To launch our Spring 2 topic, ‘Plant Hunters,’ we visited Trebah Gardens on Tuesday 1st March. We spent the day walking the trails, identifying and describing exotic plants as we wound our way around this magical environment. We walked right down onto the beach, which enabled us to appreciate how close the gardens are to the river and sea. This coastal location is part of the reason why Trebah’s exotic species thrive so far from their original home. Back in the classroom, we focused in on the journeys that the plant hunters would have made in their quest for the likes of the Monkey Puzzle Tree, New Zealand Tree Fern and umbrella-leaved Gunnera. A range of geographical objectives have been covered during our topic. We focused in on Piha, a coastal settlement in New Zealand, comparing its climate and environment with that of Trebah. We explored why the tree fern grows happily here when it originated in our antipodes!
Our Science theme ‘Plants’ linked brilliant to our topic and we have thoroughly enjoyed tracking the growth of our lily bulbs and Livingstone daisy seeds. Science Week was a real highlight and as well as the wonderful whole school activities, we set up investigations to answer ‘pattern seeking’ questions such as Do smaller seeds germinate more quickly? & Do smaller seeds grow into small plants? As we head into the Summer Term, we’ll be able to start to find our answers.
To further enhance our plant learning, our Talk for Writing model texts were both foliage-themed. ‘The Giant’ is a beautifully written ‘wishing tale’ set in the glorious Lost Gardens of Heligan, whilst ‘How do Plants Grow?’ is an explanation text. Both models helped us to innovate and then invent our own texts in those genre styles. Staying on the English theme, we greatly enjoyed dressing up as book characters for World Book Day. This was a brilliant opportunity to promote the love of reading amongst the Curlews.
Maths-wise, we have been studying shape and fractions during this half term. The children have shown effort and enthusiasm during both of the units. They have enjoyed handling the shapes and seeing how fractions can be created with the aid of food!
PE highlights of this half term have been our Cornish country dancing sessions with Sammy-Jo and Friday’s Gym lessons with Bex.
Next term, we look forward to our ‘Pirates’ topic. There will be a great deal of swashbucklin’ from the outset when we head over to ‘Pirate’s Quest’ in Newquay to ignite the learning. Science-wise, we will be studying Living Things and their Habitats (a theme that will span the whole Summer Term). In Maths, we will focus on length and height & position and direction, whilst our Talk for Writing genres will be quest tales and recounts.
January has been an exciting month for Curlews! Our Mabe Matters Geography topic came alive with a walk around the village. We followed a route, spotted physical and human features and drew our own maps once we returned to the classroom. The children have been very enthusiastic and their ‘sense of place’ is developing well. Next month, we look forward to a tour around Trenoweth Quarry, led by owner Tim Marsh. We will learn about granite extraction and uses, as well as watch stonemasons in action.
We have focused on ‘Multiplication and Division’ during our Maths lessons. Objectives included identifying equal groups, multiplying and dividing by 2, 5 & 10 and spotting odd/even numbers. On February 4th, Curlews are going to be investigating the work of artist Paul Klee as part of our Number Day celebrations.
This term, we continue to learn about Animals, Including Humans in Science, with our focus shifting to ‘other animals.’ The children began the unit by matching adult animals to their young. They identified and compared stages of butterfly and frog life cycles. We look forward to measuring Anya’s height and weight again just before half term, so we can plot her growth. The children predicted that she will be walking and saying a few words when she next visits, so it will be interesting for them to see whether this is the case! As you will have seen on Dojo, our learning has truly come to life with our class eggs. Darcy Pascoe loaned us an incubator and 40 eggs to hatch. They are from a variety of breeds and we await ‘hatching day’ with great excitement!Talk for Writing-wise, we have been focusing on non-chronological reports (or information texts to put it simply) using ‘Penryn’ as our model text. We created an innovation all about Falmouth and invented our own chicken-themed reports to compete the unit. Next, we focus on warning tales, using Katie Morag Delivers the Mail as our model.
It has been a busy few weeks since returning to school after the half term break. We launched our ‘Brilliant Bodies’ topic with a super afternoon led by Dr Wallace, one of our Curlew class mums. After listening to a talk about the journey towards becoming a consultant, we had the opportunity to explore torso, heart and eye models. We also took part in a game of ‘guess the body part’ on a variety of x-rays! Our second week of Science also involved a visitor, but this time she was of the baby variety! The children observed and measured Anya as part of our investigation into human growth. They concluded that she is beginning to walk and talk. Anya will be visiting the class again in the Spring and Summer terms so we can measure her growth over time. We predicted that she will be a much more proficient walker and talker by the time she next visits Curlew class. As well as significant Science learning, our Brilliant Bodies topic lends itself to an investigation into nursing in the past. Our History learning focuses on the heroic careers of nurses Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale. As part of the study, we are considering how skin colour affected their lives. We completed our Addition and Subtraction unit during the first half of the month, focusing on calculating with two-digit numbers and developing speedy methods to add three single digit numbers together. In the second half, we studied Money, looking at counting money, selecting the correct coins, finding equivalent amounts and more. In December, we look forward to exploring the basics of multiplication. Our Talk for Writing genres have been descriptive poetry and biographies. We used the model texts ‘Senses’ and ‘Florence Nightingale’ to develop our skills. Next week, we are going to show off what we know by writing a biography all about Mary Seacole. English and History combined. PE wise, we have been very lucky to have lessons led by Penryn College and Plymouth Argyle. The children love taking part and learning new game play techniques. A big focus for December will be our Christmas performance, ‘The BIG Little Nativity.’ We have been busy singing songs and practising our lines ready for the ‘BIG DAY’ on Wednesday 8th December.
A significant October highlight was our awesome day at Pendennis Castle, learning about its history and enjoying its spectacular setting! Our day began with an overview of the castle's past, led by our wonderful guide, Jane. She was impressed with the knowledge we had already gained about Pendennis before visiting the site itself. We knew that King Henry VIII ordered the castle to be built and we also knew that its role, alongside its sister castle, St. Mawes, was to defend the inhabitants of Falmouth town against invasion. Well done, Hector for explaining this so well! Jane told us about two of King Henry's wives, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. We wore hats and headdresses to represent these key figures from the past. The class divided into two and fired pretend cannons at enemy ships as they passed through Carrick Roads. We loved acting and took our roles most seriously! We stood outside the castle building itself and talked about the significance of its shape. Locryn commented that it was round in order to see potential invading ships coming from all angles! We discussed various defensive features including the ramparts, drawbridge, thick stone walls and portcullis. Ethan spotted mythical gargoyles which were both decorative and played a part in the drainage system. In the education room, we were able to handle artefacts and replicas from the past. This was such a great experience and we felt privileged to be the first school to take part in the 'Now and Then' workshop since the onset of Covid. Each group had a 'treasure chest' to explore and our task was to predict the purpose of its contents. The chests contained objects related to eating, medical care, lighting or writing. We were surprised by the materials some of the items were made from and Jane told us that they would have been sourced locally in those days. The candles, for example, were made from beeswax. After Jane explained the contents of the chests, we were then presented with clothes that various castle inhabitants would have worn. These included the 'pot boy', the governor, the gunner and the blacksmith. After trying on the garments, most of us decided that we would rather wear our present-day clothes and also that we wouldn't have been too keen on living in the castle! After lunch, we explored the inside of the castle itself - an experience that many Curlews thought was 'the best bit!' We looked at the large hearths, marvelled at the size of The Great Hall, imagined what the noise would be like in the cannon room and had a giggle at the 'toilet!' During our walk around the inside of the castle, we were able to see and feel the castle materials. This helped our Science learning to come alive. The thick stone walls and iron-studded wooden doors were right in front of our eyes! The day flew by so quickly and many of us said that we would like to visit again! Many thanks to Mark, Rebecca and Krystina for helping out on our trip. Such a lovely day of learning! We look forward to a fun-packed November, which will begin with our Brilliant Bodies WOW day! Dr Wallace is going to be joining us for an afternoon, when we will be finding out about why our bodies are so brilliant. We will also be creating human shape poems that morning. As well as having a clear Science focus, our Brilliant Bodies topic allows us to investigate the fantastic historical achievements of Mary Seacole, Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell.
The children have settled into Curlew life very well and have been enjoying our Castles topic. Our lead question is ‘Is Pendennis Castle unique?’ and so far we have explored how castles are similar and different, located Pendennis on a map, explained why castles were of great importance and sequenced events in our local castle’s history. A real highlight of this term will be our trip to the castle itself, which you can read all about in our next newsletter. Our Talk for Writing unit, ‘Fairy Tales’ proved to be popular and we had fun comparing different versions of Rapunzel. We created innovations based on our Rapunzel model text and now have a strong awareness of how to structure a fairy tale. Woven through our model text were some less familiar terms such as ‘wandered,’ ‘lured’ and ‘unsuspecting.’ The children explored the meaning of these words and can now seek opportunities to use them in their own writing. We look forward to our ‘How to Build a Castle’ instructions unit next. Our Science learning is all about everyday materials. We named, identified and described materials before debating their suitability for certain roles. Would paper be a suitable material to build a wall from? How useful would a glass jumper be? Vocabulary such as ‘transparent’, ‘translucent’ and ‘opaque’ were unfamiliar to the children at the start of the term, but by October half term, they should be able to use them with confidence. As the school’s Maths lead, I’m very excited to tell you all about a new programme that Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children are in involved in. Mastering Number is the Maths equivalent of phonics in English. Basically, the aim is to secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all. The children each have access to a rekenrek, a Dutch mini abacus comprising of 20 beads, as well as visual representations to help them gain a strong sense of number. We want them to develop fluency and flexibility, so that they know facts by heart and make connections. That way, when they enter Key Stage 2, they will know that 5 + 7 = 12, they will know that 20 -15 = 5 etc, so that they can spend time focusing on the higher order skills. ‘No more counting in ones!’ I have already seen great developments amongst the Curlews since starting the programme. As well as our daily 10–15-minute Mastering Number session, we have been focusing on place value, to help children understand what each digit represents.