Wow! December 2020, can you believe it? What a whirlwind of a year. I know we can all name plenty ways in which our lives have changed because of the pandemic from not seeing family and friends, losing loved ones, likely receiving a much lower salary or not receiving one at all. Medical professionals around the world have been working non stop and of course, schools closing.
The closing of schools obviously affected millions of students around the world. We all understand why it had to happen but try explaining that to a 3 year old who loves putting his little uniform on in the morning. Kids are experiencing something that I couldn’t have even imagined as a youngster. My biggest worry in Primary school was making sure my homework was complete and remembering to bring my lunch box home .(stressful times 😉 )
It’s a pretty looking school, don’t you think?
I must say, compared to how intense some of the lock downs have been around the world, including my country, South Africa. Cambodia got off lightly. Family and friends constantly informed us of all the rules and restrictions. South Africa even stopped selling alcohol and cigarettes during their lock down. You had to have a specific permit to travel to a family member in need. Intense. Here in Cambodia, we have had a tiny amount of cases compared to the rest of the world. Majority being incoming cases. All schools closed in March and we went online shortly after.
All our grades went online, from Kindergarten – High school.
Now, I must say that I was very impressed and proud of our Schools and my team. We all worked together in researching the best and easiest ways for our students to join lessons online. We experimented with various online platforms and decided on the simplest one. As teachers around the world can relate, it was definitely not easy setting it up, especially when facing so many obstacles. Some teachers not being tech savvy, students not having access to a phone / tablet, students don’t have WiFi or data, no parental supervision and so on.
A Ben 10 desk. Perfect set up for his lessons. 🙂
However, after many video tutorials and countless phone calls, we got our schools online. Students were suddenly exposed to all this exciting technology. We had our Grade 1’s chatting away with their classmates and some of them signing in on their own. Never doubt kids, they absorb new information so quickly. We stayed online for the rest of our academic year and even during our Summer School. Then some wonderful news…
SCHOOLS WERE GOING TO REOPEN IN OCTOBER.
Our lovely ladies ready for our first day back.
We were thrilled. Students were excited and parents were beyond excited. There was very strict guidelines but we were all eager to adapt to our new ‘norm’. Our Schools set up the disinfect machine, everyone wore masks and visors, the classrooms had been arranged to adhere to social distancing and we shut down our canteen etc. One of the most challenging things was our Kindergarten. These teeny tiny kids wore their masks and then it became a toy or a tissue or something to whack their friend with. (You know you can relate…) Another difficultly was not allowing our students to play outdoors, not having their P.E or I.T lessons. But… kids were happy to be back. We all got into the swing of things for October and most of November but then some more bad news came. Cambodia had some community cases.
The entire school was prepped and ready to reopen.
All students must have temperature checked upon arrival.
I must say Cambodia really did handle the whole situation really well. We were informed to close our schools on the Sunday night and we were back online by Wednesday. It’s amazing how much we have all learnt during that time. I think our eyes have all taken a beating but at least our kids have still been able to maintain some sort of routine. We forget how much they love school, loving seeing their friends and their teachers.
So to all the teachers, parents and students out there. A very big WELL DONE! You are all superstars. Teachers have developed themselves by learning new programs, exploring google and creating some exciting resources. Parents have a new found respect for teachers but many have been super helpful during this time and to students, who have been forced into distance learning but handling it like champions. GREAT JOB!
Snapshot of Keith during his lesson.
Chin up everyone,
Things are starting to look up. Keep taking good care of yourself. We’ve got this. 🙂
It’s mid November and we’re all searching for exciting Christmas crafts to do with our students. One of my all time favorites would have to be some sort of split pin craft. Many people don’t quite know what I’m talking about when I mention the word split pin but as soon as you describe it to them, they remember them from their childhood. You know, the little pin that lets your creation move its arms or legs etc. I think most folks are also confused as to where to buy these delightful little pins but I’m pretty sure that most bookstores stock them, they’re generally in little boxes hidden in a corner somewhere and an added bonus is that they’re dirt cheap.
I am rather surprised that you don’t find too many split pin templates online. I thoroughly enjoy making them and my kiddies all do too. They love showing you how their little creature is able to move :). Today’s post is going to take you through how to make a split pin craft and then also walk you through our split pin pack. This pack is one of our first products we created when we set up Bonkerbots, or rather K and L as seen in the pics. That was our original name and logo. Cute right? I think this product is a classic and it’s always fun when Christmas time rolls round and I know I can whip these little guys out.
Ok let’s get started…
What you’ll need?
card stock / cardboard (thicker paper than regular)
That’s it. That’s all you need.
Simply print your template out onto card stock. I highly recommend this to ensure longevity with the end result.
Color your template in. I decided on the Snowman, although it was difficult to decide. I have colored in versions of each and will let my students choose which one they would like ahead of time. This builds up the excitement too.
Cut your snowman out using the guidelines.
Poke holes into the x’s. We used the tip of our scissors to help with this.
Attach the arms using the split pins.
What’s included in the Christmas split pin pack?
Each Christmas character requires 2 pieces of card stock. Don’t you think they look adorable? They all have such personalities. 🙂 Click on the link below to grab your own copy.
I don’t know about you but I feel like it was January the other day and then I blinked and suddenly we’re in November. Christmas is obviously not celebrated in the traditional sense here but our Schools normally throw a combined party and it’s something that the kids really look forward to.
This year will be different of course. The kids were rather bummed to have lost out on their Halloween party and I know they are going to be very disappointed if we are not going to have our Christmas party, but they do understand (sort of). One of my 2nd graders justified throwing a party by saying, ‘We can still have the party, we all have masks.’ That was rather sweet and heartbreaking at the same time.
Luckily, we can still get into the Christmas spirit during our lessons with lots of crafts and activities. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love doing directed drawings with my students. It doesn’t matter which grade you do them with, they are valuable and it really gives the kids a chance to explore their creativity. Many of my students will say I cannot draw that and as we go through it step by step, they realize that they are actually able to do it.
As we are getting into Christmas mode, we just had to do a directed drawing video and thus, How to draw a Christmas elf was made. I really like watching Keith draw too as it’s always fun watching his mind at work. I’m a tad envious because it comes to him so naturally of course. If he asked me to quickly draw an elf, mine would certainly look rather…interesting. 😉
Preparing for a directed drawing lesson is super simple too. All you need is some blank paper, a pencil, an eraser and you’re good to go. For my younger grades, I like to give them a template that contains the horizontal and vertical guidelines. It helps when asking them to draw in the middle etc. The older grades can either draw their own guide in or just follow instructions.
We don’t have projectors in the class, so we normally cart our portable T.V to the class. It’s a pretty big screen so every student has no problem viewing. I also like to draw it with the students, on the white board and also on an A3 sheet. They enjoy seeing mine form and it makes for some giggles when theirs turns out way cooler. 🙂
How adorable is this little fella?
Keith and I both did this lesson with our students. I had 3rd graders and he had some 4th and 6th graders. I was blown away by how amazing my kiddies did. They were completely zoned throughout the entire lesson and they’re really excited to color them. Have a look through some of their pics below. 🙂
I really love how some kiddies made theirs into girls.
A rainbow hat was a cool take.
This one really cracked me up as she drew a speech bubble saying, ‘I will give Vuthin a present.’ haha
These are going to make such a wonderful display. The kiddies get super excited when they see their work hanging up in class.
She’s so pretty and even has lipstick on.
This one reminds me of a certain character from a beloved children’s story. Can you guess who?
Grade 4 and 6
This little guy looks awesome! Love how he zombified him, with the missing ear and scars. Super cool.
PS: We would really love to see how your kiddies elves turned out, so feel free to tag us on the gram or Facebook using @Bonkerbots.
Oh my goodness! This little old lady who swallowed a fly craft has to be one of my favorite crafts that Keith has made so far. I remember the making of it. I had been searching for a copy of the book for ages, as it’s perfect for teaching sequencing and it’s such a bizarre little story…so when I finally tracked one down, I was beyond thrilled. Such a nerd.
There I was searching through Pinterest, looking for an activity but not finding exactly what I was looking for. So what does a teacher, who happens to know an artist do… get him to create your idea! haha! I really do love Keith’s imagination. His work is always unique and all his drawings have such character, like a proper back story. 🙂
Needless to say, the first time I whipped her out to my little Kindergartners, they were super excited and eager to take their own old lady home. It also got them retelling the story with confidence.
Craft = success!
They were able to cut theirs independently and just needed some assistance with sticking the plastic bag (zip log bag). We were able to buy a big pack of these for next to nothing, and it’s a handy thing to have in the office because they super versatile.
Color in the template. It’s always fun seeing how the kiddies bring theirs alive. I highly recommend printing this craft on thicker paper, AKA card stock / card board. It’s more durable, especially since kiddies can be rather rough with their work.
Cut the pictures out using the guidelines.
Cut the old lady’s inner circle.
Attach the plastic bag to the back of the old lady using scotch tape. Remember to keep top part open to insert animals and snip off any bits of plastic that are hanging over the edges.
Let the kiddies practice their story telling skills and feed the old lady some animals.
I hope that your little ones will have as much fun as we did in creating the old lady who swallowed a fly.
2020 has been a rather difficult year for everyone around the world. Not only have we all had to deal with a pandemic but the constant weather changing brings its own hardships. Cambodia goes through it’s yearly Monsoon season, however, the last few years have not been the usual downpour. This year has certainly made up for it. The rain came but… it came rather late and plenty of it. This affected many Cambodians as their homes and villages flooded. Many had to be evacuated and they lost everything. On top of that, some of our neighboring countries opened their dam walls, which caused more flooding in several areas.
Keith with some of the Grade 12 students
During these tough times, it has been amazing to see how many people have come together to help those affected. Many organisations provided essentials, cooked meals, clothing and health care. Our Schools decided to also contribute as many care packages as possible. These care packages consisted of 15kg rice, noodles, fish sauce packs, bread, sausages, condensed milk and a small cash donation. Students, parents and staff all raised some money to put these packages together and on Monday, 9th November, the staff and some of the Grade 12 students went to deliver them.
We headed to Angkorchum District, Kol Commune where we stopped at two different locations. We met some of the families at a Pagoda and the others at a Primary School. We were able to provide essentials to 90 families, which will go a long way. We have been living in Cambo for quite a few years now and we have had several reminders and realizations as to how fortunate we are. It’s extremely important having these smack in the face realizations as it’s so easy to get sucked into your life and how many ‘problems’ you have. However, none of my problems are worrying about putting food on the table or worrying about where we will stay as our home has been damaged. However, the Cambodians are resilient and happy people. They are super friendly and as many people say, once you have a Cambodian friend, you will have a friend for life.
Dynath AKA Donut and Keith
The boys with the police
It was a beautiful drive out into the countryside, especially this time of year as everything was super green and luscious. Once we delivered the goods, we headed back into town and were honored to have been part of that experience.