On Monday 14th September the Reception class travelled to Church Farm in Frettenham to meet Ruth Norton and her herd of dairy cows.
This trip will form the starting point for a week of work on farms and farming, the children were looking forward to the trip, even in the drizzly weather!
Kitted out in wellies and waterproofs they began their visit outside the dairy, looking at the enormous cows and finding out where they sleep and what they eat.
The milking robot was fascinating. The children watched the cows enter the machine and enjoy their food while the machine located the animals udder and teats. We watched the milk flow into the machine ready to be cooled down to stay fresh.
We moved on to meet the baby calves, including one born on Sunday, that the children were invited to name… I think they are still deciding at the moment!
We moved on to look at the machinery in the barn, and the children enjoyed both climbing up into the cab in the big blue tractor and comparing their height with the enormous rear wheels!
So many thanks to the Norton’s for a great insight into farming life!
We have just this moment arrived back at St Nicks after a lovely residential at Overstrand Hall. For a number of children it was the first taste of staying away from home and Ms Norton and I thought they acquitted themselves beautifully in spite of one or two wobbles. It was a full on residential with very little free time. The centre staff were great and guided the children through the various activities. As is always the case with these trips there are one or two activities that perhaps don’t capture the imagination as much as others but I would say that the children were keen and up for almost everything.
I think the highlight for a number of the children was the final morning activities; Jacob’s Ladder and Caving. These were two really hands on tasks that required the children to be on their mettle. They conducted themselves brilliantly and all gave each challenging task a great go. I was especially buoyed to hear that a number of the Year 3 and 4 group reached the top of Jacob’s Ladder, bravo!
Abseiling was another of the highlights for a number of the children. Real bravery was shown in the face of a genuine fear – excellent work!
One of our prime objectives for the trip was to foster co-operation and teamwork. There were lots of activities where the children needed to genuinely work together to achieve the intended outcome – from organising the class line on a wobbly board to balancing the enormous balance beam, getting your classmates through a spiders web of ropes and leading your class through a blindfold obstacle course. It was great to see the progression of skills in this respect, with the years 5 and 6 offering great examples to the younger pupils.
With England winning on penalties against Colombia it was a most successful few days. We shall keep you posted of plans for next summer. Watch this space.
This morning Years 3-6 were treated to a talk by Debbie Edwards who is a Norfolk based author. It was a most useful way to spend an hour with Debbie working through the process by which novels are constructed. Much hilarity was had as Noah attempted to claim the golden cup to save his village by battling rivers, enchanted forests and ogres. Well done Noah and all involved in this particular skit. After this Debbie highlighted the delights of the world of fantasy and how anything can be used as a prompt for the imagination. The children were a credit to St Nicks and listened attentively and contributed well when called upon. I think the part that showed how much the children took from the hour were the questions at the end where they showed thoughtfulness and understanding of what had gone before. Marvellous. We look forward to Debbie returning in the future. If you are interested in finding out more about Debbie here is her website: http://www.purpleraypublishing.co.uk/
Yesterday afternoon Year 5 and 6 and Mrs Cole’s History Detectives had the privilege of visiting the Aylsham Roman Project at Woodgate Nursery. I use the word privilege because without a shadow of a doubt it was the most hands on school trip I have been involved with in ten years of teaching. We arrived shortly before midday and after a quick bite to eat for lunch the children were put to work by the wonderful volunteers. They thereafter worked solidly for around two and a half hours investigating the past. Many gems were unearthed, including a piece of an already discovered kiln by Brogan. I would like to extend thanks to Mrs Slater and Mrs Pooley in the kitchens for providing a hearty lunch. Mrs Cole and her friend Gemma for coming along and encouraging the children to investigate the past and get stuck in to the nitty gritty of dig life and all the volunteers and archaeologists present who were so helpful where the children and their finds were concerned. All in all, a superb afternoon. Roll on next June.
Its not easy to master lighting fires with Fire Steel, which is what our Year 5 & 6 pupils were tasked to do; learn to collect the right materials, grade them, understand the science behind making fires and to build the structures that will ensure their success. How proud you feel when finally you have created spark and the lit embers nurtured within your tinder bundle of dry moss or cotton wool. Everyone persisted and finally succeeded to set their kindling on fire, and were quite rightly proud of their achievements. It was only natural that they should want to cook their own sausages on their crafted fires. Two minute fires turned into ten minute fires, long enough to claim that “these are the best sausages I’ve ever had!!”
The day was not complete with out a go on the swing, exploring the woods and to use a spoke shave and a shave horse to strip the bark off a length of wood. They were making staffs! Some used a whittling knife but mostly all had an opportunity to work the shave horse and challenge their control and dexterity with help from Kathy and Kieran from Wrongs Covert. Some opted to make a wooden flower, not an easy feat but done deftly. Whilst all this was going on, some eco-printing was done, really as an experiment to explore the properties of plants to transfer their natural tannin. A great day had by all and one to look back on fondly!
This term in IT we have been working on SketchUp. SketchUp is a free to use resource on the internet. On it you can create loads of 3D models. Every lesson we came in and watched a tutorial video then we tried on our own to make what was shown in the video. For example, one time they showed us how to make a simple house. Also in that video they showed us how to use specific measurements to make a door and a window then we went on to make our own with different paint finishes and finally downloaded furniture and cars from the 3D online store.
48 hours after wrapping our scavenged leaves in the vinegar and iron solution we unfurled our ‘prints’ and looked at the patterns formed…
It was interesting that some of the leaves released a lot more of their tannin into the paper than others, but the patterns of the stems and the leaf veins were attractive to see.
Year 3 and 4 travelled over to Lenwade for a full day of Forest School activities in Wrong’s Covert.
We started our day by establishing our camp and the children were sent to fetch firewood from the woodland floor. We revised our ‘Stick Badge’ understanding – looking for the crispy dry twigs rather than anything green or waterlogged.
The children were introduced to the discipline of a well maintained log pile, with wood sorted by size and placed close to the fire circle.
The children then went to visit the charcoal burner, an enormous metal cylinder, raised on chimney legs, that had been used to produce charcoal commercially in the past. The owner of the wood Kathy explained how the burner worked and we enjoyed re-assembling the parts to get a feel for the work involved.
The children were then sent to collect some semi-green willow twigs from a fallen tree. They used these twigs to fill small metal tins tightly, these were our own home-made charcoal burners! Mrs Castle carefully laid the fire with kindling and thinner twigs at the base, and the charcoal burning tins were placed at the base of the fire.
The children made use of Mrs Castle’s fire stick to generate sparks and get the fire alight, all the children had a go at working with this tool, but Noah did particularly well at generating the spark that got the fire alight!
With the fire alight there was time to explore the wood and the children had a great time running around the natural slopes and making great use of the rope swing. I think the blurry pictures show quite how fast the children were moving! Charlie said ‘The swing was great, I loved having fun with my friends!’.
Whilst exploring the woodlands the children were also asked to collect interesting shaped and coloured leaves for our artistic project for the afternoon. We arranged the leaves in a shallow tray of iron and vinegar solution. These chemicals should promote the extraction of the pigments within the plant materials. Once the leaves were soaked in the vinegar and iron solution they were arranged on sheets of specially prepared paper, tied into scrolls and placed in a bucket over the fire to steam and ‘develop’. Mrs Castle had previously produced some beautiful leaf prints on paper – we’ll have to keep you posted as we unroll the scrolls later in the week.
At the end of our visit we finished our afternoon with a tea time snack of sausages cooked over the open fire – just the right thing to keep us going until the end of the day – Ben said ‘The sausages were really tasty!’.
This morning Years 3-6 were treated to a work shop by Marco Barotti regarding his absolutely charming robotic woodpeckers, which as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival are due to pop up across Norwich over the bank holiday weekend, transforming invisible signals from mobile and wireless technology into beats tapped out onto the city’s architecture, today the chosen piece of architecture was Anglia Square.
Marco was absolutely charming, explaining the premise behind the woodpeckers and answering a variety of questions concerning them. The children showed great interest in the science and engineering behind them and were enthralled watching them in action.
All in all it was a most worthwhile morning and hopefully the children enjoyed it and learned something new, which is what it is all about.
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