This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is ‘Nature’. Nature is a very important topic for children, and one that many children engage in, as their awareness of how to look after the world and local environment is essential to the future of the planet. The campaign is asking people to think about three main areas this week: experience nature, share nature and talk about nature. We look forward to hearing from the children next week as to how you have done these at home over the weekend – whether you are out for a family walk or talking about how nature makes you feel! Evidence suggests that the powerful benefits of nature include helping to increase our creativity, empathy and sense of wonder. All of these are important in learning and as you read through the newsletter this week, you will see the abundance of creativity and wonderful learning.
Lots more ‘froggy’ fun has been enjoyed in Reception this week. In English, the children have enjoyed revisiting the book, ‘Oi Frog!’ They were fantastic at continuing rhyming strings both verbally and in writing, and even gave Mr Radford a rhyming challenge to complete! Reading a special story called ‘Katie and the Waterlily Pond’ excited the children to create their very own Monet inspired ponds. In Maths, creating ‘addition stories’ using pond creatures has been a wonderful way to consolidate the children’s ‘counting on’ skills. In honour of Mental Health Week, the children spent time outside connecting with nature and their environment. Listening to the birds singing and watching the clouds go by was a wonderful way to start the afternoon. Creating frogs in the mud was an added bonus! The children are very excited to be going pond dipping next week to see if they can spot some real frogs! They will make sure to keep you posted on all their news.
Year 1 have had great fun interviewing and hiring a new lighthouse assistant for Mr Grinling (from The Lighthouse Keeper’s Rescue), this week. At the beginning of the week, Year 1 wrote very persuasive arguments as to why Mr Grinling deserved his job back and sent them to Jonathan Sprat, the Lighthouse Inspector. To their surprise, Mr Sprat wrote back the very next day commending their persuasive writing skills and asking for the children’s help to find a suitable helper for Mr Grinling. They got straight on to writing a job description to go into the newspaper. Their adverts were successful, and they had 3 applications for the job. The children produced lists of questions to ask the applicants to determine their suitability for the job, before choosing just one to interview. Luckily, the candidate was perfect, and she was offered the job on the spot!
In Science, the children went on a plant hunt. They marked the plants they found on a map of the school and thought about why they were growing in some areas, but not in others.
Year 2 have been exploring wonderland! We have been thinking about cause and effect and linking this to the elements of the story we are reading (eating, drinking, following a rabbit and swimming in tears). This week we are in chapter five – where Alice is mistaken for Mary-Ann and finds another bottle of liquid at the Rabbit’s house. We are also thinking about the sensibility of drinking liquids that are not known to you – especially if they say ‘Drink Me’! We have been comparing our version to the unabridged story, and have found that the story remains the same but quite a lot of the ‘wordiness’ has been removed. In Art we are continuing to explore gardens. This week we are creating a zentangle flower garden with some collage elements as well. The results so far have been fantastic! We have also been learning about Ramadan and will be talking about Eid next week so the children can share any of their photos and memories from the celebrations. In Maths we have been exploring division as the inverse of multiplication. This has been a bit tricky, but we are really getting to grips with it. All of the children are now signed up to TT Rock Stars – be sure to log in and play!
Our PSHE discussions have focused on being sorry and what sorry actually means. It has prompted some excellent discussions! To discover if ‘sorry’ really does make everything better, we crumpled up a pink paper heart and then said sorry to it while flattening it out. We discovered that sorry did not fix it, but agreed that it was the first step in making the situation better. We then need to make amends AND remember that saying ‘I’m sorry’ also means that we will not do the action again. It was a powerful lesson and the children’s ideas were fantastic!
In science we have completed our observations about the ‘What do plants need to be healthy’ experiment. We have found that, as predicted, plants need water, warmth and sunlight. It was very interesting to note the changes in the plants that were experimented on! Our new experiment is to see if we can make gummy bears grow and shrink like Alice! We have set up a fair test to ensure the results are accurate and have have recorded our findings using the scientific method. We were very surprised by the amount of growing and shrinking!
Following on from our football timelines last week the children in Year 3 had a go making their own footballs using materials from the classroom (newspapers, bubble wrap, fabric, string etc). The children worked well in teams and then had the opportunity to test their football (see video). Most of the children decided that they would rather use a proper football as they roll and bounce better (and also don’t completely fall apart!). We talked about how in some countries they don’t have access to the footballs we use and might use all sorts of materials that are available to them. The children had a great time playing with their ball which just goes to show you don’t need a fancy football to have fun!
In science the children tested the strengths of various magnets using paper clips. We also had a go doing the levitating paper clip trick (see the video)!
For English this week we took a look at various poems, and had a go creating their own verses in the same format. They enjoyed working in groups to perform the poem ‘Playgrounds’ written by Berlie Doherty (see video). We talked about who we think is speaking in the poem, how the person feels about playgrounds and we identified the similarities and differences in each verse.
In English this week, Year 4 began writing non-chronological reports. They discussed the features such as general language and third person and the layout including sub-headings and fact boxes or bullet points, then identified these in an example text. Year 4 then planned, researched and wrote their own non-chronological reports about their choice of animals. Some fascinating facts were learned. Watch the video to find out more!
In Science, Year 4 learned that conductors have free moving electrons and that if a material has no free moving electrons it must be an insulator. They then furthered their understanding of switches and why we need them. Who wants a door bell that rings all day?! Year 4 were given a selection of materials including tinfoil, paper clips, card, and split pins, and were tasked with making their own switches that broke simple circuits, to light a bulb or sound a buzzer.
Also this week, Year 4 were challenged to work in small groups to build a bridge that was strong enough to hold at least 1Kg. Using card, newspaper and tape, they had 40 minutes to make the strongest structure they could. Across the class, they demonstrated excellent teamwork and problem solving skills, along with perseverance. Three teams were successful and produced bridges that could hold at least 1Kg, and two of those teams’ bridges held 4.5Kg. In fact, one team’s bridge was almost strong enough to hold Elsie’s weight! I was impressed that each team identified that triangles are a good shape to use when building strong structures – super work, Year 4!
This week we have been developing our literary breadth. We started with ‘The Giver’, a book that the children have already formed a lot of views about. It is a great talking point and I can already see that there will be some wonderful writing generated from it. The book will also give us topics to discuss when we start to introduce some philosophy to our timetable. In addition, we have been looking at the Mr. Men and Little Misses. While this may be a lower level of writing, it is perfect for our science where we are looking at inherited characteristics as part of our ‘animals and their habitats’ topic. Once they were past the surprise of my choice of characters, they threw themselves into the lessons with aplomb.
On Wednesday, we took the idea of locked room games into our maths lessons. I gave them six padlocks, each with tokens on them, and they had to solve maths problems to find the combination. I was very impressed at their clear approach to finding the area of rectangles, triangles and compound shapes. They also showed a grasp of various mathematical terms including sum, product and difference.
Following their recent work in science lessons, during which they have had wonderful discussions about evolution, extinction and the advantageous features of successful species, Year 6 have stepped into the shoes of Mary Anning, the Great British palaeontologist. They collected images from the internet of animal skeletons and created their own dinosaur bones out of clay. These will dry out over the weekend and, next week, will be covered in sand, gravel and turf in preparation for their very own ‘Dino Dig’. Mr Peace may bury a few other ‘interesting finds’ as a surprise…who knows what they will discover? Find out next week!
Please find below the term dates for next year:
Term begins Tuesday 07 September
Half-term 25 October – 05 November
Term ends Friday 17 December
Term begins Wednesday 05 January
Half-term 14 – 18 February
Term ends Friday 01 April
Term begins Tuesday 26 April
Half-term 30 May – 03 June
Term ends Friday 08 July
This week we wished a Happy Birthday to Charlotte, Jessica and Mortimer.
Have a lovely weekend!