Spirit of St Leonards
Over the past few weeks, life really has been turned upside down. Last month, the Junior School staff would never have believed me if I had said that, by the end of the term, they would be delivering their lessons online, recording stories for their classes, and working remotely. Even in the past week, moving into a phase of nationwide lockdown — something I never would have imagined to happen in my life time.
Amidst all of this change, and as we have entered unchartered territory, it has been fantastic to see a real ‘can do’ attitude in our community. The Spirit of St Leonards really has prevailed amongst our pupils. Whether that be the kindness of Allegra and Grace who volunteered to record readings of their favourite stories for younger pupils, the creativity of Christina who showcased a beautiful art project, the resourcefulness Adam who built a waterproof boat out of recycled materials and duct tape, or the industriousness of Will who produced some astoundingly detailed architectural drawings this week.
The Spirit of St Leonards has been clear for all to see amongst our staff and parent bodies too. I would like to extend a huge thank you to all the key worker parents in our community who are working tirelessly to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and also to those members of staff here at St Leonards who are continuing to work through the holiday period to care for the children of these key workers. This sense of togetherness, inner strength, and perseverance in the face of adversity really is fantastic to see, and has made me appreciate our community here at St Leonards all the more.
Finally, thanks to all those parents who have taken the time to write to me and other members of staff at the Junior School over the past week with messages of support and appreciation, and also with constructive feedback about how we can improve our virtual learning provision even further. It really is so important to stay connected, and is always lovely to hear how families from St Leonards are getting along.
Wishing you good health over the coming weeks.
Calculations and Conundrums
CALCULATIONS AND CONUNDRUMS | Year 4P have been solving problems involving measurement this week. After discussing some problem solving strategies as a class, the children were asked to write their own problems for other members of the class to solve. Harry produced a super problem - why not try solving it yourself?
POLISHED PROJECTS | Year 3 have been continuing their Unit of Inquiry entitled How the World Works and Communication, as well as literacy and numeracy, via remote learning this week. The children have created some fabulous project pieces at home, which you can see below.
BOAT BUILDING | Mrs Beebee tasked the Year 3 pupils with building a boat this week. Adam produced a fantastic boat using things from the recycling bin, with a leaf for the sail. He then decided to cover it in duct tape to make it waterproof.
James also built a fantastic boat, which was somewhat reminiscent of the Ark, using twigs in his dining room! Harris also decided to fashion his boat out of sticks and leaves, that he found after a quick foray into Blebo Woods.
SHAPE SPOTTING | Ramsay in Year 3 has been busy shape spotting around his house and garden. He managed to find all sorts of shapes including an octagonal prism, a cuboid, a sphere, and several cylinders. Why not try looking for different 3D shapes around your house?
TASTY TOASTIES | Year 4P have been learning about functional writing. This week, their attention turned to writing instructions. On their daily Google Hangout they have been sharing their love of toasties, writing instructions on toasties, and even making toasties. The class plan on compiling their list of 'Top 10 Toasties' during their next Unit of Inquiry on Healthy Living... however, they will have to pass the taste test first!
STUNNING STORYBOARDS | Year 2 have been busy making storyboard dioramas this week. They were tasked to choose a suitable storybook setting, and then to create a diorama inside a box including as many 3D elements as possible. The class were then challenged to create puppets to go inside it, and to use it to put on a puppet show. The results were fantastic - well done, Year 2!
Following on from this, Year 2 focused on breaking stories down this week. They focused on a Scottish legend called The Ring of Brodgar, a tale of giants who danced on the mainland of Orkney and were turned to stone when the sun rose - creating the famous standing stone circle which you can see there today. The children were tasked with identifying the start, middle, and end and then to summarise each part.
The Junior School Easter Bonnet Parade is always a highlight of the Spring Term. The Year 3 pupils were determined to not miss out on this iconic event, and so made their own Easter Bonnets at home and then proudly showed their creations off via their Google Hangout on Thursday. Take a look at their fabulous creations below!
RIVETING READS | The class teachers have been recording a reading of a story, or a chapter from a story, for their class each day this week.
There have also been some guest storytellers including: Deputy Head (wellbeing) Mr Durward who selected The Enchanted Wood, by Enid Blyton, as his story; Mrs Beebee's husband, who was a particular favourite in the Pennycook household; and two Year 5 girls, Grace and Allegra, who volunteered to virtually read books to younger pupils. Grace chose Dr Seuss' The Cat and the Hat as her story, whilst Allegra selected The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch as her riveting read.
A particular well done to Grace and Allegra for proactively thinking of younger pupils - your kindness and thoughtfulness encapsulate the Spirit of St Leonards! If anyone else is interested in getting involved, please do contact Miss Brannen or your class teacher.
If you are looking for some more recorded stories over the holidays, why not try listening to the free ebook Kid Normal, by Greg James and Chris Smith using this link. It is a fantastic story, and would be particularly suited for readers aged 8-10 years. Also, keep your eyes pealed for traditional French stories read by Madame Germonino that will be uploaded to ManageBac. These will be suitable for Years 1-6. As the aphorist Mason Cooley said: 'reading gives us somewhere to go, when we have to stay where we are' - an apt comment in the present times!
LOVELY LETTER | You may remember from our previous newsletters that the Year 4 pupils wrote to their favourite authors in Book Week. This week, Sofia was delighted to receive a letter from her favourite author, JK Rowling. Isn't the headed paper beautiful! Why not encourage your children to write to their favourite authors, and see if they get a response?
Reading, Writing & Designing
READING, WRITING & DESIGNING | Year 6C have been busy reading, writing, and designing at home this week. Below are some highlights selected by Mrs Fynn.
Year 6 have been working through Reading Bingo challenges. Arabella hit a lot of her targets in one go!
Xander wrote a fantastic story entitled 'The Secret of the Master'. Here is an extract:
Sammy woke up sleepily under the shade of a tall tree on top of a mountain. At first he was happy and content because he had got away (although his shoulder ached a bit because of the encounter with the giant bat) but then suddenly he felt sick as he realised that he was only one valley away from the Master and his forces are the quickest you can get. He had to get away - but he of course did have to eat. Looking around him more closely, he saw a town at the foot of the mountain. He decided to risk a visit to the market.
As part of their Unit of Inquiry into materials, Year 6 were asked were asked to design a building for the school grounds, using the suitable materials for the purpose of the building. Will drew out an intricate design in the form of an architectural drawing, and including features of his design.
Birds and Birthdays
BIRDS AND BIRTHDAYS | Year 1 have engaged in their learning in a completely new way this week, but it has done nothing to dampen their enthusiasm. They continued their Unit of Inquiry work on animals, but switched their focus to birds because of the lack of safari animals in their home environments (apart from watching Andy's Safari Adventures on BBC iPlayer!).
Miss Boissiere has had one-to-one chats with her class via Google Meet, allowing her to find out how they really are, to see the work that they have been getting on with, and to offer help where needed. Year 1 have also caught up socially using Google Meet for a chat, and to wish Catherine and Hayder a very Happy Birthday - they both turned 6 this week.
Finally, as a bit of fun before the holidays, Year 1 embarked upon a virtual egg hunt. In the morning, the children hid their eggs (which they had decorated in an Art lesson) around their home and garden. At the appointed hour, they had to go and find them and then email in to say that they had completed the challenge. They had a fun time trying to remember where they had placed the eggs!
Miss Boissiere has been so impressed by her class's energy, enthusiasm and desire to learn during this peculiar time. Well done, Year 1, for all that you have accomplished this week.
Clap For Our Carers
CLAP FOR OUR CARERS | On Thursday night, thousands of people across Britain thanked the NHS with a heartfelt round of applause from their doorsteps, balconies or windows for their tireless work to fight the coronavirus pandemic in this country. The St Leonards community joined in, albeit in a virtual manner, to thank NHS workers for their perseverance, dedication, and hard work at this challenging time. Do take a minute to watch the video above, in which you will see staff, pupils, and parents alike from St Leonards applauding our NHS workers. Thanks also to those who took part, and to Ms Love for the music which accompanies the video.
This week, children in the Junior School also sent in some lovely drawings to say a HUGE THANK YOU to our key workers, and they key workers' children who are at St Leonards during the day also had a go. You can see their artistic endeavours below!