Words can be as damaging, and sometimes even more damaging, than physical actions. They have the ability to be helpful or hurtful, uplifting or upsetting, caring or cutting. It is therefore so important that we all think before we speak, because once the words have left our mouths we cannot retract them.
This week, in our Monday morning assembly, I challenged the children to T.H.I.N.K. before they speak. It is my hope that this acronym will help the children to not say the first thing that comes into their minds, but rather to pause and consider the potential impact and consequences of their words. This ties into the IB Learner Profile attribute of being principled, which encourages the children to take responsibility for their actions and the consequences that may result from them.
All too often, we can hear something and not ask ourselves if it is TRUE. On Monday, I encouraged the children to question the authenticity of things that they hear, but maybe have not seen with their own eyes. It is easy to be the judge and jury based upon something that others have said.
Will the words we say actually HELP anyone? I encouraged the children to consider whether their words will encourage others to feel better about themselves, or if they would in fact make the situation worse.
Will this comment make people feel INSPIRED? Our words have the ability to help others feel more positive and to encourage them to be the best version of themselves. I challenged the children to use their words to inspire others.
Is it NECESSARY? I explained to the children that sometimes our words are better left unsaid.
Is it KIND? Our words can profoundly impact the feelings of others, and it is so important that we use our words to build up others, rather than to knock them down.
It is my hope that we are developing strong individuals who will T.H.I.N.K. about the impact of what they say, and that, as a result, the children will continue to enjoy being part of a caring and considerate community here at St Leonards.
CARING COMMUNITY | Before the Christmas holidays, I explained the proposed Peer Listening Scheme to the children in Years 6 and 7. The children who were keen to be involved had to complete an application form. These forms were then assessed by the teachers, who also met with the applicants to make sure that they were suitable and aware of what the scheme involved. Some Year 5 children also showed interest, and so we opened up applications to them too.
The training for the Peer Listeners commenced in mid-January, and it was agreed that the volunteers would meet every Wednesday at break for training. The training helped the volunteers to think through the different types of problems that might be shared and how they could be effective listeners, involved some role play, and also a workshop from a trained counsellor. The children were regularly reminded that it is not their responsibility to solve problems, and that their responsibility was rather to be someone who could listen. The scheme is now up and running, and the Peer Listeners gave a fabulous assembly on Monday morning to the whole school to raise awareness of the new initiative. The children take turns to be 'on duty', and will continue to meet each Wednesday to discuss and share their experiences. At these training sessions, we plan to have more visits from counsellors and those with experience in pastoral issues.
Mrs Arkwright, Year 4 Class Teacher
Architecture in St Andrews
ARCHITECTURE IN ST ANDREWS | As part of their Unit of Inquiry, both Year 6 classes took a walk around the town this week to find out about the buildings in St Andrews. They took pictures of interesting buildings to discuss in the classroom, considered the materials used to create the buildings and why they had been chosen, and also looked at how the buildings have changed over time. It was a little rainy for one of the classes, but this didn't dampen their enthusiasm!
Multiple Mother Tongues
MULTIPLE MOTHER TONGUES | A group of Year 12 students, coordinated by Language B teacher Mrs Cremonese, delivered a fascinating assembly to pupils in the Junior School this week. The assembly celebrated International Mother Tongue Day, which is held on 21 February each year.
Many thanks to the Year 12 pupils and Mrs Cremonese for giving up their time to come down to the Junior School, and for delivering such an engaging assembly!
HARD HIEROGLYPHICS | As part of their new Unit of Inquiry How the World Works, Year 3 have been looking at how the Egyptians communicated using symbols to represent letters. They took to the tarmac in a dry spell this week to plan out and write phrases in hieroglyphics. It was not until 1799, when the Rosetta Stone was uncovered, that Hieroglyphics were decoded - and this process took over 20 years! Whilst the phrases written by the Year 3 pupils do not match the Rosetta Stone, the children certainly had lots of fun creating phrases to share with their friends.
DETERMINED DETECTIVES | Year 4C undertook a challenging problem solving activity in Maths this week which required them to ascertain the whereabouts of a travelling salesman. The children worked in pairs to organise eighteen clue cards into a meaningful order. Some of the cards provided background detail, others gave useful information, and the rest posed questions which could only be answered after completing the accompanying calendar by colouring in dates to show the work commitments of the salesman. The task was entirely pupil-led and was a challenging activity which demanded open minds (the Learner Profile focus for February), collaboration and determination. Very well done to the determined detectives in 4C who showed perseverance and cooperation and who managed to complete the task!
CREATIVE COMMUNICATORS | Year 3 welcomed volunteers from the Burntisland Museum of Communication this week. They brought in a variety of equipment for the children to interact with, and spoke to the children about how communication has changed over time. The children had the opportunity to use tools for communication including flags, morse code, machines, string telephones, old fashioned telephones, radios, and the Murray Optical Telegraph. Many thanks to the volunteers from the Museum of Communication for delivering such an informative and engaging workshop!
Below, some of the Year 3 pupils share what they learned from the workshop.
Aryaman - "I learnt that the Murray Optical Telegraph was used to send messages by flipping squares which created a different letter in a sequence."
Thomas - "I didn't know before today that whistles were used for communication."
Rodrigo - "I learnt that a ship laid the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable from Ireland to Newfoundland between 1955 and 1956."
Christina - "I learnt that you can send messages by flags called Semaphore flags."
Harris - "I learned that televisions have changed over the years, and have become lighter and thinner."
Annie - "I learnt all about wireless radios."
Three Little Pigs
THREE LITTLE PIGS | It is clear that not just Year 1, but the entire Junior School has returned from the half-term break rejuvenated and ready to go. As with Storm Dennis, they blew in on Monday and have hardly stopped whirling!
Year 1 only have three more weeks of this Unit of Inquiry. As we continue to investigate the properties of materials, and their suitability for various tasks, we have also turned our attention to houses and homes. We have met three little pigs this week who may have not made the best construction choices... We took our learning to the beach in order to explore what options the pigs may have had if they had been building houses on East Sands.
Year 1 were also treated to a fascinating talk from St Leonards parent Tim Rhodes this week. The children are bursting with enthusiasm to investigate what their homes are made from, and what that tells us about their house.
If possible, please furnish your child with an exterior picture of your home so that we can take these discussions further this week - feel free to email them to me.
Miss Boissiere, Year 1 Class Teacher
HISTORIC HERALDRY | As part of their new Unit of Inquiry which is based on the Tudor and Stuart periods, 4C enjoyed examining Tudor shields this week. Having considered the colours, symbols, patterns, and meanings of heraldic shields, the class designed their own Coat of Arms. There were some excellent results!
The class have also looked at the Battle of Bosworth, Henry VIII and Mary, Queen of Scots. They have concluded that life was difficult for many members of society back then, and are eager to find out more. There is a long way to go, and many questions yet to be answered! They look forward to sharing more insights from their Unit of Inquiry in future newsletters.
Heaps of Hockey
Sunlight and Scrunbles
SUNLIGHT AND SCRUNBLES | The Cross Country Club is enjoying the increased hours of daylight - the runners no longer need to don their high-vis jackets and head torches. The Club takes in runners from Year 4 to Year 7, and it is always interesting to see how a love of running transcends the year groups and how the younger children are pushed on and inspired by the older children. One of the club's favourite runs is a 'scrunble', a mix of running and scrambling, when the tide is out along the shoreline. This is always fun and requires the children to work together, to help each other over obstacles, and to dynamically assess situations.
If you your child is interested in joining the Cross Country Club, please do encourage them to come and speak to me!
Mr Duncan Barrable, Year 5 Class Teacher