Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of learning – George Bernard Shaw
Mrs Harmsworth certainly thought so last week when children in her Foundation class spontaneously began role-playing teachers and pupils. So enthused were the children in their imaginary world that Mrs Harmsworth and her assistant, Mrs O’Hanlon, changed the role-play area in their classroom to create a mini-teaching zone. Soon their pupils were immersed in the world of teaching phonics and numeracy to each other, oblivious to their observers. Mrs Harmsworth was highly impressed with her pupils’ teaching skills and may even have picked up a few tips for herself!
Year 3 Maths
Meanwhile Year 3 have been working hard to master their times tables skills. As well as chants, games and regular mental recall homework, they have enjoyed singing along to cleverly-revised editions of popular songs to consolidate their learning, as I discovered when I heard the joyous sound of Taylors Swifts ‘Shake it Off’ from my office this week. I’ll be definitely sharing these with my 7 year-old grandson next week.
National Maths Challenge Results
Thanks to such dynamic lessons, our pupils learn to love Maths and achieve great success, as we saw when the Junior Maths Challenge results were announced this week. This challenge is a nationwide Maths competition aimed at pupils in Year 8, which encourages mathematical reasoning, precision of thought, and fluency in applying mathematical techniques to solving problems. Owing to the accelerated nature of our curriculum, many pupils in Year 6 and Year 7, as well as all of Year 8, took part earlier this term. Overall, 22 pupils received a Gold Award, 24 gained Silver and 28 were awarded Bronze. This is a record number of Gold Awards for the school.
All those who achieved a Gold Award have been selected to move to the next level of the challenge, the Kangaroo round. Meanwhile, Archie, Henry and Ryan, who scored exceptionally well and are among the highest performers nationally, have been selected to go through to the highest level, the Olympiad. We wish everyone the very best for their next level of challenges, which take place in June. For those who wish to test their grey matter this half-term, the questions from the most recent challenge can be found here.
On Tuesday morning, I dropped into a Year 8 Humanities class to deliver a birthday card, only to find myself being drawn in to the deep and enlightened debate about Chairman Mao. Mrs Davies’ pupils were exploring the statement from the Communist Party that Mao was ‘7 parts good, 3 parts bad’. It was like being in a university tutorial session, such was the maturity and insightfulness of the opinions being shared. Here are some examples of the work produced.
Year 1 Mini-Plays
Year 1 pupils have spent this term rehearsing and recording mini-plays which celebrate the wonders of Julia Donaldson’s most loved stories – Room on the Broom, Tiddler and The Gruffalo. Performed in one take in the Britten Room, as if on a stage, the children revelled in the joys of the rhythmic story-telling, costumes and props. Confident acting, singing and choreography are all on display for parents to view fully on the VLE and short excerpts can be seen below.
1JC have also been busy learning about road safety this week. They sang Super Cat’s Road Safety Rap, made their own road signs and enjoyed directing each other around the school on bikes and scooters using their traffic signs.
Pre Prep Music
Pre Prep have also been showing off their musical skills to their parents this week, in ‘Open Class’ sessions that have been live-streamed. On Wednesday, Year 2 performances included rhythmic reading, playing, feeling and moving to the beat and to different rhythmic note lengths. The children listened for higher and lower sounds and played musical instruments. Today, Foundation have charmed their audiences with music and movement, listening to the piano and keeping in time to the music. Showing that they can tell the difference between marching and skipping, louder and quieter, they reacted to rain and thunderstorms and were horses galloping and trotting.
Wednesday saw the first ever rehearsal of the Tiny Brass group, an ensemble of Year 3 musicians. Mr Sedgwick was delighted to form this beginners group and looks forward to seeing them develop over time. I might even return to hear them playing in the Concert Band in 5 years!
Last Sunday, gymnasts from Years 3 to 8 competed in a combined House Gym and Virtual Competition rehearsal in the Sports Hall under the watchful eye and dedicated organisation of Mr and Mrs North. Over 80 gymnasts took part, one year group at a time, as the pupils were put through their paces in a two-piece competition featuring the floor and vault. After more than a year since our last competitive gymnastics event, Mrs North was delighted with everyone’s performances. The gymnasts are now in training for the official ISGA virtual competition on 13th June.
I am now off to play in the annual Old Fidelian v staff golf match at the Gog Magog Golf Club this evening. Dare I say it, the weather forecast looks promising this evening and set fair over half-term, with a much-welcomed and sustained period of sunny, dry weather. Whatever your plans, I wish you all a very pleasant week and look forward to welcoming everyone back on Monday 7th June, for the final few weeks of the year.
Thank you, as always, for your support.
With all good wishes,