Year 4 thoroughly enjoyed a day in our Outdoor Classroom at school today.
We began each session with a time of silence. Birch Group then spent some time discussing the things which they had really appreciated since getting up. Some children found this really difficult, but with encouragement everyone ended up thinking of something – these ranged from seeing some amazing wildlife at home, or on the way to school, being woken early by birdsong after a good night’s sleep, making a quiche before school, having breakfast, and being alive! There were others, of course.
Both groups then became very quickly engaged in the activities Tawny Owl had planned. They made natural inks from Lime leaves, King Alfred’s Cakes, and Cornflowers. The mortar and pestle we used was generously given to us by our link school in Malawi - Lungamadzi. It was a very special moment.
The results were very interesting as the colours did not behave in the way most people were expecting. Some children used herb potions to add to the inks to make them smell lovely. While this was going on, other children used Elder wood to make charcoal pencils; we agreed they were not as easy as we had though they might be either.
After this activity we then went to the pond where the children had great fun pond dipping, and searching for minibeasts around the pond area. They found some amazing creatures - beetles, worms, centipedes, water louse, diving beetles, newts, dragonfly nymphs (and a case from a newly metamorphosed dragonfly), water boatmen, and pond skaters. A great collection.
The final activity was using the charcoal pencils and inks to draw pictures of what they saw.
There are lots of pictures today, so these are just a few. Please look at the year 4 gallery to see all of them.
A lot of work went into these maps! There were several processes to creating them. We started by looking at aerial photos to get the idea of a birds eye view, and then the children began using their imaginations to come up with what could be on a desert island. They drew the map outlines and added the symbols to show all the details on the map. We even discussed which ocean it might be in and agreed that the Indian and Pacific Oceans, being warmer, would be good choices so many labelled their islands with that detail. After adding some colour we spent another lesson learning the compass directions and how to remember them (Never Eat Shredded Wheat), the children added some buried treasure to their islands (X marks the spot!) and drew some directions from a starting point to get to their treasure. Some children even wrote some instructions to follow to get to the treasure on a separate piece of paper. I'm sure you'd agree that the Elephants would make very swashbuckling pirates!
For this lesson, we recapped on the continents, which we learned earlier in the year, and the oceans, which we learned earlier in the week. We reviewed the facts we knew, and looked in atlases to make sure we knew where each continent or ocean was labelled on the world map. We also discussed which oceans are adjacent to which continents, and cut and stuck to label our own maps accurately. If you are like me and slightly pedantic and have noticed Australia was labelled a continent instead of Oceania or Australasia, you'll be happy to know that we discussed the difference (Oceania is a 'region' and Australasia is a 'subregion'), though we talked about how this can be controversial and other people may disagree on this front! At the very least, all the children were able to name most, if not all, the continents.
We started off our topic by learning what an Ocean was. We discussed that they are the biggest areas of water in the world, and are what separates the continents from each other. We sang a song to learn their names (which is sung to the tune of Frere Jacques) to remember them, and also learned a couple of facts about them as well. Try asking your child which is the biggest or warmest ocean, or even which ocean the Titanic sank in! We labelled the oceans on the map sheets from the photo, and coloured them in carefully to show where the continents and oceans are.
Year 1 have been working really hard on Geography knowlege and skills so far this term, with lots of work which would not fit into books. Please have a look at the related blog entries for more detail about what we have been learning about.
We had a fabulous day at Trosley Country Park today. Travelling up in the minibus and 3 cars, we arrived slightly late, but soon settled into our activities. Gemma from Outdoor Studios reminded the children about the Ash Tree; following up on the information they were given on Monday.
They began by using charcoal to do some observational drawings of the Ash trees surrounding the outdoor classroom area. Then off we went on a short walk to another part of the wood. On the way we took a short break at the climbing bars. At the next stopping point we observed lots of fallen trees, blown over by the wind; some of these were Ash. Amazingly, in spite of the damage many of them were still growing. The children found flint and chalk. The chalk they used to draw the root of the trees, along with some charcoal. Mrs Stanford had a little 'woodland envy' as this area was a wonderful space for children to play and learn.
We returned to the centre to prepare for lunch - a thorough hand wash.
After lunch, another time to play - lots of millipedes kept the children entertained for quite a while. Then we had time to create sun pictures and bark rubbings of ash trees. The children had lots to do, and the time rushed by, so it was soon time to leave for the return journey.
Thanks should be extended to Mrs Ridout, Mrs David and Mrs Newton who very kindly gave up time in their busy lives to transport the children. Thank you ladies!
We were blessed with amazing weather, and everyone agreed it was a great day. Certainly a great venue to visit if you haven't been there. We would recommend it.
Have a look at the amazing photos taken by Mrs Newton (and a few not so good ones taken by Mrs Stanford). Most are in the year 5 gallery.
This week some of our youngest children saw snow for the first time. Committed to outdoor learning, we pulled on our wellie boots, wrapped up warm and played in the snow. One parent told me that her son had commented, "Mrs Roberts is the best headteacher ever for letting us play in the snow!" Once the children were back in class, it was lovely to see the teachers abandon their plans to follow the interest of the children; paper snowflakes were created reinforcing symmetry and pattern; snow poems and stories were created; the difference between solid, liquid and gases; the water cycle was revisited to name but a few activities that captured the children's imagination.
With a wind chill below freezing point, Year 6 braved the elements to conduct a field trip of the coast around Whitstable - a first for Goudhurst & Kilndown. We investigated coastal erosion (spits, longshore drift, groynes etc), visited a working fishing harbour and had a superb visit around the RNLI station; all polished off with a portion of chips. We even saw example of sustainable energy (from our Science last term) - the North Kent Wind Farm!
Please see the stunning photos from Mrs Chapman in our gallery.
This afternoon, leopards class were learning all about our local area by using google earth, google maps, and explored our area using google street view. We had to use lots of skills to do this, such as being able to spot Europe on the earth, locate Great Britain and pinpoint Goudhurst -this was easier said than done! We had lots of fun using our school iPads, and this will lead on to us creating our own maps in the future.