Welcome to Owl Class!
Here you will find lots of information about our projects. Each term we will add information about what we are learning in class as well as some useful resources for you to use to support with your child at home.
In Term 6, our theme is Scented Garden, where the children will work in role within a Mantle of the Expert context, as ethical garden designers who are commissioned to create a memorial garden for the Selfish Giant by his sisters. They want to create a wild yet truly accessible public space where everyone can remember the giant and how he reformed, whilst learning about the vital role that plants and gardens play in everyone's lives.
For more information on this term's learning, please see the learning overview below:
This week has seen the conclusion of this term's Mantle project for our class. They finished their beautiful watercolour and collaged picture books to show the giant's sister and thought that they would suggest that rather than picking one for sale, a whole range could be available for people to borrow and read in the garden for those those needed a quiet moment, or who couldn't afford to buy a book.
In role as the Ethical Garden Designers, they presented their finished solutions to myself and Mrs Ambrose, who represented the giant's sister and a concerned villager. We were incredibly impressed by the way they considered the needs of all visitors, making provision for physical and hidden needs and showing a real desire to be inclusive in all their designs. They could explain in such detail and answered some tough questions put to them, which was wonderful to see.
In maths, we have been working further on any little gaps and in PE having a go at some simple cricket skills. We also successfully managed a class move amongst all of this!
Next week will be about designing and creating their own Harry Potter board games and completing the reading of Philosopher's Stone, with some exciting acting out of sections planned.
We also see our final whole class publication with me, in the form of a summer 2021 edition of The Wishing Magazine, which contains a piece of writing from every child in the class. The children had free reign over what they wanted to contribute. The colour magazine is available on ParentPay for £3.
This week Owl Class have made a sterling effort of completely finishing their beautiful watercolour and collaged picture books, which are currently being pressed. In art, we have been working collaboratively to design and begin to make a fitting sculpture to represent the giant and his character and actions, using Barbara Hepworth as our inspiration. We are now working on our own personal pieces of writing for the next edition of the class magazine.
In maths, we have been recapping our gaps, to ensure we are really secure in the basics. Next week we will be needing newspapers to complete work in class. Please send any in with your child is you have them.
Owl Class had a fabulous time at the zoo and they have earned a class leaf for their excellent behaviour whilst on the trip. Tommy gets a leaf for particularly good listening. They were all brilliant ambassadors for the school, and all listened carefully. We had such a great day together, after a tricky and interrupted year.
This week, Owl Class have been very focussed on creating individual picture books around a magical garden theme to be sold in the shelter within the giant's memorial garden. After creating their own printed paper, they have added collaged elements to their stories, inspired by illustrator James Mayhew's imaginative mixed media work on the Mrs Noah's Pockets story. It has been quite an effort to create completed books, but they have worked really hard we are almost there. The children are incredibly proud of their efforts and we hope to be able to share them in some way soon.
In role as artists, we have now started our sculpture designs for the hill in giant's memorial garden, using the work of Barbara Hepworth, the giant's favourite sculptor, as inspiration.
In maths we have been revisiting and recapping areas visited previously in order to secure any gaps and the children have enjoyed playing maths games around areas they have identified as gaps.
Appreciation leaves: Lytcia and Matilda for powerful descriptions in your books
This week, within our current Mantle project, Owl Class have worked hard to create an accessible shelter in the giant's memorial garden. thinking about purpose and sustainability. They helped to reassure the concerned villagers that any shelter would be sympathetic to its surroundings and thought of inventive ways to bring water and working toilets to a place that has neither power or a water supply.
In maths we entered the forbidden forest and they applied their maths skills to crack a code and create a potion to quell the fire of the dragon hidden in a cave deep in the forest.
In role as authors and illustrators, the children have now planned their magical garden picturebooks, creating large storyboards and considering interesting and imaginative word choices to bring the stories to life. They have painted watercolour backgrounds to their pages, ready to collage and add words next week.
My leaves go to Hayden for persevering and continuing to try his best and Theo for some wonderful thoughtful descriptions in our garden descriptions.
This week Owl Class in our Mantle work we have been working on the challenges of the giant's memorial site. We did an imaginary site visit, where we assessed the issues. We realised that a different solution was required to allow access for all to the top of the hill. We also noted that bridges were only just wide enough for double buggies or wheelchairs, so a one-way system might be needed to prevent bottlenecks. We worked on our maps to show our ideas so far. We spoke again to the giant's sister who gave us some additional commissions to work on. We are incredibly busy trying to meet all the challenges and ensure we respect everyone's points of view.
In English, we started planning the illustrated picturebooks the giant's sister had requested we create, designing a main character and some story ideas. We wrote a character description that will become part of the story. In maths, we continued to work with bigger numbers, practising our halving and doubling skills, using number facts that we know to help us.
In Music, we explored graphic scores and created short compositions by making up different symbols for alternative ways of playing the same instrument.
This week Owl Class have begun their new Mantle commission as the Ethical Garden Designers team. We received a touching commission from the sisters of the former selfish giant (as described in Oscar Wilde's story of the same name) to design a completely accessible garden for everyone on the site of his burial mound. The team has been working hard as designers to consider how to make the site equally accessible for all visitors, regardless of any disability, whilst also keeping in mind the need to preserve certain aspects that were important to the sisters and keep the garden as wild as possible. The team's empathy and determination to find the right respectful solution has been quite amazing and they have thought of many ingenious ways to create a wonderful, useable space for visitors on a site with no electricity or plumbing.
We have been working as scientists to understand plants better (to help us with our commission) and have been exploring transpiration within plants through some interesting science experiments. A lot of resilience and teamwork skills were needed to undertake an accurate straw experiment, but they thought carefully about what was needed. Our class rainbow roses experiment, where we took white roses and placed their stems in diluted dyes in different ways, demonstrated just how effectively a plant sucks water up from its roots and stems and takes it to all parts of the plant. It's been a very busy first week back!
This week leaves go to Riley and Joshua for persevering with their maths. Well done for great focus!
Term 5 Learning - Land Ahoy
The children have adjusted well to the change of classroom. It has been a busy week working in role as the Expert Sea Salvage mantle team, diving to further explore a sunken wreck, suspected to be the Marigold, securing the area and carefully retrieving finds in a secure and safe manner. The children physically re- enacted this, drawing or imagining the items that were found, measuring, logging and moving them with real care. During this dive, a ship name plate was discovered that confirmed the team's suspicions that the ship was the lost Marigold.
The team decided they needed to negotiate with the Spanish Aquatic Museum, following their claim that any finds within the ship should be returned to them, rather than the British Museum. The team's opinions were split, but it was agreed that the Spanish Museum should be involved in some way to decide what items might have been stolen from the Spanish.
There was a further challenge within the story when the pulley system designed to haul the crates of finds from the sea bed to the surface arrived in pieces, with no instructions, except for a single photo. We used lego, lego wheel barrels, string and axels to represent the pulley parts and the team worked together in groups to find a way of using them to create a working pulley (practising their design and technology skills).
In PE, the children practised their tennis skills, working on their racket grip and hitting the ball with control. Maths work this week included activities linked to our class book, as we practised our addition and subtraction skills by buying items within Diagon Alley and working out change.
Whilst Laila and Max gained a leaf for showing determination in securing two-digit subtraction and Hayden gained a leaf for showing real perseverance with his reading.
This week Owl Class begun their new mantle commission as Expert Sea Salvage, commissioned by the British Museum to explore the Magellan Straits for the wreck of the Marigold, which sunk there nearly 500 years ago.
The team built their history by considering past diving expeditions, diving safety protocols and expertise they had gathered and then packed with some urgency for this confidential trip to Chile. Once there, they made the decision to begin the exploration at both ends of the Straits, with four divers radioing their finds to the rest of the team in the boats. The situation was tense as the Straits are littered with dangerous rocks and the water temperature was very low, it currently being winter there. However, the weather was calm and allowed the dive to go ahead.
Some remains were spotted on the seabed, which couldn't at this stage be identified as the Marigold, although there was looked like a partial but unclear name plate. Photos were taken of the murky depths so the images could be studied more closely. In art, they painted and drew representations of the photos they imagined the divers took.
The salvage situation was complicated by an email from the Spanish Aquatic Museum, who claimed that any items found within the Marigold should be returned to them, not the British Museum, as the ship had been involved in the plunder of a Spanish Port in Cape Verde before it sunk. The team must decide whether to continue the exploration of the site and what steps to take next to address the Spanish museum's claims.
Eva and Freya for always being ready to learn, and showing resilience. Phoenix for his calm and caring approach to all his classmates.
This week, Owl Class has continued to work as historians and geographers, undertaking our Mantle work in role as the crew of the Marigold, circumnavigating the globe as part of Francis Drake's fleet. The class wrote letters in role to loved ones at home and continued to work on their individual maps, which they had previously painted to represent maps of the 16th century, plotting the journey of the fleet around the world. Their first commission came to an end this week when the ship was tragically caught in a storm in the treacherous Megellan Straits. They learned what a dangerous historical expedition this was, but how the remaining 2 ships discovered that South America wasn't attached to Antartica as previously thought!
In art, we have been exploring tone and texture by using charcoal to draw decaying wood and to take wood rubbings. The children worked with real care to observe the objects closely and represent them through charcoal.
In RE we have continued to learn about Sikhism and the four Sikh commandments, whilst in computing we have continued to focus on our coding skills.
In maths we have been working on our multiplication and division skills, whilst in PE we have now moved from Tag Rugby to work on tennis skills.
On Wednesday we finished our incredibly popular Knights and Bikes class novel. There is a second book in the series called Knights and Bikes, Rebel Bicycle Club, which I have one copy of, but might be a popular choice to buy to read and share at home, if they particularly enjoyed the first one.
This week a leaf of appreciation is awarded to Hayden and Sawyer, for being particularly kind friends to others.
This week in Owl Class we have been writing an informal letter home in role as Miranda the Explorer, describing some of the incredible sights and sounds we've seen. This is in preparation for a letter written in role as a member of the Marigold crew, next week. In our Mantle work we have reached the point where some of the crew realised we were heading further south east, rather than going west to Africa. Much discussion ensued as the real purpose of the trip was revealed by Drake and choices had to be made. We considered the difference between pirates and privateers and pondered why the Spanish believed Drake to be a pirate.
In maths we have been tackling multiplication, recapping that it is repeated addition of the same number, how writing multiplication calculations links to this and working on using our times tables facts to solve problems with remainders.
In RE, we have started looking at Sikhism and the high importance Sikhs place on sharing and equality. In art we explored real historical pirate flags, considered their purpose and designed one of our own.
In Science, we have been learning about Human Survival, and last week we thought about why shelter is important and how to make one to protect our ‘mini-me’s. Despite the awful weather last Monday most were still standing. The importance of water will be our next step in our mission. You should expect your children to be studying their urine over the next few days!
This week, leaves go to all the Year 3s, who have been excellent computing mentors to the Year 2s, supporting their first efforts on Purple Mash and troubleshooting issues as they have arisen. An excellent team effort!
Max has also been working really hard on his sentence work with Mrs Richards and has been aiming high.
This week in our Mantle work as part of the Marigold crew we have tussled with the moral problems of being asked, by Francis Drake, to plunder a Spanish port and vessel in the Cape Verde islands. We have considered different points of view and how it might have felt to have been on board at this point in history.
In our English lessons, where we have explored the picture book ‘Miranda the Explorer’, following Miranda on her travels round the globe, finding the places she visited and recording these on our own maps. We have also written up and illustrated our family recipes ready for publication. In our reading, we have reached a very exciting point in our Knights and Bikes class book and cannot wait to find what is hidden beneath the ancient trapdoor!
In computing, we have started introducing Purple Mash and the children are exploring coding using it in small groups, which they are really enjoying, whilst in maths we have completed our work on subtraction and addition and have now moved onto multiplication, looking at arrays (an arrangement of objects in rows or columns of the same length) and some 3d shape work.
This week we have been making our first steps into the voyage of Francis Drake and his fleet of five ships that he claimed were embarking on a trade mission to Africa in 1577. We have explored the galleon ships that were part of the expedition and the kind of lives those aboard might have on an extended mission. We are now working in role within our Mantle story as the experienced crew of the Marigold and have left Plymouth. We are currently sailing in the North Atlantic Ocean, hoping that the forecast of storms isn't true. Whilst undertaking this expedition we have begun to revisit our geographical knowledge of the oceans and continents of the world and the weather patterns across the globe, as well as working as historians to explore the life of a significant figure.
In maths we have been consolidating our knowledge of addition and subtraction methods and in art we have been using watercolours to recreate world maps, using the Ortelius map, which Drake used, as our inspiration.
Information on Accelerated Reader (AR)
Class Reading Book System for Parents of Year 3 Children
When children are in Year 3 at St Nics they move from Book Bands to the Accelerated Reader (AR) reading book system. This system accurately assesses their reading level via a short online AR Star assessment, which ensures they are reading books that are enjoyable and provide enough of a challenge, without being too difficult (AR calls this their ZPD. I call it their Goldilocks Zone) The assessment gives each child a reading level range and they choose their reading books from within that range.
After they have read a book, they take a short online comprehension quiz on it, which builds on the reading skills we teach in our reading lessons and assesses their comprehension of the text, which helps us to spot gaps and ensure all children are making really good progress with their reading.
To get a complete idea of the AR system and how we teach Reading for Meaning at St Nics, click on the Introduction to AR Powerpoint below.