Summer Term - Where have we come from and where are we going?
Here we are - the Summer term in Year 6! The last term before the 2018 cohort at Whitewater CofE Primary School move on to pastures new. But before we even begin to think about transition towards Key Stage Three, the children have so many challenges and experiences to get their teeth into and accomplish before July.
I knew the Spring term was going to be action packed but I did not foresee school closures due to the extreme weather and a cold snap, which did not relent. However, we are flexible and resilient so - as always - we persevered and had some fun along the way building life-size snow figures on our vast school field.
There were many highlights in the Spring term – the class assembly, which encompassed all of our learning throughout 2018 made many of the watchful parents shed a tear as it was the last class assembly that they will witness before them embark on secondary school. The children stepped up to the mark as they do best: leaving the audience with a final word each to thank the parents, in attendance, for the support throughout their time at Whitewater. This followed on from the children announcing their dreams of the future years; you could almost hear a pin drop in the hall as the adults and children sat in silence as they observed the members of Class 5, all of whom have matured greatly this academic year, tell us all of their hopes and things they wish to achieve.
It also needs to be mentioned how supportive, hardworking and outstanding Class 5 were during the Whitewater CofE Modern Biathlon in March. Without needing much guidance from me, the children were fantastic role models and young leaders in organising the children for the swimming events in the morning before some of them went above and beyond in joining in with races to encourage the younger children in the school to win points for their individual houses – irrespective of what implications this had for their own house.
The class seemed to thoroughly enjoy learning all about the Movers and Shakers during the term – they were very proud of their Lego animations and these were shared with parents on the Celebration of Learning. Academically, each and every child has made excellent progress and have shown an exceptional attitude to being the best they can. I am sure biscuits and squash helped the children in their quest to complete the mock SATs before the Easter break, but I was very pleased with the way they approached the week and I continue to be delighted with their journey and progress since September.
The Summer term is always an extremely busy once and I am sure this year will be no exception! A focus for the first few weeks will be towards SATs preparation to ensure the children are as confident, knowledgeable and relaxed as possible. Towards the end of May, the children will find out the junior production, which will (until the two scheduled evening performances in July) seemingly take over our lives! Before July, the children will spend time in their new secondary setting and I look forward to hearing all about their experiences as well as supporting them all through a memorable and important few months.
I am hopeful of reorganising our school trip to Gilbert White House in Selbourne as well as a day outside the classroom on Friday 18th May to celebrate the individual successes of the week.
Spring Term - Movers and Shakers
The Spring term has arrived, which means we are saying adios to Magical Mexico but hello to Movers and Shakers. Before we get immersed in our second term, it is important to reflect on the memorable moments from the Autumn term. The term culminated in a busy few days of cooking a Mexican chilli con carne, adding the finishing touches to our dramatic Mayan masks and leading the school procession of candles at the festive Carol Service at Rotherwick Church.
During the Autumn term, we were fortunate to enjoy a whole range of educational visits: PGL at Little Canada, a river study at the River Loddon with the Gordon Brown Centre, remembrance at Brookwood Military Cemetery with Peter Hewlett-Smith and the school production ‘Grease’ at Robert Mays School. These fantastic experiences created long-lasting memories for all of the children in many different ways. Not to mention the Christmas Fayre where Class 5 successfully ran the games room and raised well over £150 for our chosen charity this year – Blue Cross. After such a busy few weeks, we were all ready for the Christmas break.
Since returning back to school, we are well into the swing of things once more and the children are focused and eager to learn. Their patience, courage and perseverance skills were tested in the first few days back- they were tasked with the challenge of building a house of cards - individually and with a peer - as well as coming together to create a domino run from one end of the classroom to other. After many failed attempts and some positive teamwork, they had some success!
Our new topic of ‘Movers and Shakers’ will focus on men and women, who have impacted the world in which we live in today. Throughout the term, we will be looking into many of the world's most iconic events and people. Expeditions to both Polar Regions will feature as we take on the role of budding journalists to report on ‘Scott of the Antarctic’s’ treacherous trip to the South Pole over 100 years ago. Some of the iconic people we study will range from Rosa Parks and the fight for equality through others including Martin Luther-King; to Walt Disney and his incredible animations created by hand; and Tim Berners-Lee, whose ground-breaking creation paved the way into the digital world of the twenty-first century. The children have given me many other names that they would like to learn more about and these include a range of people from different backgrounds and cultures: Princess Diana, Barrack Obama, Pele, Albert Einstein, Florence Nightingale, Donald Trump and Thomas Edison amongst others.
As you can imagine, this is going to be an action-packed term without even mentioning the school’s first ever Modern Biathlon in March. Class 5 thoroughly enjoyed their swimming session at Hart Leisure Centre on Friday 12th January and it was fantastic to see them develop their strokes and have the confidence to swim lengths in the main pool, as well as the impressive training tank. I look forward to the children in Class 5 helping and supporting all of the other children on the day of the Modern Biathlon - they have already been quick to voice their opinion of how the younger children might need assistance and how they could help.
Autumn Term - Magical Mexico
As we begin the start of a new school year, the children in Class 5 are very excited about their upcoming residential to Little Canada, PGL in the Isle of Wight! Departing on Monday 18th September, the children have an action packed week of activities and team building before returning home on Friday 22nd September. Check back here for updates from the trip during that week.
Please find below the Class 5 welcome letter and also the summary for the learning for this term
For a 360 degree look at the Little Canada PGL site, please click on the link below.
Monday 18th September
What a relaxing day - the children have settled well into life at PGL after a perfect day spent travelling, exploring the site, fun at the beach before an evening of dodgeball! We could not have hoped for better weather today – sitting up on the sun deck watching a large cruise liner and cargo ship in the Solent, as the children – very excitedly – enjoyed one another’s company.
Dinner time seemed a real success – the children were sensible with their portions from the salad bar (to accompany their man meal of sausages, steak pie or vegetable curry) and Miss Chedzey was pleasantly surprised at how many vegetables and salad the children were eating. The first room inspections have taken place and although there is room for improvement in some rooms, the children seem very much at home! In all cabins, there are four bunk beds – they are excited to have a bunk bed each.
As I type this, the children are thoroughly enjoying the first evening event of the week – PGL Sports Night. This vocal game of dodgeball and rounders will hopefully mean they will sleep well ready for kayaking tomorrow morning!
A special mention today has to go to Fran, George S, Callum and Christal. Fran and Christal, used their initiative to write ‘Whitewater’ in pebbles on the beach and then the other children joined in to write a word in the sand which summed up their day at the beach. Callum showed an intelligent awareness when quietly commenting to me how some other schools were behaving compared to our own well-mannered and respectful children. George’s personality, smile and general love of life has made sure that Mrs Whyment, Miss Chedzey and I have enjoyed overseeing their exciting first day at PGL.
Tuesday 19th September
The childrens' resilience has been nothing short of outstanding today. We all made it out of bed for breakfast at 7:05 and the bacon, sausages, porridge and toast options made the early wake up call worth it. It was a very quiet night at Whitewater's base in Victoria. The children slept well after the sports night and they have all been mature and supportive towards one another.
Our morning activity was kayaking - the weather was very kind to us. The children thoroughly enjoyed learning the skills that enabled them to travel efficiently in their kayaks while playing games and completing challenges - many children managed to stand up on their kayaks while doing heads, shoulders, knees and toes. Whereas, I was struggling to stay afloat!
After an exhausting morning, the children enjoyed lunch and their first trip to the gift shop. The afternoon activities of aeroball and fencing would ask a lot of the children due to the high intensity of aeroball and the skill set to learn and improve in fencing but they all performed very well and fully deserved their dinner when it was time.
We have enjoyed a fairly relaxing evening with some room inspections, a short walk to Wooton's Creek, some fun wacky races alongside some sensible quiet time in the cabins.
Special mentions today to Boo, whose speed and precision pinned me in fencing; Ewan for his overall performance in fencing as he showed great footwork and accuracy with his sword; Carter for his tremendous score in aeroball - it is such a high tempo game and the balance and technique he showed was impressive; and Poppy V for managing to complete the challenges in kayaking with a smile on her face - this included standing up in her kayak and waving her oar around like a windmill. Of course, she did eventually fall in but this did not stop her trying again!
Wednesday 20th September
There were definitely some sleepy children this morning but after a hearty breakfast, they were excited for a morning of quad biking and trapeze. The quad biking was a real success. The improvement that some children made after a few laps of practice was clear to see - their growth mindset was a pleasure to see. Those more experienced drivers showed real confidence in the corners and handling of the bikes. All of the children bravely climbed the trapeze and those who did not reach the top went further than they thought they would have at the start of the session - the peer support made me, Miss Chedzey and Mrs Whyment very proud.
For the first time this week, all bedrooms scored at least eight out of ten in the room inspections tonight. They are working hard to be crowned the cabin winners when we return to school next week.
Special mentions today must go to Harley for his ideas and instructions towards other children during problem solving; Mia for showing perseverance in quad biking and for her strength and flexibility in climbing Jacob's ladder; George B for continuously going up 'one more' rung on trapeze with support from his peers; and Stan for his well controlled, confident and consistent driving during quad biking.
Six more activities, three more room inspections, two more sleeps and one last trip to the gift shop to go!
Thursday 21st September
Today was another action packed day at Little Canada - our last full day of activities. The children had been eagerly anticipating 'the giant swing' and it did not disappoint. The morning activities of sensory trail and the giant swing provided the children with a platform to build confidence in communicating as a group, as well as overcoming personal fears of heights whilst screaming, shouting and supporting one another along the way. In the giant swing, the children had to work collaboratively together to hoist two children into the air before one of the two children (in the swing) could pull the rope and propel them hurtling downwards at speed.
The sensory trail gave the children the chance to work without the use of their sight. Wearing goggles, they first worked in pairs and were led through some simple instructions and had to rely on their other four main senses to find their way around the zone, before coming together as a group and leading one another through an assault course that included a range of water features, obstacles and terrain which was suitably provided by me, Miss Chedzey and Mrs Whyment. The children were fantastic in their communication and unity in reaching the end of the course - albeit - a little bit wetter than they began.
After some persistent rain over lunch, the children were optimistic in their afternoon activities of climbing and buggy building - they were not going to let the early onset of Autumn affect their fun! The indoor rock climbing wall was tricky to navigate - as all three of us found out - but the children were superb in - not only their climb but also - their technical support for the climber. At all times, for each climber, two other children had to be ensuring that they were supported by the harness. The buggy building was fascinating to watch the children apply their skills and understanding, using barrels, ropes and wood, to construct a vehicle that could then be driven and controlled. Verbal communication and teamwork was key to assemble the buggy safely and securely.
The evening activty of ambush captured all of the childrens' imaginations. In their two activity groups, they were involved in a large scale hide and seek game across the site. With instructors and our support, one group went to hide and the other group came to find them. As darkness set in, the real importance of not being 'ambushed' became apparent. Both groups found such impressive hiding spots that it could have been hours before they were located. In the end, we had to call it a draw and head back to the cabins to finish off packing.
Special mentions today must go to Tyler for his understanding and compassion for all others around him - it has been a real joy to hear the kind supportive words that he has to ensure that other children complete personal milestones; Elsie for the courage and perseverence on the giant swing to achieve more than she imagined - what a fantastic week for you; Julide for the determination that she showed in securing the knots in buggy build to provide a safe experience for the passengers - a real team player; and Sophie for her continued hard work, success and enjoyment during climbing. She is very aware of others' and provides a safe and positive environment for them to thrive in.
I must say that it has been an absolute pleasure in taking these Year 6 children away on residential and I speak for Miss Chedzey and Mrs Whyment too. We have enjoyed many laughs, smiles, chats, experiences, challenges, room inspections and shouts of 'you can do one more step' and the children will be sad to say goodbye to their 'PGL home' tomorrow. However, in the same breath, they are very much looking forward to having the home comforts and sharing their many experiences with you: be prepared for a PGL infused weekend, week and foreseeable future!