Outdoor Curriculum Learning
Y6 SATs go up in smoke!
Year 5/6 built a fire from scratch with newspaper twists and kindling. Year 6 took great pleasure in burning their revision booklets now that their exams are over. It was an enjoyable way to end a week and head into next term which will be filled with story-writing and The Greatest Showman. So much fun ahead. Baths or showers will be needed tonight though, as the smell of smoke clung to everyone's clothes and seemed to get worse as the afternoon wore on!
Harvesting our Crops
Our most recent November crop has been onions. Children have taken these home to cook with, as we are not cooking again until our Activity Week in December and we were worried about wasting our crop. Our onions smelled STRONG so we anticipated they would be tasty. We had to pop them in paper bags and remove them from the classroom, so nobody cried! Gardeners observed how healthy our onions looked - we believed them to be superior to some shop-bought produce! We look forward to growing, harvesting and cooking with more of our home-grown fruit and vegetables soon.
Rosalyn said, "We made a lentil Shepherds' Pie with the onions that was delicious!" My mum and dad told me it tasted better than when we cooked it with normal onions!
"I made Spaghetti Bolognaise with them," Morven said, "they were so strong they did make me cry when I chopped them!" My dad told me they looked like shop-bought onions.
Children foraged materials from our nature reserve from which they mixed their own paints. They collected leaves, berries, grasses, flowers and charcoal (from our fire-fit) to pound into paste using sturdy twigs. Some made paint brushes from grasses. They also used mud, sand and coffee, so our classroom did pong a bit! Once mixed, children enjoyed using their fingers and foraged materials to cave-paint. Not all children enjoyed getting messy at first, but everyone did in the end! Children who don't always enjoy art found this messy project liberating. Year 5 also recreated Jackson Pollock, Monet and Matisse whilst Year 6 was at Hilltop. These are shared on our school's art page and Rosalyn's Monet 'Water Lillies' is framed and hanging proudly in our school foyer.
We now have a bird hide! This is thanks to the limitless generosity of Peter who not only devotes his time each week to our club, but has now also paid for a shed that has been turned into a bird hide! We are so lucky to have such dedicated community volunteers. This hide will be ready to use very soon. Children have painted it and once steps are secure, we are sure it will become a valuable outdoor learning space. The hide has a viewing window and bench and our PTA has provided us with binoculars, so we are almost ready to start bird-watching! The hide is perfectly situated to view the pond too, so children will be able to not only pond-dip but to watch nature at work close up in this area too. The pond has recently been cleared and revamped. It really is a beautiful spot. The club will soon dig up tulips for replanting next year and bluebells will soon be arriving to add even more colour to this space. Frogs are established in this area now too and these always give us a thrill when spotted.
Easter Egg Hunt: teamwork, communication skills and FUN!
Gardening Club enjoyed an Easter treat provided for them by Peter (thank-you Peter!) this week. It was a lot of tasty fun and provided energy for a safety demonstration for new Year 5 members that was led by the current Year 6 club. New members are enjoying being trained up to take over in September. We are looking forward to working with them and hearing their ideas. So far, new members are helping to maintain the nature area, pond, indoor courtyards and are growing vegetables and herbs that we hope to cook with on our fire-pit soon.
Children from KS1 and KS2 are enjoying their Survival Golden Morning. They have cooked marshmallows, s'mores and chocolate bananas using our fire-pit. They have also enjoyed building dens in the nature area and learnt about six-grid map references. Children of all ages are queuing up to get outside to cook and eat soon! As a post-SAT treat and also as part of their Stone Age to Iron Age topic-learning, Year 5/6 pupils will certainly be grabbing the opportunity to start fires and cook themselves some tasty snacks!
Our club's potatoes were a success! After harvesting, Miss Haji's class made potato salad. All the children enjoyed making this, some enjoyed eating it - some did not - but everyone was brave enough to try it! It was wonderful to use this activity to help children to meet some writing aims too. They certainly held firm opinions around whether they had enjoyed the salad or not, openly and confidently sharing their opinions. Their tips for next time, included using natural yogurt instead of creme fraiche and - for some - their advice was to avoid the spring onions altogether! We didn't manage to make any tomato relish this year, but our crop was abundant and tasty. Although, Miss Haji did agree with some children who thought fresh tomatoes would taste better with salt.
Brave children tasting the lemon we didn't need for our potato salad. It was a surprisingly enjoyable experience! Children certainly used their pupil voice to strongly suggest that we keep learning through preparing and EATING food this year, whether the ingredients are grown by us or not. We do have plans to grow more edible crops in our courtyards, so there are certainly more tasting opportunities on the horizon.
Our potatoes have arrived. After the success of our previous tomato and strawberry crops, we are looking forward to planting these potatoes as soon as we are able to get our club up and running again. We are all hoping this will be after Easter...Hurrah! Our club is back up and running and our potatoes and herbs (rocket) have now been planted! The recent rain, although not welcome at play-times, is working wonders for our newly-planted crops that we hope will prove tasty when harvested...and our club is diligently tending to all this year's courtyard crops, plants and hanging baskets. The flowers add colour and cheer around school too.
Golden Time: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Art Attack Golden Morning
Using the Correct Tool for the Job
Wildflower Sketching: Year 1/2
KS2 Art Attack Golden Morning: hedgehog pencil sketches
Miss Haji's class began the new school year with hedgehog research pages and these are on display in school, some of which will provide tips for helping avoid the creeping extinction of this beautiful native creature. Children have also decided to write their English diary unit in role as hedgehogs and are very excited to use their pupil voice and share their creativity in this way. We hope our new array (group/family) of hedgehogs will join Rudolf, Wanda and Groot, Rosie and Jim and Prickles who we think have settled themselves comfortably into our nature area and surrounding gardens. This on-going project is one that the Year 5/6 gardening club are especially proud of and it is an added bonus that our participation also provides other curriculum learning opportunities and gives children the chance to use their pupil voice and choice when writing.