Archive - 2017

1
Thai Language and Culture Blog
2
Learning on the Move
3
PSPE Update
4
Visual Art Update
5
Storytelling is Not Reading
6
Triathlon For Kids 2017

Thai Language and Culture Blog

Welcome to the Thai Language and Culture Blog.

         This academic year 2017-2018, the Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC) added Thai History to the Thai Language and Culture  Curriculum.  In order for students at Magic Years to gain a deeper understanding of Thai History we have carefully created a Central Idea that explores Thai Language, Thai Culture and Thai History simultaneously:

 

‘Learning about Thai Language, Culture and History will help us to appreciate a local and global perspective’

 

          To support International Mindedness we aim to expose students to additional languages, and provide an insight into other cultures and perspectives. Students can experience Thai Language and Culture through a carefully designed environment showcasing local artifacts, crafts and visuals. With an aim to nurture curiosity students are encouraged to explore and investigate the different centers in the classroom.

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To begin our inquiry students have been Tuning in to our Central Idea and exploring some of the unique attributes of Thailand and its Culture:

 

  • Thai National Anthem
  • Thailand Flag
  • Thai Greeting
  • Thai Custom
  • Thai Culture  
  • Thai Traditional Beliefs

 

            For our Early Years students we encourage exploration and discovery through our Dramatic play center, Language center, Math center, and Writing center, where students can learn about the Thai alphabet, letter names and sounds and practice writing their name in Thai.

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           Our Primary Years Students also get to explore the different centers as well as having focused time allocated to reading and writing in Thai. Native Thai students develop their reading and writing skills whilst non Thai students develop their listening and speaking skills. Thinking routines such as the 4’Cs, CSI, See-Think-Wonder are often used to encourage reflection and deep level thinking, as well as for organizing our work and establishing class agreements and expectations.

Grade 1-2

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Grade 3

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Grade 4 &5

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Learning on the Move

This morning, I have been watching the students playing together in the playground, one is spinning in a circle, creating a narrative about a princess as she twirls. The other group of students are jumping in and out, climbing up and down at the jungle gym as a guard at a castle in the story.  What seems like a simple story involves sequencing, character development, and empathy for the brave princess stuck in the tower.

This kind of experiential learning, in which children acquire knowledge by doing and via reflection on their experiences, is full of movement, creativity, and imagination.

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Movement allows children to connect concepts to action and to learn through trial and error.  Research has shown time and again that children need opportunities to move in class. Memory and movement are linked, and the body is a tool of learning, not a roadblock to or a detour away from it.  Ben Mardell, a professor of early-childhood education at Lesley University and the project director of the Pedagogy of Play initiative at Harvard’s Project Zero, observes that even when adults do incorporate play into learning, they often do so in a way that restricts free movement and agency. “The idea that there should be formal instruction makes it no longer play,” says Mardell. “In play the player is choosing to participate, choosing a goal, and directing and formulating the rules. When there is an adult telling the kids, ‘This is what we are supposed to do,’ many of the important developmental benefits of play get lost.”

Creativity is one of the most essential tools for a child to develop. However, the education specialist Sir Ken Robinson says that our current systems of early education are killing creativity. We often punish kids for making mistakes and discourage them from acting or being different. Current education emphasizes imitation, memorization, fixed rules, and pre-established formulas and beliefs about the way the world should work. Children need to learn to follow directions, to know how to replicate what they see and hear, and to be able to participate in coordinated group activities, but those practices do little to encourage creativity.

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Unfortunately, children restricted to those frameworks alone will have a much more challenging time coming up with new ideas, mastering self-expression or finding innovative solutions to problems on their own.  The good news is that we can help turn this around through music, especially by integrating music back into the education. In addition to stimulating creativity, music can help contribute to the development of a more creative mind.

Playing music – especially improvisation, and creating music – musical composition, are highly engaging processes that activate multiple areas of the brain and help us to develop greater creative capacity.

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Simply listening to music can help relax us, and relaxation is key to creativity. Jonah Lehrer, a neuroscientist and author of the bestselling book Imagine, says that moments of insight, or creative moments, usually correspond to a steady rhythm of alpha waves emanating from the brain’s right hemisphere. And that is stimulated by relaxation. Why is a relaxed state of mind so important for creative insights?” he writes. “When our minds are at ease, when those alpha waves are rippling through the brain, we’re more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inward. In contrast, when we are diligently focused, our attention tends to be directed outward.”  And Lehrer agrees that one of the oldest and most widely available resources to help the mind relax is music. Music can alter the state of our brainwaves, as well as trigger neurotransmitters, like dopamine, that alter our mood and reward us for creative breakthroughs.

Music can also help stimulate our imagination, one of the key components of the creative process. Just now, you may listen to a song that you and your child which shift your mood, create images in your mind, impact your limbic brain and open you up to new ideas.  Have a nice musical day!

PSPE Update

At Magic Years Physical Education is a valued part of our curriculum.

PSPE unit of inquiry : Our body works together when we exercise

Our Primary students are focusing on the importance of fitness and exercise as they continue to refine and plan their own exercise schedule.

Tuning into how our body works together when we exercise, students measured their height, weight and speed. They carried out assessments and recorded data to inform the next steps of their plan.

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At the beginning of each class, our Primary students are encouraged to reflect on their prior knowledge by taking part in a gentle warm-up walk with an elbow buddy, and share specific knowledge they know now that they did not know at the beginning of the unit.

Below are some of students answers:

We know that:

 

-”We need to exercise so we become stronger”- Beau

-”We need to eat healthy food so our body parts will work well”

– Chaosua

-”We know that we have to practice to get better in doing something.”

– Archie

-”We know that all our body parts are important.” – Nene

 


This exercise has helped our Primary students to collaboratively create a visual which they will use as a reference point for future discussions, and as they map their understanding of the lines of inquiry and move towards the summative assessment task.

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Lines of Inquiry:

  • An awareness of our body
  • Co-ordination of body parts
  • Object control to achieve goals

 

At Magic Years, we value student passions and provide opportunities for students to follow their interests. We consider how we can best engage students through activities and games to nurture a healthy lifestyle and develop physical, mental and personal skills. We aim to nurture healthy competition and believe that setting personal goals should be encouraged and accomplished through a strong sense of passion and care, with an agreement to always ‘do our best’. Through fun and friendly challenges we aim to foster independence, commitment, and reflection, guiding students toward being confident risk takers.

With this personal growth in mind we are currently working towards a successful Volleyball tournament due to be held at Magic Years in October. The students and teachers are very excited about hosting and participating in this event. As we work hard and train hard to be the best that we can be, we apply our knowledge and understanding of our central idea to our practice and strive to do our best!

 

Mr Emmanuel – PSPE Co-Teacher

Visual Art Update

It has been an excellent start to the year in art class! All of the students have shown a lot of energy and creativity and it is so exciting for me to see how artistic all of the MYIS students are. During the first term we will be investigating Who We Are. The younger students have been exploring ways of using their hands to stamp and use a variety of tools. They have also been using shapes, such as squares and rectangles to create larger objects such as buildings and whole cities. The older students have been reflecting upon who they are, creating expressive self-portraits. It is incredible to see the variety of ways we can express who we are through line, shape, color, and texture!

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Storytelling is Not Reading

These kinds of music stories follow the important elements of teaching music with the Orff-Schulwerk Approach.
During our recent Book Week at Magic Years, in music class, we all enjoyed listening the stories and songs, acting with the role-play, playing the percussion instruments for sound effects to accompany the stories, dancing with the music and also sharing laughs and good time together. This make me realizes that telling a story to children can be so mesmerizing and very different from reading story out loud to a group. Add songs, chants, rhymes, dances, or musical instruments to a storytelling scene and the story experience is even more enriched!

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Triathlon For Kids 2017

Transdisciplinary theme: How we organize ourselves

An inquiry into the interconnectedness of man-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

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