Since we started our new reading scheme on May 18th, the Wrens have read 355 books! These have included chapter books, picture books, play scripts, information books, poetry and graphic novels.
Way to go Wrens!
All is quiet in Wrens today as we finish our draft discussion text which debates whether or not wolves should be reintroduced to the UK. But we are all thinking back to yesterday's high energy performances of the Jungle Book and we feel PROUD! Year 5 wrens acted, danced and sung their hearts out on a stunning set created by Year 4. Our tea and cakes community performance was a huge success with over 60 visitors from the village and our evening family and friends performance was a sell out! Let's hope we find the energy for tonight's disco.
As we rush towards the end of term, the Wrens are busier than ever. Year 5 have been getting ready for their end of term production and Year 4 have been helping by creating posters, programmes, masks and the stunning set.
In maths we've been developing our mental and written subtraction skills and perfecting compact column method. Our English work has been lots of speaking and listening as we present our wolf diorama projects to the rest of the class. We have all been overwhelmed with the research, creativity and construction that the children have achieved. In French, the Wrens have been learning about countries north and south of the Equator and which countries are in each continent. And to top all that off, Year 4 have been hunting invertebrates around the school grounds but have also found many more creatures to classify in science - including a toad!
Tickets for the show are available from the school office and please don't forget to spread the word to the village residents about a special tea and cakes community performance on Wednesday at 1.30pm.
This week we've been thinking about where, in the UK, wolves could be reintroduced. We used atlases and Google Maps to identify large rural areas and discovered the National Parks. Using the National Parks website, we found out more about the landscape and land uses in the parks and we mapped the locations onto an outline of the UK.
In maths we have been revisiting area and perimeter and looking at 2-decimal place numbers whilst in English we have been learning about modal verbs.
Today we had fun morning using view finders to study a small section of an animal image with a focus on pattern and colour. The result is a stunning display. Can you guess which animals we had pictures of?
It was an extra special day today as we visited the wonderful Wolf Conservation Trust in Beenham (https://ukwct.org.uk/) and met some real wolves! We were warmly welcomed by the staff and volunteers who gave us a talk all about wolves and some new ideas for our discussion writing about the reintroduction of wolves into the UK. Then we were taken to meet the wolves and we learnt more about their background and characters. We even discovered that the wolves are taken for walks on a lead around the local countryside. The wolves were definitely as fascinated by us as we were by them and they enjoyed watching us each our lunch. We especially liked watching them cool down in a 'bath' and eat their dinner - even though it still had fur!
The Wrens are having a busy week preparing for the E-safety Assembly on Friday. We hope parents will be able to come and learn how to help us stay safe and that they will also take the opportunity to look at all the learning we are proud of doing this term. Don't forget that you can find out about the new reading scheme too!
If you are stuck for an adventure in the holidays, the stunning Oxford University Museum of Natural History is hosting a free Wild Fair on Saturday 3rd June. They are offering the opportunity to meet birds of prey, make a seed bomb and discover even more about wolves! The perfect to compliment our topic work.
There were lots of tears in Wrens class today as we said a sad goodbye to Mrs Bint. Lucky for us, Mrs Bint left a special new friend to keep an eye on our progress - welcome to Wrens, Wolfie.
Best of luck in your new role Mrs Bint, we will all miss you and look forward to your visits.
Help, help! There has been a terrible crime. A young girl and her dear old grandmother were terribly frightened by a hairy, scary intruder in Grandma's home. But what is the truth of this story? The Wrens have been acting out retellings of the story, from different perspectives, and are now preparing to draft a witness statement from Mr Wolf.
There was a buzz (actually a storm!) of excitement in Wren's classroom today as everyone got to take a look at some of the books in our new school reading scheme. Anyone entering the classroom could have thought it was Christmas Day because the children were whooping with excitement as they ploughed through boxes, from the scheme, on each table around the classroom. Repeatedly, I could hear:
"I want to read this one"
"Have you seen this?"
"I can't wait"
"This is so exciting"
" Oh wow!"
One Wren was so engrossed in a book that he refused to put it down and look at other books!
The children learnt that in each box there is a range of story genres, poems, plays, non-fiction texts, graphic novels and picture books. They were quick to appreciate how this broad range of reading will widen their vocabulary, develop their comprehension and increase their knowledge. As their teacher, I also believe it will help their spelling, sentence structures, grammar and imagination.
More details, about how the scheme will work, will be sent to parents shortly and the children will be reading their first book by the middle of next week.
The Wrens had superb start to a new term and showed great enthusiasm for our new topic - Wild World.
In maths we quickly picked division back up and have been building our confidence with the bus stop method. We also revised factors and subtracting by counting up on a number line.
Try asking a Wren which of these subtractions is easiest when done on a number line (frog method) and why.
4362 - 1344 or 5000 - 3745
In our topic lessons we learnt how to sketch a wolf's face, discovered the art of visual note-taking, researched the features and life of a wolf, made vocabulary word clouds and labelled a diagram with labels and captions. (phew!)
On Thursday we were introduced to Boing! PE lessons and had great fun discovering new skills and muscles we didn't know we had! Everyone is looking forward to trying our more of the activities. In Science, Year 4 investigated pitch and volume whilst Year 5 looked at forces in action on a roller coaster ride.
So it was another jam packed week of learning - I have a feeling this term will fly by...
PS Take a look at the Brilliant Books link above to find some fantastic books linked to our topic.
From Roman legend and Native American spirit to fairy tale villain, history and folk law are steeped in stories of the wolf, good and bad.
But for most people the howl of the wolf on a moonlight night would send a shiver down the spine. Let’s find out more about this wonderful creature and the habitats in which it lives through our topic - Wild World.
Take a look at the curriculum in more detail at the link above.
'Books crowbar open the World' - just one of the beautiful lines in Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell that we are enjoying reading as a class. Wrens are really starting to understand this quote as they plough through books in our dedicated reading time. The extra time we have built into every day for silent reading is impacting on our vocabulary; the quality of our writing; our comprehension of texts; our understanding of the world and our curiosity in learning. This was a first step for Wrens in the implementation of a new approach to reading across the school. Keep an eye out for further information in school newsletters and the upcoming parents' meeting.
An absolutely beautiful afternoon, perfect for an outdoor sewing lesson and so most of us managed to finish our quilted coats of arms. They are now proudly on display in the KS2 cloakroom.
We've also finished our explanation texts and had some fantastic practical lessons using Diennes blocks to deepen our understanding of division (and multiplication as the inverse)
So, we are almost ready for the Easter holidays but first the Easter Service and our presentation of Thomas Nashe's Spring, the sweet Spring in our 'wildflower meadow'.
The Wrens had a fantastic visit to Abingdon and the County Hall Museum. Photos can be found in the Gallery section of the main website.
Its been such a diverse week of learning in Wrens this week. In preparation for making our Abingdon coat of arms quilt, we have been investigating different materials to decide which ones are most appropriate for the task and can represent the colours and textures we need.
Don't forget that there is an amazing, free exhibition of quilts at the County Hall Museum in Abingdon until the 26th March.
In English we finished our incredible Journey stories and have started to investigate explanation texts - we loved watching Wallace and Gromit's Snoozatron contraption and are looking forward to designing our own machine to catch the elusive Violet Longwing bird. We revised adverbials of time, learnt all about causal conjunctions and think we might just have cracked apostrophes for plural possession!
In maths we focused on finding fractions of whole numbers; finding equivalent fractions and simplifying fractions and then revised angles.
We spent a fascinating afternoon looking at old and recent photos of buildings in Abingdon. Some of the photos were taken in 1880! We tried to spots the things that had stayed the same as well as those that had changed. Lots of questions were generated that we hope to answer on our upcoming visit.
As it was science week, we were treated to an extra special science assembly which sparked our interest in chemistry. In science lessons, Year 4 did a sound walk (to record the close and distant sounds we could here in different locations) then undertook a fascinating experiment to hear and feel sound waves. Year 5 started their new forces topic.
In Friday's PE lesson we worked in groups to put together all of our learning about street dance motifs Then enjoyed watching some of the incredible routines that our friends put together. We will try to take a few videos next week ;-)
And that is only half of what we've been doing this week!
What a brilliant morning. History is so much more engaging when you can touch it and we've all held an axe that was over 35,000 years old! A big thanks to Abingdon County Hall Museum for giving us a workshop to start off our local history study. We can't wait to find out more and visit the museum later this term.
Today, all of our learning has focused on a gorgeous picture book that was new to us all: The Story Machine by Tom McLaughlin. We started the day by exploring a single page from the book, and tried to decide the location of the main character (who we decided was in an attic), his feelings and what he could see with his torch light.
When the character discovered a machine, we thought about all the machines that we use; wrote definitions of a machine; studied how machines work; discovered was an incredible inventor Leonardo Da Vinci was and designed a 'bedroom tidying machine' of our own. All of that was before lunch!
In the afternoon, we thought about all the funny things people squirrel away in the lofts then we wrote list poems using extended noun phrases. You can see some of our poems in the photos (apologies they are the wrong way up, but we want you to be able to read them).
We are almost ready to write our Journey stories now. The Wrens have been practising expanding their sentences, to ensure that they include descriptive detail, and varying the position and types of clauses to make their writing exciting to read. They have decided on the places along their journey and decided what problems they will encounter and how the problems will be overcome. All of this was inspired by the truly stunning picture book by Aaron Becker - Journey - that the children absolutely love.
A map of the journey has been drawn on the front of their planning booklets (spot the red solutions!) but now we have to wait until Friday to write it (cue - big groan from the Wrens)
Science was extra exciting for Year 4 today as we were learning about electric circuits. Everyone was given a mystery a bag that contained wires, batteries (cells), battery holders, lamps and holders then we had to make the lamp light up. The squeals of excitement, when the children figured out how to make a circuit, were fantastic. Some of us even used switches and motors.
Bright Lights, Big City (Part Two)
We have an exciting term ahead Wrens as we are about to become historical tourist guides for our neighbouring town of Abingdon. Take a look at the 'Our Curriculum' link to find out more about everything we will be doing and learning. It's going to be a jam packed term so get your positive growth mindset geared up and ready to enjoy learning. See you on Monday!
The Wrens put a huge amount of effort into showing off their learning during our assessment week so it was lovely to spend the final day of term focusing on our topic work and finishing our Lowry pastels. Everyone has enjoyed designing their futuristic cityscapes and practising drawing matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs.
Working with learning partners is the perfect way to share ideas and understand concepts from different perspectives. In Wrens class, our learning partners are changed on a regular basis and we often find that we are sitting next to someone we wouldn't necessarily choose to sit with or who have different strengths to our own. It is quite a skill to work with another person as it requires respect, cooperation and listening but once it has been mastered the children can see how much it develops and challenges their own learning.
Today we have been working with learning partners to solve four calculation problems (an addition, a subtraction, a multiplication and a division). Each pair had to show two methods that could be used to solve each problem. The discussion taking place between the children wonderful to hear and it was evident that learning was taking place for all the children.
The Wrens have been sorting sentences today. They had to sort them into two piles but I didn't tell them what the criteria was. Can you work it out?
P.S. Watch out - they are not in the correct piles yet! Answers at the end of the week.
The criteria was phrase or clause. A clause has a subject and verb
We are so proud of our work today, only one day and we've built a city! We hope you like it.
Whilst half of our friends in KS2 have gone to the O2 for Young Voices the rest of us are being town planners for the day. So far we have thought about all the different types of buildings we find in cities and researched designs of these buildings. We've practiced sketching different buildings ourselves and looked at the detail.
After break we looked at real cities from the sky and noticed road layouts, zoned areas etc... Now we are in the process of mapping out our own city
Picture books are a wonderful source of writing inspiration and this term we are using two stunning examples to help us generate ideas, learn new vocabulary and develop our grammar and punctuation skills.
Our learning, so far, has been centered around The Promise by Nicola Davies (Illustrated by Laura Carlin). We have used it to develop our understanding of word classes and expanded noun phrases as well as similes and metaphors. We've been exploring the images and inferring ideas from what we've seen and we have used drama techniques to help deepen our understanding.
Yesterday we recreated the image of a miserable crowd (see photos) and thought about the conversations the people were having. We turned our ideas into short play scripts.
Today we've used a drama technique, called Conscience Alley, to decide if the main character should keep a significant promise that she has made. There were convincing arguments from both sides but in the end we felt the character should keep her promise. We are all desperate to know if she does and what the consequences will be.
Our KS2 trip to Kidzania was a huge success today. The children thrived on the independence and happily tried out a wide range of careers. We had firefighters, beauticians, air conditioning engineers, fast food chefs, football commentators, police officers, journalists and more! They learnt that earning money is not easy and budgeting is tricky and frustrating. As always, the children were a credit to the school and should feel proud of their good manners and positive attitudes.
There are lots of photos from the day in the 'About Us - Gallery' section of the website but here are a few of the Wrens enjoying what they learnt.
The Wrens have thrown themselves back into learning this week and have impressed us with their maths problem solving, street dance moves, simile sentences and Minecraft coding. A super start to an exciting new year.
To tie in with our new topic (Bright Lights, Big City), we have new table names - Bamako, Jaipur, Canberra, Mombasa, Dubrovnik and Zurich. They are cities but in which countries can they be found? There are prizes for the first three children to tell me and show me on our world map.
Bright Lights, Big City
(Term 3 - see Our Curriculum for more details)
Lots of laughter today as the children made news videos about Cinderella fleeing the Ball. Over two lessons they wrote and performed their news reports with the aim of developing ideas for the direct quotations in their written articles.
This afternoon, we have prepared the main course for our KS2 Fairy Tale masked banquet taking place this evening. We've made hassleback potatoes, marinated chicken thighs and chopped and prepared a delicious salad. Once we've finished our masks, we'll be ready to go home and change for the very special evening ahead. We are all extremely excited about seeing our fairy lanterns glowing.
Year 4 have been learning about changing states of matter in science. What better way could there be than melting and cooling chocolate to make crispy cakes? The children agreed that the chocolate was in a solid state when we took it from the wrapper. They explained to me that it would change to a liquid when it was heated but it would return to a solid state when it was cooled. Some of us were frustrated to find it quickly changed back to a solid when we stirred it. I was impressed that the children also remembered to show the gas inside the rice crispies when they drew and labelled their work.
One of the ways we help children develop their writing skills is by using a method called Talk for Writing. It involves the children learning a text off by heart though the use of a visual images called a text map. You will see text maps in all the classrooms and at the moment we have one in Wrens that is a newspaper article about a fatal accident involving a sports hero, Humpty Dumpty.
By learning the text the children develop the verbal and written grammar skills needed to structure a type of writing (in this case newspaper reports) and sentences. We have been having lots of fun learning out text with some stiff competition between the boys and the girls. Our favourite game is ping pong where we stand on opposite sides of the room and take turns to say the sentences or words.
We've learnt the text with actions, although now most of the children can repeat it without the actions. Alongside, we've also been learning about tenses, 1st, 2nd and 3rd person, pronouns, embedded clauses, powerful words, direct quotes and different ways to say 'said'.
For the rest of this week we will be working together to 'shared write' a similar newspaper article about Snow White being woken by a prince, then next week the children will be drafting their own articles about Cinderella running away from the Ball.
To see what a difference Talk for Writing makes, come and look at the Dragon Information Book in our classroom. the children wrote this last term.
The Wrens have been developing their hockey skills during PE this week. Everyone is mastering control of the ball and knows how to stop a moving ball. We've been practising the push pass and trying to ignore the desire to use the hockey stick like a golf club! Next week, we will be focusing on defence tactics.
In maths we started the week by halving and doubling 3-digit numbers and moved on to comparing and ordering fractions. In English we have been learning all about newspapers and newspaper reports (recounts) and have been watching and discussing the American election with great interest. The Wrens are good at spotting the who, what, where, when and why in news stories and they wrote some fantastic opening paragraphs the included the 5 Ws.
We have been continuing our research into inspirational women during topic lessons and the children have enjoyed drafting and presenting their findings using PowerPoint.
Our coding activities in computing lessons are truely testing our logic, debugging and perseverance skills. It is absolutely wonderful to see the children finding and learning from their mistakes and they are doing an incredible job of teaching me and Mrs Bint some new skills. Next week, a few our expert coding classmates will be leading the lesson to help the rest of us to understand one activity that has most of us baffled.
The Wrens have all been superstars this week. Although we all know that assessments are simply a chance to show off all the skills we have learnt it doesn't mean we don't find them hard work and exhausting. However, the Wrens have kept a positive attitude and tried to apply themselves full-heartedly to all the other bits of learning, we have done, too.
We have been reminding ourselves about the four different types of sentences. Why not test yourself (parents and Wrens) to see if you know. What type of sentences are these - statements, exclamations, questions or commands?(answers below).
a. Can you please take these apples to Granny?
b. How incredibly red that coat is!
c. The house is through the woods.
d. Go quickly!
e. She opened the door.
f. What big eyes you've got!
h. Get him!
g. What happened to the wolf?
In maths this week we reminded ourselves of all the different equipment we can use to solve problems and made equipment boxes for our tables so that it is always on hand.
During our history lesson we created an historical timeline and looked at firsts for women., For example, we tried to place the first British female doctor, the first British female author and the first female British Prime Minister on our timelines. We were all rather surprised to see how recent all of these events were.
Our science lessons saw Year 4 becoming particles and learning how to be a liquid, solid and gas and Year 5 finishing their work on materials.
Next week, all is back to normal and we'll be starting learning about recount texts (in the form of newspapers) and carrying on with grid method and column multiplication.
The answers to the sentence questions were:
a.question, b.exclamation, c.statement, d.command, e.statement, f.exclamation, g.command, h.question. You can have a bonus point if you guessed the fairy tale.
During this term we will be delving into the magical world of fairy tales and traditional tales and cooking up a magical, masked storytelling banquet of our own. We'll be investigating the female characters in these stories and finding out how good, evil and the role of women is portrayed.We will research key women in history and look at a timeline of female firsts, including the suffragette movement, to discover how this changed our history forever.
I'm looking forward to reading and hearing about the inspiring women that you have been finding out about for your homework.
Don't forget to check out our curriculum overview for this term to find out more about our learning activities and focus.
It's the end of our first term already Wrens, can you believe it?
All of the children should be incredibly proud of the dragon information texts that we have made into a unique Dragon Anthology that is available, as a one-off edition, for reading in our classroom. With some careful design work and nimble fingers we've also finished our watercolour dragon puppets which look stunning.
Next term our focus will shift from legends and myths to fairy-tales and women's rights! We'll be hosting an extra special and rather magical event so watch this space...
To investigate the impact of sugar on our teeth Year 4 have conducted a fair test - a test where all but one of the variables (the independent variable) are controlled.
We placed 6 hard boiled eggs into 6 clear jars and covered them with a drink that we wanted investigate (Coke, orange juice, sparking flavoured water, still flavoured water, milk and tap water). We then sealed the lids and placed all the jars in the fridge for one week. The results completely shocked us (take a look at the photos to see the results) as the 'healthy' orange juice had virtually stripped off the other layer of the egg. The Coke had discoloured the eggs, and was also taking off the top layer, and the flavoured waters had a similar impact.
It would be interesting to recreate the experiment at home but to coat half of the eggs in tooth-paste. Let me know if you do try it out.
In maths this week we have been practicing finding the difference between two times using the counting-up method. You can help your child develop this as a mental skill by trying it as much as possible at home. Just ask your child to tell you the time (ideally from an analogue clock as most of us need more practice at this) then tell them a time that you will be starting a new activity/dinner/bedtime etc. Then ask how long until that time?
For 10:24 to 12:15 your child should:
1. Round the time to the next 10 minutes (e.g. 10:24 becomes 10:30 so this is 6 minutes)
2. Round to the next hour (e.g. 10:30 becomes 11:00 so this is 30 minutes)
3. If necessary, round to the hour of the final time (e.g. 11:00 becomes 12:00 so this is 1 hour)
4. Add the minutes after the hour (e.g. 12:00 to 12:15 + 15 minutes)
5, Finally, add all the times together 6m + 30m + 1h + 15m (ask your child how they add the times together to check they are being logical and making it as easy as possible for themselves)
So the time difference is 1h 51m
Although we are trying to develop mental skills your child may need to make jottings so please encourage this.
The skills of counting up in this way is useful for solving mental subtractions and when using money too (round to the next 10p then to the next pound...)
The Year 4 Wrens have been learning all about tooth decay in science (as part of the digestive system). We thought we would take a look at our own teeth and see if we could find traces of plaque after we had given them a good clean. It turns out that getting rid of plaque is not as easy as it may seem!
Next week we will be finding out what causes plaque and investigating which drinks are the worst culprits in tooth decay.
After a fabulous week at PGL for Year 5 (and a wonderful week of learning with Mrs Hill for Year 4), we got back into life as Wrens class this week. We've been learning new methods of addition and subtraction in maths and have finished our instructions for looking after a dragon in English. Everyone has been practicing making nouns plural (and have learnt that we need to spell the root word right too!) and we've almost finished our water colour dragon puppets.
In PE we tried doing volleys and digs over a net which led to some frustrations as well as some laughs and we are looking forward to trying out a game next week.
However most of us enjoyed our book tasting session the most. We got to try out four different books by reading 3 pages of each and then filling out a special menu of information about our reading. Lots of the children were surprised that they enjoyed books that they wouldn't have chosen themselves.
It's super to be back together as a class and we are all excited about the learning ahead of us.
P.S. Check out the PGL photos in the About Us (gallery) section of the school website to see our incredibly brave and daring Year 5 children.
What a shocking start to the week, we arrived this morning to discover that the Wrens and Falcons classrooms had been taped off as late yesterday evening because three of our dragon eggs hatched! Mrs Hornsey came to tell us that she and Mr Greenough had been called into school when the fire alarm had been triggered. Once they arrived, they discovered some small amounts of smoke damage and the hatched eggs. They called the Dragon Academy immediately (who have now taken away the other eggs for further study) however the hatchling dragons have not yet been found. Please keep on the lookout around the village and report any unusual sightings to the school office or staff.
We tried our best to stay focused on our learning amidst the excitement (especially when we also discovered a dragon wing coating) and managed to practice place value in maths and identify the features of instruction writing in English. We have written our own success criteria to help us to write clear instructions for other people.
This afternoon we thought about our Growth Mindsets and considered the powers we each have within ourselves to grow our own intelligence and skills. The official trailer from Starwars (The Force Awakens) helped us understand that most Jedis do not realise their powers and that all Jedis work hard to develop their skills, choosing between good and bad mindsets.
We ended our day by trying out different watercolour techniques including shading and blending, then persevered with our scissor skills as we cut out the templates for our dragon puppets.
It's been a busy day in Wrens today with smoke literally coming from the children's brains as their neurons fired with new learning. In maths we learnt about multiplying by 10,100 and 1,000 and trained our brains with 1 minute challenges. During English we looked at how the adverb modifies (tells us more about) the verb and tried different ways to explain a dragon's activities by changing the verb and adverb. Then we had lots of laughs playing charades a wide range of verbs and adverbs. Our class favourite was 'drink inquisitively'.
After a long summer break we know our hands and fingers need training (as much as our brains) to rebuild the muscles to help us with writing. It was fun to give them a work out before handwriting practice and far more difficult than we thought it would be.
We spent the afternoon thinking about how we work scientifically to make our tests fair and present data in a scientific way. You can see our investigation below.
Wow, what an exciting start to the year!
You will never believe what happened to the Wrens today.
Just as we had finished the morning register, Mrs Vickers charged into our classroom with some exciting news. We had received a letter from the Dragon Academy explaining that dragons had been spotted over Sutton Courtenay last weekend; the academy even sent some video clips of the dragons! We were told that sighting of so many dragons together usually means egg have been laid and sure enough we found almost ninety eggs in the school grounds.
The children recorded the location of their egg find on a map and then carefully carried their eggs back to the classroom for some scientific recording - including weight, circumference, height and description of the location it was found. They also drafted a specimen description. I was impressed how carefully the children looked after their eggs.
After lunch we read the stunning Tell me a Dragon (by Jackie Morris) and then thought about what our own dragons might be like when they hatch. Watch this space to find out more about our beautiful ideas...
Have you heard? Did you know? Can you imagine? Do you believe?...
Traditional tales, myths and legends will be at the heart of our first topic, Once upon a time, and will immerse the Wrens into a world of fantasy and story-telling.
As our topic unfolds across the curriculum we will be learning about stories from the UK and the rest of the world as well as developing a mystical land of our own.
But to start the term the Wrens have an important quest - to care for a unique and precious gift…Can you rise to the challenge Wrens?