Classroom Highlights (Learning in Action!)

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 Drew  Grade 3  (May, 2023)


Prefixes And Suffixes


Prefixes, suffixes and root words are “building blocks” of words. In grade three, students begin to learn them to build their vocabulary, and to better understand words they may not have seen before, but can infer the meanings.

 “Believe” is a root word, and “-able” is a suffix meaning “can,” so “believable” means something that is possible. But add the prefix “un” (which means “not”) to the beginning, and the word “unbelievable” means something that seems impossible.

We implement different ways for students to learn and remember prefixes and suffixes in our program. Word play is one that allows students to use their creativity to make new words from known words using prefixes or suffixes to change their meanings. The words don’t necessarily have to be real words, because the idea is to get them to give it meaning in ways that make it easy to remember.

Many prefixes and suffixes are made up of previously learned phonics sounds, so exercises in which they attempt to spell words they hear give them a chance to practice not only the meanings of the prefix or suffix, but also their phonics abilities.

Ms Marit  Grade 3  (May, 2023)




In Grade 3, the students learn a lot of new grammar. We also review what they have previously learned during the first semester. Recently, we reviewed the present simple tense along with subject-verb agreement. Most students have a good grasp of present tense, but find it rather difficult to use the correct verb agreement. Here’s a look at the steps we took to perfect their skills.

At first students looked at the PPT slide and were reminded that present simple is used to talk about habits and things that are always true.

The next step was to elicit how we use present simple tense to express a positive or negative. For example, I like cheese/ I don’t like cheese. The students also reviewed when to use “like” and “likes”. The teacher also reminded the students about plurals and if they would add “-s”, “-es” or “-ies”.

Finally, the students were asked to correct the mistakes in a series of sentences. We went over the sentences together and did a few examples as a class so that the students could fully understand the instructions. During independent work time,  the teacher monitored and assisted with any questions or complications the students were having.

It was great to see students thrive in the area of subject-verb agreement, as it’s not an easy concept to understand. The students learned quickly and completed their tasks independently, which gave them a lot of confidence. I hope to see them keep up this confidence throughout the year. Way to go Grade 3!

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.

Mr Hare  Grade 3  (May, 2023)


Writing a Story


In Grade 3 we teach the students the basics of storytelling. Being able to craft a compelling story is crucial to engaging readers and communicating ideas effectively. We start by brainstorming together as a class, talking about characters, setting, plot, problem and solution.  

Once each student has a character in mind, we move on to constructing the plot of their story. We talk about the classic story structure, which includes an introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

At this point, the students start to write the first draft of their story. We focus on getting the ideas down on paper rather than worrying about grammar or spelling for now. The first draft is just that – a rough draft. There will be time to go back and revise and edit later on. The goal is to simply get ideas down on paper and create a structure for the story.

After finishing their rough draft, the students move on to editing. We focus on spelling, punctuation, and grammar. This is also the time to make sure each student has followed directions and included all of the elements we discussed earlier in the writing process.

The students were able to create engaging, well-written stories. It is a joy to watch their skills grow over the course of the year, as they continue to grow into successful storytellers in the years to come.

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.

Ms Jenna  Grade 1  (October, 2022)


Making a Storybook


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

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

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

Mr Bryce  Grade 1  (October, 2022)


Applying New Language: Talking about Autumn


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Iain  Grade 1  (October, 2022)


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


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

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

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

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

Megan Nielsen Grade 1 (October, 2022)


Phonics Practice


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

Previous Highlights

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!