News and Photos from The Willows
Somebody Swallowed Stanley
After reading Somebody Swallowed Stanley by Sarah Roberts, the children watched a short video from the author who told us about her job as a marine biologist, and how she sees lots of animals who have suffered due to swallowing plastic that has ended up in the sea. As a result of this, the class went for a walk around the outside of the school to see if they could clear up any litter that has been dropped or blown across. They all wore some protective gloves but were reminded not to touch anything sharp or particularly dirty. They collected five bags of rubbish, including some interesting objects such as plastic bottles, cans, wrappers, a shoe, an old t-shirt and a piece of mains cable!
"We picked other people's litter up, " Isabelle
"If you pick up other people's rubbish, you protect the whole world and the animals and stop them from dying, " Henry
"So we saved the environment, " Matthew
"We had gloves on to not get dirty stuff on your hands and glass not to cut you, " Jonty. "We got a big heavy cable."
"We found a shopping basket, " Angel
With the plastic bags that were picked up, the children then recycled them into kites, which is what happened to Stanley at the end of the book (Sorry - spoiler!). They worked hard to use the correct shapes to make their kite, adding sticks as frames and string to hold and fly them. Although it wasn't very windy, they got a chance to run around and see which designs managed to get a bit airborne.
Caring for our teeth
The Willows class had a visitor from the local Health services to remind them about the importance of looking after their teeth. They discussed which food and snacks were considered good or not so good for our teeth. There were some surprises, including raisins and small pots of fromage frais which although considered a healthy option actually contain high levels of sugar. The children were given a demonstration of how to brush their teeth effectively, although everyone said that their parents still help during teeth-brushing time to ensure they are doing it properly. Packs were given out containing a toothbrush and a two-minute sand-timer as well as a weekly chart to remind each child to care for their teeth twice a day.
The children made a wonderful (in my opinion, anyway!) noise the other day when they were introduced to exploring how to make music with water. They listened to the different sounds that various bottles made when they were filled or half-filled with water and then shaken. They also heard how 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' sounded on a water xylophone - eight glasses filled with different levels of water to make an octave and then struck in the correct sequence with a metal spoon. They had a go at making their own 'notes' and changing them by adding or reducing water. They observed how the notes went lower when more water was added. This was an engaging and lively session which could be repeated at home - if you dare!
Happy Chinese New Year
Willows class had an exciting time learning about Chinese New Year today. After finding out that it is the Year of the Rat, they practised writing the symbol for 'rat' in Chinese and compared it to the English spelling. They made a Chinese dragon and danced along to authentic Chinese street drumming music, moving and swirling their dragon puppets along to the beat. At snack time, they discovered how to eat noodles using chop-sticks, and they ate very heartily indeed! They have all taken their chopsticks home, so they can continue to get used to holding them effectively. They all painted their red envelopes with gold paint, and will discover something nice inside when they are ready to take home. They were also all given a Fortune cookie which hopefully had some inspirational messages inside as well as providing a tasty snack! Happy new year, everyone! 新年快乐
Water water everywhere...
The Willows have been exploring and learning about water this week. After a fabulous discussion about what different types of water they can think of, they came up with ponds, lakes, rain, taps, water fountains, water bottles, underground, ice, sewage systems and many more suggestions that showed that they were really thinking hard. They had a good think about what sorts of things they would want to learn specifically, so we have got a huge range of research to do to answer some of these questions, including:
How does water get through the pipes? Does water come from clouds? How does water get to fire hydrants? How does water get through leaves of a plant (that's GCSE biology but we shall certainly have a look at the basic process!)
We started by looking at the water cycle, thinking about the actual word cycle and what it means. The children have made collages to help with their understanding.
Keeping warm in Winter
This week we have been reading One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth. The children were initially shown clues as to what the story would be, and they predicted what they thought would happen in the book. After some interesting and insightful ideas, they then heard how Percy the Park Keeper helped his animal friends keep warm in his hut on a wintry, snowy night. The children listened to the story and picked out all the 'cold' words, as well as listing some of the animals in the book, by listening and blending the sounds in each word. The children also made their own story books based on the text and were able to retell the story. They sorted through a pile of hats, scarves and gloves, and as well as having fun trying them all on, they labelled their own drawings of them.
It was enthusiastically agreed that the best way to keep warm on a cold day was to have some hot chocolate, so we all took a visit down to Percy's hut and enjoyed a hot drink. Luckily, there were some biscuits to dip in, too, which seemed to appeal to everyone!
"Yum yum yum yum so tasty!" Nyasha.
"I had about 6 cups of hot chocolate (they were just top-ups! - Mrs Foster) "and just loved it!" Matthew. On comparing drinking hot chocolate outdoors to indoors: "It turns colder because outside is cold."
"You can dip your biscuits in the hot chocolate." Hayden
Preparations for Christmas
Willows children all wrote a Christmas card this week, remembering to sign their name before sealing their envelope. They each had to listen out for and recognise their own address so that they could attach the appropriate label to their envelope. They then went to our make-shift post office and paid for their second class stamp. The most exciting part of writing letters and cards, though, is actually posting them. We all braved the cold rain and walked into the village to the post office, where each child patiently waited their turn at the post-box. Having previously watched a video about the journey of a letter, the children knew that it would take a couple of days for the cards to be sorted and delivered to the correct addresses. Hopefully there will be lots of surprised and happy parents as the envelopes start dropping onto the mats.
Festivals and Fireworks
This week the Willows class have learned about Diwali, and how it is celebrated. They all made their own Diva lamp from clay, and had a go at Bollywood dancing after watching a video of children during the Diwali celebrations.
The children talked about Fireworks night, and not only impressed the teachers with their safety tips, but came up with a long list of words to describe the fireworks that they'd seen, including, "Whizz, crackle, whistle, bang, bombing, golden, sparkle."
To create their own unique firework paintings, one of the techniques used was to blow down straws to move the paint across the paper to make explosive shapes. Children added small amounts of glitter to make them even more realistic.
These photos also show the class all doing the Conga after a casual comment from one of the children. Now all the children should be able to teach you how to do-do-do this fun dance!
Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins
This week the children have been very busy working on the book 'Rosie's Walk' by Pat Hutchins. It was read to them initially without the pictures, so they heard about how Rosie the hen walked around the farm. Then they were shown the book, and as it was read a second time, they realised that there was a lot more going on in the story that they couldn't tell from the text alone!
Each child then sat and made a story map, so that they could tell the story in their own words. If you don't already know this story, ask your child to tell it to you, as they are now experts.
They also chose to paint either a hen or a fox, and they very carefully decided which colours they would need, which they then mixed themselves before painting their wonderful pictures.
Oliver's Vegetables by Vivian French
The children discovered some vegetables hidden in the soil this week. They decided to wash the dirt off them so that they could be eaten, and they asked if they could cook the potatoes. We decided that we would make chips after reading our class book 'Oliver's Vegetables' by Vivian French, but the class also wanted to try some mashed potato too. The children were shown how to peel and cut the potatoes safely, but the best bit of course was the eating! Delicious!
They have been learning how by eating fruit and vegetables they can stay healthy, and they have also discussed other ways that they can look after themselves, including keeping clean and brushing their teeth as well as tidying up toys from the floor so as not to trip over.
First Week in the Willows
The newest members of our school community have a lovely bright classroom, with lots of areas to explore
First Week in the Willows
Sometimes they figure things out on their own...
Number Treasure Hunt
To help with the children's skills when subitising (recognising small amounts without having to count them), they all took part in a hunt around the room, finding cards with different quantities of objects. The children eventually were successful in finding all images, and worked together to ensure that all the pictures matched up to the correct number.
Phonics So Far
The class have also been working extremely hard on their phonics. They have been learning how to read and write various letters, and some children are producing very neatly written short words of which they are very proud.
And Maths too...
They have also been investigating numbers, and this week they practised putting 1 to 5 in the correct order. The children also now know that by adding 4 and 1 fingers, you get 5, and the same if you add 3 and 2 fingers
Our first class visitor
We had a visit from a firefighter who showed us the equipment that he has to wear when he attends a fire. The children all discussed the dangers in different scenarios that were presented to them, including how to keep safe in the car or walking on the road. The children were a great audience and really enjoyed the visit. They were able to talk about lots of things that that they learned:
'The boots – they have stripes they glow up in the dark' - Henry
'A helmet – you wear it to keep safe' - Thomas
'Hat – it was a fireman’s hat and it had a visor bit over' - Matthew
'They use big scissors so they can cut doors off if people are stuck in the cars' - Joshua
First Week in the Willows
They also learn and play outdoors
First Week in the Willows
And sometimes they work together with Mrs Foster