It was a real pleasure to welcome your children back to school this week after their very well-deserved two weeks’ break. We are all looking forward to a very busy four weeks ahead! We are particularly enjoying making exciting plans for our festive celebrations, which we will share with you shortly. We are all adamant that the current situation will not affect the magic of our Christmas celebrations for your children!
As you will read below, Reception, Years 1 and 2 held a respectful silence on Armistice Day outside in their classes. Year 3 to 6 paid their respects at Newmarket War Memorial, where they were both intrigued and touched to see the name of Lt Orton Taylor, who was killed in action during World War II. His widow, Mrs Rosamunde Taylor, went on to found Fairstead House, seventy years ago this term!
I was delighted to receive a ‘thank you’ card from Dr. Tony White, on behalf of Newmarket’s Open Door charity, in appreciation of your wonderful harvest gifts. He was truly touched by your generosity.
Thank you all for helping your children to come to school with a spotty accessory today, helping us all to support the Children In Need appeal; in particular, many thanks for your generous donations.
Year 1 held a respectful silence on Wednesday to give thanks to all those who have fought and fallen while protecting us. Miss Drayton was very proud of how sensitive and respectful the children were. They painted poppies onto commemorative stones and made paper poppies. The children have also been learning about Aboriginal dot art and created their own dot art in the shape of their favourite Australian animal. Can you tell what they are?
Year 2 have come back to school with so much energy and enthusiasm! We have had a wonderful week discovering the characters in the Gunpowder Plot, reading a poem, discussing the tools of the 17th century and reading about Guy Fawkes and his role in the treasonous plot! Mrs Cooke brought in some models of Guy Fawkes and King James I for us to look at and discuss- they were incredibly detailed. On Wednesday, we looked at the reasons why we wear poppies and reflected on the words ‘commemorate’, ‘memorial’ and ‘remember’. We read about why we commemorate Remembrance Day on 11th November at 11 am. As a tribute to the fallen soldiers, we created a wonderful display using our watercolour techniques and discussed silhouettes. Our Maths exploration focused on adding tens and units as well as finding the ‘friendly 10’ when adding on, for example 8+6=? we would partition 6 into 2 and 4. 8+2=10 and then we would jump on 4 more. We used number lines, part whole models and ten frames to support our learning.
This week, in English, Year 3 have been creating some fantastic firework poems and have practised their skills of editing and redrafting. The children focused on using powerful verbs and adjectives in their poetry and with great effect!
In Maths this week, we have been looking at doubling, halving and fractions. The children have been undertaking a range of practical and written work to further their understanding of the topic.
Our topic for this half term is continues to be Ancient Maya, with a particular focus on chocolate! On Thursday, we joined with Year 4 to sample some Mayan hot chocolate. The hot chocolate contained the spices cinnamon and chilli. The children’s reviews of the drink were mixed (scores out of 10 were given!), but a surprising number of children enjoyed the spiciness! We found out that, in Ancient Mayan society, only rich and noble people would have been able to drink this special chocolate beverage, believed to be a gift from the gods.
In Science, we have begun our new topic on Light and Shadows. This week we have been thinking about light sources and what light and dark are. We conducted an experiment to see how the absence of light affects what we can see. This topic ties in nicely with our new RS topic on Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. This week we have been looking at the story behind Diwali, ‘The Story of Rama and Sita’.
Year 4’s Science topic this half term is ‘Scientists and Inventors’. They began by learning about the dangers posed to living things in Madagascar and Gerald Durrell’s conservation works. Building on the children’s prior knowledge of deforestation, they learned about the methods used, including ‘slash and burn’ and the negative effects these have on the island. The children learned about soil erosion and how this results in desertification. In groups, they carefully set up an enquiry into soil erosion. As the containers were watered, the soil that contained seedlings remained in place, however, the containers without plants lost some soil and nutrients as the water drained away. Year 4 were delighted to see their predictions were correct! Well done!
It is wonderful to be back and to see the class again. We have started strongly and begun to immerse ourselves in factors and multiples. We have been investigating prime and square numbers and divisibility rules. Over this week, everyone has remembered how important knowing their tables are and how it makes their work much easier! Hopefully, they will remember to use ‘Times Table Rockstars’ and ask you to test them regularly.
In Science, we continued to look at separating materials. This week, it was chromatography. We had great fun discovering the range of colours found in different inks with black being the most colourful. A wonderful link was made by one pupil who realised that, when we talked about heavier colours being carried less far by the water, this was the same as deposition in the rivers we studied. Great understanding and well applied knowledge! We are building up to the big challenge at the end of term when they will be analysing a substance using all their skills.
Year 6 have reached 1943 in their History lessons and are currently learning about rationing in World War II. Everyone had to ‘make do and mend’ and many wartime classrooms had up to fifty children in them – a bit different from the lovely class sizes we have at Fairstead House in 2020! Cartoon characters – Potato Pete and Dr Carrot – appeared on posters to encourage people to grow their own vegetables and there was even a mischievous character called the ‘Squander Bug’, a comical but serious reminder to families of the time not to waste precious resources. Here is a photo of Year 6 drawing their own ‘Squander Bugs’.
‘Mr Cricket’ Uniform Shop
Due to Government lockdown regulations, our Uniform Shop, ‘Mr Cricket’ is now closed to the general public. The shop will continue to operate as usual online, and orders are dispatched direct to parents on a next day delivery. It is also possible to have your order sent directly to school and the next expected delivery date from Mr Cricket will be on Monday 23rd November.
Dropping-off and Collecting Children
Further to my letter of 6th November, please may I politely remind you to ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times, particularly for those of you who drop-off and collect your children on foot. Please do ensure that you remain two metres apart from other parents at all times. Thank you again for your co-operation and understanding.
Fairstead House Parents’ Association
You are warmly invited to join the next PA meeting (via Zoom) on Thursday 19th November at 9.30am. The meeting will last a maximum of forty minutes. The agenda is here and below are the Zoom details. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Meeting ID: 662 278 5767
If you have any queries or would like to contact the PA directly, please e-mail them on firstname.lastname@example.org
This week, Kindness Cups were won by Curtis in Reception and all the Year 3 girls. Well done, children!
This week, we wished a happy birthday to Otis and Jack in the Nursery and to Prince in Year 5.
With my best wishes for a lovely weekend with your children,