The Voice of st leonards junior school

Friday, 1 May 2020

Beacon of Hope

Headmistress's Introduction

“For all those finding it difficult: the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away.” Captain Tom Moore

I am sure that, like me, over the past few weeks you have followed with keen interest the heroic fundraising efforts of the war veteran Captain Tom Moore, who walked one hundred laps of his garden using a zimmer frame to raise money for the NHS. He has captured the hearts of our nation and lifted the our spirits in what has been a bleak and challenging time. Captain Tom is an inspirational role model — a truly humble, caring, thoughtful, and selfless man. This week, Captain Tom celebrated his hundredth birthday and received over 150,000 birthday cards, a very special telegram from the Queen, and countless good wishes on social media. St Leonards joined with the rest of the nation in wishing Captain Tom — who has rather fittingly been made an Honorary Colonel, an accolade he certainly deserves — a very Happy 100th Birthday this week via Twitter and Facebook.

Three of my children - Harry, Paddy, and Annie - produced birthday drawings for Captain Tom this week.

In supporting Captain Tom and his fundraising endeavours, we have truly seen our nation draw together in a time of adversity. This has been seen, albeit on a smaller scale, at St Leonards. Over the past few weeks, my colleagues in the Junior School have pulled together to transform the way in which they teach and support our pupils. They have adapted to this new style of teaching with enthusiasm, dedication, and resilience, juggling teaching with their numerous other responsibilities at home. They continue to work longer hours to produce fabulous online resources, enabling our pupils can have as good an experience of online learning as possible.

Many thanks to those of you who have sent in feedback regarding the first two weeks of St Leonards Connected. All the feedback that we receive is taken on board, and we are endeavouring to further improve our online provision and ensure that the children receive the best virtual education possible. I will be hosting a Headmistress’ Coffee Clinic via Google Meets next week, on Wednesday, 6 May between 9.00 am and 11.00 am. Whilst there will be no filtered coffee or delicious homemade shortbread, I would nevertheless encourage you to drop in and say hello, ask any questions that you may have, and offer any further feedback.

For now, I will leave you with a quotation from Captain Tom: “for all those finding it difficult: the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away.” These unprecedented times are certainly challenging and, as I discussed last week, each of us will be feeling the stress and strain of lockdown in different ways. However, we must press on together remembering that this season will pass and that there are brighter days on the horizon.

Julianne Pennycook


COMMENDATIONS | The Junior School teachers were so impressed by the quality of the work submitted and the pupils' attitude towards learning during the first week of St Leonards Connected. The Junior School pupils have been embodying the attributes of the IB Learner Profile - they have certainly been honing their inquiring, thinking, communicating, and risk taking skills during this period of lockdown! Mrs Pennycook was therefore delighted to award lots of commendations in her Monday morning assembly at the start of the week. Many congratulations to the following pupils:

Hamish received a Commendation for showing his amazing skill and sharing his screen with his class to show everyone how to find the link to the poem. Go Hamish!
Henry received a commendation for his amazing self portrait. The likeness is uncanny!
Roy received a Commendation for a great storyboard about the Learner Profile.
Eleanor received a commendation for her PowerPoint about Gutenberg as part of her Unit of Inquiry on communication.
Harry received a commendation for excellent story writing - he created a tense atmosphere through imaginative description.
Eliza received a Commendation for excellent photograph of the Learner Profile.
Dylan received a commendation for tackling all of his lessons with great diligence and for sharing photographs of the wonderful work that he has been doing at home. Dylan's younger brother Owen is only 3, but has been working hard alongside him at home - he got an honorary commendation for his efforts too!
Jennifer received two commendations this week! The first was for a great story about the Learner Profile, and the second was for her excellent response to the Morning Challenge.
Ben received a commendation for excellent effort in completing tasks over the last week.
Jonathan received a commendation for tackling all of his lessons with great diligence and for sharing photographs showing the wonderful work that he has been doing at home.
Lana received a commendation for excellent effort in completing tasks over the past week.
Harry was awarded a Commendation for a wonderfully detailed drawing of the effects of coastal erosion.
Maya received a commendation for her excellent response to the Morning Challenge.
Thea received two commendations this week! The first was for her excellent response to the Morning Challenge, and the second was for a producing an brilliant video on the Learner Profile.
XiuRong received a commendation for her excellent response to the Morning Challenge.
Rory received two commendations this week! The first was for excellent effort in completing tasks over the past week, and the second was for using initiative during online instrumental teaching and demonstrating an abundance of enthusiasm for learning the clarinet.
Emmy received a commendation for her excellent learner profile poem.
Shreyas received two commendations this week! The first was for his excellent response to the Morning Challenge, and the second was for his Learner Profile poster.
Last, but by no means least, Rachel was awarded a Commendation for excellent effort in completing tasks over the last week.

Teacher Spotlight: Mr Baxter

TEACHER SPOTLIGHT | This week, we were delighted to speak with Mr Baxter. In this video, he discusses what his daily routine looks like in lockdown, his tips for home working, and the activities that help him relax and unwind - we hope that you enjoy watching it!

Mr Baxter would love to hear from any parents or family members who have experience of leading fitness and wellbeing sessions, especially if they would be willing to record one for our pupils to participate in as part of St Leonards Connected. If you can help, please email m.baxter@stleonards-fife.org.

Over The Rainbow

OVER THE RAINBOW | Across the country, children have been producing rainbow-themed artwork to put in their windows to show support for NHS workers on the frontline. The colourful artwork is a symbol of positivity and hope. Over the past few weeks, our pupils have joined this nationwide project and have been busy creating some beautiful rainbow-themed artwork to pay tribute to the hard work, perseverance, and dedication of our wonderful key workers.

A selection of the beautiful artwork produced by our pupils to show support for our key workers during this difficult time.
The pupils have been incredibly creative and used a wide variety of media, from plasticine models to window displays and collages using items found in nature.

Pupil Spotlights

Charlie and Harrison Lewis

This week, we are delighted to share with you an insight into Charlie and Harrison's lockdown life featuring breakfast time, bike rides, school work and lots more. The PR & Marketing team had so much fun putting this video together... we hope that you enjoy watching it!

Julius Gill

We were also delighted to hear from Julius this week. He is very much missing his friends and the social interaction that comes from being at school. That said, he has enjoyed looking after some chicks at home, spending time with his sisters, playing golf, and cooking fresh fish. During lockdown, he has also celebrated his 10th birthday and very much looks forward to having a party once social distancing measures have been lifted.

Julius has been enjoying time at home, although is missing his friends in Scotland!

We would love to hear what you have been up to over the past few weeks! Please do continue to send in photographs or videos of any projects or hobbies that you would like to share with the rest of the St Leonards community, and if you would like to feature in a future Pupil Spotlight section of the newsletter, do get in touch with Mrs Dewar (a.dewar@stleonards-fife.org). Sophie Sanders, PR & Marketing Officer, would be delighted to transform your eclectic recordings, reflections, and photographs into a video for a future newsletter!

Spectacular Space Projects

Henry created his own version of a solar system centred around the fictional star 'Osiris'.

SPECTACULAR SPACE PROJECTS | Year 7 have been busy working on space projects this term, and they have produced some outstanding work. Henry's project is of particular note - he created his own version of a solar system centred around the fictional star 'Osiris'. Well done, Year 7.

Brilliant Bug Hotels

We look forward to seeing what minibeasts visit Dylan's bug hotel.

BRILLIANT BUG HOTEL | Dylan (Year 2) looks as pleased as punch, showing off his giant bug hotel, which he has made as part of his new Unit of Inquiry, looking at the relationship between plants and minibeasts. Dylan absolutely loved creating this construction and stuffing it with old leaves and twigs, bits of cardboard, straw and old rubble in a bid to attract minibeasts, so that he can observe their activity - a perfect Spring activity to get outside and away from the screen.

Who We Are

Arabella, Cecilia, Xander, Willow, Verity, and Rory have written about Sir David Attenborough, JK Rowling, Sir Vivian Richards, Beatrix Potter, Jane Goodall, and Lionel Messi respectively.

WHO WE ARE | Year 6 have started their new Unit of Inquiry entitled Who We Are, which will focus on different individuals and groups whose decisions have changed the lives of others. This will form the basis of their PYP Exhibition. As part of their study, they have embarked on an exciting language project which will see them create a book about an inspirational person using different genres. The project is inspired by the format of the book Malala's Magic Pencil (2017), which they studied last week. The first section of the book is a biographical entry. Mrs Fynn and Miss Cormack have been so impressed by the range of inspirational figures chosen by the pupils.

Doodling and Drawing

Year 6 have been busy adding pages to their art journals over the past few weeks.

DOODLING AND DRAWING | Inspired by the artwork of French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, Year 6 have been creating art journals. The pupils have also been inspired by Pablo Picasso's sketchbooks, and even some excerpts from Miss Neave's art journal. Each week, they add a new page with doodles, drawings, and reflections which focus on lockdown life and their emotions and feelings surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. They have been using symbols, as well as figurative shapes, to express themselves. It will certainly be fascinating for the pupils to look back at these journals in ten, twenty, or even fifty years' time!

Polished Projects

POLISHED PROJECTS| Over the Easter Holidays, Mrs McGregor tasked the Year 7 pupils with finding an imaginative, creative way to demonstrate the 10 attributes of the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile. There were some fabulous submissions ranging from videos to posters, and poems to storyboards. We are delighted to announce that Shreyas and Emmy were the winners of Mrs McGregor's Easter Challenge - you can see their submissions below. Your prizes will be on their way!

Shreyas created a colourful poster which was eye-catching and also did a fantastic job at clearly and simply breaking down the attributes of the Learner Profile. Fabulous work, Shreyas!
Emmy wrote a poem focusing on each Learner Profile attribute. The poems were in different forms including a acrostic poems, haikus, concrete poems, and rhyming poems. The poems demonstrated a real grasp of each attribute, as well as creativity and literary flair. Well done, Emmy!

Green-Fingered Gardeners

Year 2 have been busy planting seedlings as part of their Unit of Inquiry.

GREEN-FINGERED GARDENERS | Year 2 have been bitten by the gardening bug, and have started to grow their own vegetables at home as part of their new Unit of Inquiry which focuses on plants and minibeasts. So far, the children have planted peas, carrots, pumpkins, lettuces, radishes, parsley, basil, cress, beetroot, chilli plants, forget-me-nots, and sunflowers... the list goes on! They have also set up experiments at home to find out what conditions plants need in order to grow healthily. The pupils are enjoying getting outdoors in the fresh air and making the most of the sunny weather, and are being environmentally-minded by planting their seedlings into pots fashioned from recycled containers including milk bottles, juice cartons, food cartons and yoghurt pots. The pupils are very excited to watch their seedlings grow into plants, and then eating their homegrown produce over the coming months. Year 2 (and their teacher Miss Fisher) really are living the good life!

Finally, earlier this week Jo Goodburn, Senior School parent and guru of the St Leonards Bee Club, delivered dozens of seedlings from the Botanic Gardens to school. Miss Fisher scrambled together an enthusiastic gardening club of key worker children and they happily planted them in the beds of our polytunnel. We look forward to seeing the fruits of their labours over the coming months!

Non-Fiction Knowledge

NON-FICTION KNOWLEDGE | Year 1 have had another wonderful week of online learning. They have completed their Unit of Inquiry on Sharing the Planet by producing their very own non-fiction books about their chosen animal - komodo dragons, snakes, meercats, penguins, and snow leopards to name a few! Each child has become an expert on a particular animal, and also understands the inner workings of non-fiction books from contents to glossary.

Why not have a look at Grace's non-fiction ebook which focuses on snow leopards - it really is fabulous! https://www.paperturn-view.com/g-prescott/snow-leopard-book-ebook?pid=ODc87797.
Some excerpts from Catherine, Mairi, and Albert's non-fiction books.

Year 1 have also focused on data handling this week. Can you guess their criteria?

Soft toys and mini cars were popular items for the data handling challenges!

Finally, Year 1 have proven themselves to be self-directed and resourcesful learners this week, conducting experiments and activities outside of the virtual classroom. For example, Niamh conducted her own toilet roll experiment inspired by Operation Ouch and Grace made a bird table this week as part of her John Muir Award. Fantastic work, well done Year 1.

Grace hard at work making her bird table, and Niamh conducting her toilet roll experiment.

Overcoming Obstacles

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES | Mr Baxter set the pupils in Years 1-6 the challenge of creating their own obstacle course and then completing it at home. The results have been fabulous and imaginative: lawn rollers were rolled, footballs were kicked, hurdles were jumped - and lots more! We hope that you enjoy watching the two videos below of Anna and Abbie's endeavours to give a flavour of the obstacle courses created by the pupils over the past few weeks.

Feeding Communities

Our Catering Manager, Darren Tonge, has been leading the way with this important project.

FEEDING COMMUNITIES | St Leonards are proud to be partnering with their catering provider, Thomas Franks Ltd, to ensure that those in need are able to have fresh, nutritious meals at this difficult time. Our kitchens have become a hub for food production, and our wonderful team of chefs have volunteered to create and prepare the delicious meals which are then being transported to families in Tayside. This is part of a wider Feeding Communities project which has been set up to help people across eastern Scotland during the pandemic. Over 500 meals have been produced at St Leonards so far. For further information about the project, and how to join us in supporting it, please visit: https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/1284763/pics-to-be-added-community-kitchen-set-up-in-st-andrews-serving-up-meals-to-those-in-need/?fbclid=IwAR06ILZGHUW8K2i9ELUa6ZZCnPu1YVxKzSb8f7luKgo8Wf9bZiCPBrlVrEo.

Poverty and Wealth

POVERTY AND WEALTH | This term, the Year 7 pupils have been producing work centred on the theme of poverty and wealth in their Art lessons. They have been inspired by a number of different artists, and also worked in a variety of different mediums. Earlier this term, Year 7 pupils produced some fantastic pencil drawings which explored the concepts of poverty and wealth.

A selection of the Year 7 pupils' pencil drawings.

More recently, Year 7 have focused on the artwork produced by Kathe Kollwitz. They have drawn expressive images showing poverty, leading up to a bigger composition describing poverty and wealth.

Henry produced some stunning, emotive artwork using ink in his back garden.

Meanwhile, in their Design lessons, the Year 7 pupils have turned their attention to upcycling - the ideal medium to work in whilst we are in lockdown!

Thea produced a lovely upcycled tool kit.

Amazing Animals

AMAZING ANIMALS | Year 3 have had a great start to their St Leonards Connected lessons and, after a few initial hiccups, have managed to master the art of having all pupils on the screen at once with their mics off and using hand signals for communication. They have enjoyed having Google Meets for a catch up and chat, as well as live and recorded lessons. The pupils have completed their tasks really well, and have proven themselves to be independent learners. We hope that you enjoy looking at some of their fabulous work below!

In Literacy, the children have looked at the story Dear Greenpeace by Simon James, which is about a little girl called Emily who believes that she has a whale in her pond. The book follows the letters between Emily and Greenpeace trying to work out if there really is a whale in her pond.
Inspired by the story of Dear Greenpeace, Year 3 have researched migration this week, and made some lovely posters to show the migration of some more well-known creatures.
Year 3 have also started their new Unit of Inquiry entitled 'Sharing the Planet'. The pupils have been using the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) website, and have enjoyed making bug hotels and recycled planters. Pictured are Christina (left) and James' (right) bug hotels which are now open for business. James used 40 sticks, 14 bricks, 100 pebbles, and 20 flowers to construct his bug hotel!
This week, Year 3 have also thought about things that connect humans and other animals, and also investigated what it means to be living, non-living, or once lived.

Minibeasts and Microadventures

MINIBEASTS AND MICROADVENTURES | With lockdown in place, our movements are restricted and our usual romings are not always possible. My family, like all of us, have had to adjust to this new way of life. I, for one, am not accustomed to sitting still for so long and have been trying to find the right balance between screen time, fun, and family time.

The John Muir Award is made up of four challenges: to DISCOVER a new place, EXPLORE it, CONSERVE it, and finally SHARE what you have done.

In my Wednesday assembly, I laid out two challenges for everyone to try to get outside more. The first challenge was to take part in the John Muir Award as a family. Normally we would think of completing the Award somewhere away from where we live, but there is no reason why we can't use our back garden as a place to discover, explore and conserve.

How well do you really know your back garden?

I know this might sound a little odd... but how well do you really know your garden? Do you know the names of all the plants? Do you know the species of birds that visit it? Do you know the varieties of bumblebees and honeybees? This is discovering and exploring a whole new world... just one that was under your nose all along! Then you could start to think about how you could conserve it. What could you do to help the insects, birds, and squirrels? Could you use greywater to irrigate your garden? The more you look, the more there is to do!

The second challenge I set the children is called a microadventure - finding somewhere nearby that you are able to have an adventure in, whilst abiding by current social distancing measures. For example, some families have started doing camping nights in the garden. Adventure and fun do not have to be somewhere far away or exotic... they can be just around the corner and just as exciting!

Please do get in contact with me if you would like to discuss the John Muir Award further.

Mr Duncan Barrable, Head of Outdoor Learning

Maths Kitchen

This week, Year 4 have been busy making delicious fruit mocktails.

MATHS KITCHEN | Year 4 have been learning about volume and capacity. To put their understanding to the test, they were asked to watch a video of Mrs Arkwright and Scott making juice and then to make one litre of tropical fruit juice from a minimum of three fruit juices. They could draw the concotion, design a carton labelling the ingredients and the amount of each juice used, or actually make the juice. The creations were amazing!

Ahoy Me Hearties!

Pirate Fisher was ready to help the Year 2 pupils complete their Maths work this week.

AHOY ME HEARTIES! | Year 2 were treated to a pirate-themed Maths lesson this week... complete with costumes. We wonder if any of the other Junior School teachers will be conducting their lessons in fancy dress next week!

St Leonards Connected

ST LEONARDS CONNECTED | There are no birthdays this week, and so we will leave you with this video of the Junior School teachers. Many thanks to Miss Brannen for coordinating and putting this video together. We hope that it brings a smile to your face!