Week Commencing 14.12.20

Goodbye 2020!

Firstly, the adults of Earth class would like to say a big thank you for the cards and gifts that the children brought in at the beginning of the week; it was very thoughtful and we really appreciate it!

The last week has been filled with lots of exciting things. To follow tradition, we still managed to watch a panto (virtually albeit) and eat some tasty ice cream. Along with this, we had Christmas jumper day and ate our delicious Christmas dinners whilst pulling crackers, telling (terrible) jokes and listening to festive music. We also enjoyed one of the first virtual assemblies with the whole school, which included a headteacher’s award for each class and a sports award for both KS1 and 2. I am proud to announce that Lilly got the sports award and Leah got the headteacher’s award – congratulations girls! Later on in the week, we also had our hot chocolates to celebrate regular readers.

In experience lessons, we have been continuing with our cam mechanisms. We have mainly been adding final touches to our backgrounds and followers, along with sawing the doweling, which will eventually be used as the axle and follower. The last of us were also able to use the hot glue-gun to add supports to the background piece of our mechanism. Hopefully, we should have the complete mechanisms ready and fit for purpose in the new year!

As for writing, we have been using a frame to support us with maintaining a rhyme scheme in our smuggler poems. Compared to the last poem we wrote, we have improved at carefully selecting words that both rhyme and relate appropriately to the context of the poem.
Some examples of stanzas are below:

‘Arriving at the squelchy sand,
Pulling his boat with his blistered hands.
A girl called Bess, caught the smuggler’s eye.
Her hair shone in the moonlight,
Her eyes reflected the moonlight,
“Hello my bonny sweetheart,” greeted the smuggler acting shy’
By Naomi

‘The sea that night was not shy.
Many sailors came here to die.
The sea has swallowed many boats.
The moon was as bright as the sun,
clouds were dancing and having fun
and on the see, there was a small boat.’
By Harrison

‘The boat was rocking on top of the glassy water,
“oh no,” he’s an illegal importer!
The tropical sea stretched as far as an eye could see.
The horizon was glistening,
The horizon was glistening as bright as diamonds,
and from sea the smuggler looked the size of a pea.’
By Paige

‘Tim snitched on the smuggler and Bess,
Now the smuggler had to confess.
His cargo was tobacco and tea
The tea granules were as small as a flea.’
By Lois

‘Little did they know, Tim the ostler was listening in,
He couldn’t dismiss they were committing a sin,
Tim stood stationary; he was in shock!
At that moment, he started running,
he was running, running,
until he found some watchmen, at the dock.’
By Lilly

‘The water crashed against the rough rocks.
The wild waters wetted the smuggler’s socks.
His small, birch boat pranced,
The smuggler came sailing,
sailing, sailing,
as the water danced.’
By Maggie

‘The sky was as dark as it could be,
underneath the sky there was a raging rough sea.
There were vast amounts of sand on a beach,
In a dark cave, there were jagged rocks…’
By Harry



Perfect Participant
This week there have been two children that have stood out.
One of which, has been working at home, creating toolkits for some tricky maths and even taking the time to teach her sister! She is always courteous and always tries her hardest in class!
The other perfect participant has shown that she is very grown up in handling challenges. We have noticed that she makes such an effort with everyone in the class, especially those who might not be having a great day, which is brilliant.
It is so lovely to have such respectful and positive children in Earth.
Congratulations Maggie and Paige!

Week Commencing 7.12.20

Earth’s Construction Progress…

One more week to go!

This week, we have been using lots of art and practical skills to refine our moving mechanism products. We have spent some time improving the finish of our boxes by painting them black; we noticed that a selected few boxes did not hold the paint as well as most. Along with this, we have created figures that will be glue-gunned to the wooden followers next week, after they have been sawed to size. Today, all of us were able to accurately measure, mark out and then drill the holes in the sides of our boxes, ready for the wooden axel to fixed into next week. Lastly, some of us were able to use the hot glue-gun to add supports onto our card backgrounds, this is to stop the card from bending over time.

In our english lessons, at the beginning of the week, we explored different poetic devices (metaphors, similes, repetition, personification, alliteration etc). For this, we listened to various (mostly old) pop songs and listened out for examples of poetic devices, we were really intrigued to find that songwriters need to be able to use them in order for the song to be effective and catchy!
Later on in the week, we looked some more at using a range of clauses in sentences. We are beginning to become more confident in identifying different types of clauses in complex sentences, which is great. We are also able to correct sentences that are missing clause-related punctuation. We aim to continue to develop this skill and become more independent in applying it to our own work. After we looked at grammar and punctuation, we began to storyboard our own concept for recreating the Highwayman poem, which instead involves a different stuart/tudor criminal – a smuggler. We will continue with developing descriptions using poetic devices next week.

In our maths lessons, we have been working on some really tricky concepts, which involve using lots of large numbers! We have really spent some time on exploring calculations that include numbers which are multiples of 10, 100 and 1,000. Essentially, these are numbers that end in a zero (30, 200, 4,200 etc). Because we know how to multiply or divide a given number by 10, 100 and 1,000, we have been learning how to break down multiples of these numbers into tens, hundreds and thousands (30 would be broken down into 3 x 10, 200 would be broken down into 2 x 100 and 4,200 would be broken down into 42 x 100). By the end of the week, we were definitely feeling more confident!

Perfect Participant
Congratulations to Isabelle…again! You’ve worked very hard this week, helping and listening to instructions very carefully!

Week Commencing 30.11.20

Begin the Build...

This week, in our experience lessons, we have been finalising our designs for the scenes that will be attached to our moving mechanisms. This has involved careful sketching and editing. We have also been using annotations to ensure that our designs are clear for us to follow further down the production line.
We also had a ‘Text Training’ session. This involved looking at and discussing different text message threads. We had to consider how different messages could be interpreted and then how we could tweak them in order for the sender’s intention to become more clear. We concluded that using emojis are a good way to express whether we are saying something positive, we also spoke about how being blunt and using text talk could come across to the reader as slightly rude or perhaps unkind (even though that wasn’t the intention).

In maths this week, we have been looking at what happens when you multiply or divide a given number by 10, 100 and 1,000. It did not take long for us to realise that it is just a case of moving our digits in the correct direction on the place value grid. At the beginning of the week, when given numbers with decimal points, we did not seem so confident, however today, at the end of the week, we certainly approached the questions with more confidence and efficiency.

Our English lessons this week have been based around the comprehension of a narrative poem titled ‘The Highwayman’. Due to our learning in history, we had a good understanding of what a highwayman is, which is great. We started off by only looking at part one of the narrative poem, pulling apart some of the new language. We then explored what the different scenes might have looked like and eventually used clues to make a prediction about the second part of the poem. Lots of us thought that the highwayman and the landlord’s daughter would succeed in stealing the gold and living a happy life together, some of us thought differently and suspected that Tim the ostler wouldn’t let this happen. We were all shocked to discover the real ending and actually compared it to the tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Next week, we shall be practising our punctuation and grammar skills in preparation for writing our own version of the highwayman but instead about a smuggler.

Perfect Participant
There were a total of 5 runner ups for this week’s perfect participant reward and 2 overall winners! Well done everyone!
Both of the winners have been mature and helpful throughout the week. With one of them helping to tidy up someone elses art spillage and the other taking the class to teach the new mathematics concept!
Congratulations Joe and Leah!

Week Commencing 23.11.20

Designers First, Creators Next…

Firstly, thank you to those of you that remembered to bring in a cardboard box for our upcoming project!

In our experience lessons, we have been recapping and comparing crime and punishment from the last 2000 years. We have done a brilliant job at retaining and engaging with the lessons! Following this, we have started to look at moving cam mechanisms and consider how rotary motion, from the axle and the cam, can turn into linear motion through the follower. We first explored this by creating prototypes of a moving mechanism. We thoroughly enjoyed the challenge that this brought since we had to make some adaptations to enable to prototype to work more effectively.

In maths this week, we have been focusing on our speed when answering 2 times table questions. We have completed lots of different, quick and easy activities. Some of these included using multiplications wheels (and then the added pressure of the countdown music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2dhD9zR6hk) and playing a ball game, where pressure was added by not just remembering the next multiple but to also be able to catch the ball at the same time. We have also been focusing on looking at what square and cube numbers are. We are certainly becoming more confident with both, however cube numbers are slightly more challenging, as we need to have a good understanding of our times tables in order to figure them out.

In English this week, we have been finishing off with editing our suspense narratives. We have used checklists to ensure that we included what we can to make it a piece of work to be proud of. After this, we began writing up our final draft of the stories, using neat handwriting and paper with a crime themed boarder. Since we have taken such care with the planning, editing and copying up, we plan to have our short stories made into a real, hardback book!

Perfect Participant
This week has been a very good one for Earth class. Generally, we have all been very engaged with learning and making sure to ask questions when we’re stuck, which is great! It was also lovely to hear that the sports coach commended their efforts, enthusiasm and respect during today’s PE lesson – well done guys!
However, throughout this week, there has been one pupil who always listens, always works hard and is always polite. She is really becoming more confident in class, which is lovely to see. She has also made a real, conscious effort to improve her going for gold score, which has not gone unnoticed by the adults! Congratulations Sophie!

Week Commencing 16.11.20

Going Back Through Time

This week, the children have delved deep into Britain’s history and have explored how the law system has adapted over the last two-thousand years. After the Romans, we learnt about the Anglo Saxons and the Viking period. We discovered that the Saxons introduced something called ‘Weregild,’ which was essentially compensation given to a victim by the criminal. For example, if you broke someone’s tooth in a fight, you would have to pay around 6 shillings as a way of saying ‘sorry!’ The Saxons also introduced something called ‘Trial by Ordeal,’ which was where the suspect had to either collect a stone from boiling water, walk across hot coals or fight the accuser to the death. You would then be deemed either guilty or innocent, by God, depending on whether you survived and made a quick recovery. If guilty, you were killed. Next, we moved onto the Medieval period, this began after the Normans won the battle of Hastings in 1066 and lasted up until the Tudor period. We were interested to find out that Weregild was abolished during this time, along with trial by ordeal. (Thank goodness, we thought!) It was interesting to see that as time went on, there seemed to become an increasing focus around religion and crimes which were targeting such.

In maths this week, we have spent some time looking more closely at factor pairs of given numbers. We have also explored what a prime number is – a number that only has two factors, 1 and itself. It can be hard to remember all of the prime factors to 100, so we have been practising ways of determining whether a number has more than two factors. Next week, we will be looking at square and cube numbers.

In English, we have been continuing with writing our suspense stories. It has been great seeing all of the children so engaged with their own narratives! We have decided that once all finished, we will put together an official book containing all of our stories.

Perfect Participant
Children are continuing to collect extra points from reading and completing additional maths at home, which is really lovely to see. I am also glad to see so many children chatting and discussing their current reading books, it really does seem that we are beginning to read for pleasure! This week we do in fact have two perfect participants. Both children in the class earned the same amount of points, from either helping without being asked to, using their initiative or generally listening and showing respect when asked. Congratulations to both Alex and Poppy!

Week Commencing 9.11.20

Rotten Romans and Pinpointing Prisons

Experience lessons this week, has involved us using clues about geographical locations, in order to deduce where a particular prison might be located. We were surprised that in Essex, the county that we live in, there is a prison in Chelmsford! We were able to pinpoint this using atlases. Once we felt confident with finding different counties in the UK, we moved onto matching trickier clues about prisons, in order to find where they are located in the world! Lots of the ones we looked at were prisons that were situated on their very own island! We came to the conclusion that this was probably to stop people from escaping! After this, we delved into crimes committed by Romans and the brutal punishments that they could’ve received for them – being put into a sack with snakes and then later drowned seemed to be a shocking one! In order to test our knowledge about the different crimes and punishments that were commonly committed during the Roman period, we each designed a Roman themed crime show, detailing the way in which the criminal was caught, tried and punished! Did you know that the Romans didn’t have CCTV back then?…We didn’t!

To promote a love for reading, we had a long discussion about our book preferences, sharing reviews and reading the blurb’s of most books from our bookshelf. Many children have decided to come out of their comfort zone and try a more challenging text or a completely different type of story to what they typically enjoy. One pupil tried one of the shorter stories written by Philip Pullman (the author of our current class book), enjoyed it so much, that she finished it within one evening!
We have spent some more time getting wrapped up in the clockwork story. The plot is certainly becoming more interesting! We have used parts of the story to create our own descriptions for characters and settings – we felt that perhaps Philip Pullman could’ve gone into more detail in some areas of part 2. We have also explored how to correctly punctuate dialogue and how to make sure that it is important speech, moving the plot along, rather than two characters just having a meaningless chat.

In maths this week, we have moved onto our new unit of multiplication and division. So far, we have looked at the language of ‘multiples’ and ‘factors’. Sometimes this can be a little bit confusing, as they are about similar things. However we are becoming more accurate in remembering that factors are numbers that can be multiplied by other factors in order to create a produce, eg. 3 and 4 are both factors of 12. Multiples on the other hand, are the answer numbers found in a times table, eg. multiples of 3 include 3,6,9,12…etc.
Here’s a game to practise recognising multiples of different numbers: https://www.topmarks.co.uk/times-tables/coconut-multiples

Perfect Participant
This week, we have all been busy earning points. We have had lots of children doing some extra bits at home, which is great. Our perfect participant winner this week has been working exceptionally hard during lessons, collecting points for his questions, his answers and his engagement with the lesson being taught. Congratulations Harry!

Week Commencing 2.11.20

GUILTY…of starting a new experience

This week, we have launched our experience – crime and punishment throughout time. To do this, we have been getting into character and rehearsing our lines to perform a mock trial for Goldilocks, who is accused of stealing porridge and breaking a bear’s chair. We aim to reach a verdict next week!

Throughout this week in maths, we have been revising inverse operations and generally trying to understand the relationships between numbers in a calculation a bit more. We have also worked a bit more on looking at multistep problems, which essentially are questions that require more than one step in order to arrive at the answer. I will add some examples of these to the ‘Maths Support’ page of the blog. It would be great if children could practise these a little bit at home.

In English lessons, we are looking at suspenseful writing, since in the coming weeks we will try to write our very own suspense narratives! We are totally captivated by the class text ‘Clockwork’ by Philip Pullman, as this has lots to engage our imaginations and and has some really good examples of describing not just the appearance of a character, but how they behave and think.

Perfect Participant
The perfect participant this week has made a real effort in her learning. She has made sure that in lessons she is listening carefully so that the task can be completed to the best of her ability. She has taken great pride, particularly in the english tasks, which has been lovely to see. Congratulations to Ava Bea!

Week Commencing 12.10.20

Let’s get this (art) show on the road!

What a wonderful and busy start to the year!
Experience outcome -> https://vimeo.com/468998210/773fce44d7


This week, the children have spent some more time working in their sketchbooks, thinking carefully about personalising the way in which they present their art. We have been trying to overcome the misconception that art should be ‘perfect’ and ‘neat’. It has been really great seeing the children let go and think in a more creative way! We started the week off by following step-by-step guides in order to draw frogs – some look more abstract than others. We experimented with colour and sizes to familiarise ourselves with drawing frog anatomy. Then, we moved onto drawing a larger frog, free-hand, for our final piece. This was done onto black card, we then used glue to go over the outline. Once this dried, we used vibrant and vivid chalk pastels, in an attempt to showcase and capture the beauty of the Amazon, to fill in the body and background of our frogs. We can’t wait for you to see these in our virtual art exhibition (https://vimeo.com/468998210/773fce44d7).

We have already come to the end of our addition and subtraction unit. We have been working really hard on applying formal written methods to calculate the answers to inverse operations and multistep problems – something that’s quite tricky to master! Initially, we found inverse operations difficult, however once we realised that inverse means to work backwards and do the opposite, we were away. Lots of us found that representing our calculations in a part-part-whole model was helpful, as we could clearly see the different relationships between the numbers within the given calculation. Multistep questions were also initially tricky, so we will continue to work on these after half-term. We often found it challenging to recognise what the question was requiring us to do first, however with some more practise this will become clearer.

We have completed another writing task. This time, instead of being persuasive, we were poetic. We have been looking at different rhyming schemes in selected nature-themed poems. After doing so, we were able to follow a similar structure and create our own poems, all of which contain some great visual language, a rhyming scheme and a message – the Amazon is worth protecting!

Earth’s enthusiasm for this experience and their own learning has been very impressive. With lots of children choosing to continue to explore ideas and practise skills further at home, we have been very busy indeed! Despite the year that we have all had so far, the children have been brilliant at getting back into the swing of school again. Well done Earth, enjoy your half-term; you all deserve it!



Perfect Participant
We had a new record for the amount of PP Points collected this week! The children worked very hard on their manners and additional learning at home. There was one child however, who spent a lot of time practising her english, maths and art at home. She was very thoughtful, ensuring that wherever she was able to lend a helping hand, she did! Congratulations Maggie!

Week Commencing 5.10.20

Growing Into Artists…

During experience lessons this week, we have been taking inspiration from the natural world to create colours, textures and shapes that we might see in a Henri Rousseau painting. We began by taking photographs of different leaves and then recreated them in a layered paining using only yellow, blue, black and white paint. Some of us were slightly hesitant about mixing the paint straight onto the page rather than in a paint palette, however as the lesson went on we became more confident with this. We then used a sgraffito technique to scratch away some of the paint and allow other colours to come through! We noticed that this was really effective in separating our leaf shapes. Later on in the week, we went a little bit crazy and used an array of materials to simply experiment with the different textures of paint; some examples of this includes using sawdust to create a rough surface, blowing paint around the page using a straw and even using bubblewrap to print the paint onto the page – this was especially fun! Towards the end of the week, we refined all that we had learned and created a more sustained piece of artwork. The colours, textures and shapes look really beautiful.

In maths lessons, we have continued working on our addition and subtraction skills, using both mental methods and formal written methods, which include exchanging numbers from other columns. We have been playing a fun game in the morning which consists of rolling a dice to randomly generate two 4-digit numbers for us to either add or subtract. Whoever got the highest – or lowest – number out of our pair was the winner. We extended this by seeing if we could estimate and predict the winner before actually completing the calculation. Next week, we will be moving onto rounding numbers to estimate and multistep maths problems, that require addition and subtraction to calculate.

We have finally finished writing our persuasive letters this week! We have worked very hard on these and are very excited about receiving our well-earned badges from Blue Peter. (Applications for this should be completed and posted at home with parents.) We have now moved onto our new unit, which includes writing our own rainforest themed poem to use in our very own, self-made videos. We are very excited about this! In preparation for this, we have been looking at poetry examples. We have been trying to arrange the lines of different poems into the correct order, using clues from the rhyming scheme and punctuation to help us. Along with this, we have explored alliteration and have even constructed some great examples of imaginative and descriptive similes. To do this, we considered the things we might hear, see and taste with regards to a chosen noun e.g. a tree…

Some of Miss Branford’s favourite examples are:
“The tree fell like a wounded Soldier”
“The snake was hissing under its breath like an angry cat hissing for attention”
“Trees plummeting to the ground like skydivers hitting Earth”
“Leaves as crunchy as a bag of crisps”
“Leaves dancing in the wind like waves in a sea”

Lilly’s Artwork Side By Side With Her Inspiration Image

Perfect Participant
This week, the whole class has worked particularly well. However, someone has set a new high score for the amount of PP points collected in a week. One child has made special effort to ensure he makes the best out of his learning experiences at school. This child has made better choices, with regards to his behaviour and learning, throughout the week, which has been great to see. He has taken more ownership with his work during lessons, listening to instructions and also aiming to be as productive as possible during lessons! Congratulations Callum – we hope to see this continue through next week too!

Week Commencing 28.9.20

We’ve Been Tourists!

We have dived a little deeper into understanding what life is like in Brazil. At the beginning of the week, we learnt the difference between human geographical features and physical geographical features. Human features refer to man-made aspects of a place, this can include roads, street lights, statues, bridges, buildings and much more. Physical features refer to natural elements, such as trees, rivers, beaches, grass etc. After we reimagined ourselves as tourists, we discussed whether we would rather visit human or physical geographical features of Brazil. Finding this tricky to choose between, we did some research about tourism in Brazil. We explored 6 different tourist attractions and then chose two (or more) to reference and recommend in our postcards/letters home to our family.

In English lessons, we have spent a little bit more time editing and refining our letters; we want to make sure they are a piece of writing to be proud of! Some children have moved onto neatly writing up their letters onto rainforest themes paper, all ready to be posted next week (hopefully)! We have also done some grammar work this week, revisiting and consolidating our learning in relation to fronted adverbials.

In maths, children have been working on using formal written methods for addition. We started off by recapping the column method, by adding two, two-digit numbers with only one exchange (only carrying one number at the bottom). We then progressed onto seeing word problems that require addition to solve. These often included larger numbers. We will continue with this next week.

Perfect Participant
This week, there have been lots of runners up for the perfect participant award. However, one child has particularly stood out with her manners and hardworking mentality. Throughout this week and last week, she has been working on approaching challenges in a more positive way. Not only has she been more mature with facing and overcoming challenges, she has also spent a lot of time at home writing her own letter to the WWF and Blue Peter, encouraging the Amazon rainforest to be protected. Congratulations to Poppy, who chose the sit-with-a-friend day pass as her reward!

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