Half term has arrived at breakneck speed; the weeks have flown by in a flurry of purposeful and fun learning with so much happening outside the classroom too. In spite of COVID, we have also tried to ensure school life has continued as normally as possible and this has certainly been the case in the last few weeks. - Fixtures galore, concerts, drama rehearsals, a myriad of activities and even popcorn tasting at Little Tea. The opportunities for our children are fantastic and participation is, I’m pleased to say, fulsome and enthusiastic!
We have just come to the end of a brilliant whole school Science Week today and my thanks to Melanie Emrich and the whole science department for organising so many fascinating and thoughtful experiments and workshops. The most popular attraction has definitely been the hatching of our own Bantam chicks (they are adorable) who will be joining the school chickens when ready. Other highlights have been exploding watermelons, invisible flame writing and various dissections. The immersion in fun, practical and investigative science is such a valuable aspect of our children’s learning journey and I am grateful to the staff for their hard work in providing these opportunities.
This week we have started the exciting process of writing the Windlesham Habits for Learning (a working title at present!) which will form the basis of the effective learning traits, habits and behaviours for all pupils and staff at the school. They will become embedded in everything we do and how we learn; the language used will become very familiar too!
As a school it is essential that our teaching and learning is creative, rigorous and innovative but that there is also clear continuity and progression from Reception all the way to Year 8. Risk-taking, involvement, determination, resilience and critical thinking are just some of the soft skills that we encourage together with the establishment of a lifelong love of learning. As teachers we must model ourselves as perpetual learners; a thought which came home to me loud and clear as I joined in with this week’s Polo activity. As a complete novice amongst some children with considerably more experience, I found myself having to listen carefully and follow instructions, make numerous mistakes (i.e. missing the ball!), take risks and cope with varying levels of disappointment. I also enjoyed myself thoroughly and my confidence grew as I began to master new skills. This, of course, is a daily experience for pupils and highlights the importance of providing a vibrant and supportive learning environment to allow our children to thrive.
As we gradually return to normal, it is wonderful to be able to report on pupils’ successes. The U13 tennis team competed in the Sussex County Championships with great success last week. Amidst stiff competition, the girls’ team came third and the boys’ team emerged victorious and County Champions. Congratulations and well done to everyone! Yesterday saw the Houses battling it out in the Junior Public Speaking competition; well done to all the Houses for some fantastic performances. Special congratulations to the joint winners – Bader and Raleigh!
A quick look through the calendar for June and July is enough to see that we have five very busy and full weeks. It has always been my aim to finish this most unusual of all years in style and we certainly shall. I hope you all have a relaxing and well-deserved half-term break and the weather is looking good too.
Happy Half Term!
Where have the weeks gone? It is hard to believe that we are about to embark on our final half term of the academic year. So many challenges but also so many more successes and we still have so much more to look forward to in the coming weeks.
Our pastoral theme has been centered around the topic of taking responsibility. We were treated to a super chapel service from Year 1 on Wednesday morning highlighting how we can all be a little more responsible in our daily lives. Top tips were shared and the children have all been challenged with trying to be a little more responsible at home over the half-term holidays; tidy bedrooms and looking after pets were high on the lists so, over to the children to rise to the challenge.
The children in Year 2 have also been learning about the responsibility of nurturing all the plants they have planted and making sure they are well watered and have plenty of sunshine. Hopefully, the bees and butterflies will visit our bright and colourful display as soon as the weather warms. Many thanks for all the kind donations of plants to add to the collection. We will also be creating a wildflower meadow in the corner of the field area and watching patiently to see what grows.
As ever, I hope you enjoy sharing the highlights of our week through the class pages and recordings.
Wishing you all a safe and healthy half-term break and we look forward to seeing everyone ready and raring to go for the final half term.
Very best wishes
“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” - E.B. White
We finished our final chapter of Charlotte’s Web and discussed our favourite parts and characters. The story has a bittersweet ending when Charlotte, the kind spider, dies after laying her eggs & her best friend Wilbur the pig has to go home to the barn without her. He does, however, take her eggs with him to the farm and in the spring, all the little spiders' hatch. This makes Wilbur (and us) very happy! Three of the baby spiders decide to stay at the barn so Wilbur always has friends nearby.
Here are some of the children’s thoughts on the story
“I like Wilbur because he’s funny when he talks to the little spiders. I like Charlotte because she is kind.” - Jasmine
“I like Wilbur, Charlotte and her baby spiders, and Fern because she fed Wilbur when he was a baby.” - Montagu
“I liked the whole book but I didn’t like Templeton because he was rude.” - Joseph
“I like the three baby spiders because they are cute and Wilbur named them.” - Arthur
Charlotte’s Web was adored in our classroom and the plot found its way into paintings, stories written by the children, blocks and animal play, play in the garden into conversations about lunch. In the playground, I could even hear children using Charlotte’s fancy greeting word, “Salutations” and we can’t help but say “There’s a Charlotte” when we see a spider web. The class celebrated the end of the chapter book by watching some of the film together.
Our child-led learning saw many instruments being made from recycled materials and elastic bands resulting in some very creative and authentic ideas. One guitar even had an amp box, tuning keys and a wool cord to connect the two. This inspired a foray into the GarageBand app where we explored the sound of various instruments. Some children chose to use our art books for inspiration this week to try Aboriginal dot painting and pencil sketching outside. Our broad beans, sunflowers and wildflowers are growing rapidly but so are the weeds - luckily our class had many gardeners who helped to pull tiny weeds from the soil. We also had a wonderful time this week making pasta from scratch with Mrs. Messenger, playing farm animal games in Spanish with Senorita Goss, practicing our dancing with Mrs. Jenkins, sharing the instruments we made with Mr. Fitt and staying active with Miss Charman.
Choo, choo! Train arriving at Windlesham station! We have learned about George Stephenson and the impact of the railways on Victorian Britain. The children were amazed to discover that it was cheap train tickets that contributed to the popularity of seaside holidays in the olden days. As such, we have immersed ourselves in silly seaside poetry. I wish you could have heard us all trying to get our mouths around some classic tongue-twisters! Your children should be able to tell you what ‘alliteration’ is now and may well share some of their own tricky-to-enunciate compositions! Try Geneveieve’s idea of ‘six speedy seagulls swooshing in the sunny sky’ or Imogen’s ‘beautiful black boat bobbing on the bright beach’ for size!
Maths has seen us learning how to share things into equal groups. We have learned to identify the division symbol and know that it means to ‘share equally between’. We began by sharing concrete apparatus (cubes or counters to represent objects) and then moved on to a written strategy. Some found recording dots worked for them, while others preferred to list numbers to help them keep track of how many they were sharing. A few children were even able to see the inverse link between multiplication and division. It is fair to say that our brains were feeling fairly fried having taken onboard this new concept!
In spite of a general feeling of tiredness, the enthusiasm that I was greeted with when I asked the children to help with leading Chapel, led to the whole class being rewarded with a certificate in our Friday assembly. Each classmate spoke clearly and confidently, conveying our message of ‘taking responsibility’ very well and even sang their hearts out for everyone with an enthusiastic rendition of ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands’. It was made all the more special when some members of the class were surprised with photos of their parents who work for the NHS showing them ‘taking significant responsibility’. Thank you to all involved.
We’ve been trying our hand at writing riddles in Year 2 this week. Having embraced Lewis Carroll’s rather peculiar style of storytelling, we have successfully puzzled and confused our own readers. Can you figure out which character is being described in Nathaniel’s tricky riddle... ? 1) Furious? Not me… ok, maybe sometimes. 2) People might call me crazy… but I’m not. 3) I live outside a castle. 4) Sometimes I can be quite beastly. 5) You might find me painting the roses red. Who am I?
In maths, we have been reviewing our learning and have built on some of our previous topics with a different focus each day. We’ve polished our written methods for 2-digit addition and subtraction, we’ve tried our hand at rotation and direction and we’ve applied our calculation skills to find and apply rules to some rather complex number sequences. A busy week but we’re feeling super confident leading into our final half-term!
In our science sessions, we were very excited to study our new classroom lodgers! Some of the butterflies have made an appearance and we were quick to use our knowledge of these beautiful creatures to ensure they had everything they needed. We have been creating our own life cycle fact files and posters so their arrival couldn’t have been better timed! In our art sessions we have designed our very own butterflies with a Lewis Carroll inspired fictional twist. There were some quirky and unusual collages but all of them were stunning. Lewis would have been proud!
On Tuesday afternoon the children took part in their first rounders match. The sun made an appearance and the children showed incredible teamwork and sportsmanship. We hope you enjoy the recording of the afternoon’s events.
Miss Rickaby and Mrs Sutherland
Watch this week's gallery
Watch Pre-Prep playing a fantastic game of rounders below!