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Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year in Middle Primary! We have eagerly been getting to know each other, welcoming new friends, and settling into our classroom and routines over the past few weeks. This year we have twelve children representing twelve different countries/nationalities, including Colombia, Finland, India, U.S.A., Venezuela, Lebanon, Belgium, Japan, Russia, Brazil, Uganda, and Poland. We were thrilled to welcome Lara and Amelie, two Year 4 children brand new to ISG, who quickly became important members of our school community. We also recently celebrated Enrique’s 9th birthday with Roblox cupcakes and a little party. Happy birthday dear Enrique!
We began the school year by focusing on connections – the personal connections that link us as people, the international connections between the countries that we come from, and the biological connections inside of our brains that create learning.
After two weeks of settling in and sharing about ourselves and our learning, we dove right in to our first International Primary Curriculum (IPC) topic: Ancient Egypt. What a rich, fascinating, and energizing topic! We researched the role of the River Nile in Ancient Egyptian society, learned about how mummies were prepared and why, and wrote our own historical fiction stories based on pharaohs, mummies, cats, tomb robbers. The imagination and energy that the children captured in their writing and artwork was truly inspiring! The children designed and made their own cartouches out of clay, learning about hieroglyphics and scribes in the process. Then we created a tomb painting as a class by drawing and painting to scale, which was more challenging than we thought it would be.
During our Ancient Egypt unit, the children adopted a classroom pet: Fudge the housefly. Unfortunately, Fudge passed away very quickly…but the children leapt at the chance to prepare him for the after life…! We learned that very important pharaohs had large pyramids, so of course Fudge had to have his own very impressive pyramid. The children created canopic jars, a sarcophagus, tomb art, and many amulets to support Fudge as he transitions into his after life. We all hope that when Anubis, the jackal-headed god of embalming, weighs Fudge’s heart against the feather of truth, that he will proceed into paradise with all of the things we’ve prepared for him!
We’ve been enjoying using the Daily 5 structure for our literacy programme, as the children gain independence, choice, and time for their reading, writing, and spelling studies/word work. Many of the children can be found in the mornings tucked into small corners of the classroom, cosily reading by themselves for extended periods of time. They’ve also found great joy in their writing this year, and they can be found discussing dramatic plots, secret journal entries, and exciting story twists with each other at our communal work table. Any visitors to the classroom in the mornings notice a busy little hum with the children focused and concentrating on what they’ve chosen to work on.
In addition to our IPC, numeracy, and literacy programmes, the children participate in lessons in swimming, sport, Dutch, music, and choir. Some children are playing the recorder in small groups with our music teacher, Sterre, and one group recently played Ode to Joy together during an all-school assembly.
We have navigated a few transitions in our classroom, namely saying goodbye to our friends Amelie, who returned to the U.S.A, and Lara, who returned to Uganda. Both left with many new friends and memories. You are already missed, Lara and Amelie! We also welcomed Ms. Narissa back from her maternity leave. She began leading literacy and numeracy in October, with Ms. Sophie continuing to teach IPC. Welcome back, dear Ms. Narissa!
While walking around our beautiful Ghent recently, I stumbled upon a shop that had a quote reminding me of the Middle Primary children and the joy they find in learning, sharing, and being in school. In closing, I’ll leave you with this:
‘’Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.’’ --Roald Dahl