Ambitious Teaching, Creative Learning

Ambitious Teaching, Creative Learning
Highfield & Brookham Newsletter

Nursery Make Their Mark

The snow that covered our beautiful school grounds at the beginning of the week provided plenty of excitement for Nursery and not surprisingly, they were keen to explore and learn outside. They used squeezy bottles of coloured water and the snow as a giant canvas for mark making and enjoyed tobogganing on the slopes around the golf course. As part of their PSHE theme, the children made healthy vegetable soup, learning how to use knives safely to cut up the ingredients. They made bread to accompany the soup, exploring the different stages and textures in the bread making process and strengthening their hands through kneading the dough. A focus on mark making and early writing was encouraged through use of mini clipboards, which the children used to ‘write’ menus for their witch’s kitchen, organise imaginary building sites, and draw maps for hidden treasure. A change in weather at the end of the week offered the opportunity for kite flying and the children enjoyed making and testing their own kites, trying to work out the best way to make them fly.

Sam Forster, Head of Nursery

Reception Construct Dinosaurs

In their Literacy lessons this week Reception travelled back hundreds of thousands of years to a time when dinosaurs roamed our planet. Inspired by video clips and pictures, and their own immense imaginations, they created their very own dinosaur lands using a range of different media. Some chose to draw or paint whilst others used items from their recycling bin or their Lego collection, reflecting and adapting  their lands during the process. The children created their own dinosaur eggs and nests using so many different materials, including leaves and mud and shoe boxes and tissue paper. Creativity is such an important element of a child's learning experience and something we encourage the children to embrace in every lesson. Not only have new lands been created but there have also been sightings of a number of new dinosaurs including a Unipegasaurus who changes colour in order to camouflage itself, a Lighteningosaurus who sends out lightening bolts from his horn and a Skeggy who is a very kind and happy dinosaur. The children's creativity knows no bounds and it has been wonderful to see the children immerse themselves in their learning and take it in their own direction. 

Georgie Hunter, Head of Reception and Year 1

Year 1 Creativity Is On Fire

Year 1 have embraced their new topic 'The Great Fire of London' with their usual enthusiasm. To gain some understanding of the topic, we started by reading the story of 'Toby and the Great Fire of London' and the children explored the creative vocabulary and key features of the text. Using this knowledge and drawing on their ingenuity, the children designed and wrote posters to warn Toby about the fire. They drew pictures of the fire and the busy streets to help Toby know what to look out for, as well as describing what was happening so that they could tell Toby what he could do to avoid the fire. To gain a deeper understanding of what it was like to live during this time in history, the children have been trying out writing with a feather quill and ink, a very tricky task indeed.

Henrietta Platt, Year One Teacher

Year 2 Imagine Space Talk

Year 2 have been learning about Space and this week they have demonstrated how much they have learnt - from reading comprehensions on the stars to guess-the-planet quizzes. They have been reading some super space fiction too, in the wonderful book by Oliver Jeffers, 'The Way Back Home'. Having spent time imagining dialogue between the boy and an alien he meets, and progressing from speech bubbles to speech marks, the children are excited to move on to writing their own prose. Also, what could be a better use of our class live time than sharing those wonderful stories with each other?

As the snow melted, creative activities moved indoors and the children thoroughly enjoyed designing their own games of three-in-a-row using materials they could find in nature. As the children played their newly made games, they quickly worked out that winning was easy if you have a few good strategies up your sleeve. 

Stephanie Turner, Year Two Teacher

Year 3 Write Toe-Curling Descriptions

Year 3 have been very busy indeed! During a week of division, mental maths and times tables challenges, they still had a moment to make Maths 'chatterboxes' to quiz themselves and their families on facts derived from their tables. In Literacy, they began to read George's Marvellous Medicine, and delighted in making their teachers feel positively queasy in their descriptions of the contents of Grandma's handbag and bedroom. They enjoyed conjuring up and drawing the items from Grandma's handbag and writing sentences to describe the contents. There were a lot of disgusting and creepy adjectives used to make us dislike Grandma even more! 

Sophie Delacombe, Year 3 Class Teacher

Year 4 Get Crafty - African Style

The Year 4 children are fully immersed in all things Africa and now that the topic is in full swing, the children have been given weekly craft activities to stretch their creativity. They can choose a new crafty task each week, raid their craft boxes at home and let their creative juices flow. This week the children could choose to make an African Mask, try some Batik printing or African pattern colouring, or jewellery making. The Year 4 teachers have been wowed at the resourcefulness of the children and by the range of media they have found and worked with. We have seen feathers, paper plates, beads, pasta, blue tac and paint and a truly wonderful range of designs. In the weeks to come, the children will be challenged to raise the bar and to keep pushing their creative abilities. We are all excited for the creations to come.

Rosie Statham, Year 4 Teacher

Year 5 Buoyancy

Nothing buoys the spirits of young people (and more than a few adults, too) than a downfall of snow and Year 5 certainly relished last weekend's deluge. Somewhat inevitably, snow was the talk of the town in Year 5 virtual form rooms on Monday morning, with pupils discussing a range of valuable wintery topics. Snow offers some useful learning opportunities and the pupils shared their knowledge on how to roll the perfect snowball, the ideal structural integrity of a snowman, and how to reach maximum velocity on a sledge.

We were also reminded that this wholesome time with family away from our screens is the best remedy for any lockdown blues. Other different important landmarks have also been recognised this week, and 5VL, inspired by their patriotic form tutor Miss Liddell, proudly donned Scottish fare and munched down haggis in celebration of Burns Night. Dougie deserves a special mention for his superb outfit. 5SB and 5FT have taken to the dance floor this week and have impressed us all with their teamwork and determination. Hats off to both Mrs Baird and Mrs Aubrey-Thomas for setting this up and participating alongside the pupils…perhaps this will lead to a weekly ‘Joe Wicks’ style YouTube channel?

Year 5 pupils have worked incredibly hard with diligence and a positive can-do attitude in all of their online lessons this week and these creative activities provide the children with important downtime. They continue to inspire us all with their exploits both inside and outside the virtual classroom.

James Ridge, Year 5 Form Tutor

Year 6 Design Hindu Gods

In Theology, Philosophy and Religion, the children are learning about the Hindu gods and goddesses and using their creativity to design their own Hindu god/goddess. To help them develop their own unique ideas and thinking, the children paused to consider which three parts of their personality could be represented in a god/goddess, for example, friend, artist and brother. Once they had designed and named their god/goddess they wrote about what they represented, when someone would pray to them and what his or her powers might be. The children have also really engaged with philosophical discussions about the Hindu parable 'The Six Blind Men and the Elephant' and considered the deeper Hindu meaning behind this. In these class discussions, which are often about thought-provoking topics, the children are challenged to develop their own thinking, reasoning and analysis.  

Jo Gordon, Teacher of TPR

Year 7 Doodle Downtime

7JD have been homing in on their concentration skills by challenging themselves with an 'Opposite Hand Doodle Portrait and Sketch'. We talked about the importance of embracing the various challenges we might face during our time of home learning, and importantly, enjoyed some downtime. We found that sketching was a very good way of achieving this. Everyone's brain needs a rest now and then. Research has found that taking breaks not only improves your mood, but it boosts your performance and increases your ability to concentrate and pay attention too. When you don't give your mind a chance to pause and refresh, it doesn't work as efficiently. We found by opting to draw ourselves with the added challenge of using our opposite hand, it took away the stresses and gave us all a chance to smile and laugh. Can you can identify anyone from the drawings above?

Jamie Dew, Head of DT

Year 8 Go Gothic

Year 8 continued to rise to the challenge of online learning this week, and impressed us with their enthusiasm and attitude. In English this week the majority of Year 8 started a new unit of work exploring Gothic Literature and scary stories. We started the week by sharing the short story, 'Don't Ask Jack' by Neil Gaiman. This is a spooky tale set in the past about some children and their relationship with a rather unusual toy. The classes impressed us with their insight and consideration of the various elements that could evoke fear in the reader. They also had the opportunity to explore the character of Jack, consider the mood and atmosphere in the story and next week they will retell the story from Jack's point of view. My personal highlight of the week was seeing some of the children coming to Thursday's lesson wearing something spooky!

During Form Times we have played games, discussed ways we can support the NHS and 8JL have even had a 'Cook Off'. The competition was judged by the Year 8 tutors and our mouths were certainly watering at the delicious treats. The competition was extremely close and the judges had a very difficult task, but Sarah was eventually declared the winner for her fantastic Cinnamon Buns. Outside of the 'classroom' it has been wonderful to hear about all the fun that the children had in the snow. From making snowmen to hair raising tobogganing, the snow was just what was needed to lift the spirits during this tough time. 

Lucy Hendry, English Teacher

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