Mr Stevenson - Teaching and Learning
Lessons are back in full swing here at Park Hill and I have, I hope you agree, some interesting things to share with you from this week. Please check out Mr Sims’ section for more information on a new award!
We keep very busy at school and the first week is no exception as the children across the school took part in their half termly assessments. This includes writing, maths, reading, spellings, and timestables. These assessments provide teachers with a snapshot of strengths and weaknesses across their class, allowing teachers to provide even more personalised learning for the children.
With a drive on timestables currently, a new app has been added to the children’s iPad devices called Times tables Rockstars. During lockdown, we trialed this and it proved popular...so it’s back! It provides an excellent way for the children to practise their tables, and allows for a little competition. Please do have a look as each child now has their own login details.
As well as this, please check out reading eggs. Again, each child has a login and this website provides a huge amount of content to help with reading, comprehension, and spelling.
By now, I hope that your child has got to grips with our key application, Showbie. It is an application that is so valuable, not only now, but throughout your child’s learning journey. It’s ability to record voice notes, complete homework, check out previous lessons and read feedback, and record work in different ways allows children to show knowledge and understanding without relying only on their ability to write. If anyone is having any issues or wishes to chat about showbie and iPad use, please do drop me an email at email@example.com
As always, the teachers have worked incredibly hard to ensure that, even in these times, the children never miss out on experiences. Second Steps, Year 1 and Reception were oddly absent Wednesday and Thursday and were discovered to be in Richmond park. I’m sure that you can appreciate the logistical difficulties this kind of thing presents at the moment, but it is testament to Miss Vari, Mrs Gardner, Miss Finch, and Mrs Gibbons that the children can still get out into nature to experience the beautiful autumn colours .
Speaking of autumn, there have appeared some brilliantly designed scarecrows in the playground, expertly made by Year 2. I’m pleased to say that the birds are keeping their distance and these have made a wonderful addition to our school grounds.
With our new half term now in full swing, we have begun the run to Christmas. As part of this terms work, we would normally have a Christmas performance. Mrs Georgina and Mr Papps have been working hard to find us an alternative way to present this and their solution is quite genius. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised by their innovative solution.
Finally, we finish each week with a STEAM lesson (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics). These are based around a topic or a current event. We believe it is important to give the children an opportunity to use their critical thinking, and teamwork, skills to solve problems on a larger scale, or to explore unusual ideas. So far, the children have created board games, been out in the garden, animating, building structures, creating rockets. This Friday, they utilised clay to create poppies, and their skills with an iPad to recreate iconic silhouetted photos.
Our Little Adventurers have been ‘adventuring’ once again this week...
A busy but very successful week. English has focused on our new book, Wonder and the emotions that the character goes through within the first 50 pages. The children have considered how the characters will react given what we know about them, acting it out, and then changing the same section in to a playscript, again focusing on the emotions (and therefore stage directions). Particularly impressive was Yash and Luce and their portrayals of Jack Will, as well as Isabel as Julian. In maths, we have looked at converting between fractions and decimals, playing games and solving complicated problems.
In both maths and English, the children have been carrying out their assessments, and creating some really stunning stories about civil wars, and about Park Hill school.
We have also begun our coding topic using a new app, CoSpaces. This allowed the children to create a virtual world, add characters and program them to perform different functions. This week, they kept it simple by creating a small world that you would walk around in and be asked 0 questions to progress. I look forward to seeing what they create next week!
Poetry has been the focus for much of our time in Year 5 this week, in particular we have been exploring poems using Kenning and Cinquain structures. The transition from October to December is always a great time for creative work in English, big events in the children’s calendar include Halloween, Bonfire Night and of course Remembrance Day, each of these provide a wide range of stimulus for exploring different types of vocabulary for expressing feelings and emotions.
Our weekly trip to Ditton Fields was a highlight of this week. After receiving a few nervous looks from some of the children while I unpacked a new batch of rugby balls in preparation for the lesson, in true Park Hill style the children spent the next 2 hours with huge smiles and excitement as they enjoyed the different drills and mini-games of tag rugby.
In Humanities, we are in the not quite at the end of World War 2, but in learning about Pearl Harbour and the Battle of Midway, we may not have even started to talk about the end; but perhaps we are at the end of the beginning.
An incredibly busy start to the second half of term began on Monday with a trip to Richmond Park for Adventure School where outdoor problem solving tested pupils ability to solve puzzles, unlock chains and carry buckets 50 metres without laying a finger on it.
We have been shaping up in Maths as we investigated a range of quadrilaterals and triangles in order to sort them according to their properties using Venn Diagrams and Carroll Diagrams.
A key theme of the lessons has been to expand our vocabulary, and we made great progress in understanding parallel and perpendicular lines.
The P-words where abundant in English too as Personification and Prepositions was called out many times as we focussed on poetic language inspired by the prose of Roger McGough. In fact our vocabulary met with similes and metaphors too as we brought to life inanimate objects from around the school. Next week we intend to animate our classroom through the use of poetic language as we delve further in to creating imagery with words.
It was encouraging this week to see how Year 4 have returned to school in such high spirits and demonstrating excellent progress in their learning. I was very impressed as the class produced a collection of fantastic stories that used powerful descriptions and a range of inviting sentence openers to describe how: ‘The Flying Fish Got it’s Wings; The Tortoise Got it’s Shell and Parrots Got Their Colourful Feathers’.
In relation to Mr Bond’s assembly on Remembrance Day Year 4 have made some rather impressive art using the Poppy flower as their inspiration. We learnt how to create our own poppies for a school display next week and, using a rather complex origami technique, perfected the art of making the flowers that have been used to create digital art with silhouette imagery of soldiers.
A fantastic return to school and the beginning of great momentum for the next five weeks.
Excellent work Year 4. More of the same next week.
Year 3 have settled into this week calmly and got straight to work. Demonstrating superb communication skills in Adventure School completing a number of group and whole class challenges supporting each other which was a joy to see.
In Art we enjoyed making our own poppies and discussing the reason behind wearing them.
Along with our termly assessments we have been working dividing with remainders and linking in division with our times tables. In Humanities this week we looked further into Remembrance day and wrote some beautiful acrostic poems.
Welcome back after half term. This term our topic is ‘Festivals and Celebrations.’ Reception have been busy this week celebrating and continuing a Halloween theme. 🎃 🧪 🧙♀️ We designed and carved pumpkins together, handling tools with increasing control. The children practiced some appropriate safety measures and understood the need for safety when managing risk. Following this we used the cauldrons to mix up potions, using vinegar and baking soda observing the chemical change. Everyone was in awe of the bubbly and foamy mess, observing the patterns they saw. They added food colouring, frogs, eyeballs and other items to make it spooky. The children learnt about Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot. They made firework pictures using chalk and collage materials and together described what they saw using fantastic adjectives: “sparkly, crackle, zoom, bang, dazzling, bold etc.” You may like to check out your child’s work on tapestry.
Next week we will be celebrating Remembrance Day and Diwali 🪔.
Second Steps have had a busy week back after half term. We have been talking about fireworks night and Emilè has been telling us all about Guy Fawlks and how he tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and how we remember the day by having fireworks. We then made our own Firework pictures by flicking paint onto the paper. It was very messy but great fun.
We have been looking at our phonics and focusing on the letter ‘S’ using salt trays to trace the letter And supporting it with ‘S’ word toys to reinforce their understanding.
We had a great Show and Tell time. Some of the parents had uploaded some photos of the fun they had during half term. Family Halloween parties and making Amelia Badelia’s Apple pie.
We were able to go to Richmond Park this week. We had so much fun, jumping in muddy puddles, climbing on and jumping off the logs, stomping on the bridge to wake up the troll hiding underneath and running through the leaves. We took half the class this week and hopefully next week we will be able to take the other children.
Miss Finch & Miss Vari
First Steps children have been learning about fireworks this week. We talked about how far they could go in the sky, what colour and shape they were. We also focused on what sounds did they make and children made ‘boom, bang, bom’ sounds the describe it.
We put different colour paints in plastic bags and tied them with a string then children had a go to swing them over a paper and we have created our firework display. Well done First Steps.
Breaking ice eggs with hammer was another popular activity in the class where children had chance to create and listen different sounds.
Salt tray with glitter gave children a lovely opportunity to create fireworks as well as improve their fine motor skills. Some children used their fingers some of them used brush and at the end they all created really nice patterns in the tray.
Keep up the hard work First Steps!