14th July 2016.
Wow Falcons, you were truly amazing. The whole school is super proud of how well you performed, danced and sang your way through Edith's Wartime Scrapbook and (after our community performance today) so are the members of our village.
6th July 2016
When the Falcons are set a challenge, they certainly rise to it. For homework they have been asked to design and make an Anderson Shelter (big enough for a Lego man) that is waterproof an can hold a 1kg weight. Just take a look at the photos to see what they achieved. We are proud to be displaying them in the entrance of our school for the guests at our production to see. Come back soon, to see how the testing process went.
28th June 2016
The Falcons had a fun and informative trip to the John Radcliffe hospital today for Injury Minimization training (IMPS) which taught them about how to administer first aid and resuscitation. Ask them what DRS ABC stands for and how many compressions then breaths they need to do. You may even find that they will explain how to use a defibrillator or show you how to put someone into the recovery position.
15th June 2016
I suspect that there are some very tired little Falcons this evening: tired but happy.
We have had an incredible two days and a truly fantastic time was had by everyone involved. Hill End was the perfect wild but laid-back venue to give the children a safe environment to learn and explore. The children especially loved our barn dorm perched on top of the hillside and surrounded by sheep!
Our first day was spent as evacuees, learning all about the life on the Home Front. Our second was a day of team work and exploring.
I'm sure the children will be telling their families all about there adventures this evening but if you'd like to know more, the photos below give you an insight into our evacuee experience.
10th June 2016.
We've made a lovely start to our learning about WW2 this term. Alongside practicing the songs, dances and lines for our play (we are all so excited about the play and our singing sounds amazing) we have been discussing what we already know, why the war started, what happened with the Olympics during the war and whether or not children should have been evacuated. We watched a couple of emotive videos showing the evacuation and the Blitz and spent time thinking about the reasons for and against sending children away. We then did a Conscience Alley drama activity where we darkened the room, played music and stood in two lines creating an alley between us. Mrs Coleman (the character in our play whose children are evacuated) walked slowly down the middle, listening to the arguments for and against as she went. We all found the experience very moving and Mrs Coleman said it was extremely powerful. In the end she decided she need to send the children to safety. A wonderful piece of learning for the children that will help them write persuasive evacuation leaflets next week.
We also started making props for Edith's Wartime Scrapbook and feel proud to be designing and making them ourselves.
Don't forget we are going to be evacuated next week - if you haven't bought in your gas mask box and ID tag you need it on Monday. The staff have their costumes ready - we hope you have too!
Moon Mission Challenge
Four of our Moon Buggy teams (SCS Heros, Mini Beasts, Rainbow Rebels and Peake's Pinoneers) were lucky enough to go to St Birinus for the Moon Mission Challenge. We had a fantastic day taking part in four different activities:
- we made space rocket pastries in a Food Tech session,
- we raced our moon buggies over a range of terrains then pitted them against each other for a final battle of the fittest,
- we made space mobiles in and Art and Design session,
- we used Design and Technology skills to our own key-rings and learnt how a laser cutter works.
A super day was had by everyone involved and the children's behaviour was a credit to the school (especially when they broke out into renditions of our production songs during a spare five minutes).
Those children who didn't join us had a wonderful time with the rest of KS2 making displays and stamps, to celebrate the Queen's birthday, and playing rounders in the sunshine.
A Child's War (Term 6)
Find out what we will be doing through the 'Our Curriculum' link above.
It's going to be a jam-packed, whirlwind of learning in our last term as we prepare for our end-of-year production (Edith's Wartime Scrapbook) and find out even more about WWII through our topic - A Child's War. Practicing before the half-term break whet all our appetites and the sound of the children enthusiastically singing (and the odd air-raid siren) could be heard across the school.
Once school starts again on the 7th we have less than 6 weeks to prepare so over the holiday all children should be practicing their lines (and the songs) and making the gas mask boxes that they were set as homework. We all want the children to perform well and with confidence so please make sure that they bring their script and song words to school every day and practice on a regular basis at home once term starts again.
Wider reading will really help consolidate your child's learning and there are some fantastic fiction and non-fiction books about WWII that they will enjoy reading. The fiction book list below will give you a few ideas.
The Messenger Bird
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Goodnight Mr Tom
My Brother's Keeper
The Machine Gunners
Code Name Verity
The Silver Sword
Hero on a Bicycle
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Taff in the WAAF
26th May 2016.
This week the Falcons have been working on designing and building their moon buggies for the Moon Mission Challenge at St Birinus secondary school in Didcot. Equipped with MDF, plywood, a motor, pulleys and much more, the children are building a moon buggy that can travel over a range of terrains, climb a steep hill, transfer moon rock and travel in a straight line!
They have come up with a superb range of team names (including Mini Beasts, Galaxy Rebels and Peake's Pioneers) and have impressed the staff with their cooperation and teamwork.
You can follow our progress in the photos below.
News Flash: An eight foot dinosaur has been spotted in the school premises...run for your lives!
13th May 2016
Today in Falcons Class we learnt all about Surrealism and we have created some truly surreal art!
We started our day looking at some optical illusions and discussing what we could and could not all see in the images. We then watched a fascinating video that taught us about Surrealism and the artist Salvador Dali.
As a result of this, the children could explain what juxtaposition, metamorphosis, dislocation and transformation mean in relation to Surrealist images and were able to find examples in more of the paintings that we looked at.
Next, we visited the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figures. Obviously we didn't get to actually go to Spain but the virtual visit on the museum website enabled us to explore many of the rooms. We even found a bathtub on the ceiling and eggs on top of the building! It was difficult to persuade the Falcons that they should go out to play at break because they were so engrossed in the weird and wonderful.
After playtime we started our art project. We used a marbling technique to create dream-like backgrounds and cut out images from a wide range of magazines so that we could make surrealist faces and people. We had fun adding Dali's signature black moustache to some of our pictures (and to ourselves!).
After lunch we used the Cut Up technique to turn articles from newspapers into surrealist poems. There are certainly some very interesting outcomes using this technique.
Then we watched a video made between Dali and Walt Disney (called Destino) that shows Dali's imagination coming to life,
It was fantastic to see the children making the most of their sketch books to record their thoughts and ideas during the day.
We ended our day with a party to celebrate the end of assessment week and of a wonderful day of learning.
6th May 2016
We've had such a lovely day in Falcons today and it wasn't just the gorgeous weather that lifted our spirits.
This morning, we all enjoyed the drama activities. At first we worked in threes to recreate situations/scenarios (e.g at the doctors; in the supermarket and in the jungle) where one child had to stand, another sit and the last had to lie down. What imaginative children there are in Falcons. They recreated shopping trolleys, jungle vines, riding on an elephant and much more. We learnt that drama is not just acting the role of a person but simply taking a part to create a story.
Next we built on our English lesson book - Way Home. We thought carefully about the city alleyways through which the boy and the cat cautiously pass. We identified all of the objects we could see (and would expect to find) in an alleyway from graffitied walls to stray cats to disregarded newspapers and broken bottles. The children then chose one of the objects and, in turn, created an alleyway of their own using their bodies. Cassie found it quite intimidating and scary to walk through the finished alley. She kept checking to make sure nobody was following her. Taking on the role of the cat in our story, Kiera was far more interested in the dead rat and beggars dog than she was of the shadows.
In art and design this afternoon we learnt about sculpture. Sofia told us all about Ancient Greek sculpture then we found out that sculpture does not have to be made from wood or stone. We examined a few different forms then started to make our own sculptures using glue, wool and balloons. You can see the images of our drying sculptures below but come back to see the final version next week.
Year 6 - you will do fantastically well in your SATs and we are all (especially me) exceptionally proud of the effort and determination you have shown over the past month. I hope you feel as proud of yourselves. Have a fun and relaxing weekend.
29th April 2016
The Falcons have been making the most of computing technology to support our learning this week. We packed away our pencils and pens and grabbed ourselves iPads and laptops.
We were quite surprised to see that we had an unexpected guest in the classroom. A small skeleton was dancing around the room where we were all sitting! We can't wait to have a go at producing our own augmented reality!
In English we learnt all about punctuating dialogue by using an interactive teacher to class programme. It enabled us to share and discuss each other's work on the iPads. The Falcons loved learning this way and the progression in their learning was clear for us all to see.
As part of our topic work the children worked in small groups to research a period of art history on the Internet. They drafted text and collated images in Word that they then printed and used in their sketch books. Some children even added sketches in the style of the period of art. Thanks goes to Mrs Hamblin's daughter who shared her GCSE sketch book and inspired our lesson.
Last term the Falcons applied to participate in a nation wide science experiment that was part of Tim Peake's space mission. The experiment compares the growth of seeds that have been into space with seeds that have not. We were lucky enough to be chosen to take part!
We received two packets of rocket (the plant) seeds, one red and one blue, but we don't know which packet contained the seeds that Tim Peake took to the International Space Station. We worked with Red Kites class to carefully plant the seeds by following the instructions given to us and by adhering to the strict controlled conditions. Each seed has been labelled. Now all we have to do it wait (and water, and turn and measure and record data) ....
You can see the photos of us planting the seeds below but come back soon to find out more about the growth of the seeds and our scientific findings.
21st April 2016
When children think 'outside the box' they can imagine the most insightful and thought provoking concepts - the Falcons did just that today when interpreting and analysing the images in the book Way Home by Libby Hathorn and Gregory Rogers. The story (that we have read so far) features a young boy on the streets of a city, who has found a cat. The Falcons think he might be homeless (could that be a clue to the purpose of our box?) but we are not sure.
You can see from the picture below that the illustrations maximise the impact of light and shadows to create safety and fear. The children quickly noticed this and so I asked them about the torn page - how does that make you feel? Why could it be relevant to the story? Here are a few of their incredible answers.
Levi - "his heart is torn because he can't find his parents".
Alice - "it feels like there is something missing from the page, maybe something is missing from the boy's life".
Sofia - "the thin white strip could mean hope. It is like a light on the page. The black could be despair so it is bigger".
James - "the white might increase in size as the story goes on and he finds a way home or his parents".
These are just a few examples. The children also noticed cracks on every page, that seems to always be between the boy and the thing he is afraid of; they noticed shadows that look like dogs; they noticed yellow light in places of safety and they noticed threatening teenagers drawn to look like zombies to "create even more fear".
What do you see when you look at the pictures?
18th April 2016.
When the Falcons came in from break they discovered an extremely large box in the middle of the classroom. Why was it there, what is inside and what is it for? After a lengthy discussion about what could be inside (a sleeping snake apparently!) we took turns to take a peak. Each child wrote one noun and one adjective to explain what they could see; we stuck these on the sides of the box. In the meantime the other children drew images of the objects that had been described. We discovered that it hard to imagine an object with when we only have two words.
So, now we know what is inside....but why? What could the box be used for? We'll find out later this week.
15th April 2016
The Falcons have made a flying start into the new term and are very excited about our art and design based topic - Gallery Rebels.
We've learnt that editing and improving our work is as important in art and design as it is in English and maths; we even found some sketches made by famous artists that we know such as Van Gogh and Picasso. So we decided we needed sketch books, of our own, especially for this term and we researched designs on the Internet. We used a range of resources including wallpaper samples, materials, tissue paper, paints, pencils and felt-tip pens to create the individual front and back covers then we use pamphlet stitch to sew in the pages. We wanted to keep them easily accessible so we've created a display on our classroom wall. We can't wait to sketch ideas for our graffiti art next week. You can see some of the finished sketch books in the photos.
We have also been revising clauses and sentence structures and we were extremely proud of the poems (about a street) we wrote today which followed this structure for each line:
A single clause sentence;
A multi-clause sentence with a conjunction;
A multi-clause sentence with a subordinate clause;
A multi-clause sentence that starts with a conjunction;
A sentence with an embedded clause;
A sentence with a relative clause;
We know this might look like gobbledygook to most people but not to us and now we can see how using the different clauses and sentences makes our writing more interesting.
We were very pleased that Miss Tristram and Mr Markum popped in to hear our poems too.
Did you know that art can be an act of rebellion? From Impressionists to Surrealists, Expressionists to contemporary street artists there have always been rebels, those who have used art as a way to express themselves and their views of the world.
So ask yourself – can you change the world with a paintbrush, a thought or an idea?
In Term 5 you will be exploring the bizarre and eccentric minds of famous gallery rebels and using science, DT, dance and art to create some weird and wonderful masterpieces of your own (check out the curriculum for this term to find out more).
Get ready to turn our classroom into a gallery.
I can't wait...
Our classroom door
22nd March 2016
Today we combined to two activities, both of which took full advantage of the beautiful village in which we live and learn. In the glorious sunshine we walked from school to the Village Green then helped our community by doing a sponsored litter pick. We were shocked to find so many cigarette butts on the floor around the bins and bits of plastic stuck among the flowers and bushes.
After a good hand wash, we enjoyed a picnic lunch in the Church then started our Holy Week Experience led by Helen (the Vicar) and members of the community. We followed Jesus's journey from his arrival into Jerusalem to his resurrection. Can you identify the different parts of the story from our photos?
20th March 2016
Science has been a big part of our topic this term and the Falcons have been learning all about Space and Light. We can now name all of the planets in order from the Sun and explain the evidence that proves Earth is spherical. We understand the heliocentric model of the planets orbiting around the Sun and even made models of our own.
We can explain how we see - watch the video to find out! We know that light travels in straight lines and we did an experiment to learn about the angle of reflection. This experiment helped us to make spy gadget (periscopes) for MI5.
3rd March 2016 Book Week - Lost & Found by Oliver Jeffers.
What a brilliant week we've had and its not quite over yet! Looking back at the photos I can't quite believe how much we have squeezed in to our Lost and Found week. The Falcons have learnt all about penguins which enabled them to write penguin adoption information leaflets and some truly beautiful poems. They have argued for and against items that the boy and the penguin should take on their journey and used semi-colons to write a detailed list.
They have made stunning polar landscapes, an army of penguins and the cutest penguin Mother's Day cards I have ever seen.
The have created their own storm compositions in drumming and worked fantastically with the Kingfishers to design and perform dance motifs to Vivaldi's Storm. They even created a storm and thunder clap of their own (look out for the video coming soon).
They have investigated units of measure. The children budgeted and shopped for the boy and penguin's journey using Sainsburys on-line. They are now brilliant bargain hunters and would be happy to manage your weekly shopping order. They also taught Penguin all about different units of measure and how to estimate size, just to make sure he doesn't over pack again.
We have all learnt a traditional Ghanaian song and will finish our cultural exploration tomorrow..... no wonder we are all exhausted!
21 February 2016
Back to school tomorrow for a fast and furious four and a bit weeks - we've got so much to learn Falcons, that I expect to hear your brains fizzing as those neurons continuously fire!
PE will be on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons this term, please bring your PE kit and some long tracksuit bottoms or leggings for when you are outside. If you do either of the after school dance clubs please bring separate clothes for these so your PE kits don't get taken home and forgotten.
We'll continue working on our extremely special and secret websites, so I hope you have done your homework and are prepared to take some fantastic photos. In the meantime here are some photos from last term to remind you of some of the things we did.
Don't forget to check out the new pages (above) to find lots of ideas, tips and websites
to help you with your learning.
2 February 2016
The Falcons spent this afternoon learning about Space. We tried to remember the names and order of the planets in our Solar System and draw what we knew onto a large sheet of paper. Much discussion was had about the status of Pluto as a dwarf planet and the relative size and distance of each plant from one another.
To test out the distances we headed outside and tied a picture of the Sun to the fence in one corner of the playground. The Falcons then measured out scaled distances for all the planets using trundle wheels. Everyone was shocked to discover that we needed to go around the whole external boundary of the school (and more!) to put Neptune the correct distance from the Sun (625m on a scale where the Sun has a 20cm diameter!). Now all the children in the school can look for the planets in our Solar System and may also find a space station, rocket, comet or even an alien or two!
We then headed back to the classroom to watch a live video link with Tim Peake on the International Space Station. Although we sadly didn't win the competition to ask him questions ourselves, we did find out some of the answers to the questions we had. It was a wonderful science lesson for the children who learnt about gravity in space and found out what happens if you put a fizzy vitamin tablet into a sphere of water whilst in the International Space Station.
22nd January 2016
Today we investigated forces but, for a change, it wasn't our Jedi learning forces!
We started the day by testing gravity by dropping three different balls on the floor. We noticed that, despite their differing sizes and weights, they hit the ground at almost the same time.
The Falcons were surprised to discover that when they stand on scales they are measuring their mass (in kilograms) and not their weight. Their weight is the force of gravity pulling them towards the Earth's core and is measured in Newtons (N). We also agreed that gravity is not a magnetic force and discovered that it is Earth's gravitational force that keeps the Moon in orbit and stops it flying off into Space.
Our first experiment of the day involved weighing objects on scales (to find out their mass) and them using a Newton Meter to find out the gravitational force. We found out that 100g is the same as 1N and that the larger the mass the stronger the gravitational force.
We learnt how Isaac Newton first understood and described the impact of the pull of gravitational force.
But, we were all still shocked to see that a hammer and a feather dropped on the Moon will hit the ground at the same time.
Next we learnt about air resistance and realised that , since there is no air on the Moon, there is nothing to slow down the feather or hammer. We discussed helpful (parachuting) and unhelpful (cycling) effects of this force then the Falcons worked in groups to design and make three parachutes to test air resistance. The children worked scientifically to design their experiment. They decided which variable they would change (independent variable e.g. size, material or shape), which variable they would measure (dependent variable e.g. time taken to fall) and which controlled variables they would need to ensure were the same (e.g. size, material, shape, object attached, length of ropes and height of the drop?)
I hope you enjoy the photos of the testing process!
The children then wrote a report evaluating their investigation and advising a parachute company on the best design and materials (though we did agree that tissue paper may not be best for the real thing!).
Our last learning of the day was about water resistance and we discussed the importance of streamlining. We will finish our experiment next week.
We finished our day with a popcorn party to celebrate everyone's hard work this week.
14th January 2016
Our Tomorrow's World topic properly kicked off this week as we started to explore technology and science. We have been trying to get to grips with the global computer network and understand how the Internet works. We discussed how messages used to be sent and timed Sofia and Toby delivering a letter (which said "hold the end of this string") to Abigayle and Mia P who were hiding in different places in the school building. Then Sofia and Toby unravelled the rest of the string until they were back in the classroom. It took a couple of minutes to deliver the letter but when we tugged on the string the message was instant. Just like messages over the Internet.
Next we braved the cold and headed outdoors to recreate a global network and learnt how information is broken into different parts to be sent but ends up back together in the blink of an eye. We also discovered how a network enables us to talk to people all over the world and all at the same time. A fantastic piece of learning by the Falcons who quickly turned their new knowledge into a diagram of a computer network.
1st January 2016
Are you ready to awaken your Force Falcons?
17th December 2015
As the first full term draws to a close I've been thinking about how important exploring is to learning. Well, exploring and having fun! The more the children do themselves, the more they engage in what they are doing and they more they enjoy it. Learning for the Falcons is not just about sitting at a desk and writing, it is about trying it out for themselves.
These past few weeks we have being increasingly focusing on the exploring and doing and definitely haven't just been sitting at our tables. Take a look at these photos to see what I mean...
10th December 2015.
Wow! What a fantastic day and night we had, bringing together all of our Egyptian learning and excitement.
Over the last six weeks we have been on a wonderful educational journey and the children have thrived on the creative curriculum. But today was our big Egyptian day that cemented our love of ancient Egypt forever (and gave us all the chance to dress up as Egyptians!).
We started the day with a little ancient Egyptian maths (it was far trickier to draw the symbols than we first thought). Next we made a cartouche out of clay then engraved on our names in hieroglyphs, which was challenging for those with an 'l' or an 'm' as they had to engrave a lion or owl. We painted them gold for extra effect.
To finish the morning, the children worked in pairs to practice their embalming skills. Using strips of linen, warm water, oil and essential oils (the classroom smelt gorgeous) they took turns to carefully wrap each others hands or feet.
After lunch we learnt how Tutankhamun actually died then we got stuck into cookery. The children made flat-bread, salatit zabadi (yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and mint dip) and date loaf, ready for the visitors to our evening event.
At night family and friends were invited to the opening of the yet undiscovered Horus tomb. Crawling through the small entrance with a torch and finding ourselves in a pitch black hall was very exciting for the children and their parents. On display in the hall were the artefacts that the children have worked so hard on, for homework, over the past 4 weeks. These ranged from giant pyramids, secret tombs, scarab beetles and amulets to mummies, canopic jars and many other wonderful things. Everyone loved viewing them by torch light with the haunting music playing atmospherically in the background.
As the parents and families moved into the mummification chamber they were served the foods we had made during the day. Our year 6 children did a fabulous job ensuring that everyone got to try the foods.
We ended the evening in a dim smoke filled room where we watched Ramus prepare a young Pharaoh for his journey to the afterlife. Check out the photos below and don't miss the incredible video in our school gallery!
20th November 2015.
It's Pupil Takeover Day!
All around the school the children have taken over and Falcons are no exception. Miss Dodd is our head teacher today and is currently visiting each class with the rest of the Senior Leadership Team, Miss White and Miss King (Deputy Head). They have also already held our weekly Special People Assembly and met with a group of pupils to talk about their experience of our school. It's going to be a busy morning for them and they are taking their roles very seriously.
In Falcons our teacher, Miss Dent, has been teaching us all about Greece and we have even learnt some essential Greek words. She has managed to master ClassDojo to reward the children when they are working hard.
Miss Muldoon and Miss Hale have staffed the office this morning, organising the lunch money; ordering supplies; phoning parents about forgotten lunch boxes and sorting out resources for the classes.
Our next teacher has arrived. Miss Curran is teaching us all about Egyptian Art and everyone is enjoying the opportunity to research colours and designs for their pictures. Unfortunately Miss Baudry was ill today but luckily Mr Pryde was able to quickly step in to help out as teaching assistant.
Miss Hayward and Miss Frankum are in the lunch hall ready to supervise the dinner time rush.
A brilliant day has been had by everyone and we'd like to say a special thanks to everyone on the staff team today.
What book should I read?
Reading offers children access to worlds they may never see, perspectives they may never have encountered, vocabulary that opens new doors in their writing and ideas that spark their imaginations and lust for life.
There are some truly wonderful books for children aged 8-14 but sometimes it is difficult to know what to read and even harder for parents to decide what is a 'good' book. With Christmas coming up I thought Santa might appreciate some top tips from Ms Parks!
Wonder by R J Palacio is just superb. We are reading it in class and the children love it. There are also two sequels The Julian Chapter and Auggie & Me.
The Messenger Bird by Ruth Eastham.
The Memory Box by Ruth Eastham.
Holes by Louis Sacher.
Itch by Simon Mayo.
Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis.
My name is Mina by David Almond.
Skelleg by David Almond.
The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
Trash by Andy Mulligan.
The other side of the Truth by Beverley Naidoo.
Broken Glass by Sally Grindley.
The boy in the striped pyjamas by John Boyne.
Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders.
Fortunately the Milk by Neil Garmin.
The boy and a bear in a boat by Dave Sheldon.
Breaking Starlin's nose by Eugene Yelchin.
Toby Alone by Timothee de Fombelle
The Astounding Brocolli Boy by Frank Cottell-Boyce
Some great book series
How to train your dragon
and finally some authors who have written lots of brilliant books
13th November 2015
We have been so lucky this week. First Abi bought in some wonderful photographs of her mum and dad's trip to Egypt in 2000 so we had a chance to see what some of the places, that we have been studying, look like today. Then James brought in an extremely old photograph album full of pictures from Egypt. As we carefully looked through the pages we noticed a photo of the Valley of the Kings which was very similar to one take before the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. Was the album made before the tomb was found in 1922? We decided to become time detectives to find out. The children carefully studied a selection of the photos from the album and decided what in the photo might give us clues to the dates, such as the clothes people were wearing; the name of a hotel or Nile steamer; a photographer's name in the corner of one image. We then used the iPads to investigate the clues. Everyone enjoyed the work so much that we will carry on next week and let you know what our findings were then.
A big thank you to our House Captains Thomas, Kiera and Levi who led the school's Remembrance Assembly on Wednesday, the rest of the class were proud of your confidence and clear voices. You set an excellent example to the rest of the school too.
6th November 2015
Today we spent a fascinating lesson investigating the history of the world and working out when the ancient Egyptian civilisation fitted into this timeline. The children worked in groups of six to order 21 events in history using images and dates. Take a look at some of the events below and see if you can do as well as the children in Falcons class.
We were all surprised to discover when work started on Stonehenge and when the first Olympic Games was held.
- World War One begins.
- Invention of the first light bulb.
- First Olympic Games.
- Romans invade Britain.
- Work starts on Stonehenge.
- Birth of Muhammad.
- Work starts on the pyramids of Giza.
- Last Ice Age ends.
- Birth of Jesus.
- First mobile phone for sale.
3rd November 2015
A crucial part of learning is creating experiences that the children will remember and that will develop their curiosity and intrigue about a subject. Today's introduction to our Pharaohs topic was just that.
But first we started the day by working in teams to make mind-maps of everything the children know about Egypt. The children worked brilliantly in groups of six, each taking on a role within the team so that they could research, record and share their ideas. They absolutely loved this work, and much to my delight, desperately wanted to continue after the lesson came to an end. We have added the mind-maps to our new display.
Then, after lunch came the memorable experience. The room was darkened and soulful Egyptian music played in the background. The children sat in front of fine white curtains through which they could see the shadows of a Pharaoh's body and Ramous, the embalmer. Ramous talked the children through the process of mummification whilst he worked on the body. The children watched in awe as he washed it with water from the river Nile; cut it open with an enormous knife; removed the organs (including the liver and intestines) and then removed the brain through the nose with a hook! Finally he covered the body in natron (salts); wrapped it in strips of linen; placed on amulets for good luck and covered it in a shroud... certainly something they will remember!
29th October 2015
There is much excitement in the air because the Falcons know that our next topic is Pharaohs and we will be learning all about ancient Egypt.
To prepare for the topic the children might like to look at the websites below or even take a trip to the fantastic Ancient Egypt exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Entrance is free and there is an interactive trail for the children to help them enjoy the experience even more. They will get to see a real mummy, coffins, hieroglyphs, Egyptian Gods and much more.
The Falcons had a brilliant last week of term and end to our Welcome topic. The tourist walking guides are almost finished and we can't wait to see them displayed and in use around the village. Our QR code videos, which welcome you to our wonderful school and provide you with all the information you could need, are now on display and key points around the school. All you need is a QR code scanner (free app) on your mobile phone or tablet and you can take a look. We hope you do!
We rounded off our topic by making abstract maps of the local area from above. We looked at different images of villages and countryside on Google Earth and identified colours and textures of fields, trees, hedgerows, roads and rivers. The children mixed paint to make the range of colours they had seen and used sponges and fabrics to create the textures. We then used straws to blow paint and generate the field boundaries and roads. Look out for our display in the school entrance hall.
To end our PSHCE focus we tried out some meditation. At first the children giggle and wriggled but after a few minutes they were calm and relaxed. They followed the meditation with either reading or mindfulness colouring. Never has the classroom been so quiet and I was impressed that the calm mood continued for the rest of the day. We'll give it another go next term!
12th October 2015
It seemed like a hectic few weeks for Falcons Class as we prepared for the Harvest Service and our fabulous rendition of Alouette. Vous etiez superbes Falcons, vous m'a rendu fier! Did anyone take some photos we could have?
However it is our day to day learning that really keeps us busy. The children have finished their Charles Darwin Journal entries about their arrival on the Galapagos Islands and by the end of the week their QR code videos will make us an interactive school. They have been working extra hard in maths investigating square and cubed numbers, applying knowledge of number lines to temperature and measurements and testing their additions calculations using the inverse subtractions.
We have been learning all about the history and buildings in Sutton Courtenay as well about how to use Ordnance Survey map and symbols. This has been in preparation for writing our tourist walking guides which are well under way thanks to the classroom display the children produced to help them.
On top of this we practice daily spellings, mental maths and times tables. We have fantastic weekly drumming lessons and have been having fun learning about hockey and fitness circuits in PE. In PSHCE (ask the children what this stands for) we have been discussing how to recognise our own emotions and those of other people and learning how we can best manage how we feel to ensure we make the most of our lovely school life. Here are a few photos of the last few weeks.
2nd October 2015
It was a glorious afternoon for our village walk and visit to Millennium Common. We enjoyed looking at some of the interesting historical and tourist sites along the way including the old school, the old sweet shop, thatched roof houses and the Abbey.
Despite living in the village, most of the children have never explored Millennium Common but we were not surprised when we discovered how it is tucked away with limited signage to show the way. However, all the children are keen to return to this special nature reserve. We learnt that the common was once a quarry site but was filled in with waste rubble, waste and ash from the Didcot Power Station. We managed to find some ash and have taken it back to our class to take a closer look. We also collected leaves, plants and rose-hips and look forward to investigating which plants and trees they are from.
We noticed that the signs for the Common are worn and broken so, the children sketched the trees, plants and wildlife which will used on the new signage in the future.
We finished our trip with a hot chocolate in the garden of The Swan, one of our village pubs (we think tourists would like the hot chocolates with cream as much as we did!).
There is still lots to learn about the village so homework this week is to do some research. I am looking forward to reading and hearing what you found out.
24th September 2015
Over the last few weeks the Falcons have been developing their technique and endurance in circuit training activities as part of our Friday PE lessons. Each week we work in pairs with one person doing an exercise for 30 seconds whilst the other person manages the timer and keeps a record. Our aim each week is to increase the number of repetitions we can do of each activity in the 30 seconds. There are seven different exercise activities; bench step-ups; ab crunching sit-ups; star jumps; skipping; side jumps; arm circles and those really tough burpees, that definitely get our muscles working. We also have a rest stop where we focus on exercising our brains with activities that require coordination.
But increasing the number of repetitions we can do has not been our only challenge (though all the children are proud that they can see the difference each week). We have also been looking at improving our technique, developing our teamwork and coaching skills and this week we have been investigating the impact the different exercises have on our heart rate.
In a few weeks time we have a special guest (a fitness instructor) who is coming to check out how we are getting on, so we are excited about showing her what we can do.
23rd September 2015
Its been a fun week in Falcons Class as we have been building on our museum experience in Science and English.
We have been investigating plant and animal adaptation and can tell you all about why there are different species of apples and which ones we think bears like best (and the ones we like best too!). We can tell you how a cactus has adapted for the desert and what traits a camel, giraffe, polar bear or shark have that help them survive in their habitats. We also know how to present descriptions of animals using scientific vocabulary.
In English we have been pretending to be Charles Darwin arriving at the Galapagos Islands. We have used our senses to describe the Islands and built on these descriptions using our knowledge of different word classes. A combination of the museum visit, videos and images (and some relaxing music) has lead to impressive sentences such as
Tasting salty water, I walked rapidly over to the birds who were flapping energetically to have found a fish lying dead on the shore.
These islands have flamingos that dance perfectly in time to the rippling of the waters like they have a whole routine made for me.
I could see the red and orange crabs moving carefully by the mountain at the seawater's slippy edge.
Keep up the good work Falcons!
P.S. Thanks Alice for being the first person to tell me about the squirrel.
17th September 2015
We had a fantastic class trip to the Natural History Museum in Oxford. Rather than going by coach, the children enjoyed the experience of catching the bus and walking through the centre of Oxford looking at the historic and university buildings.
Our Evolve, Adapt, Survive workshop was captivating from the start and the children had a go at pretending to be tetrapods (though they mostly got eaten!) and snakes (though they discovered it is pretty hard to move as quickly as a black mamba). We got to handle snake skins, a polar bear claw, antlers, an ostrich egg, crocodile skin, various animal furs and a grey squirrel. There is a smiley available for the first child to tell me how a squirrel manages to climb trees without looking at its feet.
After the workshop the children used iPods to follow an evolution discovery trail around the museum with the help of Steve Backshall. This helped bring the museum to life and reminded us of the information videos that we have been working on.
The children loved the stunning museum building and appreciated the hands-on exhibits, though nobody wanted to touch the tarantula! There were many requests for a return visit.
Our day ended with an unexpected play in Christ Church Meadow in the sunshine.