Juffrou van Niekerk is the Grade 3 teacher at Wilgehof Primary School in Bloemfontein, Free State. She has been teaching for 28 years and uses Six Bricks across a variety of learning areas.
She usually begins her lessons with an activity to calm her learners down or wake them up after break time. Her learners assign their emotions to a brick and make their bricks talk to each other, or they sing along to a catchy YouTube song as they count their bricks backwards and forwards.
When she wants to continue with the lesson, Juffrou van Niekerk rings a bell to regain the attention of her learners. She integrates her lessons with the curriculum and targets as many developmental areas as possible. Juffrou van Niekerk often facilitates activities to help develop listening skills and numeracy because these are the areas where her learners struggle the most. She asks her learners to follow her instructions as they work to move their bricks across their tables. While they move and rearrange their bricks, Juffrou van Niekerk builds a model at the front of the classroom. She allows her learners a few moments to memorise the model before covering it up again. The learners practice their self-regulation while they wait for their signal to start building.
The children cheer with delight and success when Juffrou van Niekerk reveals the original model for them to compare against. With short, simple activities, she helps her learners develop overt listening skills, but also the perceptual skills and spatial awareness necessary for understanding mathematical concepts. She skilfully scales her activities up or down depending on the abilities of her learners, and she makes sure all her learners can partake in playful learning. She often uses Six Bricks as a tool for remediation and has seen developmental and learning improvements in many of her learners since using Six Bricks for teaching and learning.
"My quiet learners are speaking, and my stronger learners are helping."
Juffrou van Niekerk