View from my classroom

I have some pretty stellar views from my classroom. I can see the top of Mt. Eden, and on some occasions, I even catch a spectacular sunset.  It’ a really nice treat at the end of the day to sit back and gaze out at the glorious colors that fill the sky.

I won’t be catching many sunsets from my classroom over the next six weeks, though, because in a matter of days, we are about to wrap up the school year!   Though I will probably dabble in planning and preparing for a new year of fun times with the new batch of students who will walk through my door in February, I hope to be spending only a limited amount of time in my classroom over the summer, and hopefully not at the time of night when the sun is setting!

The end of the school year is a blissful thing which I am excited to embrace.  It has been quite a challenging term, to say the least, but these last few weeks have indeed included some fun times.  Highlights of the term would include:

The addition of this lovely classroom bell.  The kids respond quite well to it actually.  I used to count down from 5 to get their attention, but now I just ring the bell.

Celebrating National Jandal Day.  In support of NZ surf lifesaving, we recently had a whole day of activities dedicated to jandals (otherwise known in North America as flip flops).  Jandal reading, jandal writing, jandal drama, jandal maths…  That’s right, they say “maths” here instead of just math.  (It is still a struggle for me to get this out sounding naturally, without over-emphasizing the extra “s” as the end.)

I should note that although the idea of “jandal day” seemed pretty fun to me, many of my students were quite concerned about it because they do not usually wear footwear.  “Do we actually have to wear jandals?” they asked.  I told them it was alright to just bring them and put them under their desk.  But I made them put them on for a picture.

A class “fun day” that involved a “wheels morning” where students were allowed to ride around on their scooters, skateboards and rollerblades, followed by a shared lunch and a water fight.  For lunch, a couple of my students brought in some plates of “fairy bread,” which is essentially bread with butter, topped with a dusting of candy sprinkles- a simple but popular lunch option among the young kiwi folk. 

Watching my students take part in water safety training.  Luckily, I did not have to take the plunge into the icy cold water with them!  I did pick up some helpful tips while watching from the side of the pool, though.

Prizegiving.  They call it “prizegiving” here instead of graduation, and I find this very interesting.  In Canada, I feel that a typical Grade 6 graduation would normally be a celebration of achievement and of reaching a new milestone, and a bittersweet sending off to the next lag of the journey.  The Prizegiving was partially this, but the bigger focus was on the prizes or awards given out that evening.  By tradition, our school gives out a number of “cups” that are awarded to oustanding students.  This is great and all, except when students burst into tears when their name is not announced for the cup they were hoping to get.  I just find it interesting that the focus is literally on who got what prize, and not as much about the milestones that are reached on such an occasion as the finishing of one’s primary school career.

The Year 6 Disco.  As a party for the Year 6’s leaving the school, the parents of these children get together and plan an elaborate gathering place for the youngins to celebrate and dance the night away.  It was a beach-themed bash this year, and boy, was I blown away with the extent to which they took the theme.  It was probably the most elaborate decor I have ever seen.  Almost all of the wall space in our school hall was covered in beach-themed decor and props, including a manequin adorning scuba gear, a row boat, surf boards and boogie boards, and nets of balloons hanging from the ceiling.  The kids had a blast, and as a supervisor/photographer of the evening, I had a pretty good time too. 

Here’s to a school year nearly over…

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