Classroom Highlights (Learning in Action!)

Ms Becky Grade 4 (April 2021)


Writing - Planning and Creating


Writing can be a very dry subject, so to add interest to the writing project, and to motivate the students more, they were asked to think, speak, write, re-write and also to create a “great illustration” of their work. This learning process took a few weeks to complete.

First, we talked about Chinese New Year and some favorite moments or days that they had at that time. We talked about how to create their ‘story map’. Students carefully planned their stories, and began to draft their writing. At this stage, we spent time looking at helpful ways to begin sentences and use paragraphs. Students also started their illustrations over this time. These would become the background for their final published work. Students had time to paint and cover their paper to illustrate their day clearly. Meanwhile, during the writing lessons, students were encouraged to check their own work carefully.

Finally, students published their work on a white template of a cow, to reflect the image of this year’s Chinese animal. They glued it onto the illustration painting in a creative way. These finished creations were displayed on a board that looked like a field. Writing with purpose to create something meaningful allowed students the opportunity to express themselves and gave them a finished product to be extremely proud of.

Mrs Doty Grade 4 (April 2021)


Word Study-Breaking Down of Words


In Grade 4 we cover a word study unit every week. The main objective of our word study is to go over the importance of prefixes and suffixes and how they can change a words meaning. The goal in each word study lesson is to help the students understand the English words and their parts and how they get their meaning.

Each lesson begins with an interactive PowerPoint that encourages the students to discuss the words as well as helping them pronounce the words correctly. There is visual representation of all the vocabulary to help the students conceptualize the words better. The students first learn the words meaning and how we say them in sentences. After discussing the new vocabulary we play a game of round robin and the students are given an opportunity to make up their own sentences with the learned vocabulary. Once the students start to get comfortable with the words we play “Guess the Word” where I give the students a sentence or a definition and the students have to write the word on their whiteboards. This encourages the students to feel more comfortable with their new words and to help students participate more.

Lastly, the students are to write their own creative sentences with their new words. This will show the students can comprehend the material just learned and use the new vocabulary correctly in their journals.  They can use their new words in their daily conversations with the teacher and their friends. Through this variety of activities the students are able to practice the words through the week, as well as during revision weeks that follow.

Mr Frank Grade 4 ( April 2021)


Directions and planning a project


In our themed unit on directions, the students learned about the cardinal directions of north, south, east, and west.  Our discussion led us to talk about where we were most likely to see and use the cardinal directions then we arrived at the topic of maps.

The students seemed very excited to contribute to the conversation. We decided to dedicate a few class periods to making a map as a group project as it allows for communication and creativity from the students.  We talked about the different types of maps and some of the features that maps have such as a compass, different colors, a legend or key box, symbols and labels.

Next, the project was broken down into three phases for the students – Planning stage, Creation phase and Presentation stage. Then, students generated the language that the students would need to use to communicate tasks and responsibilities within the groups at each of the three phases of the project. During the planning phase, the students assigned tasks to each member of the group.  They also discussed the features of their map, and the placement of those features on the map.

During the creation phase, the students worked diligently to draw, cut and glue their features to the map as they communicated what needed to be made and where features would be placed. During the presentation phase, the students put the finishing touches on their work. They also decide who would talk each feature of their map and what they would say before they presented their finished work to their classmates. The students really enjoyed this project, and as well as reinforcing their knowledge of the cardinal directions, they also learnt how to plan a project using three phases.

Mr. Ryan UELS  (March 2021)

Phonics for language learning!

Phonics for language learning is a method of teaching our students to read by developing their phonemic awareness and an understanding of the links between the sounds and how we use the letters of the alphabet to represent them. Essentially to not only read well, but to bridge the gap between reading and writing. In our class we focus on the letter and sound correspondences to enable students to break written words down into their component sounds, before later recombining them to read the whole word. This process is known as segmenting and blending. For example, when faced with the word cat a student might run their finger under the first letter and make the initial /c/ sound, then /a/, and, finally, /t/. Once they have successfully segmented these individual sounds, they then blend them together to say the word /cat/. We played a game called ‘Hidden names” to teach the students in an interactive and fun way. The students were placed in pairs and with the teachers assistance they had to first identify a common sound in a group of words. The teacher would say the word and the students would have to repeat it to ensure they pronounced it correctly and elicit the common sound. From the common sounds in four or five different columns they had to then guess the name of a character. The students would come up to select the correct character name on the board based on the common sound for each column of words. Students were rewarded for correct answers. It was a fun way to practice the sounds of letters and identify them in different words!

 Mr Little Grade 4 (March 2021) 


The Importance of Listening Carefully


If you are a student, a parent, a philosopher, a warrior, a police officer, a teacher, or whatever, what could be more important than listening carefully? In Grade 4, we began our study of listening with the auditory nerve, the ear. But let us be careful not to mistake “hearing” for “listening!”

We learned that hearing is the action of the ear, but listening is the action of the mind. Hearing happens automatically when sound enters the ear. But listening requires a lot more. It requires THINKING, which is shown as attention, patience, self-control, and being quiet.

March is a great time to practice listening, since we have dozens of guest readers coming to our room to read us stories. We practice looking at the speaker—not hard. We practice being quiet—not very difficult. We practice paying close attention—this can be a challenge.  We practice self-control—oh, that’s hard! We practice being patient—this really challenges us! But still we practice, practice, practice!

We don’t give up, because the reward of listening is that we have a never-ending stream of information coming into our ears, and when we pay attention to it, we learn so very, very much! We keep safe when we’re on the street. We enjoy the symphony of nature when we’re outdoors. We find school much easier, and we stay out of trouble as well! One great benefit from listening carefully is you are ready to answer questions whenever they pop up! Reap the rewards!

Mr Nathan Grade 4 (March 2021)


Speaking – Giving Directions


First we reviewed the vocabulary we would need for the activity. As a class we practiced our prepositions of location: “across from”, “next to”, “between”, and “near” using pictures on the projector demonstrating each preposition.

 Next, as a class we repeated the phrases that were important. “It is on 1st Street”, “It is on 2nd Avenue”, “It is on the corner of 1st Street and 2nd Avenue.” Individual students were called on and asked to give directions on a map with the help of the teacher, to show that they understood. Once they were familiar with each phrase they could answer where anything was on a map.

Finally, the class was divided into 2, group A and group B. Each group had half the information on a map and had to ask their partner from the other group to give them details on where things were to complete their map. Both children had to give directions on where the place was located then they could write it down on their worksheets.

In the end, pairs of students were called in front of the class to demonstrate how well they were doing.

We are thinking to have the students make their own maps and tell their friends where things are on it.

Special Events

Craig Smith (Author/Songwriter) Visit - May 19, 2016

On Thursday, Craig Smith, a children’s author and songwriter from New Zealand, came to visit Clifford Elementary Bilingual's Grade 2 and 3 students. Around 600 students went to the auditorium for the performance. Craig sang many of his famous books for us. He sang “Wonky Donkey”, “My Daddy Ate an Apple”, “Willie Bee the Bumble Bee” and others. The two favorites among the students were “Wonkey Donkey” and “My Daddy Ate an Apple”. Craig is famous for his funny stories, puppets and songs, as well as making funny noises, like his “drip, drip, drip” sound. The students sang, danced and had a terrific time. We hope many other famous overseas authors and songwriters can visit us in the future!