Term 2, Week 7, 2016 – South African Cultural Safari

Hi everyone!

Taj the Zebra dropped in on us last week from his home in South Africa. After meeting him, we wondered what it is like to live in South Africa. Here is some of what we found out, using teacher-selected pictures and videos to find answers to our question.


Citizens of South Africa like to dance and to sometimes wear colourful jewelry. Some students explored traditional dance and everyone investigated popular styles of personal adornment.


South Africans like to eat meat! We learned about four distinctly South African dishes:

  • ‘Bunny Chow’ (a big favourite with the Preps because of the name and because you can eat the whole thing, bowl and all, seeing as it is made out of bread! Please note: there are no actual bunnies in Bunny Chow!)
  • ‘Boerwors’ (another favourite, because the shape of this popular sausage caused a lot of giggling)
  • ‘Biltong’ (some students were fascinated that the strips of meat must hang for 2 to 3 days in the drying box in order to become crunchy)
  • ‘Bobotie’ – like a three layered Shepherd’s Pie minus the potato (first layer is rice, second layer is mince, third layer is egg).

We were interested to find out that while the dishes are different to what we have here in Australia, the ingredients are the same as what we use to make the things we like to eat (for example, we use mince meat to make spaghetti bolognaise; we like sausages but ours are straight).

Students practised showing their learning to others by making posters. A good poster has an easy-to-read heading, pictures and facts to match the pictures. All Preps experimented with the medium of collage when creating their posters.

Everyday life…

Students uncovered facts about everyday life in South Africa and showed their learning by working with a partner to create a group information text (one per home group). These will be on display in our classroom for you to have a look at with your child. A good information book has a title and author(s) on the front cover. Each page has a picture with writing to tell a fact about the picture.

They found out that some things about life in South Africa are the same as here (for example, children go to school) and some things are different (for example, some houses look a lot different to the ones in which we live).

So What????

As you know, our school is involved with the ‘New Pedagogies for Deep Learning Global Partnership’. This approach to learning focuses on assisting students to develop the skills they will need to become life-long learners. These skills can come under the headings of the 6Cs – Character, Citizenship, Communication, Creativity, Collaboration and Critical Thinking & Knowledge Construction.

Our investigations this term have encompassed a strong element of Citizenship by fostering an awareness of the differences and similarities between individuals, families and various cultures. We have aimed to help students develop an appreciation that diversity makes our local community, our country and our global community a stronger, better, more interesting place to be. As students continue with their education and their lives, it is hoped that they use this understanding of their own and others’ cultures to consider global issues in relation to diverse values and worldviews.


Next week we go on excursion to Ecolinc! During the excursion, Preps will focus on adding to the learning about plants that they have been undertaking in Science Specialist classes this term. Part of this learning will take place in Ecolinc’s vegetable patch. To this end, we tuned in to thinking about vegetables during writing sessions last week. Teachers found that the Preps already knew the names of many vegetables and displayed a wonderfully positive attitude to this important food group during our discussions.

Following a walk to our school vegetable garden, home groups made their own ‘gardens’ – drawing some of the vegetables they saw, then using Letters and Sounds knowledge and/or copied writing to label their creations before ‘planting’.

Later in the week, Preps practised descriptive writing skills while engaging in ‘partner writing’. Each pair chose a vegetable photograph, orally described it in relation to colour and shape, then wrote together to create a page in their home group ‘Vegetable Book’. Ruby T and Rokhsar wrote ‘The cauliflower is white and looks like a cloud’. This learning linked to numeracy as students used their recently acquired knowledge of 3D shapes to describe their vegetables. The books will be on display in our classroom.

During the week’s final writing session we all engaged our sense of taste before participating in a rich writing task . That is, a writing activity that encouraged students to use the writing skills some of them have acquired so far (like using Magic Words when writing, writing left to right, top to bottom, leaving spaces between words and using Letters and Sounds knowledge) while being supported by teachers with use of a ‘word shower’ to write tricky words (like specific vegetable names and descriptive words).

Here is some of their work:


We consolidated our three focus strategies:

  • point under every word
  • use the pictures
  • use first sounds – get your mouth ready to read

During Whole Group time, Preps focused on what it means to ‘Read-To-Someone’:

  • sit elbow to elbow and knee to knee
  • sit still to read
  • look at one book together
  • use reading strategies
  • use quiet voices
  • read the whole time


Teachers have been spending time assessing students over the last week during Reading, Writing, Letters and Sounds and Numeracy sessions. This information is used for reporting purposes and also to ensure students are exposed to learning opportunities that fit their individual needs.


On Friday afternoon after lunch the atmosphere in our classroom was one of generosity and good nature when the Year 5 Buddies came down to visit us for a session. They brought with them some carefully selected picture story books and read to the Preps. Afterwards they talked about the book together and drew pictures as a response to the book. The consideration of the older children towards the younger ones was wonderful to witness. For example, one Buddy went back to a favourite page several times at the Prep student’s request; another Buddy went on a tour of the room led by a Prep, culminating with meeting her favourite soft toy that had been brought to school that day for playtime; some Buddies spent time with several Prep students whose own Buddies were not at school that day.

Thank you, Year 5s!

Things to remember…

Please return your consent forms for the Ecolinc Excursion if you have not yet done so.

Milkshake Day – Wednesday June 1st.

Junior Assembly – Friday June 3rd.

Have a great week!

The Prep Team.


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