Week 8 – Reading Month Ends

During this week, most of our time was dedicated to Reading Month. Everyone was rushing to clock-in as many reading minutes as possible in order to win the prizes that awaited at the end of the month. Our class did fairly well and managed to clock-in a total of: 7333 minutes and had an average of 611 minutes per student.

There was another competition for ‘cRaZy Reading’ where the learners and teachers take pictures of themselves reading in ridiculous ways or places. That Monday, only one in our class had managed to submit a picture, Tania… She submitted an adorable picture of her and her little sister Tisha reading on top of her. Regrettably I do not have a copy of this picture ūüôĀ

I wanted to submit more than one picture and after being inspired by ‘Dead Poets Society’ I decided to recreate the “Oh Captain, My Captain” scene…

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But that wasn’t enough. After “losing” Michaela, I looked down to find her hiding under her blanket on the beanbag…

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Turns out, the¬†“Oh Captain, My Captain”¬†picture would be enough. The final Friday of the month came and who should win the ‘cRaZy reading picture’ but the humble Grade 5A class…

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After we won the ‘cRaZy class picture’, who would have thought that two more of our learners would be receiving yet another award..?!

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Unfortunately, the picture was unable to rotate but if you look carefully, you will see our very own Michaela next to Ms. Aubrey; and the other learner in our class to achieve an award was Emil…

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Unfortunately, – again – the picture was unable to rotate.

That was the end of Reading Month, and with three awards for our class, I think we did pretty well.

And that was the end of Week 8… Next up, Week 9!

Week 7 – Moon Festival & Class Party!

During this week the learners dedicated most of their time to the upcoming Moon Festival. The Vietnamese teachers took over and put together a wonderful show, including every learner at the school.

The festival was on Friday, and as it drew nearer so did the opportunity for a class party.

I reward the learners with a ‘letter’ for good behavior, everyone completing their homework, if they receive praise from another teacher etc. The aim is to achieve 6 letters: L, E, K, K, E and R. Together this spells ‘Lekker’ which is an Afrikaans (language spoken in South Africa) word which, when translated, means ‘sweet’. This would be the first one of the year as it took a long time for the learners to receive letters. Finally, on Thursday, the learners achieved the final letter to achieve a class party; and who should be the one to achieve the last letter? Our very own, Steven…

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Before we could get to this party though, the learners had to perform their act at the Moon Festival; and what an act it was…

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As all the learners piled in to the MSHS cafeteria, the anticipation of the performance increased (and for good reason). First up, the guitarists…

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Followed by the rest of grade 5…

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Once every learner had had a chance to perform, it was time to go outside for a performance from an outside organization. It began with them banging on the drums…

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Followed by more banging on the drums…

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After the echo of the drums had died down, it was time for the dragon dance. Parents, teachers and learners all watched in amazement…

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As the act went on, more and more learners wanted to get front row seats to the action…

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Everyone was excited and cheering for the dragons. When they came close to the crowd, learners were jumping up just to try and get a feel of them (some successful, some not so much).

After the dragon dance, it was time to return to class. I rushed over in an attempt to setup the party before my learners got there. The learners – being more excited than I was – rushed over behind me leaving me absolutely no time to prepare.

 

I promised the learners pizza, KFC, chips, sweets, biscuits and cold drinks. I had everything except for the pizza and KFC. I ordered the 2 at the exact same time, and – with perfect timing from both restaurants – they arrived exactly at lunch time.

The learners ate, ate and ate some more. Everyone was free to do as they pleased. Some of the learners had brought their laptops and chose to play computer games. I put some more music videos on the projector and some of the learners decided to dance; and some of the learners were very content to simply read at their desks. Either way, it was a very successful party and the learners seemed to really enjoy themselves.

And that was Week 7… Next up, Week 8!

Week 6 – Anti-Rhino Poaching

During this week we dedicated most of our time to raising awareness about Rhino Poaching. 2 South African women who are cycling across Asia came to speak to our grade 3s, 4s and 5s. The 2 of them presented a short presentation and then asked several learners some thought-provoking questions. At the end of the presentation the 2 women got all the learners they presented this presentation to, to sign their book in the hopes that if enough people see it, they too will join the fight against rhino poaching.

The next day, we made A3 copies of a template that the 2 women had emailed us. There was/is a competition which includes ALL the learners from ALL the schools they have visited (and will visit) for the best poster. I decided that this would be another great opportunity to raise awareness for rhino poaching; here’s some of the work our learners produced:

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(Left) Tania; (Top Left) Steven (Middle Left) Tom; (Middle Right) Emil; (Right) Michaela; (Bottom Right) Kathryn

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(Far Left) Tracy; (Back Left) Tony; (Middle Left) Jack; (Middle Right) Bill; (Right) Jason; (Far Right) Nina

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Tania

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(Left) Bill; (Right) Tony

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(Left) Tom; (Right) Kathryn

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Steven

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(Left) Jack; (Right) Michaela

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(Left) Nina; (Right) Jason

At the end of the week, after drawing all those Anti-Rhino Poaching posters, we decided it was time for a break. On Friday, we spent some time reading in the library. The learners got a chance to check out new books to read and – as you can see – got a chance to read them in a very relaxed and comfortable environment.

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(Far Left) Jack; (Middle Left) Nina; (Back Middle) Tracy; (Back Right) Michaela; (Bottom Right) Tony

And that was Week 6… Next up, Week 7!

Week 5 – Reading Week

This week was ‘Reading Week’. This is a week we dedicate entirely to reading. We try to get the learners excited about reading by having different themes and activities for different days such as:

Monday: Dr Seuss Day – On this day we try to get the learners to dress up like a Dr. Seuss character.

Tuesday: Pyjama Day – On this day we try get the learners to go to school in their pyjamas.

Wednesday: ‘Stop-Drop-&-Read’ – On this day, 1 of the teachers will announce “Stop-Drop-&-Read”, at that exact moment the learners need to stop what they are doing, sit down and begin reading.

Thursday: Character Day – On this day we try get the learners to dress up like their favourite character from any book they have read.

Friday: Buddy Reading – On the last day of the week we read to Miss Tara’s Pre-K learners

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(Far left) Nina; (Left) Everlyn; (Right) Tracy; (Far Right) Aydan

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(Left) Ngoc; (Right) Jack

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(Left) Tania; (Right) Nhi

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(Left) Michaela; (Right) Zen

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(Left) Jason; (Right) Kitty

Now that we had had our turn to read to the younger learners, it was our turn. The Grade 7s came over and most of them read to all of us.

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(Far Left) Cindy; (Left) Tracy; (Right) Thao; (Far Right) Tania

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(Left) Tom; (Right) Kathryn

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(Left) Alex; (Right) Steven

And that was the end of Reading Week… Next up, Week 6!

Week 4 – Happy Birthday Tracy!

This week, we continued with language and the Reader’s and Writer’s workshop. We began to work on our spelling as well. Some of the learners’ spelling isn’t what it should be and therefore we have begun working on the more complicated sounds; we are doing this mainly to help the learners improve their vocabulary.

In Maths we have been covering a variety of topics. We have been doing advanced addition and subtraction, as well as basic multiplication and division. The learners’ skill in these for areas is very impressive and therefore we are moving on to angles and conversions (yards – feet etc.).

On Tuesday (1 September 2015), it was Tracy’s birthday. We worked during Language Arts and Maths and after the learners lunch break we had a class party to celebrate her birthday.

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Tracy’s mother organised pizza, cold drink and cake for the entire class! I took charge to ensure that the food and drink was shared evenly. After everyone had had their fill, we listened to some music. Jason, Steven and Kathryn took charge of the dance floor and entertained the rest of us with some ‘interesting’ moves.

The following day, for Social Studies, we began watching a series called¬†‘Years of Living Dangerously’. This is a short 9 episode series (each episode is 1 hour) that raises awareness on environmental issues. It takes all facets into account and opens the learners’ minds with regards to the reasons for environmental damage.

And that was Week 4… Next up, Week 5!

Week 3 – Readers & Writers Workshop Begins

This week we began something called the Reader’s Workshop (RW) and the Writer’s Workshop (WW). The Readers Workshop is designed to encourage the learners to read more frequently. It is supposed to inspire the learners to read more as their knowledge of genre increases. This week in the Reader’s Workshop we focused on what the students like to read. We focused on feelings that different books evoke, and how these feelings inspire learners to read more.

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The Writer’s Workshop is designed to improve the quality of the learners writing. We are focusing on this in order to increase the learners’ vocabulary as well as their spoken English. In the Writer’s Workshop this week, we built on those feelings we discussed in the Reader’s Workshop by writing paragraphs on them. The learners wrote about how various books made them feel and how those feelings would effect their future book choice decisions.

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At the end of the day on Friday, we watched some funny YouTube clips. I introduced them to an American musician named¬†‘Weird Al Yankovic’. Weird Al Yankovic creates parodies of famous songs (e.g. Michael Jackson’s¬†‘Eat It’, Weird Al changed to¬†‘Eat It’). The learners really enjoyed watching the clips and it was a great – educational – way to end the week.

And that was Week 3… Next up, Week 4!

Week 2 – Welcome Tracy!

This week we had a new student join our class: Tracy Sundarraj (far right on the beanbag). Tracy is a very sweet and outspoken girl from Sri Lanka. She never hesitates to speak her mind and is very intuitive.

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Because we had a new student, a rearrangement of the desks was in order:

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During Week 2 we began to work on language. The learners received 2 worksheets divided into 4 quarters. Each quarter was for a separate day: e.g. Day 1 = Monday etc. I decided that language was of the utmost importance (right now) because after I had taken the time to get to know the learners, I realized that many of them spoke fairly broken English.

The other focus of this week was getting the learners excited about reading. Reading is of the utmost importance when it comes to developing one’s English and therefore on Friday for Language Arts, we took a trip to the library on floor 1. The librarian showed the learners how to use the computers to search for books that interested them and once the learners understood the process, off they went. The learners each checked out at least 1 book and this was the book they would be reading until the following Friday.

And that was Week 2… Next up, Week 3!

 

Week 1 – Welcome to Grade 5A

This week was all about getting to know one another. The majority of the class knew each other from the previous year but we had 2 new additions to our class, and, the learners had never met me.

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My name is Kevin Bradfield and I am a teacher from South Africa (as you can see by the flag that is above my desk). I recently graduated from the University of Pretoria (TUKS) and I moved to Vietnam in order to gain an international education experience. As this was my first time in an American style school, I decided to split the tables into groups.

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This proved problematic as the learners were too focused on each other than me as a teacher and we were forced to rearrange soon after.

Whilst we were waiting for everything to fall into place, we spent some time getting to know each other. I asked the learners if there was anything they would like to know about me; and I asked each learner to introduce themselves and just give me a little bit of background about themselves. At the end of the week I had summarized the learners, here’s what I thought:

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Tom (left) – Tom is a very sweet and polite young boy. He is also a disciplined and extremely well behaved young boy.

Tony (middle) AKA:¬†‘T-Bag’¬†– Tony is a very enthusiastic young boy. He does tend to get distracted but this does not affect his work at all.

Billy (right) – Billy is 1 of our new students. Although his English is weak, he tries very hard and has not struggled to make friends at all. He is positive for the most part and always tries to participate where possible.

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Tania (left) – Tania is a polite, intelligent and an extremely sincere young girl. She does struggle to project her voice but this does not prevent her from participating in class activities.

Jack (middle) AKA:¬†Jackie’¬†– Jackie is an extremely intelligent and humorous boy. He almost always has insight to any given topic and is generally well behaved.

Michaela (right) AKA:¬†Munchkin’¬†– Michaela is a very sweet girl with a hilarious personality. She is literally a “munchkin” and always has a look on her face that brings a smile to any and all onlookers.

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Jason (left) – Jason is a very charismatic boy. He has a tendency to be disruptive but always does his work and participates in all class activities with the utmost enthusiasm.

Kathryn (middle) – Kathryn is an extremely enthusiastic girl. She has a lot to offer and always has a lot to say; but sometimes she forgets to think before she speaks.

Nina (right) – Nina is a very sweet and well behaved young girl. She always tries her hardest to participate in class and gives valuable insight where possible.

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Bill (front) – Bill is the other new boy in our class. He is a very well behaved young boy and has 1 of the most positive attitudes I have ever seen.

Steven (middle) – is an extremely hyperactive boy who really wants to learn. He does tend to be disruptive but when it comes time to work he always puts the utmost effort into it.

Emil (back) AKA: ‘Lemon’¬†– Emil is an interesting boy who received his nickname because his name spelled backwards is ‘Lime’. He is generally well behaved and

In each of these pictures the learners were creating posters based on the ESLRs that we stuck on the class door:

1. Academics

2. Aesthetics

3. Athletics

4. Altruistic

So there you have it; the class of 5A and all its learners. Next up… Week 2!