Creativity In The Mix In Nursery
The Nursery children have been busy experimenting with colour mixing. They discovered that yellow and red mixed together make orange, and such early discoveries are sure to prove a catalyst for an even greater thirst for knowledge as the children continue to grow and learn. The light table offered a fascinating opportunity to mix the colour using transparent discs, while squeezy bottles were used to mix coloured water both inside and out and gave the children the chance to strengthen their muscles for pre-writing skills. Painting with different types of media was engaging, as the children created their colourful and creative ‘orange’ artworks. Outside, undeterred by the weather, the children added yellow and red paint to the puddles in the rain before using their gross motor skills to jump from the step into the puddle, which gave them the chance to observe the change in colour. Some inventive children used the coloured water to make ‘slimy soup’ by mixing it with cornflour while others playfully trickled the water down the guttering. This play extension involved a healthy dose of problem solving in regard to where the bucket needed to be placed to catch the trickles. Another favourite creation was orange playdough as the children put their new-found learning skills to really good use.
Lou Blackaby, Nursery Teacher
Eager Reception Learners Already Hatching Out
When we think of lifelong learning we think of children who are going to be self-motivated, independent and curious individuals. The skills which underpin these are resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness and collaboration. However, to develop lifelong learners, our children need to be exposed to a range of experiences. Luckily, in Reception there are many different opportunities to immerse ourselves in new experiences. This week, for example, the children have witnessed the first hatchings of their duckling eggs. They adored seeing a fluffy little duckling peck its way out of the shell. It has been a joy to have the children back in school and see their enthusiasm and warm smiles spread across their faces when observing our fluffy new additions. The children displayed a keen interest in their new arrivals. They initiated conversations about how to look after the eggs and the ducklings; covering topics such as their habitat, diet, and how we need to treat the ducklings with care and respect. The children have independently been monitoring the ducklings and recording their findings using their phonic knowledge, to write words and sentences, their mathematical knowledge to discuss the size, shape and how many days they would take to hatch. As each day has gone by, the children have reflected on what they observed previously and used this knowledge to inform each day’s discussions and predictions. The Reception children have definitely shown they have the attitude and tools to be lifelong learners. All these types of experiences stimulate the children’s intrinsic motivation and curiosity and such skills are the attributes of a lifelong learner.
Lucy Deary, Reception Class Teacher
Year 1 Take A Step Back In Time
Finally reunited with their friends, Year 1 have enjoyed every moment of this special week. It has been wonderful to see the children back together in their natural environment, bouncing off each other and learning from one another. In Literacy, they transported themselves back 350 years and wrote using fancy feather quills. The busy children also posed as Samuel Pepys and recounted some of the dramatic events of The Great Fire of London, which ripped through the heart of the capital in 1666. The process of writing in ink rather than pencil created much excitement, while also challenging the children to focus on their pencil grip and manipulate their fine motor skills. Furthermore, the activity has helped them to develop an understanding of how writing implements have changed over time. The children's enthusiasm and zest for life has shone through their learning, putting a smile on the face of all their teachers!
Henrietta Platt, Year 1 Teacher
Forest School Focus Of Year 2 Learning
It has been wonderful to have our classes back in school learning and socialising together. It has been so important to give the children some time to rekindle friendships and find their feet during their first few days back, therefore we have spent time up at Forest School and we have made our learning as interactive and creative as possible. Science lessons have also been outside, and the children have been testing the absorbency of different materials, creating hypotheses, and making predictions about the absorbency of different kitchen paper and disposable cloths. In Maths, the children have been learning about data handling, interpreting graphs to solve problems, and creating their own graphs from data we have collected. It's through these collaborative learning opportunities that the children are reminded about the social aspects of learning; how to take turns when speaking, how to lead or be directed by others, and to consider the views of everyone in the group. It has been a joy to see how happily they have returned and how eager and enthused they are to continue their learning.
Kerri Wilkes, Year 2 Teacher
Year 3 Make Smooth(ie) Progress With Healthy Living
Year 3 made an excellent start on their return to school, with a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm evident as they caught up with friends they hadn't seen in person since December. Spirits have been high, with the added excitement of the arrival of Mr Millsom's baby!
This week, the eager children have been considering all of the aspects that make up 'Healthy Me', focusing on how to keep both their minds and their bodies healthy. Everyone's mental health has had a welcome boost this week, simply by being back at school and being able to catch up with and play with friends, but they have also been thinking intently about the necessity of a healthy body. Outside, rugby and hockey have resumed and there has been plenty of fresh air. Not only that, but the Year 3s have been thinking about the foods they eat and how to stay healthy in terms of their diet, so making delicious smoothies packed full of fruit and vitamins was much appreciated by all. The children worked in groups to decide on their ingredients and, of course, the name of their scrummy smoothie. Some children were even brave enough to add a sprinkle of spirulina to their mixture - and the reaction to the information that this is a kind of Himalayan pondweed was, unsurprisingly, mixed!
Sophie Delacombe, Year 3 Teacher
Year 4 Make A Splash In The Pool Again
Swimming forms a major part of the Physical Education curriculum here at Highfield and Brookham. Our swimming pool is a fantastic facility and is extremely well used across all year groups. Year 4 have returned to their swimming with enthusiasm and are focussing on stroke development and water skills. This week, 4D have been practising front crawl bilateral breathing, understanding tumble turns, and developing their racing dive. We strongly believe that water safety is the key priority in children’s education. Through our swimming programme we focus principally on developing swimming ability, but we also wish to instill a life-long love of water which will lead to a future involving participation in a wide range of water-based activities.
Jo Gordon, Head of Swimming
'Lights, Camera, Action' Call For Animated Year 5
The fascinating world of stop-motion animation was firmly in the spotlight for Year 5 DT pupils this week. The pupils themselves were refreshingly animated too on their return to school as they got to grips with key techniques such as Foley art sound effects, which looks at the reproduction of everyday sounds that can be added to films and videos etc, and stop-motion animating on a blue screen. The young animators were then challenged to create 'Junk Bots' under the theme of 'Reduce, Reuse and Recycle', which were the central focus of their creative animations, and the engaging lesson drew upon this week's theme of lifelong learning as it demonstrated the learning curve of leadership skill, particularly during animating. Animators require a lot of patience and perseverance to complete films, while collaborative working is key. The pupils also needed to show how they can work as a team when creating storyboards and researching/creating a selection of sound effects to suit all of their needs. Meanwhile, during our time of online learning, the children had to ponder anatomy to work out how/which materials could be used as joints to aid manoeuvrability, while the perspective drawing of set design and writing of film scripts really allowed their creative juices to flow.
Jamie Dew, Head of DT
Stateside Slant As Year 6 Delve Into The Classics
Where does classical music stop and popular music begin? This is a question Year 6 have been considering in Music this term in their topic 'American Classics'. I'll never forget the first musical I went to, Evita, and it began a life-long interest for me in music in all its forms. Starting with the instantly recognisable, syncopated rhythms of Ragtime, the children have followed the composers of the first half of the 20th Century to see how both styles of music influenced American composers. Scott Joplin brought fresh, syncopated rhythms that led up to the jazz age and George Gershwin took that jazz to the concert hall. Aaron Copland and Charles Ives created a sound of the American landscape, and Bernstein brought the people, in all their diversity, together. Bernstein’s musical West Side Story is an edgy, political commentary on immigration in New York told through an updated take on Romeo and Juliet. To learn about rhythms and lyrics, Year 6 delved deep into the popular song America.
Mary Hall, Head of Music
Year 7 Fire Up The Bunsen Burners
7set2a were straight back into using the Bunsen burners in their first Science lesson after lockdown. As part of their study into food tests, the class learned how to carry out the Benedict test for glucose by investigating how much glucose was present in samples of water, lemonade, diet lemonade and energy drinks. The children learned that if no glucose was present the solution stayed a blue colour, but if there was glucose it changed from blue to green to brick red. After months of staring at screens at home, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the chance to undertake some proper experiments with apparatus and chemicals, and brush off the cobwebs of important practical skills. Teaching Chemistry in a Covid-secure way has forced the Science Department to be creative, and although it is a little frustrating we can't get close up to explain and demonstrate, we can still teach effectively and in a safe manner. I can't tell you how brilliant it feels to watch the children experimenting again.
Andy Baker, Head of Science
Year 8 Finds Language Links To A Brighter Future
8 Set 1 Spanish have been busily revising the vocabulary they need to talk about where they live, refreshing their knowledge to allow them to describe their house and their town. This dovetails beautifully with our ‘Environment’ topic, in which the young linguists designed a long-term plan outlining what we can do at school to create a more sustainable lifestyle. The world around us is a precious place and the current pandemic highlights even more exactly how precious our homes and our environment are. It may be that in a few years’ time some of these pupils have no idea how to say ‘green walls’ or ‘a beautiful garden’ in Spanish, but in creating plans for sustainability or designing their ideal homes, they are learning how language is structured and used to enhance, and even improve, the world around them. This, for sure, is lifelong learning in practice.
Jo Longshaw, Head of Modern Foreign Languages