Monday, 27 March 2017

Little Miss Independent - an update

Little Miss
Little Miss has grown so much in recent weeks! This year has been tough with changing schools and getting into the swing of a new school, with new rules and new friends. I am proud of her for the way she has handled the changes.

I am doing this update to remind us of  her specialness right now! This time and age passes too quickly as well, and I don't do enough updates!

- Little Miss seems to love maths more than languages, and the spelling is a pain. But she loves reading. One of the best things we are doing right now, is taking her regularly to the library, and letting her read in the evenings to us. She begs us to go to the library every two weeks, and starts reading in the car on our way home! She also picks her books from the Teenage Reading section, and not the beginner readers anymore!

- She still loves a few favourite outfits that she wears time-and-time again. I try to hide it in her cupboard, but she always finds it! The grey leggings and the crocodile t-shirt (size 3-4) is still the absolute bomb!

- She still struggles with making new friends, but somehow she manages to keep on telling us about a few girls at school that she plays with! For an introvert that's not too bad! She has not found a very special friend, but maybe it is a good thing if she plays in a bundle?

- She loves dancing at school. There's a free class every week, and she can't wait! I had her signed up for a dancing school in the beginning of the year, but it clashed with Voortrekkers. I need to find another dance lesson for next semester.

- She has decided not to do netball, or choir, and the drama is a pain! I told her to discontinue drama at the end of this semester. I think it is better to find her feat first and then decide what she wants to do!

- She loves doing my and her sister's hair, and doing make-up! I have batches of photos of hairstyles on my phone. (If I do a search for "dogs", the hairstyles also pops up. But it's not an indication of the classiness of the hairstyles. ;-) iOS needs to work on an upgrade in photo search!)

- She loves rollerskating right now! We have promised her an outing during the holidays!

Little Miss is becoming very independent. I see it in the mornings when she asks for an extra hug or kiss, but then running away without looking back! I feel that I should cherish her still sitting on my lap, and asking for us to lay with her in the evenings!

When it's gone, it's gone!

Thanks so much for the adventures with you, Little Miss!

We are looking forward to a weekend with the Voortrekkers and camping during the holidays! (#thingsyoudoforyourchildren) It will perhaps be our last, but we have an arsenal of Voortrekker stories already built up because of you!
Next time she says she will be ready to go on her own! Little Miss Independent!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Photos from our visit to The James Hall Museum of Transport

We had a public holiday in South Africa yesterday. It was Human Rights Day. The City of Johannesburg opened their museum facilities for free for the day. (Yes, we have to pay to visit our museums here!)

We decided to visit the James Hall Museum of Transport, because we had only seen it when we went past there with The Jozi Red Bus. We thoroughly enjoyed the outing, and saw much more than expected. It is worth the outing, and the little ones enjoy looking at the different rides!

The pamphlet says The James Hall Museum of Transport is the largest and most comprehensive museum of land transport in South Africa. It was established by the late Jimmie Hall together with the City of Johannesburg in 1964.

And of course I have to include the Mobile Library from Johannesburg. It still has the books on the shelves. Awesome!

I have been spamming my Instagram feed with  more photos.

What did you do with your public holiday?

Friday, 17 March 2017

Disrupting the norm at the 2017 Leading Women Summit - Clare Vale

The Leading Women Summit was held last Wednesday on the 8th of March, coinciding with International Women's Day! It is a day that should be marked in our calendars. I got so much inspiration from fellow South African women!

Very cool Lumi app for events

All the speakers are "disrupting the norm", and at the forefront of their specialties! I can rave about each and every one of them that was there!
Clare Vale

Clare Vale is one such inspirational woman! She calls herself First Lady in Racing.
She started at age 41 with Drifting Motorsport, and at age 54 she is at the top of her game! Is that not gob-smacking awesome?

Clare Vale
She also implores women to learn how to change their own tires, and to learn how to drive in adverse situations!

(She "speaks" to me, because I was just so trusting on the car salesman that I took my car in for it's 15 000 km service, when in fact it was very far from that 15 000 km mark. Just because I did not check my odometer reading from moment I got my car! *SMH* Now they could not service my car this week when I took it for the real 15 000 service...)

You go, girl! (Speaking to Clare Vale)

It was a day well spent!

Disclaimer: I got a free ticket to attend!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The importance of entrepreneurship in the school curriculum - Allon Raiz

All school subjects
Radley Private School
I get excited when I hear about interesting teaching methods, programmes and technology that enhance Education! We definitely need a new teaching and learning mindset in preparation for a fast-changing digital future. Pair that with a fluctuating workforce where permanent employment is unheard of. Entrepreneurship is of utmost importance in preparation for this!
Why am I interested? Maybe it's the undeveloped teacher in me, and maybe it's the fact that I still have a daughter that is in the beginning of her school years? I am also still very much part of the workforce, and most probably won't be able to retire at the suggested age of 63.
We all need to become entrepreneurs!

Educator and well known consultant, Peter Drucker, said that “The best way to predict the future, is to create it.” This is what Raizcorp, a for-profit business ProsperatorTM and investor in Radley Private School, plans to do. In an innovative move, the company has not only enhanced the curriculum, but is also addressing the physical layout of the school and the manner in which the teachers teach, all in the name of entrepreneurship.

 The best way to predict the future, is to create the kids who will make it
Allon Raiz, CEO and Founder of Raizcorp
Allon Raiz was kind enough to answer my questions that I sent through on email. I was unfortunately not able to attend a breakfast at Radley Private School to see how they are incorporating entrepreneurship into the curriculum.

1. Allon, why are you interested in helping students learn entrepreneurial skills?

Our aim is to create the next generation of entrepreneurs that are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to make a significant difference in the South African business climate. With one of the lowest rates of entrepreneurship in the world, South Africa is desperate for new generations of job creators who have been educated and immersed in the marinade of entrepreneurship. It’s all about solving these issues sooner rather than later, which will translate into a better chance for South Africa.

2. How are you enhancing the curriculum? Give me an example?

Identifying opportunity is a function of seeing information from multiple perspectives. In English, for example, when a story is told from a single narrator, the question is asked about how the story can be seen from multiple other perspectives, thus highlighting the fact that different narratives see problems and solutions from different perspectives. This is the basis of entrepreneurial opportunity identification, the ability to see a situation from multiple perspectives and then identify where the gap or “pain” might lie. We have enhanced the curriculum by implementing entrepreneurship thinking into every class, from English to Mathematics and everything in between.

3. How are you addressing the physical layout of the school?

We have taken the traditional school model of desks and chairs and changed it to create a learning environment that is user-friendly, comfortable and includes different elements that relate to the child’s best learning style, whether that is standing, lying down on a bean bag, rocking, or sitting at a desk. Our methods encourage students to find a comfortable position that best serves their concentration. Our pilot classroom includes a Pilates Ball, seated and standing desks, a couch and beanbags, amongst other things, all of which speak to the different needs of different students.

4. How are the teachers teaching differently with regards entrepreneurship?

The teachers are being immersed in entrepreneurship through regular Raizcorp entrepreneurship training. All lesson plans include an entrepreneurial perspective and the learners and teachers are exposed to entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial contexts on a regular basis.  We have also encouraged our teachers to run and manage the school tuck shop to ensure a better understanding of what it means to own and run a profitable business.

5. How can other schools get involved in such a type of project?

Raizcorp has a BizCamp and BizFlame programme that we run at other schools; two youth development programmes that facilitate guided entrepreneurial learning.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Half a century she is!

I still don't know when it will not be a shock to say the dreaded 50? Will it ever be?

But I've turned the half a century corner! Now I've got the next half a century in front of me!

It's too soon, too quickly! But this post is the final written moan I will give about 50.

There is actually quite a few things I LOVE about being fifty:

- I know who I am!
- I am not that shy self-conscious person I used to be in my teens and twenties! (Who was she even?)
- I can complain about being overweight and the extra lines, but then who cares? Not me any more! And nobody else does! (And nowadays we've got filters in any case!)
- I like the person I am now!
- I like where I am now in life! (Mauritius would have been nice as well, but it's coming!... )
- I like the people I have in my life! 
- I love my family! 
- If there is something that is bothering me, I know I can change it! Yes! 
- And I can plan a Star Wars party, even though people are looking with a bit of bewilderment at me... I don't care! 

The next fifty years! Slay it!, says she!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Minecraft Education Edition in South Africa

Minecraft in Education. It's now in South Africa as well! I definitely should have been born later! The children are playing while learning! That is the best kind of learning!

The possibilities of using Minecraft in learning are huge, and according to the expert, Stephen Reid, there are options in every single subject to make use of the game!

Minecraft is "an open world game that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem solving in an immersive environment where the only limit is you imagination."

I was at the informal launch of  Minecraft Education Edition on Monday. 

Minecraft Education launch - with Tamzyn and Mariaan from FleishmanHillard South Africa
Stephen Reid is a Minecraft ambassador/creative consultant in education and director of Scottish-based company ImmersiveMinds. He spent the last ten years working with game-based learning, with the last six years focused on Minecraft.

The benefits of game-based learning are in creativity, collaboration and problem solving! All qualities that are so much needed in the careers of today and definitely tomorrow!

Stephen Reid
The benefits of Minecraft in Education: 

Student Engagement

Minecraft: Education Edition brings the classroom and curriculum to students in an environment they are already comfortable with. It offers the same Minecraft experience many students enjoy already, but with some additional capabilities that enable them to collaborate in the classroom, as well as support for educators to deliver learning activities within the game.


The game is designed so that students can work in teams to solve problems, or as a whole class to master challenges within the game. Engaging in work teams and learning environments that foster co-operation in the classroom helps prepare students for their futures. It has the same benefits associated with teamwork for teachers. One of the biggest perks is the almost immediate sharing of knowledge from teachers all over the globe.

Creative Exploration

Children learn naturally through a combination of observation, trial and error and play-based practice. An open-learning environment like Minecraft allows students the freedom to experiment and challenge themselves. Much like real life, there are no step-by-step instructions — students must try, fail and try again to achieve the result they want.

Tangible Learning Outcomes

To create a fully inclusive classroom, educators are challenged to create learning activities that cater to all types of learners. With Minecraft: Education Edition, educators are able to align projects and activities directly to specific learning outcomes and curriculum standards. What’s more, learning-by-doing gives students a sense of accomplishment when they can demonstrate their knowledge.

Brescia House girls on their experience with Minecraft
The Brescia House Teacher that was at the launch says that the  trick is not to claim you are an expert, but to learn with the children.

This note! 
Microsoft Minecraft Education Edition offers a digital version of the real world. It is a safe environment to make mistakes. 

The Minecraft Education Edition has extra applications for education. The support and the community are available on the website! The software needs a Windows 10 or Mac OS operating system, and work on mobile devices which use Windows 10. It is matched to the CAPS Curriculum.

Download it here: Minecraft Education 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Barbie is 58!

Congratulations, Barbie! 

You are older than me or my daughters. We all grew up with you!
Little Miss has a collection of Barbies now.

Barbie has expanded her looks, her careers, her ethnicity. 

She truly is the best version of who she can be:  
"You can be anything!"

I love the #DadsWhoPlayBarbie video campaign. It has over 1.7 million views on YouTube already.

"Time spent in her imaginary world is an investment in her real world!"

Monday, 6 March 2017

iSchoolAfrica numeracy success with onebillion

OneBillion app

I love that the iSchoolAfrica programme is still going strong in South African schools.
(I have been wishing and asking that my daughter's schools would implement it.)

iSchoolAfrica was founded in 2009 by the Core Group empowering teachers and learners by giving them access to the world's most advanced educational technology (iPads and Macs) and classroom practices. iSchoolAfrica still sounds to me like the most solid and all-encompassing way to help children prepare for a new future where new careers are born daily and old careers are becoming obsolete!

I was invited to a breakfast last week about the iSchoolAfrica Numeracy Programme.

The iSchoolAfrica programme is addressing the Numeracy crisis in our primary schools with the onebillion software. The project was started by onebillion and VSO in order to improve the primary school education for children in developing countries.

The countries involved so far in the onebillion initiative is Malawi, South Africa, United Kingdom, Tanzania and Brazil. The University of Nottingham is involved with evidence-based research regarding this initiative. Studies by them have shown children making 18 months' progress in only six weeks. Real-time remote monitoring of children's progress ensures learning is taking place and the teachers receives immediate feedback.

iSchoolAfrica had percentages increased in their schools from a baseline test of 14% to the follow-up test in 6 months to 49.7% (35.7% increase). The highest baseline test came in at 79% and it was increased to 92% (13% increase).

The onebillion apps are available in the App Store and the Google Play Store.

onebillion - some of the apps

Little Miss is still playing testing the apps. Although it starts on a younger age, we were told that she could progress very fast until she gets to her level. iSchoolAfrica is using these apps until Grade 4 in the schools. Some of the apps are already available in Afrikaans and isiZulu. (After downloading the app, you have the option to select your language of preference)

Example of a certificate available on the onebillion app while progressing through levels

Sponsorships from a great many partners help to bring iSchoolAfrica to struggling and rural schools.

Go and check out the apps, and start with the free versions that's available.

Related posts:

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

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

- iPads in Education - I want to be a teacher now!

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