Branksome Hall Asia Lunar Series
This Lunar New Year holiday saw Branksome Hall Asia’s Junior School welcome over 100 students to an exciting learning experience. The Lunar Series involved students in Senior Kindergarten to Grade 5 taking part in a five day, morning academic enrichment program that was aimed at helping students to develop their English language skills. Every morning was divided into three hour-long lessons, where one hour was focused on writing skills, another on reading skills, while the final lesson was devoted to an enrichment activity.
The students took part in a wide range of enrichment activities, that included cooking in the Junior School kitchen. They learned to follow recipes, as well as practice correct measurement, in order to create food items such as pancakes, rice paper rolls, and gingerbread cookies. Students also engaged in sports activities that focused on building communication skills with their peers in order to be a successful team. In the Makerspace, students participated in Lego challenges where they were invited to create designs according to grade-level specific instructions and specifications.
During reading lessons, students engaged in a host of different learning experiences to strengthen their decoding and comprehension skills. This included reading step-by-step directions so as to effectively engage in Thai boxing exercises.' They also conducted research by reading about how scientists have successfully designed skyscrapers and then implemented their understanding by attempting to construct their own tower buildings. Students applied this same experimentation principle to create catapults and data was collected to measure which design could throw pom poms the furthest distance. Students took what they had learned about structural design and scientific principles to conduct an ‘egg drop’ whereby they parachuted an egg from the third floor of the Upper Junior Pod to see which design would result in an intact egg. Our youngest students enjoyed taking part in read alouds and performing in dramatic role plays of the story they had shared.
Students practiced their writing skills by reflecting on what parts of their scientific experimentation had been effective and thinking about what changes they might make in the future to ensure a successful outcome. Some of the older students wrote fictional tales and then created graphic novels to depict their stories. Other students wrote menus and then practiced their conversational skills by role-playing interactions that might happen in restaurants. The younger students engaged in unscrambling mixed-up sentences and stories to have them make sense, and also competed in team spelling challenges.
Overall, the Lunar Series was a resounding success, with students actively involved in engaging learning experiences that promoted their use of English in a stimulating environment. We are grateful to the parents who supported the Lunar Series by enrolling their children.
By Suzanne Cormack
Lunar Series Coordinator
Grade 4 Teacher & Grade 4 Grade Level Coordinator