Monday, May 21, 2012

Leidschenveen Exhibition

Two weeks after the outing, parent volunteers were buzy helping the teachers and students to cut, paste and hang the works done by the students in time for the exhibition. For three days some mothers came to help, sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon.

Finally on the 10th of May 2012, the exhibition was officially opened. Let's view photos taken during the event

Giving last minute instructions
A brief speech before ribbon cutting ceremony
Ribbon cutting ceremony (minus the ribbon)
Listening to proposed development for The Forgotten Triangle by Ilham's team

Parents and the special visitors were very encouraging, listening to the students attentively. . .

Drawings of Leidschenveen by the students
Ilham's drawing titled Leidschenveen Building Development

Parent volunteer - before the exhibition

I think this local study is very good, it gives exposure on town planning on the needs and wants of the community almost similar to the ones that Ilham learned when he was at International School of Amsterdam.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Study Of Local Community

After the Easter Break, Year 5 learned about the local community where the school is ie the Leidschenveen area. In this study they learned the history of the town, how and when it was built. As part of program, the school invited people from the Stadhuis (City Hall) to give briefing on the history and town planning. Tours to the Leidschenveen town were arranged where the year fives interviewed the local people. Lots of information was gathered :

- The type of buildings the town have
- How many schools are there
- What kind of transportation the town has access to
- Why local people come to the shopping centre, what are they looking for
- Types of shops and service that the town has
- How do the locals come to the area
- How long does it take for them to arrive at the town
- What do the people want that the town does not have

Students were divided into groups and they performed specific tasks, some were drawing and others were mapping. Those who were conversant in Dutch had been given the task of interviewing the locals to give the opportunity to the kids to practice their Dutch.

All these information were then tabulated in the forms of graphs, reports, and drawings. Models of proposed town planning (for the little bit of land which is somehow forgotten and still undeveloped) were also built by the students.

The City Hall was kind enough to provide the model of the town and gave copies of the map area.

The whole elements took a few weeks to complete, finalised with an exhibition to the parents on the 10th May recently. The exhibition was officially opened by "Somebody Important" from the City Hall.

Again, parent volunteers were required to accompany the students walking to the town and to cut and paste/hang all the works in time for the exhibition.

I joined the class in one of the outings to the Leidschenveen Town. The guy from the City Hall, Mr Kwakkenbos, the Lead Designer for Leidschenveen Development was there and he briefed the students on the town planning. I found a few interesting facts about the place that we live in, something that I never knew before. The road that we travel everyday in front of the house is actually a dike that has existed for hundreds of years. The road called Veenweg is very long and it is quite narrow in comparison to the other roads. On both sides of the dike were actually full of water, meaning our house is actually situated on reclamed land.

Interviewing the locals
Gathering information
Listening to explanation

I found this study to be very interesting indeed. I wish our children at home can benefit from it and perhaps those involved in town planning back home, can definitely learn a few tips from this as well. Town planners needs to understand the needs of the community, and not just leave it to the developers to decide. Ooops now I am digressing!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Helping Year 5 Making Their Books

During the final week of March, I was helping out the class teachers in assisting the students to complete their books. I was not the only one, there were other parent volunteers too. Basically, our tasks were to cut the cards to make the covers, cut out the blank papers to make the pages, cut out the fabric for the cover of the book, sew in the pages into the cover and assist the kids in gluing the fabric to the covers. That's all we did, the kids would paste their homeworks onto the blank pages themselves.

To be honest, this was the most exciting project I had ever helped at the school. I was glad to help because in the process I learned something precious, making your very own book. It was actually super duper easy !!!

In my excitement, I forgot to take pictures of the process, however on the last day, I did manage to take a few pictures
Gluing the fabric onto the covers

The pages sewed in.

Ready to paste the homework in..

This project also allowed me to look at the interesting works that some of the kids did. Some kids were truly creative.

This lovely girl was showing me her family tree. 

The books were displayed recently for the parents to see during the Year 5 Local Study Exhibition.

Such a treasure these books will be one day :D

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waiting and Waiting

After a few weeks of the homework project, I decided enough was enough. For the first few weeks DS got away by making "easy homework", something that did not pose any problems to him at all. On the first week, he insisted to make a list of places that he had been to and their connections to him, an easy one that carried 2 points. Then on the second week, he compiled all the flags of the countries that he had been to. With the wonders of Internet, life is definitely easier, all he did was search for the flags and transferred them to the publisher, this also carried 2 points. On the third week, he made a list of similarities and differences of the two schools that he went to in the Netherlands. This got him 4 points I think, I'm not so sure, unfortunately it took him 2 weeks to complete the list.  On the fifth week he made a draft summary of his travel to Rome, no proper writing yet . . .

On the sixth week, I decided I needed to intervene. How could he get the minimum requirement of 40 points before 30th March at the rate he was going? And more, his book needed to have pictures, diagrams as well as text. Since the school had a one week break, this was the time to catch up with the travel to Rome story and an extra homework. So on one not so fine day during the holiday break, there he was. . . sitting and waiting. . .

and waiting. . .

And waiting and . . .

and jotting . . .

Equipped with pen and paper, chocolate bar and sweets, and also my hand phone (in case he missed me, he said :D ), there he was recording the numbers of people and vehicles that passed down the street. The data would then be compiled in the form of graphs.

Not even 20 minutes had passed when the house phone rang . . .

"Mama . . can you bring me more food?"

What? Finished already? Did he spent the time eating or what??

When I did not turn up 10 minutes later as promised, the phone rang again . . .

Hmmm so much for my quiet time alone !!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Around The World In My 10 Years

I love the project homework this term (Term 2), most parents love it but you will find that most kids sure hate it. Why???? Because it involves lots of writing !!! That's why. . .

The homework actually covers Literacy and Geography. Imagine what my dear son has to do every week . . . I just know that he won't like it :D

So what do the kids have to do? The kids need to produce works which will be compiled in school into their very own book titled "Around The World In My 10 Years". They have until Friday 30th March to complete the book (which is about 12 weeks from the beginning of term). The contents should have pictures, diagrams, maps and text in the book.

Front page of the guidelines

A set of ideas of what to include in the making of the book have been included in the guidelines(above) for the kids' and parents' reference. Among them are :
  • Make a list of all places which means something to you.
  • On an outline of the world map, carefully plot all these places.
  • Write about a memorable journey you have experienced
  • Make a map of the area around your house. Include at least 3 other streets and any street furniture (like lamp post, litter bins etc)
  • make a survey of something you can study in your local area.
  • Write a travel report about a place you have visited. What are the good parts?
  • Write a review about what it is like to live in the Netherlands
  • Research about animals in one of your countries.
  • Write an article about the similarities and differences about two different schools you have been to.
  • Make some International Food from a place you know well. Write out the recipe and take photographs of the finished food.
  • Prepare a list of handy phrases in English and the language that you are familiar with.
  • Research weather maps, learn the symbols and make a whather map of a typical day in your chosen place.
  • Make a quiz to go with your book (answers should be found in the book!!!)
and many, many more. . . .

Don't you love it? I do, I think this book idea is simply brilliant, it covers a lot of elements. And if you really follow the ideas included in the guidelines, the kids shall learn a lot of things from writing, mapping, making diagrams etc. There are so many things to include (or rather I try to persuade my son to include) that I think 12 weeks is not enough!!!

Imagine, one brief travel report can actually take 2 weeks the way DS writes. He has such a terrible handwriting that he needs to erase all the time, further the hands are not fast enough for the ideas that sometimes come into his head. Not to mention the fact that he does not like to proof read what he writes. How many times do I have to tell him "always reread what you write!!!"

Despite all these hurdles I do love the homework this term, but I'm quite sure that DS doesn't!!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Poem By Ilham - The Hidden Danger

This poem was written by Ilham in class - Year 5 

The Hidden Danger

The water rushes over your feet,
bringing sea life to an end.

The splashing of waves againsts the rocks,
slowly peeling the moss.

The water soaks your skin,
making you shiver.

The mist blocking your view,
bringing you nowhere.

High tides starts to form,
swallowing the surfers.

Boats piercing its way through the storm,
but actually leading to suicide.

When the water pulls you in,
you will sink to the bottom of the ocean.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Snow Fighting In School

Friday, 3rd February 2012 - 3.15 pm

No one really likes the snow more than the kids. Here is Ilham and friends snow fighting in school at pick-up time.

I'm glad that he is enjoying himself :D

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Greek Vase

One of the homework for Year 5 last term was "Make a Greek vase", it carries a maximum of 10 points. Now that's a lot of points to score. The list of suggested homeworks for us to choose, varies from 2 to 10 points. It is up to us which one the children want to do, but they need to have a minimum of 25 points for the half term period between 2nd November until 15th of December. Which means, we need to submit a homework every week in order to get the minimum points. As a guide, 2 points is what the children score for half-an-hour's worth of work and they need to work for at least 30 minutes on any two days in a week.

Making this vase would be a good idea, it carries a lot of points and it would also be good for DS's motoring skill. Except, I have never done any vase or related craft work in my ancient entire life. So how to guide him? An email from one of the parent in the class saved the day. The parent was arranging for a pottery class from one of the Dutch Pottery in The Hague and she would like to know whether we were interested to join in. For the 2 hour lesson, the children would be doing their very own Greek vase and it only cost euro 15. DS jumped on the idea because that means he would be meeting his classmates and having fun playing with clay!!

For me, that means one homework completed in 2 hours time and I did not even have to scratch my brain and scream my head off  push DS to complete his homework, hooorayyy !!!!

Greek Vase by DS
Another view

It looks shiny after it's been baked in the oven. Below is how it looks before it's baked.

Before baking

At the end of the 2 hour lesson, the vases were left at the Pottery for the baking process and would be ready for collection after 2 weeks.

I managed to take a few vases by the other children as well.

This one is really nice

There were various shapes and decorations, but two things were very obvious as mentioned by the instructor at the end of the lesson, "The girls' vases are more decorative and have more patterns while the boys' ones are much more bolder in colours". One of the parent's comments was funny though, "It seems as if they have little controls over their hands. . . " hehehehe. . . .  But to be honest, I was amazed by the outcome. I wonder how the instructor and his one helper managed 17 children aged 9/10 years old through the whole process.

Let's see some of the kids in the class :

The instructor

Some of the kids, listening tentatively...

At the end of the session, all the boys at DS's table have yet to decorate their vases with Greek motifs hummphh. . . . I know, they spent the time talking and kidding each other mostly :D

Bila dah kena marah (by me of course), baru nak decorate!!!

Alhamdulillah, that was one very productive Saturday :D  But of course  DS still had to submit one homework (or a draft one) the following Friday, so I made him wrote what he did during the pottery class hehehehe. . . . I was actually curious and tried to understand how exactly they did the vase :D

He wrote a 2 pages decription complete with drawings (on my suggestion).

Complimentary note from the teacher

And received 11 points for the vase (every kids got the same) and 4 extra points for the writing and also earned 1 house point for his Gouda House.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pandora's Box

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Year 5 learn everything under the sun about Ancient Greek last term. That means they take 3 1/2 months to cover the issue, from early September until middle of December. Not only they learn it in class, their homeworks are also about Ancient Greek. So whether I like it or not, I as the helper at home, has to learn as well.

But DS homework this last term was somehow easier compared to when he was in Year 4. We were given a few pages of ideas, and we may choose anything that we want to do. The way it was done, it's easier to score minimum points which was 25 per half term (ie 50 points for the whole term). Of course, I tend to pick on the easier ones and tried my very best to influence DS to choose the ones that I chose :D

One of the homework that DS did was Pandora's Box. The task was something like this :

Create and decorate Pandora's Box, make cards portraying the many negative elements that come out from the box.

Of course I heard of this box before but I did not know what it actually is. Since DS seemed to know the story, I let him do the decorating and the cards. Initially he resisted on using the stuff that I already bought because he thought that it's too girlish. But then I said Pandora was a girl.

DS's version of Pandora's Box

I know you all agree that it's girlish right??? Hehehe.. I did not know what to get, I must be the worst craft person in the world, I just simply have no idea how and what to decorate!!! Then I saw these ready made stuff and it's sold quite cheap here. The whole bag was only 1 euro (DS only used a few pieces). He can simply remove the sticker and stick it to the box any way he liked it. And the box? It's a chocolate box that a visitor brought some time ago... it does come in handy huhhh...

So I said to DS, it did not matter how you decorate the box, what the teacher wanted to see was whether you understand the story behind it.

This is what DS said he told the teacher when he brought in the box to the class :

The colourful decoration represents what life is before Pandora opens the box. Bright, cheerful and happy life.

The bad elements that come out....

He made many cards to represent the negative elements, Fear, Crime, Hate, Sickness, Evil, Anger, Stupidity etc and the cartoons, he copied from the emoticons hehehe...(I love the Sickness one) The red crawling fire represents the elements trying to come out from the box.

And at last... Hope

My research on the Wiki reveals the following :

In classic Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on earth. Zeus ordered Hephaestus, the god of craftsmanship, to create her, so he did - using water and earth. The gods endowed her with many gifts: Athena clothed her, Aphrodite gave her beauty, and Hermes speech.

When Prometheus stole fire from heaven, Zeus took vengeance by presenting Pandora to Epimetheus, Prometheus' brother. With her, Pandora was given a beautiful jar which she was not to open under any circumstance. Impelled by her curiosity given to her by the gods, Pandora opened the jar, and all evil contained escaped and spread over the earth. She hastened to close the lid, but the whole contents of the jar had escaped, except for one thing that lay at the bottom, which was Hope.

The original Greek word used was actually "pithos" which means "a large jar", however in the 16th century, Erasmus of Rotterdam a Dutch humanist had mistranslated "pithos" as "pyxis" which means "box". The phrase "Pandora's Box" has endured ever since.

Mama's Note : I remember watching one of Angelina Folie's (the actress not the Cat) film, which involves her biking on the Great Wall of China to walking deep in the wilderness of Africa in search of the Pandora's Box where she has to kill the hero to save the world. Ohh so sad. . . .


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