The Voice of st leonards

Friday, 18 September 2020

Bounce Forward, Not Back

"Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again." Nelson Mandela

The fourth full week of term has now drawn to a close at St Leonards, yet wonderfully the buzz and excitement of being physically back in school is still palpable. The playing fields are alive during break time, and the classrooms along the corridors are vibrant and engaging places to learn. It is certainly easy to forget how far we have come in such a short space of time.

With a whole academic year stretched out before us, we need to ask ourselves what we want for and from our children. Learning objectives and the curriculum are clearly important, but we can often overlook soft skills which are also of great significance. These soft skills are the foundation of our wellbeing - they help us to interact with others, build our self-belief, and ultimately how we find lifelong happiness. At St Leonards, we strive to develop academic and soft skills in our children, preparing boys and girls 'Ad Vitam' (for life). Our school is so much more than the narrow confines of curricular timetables - what we learn outwith each lesson is just as important. This dual outlook, focusing on both academic and soft skills, is now more important than ever before, since the world around us is rapidly changing.

Our Learner Profile focus for this month is resilience, a foundational soft skill that allows us to overcome setbacks and to bounce back stronger and perhaps a little bit wiser too. In our low moments, it is important that we are able to find a way to grow through that experience - whether that be on the sports field, during an adventure residential, or in the classroom. These difficult experiences have the potential to shape our pupils, to help them develop resilience, and will enable them to leave St Leonards prepared for life.

An important aspect of resilience is to have a sense of optimism, to remain positive through the difficult times and to develop the ability to regulate emotions. This sense of optimism is central to our class agreements at St Leonards. These agreements are not based on rules, but rather traits and qualities that we value in our school: enthusiasm, respect, the opinions of others, and education, to name four.

As we seek to prepare our children for an ever-changing world, let's keep encouraging them to develop the skills they need to bounce forward, not back.

Mr Duncan Barrable, Head of Years 4-6


Ellen was the Star Writer in Year 1 this week. Her writing of words to match pictures in phonics has been terrific!
Grace was the Star Writer in Year 2 this week. Her writing has been excellent, well-formed, and neat.
Elin was the Star Writer in Year 3 this week. She has had amazing creativity and focus when writing.

Year 1

Lots of Letters

LOTS OF LETTERS | Year 1 has had a busy week learning new sounds. The pupils started off the week by writing their weekend news, and learning a new sound 'o-o-o-orange'. This week, the children also learned the letters 'c-c-c-caterpillar', 'k-k-k-kangaroo', 'u-u-u-umbrella', and 'b-b-b-boot'. They have then done some fantastic crafts, and made umbrellas, caterpillars, octopuses, and sparkly boots. Finally, the pupils have used letters to build their names and find words using the letters they have learned.

Numicon Numbers

NUMICON NUMBERS | The Year 1 pupils have been using Numicon to learn about odd and even numbers, both in the classroom and on the beach. They have also worked on their numbers outside in the sun with cubes, black paper, and chalk to write their number stories. It's been a busy week for our young mathematicians!

Year 2

Incredible Inquirers

INCREDIBLE INQUIRERS | This week, the Year 2 pupils have been incredible inquirers, finding out about different jobs in our school community. They visited Mr Barrable, Head of Outdoor Learning and Years 4-6, to find out more about his job; and judging by the various objets d'art in his study, his job looks pretty exciting and very varied. Mr Barrable never has a dull moment, as he is always up to something new. He showed us his smoker from Greece, which he uses in the bee hives to calm the bees down. The pupils also learned how he makes fire within the smoker, and how he closes down the oxygen when he has finished to put out the fire. They also examined a seal skull that he owns, and saw how its sharp incisors showed us that it was a carnivore. Mr Barrable also showed the children an antler. The only trouble is it looks a little lonely, so Mr Barrable set us a challenge: can anyone see if they can find another lone antler to pair up with it?...

Successful Shopkeepers

SUCCESSFUL SHOPKEEPERS | The Year 2 pupils are loving their Unit of Inquiry which focuses on jobs in the local community. This week, the children thought it would be fun to try running a business of their own and asked if they could create a shop. This sounded like a great opportunity to incorporate our focus on money in Maths, and so the children gathered items that they had found on the beach to create crafts to sell at a Craft Fair. The stalls opened up on Wednesday, and the children took it in turns to be either a shopper or a stall holder. Our budding entrepreneurs were great at adding up coins to different amounts - there was lots of haggling and consideration of value, and some very happy customers. All the stalls made a profit, with TJ's stall coming out with the greatest profit - an impressive 48 pence!

Feather Quills

FEATHER QUILLS | This week, Catherine brought in some writing that she had done at home using a quill, and this inspired the Year 2 pupils to make quills using feathers that they had found on the seashore. They then practised writing their names with their feather quills. Great work, Year 2!

Budding Scientists

BUDDING SCIENTISTS | Year 2 became budding scientists this week as they met a scientist, Mr Gerald Prescott, and learned all about his job at the university as a scientific researcher. Year 2 learned all about what it is like to be a scientist doing virology research, which is especially pertinent at this time. They learned what a virus looks like and how it behaves, whether it be the common cold or the very topical coronavirus. The children took part in their own simulated scientific experiment, creating their own data analysis, as well as seeing real data analysis from actual scientists studying the coronavirus. They were fascinated to hear what Mr Prescott had to say, and spent a very worthwhile, informative, and socially distanced hour with him. Many thanks to Mr Prescott for the time he invested in talking to Year 2, encouraging our young scientists in the making.

Year 3

Pops of Colour

POPS OF COLOUR | The Year 3 pupils have been busy creating some colourful Pop Art faces. The results are fantastic... who knows, maybe we have the next Andy Warhol in our midst!

Multiplication Monday

MULTIPLICATION MONDAY | 'Multiplication Monday' saw Year 3 investigate the concept of multiplication. By creating sets of 'groups of' or 'plates of', the pupils learned that whilst multiplication is just repeated addition, it is also a calculation in its own right and can be written in two ways.

Alphabet Hunt

ALPHABET HUNT | Year 3 enjoyed hunting for letters of the alphabet on St Katharines Green, and then practised alphabetical ordering in teams. Grammar doesn't have to be dull!

Year 4

Excellent Engineering

Excellent Engineering | This week, the Year 4 classes have taken advantage of the beautiful weather and enjoyed their trips down to the East Sands. The pupils worked together, using their communication skills and growing understanding of systems to build water systems, tunnels, bridges, and roads. The pupils had lots of fun!

Year 5

Amazing Acrostic

AMAZING ACROSTIC | Cara (Year 5) has written a fantastic acrostic poem based upon the theme of risk-taking. It describes a time when she took a risk on a sunny August day in Elie. Cara had jumped off the pier many times before, but on this particular occasion the pier was closed and so this left her with one scary option: to jump off the wall. Cara took a step out of her comfort zone and decided to take a risk. She talked through the risks and dangers with her dad first, and then took a huge deep breath, closed her eyes, stretched out, and pushed off from the wall into the waves below.

Beach Adventures

BEACH ADVENTURES | The Year 5 classes have been making the most of the beautiful weather, and enjoyed a trip down to the East Sands to explore the beach. Both classes were set a challenge to try and turn their circle inside out without dropping hands... it was more difficult than they thought! Paula also found a huge limpet, but wasn't overly keen on cooking it for supper. Finally, some of the pupils enjoyed paddling in the water with Miss Brannen. The pupils are looking forward to many more glorious beach trips over the course of this academic year.

Caring for Others

CARING FOR OTHERS | This week, the Year 5 classes have been finding out about food banks, and how they are a way to help individuals and families within the local community who are in need. The children gained an insight into the perspective of individuals who use food banks, and the reasons that they need to reach out for this help.

As part of this Unit of Inquiry, the children are taking action by starting a food drive for the local community to Storehouse, St Andrews. This week, they have created posters using their house colours, to encourage their own houses to donate as part of the competition. These posters are intended to inform parents and pupils about the opportunity to donate food, and also to give details about food banks. They used a rubric to help them remember all the information that they needed to include.

We will be accepting donations from Monday, 21 September, and we hope that the children in the other Junior years will join Year 5 in taking action. Please send any donations into school with your child, and we will then sort them into houses.

Year 6

Fabulous Fieldwork

FABULOUS FIELDWORK | As part of their Unit of Inquiry, the Year 6 classes have been exploring water sources around the world, and closer to home. The pupils made the most of the lovely weather, and took a walk along the Kinnessburn to consider their responsibility for protecting rivers and how rivers can impact humans. They also practised their mapping skills, and drew a map of their walk. Looking further afield, the pupils chose locations from around the world to investigate different water issues - including Thailand, Australia, the USA, and the Czech Republic. Data on annual rainfall and access to clean water and sanitation was also collected.

Other News

Risk Takers Suggested Reading

RISK TAKERS SUGGESTED READING | There are many picture books that encourage the IB Learner Profile attributes. This month, the pupils in Years 1-6 are focusing on being Risk Takers. In class, the teachers are sharing literature; however, below is a list of some additional picture books that can help support learning at home.

These books are a good way to reflect with your child and engage with the Learner Profile Attribute of the month, and a marvellous way to talk about risk-taking and related emotions. The books will show your child(ren) that they are not the only one who finds it hard to step into the unknown. Using these risk-taking themed books also makes for discussions about upcoming changes, trying new things, fears, and courage. Some of the resources below can be found for free on Youtube and Storyline Online.

Risk Takers: we have confidence when trying new things. We challenge ourselves and stand up for what is right.
The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright. A timid mouse attempts to make himself heard after being ignored by other animals. As he develops a new friendship, the mouse realises that first impressions are not always what they seem.
The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman. Fish and Snail live together in the pages of a book and can travel from book to book. Snail stays and waits for Fish to describe stories from the other books. They argue when Snail refuses to join him. Fish swims away into a new book and Snail confronts her fears to reunite with Fish.
Fearless by Colin Thompson. A family names their new bulldog Fearless because of how he looks, except, he is scared of everything! He finally lives up to his name when, by accident, he startles a burglar in the kitchen.
Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee. The roller coaster car is going up, up, up to the highest spot. And at least one of the people in the car has never ridden on a roller coaster before… ever.
Swimmy by Leo Lionni. Swimmy is a black fish living in a school of red fish. After his family are eaten by a tuna fish, Swimmy swims through the ocean to find another school of fish. These fish are afraid of being eaten if they play in the sea so Swimmy comes up with a plan to keep everyone safe.
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. Giraffes Can’t Dance? Or can they? Gerald is determined to take part in the annual Jungle dance. While the other animals laugh, he shows the importance of perseverance, determination, and confidence to follow his dream.
You Can Do It, Bert! by Ole Könnecke. This is a story about facing our fear of the unknown and taking a leap of faith. Bert is frightened of jumping for the first time. He heads to the edge of the branch, but keeps putting off the big leap. Eventually, encouraged by his friends, he steps off the branch.

Follow Up Questions On Risk-taking

  • Were the characters brave enough to stand up for their beliefs? Why do you think they may have found this difficult?
  • How would you have handled the situation?
  • Describe how the characters in the book are risk-takers.
  • Will the characters find the situation easier next time? Why?
  • Was the risk-taking positive or negative?
  • Is there a connection between [character’s] risk-taking and their creativity? Why?
  • How do you know that [character] was taking a risk?

St Leonards Spotted

ST LEONARDS SPOTTED | Robert Lewis Heron has written a series of children's books about a ginger cat that lived in St Andrews called Hamish McHamish. There is a bronze statue of Hamish next to Holy Trinity Church on South Street. In the third book, Hamish and the Alien, St Leonards is mentioned! Many thanks to Debbie MacCallum who gifted a copy to St Leonards - you can see Year 1 enjoying the book with Mrs Beebee below.

Imaginary Adventures

IMAGINARY ADVENTURES | Years 1-3 have been having great fun on St Katharines Green during their lunch breaks, and making the most of the lovely weather and wonderful outside space. This week, the pupils have been chasing wild lions on the loose, set up a dog training school, engaged in a commando training session, chatted quietly with their friends, and gone on the hunt for some bugs.

Be an Internet Legend

BE AN INTERNET LEGEND | In Years 4-6, the pupils have been engaging in various different discussions and activities as part of 'Be an Internet Legend Week'. The internet and devices an be used to support and enhance our learning, but only if used sensibly and responsibly. Discussions were therefore centred around three main areas: being safe, responsible, and polite. It is incredibly important that, from the earliest years of their educational journey, the children learn about how to use websites, social media safely, and are aware of how to research properly and to avoid plagiarism. This is an exciting time for the children, though with having a great and powerful tool in the classroom comes great responsibility!

Connected Community

CONNECTED COMMUNITY | The pupils have started a bunting project with a theme of ‘togetherness’ with Miss Neave in their Art lessons. All the classes in Years 1-6 are working on a section that will be then be strung together to make one long thread of bunting. The bunting will serve as a visible reminder that our school community whilst divided into separate bubbles, our community is connected and back together. We look forward to sharing the completed string of bunting with you next week.

October Activities

Wishing Theodore L, Rodrigo H, and Patrick F a very Happy Birthday!