A huge thank you to everyone for your extremely prompt and positive responses to my e-mail proposing a change to the current term’s dates. Your comments were overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal and I am delighted, therefore, to confirm that we will have a two week half term, from Monday 15th February to Friday 26th February inclusive, and the term will end on Thursday 1st April (Maundy Thursday). Summer term will begin on Monday 19th April and will continue as scheduled.
Whilst we have been thrilled with the success of our online learning programme and we value your appreciation of the huge efforts and dedication of the children’s teachers, there are a number of benefits to this change. As I outlined in my e-mail, there will be less screen time for your children and, most importantly, more time in school with their friends and teachers. We are extremely mindful of the mental wellbeing of our children and we are sure that they will relish the opportunity to be with their friends again at the earliest opportunity.
The children in Reception have become the most fantastic storytellers this week during National Storytelling Week. They have enjoyed designing their own characters, settings, and plots and have shared some very imaginative tales, which have been added to the class’ online learning platform for everyone to enjoy.
Surprise Readers continue to be a big success this half term, and the children very much look forward to a Wednesday afternoon to discover who the mystery storyteller will be. A huge thank you to everyone who has shared their stories so far and to all of those parents who will be sharing theirs soon.
The children have also been enthusiastic teachers at the Finger Gym this week and have created their own exercises for everyone to copy. They have also helped fill some ‘invisible buckets’ by building new homes for two of the Little Pigs. What super ‘bucket fillers’ they are!
In Maths, the focus has been on odd and even numbers and the children have enjoyed exploring this in a range of different ways.
Keeping minds and bodies healthy has also been given lots of careful consideration in Reception this week, and the children have enjoyed using the ‘Eatwell Guide’ to begin learning the names of different food groups. Well done for another wonderful week, Team Reception.
This week, Year 1 have enjoyed celebrating both National Storytelling week and Children’s Mental Health week. The children took part in a number of activities to help enhance their mindfulness and boost positivity and self-belief. They were also invited to record a story to share with the rest of the class. Well done to Mia and Charlotte for reading their chosen stories with beautiful expression and great confidence!
Year 2 have been working hard to research, plan and write a non-chronological report about London. We have applied all of the features of non-fiction writing that we have been learning about over the past two weeks to our final report after researching information on the internet and from books. The reports can be presented however the children would like as a non-chronological report can be read in any order!
Our Science focus this week was about paper. We learned how paper is made and even discovered that there are two churches that are made out of cardboard tubes! One is in Japan and the other is in New Zealand. The children made posters to help us remember to recycle and to replant the trees that have been cut down to create the paper. We then put our STEM skills to the test making a bridge for toy cars out of only eight sheets of paper and some tape. The results were fantastic! In Geography we have been identifying geographical features on a map and discussing the idea of symbols and a key to make maps standardised. Our PSHE lesson centred around the book, ‘The Huge Bag of Worries’. We spent some time discussing what to do with a worry and then participated in tasks that make us feel happy. Some of us drew the emotions from ‘Inside Out’ while others rode a pony or made a glitter calming jar. We completed our Art focus on the element of ‘Line’ by looking at the work of Joan Miro and creating a piece of art in his style. We wrapped up the week with an ‘Emoji Movie Quiz’ and a general knowledge quiz. What a fantastic week!
This week, Year 3 conducted the second round of tests on our rocks. The children used pipettes to carefully add vinegar (to test if they contain any carbonate) and water (to test their permeability). They also used a magnet to see if they had any magnetic rocks. Overall, there were lots of interesting results!
We also read ‘Diary of a Lively Labrador’, a diary about a dog who has a bit of a problem – he can’t help jumping up at people he meets! The children had to think of some of their own animal ideas using alliteration and choose an adjective that describes a problem trait they have, e.g. clumsy cat, lazy lion. Just like the lively labrador, the children had to think of a solution to their problem – most of these solutions included help from a little friend!
To celebrate National Storytelling week, Year 4 have embraced their storytelling skills across the curriculum. In English, they created storyboards and wrote adventure stories and entered these into the Fairstead House Key Stage 2 story writing competition. I was entertained by their imaginative tales and impressed by the effort they gave to their story writing.
In Maths, we read ‘Infinity Squad to the Rescue’ which is about a group of mathematical super heroes that have to undergo several maths challenges to save the city from the super villain, Doc Zero. Year 4 solved these challenges using a wide range of mathematical skills and showed all working out clearly. Well done!
In Art, we looked at a piece of narrative art by Norman Rockwell. We shared our thoughts on the story the artwork was telling. This led to an interesting discussion and the children justified their thoughts by referring to the finer details. Year 4 then thought about what might happen next in the story and created their own ‘next scene’ using their choice of medium.
Another week of home learning has flown by and the half term draws ever closer. This week I have received several photos showing how the class have engaged with investigations into mountain formations. In addition, there have been some interesting creations from tin foil in the ‘tin foil challenge’ set. There is still time to do it over the weekend. Some ideas to spark creativity are with the task. One child even sent in a video showing the efficacy of the cup they made! Well done.
On Friday, we have looked at Fairtrade and there were good ideas about how money should be shared between different people in the banana supply chain. It was great to hear all the ideas. It showed us all how there
is no simple answer. This was all part of our studies about peace and how to create it in different communities. I hope that you all have a good weekend and I look forward to ‘seeing’ the children again next week.
This week, Year 6 travelled back in time to 1948 when travel by steam train was common, train spotting was a popular hobby and private rail companies such as LNER, LMS and GWR were nationalised to become ‘British Railways’. They learned that every train had a unique number and many were given a name such as ‘The Flying Scotsman’ and record-breaking ‘Mallard’. They watched famous back and white video footage of the overnight mail train from Aberdeen to London, accompanied by W.H. Auden’s rhythmic poem, ‘Night Mail’. You might remember the opening words:
“This is the night mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner, the girl next door.”
With the theme of ‘Full Steam Ahead’ in mind, Mr Peace set Year 6 a drawing task. Using YouTube video demonstrations as a starting point, he asked the children to draw the Hogwart’s Express or a steam train of their own design. I’m sure you’ll agree that they all did very well indeed!
Modern Foreign Languages
In French and Spanish, this week the children have begun preparing written work to finish off this half term’s work. The French ‘Étoiles de la Semaine’ were Vishhmaya in Year 3 and Louis in Year 4. In Spanish the ‘Estrellas’ were Giselle in Year 5 and Olly in Year 6. Well done to all of our Modern Foreign Language stars!
Tea with the Head
It was wonderful to see so many of you today for ‘Tea with the Head’. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with you and hearing your news. I will be hosting another Tea with the Head on Friday and I hope to see you then!
Please book your slot here: https://fairsteadhouse.schoolcloud.co.uk/
This week, we wished a happy birthday to Cosima and Edward in the Nursery.
With my best wishes for a lovely weekend with your children,