Going For Gold

Going For Gold
Highfield & Brookham Newsletter

Nursery Limber Up For Sports Day

Our eager Nursery children have been put through their paces, busily practising for Sports Day. There's never any shortage of concentration and determination in all aspects of their learning, but we have been amazed just how focussed the brilliant boys and girls were when faced with the sporty challenge of Going for Gold! Demonstrating bags of desire and enthusiasm, the children showed great poise, speed and accuracy as they raced each other, making a beeline for little coloured cones as quickly as possible to house triumphantly their tennis balls. But not only did the Nursery children show great physical aptitude, they also demonstrated impressive levels of patience and the ability to listen as their PE teacher carefully explained the rules before they put their sporty skills into action. And, naturally, there were many opportunities to show just how good they are at taking turns, collaboration and, of course, cheering on their teammates!

Lou Blackaby, Nursery Teacher

Reception Growing Beautifully In So Many Ways

Hurrah for the sun and the rain! The Reception children have got their hands dirty - quite literally - celebrating the rain and the life that it brings - and muddy faces and muddy fingers have certainly been earthy evidence of such marvellous merriment. The busy children got stuck straight in with planting out all the vegetables we have been growing in the classroom. They have also been experimenting with water in the sand pit, by pouring, sieving, building, talking and digging, all the while developing their understanding of measure, quantity, texture and form. In addition, the children have been working collaboratively to manoeuvre their trolley-come-go kart around several tricky obstacles. And all of this has been done with kind hearts, imaginative minds and brave spirits. The children really have demonstrated that they are ‘going for gold’ by being the best and kindest friends they can be. They have discussed at length how to be the best they can be for not only themselves but for their friends too. The Reception children truly are a fantastic team who are all working together to achieve.

Lucy Deary, Reception Teacher

Year 1 Weave Their Magic With 'Spider Webs'

Forest School is always such a much-anticipated highlight of the week. With appetites well and truly whetted and curiosity suitably intrigued for our new Marvellous Minibeasts topic, Year 1 were challenged to take part in a team-building exercise to create a 'spider’s web'. Collaboratively, they chose a suitable area in the natural environment, using trees grouped close together as a frame for their clever creations, before weaving string to spin their wonderful webs. Encouragingly, there was much discussion as to how this could be achieved, how a knot could be tied effectively, and ways in which it could be tightened. This activity provided the perfect opportunity for developing their reflectiveness; the children needed to be ready, willing and able to become more strategic by planning, taking stock and revising their ideas, after seeing how their initial efforts fared. It was so inspiring to see them imitate through their observations of one other. Once completed, the competition was set, with the aim of getting group members from one side of the web to the other without touching it. After 'going for gold' with their wondrous web-weaving project, the children tucked into a well-deserved cup of hot chocolate!

Henrietta Platt, Year 1 Teacher

Year 2 Discover Springtime Signs Of Life

Science really is all around us - as Year 2 are happily finding out. With the weather slowly but surely warming up, the inquisitive children left the classroom and have been busy exploring the great outdoors for telling signs of life and seed dispersal. And they weren't disappointed as our spring walk proved to be full of seasonal surprises as we noticed bulbs sprouting, buds opening, and myriad examples of the many ways plants are designed to disperse their seeds. Back in the classroom, we have learnt that plants can be grown hydroponically - or grown without soil - in all sorts of ways. Amazingly enough, they can even be hung from the ceiling! We're not quite going to those lengths yet but we are growing cress and beans seeds without soil and predicting and testing what might happen if they are grown without light. The plants the children potted last week have all been well cared for, had measurements recorded and been watered regularly. These practical learning opportunities have particularly lent themselves to encouraging resourcefulness, one of the four learning muscles we are trying to stretch. The children have asked excellent questions to extend their learning, used resources in the classroom to help, and made links to other areas of knowledge. Now, fingers crossed, we will soon be able to offer the school kitchens some of our homegrown produce. Talking of which, Year 2 have been busy helping out in the kitchens by solving a culinary problem. Luckily, we had the skills to do this as we have been revising the column addition strategy all week. The chefs needed to know how many fishfingers to cook for lunch and the dutiful pupils got to work. There was data to retrieve from class teachers and many long calculations to solve, but with a bit of partner collaboration and perseverance the young problem-solvers finally worked it out - we needed 412 fishfingers. This allowed for everyone in school today to have two each, including the teachers!

Kerri Wilkes, Head of Year 2

Fractions Can't Faze Fabulous Year 3

Halves, doubles, quarters, thirds, sixteenths… Year 3 have been taking on the mighty mathematical challenge of fractions. As a result, the words numerator and denominator have been positively buzzing around the classrooms as the children have been coming up with clues to describe their chosen fraction. “My numerator is double three. My denominator is four more than my numerator. What fraction am I?”. And in order to remember the correct names for each part of a fraction, the children really enjoyed coming up with their own pictorial or verbal memory prompts. This, in turn, led to lots of clever and lively discussion about how we can use strategies to learn and remember something new. So as the children began to explore ways to find equivalent fractions, they worked collaboratively to represent these fractions at Forest School. They challenged themselves to represent visually their understanding of equivalent fractions, persevering when the task got a little bit more tricky and supporting each other really effectively. One particularly pleasing outcome was that the project allowed all of the children to go for gold and meet the challenge that they had set themselves, and they did all this by working together.

Ellie Graham, Year 3 Teacher

African Masks Take Shape For Year 4 Artists

Year 4 have been embarking on a real adventure exploring all things Africa across many of their subjects, and in Art pupils are busy working toward making a 2D mask out of card and mixed materials. We got our collective heads together to discuss starting points, such as folding the card in half to ensure a symmetrical design, as well as referring to our sketchbook design and resource sheets for additional ideas. Cutting out is naturally part of the process but can be a little challenging at times, so the pupils pondered, discussed and tried out the most effective ways of overcoming that obstacle. I am so looking forward to seeing how the creative and hardworking pupils' masks evolve as they add more materials and more colour to their work.

Olga Houghton, Head of Art

Soggy Start But Driven Year 5 Win Cricket Opener

It was wet, it was cold, and at times it was downright miserable, but clearly no-one told the U10A Boys' team as they shone through the drizzle and gloom to beat their rivals from Lambrook School by 25 runs in their first competitive match of the new cricket season. Having lost the toss, Highfield were asked to bowl first as their Berkshire visitors chose to bat on a sodden Mac's Field pitch. But their decision to take first knock backfired as excellent early spells from bowlers Angus J and Harry J, supported by some superb fielding, saw several early wickets fall as Lambrook struggled to score quickly. And there was to be no respite for the Winkfield Row side as Highfield's bowlers continued to impress with the ball, picking up regular wickets to restrict Lambrook to a seemingly sub-par 265-7, with Ian and Dougie H excelling in the last couple of overs. Highfield made a strong start to their run chase with Dougie H and Harry J keeping Lambrook's fielders on the back foot with some excellent running between the wickets and quick singles before the latter smashed a huge six over square leg to put the hosts firmly in charge. Angus J continued the onslaught with support from Sandy G, the pair rattling up 28 runs off just two overs, including two huge sixes from Angus, who was named man of the match, which put Highfield on the cusp of victory. But a flurry of wickets in the final two overs saw Lambrook desperately drag themselves back into the game, and when their opening bowler took a prized hat-trick in the final over, Highfield were wobbling. But, despite the blip, the Highfield boys managed to ease over the line to get their soggy start to the cricket season off to a flyer.

Billy Boxall, U10A Boys' Cricket Coach

Year 6 Make A Splash At Swimming Gala

Highfield's young swimmers have been busy making a splash in the school pool. The occasion was the annual house swimming gala, with Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 pupils taking to the water as part of the all-school competition. The Year 6 competitors were split into their three houses - Agincourt, Trafalgar and Waterloo - and with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement the gala got under way with the mixed medleys. The swim squad was helped out enormously by non-swimmers from the year group who made their presence known on the sidelines in fine style and encouraged their team-mates with loud chanting and cheering. With the swimmers going for gold, it was lovely to see such teamwork and camaraderie poolside. The standard of swimming was excellent, with no shortage of speed, desire and determination from the rivals houses, but it was Trafalgar and Agincourt who were neck and neck as the competition entered the pivotal freestyle relays, with Trafalgar prevailing in a tense finale. So, Trafalgar won the Year 6 battle, but will they win the war and the cup when the scores from the other age groups are tallied up for the final reckoning? Only time will tell...

Sharon Simpson, Year 6 Swimming Coach

Smashing Effort As Year 7 Get Back On Court

The long wait is finally over for the U12 boys' tennis players who returned to competitive match action for the first time in more than a year. That they were beaten 33-18 on games against a good Edgeborough team is largely academic, that they were eager, if a little nervous after such a long lay off, and full of effort, pride and determination is not. It was particularly nice to welcome the players from Edgeborough after such a long time off the tennis court and for the Highfield boys to see new faces. Three pairs from each school competed in three 20-minute matches, and right from the start it was clear that all the boys were keen to be back in proper match mode. And both teams produced some really nice tennis considering that they haven't had the chance to practice or have lessons because of the coronavirus lockdown. All of the Highfield boys really tried their hardest, showed excellent concentration and gave 100 per cent, which was really nice to see. Despite the scoreline, they never gave up or dropped their heads, instead giving their all and playing to the best of their abilities. A big well played to Freddie L and Fergus T, who won the last rubber of the day, and well played to the whole Highfield team. With such energy and enthusiasm, the U12 boys will undoubtedly be going for gold as the season unfolds.

Graham Holmes, U12 Boys' Tennis Coach

Are You A Match For The Year 8 Mathematicians?

The UKMT's Junior Mathematics Challenge is a prestigious national competition, cleverly designed to inspire and stretch the most talented mathematicians. Twenty-five fiendishly difficult questions determine who might win a bronze, silver or gold award, or even qualify for the much-vaunted Olympiad. The UKMT Senior Challenge was even the subject of the 2014 film x + y. Selected pupils from Year 5 to Year 8 sat the one-hour paper, working their way through a veritable minefield of magnificently mean and malicious multiple-choice questions, with options cunningly poised to entrap the unwitting. If you are brave enough to pit your wits against some precocious 10-year-olds, you might like to challenge yourself with some examples taken from this year's paper. Good luck!

Patrick Davies, Head of Maths

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