What a fun time the children and the staff have had this year in summer club. It has been lovely to see all the children playing outside and enjoying themself. Why don’t you all come and take a look at our amazing display in the entrance. Your children have been taking some fantastic selfies and even got the staff involed! The staff are ready for a nice few weeks off , but the children have all kept us entertained. Also, a big thank you to paretns for being appricative and supportive through out our few weeks in summer club.
We have had a busy week so far in summer club, the children have enjoyed going to the park and the boys have been playing football ALOT. On Tuesday we watched a dvd, ate popcorn and had some juice it was a very chilled afternoon. Today we have been to the bakery and the children enjoyed an ice finger even Miss Lloyd joined in with a yummy cake. We finished off the day with a run around the park. Over the next few days we will be having a sports day and organishing some fun games with lots of prizes.
Its nearly the end of a busy first week at summer club. The weather has not been too bad and we have managed to get to the park most days. The children have enjoyed playing together and even making new friends with children from other schools. This morning Mr Evans made all the childen pancakes, which they enjoyed thoroughly!
It’s been such a busy time with so much going on in school. The children have been working incredibly hard…creating amazing batik artwork, writing persuasive letters to Mrs Reynolds and thinking about our Olympic enquiry.
We started the week with writing letters to Mrs Reynolds persuading her to consider replacing exercise books with iPads and allowing the children to record their work digitally. The children had very strong views why this would be a great idea and were able to confidently present the point of view through their letters. The children will present their letters to Mrs Reynolds over the next week and we are eager to see if we can persuade her with our letters!
Our whole school enquiry has also begun and we spent some time discussing what the Olympic values are. We attended the opening ceremony which was an exciting affair for everyone. The children enjoyed taking part in the singing and listening to the teachers playing the samba instruments!
Y5 were given the value “equality” to consider as part of their enquiry work. Initial discussions around “what is equality” raised some interesting thoughts. The children come up with some excellent ideas as to how they could represent equality through various mediums, including photography, drawing and music. We spent the latter part of the week creating some lovely work including batik flags, photo montages and writing our own acrostic poems.
The children also visited Y6 this week on their official move up morning. Although the children have been working with Miss Sinclair over the last few week on various guided reading activities, they were very excited about being Y6 for the day. From sitting on the benches in assembly to being prefects at break time…the wait is nearly over for our Y5s and they’ll be off being our next Y6 class!
This afternoon the rain started to come down so we decided to put a film on and have a few treats. The coach from QFit have been coming in over the past few weeks playing group games with the children in after school club. They will be here until the end of summer.
On Friday, we had the privilege of inviting a second group of Bury school leaders into our school to start another of our leading assessment programmes. During the morning, they visited our classrooms with their Y4 guides to see assessment in action. Whilst they were visiting classes, I spent a half hour in the hall with Y2 watching their gymnastics lesson. I was so impressed with their skills and the quality of teaching from Mrs Darby and support from Miss Hackett and Miss Lloyd. During the session, the children were practising gymnastic sequences. At the same time, they were filming each other using iPads and then reviewing their attempts immediately and improving their next attempt. In addition, Mrs Darby used her iPad projected on the big screen in the hall to help individuals and groups assess the accuracy of their movements. Fabulous!
As I sat watching this, I listened to our Y4 guides explaining to our visitors about how peer assessment is done in PE lessons. They were so articulate and confident. I felt really proud of our children but also of our staff. We have worked very hard over a long period of time to improve all aspects of our curriculum, including sport and PE. This is reflected in the increased numbers of opportunities for extra curricular sport; an example being the cricket tournament we entered this week at Stand Cricket Club. Our Y6 team were delighted to return to school after winning through to the Bury finals later this term.
In the next couple of weeks we will be holding our Infant Olympics and our Junior Sports. Every child in the school will take part in these events and parents and carers are very welcome to attend. The idea of the Infant Olympics is participation whilst the Junior Sports introduces the concept of competition. Our younger children spend the whole afternoon active. They move from activity to activity in mixed teams. Each activity practises a different skill. They skills demand concentration and effort but mostly are designed to be fun. It is important that young children see physical activity as enjoyable and are not put off by the addition of competition.
By Key Stage Two we introduce an element of competition. We do, however, stress to all of the children that taking part should be fun. When we stand on the finish line for the races we make sure we encourage and congratulate every child no matter where they finish. Some individuals struggle with the idea of not winning but it is often the way adults respond that helps them to come to terms with it. If we are still smiling and clapping at the finish whether they are first or last, if we tell them how much we’ve enjoyed watching them run, then they manage to have fun regardless.
We have also recently joined a limited number of primary schools in Bury in the I Will if You Will initiative. This is designed to encourage children and families to be more active. One of the activities is the WOW (Walk Once a Week) initiative. Some of our children initially thought that walking from the car at the end of Blackley Close constituted a walk to school! We have spoken to the children to encourage them to try a longer walk, at least ten minutes, just once a week. This is very dependent on parents and carers making the extra effort to do so. Not only would this increase health and well being but it has the knock on effect of pleasing our near neighbours who are regularly disturbed by inconsiderate parking at 9 and 3:30! We realise that this can be difficult for parents but it is well worth leaving home just a few minutes earlier on one day when you see the children’s delight when they achieve their WOW badges.
If you would like to read more about our PE curriculum or about how we use our Primary Sports and PE grant please take the time to read Mrs McLoughlin’s impact report under the Key Information tab. Also, keep a look out for information about our upcoming whole school enquiry based on Olympic and Paralympic values, due to start on Monday, 4th July.
“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” Michael Jordan
Tickets are now on sale for our Party in the Playground on Sunday 26th June 2-4pm.
Tickets are £2.50 per family and must be purchased in advance. Click here to download the ticket order form.
We have lots of fun games and activities planned so we hope you can come along and enjoy the event.
If anyone can spare any time to help on a stall on the day please let us know. Your help would be greatly appreciated.
A window provides a viewpoint, a means by which to look out and survey the surroundings. Typically our homes have many and through each we get a different view, a different perspective of the world around us. Windows provide us with a means by which to reflect on what we see, to gaze on a landscape that changes over time and a chance to contemplate what could be. So think about our schools, our classrooms, our children’s books, are they not windows to learning? Windows to what has been, what is and what could possibly be?
For me, learning windows offer an opportunity for us to stop and reflect, an opportunity to take time to really take in the landscape of learning and a chance to stop and consider what really matters when it comes to making the best choices for learners.
At this moment in time our education system as we know it is the hot topic of conversation across the media and it seems like everyday brings a new story or press release. Educators up and down the country face a constant battle between what they feel is the right thing to do and external pressures. Yet this is just one way of viewing education and in some ways is just one of the many windows that we could say open onto the landscape of learning. For me, teachers need to teach and they need to be given the professional space to develop learning cultures that truly inspire the next generation of learners and allow an engaging curriculum to flourish. That professional space is their classrooms; the space through which they promote curiosity, nurture creativity, build resilience, challenge the status quo and make anything seem possible.
The class of children I teach talk with me all the time about their learning windows and they have come to see their books as a window through which they can spend time thinking about their learning. What is so interesting is how the term “window” has altered the way in which they talk about their books and how they reflect on their progress. I have always believed that feedback is ultimately the one factor that improves a child’s performance, but feedback doesn’t just take one form. There are no magic formulas, whole school rigid criteria or gimmicks that can provide effective feedback. Effective feedback comes from the dialogue that happens between a teacher and a learner.
For dialogue to be transformative it should be a two way street, be born out of co-agency and trust, so that both the teacher and learner work together to achieve the best possible result. When a teacher really knows their curriculum and invests time in understanding the learners that that teach, only then can feedback be most effective. For every learner it looks different, a word, a phrase, a tone of voice, a gesture or a model just to name a few. When feedback works, it is because it has changed the way someone does or approaches something.
The children I teach recognise this and it struck me today how much power a learning window has when the landscape on which you gaze becomes the focus of the dialogue. I was having a conversation with one of my learners about how they felt about their work over time and I was amazed at the response I got because it was about an honest appraisal of what a learner felt and what a learner could say about their progress over time.
“You see Mr Rhodes, at the start of year 2 this window (an English book) didn’t look great. I felt really frustrated and disappointed with the things I did, but now just look at it. I feel confident and I love looking at what I have achieved”
A learning window, whether it be a book, a section of a lesson, a look at a classroom on a particular day at a particular time, is a snapshot. Time is such a precious commodity as it seems to pass so quickly and it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done, but is this the case or do we need to rethink what is important and consider where best to spend our time?
Over the years I have started to gaze more at the learning windows that surround me and to take notice of the landscape that unfolds. I have taken time to encourage my learners to do the same and tried to build in them the understanding of why reflecting on where you have been, where you are and where you might go is such an important thing to do. Recently I came across a topic book from 9 years ago that had lay hidden on a shelf gathering dust. Within that book lay frozen in time a snap shot of a year of learning. As I looked through that learning window I glimpsed a curriculum and an approach that no longer exists. It no longer exists because reflection and feedback have transformed what once was for the better.
As educators we need to open up all the learning windows that surround us, taking stock of the landscapes that unfold, whilst discerning where our gaze needs to fall. If we listen to learners and engage in a two way dialogue that aims to change the landscape we see for the better, then surely some of those other windows can be closed, looked upon for perspective, but not seen as imposing views that mask what is important; the hopes and dreams of our children.
Over the last few weeks the children have been enjoying the lovely weather. They have been playing on the playground most nights enjoying football, making dens and jumping with the big skipping rope. Even the staff enjoyed having a jump around. After half term we will be decorating biscuits and making some yummy surprises.
This week we have been very busy learning about 2d and 3d shape. In particular we have been learning to talk about corners, sides and faces when describing shapes. This weekend encourage your child to talk about the shapes they see in the environment and to use mathematical language to describe what they see. You could also ask them how to play ‘Guess the shape’ .
The children have also been very busy writing questions for Jack and the Giant. The writing in Reception is developing and lots of children enjoy writing as part of their play. We also talked about how some children don’t have much food and have to walk a long way to get water. We are encouraging the children to consider the lives of others and to understand some people lives are very different from their own.
Wishing you all a fantastic weekend.
Regards Michelle Duckworth