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A WINDOW INTO POPS

We are extremely excited about finally launching our very own school blog. We will be using this platform to share all the interesting and innovative things we get up to. We have out-of-the-box learners and creative educators and this blog will be a genuine representation of exactly that.


This blog will feature an array of exciting stories, videos, art pieces, articles and so much more. We have a dynamic team of learners and educators working behind the scenes to provide our readers with a first-hand POPS experience. And seeing as our modern-day societies are so busy and our schedules full, it isn’t always easy to keep up to date with the little things, but we have made it our mission to keep you posted… all you have to do is sit back, relax and read.



 
MEET THE TEAM
Our team of dedicated learners.

Zandile Derby, Grade 7


Keegan Mason, Grade 7


Reneilwe Moagi, Grade 7


Dawei Shikwambana, Grade 7


Phegello Mphepya, Grade 8


Amida Rajabu, Grade 8


Sebastiab Azevedo, Grade 9


Javan Oor, Senior MIND


 
TAKE A TOUR WITH US
Teacher Megan Bothma and some of our students made an excellent Open Day video and it was just too good not to share!


 
POPS EDUCATORS KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT
We have a team of highly skilled and qualified educators and they know exactly what they are talking about!
Have a read and see for yourself....

Physical Education: The effects on academic performance

By Kayla Boshoff


One pandemic that needs to be addressed, and that is not Covid-19, is the pandemic of physical activity and how that has decreased because of Covid-19. Balance, coordination, bi-lateral integration, and fine motor skills are all areas that need more focus.


Fitness influencers, personal trainers, and CrossFit, is seen everywhere but do we understand the importance of this? It is extremely important for children

.

Mathematics and reading are the two subjects most influenced by physical activity. Research has linked executive functioning and physical activity and has shown noticeable improvements in reading fluency and increased speed of mental Maths.


We all are tempted to lock our kids outside and let them run around for hours but that is not beneficial for them. The duration of physical activity is important as physical exhaustion has the opposite effect on the brain. Research shows that long term moderate intensity physical activity has shown to be the most beneficial as endorphins are released during exercise, this keeps the brain feeling good and awake.

A clinical professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School provides strong evidence that physical activity remodels the brain for peak performance on all fronts. This means that new neural pathways are formed and new connections in the brain are made and therefore a different way of thinking is formed, making it easier to retain information.


Exercise is the best defense against:


Stress: as it prevents negative effects of chronic stress, many people think that during the exam, the learners should only focus on academic work, but the opposite is true. There should be more time made for physical activity to combat symptoms of stress.


Anxiety and panic disorders: by rebuilding the brains circuit through physical activity it provides a better sense of self.


Depression: as we exercise, endorphins are released in the brain, which results in a feeling of good well-being. This is especially beneficial for children with neurodevelopmental conditions.


ADHD: Children with ADHD benefit from structured sport and is seen as one of the best treatment strategies according to research. But why? Exercise such as netball, soccer, and ballet challenges both the brain and body by activating areas of the brain that control balance, timing, sequencing, and fine motor skills, to name a few.


Many neurodevelopmental conditions are associated with deficiencies in motor skills due to the fact that treatment and intervention focuses only on psychological aspects. Studies have shown that physical activity can be beneficial as part of a treatment program.


Research has revealed that disturbances in motor skills are commonly associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A therapeutic strategy that includes physical activity has been shown to improve quality of life in Autistic learners.

Physical activity also has positive effects on social skills and behaviour in children. Sport teaches children how to cope with their emotions and communicate with others. Team sports especially help build these skills.


That is why sport is included in the curriculum here at POPS, not only for enjoyment, but also for the mental and social-emotional development and learning of our students.



 
POPS IN ACTION

Nothing like a bit of competition…

POPS and Carpe Diem had a netball game on, 23 May 2023. The learners played their hearts out and had great fun.


POPS won 18-12. We are so proud!!




 

CREATIVITY HAS NO LIMITS

Our POPS learners are out-of-the-box, creative thinkers.


The attic....
By Liam Azevedo

I had seventeen days of holiday left, and I couldn’t find my school bag. I looked everywhere in the house, except for the attic. My uncle said that I was not allowed to go into the attic, because that is where he kept all of his dangerous tools. I had to find my school bag; I had an assignment due on the first day of school.


“Can I please go into the attic to look for my school bag?”, I asked my uncle while he was standing in the kitchen. “No”, he replied. “I’ll be careful, I’ll turn on the light and I will not touch anything”, I pleaded. “No”, he barked. I stormed out of the kitchen…annoyed.


It was 10pm when I woke up and my uncle was fast asleep. I decided to go on a little mission. I opened the door to the attic and slowly crept inside. I felt my heart racing…could it be?


There was a group of gnomes huddled together in the middle of the room. The were talking feverishly amongst themselves. They were knee height, had long pointy hats of different colours and had big bushy beards. They did not hear me coming because they were too deep in conversation. Suddenly, one of the gnomes looked up at me. His eyes widened with fear as he yelled, “Human! Human in the attic!”. They all broke into a sprint. I stood there confused. But when everything settled in my mind, I ran after them. I was able to quickly catch up because they had small legs. When I cornered them, I was amazed to see that the attic had been converted into a village. The gnomes lived in cardboard houses.


One of the gnomes yelled something in Gnomish. A group of gnomes came out with crossbows, but instead of arrows, they had my stationery loaded in them. The crossbows fired, but barely broke any skin. A very old gnome walked out and with a booming voice asked, “Why have you entered our village?”. “I am looking for my school bag. Why do you live in my uncle’s attic?”, I asked curiously. “We are here because we were chased away from our homes. We are a peaceful and pacifist community. We did not have any weapons, so when the moles came, we had no means of defending ourselves”. He pointed at a hole in the wall. “That is how we entered, we barely made it”, he said sadly. “If I help you chase the moles away, will you give me my school bag?”, I asked hopefully. A smile spread over the old gnome’s face. “Yes!”, he replied.


I had a brilliant idea for getting rid of the moles. I stood with the old gnome next to me, the whole village was behind me. In one hand I had a long string of fireworks and in the other, a lighter. I lit the fireworks and dropped it down the hole. Distant cracks came from the hole. “How deep is the village?”, I asked the old gnome. “The kingdom is fifty meters deep”, he replied. With a sigh I went inside and got my uncle’s loudest speaker. I put on opera music and dropped the speaker down the hole. The music played quietly. I felt the ground rumble as a wave of frantic moles erupted from the hole and scurried away.


I finished and handed in my assignment. The old gnome thanked me, and I never heard from the gnomes again. Although sometimes I can hear opera music coming from the ground.



 
HOW TO BE PREPARED FOR YOUR EXAMS
Our POPS learners have some great advice when it comes to prepping for the exams...

Grade 5: Study like there's no tomorrow.

​Grade 6: Make sure you read each question carefully.

Grade 7: Never cheat.

Grade 8: Do not start studying the day before.


Phegello: I do not study for the exam; the exams study me.

Grade 9: Ask questions if you do not understand.


​Teacher Megan: Remember to take breaks.

Teacher Anchen: Find the study method that works for you.


 

There are many things you can do to prepare for your exams...


BEFORE THE EXAM

There are many things you can do before an exam to help you prepare well for your exams.


The more you do to prepare for an exam beforehand, the better you will feel during the exam. Follow our tips in this section and let us know if you have more study tips to share.


Notes

  • Keep your notes tidy and complete. If you miss a class, get the notes from a friend or ask your teacher what you missed.

  • Organise your notes into different sections, e.g. vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, speaking, reading, listening, writing. This will make it easier to find the section you need to revise for the exam.

  • Look through your notes regularly, not just the day before the exam.

  • Use different coloured pens and highlighter pens to help you focus on the most important things you have to learn.

  • Make summaries of your notes. Include the most important things in your summaries. Write short summaries on small cards that you can carry around with you and read them on the bus or when you have some free time.

  • Make mind maps, visuals and diagrams.

  • If you don’t understand something in your notes, ask a classmate or your teacher to explain it to you.

Time

Many students have lots of exams close together. It is useful to plan how much time you have to revise and make a revision timetable.

What’s a revision timetable?

Work out how much time you have to study each subject and complete a table or grid with the subjects you are going to study and when you are going to study them. Try to stick to your revision timetable to make sure you have enough time to do everything.

Don’t leave your revision until the last minute. Try to revise for each exam more than once to help you learn things well. Our long term memories remember more if we look at things more than once so look at your notes regularly.

Remember to take regular breaks while you study. Take a 15-minute break after every hour you study. This will help you concentrate during your study time.


Phones and other distractions

If you and your friends send each other messages every five minutes, you will find it very difficult to concentrate on what you are learning. So, switch off your phone and your favourite social network sites while you are studying! You can send messages to your friends during your breaks.


Music

Some people like listening to music when they study and it can help them concentrate. But if music distracts you, turn it off while you study or listen to music without words. Listen to your favourite music during your breaks. Try studying with music on and without music, to see how you study better. You might find that a certain type of music helps your concentration.


Brain food

It’s really important to eat properly while studying for exams. A healthy diet will give you lots of energy. Sugary snacks like sweets and chocolate may give you short-term energy, but it is better to eat foods that give you lots of energy over a longer period of time. Check out our list of brain foods and try to make sure your diet includes lots of these things during exam times.

Super brain foods:

  • brown bread

  • cereals

  • pasta

  • rice

  • beans, lentils and chickpeas

  • oily fish such as sardines, tuna or salmon

  • shellfish

  • red meat

  • chicken

  • cheese

  • eggs

  • fresh fruit

  • vegetables

  • salads

Eat regular, healthy snacks while you’re studying as well as three good meals a day to keep your energy levels high.


Exercise

Do plenty of physical exercise while you are studying for exams. Exercise helps oxygen move around your body and your brain needs lots of oxygen to work well. Go outside for a walk and get some fresh air, go for a swim or meet your friends for a game of football.


Look after your eyes

Spend your study time in a quiet room with plenty of light. If you study better in the evenings, make sure you have a good lamp so that your eyes don’t get tired. Do exercises for your eyes. Look at something near you and blink (open and close) your eyes several times and then look at something far away. Repeat this several times.


Revise with a friend

Talking through what you have learned with a friend can help you remember things. You can also test each other and explain things to each other when one of you doesn’t understand. It can be more fun revising with a friend.


Early bird or night owl?

It’s good to know when you learn better. Some people study better in the morning (early birds) and others in the afternoon or evening (night owls). Plan your study time when you feel at your best and feel wide awake!


Sleep

The best food for the brain is sleep, so you’ll need a lot of sleep during exam times. When you’re tired you will find it difficult to concentrate and learn.

So, how much sleep do you need? Well, when you’ve had the right amount of sleep you don’t feel tired, not too much and not too little. Most teenagers need between 8 and 9 hours sleep a night.

Try and get good quality sleep. So, don’t sleep with your books all over your bed or with lights, music or the computer on. For the best sleep, make sure your room is quiet, comfortable and dark.

If you stay up late studying and don’t get enough sleep, you may need a ‘power nap’ in the afternoon. A short sleep of 30 minutes may give you some energy before you start revising, but keep it short – you don’t want to spend all afternoon in bed!


Tips to help you sleep

  • Have a regular bed time. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, if possible 8 or 9 hours before you have to wake up.

  • Do plenty of exercise. Don’t do exercise just before bedtime, but regular exercise earlier in the day can help your body sleep at night.

  • Don’t drink caffeine (colas, tea or coffee) in the afternoons and evenings. Drink water, fruit juices or herbal teas.

  • Have a milky drink just before bedtime.

  • Relax before you go to bed. When you have finished studying, read a book, listen to music, watch TV or have a bath to help you relax.

  • Turn off lights, your computer, mobile and any other electrical devices in your room.

  • When you wake up, open the curtains to get lots of natural light in your room. This will help you feel more awake in the morning


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