As most people know, I am a lover of the ocean. It was time for me to visit and get to know the top predators of the ocean’s natural food chain…SHARKS! On Saturday a few friends and I ventured to Gansbaii. Once we arrived they provided us with a little snack and a general tutorial on shark diving. They gave us neon orange jackets to wear incase we fell into they water we could be esialy found! (Only teasing! They were to keep us warm form the winds and the water blowing in our face!) After a 20 minute ride out to sea, it was time to anchor the boat and meet our new friends. The one boatman attached two large fish heads to a long rope to chum the water. When someone chums the water they are doing this t make the sharks appear. As soon as we saw the first shark it was time to change into the wetsuits and jump into the water! It took me quite sometime to put on the wetsuit, therefore I went in the cage with the second group. When the first group went in we all saw a sea creature that we weren’t expecting to see. We saw a WHALE! It was a right whale! Click on this link to read more about it! http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/right-whale/
I was nervously waiting for my turn in the shark cage until they called the second group to go! Surprisingly the water wasn’t that bad, thanks to the wetsuits! The only part of my body that was cold were my hands. The instructions provided to us were to climb into the cage, put your feet on the metal bars behind you, and place your hands on the red handle bars in front of you. I followed all of the instructions and was ready to see some sharks. The boatman continued to chum the water. When a shark was approaching he yelled, “Near”. As the shark got very close to the cage he yelled, “Down”. “Down” means you go under the water so you are able to see the shark come extremely close to you. The water was very foggy we were lucky if we could see 1 foot in front of us (That is what made it more exciting for us!) After seeing several sharks come up close to us, it was time for the last group to have a chance.
It was unbelievable getting to see a 12 foot shark up close! I found it to be more of a fascinating experience compared to a terrifying one. Once all the groups had a chance to go in the cage it was time to head back to shore. (Thank goodness. I was starting to get a little nauseous from the boat moving so much.) It was such a relief when we took our wetsuits off. The last remaining 30 minutes consisted of a light dinner and watching a short video the boatman took while on the boat. The captain of the boat informed us that we saw 3 different types of sharks and they were all females. If you would like to learn more about sharks and where I went shark diving, click on this link: http://www.sharkcagediving.co.za
I wasn’t able to take many pictures because I didn’t want to risk anything happening to my camera. Here are a few pictures from my shark diving adventure!
Top of the morning to you! (My afternoon!)
The lesson began by walking through green glass doors! (No, we don’t have fancy green glass doors – unfortunately!) It is a game! When I was a young boy in boy scouts, I remember playing this game. Every time I played this game I was stumped! It was time for Mr. Guignet to challenge his first grade boys! The object of the game is that you can only bring double letter words into the glass green doors. For example, you can bring a sheep, book, cookie, bee, etc. I wanted my kiddos to figure out the type of words for themselves. I started the game off by saying, “Mr. Guignet is bringing through the green glass doors not a dog, but a sheep! I then continued with several /ee/ and /oo/ words. After mentioning a few words, I had the class start making guesses! Some were accurate with the double letters, while others were totally off topic! (It made for a fun time and laughter!) After about 15 minutes of playing the game almost half of the class was able to grasp the idea behind the game! Once I told them the idea of the game they all reacted in the same way. “AWW that’s so easy! I knew that!” You gotta love first grade! This made for an excellent review and an awesome 15 minutes of laughter and smiles! 🙂
I just got back from a day out at sea! My first grader’s worked on an /sh/ activity today! Each student was provided with a ship worksheet that had 5 blank circles on it. The student’s had to figure out what pictures go in the blank spaces. The 5 pictures had to have the /sh/ sound in the word. They had a blast with this activity! Once they found all of the /sh/ pictures I told them to be creative and draw/color a sea, sea creatures, pirates, flags, etc.! They loved being able to use their art skills to draw sharks and other unique sea creatures!
Click here to view the “Sh” Activity!: “Sh” Activity!
After having a day to recover, I am finally ready to post about the most amazing weekend ever. This past weekend a friend and I decided to go on a trip to The Garden Route! The Garden Route is a stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa. I have heard wonderful reviews from this trip and it was highly recommended that I’d venture to The Garden Route during my stay here in South Africa. My friend and I looked into different trips and chose to do the 3-day trip with HotSpots. HotSpots is the company we went with. Our tour guide was extremely personable and I would recommend the company to anyone interested in going on The Garden Route. So now it’s time for the fun part!
Day 1 – Driving and walking with animals
Our trip began at 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning. We took the train to Cape Town where we got picked up for our 3-day adventure. (Little did I know that it took 5 hours to get there…. nap time!) Once we arrived it was time for my first REAL safari!
Big 5 GAME DRIVE
The safari was absolutely fantastic. We went on a 4×4 vehicle in a private game preserve. Are you wondering why it is called the Big 5 game drive? Big 5 was coined by big game hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals to hunt on for in Africa. Do you think you can guess what the big 5 animals are? Go ahead try! …… Okay, one more minute! Now you may scroll down for the answers!
- African elephant
- African leopard
- African lion
- Cape buffalo
- White/Black rhinoceros
Did anybody get them all right?! If so, give yourself a pat on the back! Job well done! 🙂
During the beginning of the safari we got really close to a cape cobra. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a picture because it slithered away very quickly! (Thank goodness. I was starting to get nervous it was going to jump up and bite me!) We also got very close to another animal. If you know my sister and what she is highly obsessed with, you would guess this animal in a split second. It’s a giraffe! The safari was beautiful besides how cold it got as we were venturing to the top of the mountain.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from the safari!
At the end of the safari they dropped us off with lions. No, they really did. We all went on a walk with Africa’s most majestic predators, lions. The two lions that we walked with were cousins and reminded me so much of Simba and Nala from The Lion King. (I totally had a moment!) The walk lasted for a little over an hour and was spectacular. The lion guides gave us several opportunities to take pictures with the lions in various settings. My favorite part of the walk was when one of the guides threw balls of raw meat (food) in a tree for the lion to eat. It was out of this world seeing one of the lions jump up in the tree to get his food. He jumped up right away! He was probably starving! (I’m glad he went for the raw meat and not me!)
The day came to an end as we drove to our backpackers hotel for the night. The hotel we stayed at was called, Afrovibe. It was a really cool hotel right on the beach. Unfortunately, it was raining so we couldn’t enjoy the beautiful view and beach! (That’s okay because we were all really tired.) Once we were all settled we went for a yummy traditional South African dinner! (Chicken, rice, and vegetables! – I had seconds! :p) After dinner we were all exhausted and headed to bed super early (8:30 p.m. – I am old.)
Day 2 – The longest and best day ever
Face Adrenalin – The World’s Highest Bungy Bridge
I woke up to a 6:30 a.m. wake up call! Time to go bungy jumping! It took us about 2 hours until we arrived at the bungy bridge. As soon as I saw the bridge I started getting chills. I got all of my gear on and was ready to conquer the jump! We all walked across the bridge to where the jump was. When we reached the jumping area they called us one by one for our jumps. As soon as they called my number I screamed and was ready for the jump! (I triple checked that I was safely fastened and wasn’t at risk of falling into the rocks! Luckily, I did trust the workers because they were very friendly and trusting.) Once I was fully fastened they walked me out to the edge of the bridge. They counted to three and off I went! It was the scariest thing I ever did in my entire life. It is hard for me to remember the jump because I was in awe the entire time. When the jump was over I was hanging there for a solid two minutes. (Literally thinking that my feet were going to fall out of the straps) The guy came down to rescue me acting all relaxed, meanwhile I just wanted to plant my feet on solid ground!)
If I am jumping off the world’s largest bungy jump the only way to do it is shirtless. Call me crazy but when will I ever have a chance to do something this wild ever again. I had to go all out! 🙂 When I got back to the top all of the guys told me that I have to jump backwards next time. I said, “Yeah….no thank you”
It started down pouring as soon as we were getting ready to go kayaking down a river. Thankfully it did or else we wouldn’t have been able to visit the ostrich farm. I am terrified of this animal but South Africa is teaching me how to get rid of fear and turn it into fun! When we got to the ostrich farm our tour began with an introduction on ostriches.
- An ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world
- Its eyes are bigger than its brain.
- Females – Gray feathers
- Males – Black feathers
- THEY ARE CRAZY! (Okay, maybe not a fact but in my mind it is!)
We were finally able to meet one of the ostriches! Our first friend we met was named Betsy! She was so friendly! She wanted to give me a hug so I gave it an attempt.
After hugging good ole’ Betsy it was time to ride an ostrich. Of course I was the only one in my group to fall off of the ostrich. (But hey! At least I was able to provide everyone with live entertainment for the afternoon!) I have a video of my ostrich ride. I am unable to post the video due to it being to large to post. If you see me and ask to see it I will be sure to show you! (You may have to bring popcorn! :p)
On our way out we had another opportunity to interact with them. We got to feed them! When I went to feed an ostrich it had a little bit of food in it, so luckily only one ostrich was there. Then our tour guide decided to dump a bucket full of food into the bucket to torture me. SURPRISE!
Elephant Feed & Ride!
If there is one person I think of when it comes to elephants it is my grandma. Ever since I was a young boy I remember her elephant collection and love for the animal. I had to dedicate my ride to my loving grandma!
When I first sat on the elephant my leg started to cramp. It was so painful and the guy couldn’t understand why I wasn’t resting my leg. After about a minute my leg decided to stop cramping and I was ready to enjoy the ride! It was actually really scary. It was a beautiful view and the elephant was very calm but I felt like at any moment I was going to fall off of this very large animal. Once we reached the water our elephant used his trunk to drink some water (It was really cute). After everyone rode an elephant, we were able to feed them! We fed them a bunch of fruit! (Apples, mangos, pears, etc.) I was nervous to feed the elephant because I thought it was going to bite my hand! It turned out that my elephant was very friendly. She kept wrapping her trunk around me to give me a hug. (I think she had a crush on me….sorry elephant!)
I think I had enough animal interactions for the rest of my life after today. A long day filled with once in a life time activities left us all completely drained. When we arrived at our next hotel dinner was waiting for us. I made a poor life decision and ordered ostrich. I couldn’t stop thinking of me riding the bird the entire time. It was the most difficult meal for me to eat.
Day 3 – Cango Caves
Our last stop on the 3-day trip was at Cango Caves. Cango Caves is located in Precambrian limestones at the foothills of the Swartberg range near the town of Oudtshoorn. The principal cave is one of the country’s finest, best known, and most popular tourist caves, and attracts many visitors from overseas. As we walked through the cave the view was outstanding. When we were at the one section of the tour our guide asked if anyone could sing. My friend pushed me and raised me hand. She told me to sing a song (of course I chose to sing “Part Of Your World” from The Little Mermaid). The reason she wanted someone to sing is so everyone could hear the echo from inside the cave. After singing my little heart out we went on the adventure part of the tour and climbed through tunnels and small spaces! It was very challenging but tons of fun!
Cango Cave was the final stop on our 3-day garden route tour. I had such an amazing weekend, I’m sure you can tell from my super long blog post! I hope you enjoy the pictures I posted for your enjoyment! Please feel free to comment on my posts with any questions! I would love to answer them and share more stories! Cheers! 🙂
Do you know your days, weeks, and months? I know grade 1c does! Prior to the lesson, my kiddos have learned their days, weeks, and months. My cooperating teacher wanted me to do this lesson as a review to enhance their thinking. I created a PowerPoint that consisted of questions, online interactive class games, and whole class activities. As I went through the PowerPoint the student’s answered the questions and played the online interactive games. You can find the online interactive games in the link provided: http://www.turtlediary.com/kindergarten-games/math-games/days-of-the-week.html. At the end of the lesson we did two activities. Last week my teacher assessed the student’s on both day and night. She asked that I conduct an activity to reinforce their knowledge on the topic. I decided to do a Venn Diagram on what you see during the day, night, and both day and night. When filling out the Venn Digram I wrote what you see in the day, night, and both day and night in separate colors. (It makes it easier for the students to distinguish each section) The last activity that I had the class complete was a train worksheet. The activity consisted of each student having to build a train by putting the months in their correct order. Once the train was connected they had to color the train and draw a picture of something that occurs during that specific month (Holiday, birthday, special day, etc.) They had a blast with this activity! I even turned on some fun music for them to listen to while working on the activity because they were doing such an excellent job! Click to view the PowerPoint: Days, weeks, and months! Click to view Train Worksheet: Train Worksheet – Months
Good Afternoon! It was such a lovely day at school today! I taught a fun lesson on double ee words to my class. I started the lesson with a video explaining what the double ee sound looks and sounds like. The video also provided example double ee words which was great for the student’s to see and hear. After the video we played an online double ee word matching game on starfall.com. If you click on this link it will direct you to the online game! http://www.starfall.com/n/make-a-word/long-e/load.htm?f
When we were finished playing the matching game, I had my class come up with double ee words on their own. As they were saying double ee words, I wrote them down on the SMART Board. When the board was full, I showed my kiddos a list of double ee words I created. The list I made, along with their list was to be used for our double ee activity.
Last week on Wednesday the entire first grade had an assembly. The assembly was all about bee. My class loved the assembly and learned so much about bees! Since they enjoyed it so much, I decided to incorporate bees into my double ee word lesson today! All of my boy’s were given a worksheet. On the worksheet was a rectangle with “My B __ __ Hive!” on it. (They had to fill in the missing ee) I provided them with seven hexagons. The hexagons resemble the honey comb that bees crawl into. The instructions for the lesson were to put a double ee word in each hexagon along with a picture to represent the double ee word. The student’s then had to cut out the hexagons and make a flower/hive out of them. I also provided them with four blank bees. When they were finished everything they were able to color the blank bees and glue them throughout the hive they created!
Here is the PowerPoint that I created for the lesson! Buzzin’ around with bee!
Take a look at the finished product post below! Beautiful work from one of my first graders!
Thanks for buzzin’ in today! Special thank you to those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces! Happy Veterans Day!
This past Friday VAC had a v”activity” to a Cheetah Sanctuary in Somerset West. When we arrived we were provided with valuable information about cheetahs. They discussed with us their living environment(s), age, diet, etc. If you follow this website you will be able to find out/learn more about cheetahs! http://www.southafrica.net/za/en/articles/entry/article-southafrica.net-cheetah-outreach-in-somerset-west
All of the VAC student’s were separated into small groups for visiting the cheetah. The cheetah that we were able to see and pet was 7 years old. They mentioned that cheetah’s normally live to be 10 to 12 years. If they are in the wild they normally live up to 6 years old. It was fascinating because one of the cheetah’s was 12 years old! I have posted some pictures for your enjoyment! I’ll warn you…I look very terrified in some of the pictures! Have fun! 🙂
This weekend VAC (Volunteer Adventure Corps) went on a two day trip to Montagu. Montagu is a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Our trip started off bright and early at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (I guess that isn’t too bad considering I normally get up at 6:30 a.m. for school!) It was a little over a two hour drive to get there. Once we arrived we set-up our tents and headed out to climb some rocks. When we got to the rocks the VAC coordinators showed us how to belay someone. To belay someone is when you are making sure a climber is secure and safe by using a rope to hold the climber’s weight if he/she falls. I was very nervous to belay my friend but I was able to successfully do it! (I will not be belaying again, so scary!) I was super excited to climb! Although I had to wait a little bit after belaying because my hands hurt from the rope. On my first attempt at climbing I was able to make it up about half way. The second time I was able to climb up like a little monkey all the way to the top! Boy, was I exhausted after all of that climbing! Luckily, we all went back to the campsite afterwards and had a wonderful brai! It was also a great time to relax and meet new people from all over the world!
On the second day (Sunday), we all drove to the Hot Springs. Needless to say I was expecting a beautiful view and some brown dirty water that was unbearably hot. Well, to my surprise, I was wrong. It was a resort with hot spring water. Hello paradise. They also had a water slide that was the best thing ever. At first it was super slow…. then I spoke to soon! At the end of the slide it went so fast I almost fell off of the slide! With the remaining time we all relaxed in the hot spring water and of course worked on our tans.
What first grader doesn’t like OREO’S?! …. That’s what I thought, NONE! This led me in choosing the lesson that I did for teaching the phases of the moon.
I created a PowerPoint that I used throughout the lesson. The PowerPoint consisted of a video, images of the moon (primarily focusing on three phases: full moon, half moon, and crescent moon) I have attached the PowerPoint below if you would like to use it or simply check it out! The moon. (Click on “The moon.” to view the PowerPoint.
After going through the PowerPoint with the class, it was time for a fun activity! This is where the ore’s come into play! I provided the class each with an Oreo. It was their job to show me a full moon, half moon, and crescent moon. They all loved this so much! Once they created one phase of the moon I allowed them to eat the cream to help them get to the next phase of the moon! At the end of the lesson I wanted them to show me a new moon. A new moon is all black and you can’t really see it in the sky, so they all had to eat the rest of their Oreo cookie to show me that!
- Full Moon – All of the cream
- Half Moon – Half of the cream
- Crescent Moon – 1/4 of the cream
The night before the lesson I saw a full moon, so that was great to share with my class. I told them to follow the moon at night and the next day they came in with pictures to share with me and their classmates!
It has been almost a week since my last blog, so I have a lot to blog about today! Last week I was very involved in the classroom. I was able to teach science! I haven’t taught many science lessons, so I was thrilled to do experiments and get my first graders up, active, and involved! The first science lesson that I taught was the water cycle. I wanted to find an engaging activity that would capture my student’s attention and help them remember the steps of the water cycle. I started off the lesson by showing them a video describing the water cycle. I made sure to stop and explain the different steps throughout the video to make sure everyone was understanding the water cycle. After the video I taught my class a song. The song is called, “The Water Cycle” (sang to the tune of She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain).
The Water Cycle Song
Water travels in a cycle, yes it does
(Use pointer finger to make a circle)
Water travels in a cycle, yes it does
(Use pointer finger to make a circle)
It goes up as evaporation
(Move hands up in the air)
Forms clouds as condensation
(Form a cloud with your hands)
Then comes down as precipitation, yes it does!
(Lower and shake your hands to the floor)
The last part of the lesson was an experiment! The experiment that I conducted showed the class how the water cycle works. (It also got them really excited to learn more about the water cycle) The main focus of the experiment was to show student’s that when clouds get heavy with water, it creates rain!
Water Cycle Experiment!
Step 1: Gather your supplies. You would need a glass container/jar, shaving cream, and food coloring. (I chose blue for rain but the color is up to you!)
Step 2: Fill the glass container with water. Try to fill it as close to the top as you can!
Step 3: Add shaving cream on top of the water. The shaving cream represents the cloud. I tried to make it look as much like a cloud as possible so the kiddos were not confused.
Step 4: Carefully pour your food coloring over the shaving cream. (You do not need to use a lot of coloring, the more you use the bigger the mess!)
Step 5: Gather your children around the glass container and allow them to be amazed! My class loved it so much they went home to try it! (Sorry parents :p)
I highly recommend doing the song and experiment to anyone! My first grader’s come in every morning singing the song! A fun, easy way to get your class excited about learning!
Wow! This weekend a few friends and I went paragliding off of Signal Hill. You would think that it is terrifying but it was actually really soothing. The only part that was a little nerve-racking was running into the air and landing. To get into the air you had to run into the sky and then magically you were flying! I felt like I was Aladdin on a magic carpet ride! 🙂 The view was spectacular, which was a great distraction for being so high up in the sky! Once we landed, we all went to Camps Bay. Camps Bay is a beautiful beach in Cape Town, South Africa. We lucked out with a hot, sunshiny day! The water was really cold! I felt like it was the Ice Bucket Challenge all over again! Below are some pictures from the weekend! Check them out!