Welcome to Oak Class.
This is where the journey through Broadhempston reaches its finale. In this class, our aim is to equip the children with the skills they need to succeed as they take those first steps away from Broadhempston onto the next part of their educational journey. There is lots of work to be done but lots of fun to be had too! The class is taught by Miss Barlow supported by Mr Tanner on a Tuesday afternoon and Miss Steer throughout the week. We are all looking forward to an exciting year including a residential and lots of adventures and opportunities along the way.
In science this week, we continued our work on reproduction focussing on plants. We looked at the advantages and disadvantages of both types of reproduction before taking cuttings from our class spider plant 'Tom' to record the root growth over the coming weeks.
Crossing the border
We had the perfect weather today for a walk from Devon to Cornwall! We learnt so much about the Tamar and Royal Albert Bridges and in small groups, measured the Tamar Bridge from one end to the other. A few surprising facts were that the weight of the Tamar Bridge (not including the towers) is about the same weight as a type 45 destroyer and a simple water butt filled with water helps to dampen the sound of the vibrating cables so it doesn't annoy the local residents. At The Box in the afternoon, we learnt all about the Plymouth Breakwater which started construction in 1811 and wasn't completed until 1841 - you can understand why it took so long when you realise that they used nearly as many stones as the Egyptians used to build the pyramids.
Testing our designs.
In DT, we looked at how simple bridges are constructed using beams, pillars or piers. We then enjoyed making and testing our own bridge designs using wooden pillars, paper beams, tape and a selection of weights. We were surprised how much weight some of our paper bridges could hold!
Leading the play!
We had our first playleader training session today trying out a few games that they will use at lunchtimes on Mondays and Wednesdays from next week.
The sun never sets on the British Empire
In our first history lesson, we looked at the extent of the British Empire at its peak in 1921 and investigated what it meant to be a colony. We then used atlases to name the independent countries (or modern day equivalents) that were part of the empire at that time.
Jess Parker, a children’s nurse and lecturer in children’s nursing, came in this week to teach us all about first aid. The children had hands on experience with epipens and inhalers and there was plenty of fake blood to go around so the children could practise dressing wounds. The reassurance element of dealing with a casualty may need a little work (with something other 'than you're not dying, keep still') but other than that, the children were very responsive to the learning and will be well prepared should they have to use their skills in the future.
Name that bird!
Continuing our work on rivers, this week we looked at why river estuaries are such important places for wildlife. We looked at an example of a food chain from diatoms to birds of prey and then looked more closely at the part that wading birds play in that cycle. The children had pictures of a variety of birds and had to use the RSPB's bird identifier to work out the correct species before collating some facts about each one.
In science this week, we were investigating why objects look bent or distorted under water. We then used an arrow and a glass of water to investigate why images look reversed past a certain point (the focal point).
Today’s school community sport day was incredible! The children were treated to martial arts, football, fencing, rugby and tennis, delivered by local clubs/providers. The effort levels from all of the pupils was superb - well done all!
Row, row, row your boat ...
Sycamore and Oak had a fantastic day canoeing on the Dart estuary this week. It was jolly hard work but all the children showed so much determination and by the end of the day, most boats could even row in time.
Exe mapwork challenge
We continued their work on rivers this week which started with following the course of the River Severn from source to mouth. We then turned our attention to the River Exe and completed a rather tricky mapwork challenge. The children were given an aerial photograph of the Exe Estuary along with an OS map then using a range of photos as clues, had to answer questions using their knowledge of six figure grid references and compass directions to help them.
One little girl, one BIG hope
As part of our learning for refugee week, we followed the story of Amal, a ten year old refugee, who embarked on a remarkable 8,000km journey that took her from the Syrian border across Turkey and Europe. This month, one year on from leaving Syria, she will take part in World Refugee Week by visiting 10 towns and cities across England meeting old friends and making new ones. We thought about how we would welcome her to our community and captured our thoughts in some footsteps.
A great time was had by all!
The Oak Class residential got off to a great start this afternoon despite the changeable weather. Once we had settled in and had lunch, we spent the afternoon in and around the grounds doing some orienteering and team building games. They set themselves up in teams of boys vs girls and things got quite competitive (particularly with room points on offer!) In the evening, we had a two hour stroll along the River Dart learning lots of interesting facts along the way. We practised setting up the emergency shelters and also had time to stop and forage for some pennywort and gorse flowers although there were mixed feelings about these!
The next day was a typical day on Dartmoor: a brief appearance from the sunshine but mostly wet, misty and winds so strong they put a stop to our climbing session! But that didn't dampen our spirits ... we weaselled and scrambled our way to the top of Greator and back down again for lunch before taking on the u bend of doom, the coffin of death, the squeezy weasel and the gap of terror.
On our last day, we carried out some geographical fieldwork studies along the River Dart. We measured the depth of the river from bank to bank at regular intervals and then calculated how fast the river was flowing by throwing in dog biscuits and timing how long it took them to travel 10 metres. We then moved up to the West Dart to repeat the measuring exercise so we could compare the results at the different points before and after the confluence.
Save our pennies, save our planet!
We started off the week with a visit from Laura Locker from Natwest who gave us the benefit of her experience and expertise for our Save Our Pennies, Save Our Planet workshop. The workshop allowed us to revisit lots of the learning we have already done this year with regards to climate change and we then investigated the costs associated with running everyday household items. To finish off the session, the children gave a presentation in their groups outlining what we can do to cut back for the sake of our wallets and the world.
We had fun making a (creative) mess on Friday building up the base layers for our Greek theatre masks using modroc. Once they have set, we will sculpt the exaggerated features according to whether it is a comedy or tragedy mask. We can't wait to see how they turn out.
A well deserved rest
After a very busy few days, Year 6s spent most of today chilling out at Forest School. There were plenty of treats on offer including hot dogs, an amazing sponge cake with a chocolate digestive topping and hot chocolate with mini marshmallows. The children spent some time whittling and lopping before taking on the tallest freestanding tower challenge where points were awarded for height and construction (and perseverance in some cases). Well done Year 6s for all your hard work this week - we are really proud of you!
Turning penguins into parrots
In our computing unit this term, we have been creating vector drawings and learning how to use a variety of tools to make the picture more detailed and effective. Today, we modified existing objects to create new images turning penguins into parrots!
Fact, myth or legend?
This morning, we were delving deeper into the story of the Trojan Horse. We examined the depictions and images relating to the event, the written references and the archaeological evidence and discussed if they were reliable sources of evidence. We then used our instincts to decide whether it was a fact, myth or legend.
This afternoon, we got hands on in science with our electricity investigations. We started off creating our own circuits using different components and drawing the circuit diagram using recognised symbols. We then investigated how the number of components or voltage of the cell/battery affected the brightness of the lamps.
Not as easy as it looks!
The task for the end of our vector drawing unit was for the children to use all the skills they had learnt to create a drawing then try to recreate it using a freehand paint program.
Comedy, tragedy (or horror)?
This week in art, we started adding the features to their theatre masks to represent either tragedy or comedy. In Ancient Greece, the masks that the actors wore had exaggerated features so that the audience could clearly see the expression from the back seats of the theatre and would know whether the character was happy, sad, angry or frightened.
Flat-file database introduction
Our first computing unit of the year is flat-file databases. In today's lesson, we created our own paper records and timed how long it took to sort them alphabetically - it was not quick! We then used a computer-based database to examine how data can be recorded and viewed, compared different views, sorted fields and created charts with the data.
Now to the untrained eye, it may look like we spent Friday afternoon throwing bits of card all round the classroom however, it was a demonstration of how to sort the paper records that they made in last week's lesson. By clipping off the corners of the cards for the fields that were 'false' then holding the corner for the field they wanted to sort by and shaking them, all the false cards would drop out leaving you with the 'true' fields. Ideal for the 10 cards we created, but we weren't so sure it would work for a database with a few thousand records!
Make four sentences ...
How hard could that be? Much harder than everyone imagined! Starting our work on active and passive voice in English, the task given to the class was to make four sentences using all of the word and punctuation cards that they were given.
Creating a divine being
After being introduced to some theological terms and reading some biblical texts, we created our own divine Gods using key words to describe their character, power and actions.
Our English unit is based on Wallace and Gromit's cracking contraptions and we have reached the point where we are thinking about what contraption we would like to invent. We spent our lesson on Friday jotting down our ideas and doing some sketches - so far we have a dog groomer, a library book sorter, a litter picker, a room cleaner and a cat scratcher to name but a few.
A full day of forest school
There was lopping, chiselling, fire lighting, den building, knot tying, hot chocolate, popcorn and a walk up to the Beacon at the end of the day!
The art of war
In art, we have been learning about the war art of Paul Nash. The children chose a painting and used various grade lead pencils to create a line and tonal study of it. Nash depicted images of war destruction in his work and using oil pastels, in the style of Nash created their own version of the scene prior to the destruction. They worked very hard on adopting the style and colour palette to gain these successful results.
Coffee and climate change
We had a very busy day today which started with a trip to KEVICC to attend the Fairtrade Conference. This year, the theme was coffee and climate action and we learnt about the challenges faced by farmers due to climate change and the actions they were taking to mitigate them. We made our own climate pledges and explored the benefits of Fairtrade before following the coffee bean from the cherry in Rwanda to the roaster in Ivybridge. It was a great morning packed full of information and activities and we can't wait to share it all with everyone back at school as part of our Global Neighbours project.
Making a mountain out of a .... blanket?
In geography this week, we continued our work on mountains and explored how fold mountains are formed. We watched a recreation of how the Himalayas came to be (70 million years condensed into two minutes) before having a go at creating our own blanket mountain ranges.
An English mash up!
We came to the end of our English unit today using My Secret War Diary and the children put together some very creative diary entries based on the style of the book but using the adventures of Olive from our class reader Letters from the Lighthouse.
Disco light show
We started our programming unit in computing this week using crumbles. The children created simple circuits, programmed the controller to make an LED switch on and then used an infinite loop to turn the classroom into a flashing light disco!
Safe, strong and free
The CAP workshops got underway today and we explored what it meant to be 'safe, strong and free' using class discussions and role plays.
Map reading for tourists
In geography, we practised four and six figure grid references on a fictional map before moving on to an OS map and answering questions about what makes the Cambrian mountains appealing to tourists.
Hands on at the farm
We had a chilly but full on day at Occombe Farm today. As well as making a pizza from scratch and foraging for toppings in the farm garden, we had a tour of the farm showing how they have diversified to generate additional income. We then went behind the scenes of the working farm to learn about how they organically rear their cattle and sheep. We also visited the 'maternity barn' where the children were able to handle the day old lambs before returning to the polytunnels to plant some peas to bring home and grow on. An amazing day that enabled us to see in real life what we have been learning about this term in science, geography and DT.
Fairtrade Coffee Morning
After being inspired by the Fairtrade Conference earlier this month, we held a coffee on Tuesday morning at the Village Hall. Parents and members of the community were invited to come along for a chat and to try one of the amazing homemade cakes. We raised over £150 and the children were the perfect hosts. The only problem our visitors had was choosing what cake to have!
Sunny but chilli!
The sun was shining for our last forest school session but when things turned a little nippy, we had hot chocolate and a homemade chilli on hand to warm us up. Making the chilli was the final part of our DT project where we had to produce savoury dishes using a variety of methods which gave us the opportunity to brush up on our knife skills. With den building, hammock hanging and using the bow saw to make wood circles for Easter decorations, it was a great day.
What a great first day in Oak Class (despite the wet playtime!) We spent the morning going over routines, timetables and plans for the autumn term, talked through ideas for our class charter, decided Ormie the Pig was a fantastic role model for growth mindset and then spent the afternoon creating calligrams. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the year and everything we will achieve together.
Wildlife caption challenge
On the first day back, I challenged Oak Class to come up with captions to go with some finalist photos from the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. They did not disappoint!
How close to 100?
In our practical maths session this morning, Oak Class had to see 'how close to 100' they could get. Using a 100 square and two dice, the children took it in turns to roll and had to draw an array somewhere on the grid using those numbers. The aim of the game is to cover as many of the squares as possible and you get three lives for the arrays that you can't place. The closest we got was 99!
For our first computing lesson in Oak Class we looked at systems, starting with a bicycle then moving onto Amazon lockers. To help us understand the process of inputs and outputs, we designed talking teddies and presented our ideas to the rest of the class.
Exploring brushstrokes in Chinese art
Oak Class became students of Chinese art today and studied the Four Gentlemen: bamboo, plum blossom, orchid and chrysanthemum. These plants have been used commonly in Chinese art for more than a thousand years, not only for their beauty but for the characters and symbolism that they have been given. The children used a page in their sketchbooks to explore the different brushstrokes to create each element before putting it all together for their final composition.
Wet and windy forest school!
It was a wet and windy day at Forest school but the weather didn't dampen our spirits or spoil our fun! We whittled sticks to wrap our bread dough around to bake on the fire and we took inspiration from Andy Goldsworthy and created our own leaf art - we had to be creative to stop the wind from blowing it all away! We sculpted tree guardians out of clay, used our knotting skills and patience to make twig stars, tried to 'turn the tarp' and warmed our hands around a cup of hot chocolate.
This week in computing, we looked at how message packets are transferred using agreed protocols. We created our own network with human routers transferring packets from one device to another using the most efficient route. There was a bit of a backlog at one point (and it was running almost as slow as the school's internet) but the packets made it to their destination in the end!
Editing Mother Nature
After a morning of Christmas songs and brass bands (82 days to go...), we uploaded the photos we took during forest school and used an online program to edit them. A sneak preview is included below but you will need to wait for our art exhibition to see the rest!
Creating a clay Green Man
With expert help and guidance from Jenny and Kate, we spent the morning creating our own clay Green Man - a symbol of an ancient spirit of nature that dates back more than 4,000 years. Once the face had been sculpted, we made leaves and creatures to add to our creation and also had time to make a unique class plaque. We can't wait to see the final result.
Autumn trees art project
One of our big art projects this week was to recreate a piece of autumn themed art by modern artist Jay Lee. We began by dotting our canvases with acrylics and then blending them to create the background. We studied and compared artwork by Monet and Constable and created an autumnal colour palette to use as inspiration for our final pieces.
A proud moment
Not only did we get through to the semi-finals in one of the groups at the tag rugby festival on Friday, we also won the Sportsmanship Award. I am so proud of the perseverance, resilience and positive attitude that everyone showed. It was very well deserved.
We started our DT unit this week looking at how four great inventions from China shaped the world. We explored moveable type printing then looked at the process of paper making from nearly 2,000 years ago before doing some ink tests on a variety of paper.
Spot the difference
What does a hissing cockroach and a flamingo have in common? That is exactly the question we were trying to answer this afternoon in our role as taxonomists by classifying animals according to their similarities and differences.
An afternoon of culture
Oak Class welcomed Sandyha to class today who is a Cultural Champion. There was some great learning and discussions around diversity and racism.
Children in Need
We had a great day with the children wearing their pyjamas or onesies to raise money for Children in Need. Thank you to the school council who baked some delicious cakes for the whole school. Thanks for all your generous donations!
Oak class enjoyed Forest School last Thursday. All the children successfully lit a Kelly kettle - it took a lot of perseverance from some of them but they got there!
A poetic journey to Bethlehem
We started our new English unit today by analysing the poem Bethlehem, A Christmas Poem by Carol Ann Duffy. The children discussed the text and identified challenging vocabulary and imagery.
Rolling, rolling, rolling!
In gymnastics, we have been learning balances, partner balances, different types of jumps and various rolls. Maintaining the headstand balance was a challenge but everyone had a go! The children then worked in small groups to choreograph these into short sequences for a floor routine to music.
Continuing the theme of Chinese inventions, in DT this week, we were investigating kites. We talked through important properties of materials before making some prototypes from a variety of materials to test to see which would be best to use for our final product.
A rich history on our doorstep
We had a fantastic day at Buckfast Abbey on Friday. There were some real awe and wonder moments in the Abbey with the statistics around the organ and the incredible stained glass windows that told many stories. The retelling of the journey of the three wise men was a real 'Jackanory' moment and provided us with some inspiration for the poems that we are currently planning. We were also able to add our ideas to the tree of hope which asked what present we would like to give to the world this Christmas.