Already we are two weeks into the final term of this academic year and I can barely believe we are half way through June already! This year seems to have fairly raced by and coupled with the vast array of exciting activities and learning opportunities that have been taking place throughout the school we have had lots to celebrate and enjoy.
On Monday of this week we were delighted to welcome Ms Helean Hughes, the Wiltshire Director of Education and Skills, to our fabulous school. Helean spent considerable time with me walking around school and talking to children about their learning, which made me very proud indeed. Helean also kindly gave some of her time to be interviewed by our radio team, an interview that you can hear on today’s show. It was lovely to hear Helean speak so positively about our school and she clearly enjoyed her visit, so thank you everyone for giving another very special visitor a Westwood welcome.
In the past week Orchid class have been off site on a fantastic educational visit to Stowford Farm. Getting involved with the wildlife, riding in a tractor trailer and helping on the farm all made for a perfect day in the country. Plus there was an opportunity to play an inter-school football match, which the children won. It was yet another super learning experience outside the classroom and a lovely part of their curriculum.
This term I have been running a lunchtime maths club on a Wednesday for children to consolidate their interest in maths and learning through the use of Doodlemaths, Mathletics and TT Rockstars. I have been delighted with the number of children that have been attending and can see what a difference just a few minutes each week is making to their mental calculations and maths skills. Don’t forget that you can access these fantastic resources from home and the children do love to challenge themselves!
We do love our sport at Westwood and this week the Chance to Shine Cricket coaches began a 6 week course in which everyone in Lotus and Orchid class will be honing their skills. So much fun was had in the hall on a very wet afternoon with everyone making the most of this PE opportunity. I’m really looking forward to seeing some games outside in the coming weeks and I hope all of our children have a great time.
Today of course saw the return of our Father’s Friday event. Once again I must thank you all for joining us and for making the day such tremendous fun and so successful. With a vast array of international learning taking place, everyone who came along immersed themselves in the true spirit of the day and the atmosphere was fantastic. We are so lucky to have an incredibly supportive parent community who work so well alongside our school. We have all thoroughly enjoyed welcoming you to school today and it was such a delight to see so many people having fun around the building. We even welcomed some our visitors into the Westwood Radio studio for a live show.
With so much still to come this term, it proves to be another exciting and busy few weeks, as the Summer term often races by through all the fun and excitement. I hope to see you at many of our forthcoming events and thank you all for your continued and valued support. Please remember our Summer Fair on Saturday 22nd June from 2-4.30 where there will be another opportunity to enjoy another fantastic Westwood community event which really is one of the highlights of my year!
This week we went global at Westwood with Iford School with an international day focused completely on Christmas around the World. After the success of Clover class link up with Room 104 of Georgetown Elementary school on Wednesday, sharing Christmas traditions and wishes face to face, Thursday was a fantastic opportunity for everyone to learn about how other countries celebrate Christmas.
All of the children throughout the school were put into groups and spent a session together with each teacher learning about how Christmas is celebrated in Germany, Scandinavia, China and Iceland. What was so lovely was that our school family worked so wonderfully together, supporting each other and enjoying the opportunity to work with friends that were both older and younger. The teachers all planned a super day for everyone that was enormous fun and so informative. My huge thanks to the staff for another brilliantly planned day and to the children for their outstanding behaviour and sense of fun. We all agreed this is something we would do again soon!
Here are some photos I was able to take of the children working together on International Day:
This past week or so has been full of great learning, some of which I have had the pleasure to experience first hand. You may be aware that I have been working with the children to develop their writing skills using the Five Sentence Challenge, for younger writers and the 100 word challenge for our older writers.
Both offer a fantastic prompt that the children write in response to, but completely independently and without limits. This provides a wonderful creative opportunity and allows children to become authors. Once again this week I have been delighted by the children’s response and the writing that they have produced. Please do head along to our class blogs from westwoodblogs.org and leave a comment for our brilliant writers. Having an audience for your writing makes such a difference. Here are some children from Clover and Thistle Class explaining what they enjoy about their writing.
Class topics are also engaging the children with fascinating learning as well as visits from sports stars, roman archaeologists and we have even started to think about our songs for Christmas. I do enjoy Term 2 – it is always so magical and a great time to be in school. You can catch up with all of our weekly news via my podcast, Westwood Talk, which I record every weekend as a round up of the week’s events. The latest episode is here for you to listen again.
Today we were all treated to a day of inspiring and engaging writing as James Carter, a professional poet and writer visited our school for the day and what a fantastic opportunity it was! Working in every class to develop the children’s poetry skills, language and creative writing, James spent time focusing on the use of detailed, immersive vocabulary and brought the very best out of each of our wonderful children, who were all so enthused by his presence in the classroom. Bringing tremendous energy and the perfect approach to bring the best from our children, everyone had a brilliant day and we closed our experience with James leading a super assembly for the school and parents, who took time to join us for the end of the day. Our thanks to James for giving us such a fantastic day and to Mrs Hannam for organising another wonderful Westwood experience.
James kindly agreed to be interviewed for Westwood Radio and you can listen to the full interview here, as well as on the live show on Friday afternoon. Plus, I just had to take some photos of our children performing their poems that they had worked so hard to write. Well done everyone!
James’ website is www.jamecarterpoet.co.uk where you can read his fantastic poems and find out more of how he inspires others.
Today we have all been working together to learn about a famous person in History – Louis Braille. We spent the morning discussing his life story and working in pairs, with Thistle class and Clover class working beautifully together to produce a super book of his life story. In the afternoon everyone then got the chance to create some braille patterns of their own and to understand.
Here are the children hard at work and describing what they have learnt in their own words:
Once again school has been buzzing with language and creativity as the children had fun taking part in a whole school story day. With each class taking a focus story, from Aliens Love Underpants and The Magic Bed in Thistle and Clover Class to The Wolf that Cried Boy in Lotus and Anansi the Spider in Orchid, each class had a day filled with opportunities to extend their writing skills.
We strive to continually improve our reading year on year and the teachers all worked so hard to prepare a day of exciting and engaging learning based entirely around the one fantastic book, with this being an ideal way to develop cross curricular writing, reading, speaking and listening and spelling. Everyone had such a great time and the children were completely immersed in their activities.
We also started our whole school read for the first time. At least once a month classes will now be pairing for 20 minutes during the day so that older children and younger children have the opportunity to read together, enjoy books and learn from each other. This is something that we think will have a huge benefit for our entire school community.
To end the day yesterday we then had a whole school assembly and shared our learning from the day. The enthusiasm and excitement with which the children shared their learning from Story Day was a joy to see and we are already looking forward to the next one!
Here are some photos I took of the children completely enjoying their learning throughout the day:
Once again we started our festive period in style with a visit and performance from the Storybox Theatre this morning. I have a long association with Rod and the Storybox that stretches back to the early days of my teaching career and I can honestly say that year on year, Rod’s energy and performance is always at the highest level. With the ability to captivate the audience, from reception children to adults with his beautifully crafted story, humorous asides and spectacular puppets – all of which he made himself – we were, once again treated to a magical hour of story telling in the comfort of our own school hall and no matter how old you were, you always feel as if you are totally immersed in the performance.
As you can imagine, everyone loved today’s tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. The children all sat superbly, listened intently and joined in with enthusiasm and enjoyment. It really was a fantastic morning at the theatre. Once again, can I thank our Friends of Westwood school for funding this event again. It is such a treat for the children and provides them with opportunities to write creatively in their follow up, but also to watch a traditional performance away from the fast pace and digital age in which we live and I think that is crucial. Thank you also to Rod for, once again giving us a magical start to our Christmas.
Here is what we were able to enjoy: