Classroom Highlights (Learning in Action!)

Ms Maria  Grade 5  (March, 2023)


Character Creation Adventure


This semester, the students have been learning about character traits and how to better describe what a character looks like. This was so that they could create more realistic characters for their story writing.

The teacher used a PowerPoint to introduce the students to many new words and ideas about character development that the students took notes on.

They were given the assignment to create four unique characters that they would have to use in a story later in the month when they will write an adventure story.

The first task that they had to do was to decide on what kind of story they wanted to write. Would they write a magical adventure, a student adventure, a modern adventure, a science fiction adventure?

Then they had to decide on species, gender, and age of their characters before they even got to name their creations.

Next they had to decide on the roles of their characters. They had to pick one to be the “hero” or good character, one to be the “bad guy” or criminal, and the last two were their choice of either assistants to the other two characters or civilians, or even a third side.

Afterwards, they could finally begin to describe their characters using dictionaries, thesauruses, and a worksheet to find new and interesting words to create their unique characters in their journals.

Then they used white paper to create their final copy with a paragraph of writing and a picture of their work. The students’ descriptions of characters improved a lot, and when they write stories in the future, they will be able to think more about creating, and describing, interesting characters.

Mr Reynolds  Grade 6 (March, 2023)


A Wide Variety of Word Study


Helping students to communicate well in English is a major focus of the Clifford Bilingual English program. Word Study is a vital part of giving students the tools to better express themselves in English. Students develop their vocabulary knowledge through both traditional and unconventional methods of word study. By utilizing a variety of activities, such as: speaking and skits, reading, writing, drawing and traditional assessment, students get the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of their new vocabulary words using a variety of learning techniques.

The process begins with an introduction to the new word list. The students read and repeat the words and their meanings out loud to learn the proper pronunciation of each of new Word Study word. Students then use their vocabulary in their writing journals. During the next class we practice our Word Study words using them correctly in sentences. Students work independently filling in the correct Word Study word into the sentences to form complete English sentences.

Next, students construct a Word Study poster. Students work in small groups constructing posters that visually represent their Word Study words. Then the students display their work. They give small presentations and speeches to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the assignment. Finally, students work is displayed and hung around the classroom.

Finally, students engage in a fun skit activity. Here the students get the opportunity to sharpen their speaking skills and vocabulary as they use their new words to create short plays. At the end of each word study unit students are given a formal assessment of the words they have been studying over the past two weeks.

Mr Shaikh  Grade 6  (February, 2023)


Tool Tomfoolery


Tools have been a valuable part of our lives. They make our lives easier and are a way for us to do things that are usually too hard for our own bodies to do. In 6.5 we studied how these tools and machines benefit our lives and where we are able to find them in our world.

First students were able to do research on the different types of tools and simple machines. The four we focused on were the wheel and axle, pulley, lever and inclined plane. We watched videos on how these machines were discovered and how they are used to lessen ‘’work’’. A big discussion was had on how these machines have benefited the students’ lives and where we can potentially find them at school.

Students then formed lists of vocabulary related to simple machines. These lists will be used for future tasks. Using the vocabulary, they were able to create profiles for different machines on the computer. They identified what shapes they needed to create the machines, the description of how the machine works, and the process of how to create their chosen machine.

The students were very eager to create their own simple machines; they planned out their method to make their machines and even discussed what materials they would need. After a good period of creating their machines the students were ready to give speeches.

The speeches included how they made their machines, the function of the machine and finally: where they can find the machines in their own lives and how the machines benefit them.

Mr T  UELS  (February, 2023)


1 minute speeches


In the UELS.2 classroom students do weekly speaking activities. Public speaking in front of the class is a skill that every student should learn. In the UELS.2 classroom students write, practice, and give 1-Minute Speeches. The student should come to the front of the class and try to give an interesting speech for one-minute.

This can be a very nerve-racking experience for the students, but with time and practice the fear goes away and the speeches improve. Once the initial fear is overcome then the student starts to focus on things such as eye contact, speaking with a clear voice, using good volume and choosing an interesting topic.

During the week students are asked to prepare a speech which can be informational or persuasive.  This can be fictional or real. It can be in the past tense, future tense or present tense. Students can talk about a trip they went on, an adventure they had, or something that will happen in their lives such as “What I want to be when I am older”. Students have also spoken about topics such as Chinese holidays and festivals, city and country life and football, basketball and violin. The most important thing is that the student develops the confidence to get up in front of a group of people to speak English! 

Students who feel comfortable and confident can better express themselves and they will improve quicker. 1-minute speeches can be challenging for the students but the benefits are immense as students become more expressive, confident and communicative. 

Ms Kay  Grade 6  (February, 2023)


Don’t Take It Literally


The 6.1 classes practiced using figurative language in order to develop their use of descriptions and details in stories. Some of the figurative language we learned are similes, metaphors, personification, and idioms. Similes and metaphors compare two different things to make them seem similar; however similes use the words “like” or “as.” Personification is when we give human characteristics to things that are not human, and idioms are a type of phrase or expression that has a meaning that can't be interpreted by defining the individual words. We spent a few weeks discussing and learning about similes, metaphors, personification and idioms .

During these lessons, we learned how using figurative language can make a story more exciting and interesting. The students practiced making metaphors and similes during the month of October with scary stories. After discussing the use of personification, the students created a story together as a class by taking turns to make sentences using personification. The students practiced with a fun activity for idioms in which they were each given one to write in a sentence. Then, they drew the literal meaning of the idiom and presented it to the class.

After spending time practicing how to use these different kinds of figurative language, we challenged ourselves to write a descriptive paragraph of a setting, but the paragraph could not mention the setting within it. Our time with figurative language helped the students to become more descriptive and creative with their writing.


Mr Adam  Grade 6  (November, 2022)


Circle Time with Current Issues and Opinions



In 6.2 we have found it useful to integrate some of our speaking lessons into a Circle Time activity where students can openly express their opinions about current issues that we feel are of importance. These lessons start with all of us sat in a circle facing inwards. The students sit properly on their chairs with their hands on their knees with their eyes closed.

In the beginning they hear specific instructions and are asked to follow silently. Then, with their eyes open, they are told the topic of the day is Conflict Resolution. This is briefly outlined to ensure that everyone understands the questions that they are about to be asked. The aim of this lesson is to find out if the students have been in a conflict at school or at home in the past year. Judging by their response, most of them have been on the receiving end of an argument and as the students open their eyes they see this too.

Eyes closed again and ready for the next question. Did you respond by ignoring them, verbally retaliating or did you tell the teacher? Students offer different hand gestures to silently show their answers. With their eyes open we have an open discussion about how their conflicts were resolved and whether they feel they reacted responsibly. At the end of the lesson we come to a consensus that when provoked we should always speak to an adult to resolve our conflicts.

Mr Ryan  Grade 6  (November, 2022)


Are you an upstanding citizen?


The aim of this lesson is for students to be able to discuss in English and try to understand the following:

    . How to behave properly in public life

    . What is expected of them as citizens of a country?

    . How to contribute towards public order.

    . The benefits of community spirit.

    . How to be a respectful member of the community, following rules and guidelines.

    How to be responsible through their actions and considerations towards others.

    Students will be able to demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge by producing a poster that depicts what a good versus a bad citizen will look like.

In the lesson we first had a discussion about what the students thought an upstanding citizen is all about. We watched a short video on the attributes of an upstanding citizen and what qualities are required to be an upstanding citizen in society. We then discussed some of the vocabulary words related to ‘Public Life’, our current unit theme, and came up with a few sentences they could use in their posters.

As part of being an upstanding citizen, we need to learn to cooperate and work with other people. So the students were allocated a partner at their table who they did not usually choose to work with, this often turned out to be a girl working with a boy. There was some protesting about this but once the students began working they realized that each of them could bring their own strengths into their work through effective communication in English.

The results were creative posters that depicted what a good versus a bad citizen would look like.

Ms Jenna  Grade 1  (October, 2022)


Making a Storybook


The students of 1.4 love reading and learning about books. We learned that the title of our book today was, “There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat!” and the author was Lucille Colandro. After reading the story we decided to recreate the story in our very own storybook!

First, we are the authors of our storybooks, so we made sure our names were on the front cover. Our main character of our book is of course, the Old Lady. We copy our sentences very carefully making sure we use proper spacing and write our letter correctly. We show our teacher our great work! The second page we usually discuss what time of the year it is or where the character is located. This time it was Halloween time. On the third page we discussed what the problem was in the story. We determined that the Old Lady was eating a lot of Halloween things.

Finally, the conclusion of our storybooks ends on the fourth page. Our teacher asks us, “What happens in the end?” We take some time to think and remember this was when the Old Lady went Trick or Treating! We always enjoy making and learning about storybooks!


Mr Bryce  Grade 1  (October, 2022)


Applying New Language: Talking about Autumn


1.1 has been learning to recall and apply newly learned language and concepts to talk about and present their own autumn related crafts. The goal is to encourage students to combine their knowledge of numbers, colors and autumn vocabulary to improvise their very own mini show ‘n tell style speeches.

The process involves 3 main steps: Presentation (learning new vocabulary and concepts), Practice (drilling pronunciation and testing understanding), and Production (creating something and applying the language to describe it).

Using songs, chants, videos and other visual aids, the students are exposed to new concepts and vocabulary. Recently, we have been learning numbers, addition sentences, colors and autumn related vocabulary. The teacher provides clear and precise language modeling for the students.

Then, the class runs drills, with the teacher checking for clear pronunciation and natural intonation of sentences. Various games are played as follow-up to test the student’s listening and understanding of the content. Competing in teams ensures the process is as fun and engaging as possible.

Students then get to create their very own crafts. We did 2 autumn related crafts: Leaf rubbings (to consolidate and contextualize knowledge of colors) and a “mathematical leafy hedgehog” (to consolidate knowledge of numbers and addition sentences).

Finally, students are given an opportunity to present their crafts to the class using all the vocabulary and sentences they have been learning to describe it: Example: “These are autumn leaves. I see 5 leaves! They are colorful. I see red, orange, yellow and brown.”

The end result: Happy, accomplished students and one very proud teacher! 

Mr Iain  Grade 1  (October, 2022)


Halloween:  What do you see on Halloween? I can see a ___.


First, students began learning the words by seeing pictures. There were pictures of Halloween related words. During the week of Halloween lessons, we began learning about answering in specific sentence form in relation to specific questions. Focusing on the question “what do you see?”                                       with “I see a ______”. These answers were only based on selected theme vocabulary as well as additional vocabulary words.

Next, the students got a chance to come up in front of the class to individually ask fellow classmates “what do you see?”. Followed by the response “I see a ______”.  This helped them further understand each word and answer them in correct sentence form. To help assist some students, selected recognized items such as colors, shapes, and additional vocabulary words were used as an alternative to encourage participation and comprehension. Finally, the students were then seated at their tables. Here they were given Halloween activity books. These writing books were designed from the selected Halloween PowerPoint used in an earlier lesson this week.

Now it was time for the students to look at each page and picture, then read each sentence question and write the correct answer. For example, the question “what do you see?” for a picture of a costume. And in response the students would write the sentence “I see a costume.

This is an enjoyable an effective speaking and writing activity for the development of sentence structure, dolch words, and grammar. 


Megan Nielsen Grade 1 (October, 2022)


Phonics Practice



In 1.2 we practice phonics every day. We begin each class by reviewing all the letter names and sounds. Then we sing a phonics song. Every week, we focus on learning two letters of the alphabet. The first day we begin by using Starfall to introduce the letter. On Starfall, we learn about some words that begin with that letter, how to properly write it, and sometimes there are games we can play as a class. Then we sing a song that focuses on the letter sound to help us remember the sound for that letter we are learning. As a class we try and think of as many words as we can that begin with that letter. Lastly, we learn how to properly write the letter. Then the students get to practice writing it on a worksheet. The second day we play a game where tables and individuals get practice listening to words and decide if the word begin with the letter we are learning. We also sing more songs to practice the letter sound. Then the students draw a picture of an animal that begins with that letter. The students love following the step by step guide to draw the animal. They also love trying to guess what animal we will draw. 

2021-2022 School Year Highlights

G3-G5 English Computers Mr Zhang  (July, 2022)


When it comes to Information technology, it embodies both technical and creative elements. It is technical with precise instructions to have particular outcomes and creative in that there are no limits to what is able to be created in such a space.  

In the G3 program, the students learn to understand the components of technology, from the hardware, software along with operating systems, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and the Internet of Things (IOT).  They are exposed to innovative fun applications, videos and interact with multitudes of creative, reading and listening software activities.

In addition, they also learn the standard posture and placement when typing on the keyboard. What’s more, they get to explore software tools which give them the ability to customize according to their own preference.

In the G4 program, the students are given proper instructions on how to perform research on the Internet with student appropriated websites for their animal project.

With the researched information they are then taught with editing tools to create a shapeless object into an animal of their own interest. The living environment of the animal is also created as the background of their overall project.

For the G5 Program, the students learn about advanced editing tools and with otherworldly creativity and execution, they are in charge of making an animal in our world and the same animal if it were from their own imagined world.

The students also undergo monthly typing tests to improve both their accuracy and speed along with enhances their typing proficiency and efficiency.  

The final outcome transforms a good project into an outstanding project. Such fine work is the result of great personal ideas and technical skills. Empowering the students knowing he or she can create something of such high quality.

Ms Siby  Library  (July, 2022)


Let's explore the world of English picture books!


G1&2 Library Class

Books are a window for children to know the world. Through reading, children can be introduced to a magical and wonderful book world, making their learning life more colorful and fun. Therefore, our school uses a large number of English book resources in the school library to set up "English Reading class" to improve children's reading interest, develop their good reading habits, and further develop their reading ability.

Grades 1 and 2 have one library class each week. Library teachers will lead children into the wonderful world of picture book reading.

Pre-readingBefore sharing picture books, the library teacher will introduce the background of the picture books, talk with students about the title, author, illustrator, etc., or make predictions about the content of the picture books. Teachers will choose some interesting English picture books and intersperse some humorous actions or sounds at the right time, so as to attract children' s attention and stimulate their interest in reading.

While-reading: Help students to understand the picture book’s information and train students' reading skills. The main task is to understand the general idea and to obtain specific or detailed information of the story through reading. By answering questions and imitating the characters or dialogues in the books, children express themselves boldly, which not only deepen their understanding of the story, but also practice their oral English skills.

After reading the picture book story together, children will take the library card to the bookshelves to choose their favorite English books. There is an old saying: Interest is the best teacher. Reading a favorite English picture book can stimulate children's fun in English learning.

Then, children go back to their seats and quietly read English picture books or English books. Reading English books can gradually enhance students' English language skills, so that they can speak more authentic English.

Finally, the children are handed out the English books they borrowed, and then they sit back on the carpet.

Let's explore the magical world of English picture books together!


G3-6 Library class


G3-G6 students also go to the library once a week with their teacher to enjoy the library books. The school has invested millions of yuan in purchasing books, and now has more than 82,000 books in both Chinese and English today.

Students learn to enjoy reading books with different themes and styles appropriate with the children's age and psychological growth.

Reading different themed picture books can increase a child's knowledge, broaden their horizons and ultimately help them build a sound personality.


Mr Keeler   Grade 3   (June, 2022)


Playing with Prepositions


A preposition is a word or group of words which governs the relationship between items in a sentence. They can be used to demonstrate time, place, direction and location. In Grade 3 we have further explored how to use prepositions to expand on the student’s previous knowledge. In this class we focused on preposition of place. We began by reviewing prepositions by watching a fun, interactive video. Students worked together in their teams to identify the correct prepositions to correspond with pictures.

Next we worked together to investigate the mischievous classroom ghost! As some eagle-eyed students had already noticed, there were a few things amiss in 3.4. The students were asked to talk in pairs to spot which items were out of place and to form sentences with prepositions to describe the location of these items. Some of these ideas were shared with the class and students volunteered to explain where the various objects should be located, whilst again using full sentences with prepositions.  

After that the students worked in pairs to describe something they would like in their dream house. The students took turns to tell their partner about this and described where it would be and what it would look like. Their partners then drew pictures based on the descriptions given.

The students then reviewed each other’s drawings and discussed how accurately the pictures portrayed their descriptions. Well done everyone!

Ms Jenna  Grade 1  (June, 2022)


Summer Garden


Summer was right around the corner when we began planting our garden in spring. Class 1.6 learned a lot about plants and how they grow: “These are seeds” and so “Seeds need soil”. Each student had the opportunity to start their own miniature flower garden and we even began a small classroom garden. As time went on, we watered, gave our mini gardens sunlight, and lots of love! So the flowers grew, and grew, and grew! Eventually, we were able to take them home to begin our summer garden at home.

As our garden was growing at home, in class we discussed topics related to summer: clothes, the changing season, and of course, summer holiday!  We were excited to share with each other what we would like to do over summer vacation. Many students want to travel to see their families, play at a theme park, or travel to other areas to see nature. We played games on what we wear in the summer time: sun hats, sun glasses, shorts, and bathing suits. However, the students really were excited about their summer gardens. So, with the help of our classroom dictionary and our imaginations, students wrote and drew their dream summer garden.

This was a fulfilling lesson for the students. They learned about nature and how we can grow anything with time, patience, and a little love. 


Ms Megan  Grade 1  (June, 2022)


Using the 5 senses - Taste


In Grade One we have been learning about the five senses. As we have learned about the five senses, we have focused on speaking and dialogues. The last sense we learned about was taste. This was the students’ favorite sense to learn about. They learned a question “How does it taste?” Then, they learned some new vocabulary to describe how different things taste.

First, the whole class learned the vocabulary and question by looking at pictures to understand the different ways things taste. Next, each table got a chance to practice the new vocabulary. After, they got the chance to practice as a whole group and with their table, each student practices it individually. Two at a time the stand up and ask each other the question and answer using pictures.

Next, the class was shown some different food items and got to practice answering the question with different items. Then they went to their tables and got a chance to practice describing how each food item tasted. Finally, the students got to taste a sample of something that was sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy. This was their favorite part. They had to practice listening and eat the food in a certain order.

Finally we had a class discussion about what tastes they liked best and what tastes they didn’t like. The favorites were salty and sweet. But many students had a hard time choosing one favorite.

Ms Jan  Grade 1  (June, 2022)


Developing English Speaking Confidence


In G1 we have a mixture of personalities with some students very confident in speaking English and others who are not confident, and then everything in between. To speak confidently, each child needs to have many opportunities to speak.

 In 1.5 we use a combination of these methods: speaking with the class, speaking with the group, and speaking individually.

At the beginning of the school year, we use a lot of class and team speaking so that the students with lower confidence can practice more comfortably. We then begin to practice more individually to help all students develop their confidence in speaking English.

In May the G1 classes begin the Show and Tell activity. This is an opportunity for each child to speak about any item from home they want. During the first 2 weeks we have the 10 Questions activity.

Because some children have a timid personality, everyone has a chance to practice with the teacher first before they present to the class. They receive a lot of encouragement to speak loudly and to look at the audience.

The child presenting hides their item in a bag and is asked 10 questions from the audience and the audience tries to guess what it is. The child presenting can answer with simple yes or no responses. The child presenting can reveal their item after a correct guess or after the audience has asked 10 questions. One of the students will be asked to count the questions. This activity allows every student to become comfortable standing up in front of the group.

The last 3 weeks of Show and Tell involves each child telling the audience about something they have brought to school. Every day for the 5 weeks we practice the sentence structures so that students can speak confidently when it is their turn to speak.

It’s a fun way to help the students increase their confidence speaking English. The children have a lot of fun sharing their toys and items from home with the other children.  

Mr Michael  Grade 1  (May, 2022)


Word Family Darts


During the week, we played a review game called Word Family Darts. The students really enjoyed it and were very competitive. Before we play, the teacher reviews the target word families, by having students read the words on the PPT slides. The teacher will ask students to say the word on the slide or if they are confident, they can give sentence using that word. Each student in class will have a chance to answer a question. We then move onto the game itself. Each table team has their own whiteboard and marker. They will use these to write down the answers. Students help by becoming ‘little teachers.’ They will read the words I have written down. The teacher will help them if necessary. Students must line up and stand nicely before the game starts, ‘Little teachers’ say the word, and on the count of 3,2,1, go, the students playing the game must get to their board and write down the word they hear. When the students finish writing, they hold up the board with the answer. The two students, who are fastest and have written neatly, have the chance to gain points for their team.

Students must throw the sticky ball at the ‘dartboard’ and earn points based on where they hit. This is a fun game we can use to review vocabulary and phonics. 

Mr Bryce  Grade 1  (May, 2022)


Speaking Naturally: Guided Dialogue Practice


1.1 has been having fun while learning how to ask and answer questions with natural expression. The goal is to get students speaking more fluently. In this process, we engage our senses and integrate all the language skills: Listening, speaking, reading and writing.

The process begins by introducing a topic. In this example, we explored our sense of smell to generate a simple dialogue: “What can you smell? I can smell…” and “How does it smell? It smells…”.  The students start by learning some topic-related vocabulary and listen to the teacher model the dialogue. Then, they read the dialogue out loud, and the teacher asks questions to confirm their understanding.

Next, the students compete in teams to practice the dialogue, with one team asking the target questions and the other answering. Then they swap roles. The team with the most expression earns more points.

To reinforce their understanding and to help them remember, students write out the dialogues and illustrate them in their journals. This is an opportunity for students to review and apply their sight words and phonics learning too! Drawing pictures gives the students opportunity to flex their creativity.

Finally, the students apply what they have learned in context. In this case, we conducted a “smell test”. Each group was given 5 mystery items to smell. One by one, students closed their eyes and smelled each item with fellow group members asking “What can you smell? How does it smell?”. With smiles, laughter and excitement all round, the students have engaged in a learning experience they won’t soon forget. 

Mr Little  Grade 4  (May, 2022)


The Importance of Descriptions


In all my time reading the journals of students, I have noticed that many of them can be a little boring. But that begs the question, why are they so boring? They lack details! This year, the 4.1 class decided to analyze the descriptions in one of the books we read as a class: “Matilda,” by Roald Dahl. We found that out of about 20 sentences on a page, 18 would have descriptive language. Within those 18 sentences, there were over 40 descriptive words used! Those words were not limited to adjectives, but included adverbs, nouns, and even verbs!

As part of our reading, as well as writing, lessons we located and wrote down many various descriptive language styles, and we have practiced writing them both in class and as our homework. One way to do this was to start with a very basic sentence that is very common for our students. Something like: “I took my dog for a walk.” And then expand that sentence into an entire half-page story of the dog walk.

After modeling it repeatedly in class, and writing down pages of higher-level descriptive words and what they mean, students were set loose to try it on their own. Suddenly, the simple act of taking their dog for a walk,  or going to eat dinner at their aunt’s house has become an exciting and colorful story worth sharing and reading. A very enjoyable thing to read indeed!

Adding descriptions can make a very boring and simple story into a writing masterpiece that helps the reader to imagine and live the story through words!

Ms Trudy  Grade 4  (May, 2022) 


Art Integrated Learning (AIL)


You must be wondering, what this is? Is it a game or a subject? It’s actually neither. Art integrated learning is a teaching-learning model, where the students learn a topic or subject in the form of art. This type of model is student-centered meaning the students are given the opportunity to decide two things: what material they learn and how they learn it, in contrast to teacher-centered approaches where the students are focused completely on the teacher. This is a fun way of getting all the students involved in the lesson. The students of 4.5 had a blast creating poster models of ‘The Human Organs” within the body. It fostered a lot of teamwork and creativity.


1. First, the students had to brainstorm how they wanted to construct and represent the human organs. This encouraged the students to think creatively and share their ideas, no matter how far “out there” they may seem.

2. The students had to assign task among each other in a group setting which is a good way to learn responsibility, teamwork and practice speaking confidently among their peers.  

3.They then selected the materials needed to create the organs, designed them and assembled them on the poster.

4. Finally, the students had to speak about their posters and the function of each organ in the body.

Incorporating art into the theme unit imprinted the picture, names and shape of the organs in the students’ memory while fostering good working habits. 

Mr Frank  Grade 4   (May, 2022)


The Body - The Five Senses


In our themed unit on The Body, we discussed and studied The Five Senses. The students learned about the sense of touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell.  Our discussion led us to talk about the ways we can use our senses and how they help us to live.

The students seemed very excited to contribute to the conversation. Some of the class periods were dedicated to making a poster as a group project, as it allows for communication and creativity from the students.  We talked about different types of posters and what kind of information they need on them. Next, the project was broken down into three phases for the students.  Then, we 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 poster, and the placement of the information on their poster.

During the creation phase, the students worked diligently to write, draw, cut, and glue their features to the poster as they communicated what needed to be made and where information 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 poster and what they would say before they presented their finished work to their classmates.

I am sure the student learnt a lot doing this project, especially about team work, cooperation and communicating effectively with each other. 

Ms Becky  Grade 4  (May, 2022)


Creative Speaking with Animals


To speak without preparation is no easy task. Therefore, it important to start by building up vocabulary, then to practice, by oneself, in groups and in front of the whole class.

We work hard in Grade Four to develop the students’ speaking confidence and abilities by varying activities designed to keep children ‘creatively speaking’, giving them chances to use new and different vocabulary they have been learning all year. In 4.3, we have designed a fun activity to help students think and speak at the same time, all with a smile.

Every week, students take home a different strange, morphed animal to consider. They make a story about it. Then we speak about the animal to the class on Mondays. The latest Creative Speaking Activity uses these experiences and gives students a chance to demonstrate both accumulated and new vocabulary to think about new strange animals. Students choose an animal and speak for one minute about it. There are some questions on the back of each picture to stimulate deeper thinking and creativity.

Small groups were also given previously unseen pictures. Each group chose their favorite picture, which also encourages them to speak more; as they love to talk about what they are interested in. Students took it in turns to make a creative speech about the picture, closely monitored and encouraged by their teachers. They laughed as they considered each question and this helped them be less shy when speaking to a group. They all have something interesting to say and the students really enjoyed it! After this, students wrote their stories so they had a record of their creative ideas about their funny animals.

Fun and laughter is a great way to build confidence in their own speaking abilities. 


Mr Nathan Grade 4 (April, 2022)


Describing and Creating a Monster


To begin the activity, the students read the story, “The Blind Men and the Elephant.” In which some blind men describe an elephant and its parts. We looked up the new vocabulary and talked about the story. The students learned how to make a “simile” describing something as something else.

Next we did a worksheet with a detailed description of a nature scene, in which a boy is looking out over a lake and describing what he sees. We circled the descriptions and tried to draw a picture of them as we recognized them.

Then we talked about the monsters that we already knew; dragons, unicorns, and mermaids. We then tried to think of new monsters and talked about what we remembered about them. The students talked about some Chinese creatures that they knew.

Finally, each student made their own monster or found a monster to talk about. They drew a picture of the monster and wrote a story or described it in detail. They talked about if it was good or bad, where it lived, what it ate, and what did it like to do.

Afterwards, each student introduced their monster in front of the class and told everyone about them. If there was time afterwards we had a debate about what monster would win in a fight if it was fighting someone else’s monster. This was a very fun assignment.

Mr Ryan UELS (April, 2022)


Mindful Listening and Speaking


In this lesson the objective is for students to learn about their superpower sense of listening and speaking by listening and responding to questions with kindness, attention and mindfulness.

The lesson begins by having students sit in a circle, to become quiet and to close their eyes. In this activity they will be guided to listen to sounds around them with curiosity, which is like a superpower. The class will be guided to take two deep breaths and notice their belly rise and fall.

The teacher then rings a chime three times and asks the students to focus on the sounds. The students were then asked to listen to sounds behind and in front of them. All along they will be guided to be mindful of their breathing.

The students are then divided into pairs and partners will take turns talking for one minute, while the other partner will only listen. They will need to discuss “Their favorite place they have visited and why it is their favorite?” We then come together as a group and discuss what they noticed while completing this activity. E.g. how does mindful listening help us in discussions and interacting with others?

The students will then go back to their desks and complete the My Superhero Senses worksheet. They will need to write down all the things they listened to and then draw a picture of themselves listening to their partner. 

Mr Mark LELS.2 (April, 2022)


Group Work



Students in LELS.2 get introduced to a topic, for example synonyms, antonyms, word study and time. Once the teacher has introduced the topic the teacher will explain and teach the concepts and language for the students to understand. Students will then complete their first task on the topic. After they complete the task we like to break into small groups and continually review the topics we have learned. The teacher calls this method: introduce, teach and review.  In LELS.2 we also allow the students to be the leader in the group as well as the teacher as we believe it’s important for students to learn together and not just listen to the teacher. The leader of the group can be rotated to allow all students to have different responsibilities during group activities. The students are also expanding their knowledge base on each topic as they work within the group and review the topic. At the end of each group session we expect students to have enhanced their knowledge of each topic. The students worked together to make antonym, synonym and time posters. They will rotate groups to further review what they have learned. Finally, the students complete their posters as they work quietly and cooperatively in their groups.

Ms Marit  Grade 3 (April, 2022)


Sequence Words


In grade three, during the second semester, one of our focuses is on using sequence words while writing about a topic. This time, the topic was “A Spring Day”. The students were able to learn about how to use sequence words appropriately while telling a story.

First, the students were then asked if they knew of any special words to describe the beginning, middle and end of a story. Many hands went up as we wrote, “First, Next, Then, After, Last, and finally” on the board. Then, the students were asked to look at series of four pictures that were displayed on the board. They looked at the pictures for one minute before asked what sequence word belonged with each picture. We labeled each picture using our sequence words before moving on to the next step.

Our next step was writing our sequence words on the board, in correct order, on page two of our assignment. Students raised their hands and told the class where First, Next, etc. should be placed. After that, we reviewed the vocabulary words that went along with the topic “A Spring Day”. We reviewed the words sky, sun, shine, storm, dark, clouds, rain, puddles and rainbow. Then, the students raised their hands and had to say a sentence using a sequence words and a vocabulary word. For example; “First, the sun was shining and the sky was blue.” (18,19)

Following the classroom discussion, the students received page one and were ready to write a story about “A Spring Day”. The students’ task was to use sequence words in the correct order while telling a story. In addition, they had to use all of the vocabulary words appropriately while writing about the pictures. When they were finished they self-corrected their work with the help of the teacher.

Once the students completed their rough draft, they had to use their best handwriting and follow their rough draft corrections to write their final draft. Their final draft showed that they have the ability to use sequence words while telling a story about a series of pictures.

Mr B Grade 3 (March, 2022)


Guided Reading


Our Guided Reading program caters for all students. At the beginning of the semester we assess each students reading ability and put them into different colour coded groups based on their reading levels. We will then use special leveled reading books from the Reading Resource Room that are suitable for each group’s level.

We start the class by separating the groups. Two groups will be reading with the teachers and the other two groups will be doing independent work, like comprehension and vocabulary activities, from the reading books. We will rotate the groups every class to give the students equal amount of reading and writing. 

The reading groups will read with the teachers in the classroom. The teacher will read the book first, and the students will listen and follow. Then the students take turns to read the storybooks. If they come across some unfamiliar words, we help them using different strategies, like looking at the pictures, sounding out the words using the phonics they have learnt, or what word fits into the place (context). We also help them with pronunciation and intonation.

The other two groups are working independently, doing tasks or exercises related to the book. From the exercises we can assess the students understanding of the books content. Throughout the school year the students are assessed, and the level of book will increase in difficulty as the students improve their reading skills.


Our Guided Reading program helps all students to learn the skills they are ready for, and ensures that all students progress successfully. 

Mr Shelhamer  Grade 3 (March, 2022)


Powerful Prefixes


Prefixes are really important because many English words can be changed with prefixes. We can do something again with ‘redo’. We can easily describe opposites like ‘lucky’ and ‘unlucky’. So many English words can be modified like this, that it is necessary for us to practice listening, speaking, reading, writing, and understanding these prefixes in our class.

We started by listening to the teacher say the words and repeating after that. Then we read the words together as a class, and then by table groups. We wanted to get familiar with saying the word with and without the prefix so we could hear the difference. 

After practicing the focus vocabulary we worked on a task in pairs. Students looked in the dictionary to find five words with each prefix. Then they wrote the words and drew a picture to illustrate the meaning of each word.

Finally we shared our posters and read them to each other. Through this task, we got familiar with these prefixes and how to use them to enhance our language.


Now we can start using these words and prefixes in our daily talks and journal writing. We can try to say and write more complex sentences like, “I will retell an unhappy story to distract you.”

Mr Drew Grade 3 (March, 2022)


Past Tense Verbs (regular and irregular)


 Past tense is a difficult concept for our second language students. It takes time and lots of exposure to the language to master it.

We here at Clifford School can incorporate some fun and helpful methods and tips to help students with this difficult concept and train them to think in the past tense.

The first step is making students aware that verbs change based on the time. We can do that with illustrations, demonstrations, and by reading stories aloud.

Then, the students will learn that adding –ed to the end of a verb is a common rule, and they try to remember the most common irregular verbs. We encourage students to try to make a word past tense by adding –ed if they are not sure. They can go back and correct irregular verbs later, but the important thing at this stage is thinking in the past tense.

The next step is practicing it. We can do that with a game we call “Yesterday.” The lights go off (13), and then back on. Some students “wake up” and do an action. The lights then go back off, and everyone goes to “sleep” again. When the lights do on again, the teacher asks the students “What did (student’s name) do yesterday?” If they answer correctly, they get a point.

From there, it’s an ongoing exercise to use it every day when speaking or writing about the past. Students get better at it the more they use it, and with enough time, it becomes a natural part of the way they speak. 

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!