Classroom Highlights (Learning in Action!)

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, 2020)


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. 

Ms Jemma Grade 6 (February, 2022)


A Good Book


Book reports help students to organize their thoughts about a book, but they also help students to understand what is happening in the story. Recently in grade 5 we have been working on a mini book report. The class is about halfway through their guided reading book, so to help them follow the story they have been mapping out key events and characters on to triangular puzzle pieces. These pieces will be put together to make a ball book report.

One of the triangle pieces asks the students what they think of the story so far. We want to encourage students to write more detailed answers so we began this piece by looking at different opinions that we can have, and the vocabulary used to describe them. These opinions can be both positive and negative. Students made notes about the different opinions and gave examples of books for each of the opinions. For example, Harry Potter is an exciting book. Then we looked at adding evidence to our opinions, students found reasons and examples from their book to demonstrate their opinion. For example Harry Potter is an exciting book, the quidditch games are very fast and funny, this is why I really like this book.

Once the students have completed all eight pieces of their book report it was time to put them together to make a ball. Students cut out all the pieces and glued the sides together. Once complete the book reports looked great and we will hang them in our classroom. 

Mr A Grade 5 (February, 2022)


5Ws to Writing a Paragraph: Now THAT’s a Tasty Hamburger!



In previous years, many students focused on writing about their family, friends, hobbies, and places around their home. We were able to learn common nouns and adjectives to use in our sentences when speaking and writing with a friend or teacher. As the years progress, students will take on a whole new vocabulary of new and unfamiliar words. But how do we use all this new information? Paragraphs and story writing! The focus this year for students will be to expand their sentence structures while in the classroom. Students will be to use a new variety of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, punctuation, and sentence structures to write down their complete thoughts and ideas. One of these sentence structures is a personal favourite of mine which are the 5Ws (who, what, when, where, and why?). Using the 5Ws, students are able to give the reader a complete idea and picture inside their mind as they describe set and setting, which we will work on next semester. As students gain confidence and understanding when writing, the next challenge is to put everything that we’ve learned together into a complete structure that has a beginning, middle, and end. We call this a paragraph which holds at least 5 complete sentences. A paragraph has an introductory sentence, at least three juicy details, and finally a concluding sentence which holds it all together. Teachers usually use the hamburger method (see below) to show how students can essentially create a tasty meal from words alone!

Ms Antasha Grade 5 (February, 2022)


Welcome Year of the Tiger - 2022


What is more exciting than Chinese cultural traditions for the Lunar New Year?  If you ask our class, nothing!  The rest of the world may call it Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, while travel guides call it the largest human migration.  This annual holiday brings families together all over China.

In a personal narrative style, using learned sentence types, our scholars share their family, regional and cultural traditions practiced during this exciting time of the year.  They put their activities in order as they will be experienced throughout the seven day holiday and beyond.  Their expressed details share glad feeling, increase their vocabulary usage, and sharpen grammar skills.  

Our completed paragraphs were rewritten and added to a flying dragon or tiger inspired by the puppet tradition of pí yǐng xì {皮影}.

There are many cultural traditions we all experience throughout our lives.  It is a real treat to share these cheerful moments with others along the way.

Mr Matt  UELS (January, 2022)


At the Circus!


In UELS2, one Guided Reading story we read was “The Circus.” During Guided Reading, we discussed things you can see or do at the circus. The teacher also spent this time helping the students pronounce and understand circus related vocabulary words. Then, we spent a lesson taking notes in our Writing Strategies notebooks about circus related vocabulary words. The slides on the screens also showed pictures describing the words in order to help the students remember the words. After we learned some new words, we played a speaking and listening review game called “Hot Seat.” The class was split into two teams with each team having a member on the Hot Seat. The students on the Hot Seat could not look at the screen, but they were given spoken clues about which vocabulary word was projected onto the screen. The team that won earned prizes. After we learned our vocabulary words, we had an independent writing assignment with a circus picture prompt. The students used their Writing Strategies notebook to help come up with ideas, and they all wrote wonderful stories. After the teacher took a look at them, the students copied their stories onto special circus paper, cut them out, and decorated them. These final products are what are proudly displayed outside the UELS2 classroom!

Mr Ward   Grade 5  (January, 2022)




In our class, we are learning about bullying, how to prevent it, and what to do if you witness it. The students watched a video of kids talking about bullying, why it happens, and what to do about it. (pic 1, 2) The students then had a class discussion on what to do. (pic 3, 4, 5)

As a class, we talked about what actions are bullying and what we can do about it.

As a group, we talked about self-control and controlling our emotions. We talked about how to control our emotions and practiced techniques like deep breathing. (pic 6)

The students, in groups of two, made posters about anti-bullying. We looked at different examples of anti-bullying posters. As a whole, we highlighted language that these posters used (pic 7). The students then worked on making their own posters using the ones we had seen for inspiration. (pic 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)


Finally, the students worked together one more time to make a skit that talked about bullying. The students had to show awareness of different types of bullying and provide an anti-bullying message to the class. The students then presented their skits in front of the class. (pic 14, 15, 16)

Miss Maria  Grade 5  (December, 2021)


Map Making



Students have been learning the parts of maps in math class. They started with learning the parts of the map. They took notes in their journals. First they learned about compass roses. Then the students learned about the other parts of the map such as the map key which is used to tell about what the symbols on the map mean and allow people to read and understand the map. After that students learned about scale and its importance with maps. Finally the class discussed the importance of giving the maps titles so that the reader could more easily identify what kind of map it is and over what area. Students practiced finishing filling out various compass roses. Students have matched a symbol with its meaning, so they have created a small map key. They have used rulers to measure on a map to tell the distance using the scale provided. To show that they understand the parts of a map, student’s project for mapping is to create their own style of map that includes all the necessary parts, such as a title, compass rose, map key, and scale along with the actual map. They have been working on this for several days. They started with a rough draft in pencil and then their final draft in their choice of pen, marker, or pencil.

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!