Monday, 29 September 2014

Meet the new generation of Star Wars Rebels - premiers Saturday October 11th on Disney XD

Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion is set to premier worldwide on October 11 on Disney XD (DStv Channel 304) at 9:20 am with an animated  one hour movie feature on the first day!

We were extremely fortunate to be able to attend the launch, and I know another generation of Star Wars' fans are a done deal! The characters are believable and the story line gripping! 

Little Missy wanted more after the movie!

Set between the events of Star Wars Episodes III and IV, the story unfolds during a dark time when the evil Galactic Empire is tightening its grip of power on the galaxy.  Imperial forces have occupied a remote planet and are ruining the lives of its people.  The motley but clever crew of the starship Ghost - cowboy Jedi Kanan, ace pilot Hera, street-smart teenager Ezra, the “muscle” Zeb, warrior firebrand Sabine, and cantankerous old astromech droid Chopper - is among a select few who are brave enough to stand against the Empire. Together, they will face threatening new villains, encounter colorful adversaries, embark on thrilling adventures and become heroes with the power to ignite a rebellion.


Jedi Kanan



And the Villain...

Little Missy loved the movie, and all the children got a lightsaber and a Star Wars Rebels t-shirt.

With Chopper

Smoke fun at the launch

More details can be found here:


We all want to be Star Wars Rebels now!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Experiments are the volcano! #science

Little Missy loves doing experiments. The Doen dit self Wetenskap (Do-it-yourself Science , Priddy Books) experiment book is used on a daily basis. We bought it for cheap at Reader's Warehouse.

The only way we can get away with not doing an experiment is by explaining that we do not have all the "ingredients".

I had to go and buy food colours for another experiment, so Dad did not have an excuse any more for this experiment. She has been eyeing the volcano for a long time.

Baking soda and vinegar...

The volcano!

Happy Scientist! It worked!
If you are ever stuck with nothing to do for bored children. There are hundreds of Pinterest pins for Science experiments. You don't even need to buy a book.

Related post:

- How to blow up a balloon without blowing into it #science

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Maths for little ones: CMaths

Little Missy has been going to a Semas Maths (CMaths) class each week from the beginning of the year. It is Japanese maths, and they start them very early. It is very inspiring to see the little ones doing maths (with an abacus, but also in their heads) and doing it with a great speed as well!

Little Miss was a bit apprehensive going to the yearly championships. We had to motivate a little bit lot. We still owe her a rhyme book...

Dad with a little bit of inspiration
Little Missy did very well in the end! (According to two very relieved parents who thought she would have a melt-down or refuse to sit down and do the sums.)

They had to work through two exam papers. (TWO papers:  One of six minutes with an abacus, and one of two minutes without an abacus. There were a lot of children finishing even before the time! Totally amazing!!)

We were just impressed with the fact that Little Miss tried and did her best!

She had a bit of a melt-down later when she was expecting a trophy. We had to explain that she actually had to finish her papers, and that you really have to work hard to get that trophy.
But they all got a medal for taking part!

Hopefully it will help next year in Grade One to give her a bit of an edge...

Monday, 22 September 2014

Good news for parents: Sofia the First second season launching on Saturday!

Little girls love Sofia the First!

What's not to love? A girl from the village who becomes a princess through her mother's marriage to the King AND an amulet that makes her speak to animals AND flying horses AND coaches AND fairies AND dressing up....

But parents of little girls have seen too much of the first season already! At least five times of each episode, if not more than 100 times already...

The best news (EVER!) is that they are launching season two of Sofia the First on Saturday 27 September at 9 am on DSTV Channel 309 (Disney Junior).

Little Miss was invited to a Disney Enchanted High Tea last Friday to celebrate the launch of season two. It was at the beautiful Clico Boutique Hotel in Rosebank.

Little Miss had a blast (and Mom too)!

Disney Enchanted High Tea 

Princess Mieka

Goodie bag with first episode of Season Two of Sofia the First
and a Sofia tiara and a Sofia amulet


Table decorations

Sophia dresses



The pose!
(We got a very nice photo on a Sofia background)

Princesses watching the first episode
Thanks Disney!
We are looking forward to seeing new Sofia the First stories!

Disclaimer: We got the invite to the High Tea, as well as the goodie bag for Little Miss.

Related post:

- Sofia the First is coming to our screens

Friday, 19 September 2014

Leaving behind a terrible social media legacy

Even though you do not want to be on social media, and you do not want to interact, please keep on checking your social media profile.

Somebody die, and immediately we go to the Internet to see the news surrounding the death and also to read about a life.

It is a terrible shock to see that a social media profile has been vandalised!

I am sure that it is not the person that he wanted to portray, but now it is there for-ever and ever and EVER!

That is not the person we want to remember, and that is sure not the legacy he wanted to leave behind!

Please do a name search regularly! 


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Madagascar heirloom, or am I too sentimental?

There is a 15 year gap between the two girls. I have not kept many of the eldest's clothes!

But somewhere along the way a bag of clothes got tagged along from the previous life!

This white suit was a present from aunt D to the eldest when she went on a television production to Madagascar. There is the most cute embroidery of little figures on the white summer suit.

I love it that it fits Little Missy now. She just did not like her belly-button sticking out, and she wanted a white t-shirt underneath.

It feels like a family heirloom that gets a new life again! (I am sentimental like that!)

It is very difficult to pass on some of the clothes!
There is a number of Little Missy's clothes that I have also put back in her cupboard, because it feels too precious to just pass along.

What do you do with your old clothes, and how do you decide which to keep?

Related posts:

- Hand-me-downs

- Letting go of the cute clothes (cute baby)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Why it is not a good idea to bring your own device to school? #BYOD #iPadLearningZA

Andrew Wilkins: Northcliff High

I attended an expert panel discussion on Friday at Northcliff High School about the merits (or not) of bringing your own device (BYOD) to school.

The members have done the research around using various devices in the school environment. They shared their findings and discussed why their schools decided against the BYOD model.

The statement was made by Lulu Burger that when talking about BYOD, there must be a question in the first place. What was the question? Why are schools so afraid to go the single device route? Because of the parents?

The school and teachers are the educational experts, and why should they punish themselves, the IT department as well as the children and ultimately the parents when making a choice against BYOD?

I am sharing some of the notes of the reasons for their decisions here.

Andrew Wilkins from Northcliff High:

The deputy Principal at Northcliff High, Andrew Wilkins, said that they did research by looking at all the devices, and they looked at the cheap options as well. They also looked at the Android vs Apple debate and the question of open source and the possibility for fiddling on the devices. They asked about support and they asked about experience in education.

Why not BYOD?
- There is significant pressure from the anti-Apple believers.
- Avoid the "Mine's better than yours" (1900 different devices - minefield) device!
- Teacher training on par across platforms.

They implemented an iPad roll-out in their school by giving iPads to teachers (ownership model) via the school governing body., a full 2 years before giving it to the pupils. The pupiles are providing their own iPads and the parents are responsible for purchasing of textbooks, either electronically or on paper. They are planning a future move towards the flipped classroom, where Think Ahead will be instrumental in supporting the roll-out!

James from Sacred Heart:

James in the middle - Sacred Heart 

At Sacred Heart they are implementing the iPad 1:1. Their goal is to improve how students and teachers interact with one another. Connectivity is very strict, and they only make the network available during particular periods.

- Interoperability
  The moving of content from one platform to another very easy.
- Stability of the system
  Looked at apps and found it to be a very good system. It remained stable. Also with regards security issues. They have guided access, and have placed restrictions on the use.
- Creativity
They have not only combined the iPads with the curriculum, but also with administration and extra- murals. Reconfiguration is all done on the device. For example being used in a visual  literacy project.

The major focus at Sacred Heart has been on the augmentation of lessons. They have feedback sessions about the apps and support. The mobile lab has been eye-opener to the kids, where they used it for chemistry and biology and micro-biology. They record the lessons and experiments.

They are planning to roll it out even further, and the Grade 7's are implementing it next year!

Janet from Red Hill
(ICT Coordinator)

Janet was tasked with the project to research which route they were going to go. They did the research for a year, and did 6 weeks training for the teachers.

They use a challenge approach in their teaching methodology: The child need to learn to ask the right questions!

Think Ahead was already there, who helps with the support, and who helped in convincing the parents!

They have two models: 1:1 in Grade 7, and two mobile banks for iPads.

The iPad is more than just a flat textbook.

They needed to get buy-in: Students are there already! But the parents and the teachers needed to be convinced! They opened  up learning events to parents. The IT teachers had a change in their work-load because they also had to be able to support the staff.

Their experience has been that the teachers were getting excited about the technology. The workflows are very important, and it is not possible when the teachers use different devices! It becomes cumbersome!

They are planning more roll-outs, and the more they are using it, the more they are seeing and using new creative ways in their teaching and learning!

Related posts: 

iPads at Moshoeshoe Primary School - changing the South African education landscape #iSchoolAfrica

- iPads for children 

- Why iPads?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

How much therapy is necessary when there was no need in the first place?

OT play
(photo by Dad)
Little Missy's teachers have never told us that there are any problems. We were not called in to school for any reason. 
Her report cards are very good.

But because she is born in the last month of the year, there is a bit of a worry about her school readiness. I am the guilty party! (l now think that I should have left it!)

We did the school readiness tests at the developmental psychologist and the results did not come back as positive as we expected. I blogged about it already: School readiness results. She referred us to an Occupational Therapist and an Optometrist.

So we are seeing the Occupational Therapist and Little Missy is in occupational therapy every week. We decided to not do tests again, because the OT feels she does not want to test again within six months from the previous testing, and to cut out paying for another round of tests and a report.

The day before yesterday we saw the Optometrist, and although her vision is perfect, she apparently needs glasses to help her eyes relax when she is reading. She also "needs" Visual Therapy to help her before she starts with reading. What is Visual Therapy? (I should have asked, but I was flabbergasted!) 

Luckily Little Missy is besotted with her new glasses, and couldn't wait to use them at school today.

I feel it is all too much! 
To address a problem when there was no problem in the first place?
It is also costing an arm and a leg. (Luckily we have medical aid.)

I would like to know how many children go to one of these assessments and walk out of there without having to go for follow-up therapies? 
Is it not only a big money-making scheme, with referrals keeping them all going? 

For how long are we now going to have to carry on with this?

It is also very disruptive. Little Missy misses a very important hour each week in school because she has to go for OT. Mom and Dad needs to take time off from work to drive her around.

Do we also not place a label on Little Missy for struggling or having issues when there was none before?

Monday, 8 September 2014

Slush Puppy blues

We have summer here!
We jumped pass Spring right into Summer!

This past weekend was back to outdoors and cool ice drinks and braais outdoors.

Little Missy was extremely excited to discover that one of our favourite places now offer Slush Puppies as well. She had two of those while we were waiting for a haircut on Saturday.

Slush Puppy fun

Blue teeth
Her second haircut went really well, and the hair is definitely more manageable!
At Maddy Magoo

But Little Missy got a stomach bug, and kept us busy through Saturday night and early Sunday morning. We suspect it might have been the Slush Puppies (Bad mother for buying the second one), and today she is is still not feeling 100%.

Luckily she could stay with Dad today! And sleep it off!

Photo by Dad this morning

Feeling a little bit better already...

Dragon face
(Photo by Dad)

How was your weekend?

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