Classroom Highlights (Learning in Action!)

 Ms Antasha Grade 5 June, 2024


Word Detectives!


Words have the power to foster cooperation, connect generations and build relationships. Those same words, used recklessly, can discourage, destroy and devastate the hearts and minds of those who share this lovely planet with us.  

Let’s examine words to discover their meaning and gain understanding. Truly, understanding allows us to mean what we say when choosing our words.

Our Word Study lessons mostly explore prefixes, letters added before a base word, and suffixes, letters added after a base word. Both additions change the meaning of our initial word. We decode these words to find greater meaning to the base words we already know and expand the new words we learn by adding a prefix or suffix.

Let’s take a look at a list of words to see if we can find their meaning from the base word or either its prefix or suffix. We then make notes to break down the meaning of our base word. Our ability to make the best word choice before adding a prefix/suffix makes for an accurate use of our new word.

With notebook pages full of knowledge, we play a whiteboard game to check for comprehension. Ready – Set – Go! The new game challenge is to use picture examples, Word Study terms, and definitions to make a three-way match. By understanding or our word choices, we can use what we learn to win- In life and our class game.

Let’s discover and build language together! 

Ms Natalie  Grade 1  (May, 2024)


A Journey of Sensory Exploration: Words Come Alive!


These past few weeks in Grade 1, our young learners embarked on a multi-sensory adventure, unlocking the secrets of new vocabulary!  We began each topic by introducing exciting new words for the target sense and used the vocabulary in many ways. In the following weeks when we learned a new sense we always revisited previously learned vocabulary solidifying their understanding.

Throughout the sensory journey, their excitement built each time they learned a new sense with the highlight being the final sense we learned; Taste. After experiencing the joy of using the newly learned dialogue in fun, real-life situations, the students could not wait to learn about the sense of taste. The first way we put these words into action, was having the students complete worksheets by matching the newfound vocabulary to real-life objects.

But the learning didn't stop there! The classroom often transformed into a playful haven, with vocabulary flashcards taking center stage in engaging games. Through these games, students actively practiced using the new words, cementing them in their memory banks.

The most exciting part was our sense experiments. We embarked on a journey that challenged our senses: smell, taste, and touch.  For our touch experiment, little hands reached into a basket to feel the different textures. For our smell experiment, noses were tickled by intriguing smells. With the taste experiment, taste buds danced with new flavors. Each discovery led to the joyful use of our new vocabulary, as students excitedly named the objects they encountered.

This process was a testament to the power of learning through multiple senses.  By engaging sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell, we transformed vocabulary from abstract concepts into vibrant experiences. Our young explorers are no longer just learning words – they're experiencing them!

Mr Reynolds  Grade 6  (May, 2024)


Word Study: The Building Blocks of Communication


This Year, the bilingual program has put emphasis on developing student’s vocabulary and word knowledge. Focusing on vocabulary use in writing and speaking, the Grade Six Word Study program allows students to develop their vocabulary through a variety of methods, such as speaking, writing, drawing and skits along with traditional assessment. By focusing on word use in context, students learn a wide range of vocabulary, and how to use their vocabulary when speaking and writing. This gives students more experiences to express themselves in English.   

Students start by learning a new word list. Students then are tasked with searching for the word meanings as well as synonyms and antonyms for their words. Next, students construct a Word Study poster. Students work in small groups constructing posters for a speech and presentation to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the assignment. Finally, students work is displayed and hung around the classroom.

The next part of the unit lesson consists of students using their vocabulary in their writing journals. Students are expected to understand the part of speech of their word study words and use their words correctly in their own writing.

Finally, students engage in a fun skit activity. Here the students get the opportunity to sharpen their speaking and vocabulary skills 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 Iain  Grade 1  (May, 2024)


Reading, Writing and Speaking the four seasons.


Learning about weather and the four seasons teaches students about change. The arrival of spring, summer, autumn and winter each brings its own unique natural characteristics and the ideal opportunity for helping children learn. 1.5 students are curious to learn and improve their understanding of the world around them and the chance to gain new knowledge. This knowledge has been incorporated into a variety of activities within our class. Through drawings, writing, games, books, and other activities the weather and seasons can help children learn about the ways in which the weather is linked to the time of year.

While seated together, students raise hands and verbally share with the teacher and classmates’ different things recognized to be part of the spring season. As a class, all then repeat each piece of information presented. Moving along from one season to another, students continue describing changes which occur. Although some seasonal changes are obvious, there are many important subtle differences related to each season.

Next, motor skills are used while performing a color, cut and gluing activity. This activity is fun and requires them to match together multiple items individually recognizable to one of the four seasons.

Finally, after spending time covering all these changes students writing skills are then challenged. Starting with “In spring”, and then writing two sentences about things recognizable to each season.

After completion, every student reads to the class what they’ve written and shares what they’ve learnt.

Mr B  Grade 1 (April, 2024)  


From Sounds to Sentences: A Week of Language Exploration


This week in 1.1 the students embarked on a thrilling journey from mastering individual sounds to crafting their own sentences!

We began by revisiting familiar content: Single letter sounds and word families. Through catchy songs, engaging chants, and fun games, we solidified the foundation for building words.

Next, we took a playful leap into "inventive spelling." The class worked together in teams, racing against the clock to write down a new word they heard. The focus? Capturing the sounds they heard, not achieving perfect spelling – a strategy that boosted confidence and cemented the link between sounds and letters.

Equipped with these skills, we moved on to guided writing. Students tackled worksheets that challenged them to fill in missing Dolch words and unscramble jumbled sentences. This provided gentle scaffolding, reinforcing the structure of simple sentences.

Finally, the moment arrived for independent writing! Equipped with the tools they'd honed throughout the week; students faced a picture prompt. We brainstormed together, forming simple descriptive sentences like "I see five frogs. They are green." Armed with sentences and ideas from this collaborative practice, each student then wrote their own 3-4 sentence masterpiece!

This exciting week showcased the power of learning that builds upon itself. We witnessed our young language explorers transform from sound recognizers to storytellers, all in a mere five days!

Mr Zee UELS  (April, 2024)


The benefit of using games in the classroom.


In the ELS classroom we place a high emphasis on engaging activities. One of the best ways to do this is through using games. Games assist in language acquisition in a fun way, retention through a competitive and sometimes amusing nature, and mastery through building confidence in teams. We strive for learning to always be fun because we want less groans, less anxiety, and more squeals of joy. Language acquisition and mastery require constant effort. Therefore wisely-chosen and competitive games with rewards are precious. They afford students necessary intervals from normal study while simultaneously allowing language practice. The games chosen help stimulate the brain, and improve cognitive skills (problem solving, concentration, mental agility, kinesthetic learning). With this in mind, we used alphabet blocks to be more challenging for students to find the letters, and a writing mat so they could produce the past participle in competitive exercises. This game requires teamwork and speed.

We started off by teaching students the past participle of the verbs, in animated format. Students took notes and corrected their work.

Next we moved students onto the team alphabet blocks games with the writing mat for some fun, movement, teamwork, and unconscious acquisition of language. Then the students used mini whiteboards, in order to assess individual progress and language acquisition. Finally we got students to produce the language through writing and then speaking using jeopardy.

Ms Megan  Grade 1  (April, 2024)


Word Families


When learning word families the biggest focus is phonics and being able to read the word. But it is also a great way for the student to learn new vocabulary and practice reading comprehension. Being young learners we have several different short activities we use to help learn each word family every week. We begin by reading all letters with the word family. Next we brainstorm what words are real and what words are nonsense words. We also sing some songs and learn the meaning of the real words. Then we begin reading stories that include the word family, starting with a video that reads the words to us. Then it is the students turn to read a story. We read it as a group and take turns reading it in smaller groups. We draw a picture to illustrate the meaning of the story. Each student gets a chance to demonstrate their understanding of the story. It is a great way for them to show creativity and understanding. Lastly we make a word slider to practice reading the words individually. The students also get the opportunity to take this home for further practice and to help with their homework. The student’s favorite part of the lesson is at the end when they play a game and race to be the first one to find the letter and word on their word slider from a letter shown on the screen. 

Ms Jenna  Grade 1  (April, 2024)


Advanced Dolch Word Practice    


Students in 1.4 show their enthusiasm for learning new words during their advanced Dolch Word lessons. During our listen and repeat section student volunteers come to the front of the classroom to say Dolch Words located on our front boards, followed by an advanced word practice PPT. Each time students repeat what they hear.

When we begin the practice of learning new words, the teacher first introduces pictures and asks students what they see on the PPT. In this example, students understood that the person on the screen was either “coming” or “going.” Student volunteers come to the front to practice and repeat the new words they’ve learned, followed by students filling in the blanks with the correct new words.

Once we’ve reviewed our new words, made a few new sentences, and filled in the blanks we later move to our tables to work on our Dolch Word workbook. We take our time to see if we can fill in the blanks with our new words and ask any questions we may have. Once we’ve completed our workbook we let the teacher know so she can check it over.

To review last week’s words we like to play a group competition game. The team members that can write the correct word the quickest scores points. The highest amount of points earned is the team winner!

Mr Adam  Grade 6  (April, 2023)  


Dodecahedron Book Reports


Since March is reading month, we have been working on book reports in Grade 6.  One type of book report that we have been working on throughout the month is a Dodecahedron book report.  This type of report requires students to complete 12 different circles, which are later put together to form a dodecahedron – or 12 sided shape.  The first circle we completed showed the students name. On the second circle they wrote the title of the book they read. To complete the third circle we went to the computer lab and the students researched a little about the author of their book, and then wrote down three interesting facts about the author. For the fourth circle each student summarized the book they read, making sure to include information from the beginning, middle, and end. Circles five, six, and seven required the students to tell us about three different characters in their book and explain what we need to know about them. We learned about three types of text connections: text to self, text to text, and text to world, and then the students wrote about these three types of connections for their book. For circle nine the students chose 5 people that they would recommend the book to. The students completed circle ten by drawing their favorite scene from the book and writing a caption about it underneath. Next, the students created an advertisement for the book. They completed the last circle by reviewing the book and sharing their opinion. Finally, they assembled their dodecahedron book reports, and we hung them up in the classroom. 

Mr Shaikh  Grade 6  (March, 2024)


Debating how we can be Healthier


This year we are researching what is considered to be the most important aspect of being healthy. Students were introduced to the topic and did some self-research to debate their opinions and then present their findings in a speech format.

First students were introduced to the idea of a wellness circle, which incorporates different aspects of being healthy and the discussed and noted down ideas.

Students then organized their ideas into notes and created posters to show their understanding.

They were then encouraged to debate their ideas and express which ideas they felt were the most important aspects of being healthy is and why.

Students found that the information they had for debate was inadequate. So they were given time to do research during computer class. Student’s researched vital information that would give them the edge in future debates as well as be able to help them to create speeches.

The teacher then gave them a conclusion to their research by introducing new concepts of being healthy through video format. After some discussion and explanations, students then made their final speeches.

Students were able to present their findings and research into a final presentation to give their opinions. After debates, research and expressing themselves in a presentation format, students were able to learn more about themselves and the concept of being healthy and will hopefully take their newfound knowledge to teach others and improve their own lives. 

Mr Ryan  Grade 6  (March, 2024)


Grammar Games – Share or Steal game


In 6.4 students practice grammar every week to become more proficient at identifying when to apply certain grammar rules in a sentence. To help spark the student’s imagination we play a fun interactive grammar game to practice.

First we go through a PPT explaining the rules of when to use “both, neither, either, all & none”, in a sentence. We then setup 2 cards with the word SHARE on it and 2 cards with the word STEAL on it. There will be a playing table, and the rest of the class will be seated as the audience. Two students are called up from the class. They will face each other at the playing table with the cards (face down) in front of them. Together they both have to get the 2 GAP fill questions right in the PPT game correct. If they get the two answers correct, then they can play Share or Steal. The reward is 10 points for their table which can be split into 5. The students then have 20 seconds to decide whether they will choose the SHARE or STEAL card. They can talk to each other in English to try and convince each other that they will share the reward. After the 20 seconds they reveal if they chose SHARE or STEAL. This game helps the students know when to apply grammar rules, and it’s also a lot of fun deciding to Share or Steal!

Mr Allan  Grade 2  (March, 2024)


Exploring Hybrid Animals


Introducing children to the world of hybrid animals can ignite their imaginations and nurture their creative spirits. In a lively and engaging lesson plan designed for second graders, the concept of hybrid animals becomes a gateway to boundless creativity.

The lesson commences with an interactive discussion about familiar animals, prompting students to share their knowledge. This sets the stage for the introduction of hybrid animals—a concept where the blending of two species leads to the creation of entirely new creatures. Excitement fills the room as children ponder the possibilities of combining different animal traits.

Armed with drawing materials, the students embark on a creative journey. With a vivid array of colors, they piece together their unique hybrid animals, merging features from their favorite creatures.

The classroom buzzes with activity as young minds blend the wings of a bird with the body of a horse or the stripes of a tiger with the scales of a fish.

Presentations follow, each student proudly unveiling their imaginative creations, describing the characteristics and origins of their hybrid animals. As they share, confidence grows, and peers marvel at the diversity of these newly envisioned beings.

Through this exploration, children not only learn about hybrid animals but also hone their presentation skills and celebrate the power of imagination. This lesson fosters an environment where creativity knows no bounds, leaving a lasting impression on these budding young minds.


Ms Trish  Grade 2  (February, 2024)


Robot Design Project: Exploring Creativity and Descriptive Writing


The inventive minds of Class 2.5 embarked on an exciting and imaginative journey - a robot design project that sparked creativity and descriptive storytelling.

Our students began this journey by exploring the fascinating world of robots. We learned that these remarkable machines aren't fictional but rather exist in our world and perform important functions. The use of robots has expanded greatly in recent decades, from exploration of hazardous environments like underwater volcanoes and deep seas to assisting in factories to make tasks easier, robots have proven to be incredible allies.

Our young innovators, boundless in their curiosity, came up with a plethora of ideas for how robots could be of even greater service to us. Some students thought it would be a good idea to make robots to help with homework and other household tasks.

A challenge was given! Armed with enthusiasm and inspiration, our students set out to design their very own robots. With colourful sketches and vibrant imaginations, they brought their mechanical marvels to life. The focus wasn't solely on drawing; narratives told via detailed prose were also important.

Finally, it was time to show off these genius works to their fellow students. With pride, each student showcased their one-of-a-kind robot designs, complete with descriptive paragraphs that brought their creations to life. 

Through this engaging project, our students not only explored the world of robotics but also honed their descriptive writing skills, fostering creativity and imagination along the way. Seeing the limitless imagination and talent of our young innovators is truly inspiring.

Mr Ryan  Grade 2 (February, 2024)


Having Fun with Opposite Adjectives: Making Written Work More Interesting.


Adjectives are a great tool to help young writers make their word more engaging to the reader. They can describe feelings about a specific thing. During this class we learnt specifically about opposite adjectives and started the adjectives journey with a catchy song!

Having visual aids and real-world examples is integral for the students to become engaged with the concept of opposite adjectives. This was included in their learning PPT with bright colourful picture examples and sentences the students could read together in order for the adjective to make sense to them.

As the students felt more familiar with the concept of opposite adjectives, we were able to play a memory game wherein the students tried to remember the place of all of the opposite adjectives. During this process the vocabulary was used many times by the students as part of the game. This helped the students to retain the opposite adjectives vocabulary in a fun way.

As part of a review process, the students worked together in pairs in order to make a beautiful opposite adjectives poster. This was a good tool in order to assess their confidence with the concept and retention of learnt vocabulary. It also has the benefit of promoting good cooperation between the students. We had a competition for the most interesting or beautiful poster. It was hard to decide but the teacher allowed the class to decide the overall winner to foster a sense of pride amongst the students. 

Mr M  Grade 2  (February, 2024)


Dolch Scavenger Hunt


2.1 took their second graders on a fun adventure that was part scavenger hunt, part language challenge. Armed with excitement and a checklist, these little explorers combed a part of the school grounds to try and complete their list. Our fun challenge for the students was to create sentences using both Dolch words and things found on their checklist. It was like a mini outdoor classroom party! This outdoor activity wasn't just about fun; it was about learning on the fly. The sentences they came up with were like little masterpieces, connecting nature and words in their own creative way. The students may not always finish on time, which is why they are encouraged to finish inside the classroom and use other resources, like dictionaries, to make their sentences even more interesting. If the weather permits, outside activities are something both the students and teachers love to do. Students spend most of their time working hard in class, so it’s nice to have them go outside to refresh their mood, work closely with one another, and create fond memories. This scavenger hunt wasn't just a break from regular classes; it was a continuation of learning that left our second graders buzzing with excitement and words. It’s a great reminder that learning can happen inside and outside the classroom.

Mr Tshepo  LELS  (January, 2024)


Inductive Learning:

Discovering the Importance of Transition Words


A typical English lesson consists of students walking into the classroom and waiting for the teacher to execute a lesson plan. But what if students were told that they would be their own teachers for the day? That is what happened to LELS 1 students this month.

First, students were given scrambled flashcards, labeled A – I, which they had to organize. Some students organized the flashcards in alphabetical order whilst others organized them according to the pictures shown on the flashcards. Next, students read three short stories and were asked to find a grammatical structure that was consistent in the stories. This is where students discovered the use of transition words, i.e., words that show the relationship between sentences and paragraphs. They also discovered that the stories followed a sequence of events (6, 7). We brainstormed other words that can be used as transition words and watched a video to help come up with more words. Then, students realized that the flashcards they organized earlier told a story that followed a sequence of events. They reorganized their flashcards and presented the sequenced story using transition words. They also presented their own sequenced stories thereafter. Finally, once students understood the objective of our lessons, they were tasked with using the vocabulary and grammar they had discovered to write short stories of their own.

Students created stories that explained daily routines, weekend itineraries, instructions to activities, directions, etc. They did so through the process of self-discovery, that made students both the teacher and the student – an approach called Inductive Learning.

Mr Rohde  Grade 2  (January, 2024)


Writing with nouns and adjectives.


Teaching grade two students to write with nouns and adjectives is an engaging process that lays the foundation for expressive and descriptive language skills. At this stage, we focus on fostering creativity and expanding their English vocabulary.

Initially, lessons introduce the concept of nouns, emphasizing concrete objects familiar to the young learners. This might involve interactive activities like show-and-tell or outdoor scavenger hunts to identify nouns in their surroundings. Gradually, adjectives are introduced to add detail and color to their writing. Creative exercises, such as describing a favorite toy or pet using adjectives, encourage imaginative expression.

Incorporating visual aids like pictures or storybooks helps reinforce the connection between nouns and adjectives. Teachers employ collaborative activities, fostering a supportive environment where students share and discuss their descriptive sentences. These activities not only enhance linguistic skills but also promote teamwork and communication.

As the students’ progress, writing exercises become more complex. They may create short stories integrating nouns and adjectives to craft vivid narratives. Feedback and positive reinforcement play a pivotal role in building confidence, encouraging students to experiment with language.

By embracing a hands-on, interactive approach, teachers cultivate a love for language in grade two students, instilling fundamental writing skills that serve as a cornerstone for their academic journey in English. 

Ms Trudy  Grade 4  (December, 2023)  


Transforming language learning through speaking


One of the most important goals of learning English as a second language is being able to effectively communicate. Students often find it challenging to express themselves fluently in the language. They often experience a wide range of speaking-related problems such as lack of vocabulary and grammar knowledge, poor pronunciation skills, lack of knowledge about how to start, maintain and end a conversation politely and lack of confidence when speaking with more competent speakers of English. This lesson focuses on helping the students to develop public speaking skills with an emphasis on voice level, eye contact, clarity, and inflection.

 The Process

1. We started the lesson by discussing the term “Inspiration”. The students were asked several to get their thoughts flowing. 

2. They were then introduced to the key vocabulary to assist them with the upcoming activity.

3. The teacher modeled writing the speech on “My Hero” by explaining to the students the definition of hero, and then brainstorming the qualities that a hero might or should possess.

4. The students were then asked to write on the topic, describing their hero and how they inspired them.

5.  Afterwards the teacher then modeled the qualities of a good speaker, placing an emphasis on voice level, eye contact, clarity, and inflection.

6. The students were then task with presenting their written speeches focusing on these areas. 

Ms Belinda  UELS  (December, 2023)


The Thing about Phonics /th/ sounds


UELS.1 students have been working on digraphs during phonics lessons. We paid particular attention to the voiced and unvoiced /th/. In the first lesson, we introduced how to make the sounds. We focused on the position of the teeth, tongue, and lips and discussed soft and hard breathing using images and a mirror. Then, using a phonics video, we introduced and mimicked common words using the two sounds. In the following two lessons, we isolated voiced and unvoiced sounds. In both classes, we did a whiteboard activity where students wrote words using the letter sounds made by the teacher. This activity helps students decode new words when reading and improves their ability to sound out and spell words when writing (encoding). We then did short readings. We approach reading two ways. The first way is to analyze the story and identify the specific sound to improve decoding skills. The second is team reading races. The races help students trust their knowledge and attack a reading with confidence. (pic 9,10) We finished the unvoiced /th/ class with a whisper game to strengthen the use of phonics for writing. For the final activity in the voiced /th/ lesson, students played a Roll and Read game.

They challenged each other to decode unfamiliar words. In our last unit, we revisited both sounds using the whiteboard and reading activities. Then, they finished the /th/ unit with ‘Go Fish,’ where students successfully matched and sorted the two sounds. 

Mr Frank  Grade 4  (December, 2023)


Mind Maps for Journal Writing


In the writing strategies lesson, the students were tasked with making a mind map about Thanksgiving. Their discussion led them to discuss Thanksgiving in terms of planning a dinner. The students seemed very excited to contribute their ideas to the conversation. They dedicated a few class periods to having a discussion about thanksgiving, making a mind map and writing a journal about their perfect thanksgiving holiday.

This process allows for both organization and expression of their thoughts. Students discussed planning a guest list of people to invite to their holiday dinner, what food would be served to the guests and what activities to do after the dinner is finished. The assignment was divided into three phases for the students. Then, the students worked together to generated the language that they would need to use to make their mind map.

During the discussion phase, the students discussed and shared what they knew about Thanksgiving. They also asked questions about the holiday traditions in my family.

During the planning phase, the students worked diligently to write, draw and color their mind maps as they shared their ideas with their table-mates.

During the production phase, the students put the finishing touches on their mind maps and began writing their journals. They used the rest of the lesson writing and self-editing before giving their mind map and journal to the teacher.  


 Mr James  Grade 3  (December, 2023)


Daily Language Review - A Typical Monday First Period


Class Begins – Worksheet Time

Students enter class and know to immediately sit down, grab a pencil and get ready to begin. Once the teacher starts the timer, they have five minutes to work through a five-part, grammar-themed activity.

Students must correct the grammar and punctuation in two deliberately incorrectly-written sentences. There are then four general questions, which range from phonetic spellings and plurals, to tenses and word meanings. We mark these together as a class, and children are asked to correct their own mistakes.

Dictation – Listening Skills

Next, students practise their listening skills by writing a sentence that is said aloud by the teacher. The correctly-written sentence is then displayed on the screen, and the children must edit their writing.

Word Study

Following this, the current week’s phonics sound is introduced with a bag of fun realia. The children take out objects one by one and name them, whilst also identifying the new sound e.g. /wh/ whale. We then sing a fun song and students brainstorm as many words as possible.

Each week we have five focus words containing the phonics sounds. Each day, we practise orally pronouncing the words; we decode them through chunking (breaking down the words into segments), and finally, we learn their meanings through short games.

Revisit and Reinforce

In period two each Monday, we will have a mini whiteboard review quiz. The teacher will ask students to write current and previous weeks’ phonics and sight words, and they are included in other questions to test their knowledge.

Mr Michael  LELS  (December, 2023)   


Writing stories/creative writing


An important part of learning a language is learning how to communicate in the written form. A good way for students to practice this is by having them create stories. We do this in a number of ways.

In class, we will watch a video to introduce the topic. We will then brainstorm vocabulary that can be used. The teacher will provide an example framework for how students should structure their writing. The students will then write their stories about the topic.

We can also use picture prompts. After we have brainstormed some vocabulary, the students will write about what they can see in the picture. They will also try to guess what the people might be feeling, what they will do later, etc.

Another fun way to get the students engaged is to have them create comic strips about their daily lives, and things they like doing. This allows the students to be creative, and because it is about them, it means they are interested in trying to express themselves in English.

These activities are all designed to allow the students to be creative and have fun while using English. It starts off small, with only a few sentences. Eventually, we aim for students to be capable of producing a passage like in the final photo. With hard work and focus, we are confident they can do it. Well done ELS students!

Mr Little  Grade 4  (November, 2023)


Learning new words for daily use


At the lower levels of language learning—that is to say, the beginning of the long road—learning new words to use in various situations is the most important thing. Luckily, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That step, is learning new words. In our class, we take short, easy stories, both reading and listening, as a platform on which to build our vocabulary. We learn the new words in a story a little at a time. We write them down in our notebook. Then we make flash cards with a picture on one side and the word on the other. We make crossword puzzles that require us to have the correct letters as well as an understanding of the definition. We write the word with its definition and then in a sentence. We write this again a couple times. The repetition with the fingers helps the repetition with the eyes and the mind; tying everything together with as many neural points as possible. Having learned new words and their meaning, and practiced writing them in sentences, it’s time to be let go and to write freely with the new vocabulary. Students write Thanksgiving cards, Halloween cards, and journal essays using their new vocabulary.

Their ears, eyes, mind and hands, all having practiced the words before, are better equipped to make use of the words in a natural and free setting. Just look at these beautiful minds fly free! Unfettered by a limited vocabulary! It’s a wonderful thing! 

Ms Marit  Grade 3  (November, 2023)


Sentence Building with Adjectives!


Every year, the students review and learn new grammar points. In grade 3, we dive into adjectives during the first semester. They review what an adjective is and how we can use them orally and while writing. In addition, they learn how to use adjectives to build more interesting sentences that they can use while speaking and writing.

We began our process of building sentences with adjectives by using an interactive Presentation. The teacher elicited what an adjective was and many students raised their hands. The first part of the presentation was about how to describe superheroes. Many of the students were excited to describe superheroes! We also described various objects such as books and cars. The students were also excited to select and sort which words are adjectives and which words are not.

Next, the students used their white boards to write different adjectives that they found in sentences and ones that they have learned. Once they reviewed adjectives we moved on to the more difficult part of our lesson, which was describing pictures of different animals and people using different adjectives to make the sentences more interesting. Many students volunteered to describe what they saw in the picture, for example “The white dog walked on the snow in the morning.”) To help them describe the picture while speaking and writing, all of the students used a word bank. Finally, to end the process of learning and building sentences using adjectives, they wrote descriptive sentences about real people and animals.

It’s not always easy for students to write descriptive sentences, but they did a great job! They put in a lot of effort to show their understanding of adjectives and to use them to make sentences more interesting! Way to go 3.2.

Mr Nathan  Grade 4  (November, 2023)




With Sports Day coming we wanted to teach about Sportsmanship and the proper way to deal with playing games and competitions. The students first needed to learn the vocabulary we were going to use, so they copied down the vocabulary from our presentation. Next we read how to act while playing and after winning and losing. We learned about being fair – not cheating to win, taking turns – making sure that if you get a turn, everyone else gets an equal turn, and sharing – not being selfish and keeping everything for yourself. As a class we talked about how we would demonstrate sportsmanship while playing games or during a competition. The teacher then called up some volunteers to act out both good sportsmanship and bad behaviors so the students could see what they were to do next. Finally, the students worked in small groups to come up with a role play where they demonstrated both the good behaviors and the bad behaviors. There was a lot of fun with them coming in front of the class and acting and it helped build up their confidence in themselves and their English abilities. We agreed in the end that we liked being treated nicely so we should treat others nicely too.

Mr Hare  Grade 3  (November, 2023)


Our Book Report Journey


Every week, we have our guided reading lessons to aid in our reading skills and guided writing to improve our writing. We also visit the library once a week for time to read books we enjoy. The teacher looked at these activities, and decided to combine them together! Writing a book report!

We started our book report writing by learning exactly what a book report is. We read an engaging book together and discussed it as a class. After reading the book, the teacher introduced us to the “Book Report Notes” handout. The teacher guided us through using the handout with the book that we read together. The next step is our trip to the library!

At the library, we took our time to choose books that we were interested in and excited to read. Once we found our books, we sat down to read them and write our notes. There were many great books chosen! We did a great job reading our books and walked out of the library with pages full of notes about the books we read. Now its time to write the reports!

In the classroom, the teacher gave us a quick review of the expectations for paragraphs and even helped us by providing a main idea for each paragraph in the form of questions to answer. We began our writing swiftly and the results speak for themselves. The finished reports were amazing! 

Mr B  Grade 3  (November, 2023)


 Counting on Context Clues


Reading is one of the four main language skills of English, and is therefore incredibly important in our school. In 3.4, we have been reading a lot! All students, as well as the teacher spend a period of time reading each day, in an effort to not only improve our reading skills, but to also develop our reading confidence.

As we continue to improve, we continue to challenge ourselves! When we challenge ourselves, we begin to encounter difficult words, which can ultimately deter us from wanting to read.

To overcome this, the teacher taught us how to use context clues when reading! Context clues allow us to find hints in sentences and pictures which help us make meaning of difficult words.

We began by reading simple sentences that had a missing word. As a class, we discuss what the missing word could be. We read the sentence multiple times to get an understanding of its subject, and we also observed pictures which were able to give us additional clues. We then chose an appropriate word!

Once we had learnt how to use context clues, we put our skills to use by reading a book called ‘Baloney’. We first observed a list of nonsense words from within the book and tried to understand their meaning. Of course, without context, we were unable to understand them. As we read the book, we were able to use context clues to help us identify the meaning of the nonsense words!

3.4 students now have a strong understanding of context clues, which helps them every time they read! 

Mr Drew  Grade 3  (October, 2023)


Thematic Writing


Halloween is a fun time for kids, and also a great time to learn some new things, and do some fun classroom activities. We started by learning about where this holiday came from and why we do things like dress up, carve pumpkins, and try to scare others!

The students read some facts about Halloween and its history in a Powerpoint. Halloween was a time where people believed that spirits could visit Earth, so to scare them away, people wore scary costumes and carved jack-o-lanterns.

These costumes were inspired by old folktales about monsters, and of course, this was used as an opportunity to learn the English names of these spooky characters.

The students then used their imaginations and a story planning worksheet to get ideas for a Halloween-themed story about characters such as the monsters we learned the names of earlier.

We also read a few Halloween storybooks for more inspiration in our stories. The students spent some time writing their ideas in their journals into a story form with a beginning, middle and ending.

For their Daily Talks, students told the stories aloud with the lights off for an extra-spooky and fun effect!

It was a fun way to get into the holiday feeling, and the students came away from it with good memories, as well as some new knowledge. A great strength of a Bilingual education is not just the language skills we learned, but the knowledge of cultures outside of our own.  

Mr John  Grade 3  (October, 2023)


 A Fun Journey into Verbs


Recently class 3.3 embarked on an exciting journey into the world of verbs. The lesson was designed to make learning about verbs both enjoyable and interactive.

We began with an engaging verb song that set a lively tone for the class. Through a visually appealing PowerPoint presentation, students were introduced to the basics of verbs, with examples that showed their role in sentences.

The importance of verbs in daily life was highlighted, making students realize how integral verbs are in their everyday actions, from playing to eating.

One of the most anticipated activities was verb charades, with a twist. Three to five students acted out verbs while their peers watched attentively. The audience had to guess and write the verbs on whiteboards. This interactive game made learning about verbs dynamic and fun.

Following the high-energy charades game, students transitioned to activity work. They practiced constructing sentences using model sentence starters, and drawing pictures to illustrate the verbs they used, which solidified their understanding.

To reward their hard work and enthusiasm, the teacher organized a verb organizing game. It was a moment of laughter and celebration as students reinforced the importance of action in the learning process.


In conclusion, 3.3 had an engaging day filled with verbs brought to life through songs, charades, and lively discussions. The students left with a newfound appreciation for verbs, understanding that they are the dynamic force behind the sentences in their daily lives. 

Ms Becky  Grade 4   (September, 2023)


Prepping for the School Year


Starting a new school year can be a very challenging time for all concerned. Students are worried if the work will be too difficult, or too easy. In order to help students become the best learners they can be, in 4.3 we spend time discussing the specific challenges and expectations of being part of Grade 4, to help everybody adjust smoothly.

We encourage new friendships and balanced ideas by sitting students apart from old classmates and having a mix of boys and girls at each table. The students sign an agreement once they understand the rules. Giving ample rewards encourages other children who need more time to adjust. We model our expectations, and give students opportunities to redo an action until they are successful, which teaches persistence and respect.

In classes, we promote organized thoughts and ideas by insisting on neat and tidy room, and neat books. We work on how to be a good friend and how to have more emotional control so we can behave properly. We make a class circle and discuss these ideas openly so that students can get to know each other and feel safe to express ideas. We value all ideas and encourage students to support and listen to each other, through modeling and rewards.

After a few weeks, we find that starting the year with clear and high expectations for social and academic behavior develop the ‘whole child’, and, produce much more motivated and determined students. They develop clear goals of how to behave and respect each other, which makes the academic work flow well. Three cheers for a great new year! 

Mr Rohde  Grade 2  (July, 2023)


Guided Reading classes


A Grade Two Guided Reading class is an essential element in developing children's reading skills. Guided Reading is a small group approach to teaching reading, where a teacher works with a small group of students to improve their reading skills. In this class, students are introduced to new words and are taught to decode them to improve their vocabulary.

Reading fluency is another crucial element of the guided reading class. Students learn to read with speed and accuracy. They also learn to read punctuation, which helps them to understand the context of the story. Reading with expression is also important, as it helps to convey the meaning of the story.

In addition to working on reading skills, students also complete comprehension questions after each story. These questions are designed to test their understanding of the story and to improve their critical thinking skills. Comprehension questions also help students to develop their vocabulary and improve their reading skills.

In summary, a Grade Two Guided Reading class is an important component in helping students improve their reading skills. By working on decoding new words, reading fluency, reading punctuation, reading with expression, and completing comprehension questions, students can become more confident and proficient readers. These skills will serve them well as they progress through their academic journey and beyond.

Mr Ryan  Grade 2  (July, 2023)


Magical Solar System


This semester, the students have been learning about the wonders of the solar system!

The opening of the class was showing them the science video ‘Planets Song’. The song was useful to help the students review the eight names of the planets with a catchy song that taught them different planet characteristics.

Secondly, the students took a more in-depth look at the eight planets by learning about which planets were gas planets and which were land based planets or ‘terrestrial’ planets. The students were able to brush up on their superlatives that we learned last semester by learning which was the ‘biggest, ‘smallest’, ‘closest’ and ‘farthest’ planet.

We reviewed the knowledge we had learned with a fun game; ‘guess the planet’ game. The students were given clues about the planet and guessed what it could be!

Now it was time to put their knowledge to the test! The students worked in pairs to design an accurate poster of the solar system. The students took great care with the accuracy of the posters and the presentation of each poster was excellent!

 Well done Students!

Mr Zhang  Computers  (July, 2023)


G3 - G5 English Computers


In the realm of information technology, a seamless integration of both technical and creative element is vital. On one hand, it's deeply technical, where precise instructions execute particular functions. On the other hand, it can be remarkably creative, deploying these specific instructions to build a plethora of innovative works. Now, encouraging the students to think more creatively is increasingly critical given the advancements in Artificial Intelligence and recent breakthrough with Large Language Models (LLM). This program serves to stimulate, nurture, and elevate students' innate creativity through the dual mediums of language and technology.

Within the G3 program, students concentrate on the essential skill of correct keyboard positioning, familiarize with A.I. while immersing themselves in a diverse range of activities, encompassing art, listening and reading.

Moreover, they acquire skills to operate interactive software equipped with tools that empower them to personalize various elements in accordance with their individual style.

Within the G4 program, students regularly practice typing and are provided with explicit instructions for conducting online research, employing curated websites to procure information for their respective projects.

Equipped with the appropriate amount of information, students are then instructed in the use of editing tools. This allows them to transform an ordinary animal into one that lives within their imagination, creating both subject and setting in a sandbox environment.

In the G5 Program, students work on coding activities while their typing accuracy (%) and word per minute (wpm) are challenged with typing tests. Additionally, they learn advanced editing tools guided by a blend of inspirational concepts and their own imaginations and take the reins in crafting their unique worlds.

A higher quality is felt; setting a new personal benchmark. This is achieved by their commitment to the task at hand, their enjoyment of the process, and their meticulous attention to detail.

The result of such a thorough effort transforms a project into a remarkable one. It evolves into a fusion of outstanding ideas and technical precision, manifesting as a creation in which both students and teachers can share a sense of collective pride.

Mr James   Grade 2  (June, 2023)


Seasonal Activities


Introduction - Most of the children know something about the weather, the clothing we wear, the food we eat and the celebrations we have through the seasons. The aim of the class is to bring all this knowledge together and expand their vocabulary under the umbrella of learning about seasonal activities.

The Hook - As an engaging opening to the class, we sang a season song and discussed weather through the seasons.

The students explained why we wear certain clothes in different seasons and how the weather affects plants and animals.

Lead-in - We had a huge “seasons” brainstorm. The students told me everything they knew about the four seasons, and drew pictures on the board. We then discussed the different seasonal celebrations they knew about, and we talked about the activities we do in each season.

Then, guided by photos and short sentences, we looked in depth at all the different activities we do through the seasons. The children told each other which activities they enjoy. Some examples were hunting for chocolate eggs in spring, make sandcastles on the beach in summer, trick-or-treating in autumn, and building snowmen in winter.

Main Activity - The challenge was to create beautiful activities posters for our classroom display. To prepare for the task, the students matched seasonal activity pictures with their correct descriptions. The students then chose one activity they liked from each season, wrote a sentence about that activity, and drew pictures to show understanding.

Plenary - To conclude the class, some students were chosen at random to present their posters to the class. We asked the presenters questions about their chosen activities.


Later in the week, we had a past-tense writing class based on summer activities. First, they matched verbs with pictures working in small groups, then they used the past tense forms of the verbs to create sentences in their books.


The lesson was a success! Students, who initially struggled with discussing activities through the seasons, are now more confident conversing about the topic, in both present and past tense. The students have also expanded their “seasonal activities” vocabulary bank, and we will encourage them to use these verbs in their future work

Mr Tshepo  ELS  (June, 2023)


Identifying, reading and using Dolch words


This year, LELS 1 students reviewed Dolch words from the Pre-Primer list and learnt new words from the Dolch Primer list. Dolch words account for 50-75% of all vocabulary found in reading materials. Students who recognize and know the meaning of Dolch words are usually able to read books, and comprehend reading materials, easily.

During the month of May, we identified, read and used Dolch words through various media, games and activities. First, students were introduced to Dolch words through chants, songs and online videosThen students separated various vocabularies into Dolch words and non-Dolch words. Next, students read Dolch words from word searches, BINGO game cards and reading texts. Then, students had to count how frequently those Dolch words appeared in text, look up the definitions of the words using dictionaries and use those words to complete gap-fill activities to test students’ comprehension abilities.

Once students were able to successfully identify a list of Dolch words, and read and comprehend their meanings in reading materials, they finally had to use their understandings to create and write sentences of their own. Students were able to create unique sentences using any Dolch words of their choosing and drew wonderful illustrations to demonstrate the meaning of the sentences.

Identifying, reading and using Dolch words not only helped improve the students’ reading skills during Guided Reading but also their reading comprehension and writing skills – showing the importance of Dolch words in learning English!

Mr Little  Grade 4  (June, 2023)


Methods of Vocabulary Building


There are two basic paths to language acquisition. One is to memorize grammar and vocabulary from the start. This tends to be very complicated and uninteresting. A simpler and more enjoyable path is to start learning words that relate to your personal interests, and starting conversing on day one. In my experience, this method can bring you more success and fluency if practiced diligently. To find common and relevant vocabulary, we search through simple reading comprehension stories. We sift through to find the words that are new to us. Then we develop various means of learning them.

The first step is to read through a new story and create a list of words we plan to learn. Then we discuss the meaning of the words and reread the story, stopping frequently to take special notice of the new words. Next, we catalogue words into “word families” that have related letter groups and phonetic pronunciation. Then we take turns reading the story repeatedly, to cement the words into our minds and muscle memory. A further step is to cut out and write flashcards, which we use to memorize.

After working on these new vocabulary words for two weeks, we do a reading fluency assessment, and comprehension work. Using this method, our 4.5 class is working hard to build vocabulary and use the new words to improve our speaking and writing! 

Ms Belinda  UELS  (June, 2023)


Language in Motion


This month UELS.1 students were working on prepositions of motion during grammar. Often the students do well in isolated grammar exercises but struggle to apply grammar when communicating. To help students make this connection, we highlight the grammar focus during other lessons. In the first grammar lesson, the teacher introduced the prepositions of motion. Students copied sentences using the words and completed written activities to ensure understanding. During the next lesson, we used movement. Students ran an obstacle course that emphasized the prepositions we were highlighting. For each task of the obstacle course, they said out loud what they were doing. Then they competed against each other using prepositions in their team-created obstacle course. The next day during writing lessons, we reviewed the activities from the previous class. Then students wrote a summary of their experience with the obstacle course. They were working not only on applying the prepositions but also report sequencing. Later that week, during listening class, students listened to a story about a hike in the forest and identified the preposition used to help readers understand the movement of the people and animals in the woods. Finally, we ended our focus in a writing class. We provided various photo prompts that showed animals in the forest doing activities. The students chose four of these photos to create a story map. They then wrote stories about their hike through the woods and what they saw. They successfully used the prepositions of motion in their tales. 

Ms Trudy  Grade 4  (June, 2023)


Creating Comics: Unleash Your Imagination!

Comic writing is an engaging and effective tool for students to develop their language skills. Combining visuals with written text, comics provide a dynamic platform for language practice, vocabulary expansion, and creative expression. In this lesson, the students used the different elements of storytelling and combined visual communication by creating their own comic strips. The students had to apply their critical thinking skill, to develop characters, plotlines, and dialogue for their comics. This lesson helped them to enhance their writing and drawing abilities while expressing their creativity.

The Process

1. We started the lesson by discussing what comics are and how they combine visuals and storytelling. The students were shown some examples of comic strips to get them engaged and interested.

2. We then discussed the key elements of a comic strip: a. Panels: Define and explain the concept of panels in comics. b. Characters: Introduce the importance of well-developed characters in a story. c. Setting: Discuss how the setting influences the story. d. Dialogue: Explain the role of dialogue in conveying the plot and character interactions.

3. As a class, we brainstormed some ideas to create a simple comic strip together. We discussed ideas for characters, setting, and plot. The students were encouraged to contribute and share their thoughts.

4. Each student was then provided with paper to plan their own comic strip by sketching out the panels, characters, and basic story-line. They were reminded to use clear pictures, speech bubbles, and sound effects to enhance their storytelling.

5. Once the students completed their comic strips, they shared their creations with their classmates who shared their feedback and positive words of encouragement.

Ms Becky  Grade 4  (June, 2023)


Listening for and using adjectives in skits


Listening to and watching shows promotes listening skills and has really helped some students to learn new and interesting words. When students watch a show, and pick out certain words, they can improve their ability to listen for detailed information. In listening classes, we have been working on comprehending the general meaning of what we listen to and watch, and then analyzing some certain words and phrases.

An activity to develop these skills is the use of short movie clips in class. Students first listened to a clip and wrote down some ideas of what it was about. Then they shared and compared ideas in a class discussion. After this, students were asked to listen again for important words, such as adjectives, verbs and any new words. The clip was paused from time to time, to give students a chance to write down the words. We made a long list from all the ideas.

Students then wrote their own short skit in groups using four of the adjectives, verbs and new words they heard. They then performed it to the class, and the audience listened for the special words and shared the ones they heard. If they were correct, they received prizes. Students enjoyed this active listening and watching the performances, and were very excited to repeat the adjectives and verbs they heard.

Our listening classes have been very successful this year. Using movie clips promotes better listening skills through questions and word analysis. Adding subtitles can also improve reading skills at the same time as listening. I encourage students to watch English shows and movies, and test themselves by writing down new words they hear and see. 

Mr Nathan  Grade 4  (May, 2023)


Let Life Be More Green


For our theme we learned about Recycling and how we can help our environment and planet.

First we learned the English vocabulary that was related to recycling.

Next, the students practiced the vocabulary, reciting the words and their meanings. They learned about the different types of materials that things are made of, such as plastic, wood, glass and stone. The teacher elicited vocabulary from the students on common items in the classroom and we discussed what they were made of and whether we could recycle them or do we just need to throw them away later.

Students also called on their classmates to answer questions about the vocabulary or to give examples, practicing using the words in sentences. The class would decide if an item was recyclable or just trash.

Our activity was to make a poster showing how to separate the different recyclable items. The teacher explained the process of cutting out each picture and gluing it to the poster. There were 8 different bins; cans, clothes, reusable items, compost, garden waste, glass, paper and cardboard, and plastic.

Next, the students had to decide in which bin different items would go. They even found some items that could go into more than one bin. Everybody was proud of their hard work and this activity helped the students to better remember the vocabulary and allowed them to talk about recycling. 

Mr Michael  ELS  (May, 2023)


Weekly Talks


Throughout the year, students in LELS.2 are required to complete Weekly Talks. This helps their learning in a number of ways. First, they create the language they will use, improving their written work. Secondly, they stand in front of the class and speak about the topic, improving their confidence in using oral English.

There are a number of ways we set up this activity. Students are asked to provide ideas about the topic. The topic is then written on the board as a framework they can use.  Students may also be shown a picture, or series of pictures, and they can create a story about the picture/s.

After we have discussed the topic, the students are given time to prepare what they are going to speak about. This happens the day before. The following day, they have a chance to review what they have written before they present it to the rest of the class.

Initially, students are allowed to use their written plan when they are speaking in front of the class. The goal is to increase their confidence to a level where they are comfortable speaking without any material in front of them, except some key words to help them remember.

When the students are delivering their Daily Talks, the teacher provides support by asking probing questions. The purpose of this is to try and have students use more descriptive language when they are speaking, rather than using basic sentences.The activity is fun and allows the students to create their own language as well as speak themselves and listen to others.

Ms Antasha  Grade 5  (April, 2023)


Follow the Light


The discussion of light, and all the wonderful things to learn about it, is often taught in a Physics class. However, we can use visible light from the electromagnetic spectrum to make some fun observations about how we see the world around us.  Light must “bounce back” from an object in order for us to see it, or the colours of it.  In our class topic of Light and Shadow, we take a comparative look at reflection, refraction, and the way light moves.

Our journey begins with a light wave bouncing off of a smooth surface, like water or a mirror, which reflects an image that matches the original. Think of a building reflected on a lake, or your own image in the mirror. A refracted image does not match the original.

Refraction is simply the bending of light. The science and calculations behind the bend have to do with the speed of light going faster or slower through a transparent object. Do you like rainbows? This form of refraction is a dispersion of white light that splits into a “rainbow-spectrum” as it passes through some forms of glass or water droplets. 

This introduction brought much hands-on interest as our students made visible comparison of light versus sound waves using a guitar and a ribbon, created live comparisons of reflection and refraction with foil, a spoon and mirror, and beamed white light through glass and crystals to make rainbows. What will you discover when you explore light?

Mr B  Grade 3  (April, 2023)


Word Study - A Variety of Activities


Throughout the school year the students in Grade 3 do a weekly exercise called Word Study. The purpose of Word Study is for the students to understand how to read (and write) words using taught phonic sounds. And also to learn high frequency words (Dolch words). We use a variety of resources to help the students learn: These include PPT’s, Videos, dictionaries and worksheets.

Firstly, we look at a PPT consisting of 15 words. The first 5 words are a revision of the previous week’s phonic sound. We will ask students to read the words to check their understanding as well as practice their pronunciation of the sound. Then we will move on to the next 5 words, which are the focus sound for that week. We will show the sound and use a video to reinforce the new sound. After that, we will practice the new sound with a variety of activities including the use of nonsense words, where students will make up words using the focus sound pattern to reinforce use of the sound, not just the reading or memorized words. After that, we will show the last 5 words which are the high frequency words or Dolch words.

Finally, we will check the students understanding of the high frequency words by having them look up the dictionary to check the meaning of the new words. The students will write down the example sentence from the dictionary and then create and write a sentence of their own on worksheets.

Using a variety of different activities, as well as a lot of oral work, help students to remember the sounds and pronounce them correctly. Then when they need to read or write words with those sounds they can do so successfully.

Mr John  Grade 3  (April, 2023)


Guided Reading


Guided Reading classes are an instructional approach used in Clifford to help students improve their reading skills. In our guided reading class, a small group of students work with the teacher and TA who provides support and guidance as they read and discuss a text. The students in each group are reading at similar levels, and the teacher selects texts that are appropriate for their reading levels. During or guided reading class, students begin by reading a text that has been selected by the teacher. The teacher and TA may provide some guidance as the students read, such as asking them to read a certain number of pages or to stop and summarize what they have read so far. The teacher may also model reading strategies, such as decoding unfamiliar words or making inferences based on the text. After the students have finished reading, the teacher leads a discussion about the text.  In addition to reading and discussion, guided reading classes may also include writing activities. The students may be asked to write responses to the text, such as summaries, character analyses, or predictions about what will happen next in the story.  These writing activities help the students to develop their writing skills as well as their reading skills. Because the teacher works with a small group of students, they are able to provide individualized support and feedback that is tailored to each student's needs. This can help students build confidence in their reading skills and develop a love for reading. In conclusion, guided reading classes provide students with an opportunity to improve their reading skills in a supportive and engaging environment.

By reading, discussing, and writing about texts, students are able to develop their reading strategies, comprehension skills, critical thinking skills, and communication skills.

Mr V  Grade 5  (April, 2023)


How Big and Bad is the Big Bad Wolf? : Understanding Characters in a Story


5.3 are learning more about their favorite character in the books they will be reading. The project we will do takes the form of an interactive note book that focuses on six main story elements with character traits being the first. The students will search in the text for descriptions of the character’s actions, thoughts, feelings and spoken words to understand their favorite character’s personality. Students will be provided a model to use for their project. Arts and crafts combined with learning is a great way for students to enjoy learning while also expressing their creative side by using a variety of designs reflecting the students’ own personality and interests. The character the students choose can also be reflection of their personality and interests.

First, we did a model together, so the students could understand what they will do for their own character. We chose the Big, Bad Wolf for the model. Character adjectives used to describe him are often the same: dangerous, aggressive, dishonest, foolish and violent. Others might include sneaky and evil. There is the name and famous first words of the Big, Bad Wolf—“Little pig, little pig, Let me come in!” This line might seem innocent enough until the next line is introduced, which might be more famous—“I will huff and I will puff and I will blow your house down!” These first few lines of dialogue between the first pig and the Big, Bad Wolf allow the reader to understand that the Big, Bad Wolf is indeed Big and Bad. We look forward to seeing the students own Character Trait project!

Ms Jemma  Grade 5  (April, 2023)


Kindness is Magic


Last semester our Social Science topic was all about friendship. The students worked together to identify what elements make a good friend, these included qualities such as honesty, trustworthiness, fun, helpful, accepting and kind. With a focus on kindness the students answered the questions what does kindness mean? And why should I be kind?

Then we went online, and being kind became more important than ever, many people were struggling during this time. The students were challenged to complete 3 acts of kindness. Since we could not return to classes before the end on the semester, over the winter holidays students had time to complete their task. For each act of kindness they performed, they wrote a few sentences about what they did. Some were asked more details about their act of kindness. They were then given a card which they put on our notice board; once the cards were all there they created a huge picture. The students Enjoyed trying to guess what the completed picture would look like.

Our acts of kindness included, helping their family cook dinner, helping their friends find lost items and with difficult homework. Some students helped strangers carry their shopping and visit their grandparent to help clean.

Once the students had completed their acts of kindness it was my turn to show them some kindness so each student was rewarded with tickets and a small gift bag. I hope they will all keep their promise to be kind!

Mr Ward  Grade 5  (March, 2023)


Seeing is Believing


One of our thematic units this year is Light and Shadow. As part of our unit on Light and Shadow, we have talked about the different properties of light. First, the students learned about natural and artificial light sources. The students named and labeled different sources.

We introduced the electromagnetic spectrum and talked about the range of light that is visible as well as talking about the light ranges that humans cannot see. We then talked about other properties of light. The students learned about opacity, transparency, and translucency. The students identified different objects that range from transparent to opaque.

We watched a video demonstration of a project. The students then attempted it themselves. We colored a paper wheel in different colors, attached it to a string and spun it. When it goes fast enough, the colors look white.

Finally, after talking about reflection and refraction, the students drew, folded and cut out the pieces to make a periscope. We helped them put in the mirrors. (10-11) After the periscopes were completed, the students were able to use the two mirrors within to see object out the other side of the periscope. Overall, we had a great time learning about the different properties of light and putting them to use.

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.

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