Friday, 19 September 2014

"Leemgrond Leempies"

Based on the idea I found on the blog: "The Wizzard of Boz", the second graders and I learned about the best type of soil to plant in. We each made what we call in Afrikaans a "Leempie"
They enjoyed it so much. They enjoyed creating something of their own and then watching the "hair" grow.
I believe they learned far more from the playful and enjoyable experience than they would have, had we just discussed the different types of soil.

Here is a link to the steps I found which were very helpful.
Soil Sammies

I did however notice that our grass took more than 10 days to grow. It obviously depends on the type of grass seed, the soil, as well as the amount of light the Sammy was exposed to. We had a couple of very rainy days, and very unhappy Sammies. But as soon as the sun came out we would put them outside and they turned out rather happy indeed.

 After 10 days ours looked like the one shown below.
It is maybe wise to use transparent cups so that you can see how much water is inside. If you cannot see you have to keep picking the whole head up to peep inside and that takes a lot of time.

Sharing is caring

During my practical teaching time the past couple of months I have stumbled upon a very helpful blog. This blog, not only has insightful ideas and articles but also loads of free printables for the AFRIKAANS teacher!

It also shares ideas on how to help learners who struggle to cope and it has videos and games to play to your class.

My klaskamer - idees en gedagtes uit 'n juffrou se pen - drukbare bladsye

It is also handy when you have forgotten something or just did not have time to make something for your lessons.
Very helpful!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Motivation System with a salary

A co-teacher shared her idea for motivating her learners as well as encouraging them to obey the class rules. She calls it "SETTLE-MART' HELPS STUDENTS BECOME SETTLED AND SMART"
Her model is to give each learner 100 points at the start of a week. Learners can then lose points when they disobey or act out of hand. At the end of two weeks the points are then converted into a salary. She then opens her shop and the learners can come buy goodies. The size of the goodies they get depends on the points they have left at the end of the two weeks.

You can read more about her model at:
more about the salary system

I have tried this in my classroom practicals last week.

-The learners are crazy about the idea of being able to buy something
-They can learn something about earning your salary

-This model doesn't allow you to praise good behaviour but focuses on the bad behaviour
-You as a teacher therefore keep pointing out bad behaviour.
-It feels like you are playing bad-cop.
-If you use a 100 points with foundation phase level learners they cannot grasp the number yet, so taking away points doesn't have the desired effect because they cannot feel how they are being punished by losing points.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Review Class Dojo

Description and Benefits of the app:
Class Dojo is great because it is a free app designed to improve behavior in a classroom. This is a perfect tool for teachers because it is a digital reward and punishment system that does not require you as a teacher to make physical things each year to keep track of students rewards and punishments. It captures and generates behavioral trends about learners digitally and you don’t have to sit long hours counting how many “good cards/stars or bad cards” each learner has so that you will remember to reward them when they get “10 cards/stars”. This can then also be shared with parents and learners can also keep track of how they are doing. It also means that parents can see each time the teacher rewards or punishes their child and they can do something about it at home. Their progress is also documented for you so that you can use it as a guide or proof during parent teacher conferences.
It is also a great way for a teacher to instantly share news with parents and remind her class about anything. It has a message option that can be broadcasted to the list of parents.
It is designed so that you can have more than one class and you can keep track and print out each class and each learner’s progress report.
You can also use this app as a register so that every learner’s attendance is documented. Parents can then check whether their children is actually in class and teachers can use this when they are discussing learner performance with parents. You can also connect other teachers to your class so they can also see the kind of behavior of each learner. This then allows the school secretary to see your class register digitally so that no forms have to be sent to and from the office in the morning during admin time. It therefore saves lots of time for other more valuable work.
The message option also allows parents to communicate with the teacher on any matter. The teacher can also communicate with the parents privately or as a broadcast. Learners can also talk to the teacher personally in this manner.
Age group to which the app is relevant:
It will definitely work well with the small grades from Gr. R and possibly to Gr.7. Little children still want to achieve a lot of badges and be able to brag about them with their friends. It is therefore positive peer pressure in the class to do as well as they possibly can. They also know that their parents can instantly see each time they do something good or bad. This also motivates them. This app might not work well with High School learners because they do not care about badges anymore. It might however work to inform parents directly about behaviour in the class.
Potential Challenges:
The challenge with this app is that our schools are in South Africa. By this I mean that not everyone in your class will have access to the internet at home. Parents will therefore not get your messages as instantly as the app is designed for. Parents will also not be able to check up on their kids performance. It can only work optimally if everyone in the class has got access to the internet. Otherwise you can still make use of it for its saving time purposes and documenting performance but you will still have to send out printed reports and newsletters and make personal calls to your parents. The possibilities with the app is therefore limited if everyone does not have internet.
The other thing is that it is still a lot of admin to assign a badge to learners throughout the day. One has to remember to do it and one has to be fair and consistent. It should not overrule the day or take learners minds off of what is important. Learners should not become obsessed with it and it should not teach learners to do good only to be rewarded. Otherwise learners will learn to do good only because of what they get rewarded with and not because it is a moral decision. Then they will always do whatever gives them the most reward whether good or bad because they never learned to make choices based on understanding of values and morals.

This app is however a great tool to encourage learners to do their best in class and a great way for teachers to keep on track with their learners performance. Its also great for collaborating with news, updates and reminders and can be used as a guide when you have to show proof of learner performance. However, it can only be used optimally if everyone in your class has internet and it should be used wisely so that it doesn't defeat the point of learning.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Infinite Teacher Inventory

One of the great things about being tech savvy is the ability to find and use resources from the internet effectively in your classroom. Not only does this save you time but it also allows you to be as prepared as possible for every students' needs.

One of the useful sites to visit for resources is
Find Lesson Plans Fast

Why technology in the classroom?

I came across an article by Ashley Grant which she conveniently presented using Prezi. It is a must read for the benefits of the use of technology in the classroom!

Why technology in the classroom?

The 21st century learner

The biggest challenge to teachers today is preparing the 21st century learner for life outside of school. The way learners have been taught traditionally might have worked fine during the industrial revolution period. Teaching learners to memorize and regurgitate knowledge and obeying and following instructions without question was an accepted approach to preparing learners for what they could expect after school. However, today there are countless job opportunities that will no longer require the "doing what you're told" method for success but rather the "what can YOU offer us?". This requires teachers to create learners who are innovative thinkers. Before teachers can truly find ways to teach them, they first need to understand who the 21st century learner is.