Thursday, January 27, 2011

King Henry And His Wives.....

"Mama, do you know that King Henry VIII married a horse??"

Stunned and perplexed, I asked him to repeat again... you know just to be sure.... My mind was buzy finding other similar sounded words....

"He married a HORSE !!!"

"You mean King Henry married a horse as in the four-legged kind with a tail and whatnot?"

"Yeah... he was a cruel king, he had many wives and he killed most of them because they didn't give him a son!!! First he married Catherine then he divorced her, second he married Anne and she was beheaded, then he married Jane and she died, and then he married Anne and he divorced her because she turned out to be a HORSE, it's weird...."

Yes it is weird. Maybe he misunderstood.... Now to think of it, horse and w****s do sound similar right??? What should I say?? Should I tell him what I suspect is the real word ??? And after that, I have to explain to him what it means?? Ohh nooo..... I could be wrong too, afterall I don't know the history of the Tudors... and I don't know whom King Henry married !!

"What makes you think he married a horse?? Did your teacher tell you?"

"Well, we were watching the you tube videos"

Smiling, I asked him "Don't you think it funny that King Henry didn't know that he was marrying a horse during the ceremony? I mean, how do you think the HORSE walk?? How do you think they disguised the bride with the tail and all?? "

"Yeah... it's funny and really really weird..." he went off singing...

Divorced, beheaded and died
Divorced, beheaded, survived

I'm Henry the VIII
I had six sorry wives

Divorced, beheaded and died
Divorced, beheaded, survived

"Mama? What is divorced?" he called out. Glad of the sudden respite... I explained the meaning.

It is funny and disturbing too. Did Henry marry a w**** ?? No doubt Ilham didn't know the meaning of the word, never heard of it... but for a child to think that a man could marry a horse ?? Is he that naive ??

The first thing I did when I had some free time was to check on this you tube song...

Hmmm... now I'm beginning to get the idea. And after further check on the wiki, I'm you could say, an expert on the Tudors :D

So, after school today, I was ready to explain the whole thing to him but before I could do that Ilham said,

"Oh that thingy? Well King Henry claimed that she looked like a horse so he could divorce her!!"

I'm glad he gets it..., but it sure worries me for a while. Reflecting back, I think I was the one who was overanxious and jumped to conclusions and now I feel so s****d!!! he...he...he...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Grade 2 & 3 Disco

Towards the end of 2009/2010 school year, in the month of May 2010, the PTA at the ISA sponsored a Disco party for Grade 2 & 3. A big section of the cafetaria had been covered with thick cloth from the floor to the ceiling to give a dark atmosphere in the still bright daylight. Even with a giant ball of light in the middle of it, it had little resemblance to a disco (in my opinion). But these second and third graders didn't really care.... all they wanted to do was to dance, were they??

These are some photos that I managed to take, the camera ran out of battery leaving me only with a handful of photos.

See the giant ball of light, well it's not that big after all :D

If you are hoping to see them dance... well, don't hold your breath.

An attempt at breakdancing or is it pumping??

All I saw was....

Rear ends !!

And more rear end !!!

As for DS, he did try to dance a couple of times....

But most of all, what he wanted to do was this...

Wrestling !!!

In fact, most of them were just running around and playing tag....

After eating cheese and tomato pizza, more and more running !!! :D

Friday, January 21, 2011

Forensic Science

We bought this book at the book fair last November and Ilham loves it. I'm glad I bought it after all..... Initially I wanted him to choose another book because this book was not his normal favourite types and it might ended up on the shelf unread or halfway read !!! He promised that he would read it... so I relented. He loves it so much now that he wants to be an investigator when he grows up just like those in the CSI series :D But I told him he can't make a living in Malaysia if he becomes one. So he'd better think again. But of course I don't take him seriously.... his career dreams change as often as he changes his clothes and depend on who or what inspires him at the time :D

So far he wanted to be an astronaut (after a real astronaut came to school) and he dreamed to do spacewalk just like Steve Smith - the astronaut (read more on the astronaut's visit here). He said it would be cool to wear diapers when you go spacewalking :D He drew himself spacewalking and then asked me to keep the drawings for the future so that he could show the drawings to the school children that he would one day go and visit - just like Steve Smith. Now, where are the drawings ??? Ohhh... I must find it just in case he becomes one :D

Then, he wanted to be a professional footballer, after he joined football sessions at the school. His dream to be one reinforced after all that hooohaaa with the World Cup :D He wanted to be a goalkeeper just like Edwin van der Sar, the Dutch who used to play for Manchester United. When I asked him why he wanted to be a goalkeeper, he said "being a midfielder or an attacker is a lot of work, one has to run around the field and more...." and another thing, this is a secret mind you... he is afraid of being tackled !!!! Ha...ha...ha...

When I mentioned astronaut to him.... he said "I could be both". "When I am not spacewalking or I'm not at the ISS.... then I can play football". "Yeahhh... it's a lot of work...", and he mulled it over for quite sometime. Obviously Extra Work is something that he tries to avoid !!!!

At one time, he wanted to be an artist. All because everybody (he claimed) in his class liked his drawings. They voted for his drawing to represent their class to be repainted on the big elephant, it was part of a save the elephant project. When asked what did he draw.... he said, "it's an unfinished weird looking lion with a hamster's head", and I thought to myself " !!!??@??!!!?? " I found that piece of drawing recently when I was looking through his works from ISA and I just couldn't imagine why his friends would want to vote for his drawing !!!!

Then another time, he wanted to be a story teller. During the book week last year (you can read here), the ISA invited a story teller to come and meet the Lower School students. He was so impressed with the Irish fella that he wanted to be just like him. He said it would be fun to make people laugh. For weeks on end, I had to endure all these funny noises of him trying to imitate the guy !!! When we left the ISA for good last June, the school librarian gave him a copy of the story teller's dvd and said that she still remembered how Ilham laughed so hard when listening to the story teller.

So this is no different, he will soon get other ideas. And while he is on this dream, let's see whether he succeeds in trying to be one....

Solving The Case of The Dead Snowman...

Hmmm... I wonder what he's trying to say here?

Conclusion?? I DON'T get it !!!! Fine CSI he would be !!!! ha...ha...ha...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let's Go Swimming !!!!

Last Saturday on the 15th December, we went or rather Ilham went for his first swimming lesson of the year. Ilham received his Diploma A certificate in June last year at the ISA and we wished for him to continue with diploma B (more for exercise rather than the certificate). But then... when we moved here to Den Haag, he didn't want to join swimming classes anymore because he said it was tiring. After almost 6 months of not swimming, suddenly he missed the pool and wanted to go for B Diploma. Happily... I searched around and managed to get him registered at De Driesprong in Zoetermeer. In the Netherlands, normally there is a waiting list so we were lucky to get a place at the last minute.

Water is an integral part of Dutch landscape. Everywhere there are canals, ponds and rivers. Every now and then, a young curious child would escape the supervision of the parents and wanders to the exciting rippling of water and a sad tragedy occurs. So it is imperative that children learn proper swimming at a young age. Swimming Education Netherlands (ZON) recommends children to start lesson at four and a half years of age. However, due to waiting list most children start lessons when they are five years. Dutch schools do have swimming programs in the curriculum, but normally they start at age 8 and this is quite late for most parents. Therefore parents would rather send their children for swim lessons at the local pool.

Swimming requirement in Netherlands is more towards safety and survival, it is not meant for competitive swimming. Children have to undergo strenuous exercises and will be tested to get the diplomas. They have to swim fully clothed with shoes on for a minimum distance. Depends on the A,B or C diplomas, they have to wear t-shirts & shorts, long-sleeved shirt & long pants and finally long-sleeved shirt, vest, socks, trainers & jacket(raincoat). The reason for this is if a child is to fall in the water, it is most likely that he is fully clothed. In B and C diplomas, they have to pull a friend for 10 meters with both of them fully clothed. They also have to swim underwater and go through a hole (3 to 6 meters), swim for 50 meters and dive under a raft (1.5 meter wide) and continue swimming on the other side and a few more other exercises. It sounds tiring even for me... Most children stop after they get Diploma B.

Maybe there is a reason for this strenuous activities.

On the cold night of 31 st January 1953, the combination of a storm surge in the North Sea and the high spring tide forced the sea level to rise to an abnormally high level exceeding 5/6 meters. The strong waves bashed against the sea walls, breakwaters and barriers and the high waters went right over the top. The weaker dikes which broke approximately three hours after midnight and the collapse of many sea walls caused a massive flooding in the provinces of Zeeland, South Holland and Noord-Brabant. Officially, 1835 people died, mostly in Zeeland and 70,000 more had to be evacuated. Netherlands had a history of floods but the North Sea flood of 1953 must be the worst ever.

Flood areas

On that night, none of the local radio stations broadcast at night, and many of the smaller weather stations operated only during the day, as a result the warnings did not penetrate the flood-threatened areas in time and consequently people were unable to prepare for the impending flood. Telephone and telegraph networks were disrupted, and to make it worst, the disaster struck on a Saturday night and many emergency related offices were unstaffed.

The flood put a large parts of South Holland, Zeeland and Noord-Brabant under water and covered 9% of Dutch farmland and sea water inundated 1,365 km² of land. An estimated of 30,000 livestocks drowned, and 47,300 buildings were damaged of which 10,000 were totally destroyed. The salt water contaminated the farmland for many years to come.

The Schielandse Hoge Zeedijk dike along the river Hollandse Ijssel was all that protected three million people in the provinces of South and North Holland from flooding. A section of this dike, known as the Groenendijk, was not reinforced with stone revetments. The waterlevel was just below the crest and the seaside slope was weak. Volunteers worked to reinforce this stretch. Nevertheless, the Groenendijk collapsed under the pressure around 5:30 am on 1 February. Seawater flooded into the deep polder. In desperation, the mayor of Nieuwerkerk commanded the river ship de Twee Gebroeders (The Two Brothers) and ordered the owner to plug the hole in the dike by navigating the ship into it. Fearing that the ship might break through and dive into the polder, captain Arie Evegroen took a row boat with him. The mayor's plan turned out to be successful, as the ship lodged itself firmly into the dike, saving many lives.

The storm surge did not only affect Netherlands, but it caused many fatalities in other countries as well. 307 people were killed in the United Kingdom, in the counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, meanwhile 28 were killed in West Flanders, Belgium. Further loss of life exceeding 230 occurred on watercraft along Northern European coasts as well as in deeper waters of the North Sea; the ferry MV Princess Victoria was lost at sea in the North Channel east of Belfast with 133 fatalities, and many fishing trawlers sank.

In total, approximately 2,400 people were killed.

A beautiful Dutch movie "De Storm", a fictional story based on the tragedy was released at the cinema in 2009. We bought the Dvd, but I have yet to see it.

We think it is imperative Ilham learns swimming because the lessons require him to swim in deeper water and helps building the stamina. Here is some of the videos of Ilham and children at ISA getting their respective diplomas, taken in June 2010.

This is the start of the diploma A testing. They had to jump in fully clothed withs socks & shoes, float for 15 seconds (I think) and swim breaststroke for about 18 meters, dive and turn under the rope and swim on the back to the end of the pool.

In the video above, they had to dive in, swim underwater for 3 meters, go through the hole, resurface and continue swimming 50 meters of breaststroke and then 50 meters backstroke.

Jumped in straight like a pencil and swam backstroke for 10 meters.

Celebrations !!! After receiving their diplomas, the children celebrated by dancing around the pool. The colourful banners were placed there just for the occassion. Some parents bought flowers and little presents to give to their children. We bought AJAX ball for Ilham :D

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Walk Like An Egyptian

Egyptian dancers drawn in class

And this is Ilham's version of egyptian dance...

I suggested for him to do egyptian walk

as one of his home learning project under bodily-kinesthetic section,

but he REFUSED...

what a shame... been thinking to use the Bangle's song..

so catchy....

still, he agreed to do it at home for me :D

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Education in Europe

Children at Junior British School - Leidschenveen, Netherlands

To those who are not familiar with the european system, determining which grade or which year your child will be can be confusing. In our country, the year a child was born will determine when he will be in Year 1. But in Europe, it's not like that. For one thing school year begins as early as mid August or early September (depends on which school you go to) and it will end the following mid June or mid July, then the children will have a range of 2 months summer holiday(could be 7 weeks, again it depends on which school). Here, which month & year your child was born will determine which year/grade he goes into. The cut off month is 31st August, if a child was born between September to December, he will go into a lower academic year as compared to friends born prior to September. Does it make any sense? To make things simpler, I will give an example here:

For a child born in June 2002 ;

In Malaysia, in year 2011 : He is in Tahun 3

At International Sch Amsterdam : He is in Grade 3 (academic year 2010/2011)

At British School Netherlands : He is in Year 4 (academic year 2010/2011)

But, for a child born in September 2002 ;

In Malaysia, in year 2011 : He is in Tahun 3

At International Sch Amsterdam : He is in Grade 2 (academic year 2010/2011)

At British School Netherlands : He is in Year 3 (academic year 2010/2011)

In Malaysia formal education begins at 7 years (6 to those born in December), but here in Netherlands and Britain, formal education begins at 5 years (4 to those born in August - correct me if I'm wrong) when children start Foundation 2.

The British Junior School starts with Foundation 1 (not compulsory), then Foundation 2, followed by Year 1, Year 2 and so on. And something else to bear in mind, classes here begin at 8.45 a.m. and ends at 3.15 p.m.

While Britain and Netherland begin formal education at 5 years (4 if you think about it), most of Europe countries begin formal education at 6 years while Scandinavian countries like Finland and Sweden begin their formal education when the child turns 7 !!! And yet, Finland is reported to be a global superstar in education terms and is consistently among the top performers. Finnish pupils not only begin education at age 7, but they also enjoy 11 weeks of summer holidays and yet they end up with the highest educational standards in Europe - source BBC news, February 2008.

It seems that English children are ploughing up through a fix curriculum while their continental counterparts are still playing in kindergarten pits or playing at home. It worths to note that England primary school children are subjected to more testing and assessment at an earlier age compared to other Western countries.

I suppose Malaysian education system are similar to the British, a lot of tests and exams.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

Drawing clip from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Ever since I bought the first 3 books of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid (initially for me to read first!! then to pass to Ilham when he is bigger) just over a year ago, Ilham is hooked on the books. He simply love them. He has been rereading them for many times now, I think the first book alone, he reread 5/6 times, and everytime, he laughed just as if reading it for the first time :D Now, had he shown similar interest when reading his Muqaddam, I would feel very very happy indeed !!! I don't blame him, I enjoyed reading the books as well, they made me smile even reading the first page...

First page of the 1st book..

Anyway since then, we have bought all the 6 books available, including the latest one "The Ugly Truth". The only one we have not bought is the Diary of a Wimpy Kid : Do-It-Yourself Book. They even have a movie made based on this book and Ilham had been so looking forward to see the movie which was released in the summer, but somehow the movie was not shown here!! What a shame...

The 4th and 5th books

The latest book

Ilham has been so inspired by these books that he even has his own diary err.. journal to write, just like Greg the main character. He even draw himself exactly like Greg, just scroll to the bottom and you will know what I mean.

Initially he had been writing quite regularly, but now since summer he had been distracted by other activities because we went back home to Malaysia. Sadly to say, since he started school here at the British School, he has not been very productive in his writing. For that very reason I have been very "persuasive" in my encouragement for him to write :D And this is what happen when I did that. Instead of writing something interesting that happened to him, he wrote this.... (hope you can read)

Part 1/4

Part 2/4

Part 3/4

Part 4/4

I told him to "put your heart in writing" and that is exactly what I got - a drawing of his heart on a plate !!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Goodbye Flat Ben...

After having Flat Ben at home for 9 days, Ilham was sad to send Flat Ben back to his flat worlds. He became quite attached to the paper friend and actually shed a few tears on that final night. So I told him to write what he was feeling in the booklet. This is what he wrote and drew...

Goodbye !!!

To make him feel better, I told him that Flat Ben was only going for a short while and that he would get Flat Ben back at the end of school year in June when the teacher gave back all the school works. That seemed to cheer him a bit, but then at the end of the school year, he didn't get Flat Ben, instead he got Flat Ilham !!!

" Never mind, I still have Flat Ilham..." he said, when I told him.

Flat Ilham

Hmmm.... young minds do easily forgets :D

Saturday, January 8, 2011

More on Flat Ben

Ilham wrote quite a few entries on his adventures with Flat Ben. I tried to take more pictures of his work, but it didn't turn out good because sometimes the writings were not dark enough for my camera. I really should scan them, but we do not have one at home, and I do not want to trouble DH at work.
Some of the writings were rather funny and some were quite violent.. Oh dear, it must be the influence of all these games and fightings on TV !!! Anyway, from the way he wrote I could see that he did have all these ideas in his head but he still had trouble getting it out on paper. It is normal, according to the teacher. She said something about the young mind is still not able to send it to the hands(my understanding of what she said!!!). But he was ok, some kids are not able to write at all.

Story of him & Flat Ben in the tub. Read this "....hes like a boat at the stormy seas of the tub." I thought that was quite poetic he..he..

Story at Ajax stadium . When he came home, he realised that he would not get any presents from us because his 8th birthday fell within the 3 months period.

Such wild imagination and err violent too... In reality, Flat Ben only fell to the floor next to his feet!!!

However way he wrote them, we still treasure them nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Spring Break With Flat Ben

Just before spring holiday started last April, the students of 2JK were buzy drawing their own pictures for the project during the holiday. These pictures, labeled with their own name, were then cut and laminated, and then given to another student to take home. Over the holiday period, the students were required to bring their "flat friend" whenever they go and write about their adventures together in a booklet.

Ilham was given Flat Ben to bring home. You can view Flat Ben here :D I think, the idea of having adventures with these "flat friends (as I like to term it)", were inspired by the Flat Stanley books as written by Jeff Brown. The students of grade 2 had been reading these books in their classes. I personally found the books interesting and full of adventure :D

This is Ilham's booklet and some of the stories as written by him during the one week holiday..

That's it for now.... will upload more Flat Ben stories later :D

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our International Class

This is one of the Unit of Inquiries that Grade 1 learned at the ISA. It is covered under the unit themed Where We Are In Time And Place. Under this unit, the children learned about their personal histories as part of understanding themselves and their place in the community and the world.

Using a certain programme, they completed short sentences about where they were born, what languages they spoke, where they have lived, etc. They inserted their photograph, their flag, added a background colour and manipulated the text font.

This is Ilham's. Note that he believed he once lived in Indonesia which he never did :D

The children wrote their own sentenses , so you will notice the misspelling :)

This is Noah, Ilham's best friend. He's been staying in Japan since he was born that he believed he was Japanese. He loved anything Japan....isn't that cute??

Towards the end of the inquiry, the children were supposed to compile things special to their country and themselves in a box and bring it to class. Over the next few days, they will take turns showing and explaining these items to the class.

We put in money and coins and Ilham drew a paper keris.

The cover was adorned with Jalur Gemilang :D

Notice the blue notebook in the box? What's inside the book....

We put in cuttings of festivals celebrated in Malaysia, photos of wau bulan, gasing and congkak, photos of silat performers and also pictures of KLCC which Ilham took pride in telling that it was the tallest twin tower :D

We had fun doing this and I think Ilham learned a lot too about our culture and country. I took the opportunity to explain to him the traditional games and silat. We even browse the internet to learn silat movements and actually learned a few zapin steps :D

I am truly glad that they had this inquiry. These culture are all around us, but sometimes we are somehow too engrossed in other things that we never realise that our children do not know much about it.


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