Bendish Lane, Whitwell, Hitchin, Hertfordshire. SG4 8HX

01438 871241

St Paul's Walden

Primary School

News and Photos from The Willows

Un Dia Español 25th June

After learning Spanish for the past couple of weeks, the Willows class spent a whole day celebrating Spain and its culture today. They looked at and made their own Spanish flag; they learned about La Tomatina - the massive annual tomato fight; they discussed the Running of the Bull in Pamplona; after a Flamenco lesson they danced along with the music and clapped and called out various phrases to cheer on the dancers and guitar players. The best part of the day was to sample in some tapas - they had ham, chorizo, cheese, olives and Spanish omelette, accompanied by a delicious and fruity iced Sangria, which was perfect on this incredibly hot day!! Their Spanish words are coming along nicely, including introducing themselves, saying their age, counting to 10 (usually in song!) and are already translating phrases such as: tengo un perro negro y blanco. We are delighted with their progress and are looking forward to teaching them even more in the next three weeks.

Sadly not the best quality film, but this gives you an idea of the Flamenco dancing today. There are certainly some passionate moves going on!

Anansi the Spider 19th June

This week the children have been learning about Anansi the Spider, who is an African folk hero. They listened to one of his stories where he got lost and was saved from a terrible fate from his six clever sons. The class then created beautiful collage pictures of either Anansi or one of his sons using strips of black paper and coloured shapes to highlight the different features of each character. 

More Anansi....

Watch the videos below to see the children singing a rhythm about Anansi playing the drums. This song helps the children hear and respond to the different beats throughout the song, and they are banging, clapping or in one case, clicking with their tongue. The other video clip shows us all learning an African call and response chant, 'Che Che Kule', which has actions rather similar to Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. You can tell by our enthusiastic singing just how much we are all enjoying it! (Sorry about the camera swimming in and out of focus).

Welcome back to Reception

It has been very exciting to see lots of our friends returning to Willows class. Although the classroom feels a little different, and with some new rules to remember, the children have been brilliant and have picked up where they left off before the school closure. Each child now has their own individual table with a tray of resources, and they have all enjoyed the responsibility of looking after their own pens, pencils and other items needed to help with their learning. We have spent a lot of time outside, exploring the garden and enjoying the weather, and they all created their own character face to put on a tree using clay and natural objects that they chose. 

We have also been learning some Spanish, and the children are already getting confident greeting people and counting up to 10. In fact, we can't stop singing our Spanish numbers song! Uno dos tres..... tra la la...! 

If your child is working at home during the school closure, please look at the pages under Coronavirus Closure, including our class's page, where Mrs Foster will post tips and ideas just for the Willows children. If you want to send in a photo, video or some examples of what you've been up to, we will post them on Our Virtual School Community Page

Examples of your work

I have been kept very busy looking at the work you have all sent me over the past couple of weeks now. Some of it I have posted on the community page, but I thought I'd add a few bits and pieces on here too.

Counting Coins

Some of you have been busy with the coin counting exercise that was set on Google Classroom. I like how some of you wrote down your answers, some of you typed them, and some of you found some actual coins to put it all into practice. Henry challenged himself by adding in 50p coins, too!

Watch this space...

The children were delighted with their new 'Reading Space' when they came back from half term. They have been playing in there all week, imagining they are flying through outer space in their rocket. They have also been making models of their own rockets, as well getting cosy in a large spaceship they created in the outdoor area. They have also been learning the various names of each part of the rocket, such as the nose cone, fins and exhaust flames.  

The International Space Station

We watched a video of female astronaut Sunita Williams as she took us on a tour around the International Space Station. The children were fascinated to see her floating around as she showed us how she deals with being in space for 6 months. Each child was then able to explain the different aspects of space life, such as the space-suit, exercising, using the toilet and moving around. Their knowledge, interest and recall of her film is very impressive.

Suit – so you can breathe in space. You just put it on your whole body. The oxygen is kept there. The helmet is like big sunglasses so you can see in space. Gabriel
Suit – so you can breathe in space. You just put it on your whole body. The oxygen is kept there. The helmet is like big sunglasses so you can see in space. Gabriel
She's upside down. She doesn't feel she's upside down, she just feels she's straight up again. Liv
She's upside down. She doesn't feel she's upside down, she just feels she's straight up again. Liv
A bicycle to make her get energy. Jack
A bicycle to make her get energy. Jack
Her can sleep on the bottom and the top like a circle and you can go anywhere you want. Thomas
Her can sleep on the bottom and the top like a circle and you can go anywhere you want. Thomas
That's the Earth we live on. She can see the sky,  the grass and the clouds. Hugo
That's the Earth we live on. She can see the sky, the grass and the clouds. Hugo
The coolest bit in the space station is you can see though it - the whole Earth. Matthew
The coolest bit in the space station is you can see though it - the whole Earth. Matthew
That's the toilet. There's the poo in that space toilet - it will just float out. That will be crazy! We've got to flush the toilet. Shaurya
That's the toilet. There's the poo in that space toilet - it will just float out. That will be crazy! We've got to flush the toilet. Shaurya

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.

Water Music

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. 


Getting very Christmassy!

Our Developing Writing

Although we have been so busy these past couple of weeks rehearsing and performing our first class assembly and the Nativity, we have still found time to practise lots of writing and mark making. After hearing the story of the Gingerbread Man, the children were eager to draw scenes from the story, explaining what was happening in their picture. They also sounded out the word 'man' and had a go at writing it independently with a lot of success. Aside from this, they got the chance to weigh some ingredients to make their own salt dough gingerbread men, which they have painted and decorated so that they can be used for a Christmas decoration. 

We have also been learning about rhyming words, and the children are starting to spot the words which sound the same in poems and songs. Although the Cat in the Hat has proved a good favourite and helpful for hearing these rhymes, the most impressive rhyming words that one of the children recited was 'fertiliser' and 'wiser' - well done Joshua!