From the Headmaster:
I have a small confession to make.
Whilst not necessarily a serious affliction it can be challenging (at least for my wife.) The affliction deserves its own lengthy latin description and entry into any detailed and thorough medical dictionary. It may even be worth an appeal to our many medics in our community, particularly the psychiatrists and psychologists with children in our school.
I don't think that I am alone with the affliction. I have a strong suspicion that Mr Papps is similarly affected.
So, here it goes. A simple word or phrase uttered in a sentence can lead to a cavalcade of frantic searching through the mental files to unearth the film quote or music lyric that has just inadvertently and innocuously been used in a perfectly normal and often sensible sentence.
An example? The word 'happy.'
Off I go into mental images of an American Diner and black leather jackets. This is closely followed by Ray Charles, 'oh, happy days...' Pharrell's black hat and Bobby McFerrin in his white suit.
It happened on Monday afternoon. I asked the children to make their way 'up the hill' during our thoroughly enjoyable Adventure School challenge in Richmond Park.
Have you got it? I went with Kate Bush. The children managed it 'with no problems.'
Tuesday was Bob Marley. Games at KGS Ditton Field was enjoyable because the 'sun is shining, weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet now.' What a super lesson it was. All of the children active, busy and chasing a ball around.
A French lesson and I was asked a question I wasn't sure about. I do enjoy my Wednesday courtesy of visiting Reception, Year 2, 3 and 4 to for French and to hopefully encourage a love of language. Little did this particular child suspect that as I steered them to the correct answer in my head there was the antipodean songstress in full flow 'Je ne sais pas pourquoi!'
Yesterday, and one of my choices for what makes me happy was a picture of our house, in France, 'in the middle of our street...'
I may have even lapsed into this live on zoom. What a super assembly. What a romantic bunch of staff we employ at Park Hill. For those of you who missed it the review of the assembly can be found later in this edition. Suffice it to say that I think we got the message across.
And finally, today. As one of our Year 6 children made their way past me after sharing with me their utterly impressive piece of creative writing, I causally asked if they were ready for the weekend. Calvin Harris was in full flow, 'pushing faders and putting on new shoes.'
Where am I going, or indeed, why am I starting this edition with such a confession? Well, it makes me happy. It brings a smile to my face. I will share a particular pleasing example with my brother or sister, who occasionally reciprocate (further evidence it could be genetic.) It makes me happy to receive the deep sigh and faux eye roll from Alexa (she is showing early signs of the same affliction.)
My father did it. Which is also another reason why I do it. It brings back fabulous memories and I know that I am creating them too.
So take time tomorrow on World Mental Health Day and create memories with those around you. Put down the phone and device. Go and create a memory that starts with 'that was a good day, do you remember when we...'
World Mental Health Day
We talk a great deal about the importance of physical health, exercise, diet etc but it is equally as important that we also take time to consider our own mental health. Tomorrow, 10th October, is World Mental Health Day and I would like to issue some compulsory homework for us all.
Whether it is a walk in the park, an hour or three of lego building, a bike ride, baking session or simply a good film to settle into, switch the phone off and spend time with one another; it is good for your health and the health of your loved ones.
"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late."
In advance of World Mental Health Day, the assembly was concerned with the word 'happy.' We enjoyed a variety of music which helped explain the theme. I did neglect to check if anyone was able to correctly identify the band/duo behind 'Happy Days' (Fonzy et al). There is a surprising progrock trivia which I will save for another time.
We then departed on a slight emotional journey amongst the staff as to what item/object brings them happiness. Pictures of holidays and adventures, marriage proposals, honeymoon flights, rings, bangles (Mrs Patel is ok, I did go back and check on her), a passport that allows us to travel (did you notice it was a red one?) and a cat to name but a few.
The common denominator? The link to all of these items? Family, friends and loved ones.
I sometimes worry (although worry is a misuse of the imagination) that the search for happiness is actually closer to home than we realise.
Our Little Adventurers have been ‘adventuring’ once again this week...
Year 6 have been studying the works of Edgar Allan Poe this week, particularly looking at his poem, ’The Raven’. We compared the poem, watched a rather funny version portrayed by the Simpsons, a graphic depiction, and then came up with ‘What happens next’. We took in to account the symbolism of the raven, changing or increasing it to help convey the emotions of our character.
This was then taken further when we created a story incorporating a symbol that broke, changed, or lingered throughout; again to convey emotion or a particular event.
Maths has focused on long multiplication, placing the digits, and cutting out mistakes. Science continues with their cars and board games coming along well. The soldering iron was out and most children have created their circuits and tested them out. In the final week, they will just need to seal them and decorate.
Our fictional stories that are structured around our ever growing knowledge about World War 2 are coming together nicely in our English lessons. We have looked at developing our figurative language skills, in particular adding instances of onomatopoeia and personification.
In Mathematics we have been studying how to calculate the perimeter of different shapes. Initially we looked at calculating the area of simple regular shapes, then built on this by looking at irregular polygons that had some key measurements missing. The children were required to use their understanding of shapes and numbers to calculate the missing dimensions.
In Performing Arts, the children have been working with a focus on preparing a business pitch in the Park Hill version of Dragons Den. Over the next few weeks the children will be developing the presentation of their ideas to their fellow Dragons with a view to projecting their voice with confidence and composure in their body language.
The Year 5 allotment took a large step forward this week. The children had put in the hard work throughout previous weeks, so this week they had the joy of choosing their bulbs and concentrating on planting them to the correct depth and spacing. Spring time feels like such a long time to wait In order to see the beauty of the bulbs show up and reward the children for their time and effort.
Our penultimate week before the half term break showed off a multitude of Year 4s skills in writing persuasive sentences, painting pictures and address matters close to the heart.
Urging you to stop tearing down trees and destroying habitats that are over one hundred and twenty million years has been our primary focus in English. The endangered Southern Cassowary is willing Year 4 to write more persuasive texts to save the unique forest in Northern Queensland, Australia. Our persuasive writing has encouraged us to use emotive language and rhetorical questions to draw in the reader to sympathise with our cause.
Our progress with numbers, or should I say parts of numbers has led us to finding equivalent fractions for a range of fractions. With this knowledge we have stepped forward in to adding and subtracting fractions where we have learnt that the denominator of fractions must be the same in order to successfully add and subtract.
In matters of the heart, Science has kept pupils pulses racing as we discovered where the heart pumps blood to and whether that blood is oxygenated.
Our Art lessons continue to produce stunning paintings which we hope will be ready for next week where the final application of paint will see to successful results.
A long hard working week, which will be rewarded next week with more creative endeavours as we head to half term.
Well done Year Four, excellent effort.
From building shelters in groups using Richmond Park to bird feeders on site we have been at one with nature this week. All these skills included critical thinking and team work at many different levels. I was very impressed with how Year 3 handled themselves in a mature and productive manner.
In mathematics we have been learning our times tables and all the different shortcuts to help us calculate efficiently. Our times tables weekly Olympics challenge certainly help reinforce these skills.
Year 3 are proud to present their latest masterpieces of art around the main school building. Using Kandinsky’s ‘Squares with concentric rings’ as our inspiration we created our own abstract pieces. As Kandinsky painted to Opera, we did too and relished every moment discussing our own motivation and reasoning for our work.
This week in Maths Year 2 have been working on learning their quarter past and quarter to times. We have had great fun playing lots of time games using our tiny clocks. We even did some amazing time challenges which really made us use our critical thinking skills. Great work this week Year 2, I was very proud of you.
In English we have been working on book creator to create an animal fact book based on what we have been learning in Science. It has been so nice to see the children getting so creative with the way their work is laid out and what information that have been putting into their animal pages.
Next week in Maths we are going to be starting to look at arrays to help us with our timetables. In English we are going to be continuing our work with animals and even looking at how pollution is effecting different species, we might even try our hand at some persuasive writing.
Enjoy your weekend.
Learning Challenge: What was life like when our grandparents were children?
This topic focuses on the basics of what History is and teaches the children some of the vocabulary associated with the passing of time. They are learning about timelines, chronology and this weeks focus was comparing toy types - identifying three similarities and three differences.
In English this week, the children have been sound detectives, identifying phonemes and learning the rules for where oy, oi, ow and ou are used.
We have been reading The Enormous Turnip, creating a story map to record and then retell this traditional tale and then writing our own versions. I was so impressed to hear the vast range of ideas that Year 1 came up with. Sinoe for example discussed writing about a tiny strawberry that needed to be searched for with a magnifying glass and extracted with tweezers!
In maths, we want all the children to feel confident, embrace new challenges, take ownership and start to extend their own learning. They will often work with a partner and will be encouraged to help and support each other. Our focus will be on deepening their learning and ensuring they have a really thorough understanding of each mathematical concept before moving on.
This week we have been developing our addition and subtraction skills. Learning our doubling facts and number bonds to 10 as well as honing our number bond skills.
Our aim by the end of the year is for the children to know all the number bonds for the numbers up to 20, double facts for the numbers to 10 and their 2, 5 and 10 times table off by heart.
A key aspect to our curriculum is wellbeing.
Our weekly PSHCE lesson teaches mindfulness and how to manage their own emotional wellbeing. They are learning about different types of feelings and how to manage these.
Ensuring we are equipped with strategies to help us recognise and deal with a variety of emotions will enable us to lead happy lives.
In addition to PSHCE and RE lessons we continue our Wellbeing Wednesday teaching - this weeks focus being self knowledge. Knowing ourselves is a superpower.
This week has involved learning about ‘recycling.’ It continued from a song they learnt in their performing arts lesson by Ms Georgina. “Don’t drop the litter, put it in the bin...🎶” You may like to watch this clip on tapestry posted last week. The children have teamed up making signs for our classroom to inform others’ that we must put rubbish in the bin. We looked at educational videos about landfill and where our rubbish goes, learning that even our clothes can be recycled. The children are now very aware of the recycling logo and are very good at looking at food products and packages. I wonder if the children can tell you which items need to be recycled at home!
In Maths, the children have been learning 2D shapes and it’s characteristics. They made a shape picture by cutting and positioning the shapes creatively making butterflies, ladybirds and bumblebees. Next week we will be moving onto 3D shapes!
In handwriting this week, the children have been looking at the lead in and lead out forming the days of the week. This is helping us remember the days of the week, particularly during our morning circle time.
During woodland school the children experimented with loose parts making pictures of their choice and using the wood work bench to create conker animals. All children were able to confidently use the palm drill to make holes and thread, push, other materials into it taking real pleasure.
Have a great weekend!
Have a great weekend!
This week Second Steps children have been doing a range of food-based craft activities. We enjoyed using leaves, fruit and vegetable stamps to create autumn related collages and decorated our tree in the classroom. We have been chopping vegetables up ourselves and enjoyed printing with them.
Through these activities, the children learnt how to mix colours to create different tones and shades of primary colours as well as understand differences between 2D and 3D shapes.
We read a nice story about Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie and had lots of fun learning and singing the Five Little Apples song. We are learning about Harvest Festival, focussing on what foods the farmer are harvesting, what the farmers do when they are working on their farms, and so we will continue with that next week.
We had lots of fun in Woodland School this week making our own creatures using pine cones, conkers, feathers and pipe cleaners. The children chose their own resources and there were some great creations.
We turned two large cardboard boxes into vehicles. The children are loving playing in them. Using them as tractors for the farm, cars, aeroplanes, and space rockets. The possibilities are endless.
Good work Second Steps.
Miss Finch & Miss Vari
What a busy week First Steps have had! We have started to read Three Little Pigs story this week and children love to act the characters out.
We went to bark area and looked for signs of autumn in the nature. The children noticed the different colour leaves and we talked about how leaves change the colour. Following our observations, we have created our very own autumn trees. Children enjoyed making broccoli prints to create their trees.
Each child have had a go at holding and feeling an apple then discussed the shape of apple. After that the children practised their drawing skills by painting lovely apples.
Birthday cakes were missing the candles at circle table and children cut and rolled the play dough to place missing candles to match the correct amount.
On Friday Sebastian brought a snail into class and as a class we decided to call him Sandy the Snail then we collected some dry leaves, barks and soil to create a lovely home for him. We took Sandy to bark area with us at break time and found him a small friend too. Really proud of you First Steps for looking after him very well. Well done you all!
Well done First Steps for a fantastic week!