English this week, we explored the final chapters of 'Journey to Jo'Burg'. After experiencing the sights, and smells(!), of the 'City of Gold' (Johannesburg), the children in the story start to question why they are treated so differently to white people. After learning about the Soweto high-school protests, Naledi and Tiro want to find out more about the differences between the education of white and black people.
Like the main characters in the story, we spent time researching schools and education during the apartheid. We learnt about the Bantu Education Act of 1953, which was a segregation law giving the South African government the power to structure the education of Native South African children, separate from White South African children. It was a system designed primarily to ‘train and fit’ Africans for their role in the newly evolving apartheid society. In class, we looked at a variety of sources, including photographs and letters, to develop our understanding of the Act.
Some of the facts we were surprised to learn were:
* Many black schools were occupied by heavily armed government troops. Soldiers with automatic rifles often sat and observed inside the classrooms.
* Some classes consisted of up to 70 or 80 children.
* The government spent over seven times as much to educate a white child as it spent to educate a black child.
* The apartheid system affected the quality of teachers. 96% of teachers in white schools had teaching certificates, which is extremely high in comparison to the 15% of teachers in black schools who were qualified.
We all agreed that every child deserves the right to an education and that the type of education you receive should not be dependent on the colour of your skin.
Following our lessons on the Bantu Education Act, we began to explore letter writing. We spent the last few days of the week identifying the features and purposes of informal and formal letter writing. Next week, we will be writing our own letters from Naledi to Grace thanking her for her help in Jo'Burg and also informing her about the wellbeing of their baby brother.
In Maths, we decided to postpone 3D shapes until the end of this unit and instead learnt how to calculate missing angles and draw acute, obtuse and reflex angles. We started the week recapping on the properties of different types of angles and identified facts about angles in shapes. We then applied this knowledge to solve missing angle problems. Towards the end of the week, we used protractors to accurately draw angles. Next week, we are going to consolidate our understanding of angles and then think about how to calculate the perimeter and area of 2D shapes.
In our afternoon sessions, we started a new unit on 'Watercolours'. We spent our first session looking at examples of watercolour paintings and identified colours and techniques used to create the art work. Following this, we then got the chance to create our own watercolour washes and experimented with blending colours. Next week, we will be adding details to our paintings and will be exploring different techniques for painting trees.