There is definitely an Autumnal feel in the air as we move towards our final week of term one. I cannot believe how quickly this term has passed us by. Mrs Griffiths and Oak class have been out on their Welly Walk, enjoying the sunshine and looking at lichen. They have been investigating how it can vary from tree to tree. Below you will also see the tree that the children observe every week to look at seasonal changes. As they pause, they start with a prayer/thank you for this special tree.
We have been lucky enough to have Andy Seed, a local author, in this week to talk to KS2 about flora and fauna in the Forest of Dean. The children really enjoyed his presentation and have been inspired to write their own poetry.
The whole school have had the privilege of going to the Forest of Dean gymnastics centre for one of the PE sessions this term. They get specialised coaching from staff from the centre, alongside our teachers too. Using the equipment means that the children have the opportunity to see what is available to them in our local area and a number of our children have gone on to be members of a squad at the gym following our sessions. Lots more join other gymnastics clubs. We love to inspire our children in all aspects of their life.
As part of our Developing Who we are offer, the children have designed the images for each of the badges that they are able to earn for trying to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Below is a link to the booklet which contains the images.
What an incredible week we have had a Clearwell. We welcomed our new Reception children in on Tuesday morning and then their families joined us for our annual garden party in the afternoon. This garden party was special because it is the first one that we have been able to have since 2019 and we celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with our community as well. The weather was absolutely glorious, possibly too hot, but this did not stop our families attending and our children performing. Years 5 and 6 shared their research about key events from 1950s until 2022, years 3 and 4 read a poem written by Mrs Williams and Oak class performed ’The Queen’s Knickers” and danced the Circassian Circle. There was also audience participation as the children selected a lucky someone to come and dance with them. The whole of Willow performed a medley of songs from each decade, accompanied by Olivia who has been supported with children along with Mrs Stirrup. They were spectacular. A huge thank you to the Wye Valley Music Association who provide the funds for Olivia to work with us. There were cakes galore and fabulous raffle prizes. A huge thank you to everyone who donated prizes and bought tickets – over £330 was raised. This goes into our school fund to support adventures and resources.
On Wednesday, Mrs Stirrup, Mrs Williams and Abby took all of years 3 and 4 to a cricket tournament at St. John’s in Cinderford. Both teams performed well and one team made it through to the final. They came second in the overall tournament, which is brilliant and we are really proud of them of them all for their sportsmanship as well as their ability to play cricket!
Theo was Christi-Angel and Harry was Top Learner for improved presentation
We have had a week of having adventures at Clearwell this week. On Monday, a group of year 3 and 4 children represented Clearwell at the Panathlon at Hartpury College. They participated in new age curling, parachute games, table cricket and shooting into a hoop, to name a few. The ethos of honesty, self-belief, determination, passion, team work and respect was evident in all of our pupils. They also performed really well in the sports and came second overall out of nine schools. Thank you to Mr Tomley for training and taking them there.
On Wednesday KS2 visited Goodrich castle as part of their History learning, where they are studying an aspect or theme in British history that extends their chronological knowledge beyond 1066. They have been looking at a significant turning point in British History, namely The Norman Conquest. Visiting Goodrich castle enabled the children to learn about the design of castles, how life was influenced by the arrival of the Normans and what life was like for children. Using this information the children are writing a piece of narrative to entertain as well as it being able to inform their understanding of chronology. Most importantly, we all had a wonderful day, even though it was absolutely freezing cold!
On Thursday, it was Oak classes turn to have their adventure. We all went to ”We The Curious” in Bristol as part of their hands-on science learning. There are so many learning opportunities including forces, sound, light and the human body to name a few. As Bristol is the home of Aardman animation we had the opportunity to use light boxes to trace characters and make our own stop frame animation. It was a truly fabulous and exhausting day. I am sure that everyone involved slept well last night!
As part of our Collective Worship, Father Robert came in and carried out Open the Book. The children love this every Tuesday as they get to act out the bible stories. This week it was Daniel and the Lions’ Den.
As part of RE in KS1 and Understanding the World: People, Culture and Communities for EYFS, Oak class have been learning about the significance of objects to people who follow Judaism. The children really enjoyed inspecting and reflecting on the objects, making comparisons to Christianity with the importance of candles and light.
We have been lucky enough to experience some sunshine this week and Oak class made the most of it when they went on their weekly Welly walk. As part of D&T and Art, they have been investigating texture so they used the trees in our local area and made some wax rubbing to see what patterns they were able to get.
As working scientifically is how we want our children to experience science, Willow class have been using a range of different materials to investigate friction and the impact it has on movement.
We have been celebrating this week as it was National Poetry Day. All of our children have been learning poems to recite and perform. This is in keeping with our curriculum driver of “Communicating Confidently” . Some even went home and wrote their own poem, which I find incredible as another one of our drivers is to be life long learners – I have no doubt that some of our children will have their writing published in the future.
Willow class have had a mini adventure and visited St. Peter’s church, with Chris Young, to learn about Baptism and what it means within Christianity. We find that experiencing adventures really helps children to learn as they are able to build on these when trying to accommodate new learning.
There has been lots of creativity in school this week, whether it has been in class writing and performing poetry, at art club becoming a super hero or at home being inspired by our Roman topic. Yet more evidence of how our Curriculum is designed to meet our vision.
A busy week at Clearwell, we have been busy getting everyone settled in to life at school. All of the children have been so good at adapting to being back and working in classrooms. We have also started to have whole school worship again which has been wonderful and I am extremely impressed with the younger children who just take it all in their stride. They sit and listen impeccably, something I find astonishing as it is a new situation for them. This week we have been learning about what it means to be a refugee and why people might need to flee their homes. We continue to subscribe to Picture News which provides age appropriate resources about current affairs within a Christian context. I am extremely proud of the way that our children listen and reflect on these challenging topics.
Oak class have been out having adventures and developing different aspects of Physical development as well as their Personal, Social and Emotional development. We all love Welly Walk and it is at the heart of the provision at Clearwell.
This week has absolutely whizzed by, partly because I had the pleasure of visiting a local secondary school with one of our Year 6s who is starting there in September. He has had a fabulous week and I am confident that this will continue in September. Our other year 6 children will be attending their secondary schools over the next couple of weeks and I am sure that they will have as much fun.
Thank you for all of the bottles/chocolates that you’ve all donated towards our raffle prize hamper. We are very grateful. Everyone has been sent raffle tickets home, if you would like anymore then please ask. Or indeed, if you would like tickets and you don’t have children at our school then please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange an online sale! In addition to this, if anyone would like to donate any other raffle prizes then we would be happy to accept them. Thank you for your continued support.
I didn’t get to go on Welly Walk this week but Mrs Williams kindly took some photographs of the fun that they had. The meadow had been cut so the children were able to build things with the grass and flowers. Hay balers in the making!
We have been able to continue our local adventures during the pandemic, this week in Oak we learnt about the importance of bees, took some time on our Welly walk to be mindful (listening to the bees and birds) and also built some bug homes. The children are so creative and they really enjoy being able to make use of our school garden.
We have also ventured out of the Forest to have an adventure and Oak class have been to Bristol Zoo. It was fabulous to be able to inspire our children as well as educate them about animals and their habitats. We also got a surprise lesson when the reptiles were being fed live crickets – the food chain in action! The duck was very cheeky and stole some sandwiches from us. Thank you to Mrs Griffiths for organising this trip and for providing lots of scientific information about habitats. Going on a trip always provides so many learning opportunities which is why we value them so much at Clearwell and the trips are part of our educational vision.
One of much loved adventures is Young Voices, like so many other events this was cancelled due to COVID. However, Young Voices invited all schools who usually attend the chance to take part in an online sing-song. We are never ones to turn down opportunities so our small but divine choir took part and had a great afternoon.
Half term has arrived and the weather seems to be being kind to us. I hope that we see some sunshine over the next week so we can get such much needed vitamin D. This week on Welly Walk we had the joy of some sunshine as we visited the mesne in search of frog spawn in the pond as we have been learning about the lifecycle of a frog this week. We didn’t manage to see any but the children had lots of fun playing with their friends.
Art at Clearwell
Collage has been the art skill of choice this term. Oak class have been practising their skills and then creating their own representation of the Great Fire of London, whereas KS2 have been creating their own representation, using a range of collage techniques, of Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa. As you can see there have been some fabulous outcomes.
A visit from a concert pianist
Encouraging children to become a life-long learner is part of our vision, as is being creative. This week we have been very fortunate to attend a piano recital by Claire Hammond. This was funded by the Wye Valley Music in schools organisation.
Clare talked to us about études which are pieces of music designed to improve the strength of the pianist’s hands and fingers. She started by telling us about Hélène de Montgeroult and stories about her life. This included how she used her music to prevent her being executed and became a professor of music at the Conservatoire of Paris.
We talked about rhythm of one of her études and encouraged the children to visualise horses galloping through a storm. The children were entranced by Clare’s skills on the piano.
Then we moved onto Unsuk Chin who is from South Korea but now lives in Berlin. Clare played a very complex étude where her fingers were dancing across the keyboard. Through this music we learnt about tempo, rhythm and practised these by clapping and tapping using different beats.
We also listened to some Mozart and learned how he used the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” melody to compose a piece of music around the theme. Next, we listened to a piece called Fairy Knoll which was composed by an American in 1920s. The children were asked to imagine that they were in a woodland at dusk, the sun was setting and an enchanted fairy is trying to capture them as they are within their fairy ring. This showed us all how music, like reading, can transport you to another world.
Then finally Clare taught us about Sergei Rachmaninoff and how we had huge hands which meant that his pieces of music are quite challenging to play for people of normal stature. There is lots of nostalgia in Rachmaninoff’s music as he had to leave Russia during the revolution in order for him to stay safe.
We had a fabulous morning and I hope that inspired many of our children to practise their instruments, especially the pianists amongst them.
Science in Oak
Year 1 and 2 scientists have been very busy with their practical science, have a look at this document created my Mrs Griffiths.
This term, as some sort of normality has returned, Oak class have been able to go to gymnastics and Willow class swimming. All of the children have made progress in one way or another and we are very proud of them.
What has happened to the weather? I am so glad that last year, when we were in Lockdown 1.0, the weather was glorious. We are all hoping and praying that the sun will come out to play soon! We were however fortunate enough to miss the storms and showers and go out on our weekly Welly Walk. In Science, KS1 are looking at the changes that occur in plants. As well as carrying out practical investigations in class, we use Welly Walk to look at science in the nature around us. This week we looked at how seeds are dispersed and what better way is there than looking at dandelions. They are in abundance, so the children had a wonderful time playing with them this week as well as being able to describe the life cycle of a dandelion.
Reading is at the core of learning at Clearwell and we want everyone to have a love of reading. We know that some children find it challenging to read so it is our job to support them and to encourage this love. This term, Mrs Griffiths has been running a book club with a group of children. They have been reading Holes by Louis Sachar and then discussing it at their regular meetings. We have been so impressed with their dedication, enthusiasm and knowledge that we have made them our Librarians. Our KS2 library is going to get a revamp next term and these children, together with Mrs Griffiths, are going to carry out an audit and tell us which books we are missing within different genres. They will then be given a small budget to spend to improve our provision.