Thursday, June 21, 2012

Term 2 draws to a close

It's been a wonderful term at Cotswold - busy, but lots of fun.
One of the things I have been able to do this year is give a small group of children from each Grade 1 and 2 class an opportunity to consolidate phonics skills. They open Starfall and use the material at an appropriate level. Those children who suffer from problems with concentration in the classroom get to put on earphones and focus on the programme without distraction. I have not yet worked out a method of assessing the benefit of this method but hopefully we will get there.
The major fundraising activity has been the Spelling Bee. The children had to learn their list of words and on 6 June they wrote the test. There are some great photos on our Facebook page (Cotswold Preparatory School). In their computer lessons they typed their words into a word cloud program and this gave them lots of practice at getting their spellings correct whilst enjoying a novel way of presenting them. A satisfying amount of sponsorship funds was raised.
The Spelling Bee was followed by a Father's Day soccer skills day. The dads (and some mums) came to school on Friday 15th to play games with their children. We had a boerewors and chips sale and it was a great community building day.
In the computer lab the focus has been on the Olympic Games. We are proud of how our wiki is looking. Sadly not many other countries added their information because most are now on their summer break. Our Grade 3's learnt a lot and we will be using wikis again later in the year so we have had a good introduction. The teacher is also on a steep learning curve! Click here for the link to our Global Olympic Project.
Before we started the Olympics project Grade 2V participated in a short project with Global Classroom. It was the Global Lunch Project mentioned in an earlier blog post where children from around the world shared what they bring to school for lunch.
The new CAPS curriculum largely ignores the integration of technology at the foundation phase level so I often feel quite isolated in my work. The teachers are under so much pressure with assessments and keeping up with the compulsory weekly themes that there is little time to think about the integration of technology for teaching and learning. For them, computer lessons mean they have only half of their class for one period a week and it gives them an opportunity to assess one of the many tasks with the other half of the class.
And now we are ready to enjoy our three week winter break. I'm looking forward to the challenges of the new term.