School | Glow Party

The last day of school is generally surreal. Even though you've spent the last two hundred (ish) days investing in these kids and watching them grow, this day marks the end. And that, is sometimes hard to get your head around. Yes, if you're staying at the same school you might see them around the halls and exchange a hug or a hello, but it simply will not be the same.

This year, to mark the occasion, I have been secretly hoarding 100+ glow sticks in anticipation of the event. I learned from last years glow party that glow sticks have tiny shards of fiberglass inside, which kids generally do not enjoy receiving straight in the face so, while keeping the theme of the party secret, I asked the kids to bring their swimming goggles on the last day of school. They didn't quite understand why they would need them if they also didn't need their swimsuits but that just added to the mystery!

Though there are a variety of games that can be played while glowing in the dark, I have found through trial and error that simply cutting off the ends of the glow sticks and flicking around the (non-toxic) contents is more than sufficent for any age group to have an great time! (Bonus tip, procuring a blacklight makes things even more awesome; unfortunately they are hard to come by in Indonesia).

School | Athletics Day


Friday marked the annual SPH Athletics Day. It's pretty much the same as field day with a few minor alterations. Everyone at SPH is on a house team, just like in Harry Potter. Each team has a color, a mascot, and is named after a volcano in Indonesia. I'm on Merapi (green) then there's Kintamani (red), Bromo (blue) and Krakatau (yellow). We rack up house points through various activities, hoping to be on top at the end of the year! I told my kids to give me their best game face...this is what they came up with:

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For the first event of the day, everyone competed in the 50 m dash until a winner for each grade was announced.


Kids were assigned to compete in various events based on prior trials in PE class. There were hurdles, high jump, long jump, and relays, in addition to non-competitive team events (like tug-of-war) for those not participating officially.

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Athletics day came to a close with the staff relay. I ran the first leg for my team and Martha was kind enough to take pictures. I'm not gonna lie, I'm still sore three whole days later!

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School | Junior School Assembly

Once a month, a single grade is in charge of the Junior School assembly and guess who was up first this year? Grade 3! We chose to do our presentation on our Biblical studies unit The Bible: A Book Like No Other which we combined with our unit of study on Who We Are. 

Our theme song for the last unit was Remind Me Who I Am by Jason Gray. I hadn't heard it before coming to SPH but it's an upbeat song with an uplifting message. The first video below is the official music video for the song.

We decided to do close our assembly by creating our own interpretation of the video as it played alongside the stage. Like in the video, the students also had cards, depecting negative emotions that we commonly fall into the trap of. 


Towards the end of the song, the students flipped their cards over and placed them together on a large board to depict the same message as the song: we are all beloved.


Meanwhile, on the second screen in the gym, I had been able to photograph the students who were not otherwise participating in the assembly presentation, depicting themselves as beloved, across campus in different areas that students are involved in daily. I've uploaded my favorites down below!


It was great getting the opportunity to work with such enthusiastic students to make a presentation that everyone from Kindy to Grade 6 was able to relate to. I was very impressed with their hard work!

School | Indonesian Independence Day

In celebration of Indonesia's 67th year of independence, we all wore red tops and white bottoms (like the Indo flag) to school on Tuesday. We were definitely looking classy!


We colored maps of Indonesia, labeling only the major islands (since technically there are thousands, more on that later).


And we ate A LOT of traditional Indonesian food. It kept coming ALL day!


To cap off the day (and keep me sane during the ensuing sugar high) I taught the kids how to play a classic: Head's Up 7up. It took a few rounds for them to catch on but they were pretty competitive by the end!


School | Earthquake Simulation

Although school has been in session for a week, we didn't hit any curriculum until Tuesday. I've been working in classrooms in one way or another for the greater part of the last five years and Tuesday was definitely a highlight!


We teach IB curriculum at SPH and that involves teaching through inquiry. On Tuesday, we gave the students a scenario in which there had been an earthquake in Jakarta which was subsequently followed by a tsunami. Because of these natural disasters, the school was made unstable, which forced us outside and all communications with the outside world were cut. The students were tasked with making a shelter and then working for their meal. The results are as follows and were quite entertaining to say the least!


We began the morning by heading out to the field, collecting materials, and creating shelters. The students were divided into groups of six. Each group was allotted three bamboo poles and a role of duct tape, along with unlimited cardboard boxes and plastic trash bags.


This particular group below made me chuckle. They began with a moment of brilliance when one group member suggested taping the tarp so that it ran into a box so that they could save the rainwater. This line of thought greatly impressed me, especially considering the fact that my students are 8. However, I got my first chuckle when I revisited the group a few minutes later. They had added several boxes to the exterior of their establishment and when I enquired about them, they told me that they had to have a safe box to keep all of their things in (even though their posessions had all been washed away in the tsunami).


After building shelters, the students were given a brief reprieve before heading out into the workforce. Students were given a sum of RP 10,000 to start with. In order to earn more money, students could work as taxi drivers, toilet attendants (because that's a profession here), trash collectors, and chefs.


But, they could also pay to ride a taxi or watch a movie.


With the money that they had after the work period, the students were supposed to purchase their lunch. Some of them quickly learned that playing on the computer for two hours probably wasn't a good idea! The students were served a typical Indonesian lunch of rice, tempe (fermented soybean chips), tofu, veggies and krupuk (similar to a rice cake)


After lunch, the students were dismissed to free time in their settlement. Some played house while others improvised and made a soccer ball out of cardboard and duct tape.


Among the first of modern conveniences to spring up in the shanty town were the arms dealers and the black market. Their stock was comprised of knives, swords and quite impressively machine guns.


We shut down the settlement in the early afternoon to head back to the classroom for reflections. Most of my students have a personal nanny and an entire household staff so it was interesting to hear their reactions to doing manual labor and working for food. With the year starting out like this, I can't wait to see what else is in store!