Farewell from A Room With A View

Our blog, ‘A Room with a View’, has posted about life in our KS2 classroom for over 5 years.  In that time, we’ve learned so much about the world around us, embarked on projects with classrooms around the world and shared our classroom life with friends, family, teachers and classrooms around the globe.

From the Darlington and Stockton Times, Friday 4th April.

Blogging is a fabulous way to make connections, share ideas and learn about the lives of others around the world.  It has enhanced our geographical knowledge, our ICT skills and fostered greater understanding of our fellow world citizens.  A big thank you to all those who have engaged with our classroom, blogged, commented or shared projects with us.  You have made our life richer and more exciting through your interest and involvement.

Here are our top ten favourite blog posts and projects from A Room with a View:

1. Microadventures 

Inspired by Alastair Humphreys, the class has slept out under the stars at a bothy by a lake, and in the ruins of an ancient castle.  Each time, they have planned their own microadventures…

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2.  Flat Stanley

We’ve taken part in a few Flat Stanley projects over the years, and it’s great fun to send ourselves to the other side of the world, and host our flat friends from afar!

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3. Rowing the Atlantic

We followed the progress of Alastair Humphreys, adventurer and explorer, as he rowed the Atlantic.

4. #vocabaz

A Twitter project, searching for exciting vocabulary to share.

5. Bistro Banquet

An enterprise project, fundraising for Mary’s Meals, which involved creating menus, finding out about nutrition, foraging, learning about where our food comes from and preparing a banquet for our families.

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6. Shakespeare at the Castle

Performing Macbeth in Middleham Castle.

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7. #clrpoem

A yearly twitter project with global partners.

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8. Mystery Skype

A regular event in our classroom – honing our map-reading and geographic skills!

Where in the World?

9. Christmas Cards for Mettupalayam

A yearly fundraising Art project to design and sell our own Christmas Cards.

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10. Market Stall

Designing, creating and selling our Christmas Crafts in the market place.

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You can search for your favourite posts and projects using the search box at the top of the page.  Do you have a particular favourite yourself?  What have you most enjoyed doing, reading about or sharing?  (If you can’t see the full post, try a different browser).

Thank you to all our readers, contributors and collaborators.  Keep in touch!  🙂

(Mrs Monaghan is moving on to take up a new post in September).

End of Term @ A Room with a View

It’s the end of our school year, and once again the oldest children in our class depart for Secondary School, taking with them memories of their time at Middleham Primary.  Each year, we hold a Leaver’s Service in our church to celebrate their time with us, and wish them well in their future.  This year, we used Beth Shoshan’s beautiful book, Memory Bottles, as the inspiration for our service.

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We created our own memory bottles using watercolours:

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… and then wrote our own poems using Kit Wright’s ‘Magic Box’ as a model.

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Memories of Middleham School:  Poems by Class 2, July 2016 (click to read)

 

The end of term is always an exciting time, with many things happening.  Here are a few of our other end of term highlights!

TARANAKI SURVIVOR – MIDDLEHAM STYLE!

We are big fans of the New Zealand school blog for  Room 3 @ Auroa Primary School, and in particular, Mr Webb’s Taranaki Survivor competition.  To celebrate the end of term, our Y6 children designed their own version of the game, planning 10 different knock out rounds, organising teams, equipment, costumes and all the logistics for us to play this competitive game on our last day of term.   What a great job they did!  Thank you Room 3 and Mr Webb for the inspiration!

A BIG GREEN ADVENTURE – OUR END OF TERM PLAY

We also performed an end of term play called ‘A Big Green Adventure’.  As well as learning all their lines, the class played a big part in creating the scenery, props and directing their movements on stage. They learned 8 different songs by heart, and choreographed their different parts.  What a roaring success!  

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The cast of ‘A Big Green Adventure’

 

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The Woodland Creatures

MYSTERY SKYPE 

This year, we’ve taken part in a Mystery Skype for each of our three terms.  Our final Skype came on our second to last day of term, but was actually a first for us – we Mystery Skyped a school in our own country!  This time, the Skype was entirely organised and run by the children, who now know all the roles and have a good handle on how to question to narrow down their choices, and how to use maps and Google Earth to hone in on the target.  Although we weren’t first to reach the target, we were so close!  A couple more questions and we made it.

The school we Skyped was near Scarborough, on the Yorkshire coast, and the connection was… that they are also fans of Alastair Humphreys, and have been on a Microadventure, so we had a good chat about that, as well.

And so, another year of blogging, Skyping, tweeting, learning and discovery comes to a close.  To find our highlights, read the ‘Memories’ poems – there are some beautifully expressed ideas, and thoughtful moments.

Have a super Summer holiday – let’s hope the sun shines on us all!

Castle Poems

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We are so lucky to have a castle on our doorstep, and in the summer we enjoy visiting for different projects.  Most recently, we have used the castle to inspire our poetry, as part of a transition project our Y6 children are working on for their move to secondary school.

We began by investigating personification.

Personification: Giving human characteristics to an object or animal, to add interest or understanding.

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After studying poems by Emily Dickinson, Pie Corbett, Nancy Willard and Langston Hughes, we walked along to the castle, and wandered around the ruins, carefully noting key features we could use in our own poems.  We brainstormed suitable verbs which might go with our nouns, and talked about what, why and how.  We drafted, edited, shared and then created a final version of our poems.  Our aim was to create a mood, and portray the castle in a certain way with our words and ideas.  Although short, a lot of work went into them!

The first poem was inspired by the entrance to the castle:

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As the arch opens its mouth,
The people walk in to their doom.
Windows stare out,
Searching for imposters.
Arrow slits snort,
Sneezing out the arrows,
Sniffing out danger.
The imposters run and hide.

Amelia and Caitlin

Laughing wickedly, the bridge welcomed them in but didn’t let them out.
In a dull, dark dungeon, bricks stared at prisoners chained to the wall.
The arrow slits smiled evilly down on the enemy.
The window giggled as customers entered unknowing.

Eve

Like a spinning roundabout, the staircase climbed down to the dungeons.
Down below, damp stone stared at snares.
Fireplaces screamed and chimneys bellowed.
Standing to attention, the castle guarded its secrets.

Cameron

Watching carefully, the tower awaited his visitors.
The bridge smiled, tickled by the feet of small children.
Spiral stairs  giggled with glee as they ran up and down.
The castle chuckled merrily at summertime in Middleham.

Alaina

Suspicious cellar, full of doom, hiding many weapons.
Staring statue, guarding hallways tall and proud.
Death-dealing dungeon, keeping rotten bones and flesh.
Murdering tower, higher than the others, keeps them hostage.

Oscar

The whining bridge cried sadly after a long painful day.
The well was hiding under the ground guarding its water.
The walls stood staring, watching all of the busy people go
When the battles came the laughing tower snickered quietly.

Lauren

Iron bars grinning, the dungeon is doom.
The suspicious cellar always saves secrets.
Looming above, the scary tower stands.
The statue stares, it doesn’t dare blink.

Josh

Leaping at you, the portcullis bounces like a kangaroo
Scaring folks, the drawbridge crushes people with its bare silver teeth.
The statue walks and greets people outside the archway.
Winking at you, the arrow slits warn you when they are going to fire.

Reece

Sharing our work at the end of the session.

Sharing our work at the end of the session.

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Weather – here in Yorkshire we often have four seasons in one day!  We love talking about it, and so we’ve had fun learning how to talk about the weather in French over the last few weeks.  

To practice our phrases, we had our first ever go at using green screen technology, using the i-pad app Do Ink.  Once we got to grips with it, we began to have enormous fun, although our next step will be to invest in a green screen – this was done just using any old bits of green fabric we could find in our craft cupboard, but we’ll be after a more polished finish next time!

We made our own flash cards to go with our phrases, so you can use our handy weather phrase guide here: 

We put our own ‘aide memoires’ in our books (here’s Jacob’s version):

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We also have a weather board in the classroom, where we put our date and the weather each day.  It’s one of our classroom jobs, and at the moment Letia keeps it up to date.

Have you used green screen technology?

Have you got any top tips to help us improve?  We’d love to hear from you!

 

Rainforest Art

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Over the last half term, we have been studying different forms of printing and using these to create art work inspired by our rainforest topic.  We have been working with Mrs Eldridge, who designed and led this art project.

Press Printing

Printing is about using blocks/ materials to create marks on another material.  Shape, texture and colour are the main elements of art to consider.

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The idea of creating a ‘master form’ or block means that you can explore the idea of multiple copies, translations or colour schemes.

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Using watercolours or tissue paper, interesting backgrounds could be created.  After that, we thought about creating a tile design that could be rotated.

Making a tile was fairly easy, although you needed to apply enough pressure to create a good indentation.

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When it came to printing, you needed to apply enough paint but not too much. Using a roller helped with this.

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Collographs

Collographs are prints that are made from a textured plate. We used card and a variety of fabrics and braids to create rainforest textures and pictures.

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Once dry, the plate was painted with a variety of green shades and hot colours. Paper was then place on top and rollered flat.

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Collographs allowed us to create the same image on different coloured papers with varying amounts of paint.

Block Printing

We used i-pads to research tropical leaf and flower shapes.

We used foam, felt and potatoes to create printing blocks.

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The printing blocks were painted up and we developed our own repetitive patterns using colour and orientation.

At the end of our period of study, we felt we had created a very interesting gallery of varied prints, which we will display in our classroom and our local doctor’s surgery, where we regularly put our work up for the local community to view.

Thank you Mrs Eldridge for another inspiring project!

Which kind of printing did you most enjoy? Why? 

Was there anything you found difficult to master? Why?

Rainforests and the Water Cycle

We have a very special addition to A Room with a View for 7 weeks: Miss Turner.

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Miss Turner is completing her teaching practice in our classroom, before starting work in her new school in September.  She’s been with us for 3 weeks so far, and will spend another 4 weeks with us when we return after half term.

Just before our half term holiday, Miss Turner taught a fabulous lesson on the Water Cycle.  First of all, the class learned the four stages of the water cycle.  To help everyone remember, she taught this catchy song:

After learning the song, the class had to think carefully about each stage, and work in groups to use drama to represent a stage of the water cycle for the rest of the class to work out. We had playlets, poems, songs and mime!

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Evaporation: Heat from the Sun causes water on Earth (in oceans, lakes etc) to evaporate (turn from liquid into gas) and rise into the sky. This water vapour collects in the sky in the form of clouds.

Condensation: As water vapour in the clouds cools down it becomes water again; this process is called condensation.

Precipitation: Water falls from the sky in the form of rain, snow, hail, or sleet; this process is called precipitation.

Collection: Oceans and lakes collect water that has fallen. Water evaporates into the sky again and the cycle continues.

To provide a living reminder of the process in the classroom, groups worked together to create a mini rainforest in a jar.  Using soil, moss and other items gathered from the school grounds, they put the forest floor and understory into their jars, added flowers and the odd rainforest animal, then watered it well before sealing the top.  

The mini-rainforests then took up residence on a sunny windowsill in the classroom, and each group made a prediction about what they thought would happen inside the jars.

Over the next few days, we began to see the water in the jar condense on the lid and sides of the jar.

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The rainforests will stay in the classroom over the next few weeks so we can review and talk through the water cycle process as we watch it in action.  What a fabulous lesson!

Can you remember the four stages of the water cycle in order?

Can you say what happens in each stage?

Where do we see the water cycle in action in our local environment?

Egg-stra Special Science

Our topic for Science this half term has been Life Cycles.  We’ve been looking at the life-cycles of animals and plants, and as part of our work, we had chicks in the classroom for two weeks!

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The chicks began their lives as eggs, delivered to the school on Monday morning, along with the incubator.  It wasn’t long before we noticed the eggs were rocking, and we could hear tiny ‘cheep-cheeps’ coming from inside.

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Once they hatched out, we kept them in the incubator for 24 hours, before transferring them to the brooder box.

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When they were a few days old, we took them outside in the sunshine for a little bit, and found them worms to eat.

After their stay with us, all the chicks were re-homed with children who live on farms.  It was a fabulous learning experience, and really helped us to think about our Science.  During the week, we did a lot of activities based around our chicks, the favourite of which was our Great Egg Drop, which helped us revise our forces and properties of materials work from earlier this year.  Our challenge was to design and build a landing craft for an egg to be dropped from a height – the most successful model would be the lightest one to protect the egg from cracking when dropped from the highest height.  

Here’s what we observed:

  • The most successful models were well padded, using sponges or bubble wrap, and had their egg well secured.
  • Some eggs failed because they moved around too much within the model.
  • The first drop didn’t crack many eggs, because the models were not falling so fast.
  • The highest drop was the ‘killer’ because the models landed on the ground with a greater force, which was more likely to dislodge and smash the egg.
  • Some people added weights to try to ensure that their model landed in a certain way.
  • Size did not affect success rates.
  • The best materials to use for cushioning were bubble-wrap and sponge.  The least successful were porridge oats and newspaper.

If you were to make your model again, what would you do to be more successful? 

What was your favourite part of our Life Cycles work?

Singing the (#clrpoem) Blues

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This week for our #clrpoem project, we mixed our poetry with music, and we sang the blues.  After listening to some famous Blues singers, we had a look at the lyrics, and worked out that there was a pattern we could follow: 

  • the first line often presents an idea or issue
  • the second line repeats it 
  • the third line develops or resolves the idea 

Thinking about what made us feel ‘blue’, we had a go at writing and performing our own Blues songs.  Here are a few of our recordings:

It was great fun to write and perform our songs – we hope to record a few more this week!

What would you write your blues song about?

Can you follow the pattern described above?

Rainforest Animals

Our topic this term is the Rainforest, and we have been finding out all about its location and structure in our Geography lessons.  This week we also wrote reports about some of the animals that can be found there.  (Click the parrot to view our reports.)

Rainforest Animals

Here are some of the things we had to remember in our writing – can you spot them?

  • Title
  • Subheadings
  • Technical Language
  • 3rd Person
  • Present Tense
  • Fascinating Facts!

Do you have a favourite Rainforest animal?  

Could you share any facts about it?

#clrpoem: Yellow and Green

Each week for our #clrpoem work, we try out a slightly different format for our poems.  For Orange Week, we had experimented with simile and metaphor, and so we decided to have another go at that in Yellow Week – only in French!  It was a really good exercise in dictionary work for us, as we looked up our yellow words.

When we use a French dictionary, it can be confusing! There are two halves – one translating French to English, and the other translating English to French.  How to know which is which?  FRench in the FRont is how we remember it!

Here are a few of our yellow poems:

Last week, it was green, and we took our inspiration from Mrs Atherton’s work on Cinquains with her Y6 Class at Hopwood Primary School.  She gave a really good explanation which we followed:

Here is the example that Mrs Atherton wrote about her cat, Rudi.

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Here are her rules you need to follow to write a cinquain poem:

  • The first line must be a noun and only have 2 syllables.
  • The second line must be 2 adjectives which have 4 syllables in total.
  • The third line must be 3 ‘ing’ words, which have a total of 6 syllables.
  • The fourth line is a phrase made up of 8 syllables.
  • The last line must be a 2 syllable synonym.

We had a go at a class poem together based on the chicks we have in our classroom at the moment:

Then we had a go on our own!  Our theme this term is the rainforest, and so we used this as the subject matter for this week’s poems.

Writing a cinquain was fun, because there was a definite pattern to follow.  

What other poems do you know which follow a pattern?  

What do you like about writing poetry?