Every now and again I manage to attend a conference and some are always better than others. Today I attended the West of England ICT conference in Bristol and came away feeling inspired. With the new computing curriculum about to become compulsory in September and a real shift more towards the coding elements, today was about listening to experts in their field and to discuss some thoughts I’ve already had in preparation for the new academic year.
Our first keynote speaker was Andrea Carr, managing director of Rising Stars, who I managed to meet up with later in the day. You may well recognise the brand as these are the fantastic and wonderfully presented exercise books that the Year 5 and 6 children have been working with since the Spring term. I wanted to pass on our feedback and thanks to Andrea as these have undoubtedly had a huge impact on the children’s learning and have helped raise standards significantly by complimenting the teaching and learning in class.
I also went to see David Mitchell, a blogging specialist and inspiration who has used blogging as a means of digital literacy and, again, has seen this result in significant gains in writing. As I have been blogging myself for a few years and have followed him on twitter @deputymitchell, I was keen to bring away some more ideas to use in school, which I undoubtedly have,
With so much information on exciting ways to code with the children and to make ICT, or Computing, as it will now be, exciting and accessible, it was one of those days that I am so glad I had and can see such potential for our children in September.
Then, of course, it was straight back to the end of year disco and what better way to see the night out than watching the children having such a fantastic time dancing, singing and getting incredibly hot with resident DJ Stuart at the helm. It’s a great job being a head…
Now there’s an attention grabbing subject! Well, in Lotus class today, as part of their entire topic on Chocolate (I only ever studied Castles when I was at school!) they have been making their own brand of chocolate. In a very cross curricular approach to teaching and learning, the children have also been using ICT to design their chocolate wrappers and in their DT, they have actually been making the wrappers. What a busy morning and we are only halfway through the day.
Elsewhere around the school the children have been busy working hard as usual. There has been a lot of excitement this week about our community library. It is open on a Tuesday and a Friday from 3.15-4pm, but it will also soon be opening during lunchtimes, as soon as I have trained some Year 5 and 6 librarians to staff it, which will be great! In Thistle class, the children have been planting cress seeds, so we will have to wait at least a couple of days for the results. Clover class have been hard at work practising for their assembly on Thursday, which looks super and in Orchid class the World Cup experts have been taking part in some outdoor learning. All so much fun!
For those of us of a certain age, the World Cup and Panini sticker albums were synonymous with swapping stacks of doubled stickers, trying to complete the album before the tournament ended and then sending off (by post!) for those last few.
Of course there is a Panini sticker album for the current world cup, but I thought I’d share what I’ve found to be mildly exciting and nostalgic the last couple of weeks. If you point your mouse to en.stickeralbum.fifa.com, there is, wait for it…an online Panini sticker album you can complete, complete with swaps, world cup quizzes and plenty of other distractions. With a quick signup to Fifa.com you are in with a username and going back 30 years, or at least I was…Now back to work!
Today we welcomed our dads and significant men in the children’s lives into school for the day and what a day we have had! Football on the field, phonics and writing in the classroom, singing in assembly – the dads took part in everything and seemed to have a really good time. It was so good to see so many people here – the hall was packed for celebration assembly and the classrooms have been buzzing all day. On such a beautiful, sunny day, this was definitely a day to remember. Here are a few photos for the mums who weren’t here…
Father’s Friday on PhotoPeach
It gives me great pleasure to write to you on Father’s Friday for this extra newsletter and what a tremendous response we have had. A packed celebration assembly to start the day with so many dads and important people in our children’s lives, which is, once again, testament to the terrific support that you as a parent community give our school. I do hope that you all had a super day being back at school, enjoyed your learning, ran around maybe just a bit and took in the whole Westwood experience. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to join us and I will look forward to the next one!
Last week’s newsletter was sent just before the extravaganza that is Westwood’s Got Talent and what a wonderful evening we all had. The children all performed with charisma and confidence and it was so good to see the many talents that they all have. From comedy to song, acting to martial arts, there was something for everyone and all of it received by a welcoming and enthusiastic audience. Again, the event was sold out and I must thank our Friends of westwood School for their hard work, commitment and dedication to providing us with such fantastic events that bring our community together. I can fully understand why it is such a popular event and I was so proud of everyone for being able to stand in front of a large group and perform as brilliantly as they did.
I am very excited to report back on the success of our Westwood Community Library. It is now fully open as a lending library and has been used extensively already by our children, who are enjoying their reading and the opportunity to borrow new and engaging books, both fiction and non fiction. Everyone has a borrowing card which entitles them to two books, which they can borrow for up to 2 weeks at a time. If you, or friends from the village would also like to join our library then you are most welcome. If you pop in when the library is open, either on a Tuesday or Friday from 3.15-4pm and give us your name, we can very quickly make you a card for your next visit. I am so grateful to Jane Caston and our Friends for making Westwood Community Library such a wonderful and unique resource. The children are very lucky and I know it will be so well used. Can I point you to our school website, where, with your lender number, you will be able to log in and write a review of the book you have read and search for the books we have in our library. It would be great to see you using the library in this way. Please point your mouse to the Community section and then Westwood Community Library.
Congratulations must be given to our talented athletes who took part in the Bradford on Avon Cluster Athletics tournament earlier in the week. These children volunteered to be part of a small team who went up against other schools and represented our school proudly. Well done everyone, you deserved your second place and thank you for taking part. Can I also take this opportunity, on a sporting theme, to say a very big well done to everyone who has taken part in an after school sports club this year. Recently our golfers won a tournament against very stiff competition, our footballers and hockey players have developed some excellent skills and our dancers, as we know, have had such a successful year. Not to mention, of course, our martial artists, who continue to work their way up their gradings with commitment and focus.
Lastly, our ICT in the Community club is now well under way and has space for more members. So far we have had fun with word processing and some programming, so if you would like to come along, the next one will be on Thursday 3rd July in the school hall straight after school. No experience necessary!
Can I wish you all a very enjoyable weekend indeed.