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THE WONDER OF CASTLES:  IMMERSIVE STUDY LEADS TO RICH LEARNING EXPERIENCES

Over the last term, Year 2 have been studying the subject of castles and this has taken them in multiple directions.  They have produced some very entertaining writing, based on the tale of Sir Scallywag and as well as this fictional focus, they have also written letters to Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Linking with their technology objectives, and spatial awareness in maths, children were also taked with the challenge of creating a castle using only 8 biscuits, joining this together with the correct consistency of icing.

Their long awaited trip takes place on Thursday.  There will be further trip updates following the event.

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LEARNING SIDE BY SIDE:  ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL EYFS WORKSHOP

One of the approaches used in EYFS that has the most powerful impact on learning in the classroom are the regular workshops held for parents during the school day.  Attendance and commitment is high.  The sessions are always extremely well attended and parents feedback on how valuable they find the experience.

Throughout the term, the EYFS team work hard to identify the areas where children need extra support and the workshops are developed and designed around this, making the approach bespoke and effective.

EYFS lead, James Shuker was very pleased with last week's event.

"Many thanks to all of the parents/grandparents who attended last week’s Reception writing workshops

It was an opportunity to work alongside their child, seeing how phonics is taught in school and understanding how to best support their child at home. We explored how to pronounce the sounds that are within Phase two and Phase three of Letters and Sounds, how to read them and how to write them. We then practiced the skill of segmenting to model how a child is expected to develop their writing skills. The children practiced writing words, captions and even some sentences with capital letters, finger spaces and full stops."

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Year 5 celebrated Burns Night During the Day!

Both Mr Sandle Keynes and Miss Smith have deep roots in Scotland and for that reason they could not resist the opportunity of celebrating Scotland's most famous poet.  Tomorrow the class will be cooking a traditional Scottish Meal and studying the poetry of this intriguing dynamic character.  

The information below comes from this link  http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/british_history/robert_burns/

Burns the man

Burns was born in Alloway in Ayrshire on the 25th January 1759. He came from a family of farmers and during his childhood he often had to work long hours helping out on the farm.

His family were quite poor and Robert did not spend much time in school. His father taught him to read, write and do maths.

As a young man he liked poetry and music and so he started to write poems and songs himself about the places and people he knew.

Burns the poet

Burns' life changed almost overnight in 1786 when a collection of his poems and songs were published. They became a huge hit and made Robert very famous and very wealthy.

He moved to Edinburgh where he was welcomed by the wealthiest and most powerful people of the city. Because of his farming background he was nicknamed the Ploughman Poet. He went to many parties and lived his life like a modern day pop star!

It was during this period of great success and wealth that Burns found the pebble and had it made into an exclusive cravat pin.

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IT HAS ARRIVED:  YEAR 5'S PUBLICATION, THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM

Over the last term,  our Year 5 children in Seahorses and Sharks have embarked on a project exploring mechanisms and clockwork spanning ancient times to the present time.  Beginning with a visit to Compton Verney's Mechanical Museum exhibition, the children read literature linked to clockwork and then went on to learn about the mysterious Antikythera mechanism.

The Antikythera mechanism was discovered in a ship wreck in 1901, just off the coast of the Greek Island Antikythera (hence the name).  For many years there was much confusion about the purpose of the instrument, which just looked like one lump of cogs when it was first found.  However, as technology advanced, scientists were eventually able to x-ray it, discovering that it could be used to track the movement of the sun, moon and planets, amongst other things.

The children were mesmerised by this idea and decided to write stories about what happen if the mechanism burst back into life.  How would it sound?  What would you see?  What would it do?

Their language was enriched by drama, dance and art activities, all linked to the movement and sound of mechanisms.  They even played with clockwork toys in class.

Their writing was so superb that Compton Verney commissioned them to write a book.  They took up the challenge and have now their published book has arrived, several copies going to the homes of our talented Year 5 authors.

FIND OUT MORE HERE: The Antikythera Mechanism - 2D

More than 21 centuries ago, a mechanism of fabulous ingenuity was created in Greece, a device capable of indicating exactly how the sky would look for decades to come -- the position of the moon and sun, lunar phases and even eclipses.

The Antikythera Mechanism - 2D

More than 21 centuries ago, a mechanism of fabulous ingenuity was created in Greece, a device capable of indicating exactly how the sky would look for decades to come -- the position of the moon and sun, lunar phases and even eclipses.

EXPLORATION, PARTICIPATION AND GROWTH: FOREST SCHOOL

For the last term, Year 3 children have been participating in Forest School, an initiative which has been funded by the Willows Friends PTA.  We have two teachers in school trained to do Forest school, with another looking to being trained this year.

We really value this opportunity for outdoor learning, which opens children's minds up to endless possibilities.  Here are some of the comments made by our enthusiastic pupils.

“It’s fun because you’re working with your friends outside.”  - Noah

“ At the end of Forest School we have a cup of hot chocolate!” – Jai

“Mr Stickley is basically teaching us how to survive in the wild” - Ben 

“We are learning how to survive if we get lost when we are camping” – Laurence

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STUNNING SOLOS, DAZZLING PERFORMANCES: KEY STAGE 1 NATIVITY THRILLS AUDIENCES

Parents were taken aback by the quality of the Key Stage 1 nativity performance which told the story from the point of view of the animals.  The cat was the main narrator of the story, a very clever creature who accurately predicted that a miracle would happen, but didn't wake up until after it had occurred (cats aren't used to being made to wait).

The children in Key Stage 1 are very used to drama because it is a big part of their learning in literacy.  Every day they act out different stories to help them remember story structure and to enrich their vocabulary.  So it is no surprise that such confidence and poise was evident on the stage from these well rehearsed children.  The characterisation of the different creatures was superb.

 

RECEPTION 'RING OUT THE BELLS' FOR THE NATIVITY

Performance and rehearsal teach children very important life skills, because they are learning about pride, preparation, and most importantly, how to grow in confidence when presenting in front of a group of people.  It seems unbelievable that the children in Ants and Spiders have barely had a term to learn these skills, because the joy, enthusiasm and confidence bursting from the stage at their recent production of 'THe Nativity' had the audience wrapt with delight.

'Ring Out The Bells' was a favourite song, performed towards the end as the climax of the play.  Mrs Herrero was very sad to have missed the production.  She was running a training course for Newly Qualified Teachers from 30 schools in Warwickshire.  However, she has seen some of the rehearsal and was duly impressed.

"The children's singing was not only joyous, but harmonious.  Children's voices are still developing at this age, but the accuracy in their pitch was really impressive."

Mr Stickley who equally pleased,

"It was absolutely beautiful, one of the best I've seen", he proclaimed!

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CONCRETE, VISUAL ABSTRACT:  KEY STAGE 1 MATHS WORKSHOPS TO INFORM PARENTS

On 5th December the school hall was packed out with keen parents who enjoyed a dynamic and enlightening maths workshop led by the talented Sarah Davis.  Our kinesthetic approach to teaching mathematics has transformed children's understanding of the subject.  Consequently, parents have been keen to use the same methods at home as we have been using in the school.  Mrs Davis prepared some charming videos of the children who gave clear explanations of how to use various apparatus and representations to help them in their maths.  We hope that these will be live on our website next week.

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RAISING OUR READING PROFILE WITH PUBLISHED AUTHORS 6/12/18

Over the last fortnight have enjoyed listening to presentations and extracts from Amy Wilson and Jeff Norton. Children who chose to buy the books have had the texts signed by the authors and we have also bought a selection for the school library.  We are very lucky to have a close relationship with Warwick Books who organise these free events for us.

 

We should also remember that our Willows children are also exceptional authors themselves.  Some of these pictures show some of the recent work they have completed on the book 'The Lost Words'.  This is a book that has been given to every school in Warwickshire by Coventry University.  It contains poems about words that have been taken out of the Junior Oxford English Dictionary.  Shockingly, these are words like 'acorn', and 'chestnut'.  The Lost Words celebrates this wonderful vocabulary and the children have been producing their own descriptive poems and art work.

 

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HANDS ON REAL LIFE LEARNING:  A CROSS CURRICULAR THANK YOU!

Since last year, our Year 3 children have taken on the responsibility of offering a special thank you celebration for volunteers who help us in school…and there are a lot of them.

This year, using vegetables and fruit grown in our own grounds (which we link to our science work), the children prepared a delectable  three course meal.  Year 4 helped out by cooking flavoursome tomato soup.  Mrs Musgrove, who with the help of her gardening club is our chief horticulturalist, was very relieved that the tomatoes were being used.  She said, “We were desperate to use them up because we had a very good crop this year!”  The children made homemade bread for the ploughman’s lunch main course and pudding was apple crumble, which of course contained our delicious apples.

Visitors who attended were wowed by the children’s poise as they waited on tables.  One visitor said, “I feel very emotional.  The children are just exceptional.  They have organised this so professionally.  I love the songs they have sung to entertain us as well.  The food is delicious”.

Year 3 teachers agreed that it was very hard work and a lot of organisation, but worth it.

“The rich cross curricular opportunities meant children were using their maths skills, science skills, literacy and food technology skills to name but a few”, Mrs Templeton enthused.

Mr Dalton added, “I’ve seen children really grow in confidence through this project and the fact it is so purposeful has meant that children have worked extra hard.”

The school is working towards an award from The Food for Life Initiative.

PHOTOS FROM OUR HARVEST SUPPER

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​​​​​​​THEATRE IN ACTION: REMEMBERING WORLD WAR ONE

"Children were moved to tears by this incredible performance!" was Mrs Lane's reaction to this outstanding piece of theatre for schools.

The incredible PLAY HOUSE theatre company performed ‘Lest we Forget’, a really moving piece about a Sikh soldier recovering in a hospital in Birmingham.  Some of the writing our Year Sixes have already produced about World War One is incredibly moving, so much so that we are planning to perform readings of it at Holy Trinity Church.  We plan to  accompany this with music and lighting.

The top quality performance they have experienced from Playhouse will enhance their thinking and also inspire some further ideas about how they might illuminate their readings.

LEST WE FORGET

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