Warming To The Task
Sun, Sand And Shrieks Of Joy In Nursery
With the sun shining brightly and the weather feeling noticeably warmer, Nursery children have had a fantastic first week back at school enjoying the great outdoors. In fact, the delighted youngsters spent most of their time outside, many happily abandoning their socks and shoes to enjoy that special feeling of the sand between their toes in the giant sandpit. And their big smiles and shrieks of joy showed just how delighted they were with the new equipment in the nursery garden, including water-investigation equipment, long chalkboards for mark making and a big bell tent, which offers a shady spot to read, draw or play imaginary games with friends as the temperatures continue to warm up. It has been brilliant to see how quickly all the children have settled and there's no doubt that the Summer Term, with the extra freedom the warmer weather brings, is definitely a magical time for the Nursery children.
Sam Forster, Head of Nursery
Reception Revel In The Great Outdoors
With sunny skies, enthusiastic children and huge grins, the start of the Summer Term could not have been any better in Reception. Being able to spend an increasing amount of time outdoors in the early spring sunshine provided many wonderful opportunities to enjoy delicious snacks while also observing the many and varied aspects of nature within our beautiful school grounds, giving rise to many interesting discussions about what has changed over the past few weeks. During child-initiated learning time, the outside area has been particularly popular; exploring the best objects to push through the pipes, building fantastic creations out of wooden blocks, and collaborating when needing to fill up the water tray. These activities incorporate so many key learning skills, including resilience and team work, which provide the building blocks for an effective learner. We firmly believe the words of Albert Einstein: Play is the highest form of learning.
Georgie Hunter, Head of Reception
'Marvellous Minibeasts' Unearthed By Year 1
The warmer weather has encouraged all manner of fascinating creepy crawlies to end their winter slumber and get out and about, which has been perfectly timed for our new topic of ‘Marvellous Minibeasts.’ With needles at the ready, Year 1 embarked on their very own exciting sewing project. Using their vast imaginations, the children have designed, planned and begun to create a wealth of weird and wonderful minibeasts of their own. By developing skills such as threading wool through a needle, tying a knot and weaving up and down to create a stitch, the quick-learning children have been busily demonstrating their growing independence. Year 1 quickly discovered that learning a new skill requires bags of of resilience and patience, allowing the youngsters to earn house points based on Brookham's new criteria of the four Rs - Resourceful, Relating, Reflective and Resilient. Now the challenge has been set, the eager children are looking forward to earning an ever-increasing number of house points by focussing on these specials categories over the Summer Term.
Olivia Shepherd, Year 1 Teacher
Explosive Start To New Term In Year 2
We have planned undoubtedly the most exciting term ever, and here we are right at the beginning with everything to look forward to - with glorious spring sunshine welcoming us back after the Easter break. Our fascinating topic on the Romans literally started in explosive fashion with the story of the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the subsequent and heart-breaking destruction of the town of Pompeii. With that in mind, the learning competency we are building is collaborative working and this got under way with some impressive teamwork as the children analysed and sequenced their exciting new text, Escape from Pompeii. Encouraged by their progress, the spirit of cooperation continued out in the garden where the children were busy planting out their areas with courgettes and tomatoes, and there was no lack of the necessary warmth or sunshine as we discussed what plants need to thrive and grow. In fact, the children demonstrated some very mature skills: working together to clear the weeds and dividing other tasks fairly, sharing the tools and taking turns, and listening attentively and supporting each other’s ideas. “Mrs Turner, Mrs Turner, I’ve found a... (please, goodness, not another earwig) a fat worm and a ladybird!” The sun is certainly shining on Year 2!
Steph Turner, Year 2 Teacher
Scuba Steve Makes A Splash With Year 3
It was a case of nautical but nice for Year 3 children who began their Summer Term reading a fascinating biography of marine conservationist Jacques Cousteau and meeting the brilliant Scuba Steve, who made quite a splash when he helped launch their new topic, S.O.S. Save Our Seas! The curious pupils asked Steve a stream of relevant and thoughtful questions about the marine environment and encouragingly proved that they are already aware of, and concerned by, damage and pollution affecting both land and sea. They then created their own marbled paper to make endangered sea creatures and transformed Forest School into a 'deep ocean' where sharks and jellyfish lurk. And ever mindful of keeping the environment clean, both on land and underwater, they scavenged for plastic litter in the school grounds on Earth Day.
Sophie Delacombe, Year 3 Teacher
Year 4 Don't Like Cricket, They Love It!
With the excitement of competitive fixtures to look forward to in the next few weeks, the Year 4 girls enjoyed practising their cricket skills in the lovely April sunshine. Throwing, catching, bowling and batting were all on the early-season sporting agenda as the girls really took up the challenge of honing their coordination skills, sharpening their concentration and, most importantly, having fun working together. And there was plenty of healthy competition too among the girls, who showed great enthusiasm and dexterity whether armed with bat or ball. With the sun beating down and the beautiful surroundings coming back to life, it was a brilliant warm up for what is sure to be a busy cricket season ahead.
Natalie McIntosh, U9 Cricket Coach
Viking Voyage Of Discovery For Year 5
The Summer Term is my favourite. Sun-kissed playing fields, whole school events aplenty and long days filled with learning, activity and enterprise. It has been just great welcoming pupils back into school this week and equally as joyous to see them arrive into the classroom with effervescent enthusiasm and energy. And Year 5 were really keen to test their knowledge of the Vikings this week, competing in some competitive interactive quizzes and games designed to embed learning and consolidate skills. They have also wowed us with their creative skills, penning their very own Viking sagas before performing them to their peers under sun-dappled trees by the pavilion... what bliss. We are fortunate to enjoy such beautiful grounds here at Highfield and Brookham and what better way to use them than to be chanting Viking rhymes and rhythms out loud. I’m sure the Vikings in Valhalla would have been so proud!
James Ridge, Head of History
Year 6 Determined To Stay Safe Online
Year 6 have been busy pondering a crucial question - what information is okay to share on an online personal profile, or online in general for that matter, and what information is most definitely not. Using a program called Mentimeter, which has a Word Cloud, we explored the children’s pre-understanding and they posted various words for all to see. We then watched a Child Exploitation and Online Protection video about a girl who shared too much on her online profile before the the wary children then had another go at posting words up to the Word Cloud, and these were more specific, which was good to see. Challenged by the uncertainty of online threats, the children then started producing a Sway presentation with the aim of explaining to their audience ‘how to stay safe online’. With this in mind, as the warmer Summer Term progresses, the children will use a range of websites to gather their information and deepen their learning.
Richard Dunn, Head of ICT
Year 7 Linguists Make Flying Start To Summer Term
7.2A proved on excellent form this week – despite the potentially knowledge-eroding languor of the holidays – and remembered almost all they had covered in the final gasp of the Easter term. Having mastered two verb conjugations, they have moved on to the second of five noun declensions, wrestling with the endings of dominus, as well as a batch of new vocabulary. The children enjoyed discovering the roots of a variety of English words from these Latin forms – ‘equestrian’ from equus, ‘servant’ from servus and ‘horticulture’ from hortus, among others – and moved swiftly on to some full sentences for analysis and translation. An industrious lesson all round.
Ed Clarke, Head of Classics
Common Entrance Exams Loom Large For Year 8
Moving into the Summer Term, the academic focus for many of our pupils is their preparation for their Common Entrance exams in June. Following their Easter Holiday revision, the task for the majority is to refine their skills and confirm their understanding in the many topic areas covered throughout the Geography curriculum. Our efforts this week have been in designing a revision plan that works not only for each set but also for the individual pupil. Every child is different, as are their needs and wants, and we look to tailor a plan for the next six weeks that fits best for this cohort, but the situation for some children is slightly different. Some pupils have their Scholarship exams in the coming days and are adjusting their techniques and linking areas of the subject together in preparation for the questions they will face in their upcoming exams. For the children who have already completed their Scholarship exams, and performed to a high level across the board, the focus is firmly on the future. This group is combining their extensive knowledge of Geography and using it to aid them as they start a project focusing on an area outside the curriculum. This task allows the children to both challenge themselves but also develop their skills in preparation for the future. Whatever tasks Year 8 are facing this term, they have returned to the excitement and joys of the Summer Term but are still crystal clear in what they are working toward.
James Figgis, Head of Geography