I would like to take this opportunity to thank our pupils and each of you for the continued support that you have given to the school and your child’s education this term. This has been an extremely difficult time for the entire country and our school was no exception. As you are aware, January and February have been very challenging months with six weeks of remote learning, whether at home or at the Senior School as part of our critical worker provision, it has been tough for all.
May I say a big thank you to the teachers who have set high quality remote learning for their classes and to the students and parents who are engaging so well with the remote learning. I am sure that you will agree that our provision was improved during ‘lockdown 3.0’. Live P.E lessons and greater opportunity for pupil interaction has helped to maintain focus and motivation during some dull and dismal wintery days!
It is clear that we are moving towards a very welcome return to school, a return which I truly hope signifies the back of remote teaching for good! It is astonishing that a school like Rosedale House can flip between a remote education and an education in school with ‘relative’ ease. Our pupils are resilient learners, but there’s no place like school!
Despite the challenges of the term so far there have been many highlights which I am very happy to be able to share in greater detail within this newsletter.
Year 6 have been working on their thematic topic ‘Stop. Think. Do More!’ With a focus on the current issues of sustainability and climate change matters, the pupils have really embraced this topic. In English lessons, pupils have read the book No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference, a collection of the speeches given by Greta Thunberg and Quentin Blake’s, A Sailing Boat in the Sky. This has provided the opportunity to compare and contrast the texts, to hone comprehension skills and write stories focusing on a chosen sustainability issue.
In Humanities Year 6 has been learning that the lifestyle and choices we make can have an impact on sustainability issues and how this can affect our own ecological 'footprint'.
They focused in particular on food and its impact on carbon emissions linked to the UN Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production. This gave us all ‘food for thought’. In addition, they explored the similarities and differences of human and physical geography; looking at the different types of maps and the information they provide, learning about different mountains and how they are formed. Groups had the opportunity to present their findings to the class.
As part of the aim to promote fun, comradery and also to boost wellbeing Year 6 have had a weekly optional form period for the both 6A and 6Alpha on Tuesday’s. Having the option to join the Google Classroom for an informal chat and catch up with their year group was a welcome additional and well attended.
On Fridays Year 6 again come together for a fun topical weekly quiz about all manner of items in that week’s news. Pupils are randomly mixed into teams with others across the whole of Year 6 and try to work out the answers to the questions together. Many of the children bring their lucky mascots to the session, some of whom are rather fidgety!
Year 6 pupils have been exploring character work during their drama lessons, using costumes to enhance characterisation. They created their own audiobooks focusing on the use of voice modification to reach a target audience.
Year 5 pupils transitioned seamlessly to remote learning, demonstrating not only their digital expertise but also their flexibility and resourcefulness. This half term, their topic ‘The Great Wall’, has introduced them to the fascinating history, archaeology and science behind the building of the Great Wall of China. We produced our own replica walls, using materials to hand, including sketching, lego, clay and digital art.
Year 5 studied the wide ranging climates to be found in China and researched some of the less well known cities, producing PicCollages to explain their learning.
In English they looked at traditional tales, exploring language features which are used in the re-telling of stories. Our focus story was the Willow Pattern story, which you will find on many items of crockery.
A highlight of the half term was our Mental Wellbeing Week, where pupils were encouraged to find as many ways as possible to express themselves. An example of this self-expression can be seen through the pupil’s independent work they produced whilst researching Pandas in China. Having the freedom to take learning in their own direction returned some creative results!
Year 4’s thematic topic has been Zootropolis. Year 4 has been delving into the wonderful world of animals! We have been looking at classifying animals, adaptation, habitats, food chains and the history of zoos. We were lucky enough to attend a virtual zoo day at Chester Zoo where we had breakfast with a beautiful red panda called Koda. In English, our persuasive writing has also reflected our theme, debating the advantages and disadvantages of keeping animals in zoos as well as whether charities like the WWF should change their logo to a lesser well known animal. We were also studying the technique of creating a flashback in our writing and using this technique in a story.
In drama, Year 4 pupils have enjoyed exploring their topic of Zootropolis by creating animal camouflage, making animal shadow puppets and curating their own zoos and producing virtual tours.
Heroes and Villains has been the focus for this half term’s topic so Year 3 have been immersed into the thrilling world of Ancient Greece. They have been looking at the Greek Gods and Goddesses, 2000 year old vases and how shadows are formed. They even took a virtual trip to Mount Olympus!
Their persuasive writing has also reflected this theme, as they researched and weighed up whether or not Year 3 would prefer to live in ancient Athens or Sparta. Debating the hot topic: ‘Should the Elgin Marbles be returned to Greece’, delivered rather strong opinions and points raised as preparations were made to support both sides of this argument.
Using the powers of Scratch coding we even had a go at creating our own worlds.
Year 2’s topic this half term was ‘Paint me a picture’ and what a colorful and creative topic this was!
The pupils experienced lessons interwoven with Science, History and lots of Art. They’ve explored various forms of art such as shading, creating self portraits, and collaging. Year 2 experimented with colour through chromatography and conducting kitchen science experiments with colour, soap and water.
While peeling back the many layers of this topic, the children also had the opportunity to create their own masterpieces, inspired by artists, such as Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. The enquiry learning didn’t stop there! The Year 2s went on to explore ancient Egypt by looking at ancient Egyptian art, as a way to answer the question, ‘What can Art tell you about the past?’ After some thoughtful discussions and comparisons to their lives now, they had the opportunity to create their own Earth pigments from nature, like they did in the past. Here is some of their work.
Year 2 have also enjoyed studying fiction stories and poetry as part of their ‘Paint me a Picture’ theme.
The children have enjoyed studying and “jumping” into a range of famous paintings with Katie, from the James Mayhew book series, in which Katie visits art galleries and has all sorts of wonderful adventures. They also enjoyed reading the Chinese folk tale of The Magic Paintbrush and how a little girl used her paintbrush to help the poor. This inspired Year 2 to think of how their own magic paint brushes could help others including animals, friends and even stressed, messy parents!
Shape poetry really piqued Year 2’s interest. They produced some fantastic poems based on their interests and inspiration.
It was full steam ahead for Year 1 this half term with their new topic ‘People who help us’. The children began with a topic launch day in which we had a virtual visit from Doctor Locke. Dr Locke carried out a number of examinations on her toys, including Woody!
Year 1 also had a virtual tour of Stevenage Fire Station, with Green Watch and Firefighter Jarman. He showed the children the fire engines; the equipment they use in emergencies and also some advice about how to stay safe. He gave us all homework, to learn our own address and a grown up’s phone number, in case we ever needed help.
Year 1 has also been busy learning about wheels and axles by making their own emergency vehicles. They spent time considering what features the vehicles have and thought about which type of people use them. The children showed so much creativity and resilience when making and designing and completed thoughtful evaluations of their work too.
French and Spanish
In French and Spanish, the children across all the different year groups have continued to join in speaking and singing in their languages and taking part in live lessons whole-heartedly. They have continued to broaden their knowledge and competence in using the language in speech, as well as enjoying learning through songs and stories. The older children have also developed their understanding of topics through writing and reading. In Spanish the topics and activities have been very diverse, all years have worked on their numeracy skills, Year 1 and Year 2 have drawn animal cards, Year 3 have made a ‘gusano de papel’, Year 4 have learned and practiced how to talk about their home and older years have used contemporary music to explore grammar. In French, Year 1 and Year 2 have talked about their family members, Year 3 have drawn their ideal home with their favourite animals living in it, Year 4 have learned how to ask for the price of toys, Year 5 have talked about their daily routine and Year 6 have described their environment.
Reflections from science: working once again during lockdown has presented certain challenges when it comes to scientific learning, and all the Science teachers have been hugely impressed by the flexibility, adaptability and creativity that pupils have shown in carrying on with a full programme of learning. We have tried as far as possible to provide opportunities for practical work at home or in key workers’ provision at school, including experiments using simple, easy-to-find materials and observations of things in pupils’ surroundings. External events have provided scientific learning opportunities this term, including, of course, COVID. In Biology, Year 6 were able make use of recent developments in fighting the virus to deepen their understanding of the immune system and how vaccination works, producing some truly impressive presentations!
The dramatic sonic boom which shook much of this part of the country recently provided the impetus for an investigation into the Physics behind this amazing event, as part of our ‘Time Equations’ topic. We have also been able to keep practical work going in Chemistry, with some ‘kitchen chemistry’ as pupils investigated the pH of various household acids and alkalis. Year 5 has also risen admirably to the challenge of investigating the topic of forces through remote learning. As well as showing strong research skills, they have proved adept at carrying out home experiments on things like friction and using air resistance to make and test their own paper aeroplanes, gliders and mini helicopters. The Year 4 topic on habitats has provided plenty of opportunities for pupils to make observations of living organisms in the habitats around them, although the cold weather has meant that much of our ‘fieldwork’ has been done from the comfort of our homes or classrooms, looking through windows or exploring indoor habitats!
Head of Rosedale House
Sports round up
Live PE lessons have certainly kept the PE team on their toes. Bringing a medley of creative and challenging lessons during lockdown has been no mean feat, but one that has certainly been appreciated by those taking part.
The Year 1 children have had lots of fun in PE over the weeks. They have learnt different yoga poses such as dolphin, cobra and the flower pose to help them focus on their balance, flexibility and breathing. They have also taken part in live fitness PE, working on upper body strength and cardio fitness.
Year 2 have been very competitive with their challenges in PE lessons, competing against Mr Roberts. They have also been participating in core workouts, cardio fitness and super hero dance routines. It has been amazing to see so many dressed up in their costumes and learning to count their moves to the music, then zooming around their superhero world.
Year 3 have worked to their maximum and have improved their physical fitness and movement skills. During their High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts, they have learnt to perform different exercise circuits to improve their physical fitness. They have also had a lot of fun creating two different dances this half term, a jungle dance and superhero dance.
Year 4 pupils have had lots of fun making their very own workout videos, from Pokemon to Star Wars themed fitness routines. They also have been taking part in different activity challenges each week, including fitness Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders in which they had to complete certain fitness activities such as jumping jacks, sit-ups and burpees!
Year 5 pupils have taken part in a range of activities including becoming young sports scientists, in which they conducted tests in different components of fitness such as strength, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance!
Year 6 have shown great maturity in their remote PE and Games this half term. Each week, they have been fully involved in a variety of lessons, including HIIT workouts, health related fitness and skill challenges. They have also enjoyed participating in yoga, and creating their own yoga flow which they then performed to the rest of the year group. They certainly got into their ‘zen zone’ and it was fantastic to see a different type of physical activity embraced, namaste!
Well done to all the children that have embraced their PE this term, amazing work!
Throughout the academic year, Year 6 explore a variety of themes that are woven into their everyday lessons. These themes help to explore wider concepts or events alongside normal lesson plans. In the Autumn term Year 6 looked at the theme 'Sticks and Stones'.
Year 1 loved our virtual trip to the fire station. We had lots fo questions and saw lots of interesting equipment that the fire fighters use. Thank you to Stevenage Fire Service for showing us around. https://t.co/EnaAQXwnPU
After learning about nutrition and the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle, Y6 had a live smoothie making lesson from Mr Lomas and Mr Mordini. Many green machines and berry blasts were made with fantastic results! Well done all https://t.co/bEytzdDKTt