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.
It’s always fun exploring new Grammar with my students. This week we focused on Synonyms and I was impressed at how quickly they absorbed the new vocab. As teachers, we always try our best to create interesting and active lessons. We’re great at multitasking. Eg: A busy teacher could be found printing new resources that she just created in Power Point, she’s using the guillotine (paper cutter, my non-teaching friends) while searching ideas on Pinterest and deciding what she should cook for dinner, with 5 dogs needing her attention. Oh wait… what’s that smell? Is that the laminator? haha
Well back to creating engaging lessons. As much as we prep (I’m speaking for myself here) and laminate like crazy to use things over and over again, which I most certainly do. I am still constantly creating new resources because:
You found this amazing idea on Pinterest (Dangerous yet exciting place)
You’ve forgotten where you stored those puzzles…
You want something new and know that your students will love it!
And isn’t what it’s all about? So what does this have to do with Synonyms? Basically I had a great action planned week for my students and was thrilled that they enjoyed all the prep. Below is a break down of our one day during our stations. Bear in mind that I am teaching in Cambodia. Some of my students are basically 1st language speakers. They’re confident and will happily correct a grammatical error I may have made and then there are some students, who are bran new to our school and to English. So when creating resources, I have to create a balance where it is challenging for my strong students but also helpful to my newer students. Basically what any ESL teacher goes through.
You can grab your free copy of the Synonym Template below.
So here’s what we got up to during our stations:
Station 1: Synonym Bingo Dab
I love creating Bingo Dab worksheets. They’re fun and get students excited about using something else other than a pencil or coloring pencils. If you have never used them before, I would highly recommend it. The ones that I use were bought by a very good friend of mine and that was about 4 years ago.
It’s easy peasy. Students just need to stamp the synonym to the word.
Station 2: Synonym Stenciling
This was a real hit with my kids as I don’t think they get to use stencils often, especially with color markers. Throughout the week we practiced 48 of the most common synonyms and it’s always rewarding watching your kids enjoying the learning process.
I love how focused they are!
Station 3: Synonym Stamping
I love whipping out the stamps and will use any excuse because they’re just great. My students felt the same way.
Station 4: Synonym Match Up
Our final station consisted of matching up our plants to the watering can. As I said previously, my students were practicing 48 of the most common synonyms, however, you could just choose which ones you want your students to use.
The Synonym Plant Match up is available in our store but grab your FREE copy of the Synonym Stations template.