Out And About
Nursery Bakers Rise To Bread-Making Challenge
Donning their aprons, the budding team of Nursery chefs have been busy baking bread, strengthening their hand muscles as they kneaded the dough. This was no mean feat for two and three year olds, but the young bakers were certainly up for the challenge. As ever, the children proved (no pun intended) their resilience and excitedly set about the task, working the dough by pulling and stretching, curling and flattening their hands in a rhythmical, repetitive pattern until they noticed fine changes in the consistency of the dough. It was a challenging hand workout but definitely well worth it when the scent of freshly-baked bread filled the room. The children got to taste their success along with their delicious culinary delights. And let's face it, who doesn’t love eating fresh bread! Preparation and future readiness is at the heart of what we do in Nursery, empowering minds and muscles, and fine motor skills play an important role in this process. Without realising the hard work they are putting into honing these skills, the children are always striving hard toward the end goals. Mark-making is an excellent way to develop fine motor skills, but why settle with colouring at the table or painting at an easel? The best thing about working with young children is that they instinctively explore opportunities to try something different, such as lying flat on the floor to draw their masterpiece, comfortably and skilfully creating in a new way. Lying on their backs under the table with paper stuck on the underside not only provides the children with a lovely secure little nook for drawing but also strengthens arms through gross motor movement. Nurturing and preparing these little hands for their future successes is all important, and who knows what they might be capable of in the future. Among them, there could be an architect or surgeon, an author or a cellist, or perhaps they will excel in a job that doesn’t yet exist. These future precision instruments need practice and fine-tuning to achieve their goals. Practice makes perfect and the children in The Den are always ready and willing to explore and experiment.
Penny Hodnett, Nursery Teacher
Voyage Of Discovery For Reception Travellers
The Reception children were out and about on their first-ever school trip this week. “I am so excited!” and “This is the best place ever!” were just some of the comments from the Reception children as they walked into a world of wonder and opportunity at the Look Out Discovery Centre in Bracknell, which the children absolutely loved. Having had fun on the bus to Berkshire, the children were immediately taken by the many and varied activities on offer as they explored water, pressure, stability, cause and effect, balance, hot air, light, colour and reflection. And such was the range of activities on offer that there was something to capture every imagination, with the construction area, the magnetic walls and balls, the water play area and the mighty super tall tower for the more daring ones among us being particularly popular. All in all, there were many opportunities to stretch their learning muscles, from collaborating to build a bridge, wall or tile a roof to resilience in noticing changes, as well as lots of questioning, imagination and reasoning. It was a great trip and there were a few sleepy eyes on the bus on the way home, but it was a very successful and rewarding first trip indeed!
Lucy Deary, Reception Teacher
Year 1 Poets Get Some Expert Writing Tips
Without needing to leave the classroom, Year 1 were energised and revved up to become poets with a scintillating workshop run by the brilliant children’s poet, James Carter. Through a highly-engaging and interactive online session, the children embarked on an animated journey exploring words and grammatical structures using similes, alliteration, repetition and rhyme. After discussing elements of his poems, the importance of vocabulary choices was reinforced before culminating in the scribing of a communal poem. With inspiration and imaginations suitably stimulated, the children spent the rest of the week innovating and writing their own poems. They were challenged to take risks and experiment with their writing by using dynamic vocabulary, expressive language and rich imagery. Drawing on their knowledge from their current science topic, they thought of rhyming animals, before carefully choosing appropriate adjectives to create a poem full of similes. It was then time for the children to stretch their revising learning muscle through the process of editing and improving. Attention was paid to the way the words weaved together to create memorable language. The children evolved their poems by making tweaks to make them more succinct, expressive and dynamic. With such captivating content, Year 1 impressed their teachers by creating some totally awesome poems.
Henrietta Platt, Year 1 Teacher
'Friends, Romans, Year 2, Lend Me Your Ears...'
“I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” That's the backbone to the theory that children retain more information when they visually experience activities. Well, Year 2 were certainly immersed in visual and hands-on history on Thursday as they toured Fishbourne Roman Palace. They imagined the luxury that would have surrounded the proud owner of this lavish Roman building near Chichester, they dressed up as the smart landowner, wrote on writing tablets, built arched structures, role played in the Roman kitchen and spun wool. The children were fascinated by the human skeletons that had been excavated and enjoyed looking at the largest collection of impressive mosaics in the UK, which they hope to replicate in their art lessons next term. This trip really was the icing on the cake of a busy week for Year 2 which included a fantastic workshop from the poet James Carter, completing the construction, testing and remodelling of our buoyant boats, and a trip to Forest School where the children built a fire and toasted tasty marshmallows in the afternoon sunshine that has finally begun to shine.
Kerri Wilkes, Year 2 Teacher
Adventurous Year 3 Have A Blast On The Brue
We did it! Year 3 made it to Mill on the Brue. On Tuesday morning at the crack of dawn, with all the necessary Covid precautions having been carefully and successfully taken, our intrepid adventurers boarded the coach and headed west to Somerset for what proved to be a glorious few days full of action, adventure and excitement. It was wonderful to see the children walk a little taller as they proved they can meet new challenges head-on, face their fears, and help each other overcome both physical and emotional obstacles. Helping each other and working as a team were certainly key components of the many and varied activities this week. From building a giant slip-and-slide course on the side of a hill to pushing and pulling each other over obstacles such as the brilliantly-named ‘Giant’s Toilet’ and from steering a kayak in a straight line to guiding each other blindfolded round a tricky obstacle course, communication and teamwork have been essential. And the zipwire would not have been possible without a team of eager participants running in relay to return the equipment to the top of the hill for the next hardy slider, the climbing wall would have been dangerous without the relay team behind the climber, and as for avoiding the shark infested custard - thank goodness that no team left one of their own behind! Year 3 returned to school tired, muddy, proud and a little sunburnt, just in time for the half-term break. And we offered many thanks to the team at Mill on the Brue for making the experience such a magical and memorable one for our happy pupils.
Click here to view a further selection of photos.
Charlie Millsom, Head of Year 3
Time Is Of The Essence For Year 4
This week, my 4M class have been busy tackling the tantalising topic of 'time' in Maths. It is one of those tricky subjects that is stubbornly baffling for some but leaves others in need of a timely and more testing new challenge. We have moved on from the basics of converting analogue time to digital to working with the 24-hour clock and adding additional minutes to set times. It is always really rewarding to observe those children who suddenly have that lightbulb moment when the elusive logic of time finally clicks into place. With encouraging progress made, we will be moving on to reading timetables and problem solving after half-term.
Martine Melling, Head of English
Year 5 Awestruck As Butterflies Take Flight
Year 5 has been wonderfully colourful this past fortnight as our resident caterpillars made their final transformation from chrysalis to butterfly. It's been a magical experience to rival those met by Harry, Ron and Hermione in our class book - Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Last Monday, 5FT were lucky enough to be chosen by Head of Science Mr Baker to house a small collection of tortoiseshell caterpillars. Since their arrival, all of Year 5 have been gripped by their presence, observing their metamorphosis with awe and wonder. Initially, the pupils were excited by the ‘creepy crawly’ addition to the form room; witnessing them fearlessly scaling the stinging nettles within their glass cage, which provided them with the water and nutrients they needed to begin their transformation into a pupa. Later, on Tuesday, the caterpillars began to form their chrysalises. Daisy and Gus marvelled at their wonderful golden colour, which they said seemed to shimmer brilliantly in the sunshine. And the children’s delight reached fever pitch by Friday morning when Sophie spotted a butterfly clinging to its pupal case - a delight which was further enhanced by the fact that two were still yet to appear. But with perfect timing, the final two butterflies emerged during our form time, a sight that most of Year 5 were lucky enough to see. As we continued to watch the brown-winged butterflies, Tom and Lella noticed one which seemed to be vibrating; an act which helps the newly-formed creature invigorate its wings ready for its first flight. Luckily, as the children continued to observe, the vibration led to the butterfly taking its maiden journey – revealing its bright red, patterned inner wings. A truly magical moment for all. And then came the magical moment when the excited children took to the playground on Friday to release the beautiful tortoiseshells into the wild. Thank you to Mr Baker and Mrs Duncan, who helped us care for and learn so much about these wonderful creatures and their magical metamorphosis.
Flora Aubrey-Thomas, Year 5 Science Teacher
Year 6 Get Creative With Their Design Work
Computer-aided design and graphic design have been firmly in focus this week, with my creative Year 6 cohort getting to grips with the workings of the 'text tool' and the 'text curve tool' on a 2D design. The pupils have been challenged to design and create a logo based on their hobbies and interests which, when finished, will be cut out using a vinyl cutter, a type of computer-controlled machine with a blade which is used to cut out shapes and letters from sheets of thin self-adhesive plastic (vinyl). The vinyl can then be stuck to a variety of surfaces depending on the adhesive and type of material. The finished products will be stuck onto the children's iPads for identification purposes. Another interesting aspect of our lessons has involved typeface designs, where pupils have had to create a page in their books with the emphasis on text and font design.
Jamie Dew, Head of DT
Year 7 Data Drive Puts Focus On Renewable Energy
The change in weather this week has nicely coincided with the Year 7 Data Collection Week. The week is set aside for pupils to collect primary data on the microclimate around our school, helping them immeasurably with their CE Fieldwork projects based around renewable energy. Groups of pupils have been collecting data throughout the week, using thermometers, anemometers, lux meters and Okta scales to best understand where might be the best site to place solar panels and wind turbines. It has been a delight to see them working so well in groups and moving freely around the grounds, a distinct change to the opportunities afforded to pupils over the past 12 months. Fieldwork is an important part of Geography and an opportunity to develop further understanding of the subject in a practical and tangible manner. Seeing Year 7 enjoying their surroundings and working so diligently is what this half term has all been about.
James Figgis, Head of Geography
Year 8 Light Up The Darkness With Stunning Swansong
On a rainy, dark and dismal Monday afternoon, the lights finally went on once again in the Highfield Theatre after an agonising four-term wait. I created the Year 8 Swansong to give our wonderfully creative LAMDA students one final opportunity to perform with their partners, or solo, in front of the lights, the cameras and an audience. And what a wonderfully diverse, funny and contemplative hour of drama it proved to be – from fish swimming in the ocean depths in Finding Nemo to Juliet’s powerful last scene in Romeo and Juliet and from gallant explorers facing the loss of friendship (and water) to a cigar-smoking Mr Wolf slowly turning vegetarian in a lovely adaptation of The Three Little Pigs. I asked the students if they wanted to create costumes – they really did – and props too! Initial nerves turned to cheers, high fives and smiles in a wonderfully supportive and creative atmosphere. I really felt that everyone – both performers and audience alike - were moved at finally having 'theatre' back in their lives. It was, without doubt, another huge step toward some kind of normality. My thanks go to Millie, Charlie and Eli for stepping up and volunteering to compere with me, adding some witty anecdotes and thoughtful observations along the way, and thanks also to Will for operating the camera. Thanks also to various staff members for their support on the day and for helping to bring the theatre back to life, and to Mrs Baird for answering my constant questions! I shall miss my wonderful set of Year 8 performers very much and wish them well and a lifelong love of theatre. From a very proud Miss Wilson.
Susannah Wilson, LAMDA Teacher