn’t completely destroy it.
Grade 1 have a very exciting week planned ! Caitlin, Phil and I have decided to show the children the world, a rather ambitious plan, but one I feel is currently proving rather successful. We have decided to explore a variety of countries from different continents, eventually deciding upon the UK, the USA, China, Australia and finally, South Africa. We have kickstarted the week with the UK, which made us all feel rather nostalgic as we discussed the stereotypes of Britain: the Queen, red buses and of course, tea. We taught the children the song ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’ and after many shaky starts, they were singing it all the way through, impressing us to the point that we all considered leading a school choir. This lesson involved my terrible attempt at drawing the UK (minus an atlas) the outcome of which is pictured below and probably shames the Geography department.
Tuesday’s winds brought the USA to the classroom, where the children were transfixed with videos of American football and basketball, cheering and laughing even in inappropriate moments. In order to excite the children for the following countries, we hung bunting up in the classroom, each flag bearing a letter which would form the name of the country when hung up. It was a struggle to untangle the piece of string hanging above the room and when we finally managed to, the wind was so strong that the letters blew all over the place, much to the children’s amusement!
Today’s lesson was on China, and such teaching of course requires relevant clips from Kung Fu Panda, which the children delighted in. It really is powerful to see how much joy an interactive whiteboard can bring to lessons and its influence upon consequent learning. We even taught them a few phrases of Chinese, resulting in slightly adventurous pronunciation, but with a definite feeling that we were expanding their horizons. Their textbooks are incredibly basic and just for a week, we want to allow them a slight educational escape in learning more about the world outside of their school because that’s the world they could end up exploring and even influencing. For Thursday and Friday, we are covering the animals of Australia, the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and the enriching culture of South Africa, an aspect which we hope the class will add to in order to support the learning occurring on both sides of the classroom!
Despite Kathryn’s considerable panic, the trampolines finally arrived and were installed. Unfortunately due to the poor weather- it has been the coldest weather in eleven years (of course when we’re here) the children have been unable to use the trampolines. However, when the weather heats up they will finally be able to explore these new and exciting bouncy things.
This afternoon we went to see the Drakensburg Boys Choir, not really knowing what to expect we took our seats and waited for the show to begin. After a mixture of both film scores, worldwide music and more traditional chanting and folk songs the performance was over. Suffice it to say the two hours flew, leaving even the most cynical among us wishing to return next week to see the exact same performance.