Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Residential Trip - Day 1

Blogging on a remote island in the middle of the world's second largest natural harbour without broadband or a strong phone signal is a bit of a challenge but we're going to have a go!

With some super support from Mr Grafton and his colleagues, we made our way from Hedge End to Poole via Eastleigh (and an unexpected detour to Southampton Airport for Mr Hayman) by train, arriving at Poole Railway Station at around lunchtime. When doing our risk assessments, Mr Cownie and I reckoned that it would take about 30 minutes to reach the quay. However, our wonderful children responded very well to the challenge of making their way through Poole and we managed the trek - laden down with all of our bags and provisions - in under 10 minutes flat. After a quick toilet stop, a spot of lunch and a clamber on a bit of modern art, we boarded our ferry to Brownsea Island. The boat ride gave our children a super view of Brownsea Island and Poole Harbour and we were all very excited by the time we got the our destination.

While Miss Halton marched our children through the island to our lodgings, Ella and I made our way there in the front of an old Land Rover, with all of our bags and belongings in the back. The children - and particularly the staff - were amazed when they saw our home for the next week. The view from the lodge was simply stunning. Indeed, Mrs Watson was speechless! After unpacking, setting up the tents, a quick maths trail challenge in the large field and a chat about the rules for the week, we sat down to a splendid dinner of Spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread.

As the sun set, we ventured out for a walk to the famous scout camp and stone, wandered past a small lagoon, spotted some deer and made our way back to the lodge along the beach. With the moon and the stars twinkling above us, it was the perfect end to a brilliant first day away - and the first night of any residential I can remember where none of the children seemed homesick whatsoever (I am amazed!)

A story (and some of Mrs Andrews famous cookies) was followed by a quick wash and a brush of teeth (for some children a new experience!) and it was bedtime. Five intrepid children camped outside in a large 6-man tent (with Mr Hayman relegated to a tent too - but, thankfully, his own personal tent!) while the rest of the adults and children bunked indoors. I use the word 'bunk' advisedly as not a great deal of sleep was had by anyone! However, with archery, low ropes, orienteering and survival skills on the menu for today, I feel sure we'll all be tired out by nightfall!

Roll on Tuesday...!

Friday, 26 September 2014

It's all talk in Year R

Speech and Language is something that in school, allows children to feel confident with so many of the experiences that they encounter. There are many ways in which we can all help our children learn and develop this skill.

There really are many things that make a big difference, both at school and in the home.When these are understood and put into practice the children are the ones to benefit.

  • When your child starts a conversation, give your full attention whenever possible.
  • Make sure that you have your child's attention before you speak by checking that they are looking at you.
  • Acknowledge, encourage, and praise all attempts to speak. Show that you understand your child by fulfilling their request, if appropriate.
  • Pause after speaking. This gives your child a chance to think and continue the conversation.

when you listen to us it makes us very happy !!

  • Continue to build vocabulary. Introduce a new word and offer its definition, or use it in a context that is easily understood. This may be done in an exaggerated, humorous manner. "I think I will drive the vehicle to the store. I am too tired to walk."
  • Talk about spatial relationships (first, middle, and last; right and left) and opposites (up and down; on and off).
  • Offer a description or clues, and have your child identify what you are describing: "We use it to sweep the floor" (a broom). "It is cold, sweet, and good for dessert. I like strawberry" (ice cream).
  •  Identify the thing that does not belong in a group of similar objects: "A shoe does not belong with an apple and an orange because you can't eat it; it is not round; it is not a fruit."

Introducing them to new vocabulary when exploring what mini beasts have moved  into our bug hotels

  • Help your child follow two- and three-step directions: "Go to your room, and bring me your book."
  • Encourage your child to give directions. Follow his or her directions as he or she explains how to build a tower of blocks.
  • Play games with your child such as "house." Exchange roles in the family, with your pretending to be the child. Talk about the different rooms and furnishings in the house.
  • The television also can serve as a valuable tool. Talk about what the child is watching. Have him or her guess what might happen next. Talk about the characters. Are they happy or sad? Ask your child to tell you what has happened in the story. Act out a scene together, and make up a different ending.
  • Take advantage of daily activities. For example, while in the kitchen, encourage your child to name the utensils needed. Discuss the foods on the menu, their colour, texture, and taste. Where does the food come from? Which foods do you like? Which do you dislike? Who will clean up? Emphasize the use of prepositions by asking him or her to put the napkin on the table, in your lap, or under the spoon. Identify who the napkin belongs to: "It is my napkin." "It is Daddy's." "It is John's."
  • While shopping for groceries, discuss what you will buy, how many you need, and what you will make. Discuss the size (large or small), shape (long, round, square), and weight (heavy or light) of the packages.
As adults we ask children a ton of questions have you as a parent thought about the right way to do this?  Didn’t know there was a right way? Well there definitely is – it’s the difference between making your little ones feel like they’re on the spot and making them feel like they’re really being heard.  This is important stuff when they’re small and becomes absolutely critical as they get older.

 Although questions can be a great way to find out about our children, it’s crucial that we don’t just ask about what our children know. Of course all of us want our children to know a lot, but getting to know our children through the right questions allows us to follow their lead, tap into their interests, and help them pursue their passions.
Think about the following, 
Don’t ask your child too many questions.
Help your child to make and build connections.
Encourage your child to think and talk about their own ideas.

As always if you have any questions for us please comment below.We really do love to read them.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Spy Robots!

Over the last two weeks, Year 4 have been busy programming their own secret spy robots! Last week, we acted as the robots! For the robots to work, we needed to program them with a set of instructions so they could complete their task. We used a coding language to create our procedure. We then gave our instructions to our robot (our friend!) who carried out our code. They also tried to use their best robot voice as they read out the instructions!

We then set our robots an extra challenge. We set up obstacles and needed to program our robot around them. If our code didn't work, we needed to alter (or debug) or code so that the robot could successfully get around the course.

This week, we used the computer as a robot. We wrote our code by following different pathways on the floor outside.

We then used our code to instruct the computer using a program called Logo. Our instructions moved the turtle on the screen. If our pathway didn't match the one we traced over, we had to go back and debug our code so it worked correctly.

If you want to download Logo at home and create your own patterns, you can get it for free at sourceforge.net/projects/fmslogo/?source=directory . Make sure you ask permission from an adult before you install it!

BREAKING NEWS: YEAR 5 BREAK WORLD RECORD! (with a little help from a few others!)

Year 5 are record breakers!
You heard it here first.
After months of practising, a whole afternoon of playing and 10 weeks of nervous waiting the time has come to announce that we are Ukulele World Record Holders.
A total of 2370 players participated at St Mary's Stadium back in July meaning we have broken the existing world record.
Well done Year 5!
Thank you to all the adults who joined us and were able to support at the event.
I think they are a little bit pleased with themselves....


Fantastic Writing!

Over the past few weeks, Year Six have been looking at different authors. First, we looked at some Enid Blyton books, and had a go at writing in a similar style. Here are some examples of the fantastic writing we produced:

In what ways do you think it is similar to Blyton's writing?

This week, we have been looking at Paul Geraghty's books in preparation for his visit in a few weeks! We wrote the stories to his fantastic drawings. Here are a few examples:

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Spy Disguises

Year 3 came up with some brilliant disguises! Can you tell who is who?


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Understanding how sound travels through the ear.

Drama in the ear!
Today we learnt that sound is made by vibrations.  These vibrations travel through the solids, liquids and gases around us. 
Our ear is a clever piece of biology and traps the sounds.  These travel through the middle ear and into the inner ear before heading along the auditory nerve to our brain. Once there, our brain can translate vibrations into recognisable sounds.
We had great fun pretending to be all the individual components of the ear.