Beech Class Team:
It has been lovely to see so many of you this week (albeit from behind my face-shield). Chatting to so many of you, but also being under the pressures of time, has reminded me of a few housekeeping bits that it would be worth sharing with you.
Mrs Pearson, class teacher, works Monday-Thursday. Mrs Critcher, as HLTA, works as cover teacher on Friday. She and Mrs Pearson work together to plan Friday's content and to ensure continuity in the children's teaching and learning. In addition the children enjoy their PE session with one of the KickOff coaches on Friday morning.
The class is very lucky to be supported by Mrs Critcher every day, and Mrs Benham every morning. Both TAs have a wealth of experience and support the children in class and by delivering specific interventions and booster activities.
Over the past two weeks we have been learning about Piet Mondrian and the art that he produced using primary colours. Having studied some of his pictures the children have produced collages and paintings inspired by Mondrian. The children have worked hard to use straight lines, grids and primary colours.
First they produced collages by sticking shapes onto black paper. Then they planned a Mondrian style picture by colouring in one of his grids. The tricky part was to then follow their plan and colour a larger grid with paint. To do this the children had to work hard to control small amounts of paint on their brushes and use skilled small bushstrokes to produce the clean lines and colours of a Mondrian painting.
Then, having completed these two tasks, the children designed and created their own Mondrian grid paintings. This time they had to work carefully with a ruler to create their grid and paint with care and precision. They did really well and are very proud of their work.
It has been a fabulous start to the school year and so wonderful to have the children back in school and to see them settling and smiling in Beech Class. We are looking forward to a good year. Despite the current restrictions and necessary precautions we are pleased that our classroom and timetable is full of plans for fun, challenge and learning.
Do keep an eye on this page as we look forward to sharing news and photos of our time together, in particular as you are not able to visit us in the classroom.
This year Mrs Pearson will be working as Class Teacher supported by Miss Critcher and Mrs Benham.
It has been lovely for us to see you at the gate in the past few days but we realise that this is more restrictive than usual. If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to speak to any member of the Beech staff team at the gate or alternatively to e-mail the office, who efficiently pass all messages on to us. We will be happy to help or share information appropriately. Mrs Pearson looks forward to meeting you all at Parents' Evening in the coming weeks.
In Beech we had a fun day on Friday spending time together, preparing learning packs, doing Art, playing games and singing together. We enjoyed sharing some healthy and 'naughty' snacks as a treat.
The children enjoyed working on symmetry challenges in Maths this week. Watch out for some more challenges with shape and symmetry in our home learning projects.
On Wednesday Beech Class had a great time working with clay. Having had some time to get used to handling (or in one case karate chopping) the clay, we then worked on our technique to produce a pinch pot. Once we had produced one pinch pot we made a second and then added these together to produce a larger single pot.
As the clay is so forgiving and could be reworked a number of times, the children showed real determination and fabulous growth mindset attitudes to remaking and improving each pinch pot until they were happy with their best example. The pots need to air dry (which sadly they will have plenty of time to do) before we can decorate them.
We all really enjoyed working with the clay and each pot is beautifully unique.
As the need for people to self-isolate increases and some children are unable to be in school, we are aware that you may find that children need to work at home. Please click on the 'Working from Home' link above to find activities and work to support your children's continued learning. We will post work, links, websites and activity ideas that you can be getting on with over the coming weeks.
Keep smiling! Keep safe! Keep healthy! Keep Learning!
Beech Class have been working hard in Science learning all about Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Eating, Exercise and Hygiene. As part of their learning they undertook an experiment all about hand washing. Using glitter as fake germs the children tested to see what was the most effective method for hand washing. They were not surprised to find that using hot water and soap and rubbing their hands together vigorously removed the most glitter and would, therefore, be the best way to get rid of dirt and germs.
After such a fabulous treat and visit to the pantomime, Beech Class wanted to write and thank the actors and the staff of the theatre for their special visit. Each child worked hard to compose a letter and then to produce their best handwritten copy. All the letters were delivered to the theatre and Beech Class received a personal response from the Artistic Director who was thrilled to hear how much they had all enjoyed the panto and was impressed by the quality of their hard work.
Beech Class and some other children from across school started the new year and new term with a fabulous treat! We were invited by the Beast himself to go and see the pantomime at Oxford Playhouse. The story was based on Beauty and the Beast but had some fun surprises along the way - did you know Beauty had a pet orangutan called Brian? Mrs Pearson was a bit over-excited about going to see the show because her son, Matt, was playing the Beast. It did mean that we had some extra-special moments during our visit. Some of our friends from KS2 were asked to go up on stage and join in with a game with the Wicked Witch Kardashia, and even Mrs Pearson herself had to go up and join in with the actions for a song with Brian the orangutan. Then when the show was over and all the other children had left the theatre, we went up the stairs to a special room and met some of the actors who had been in the show - it was very exciting. The wicked witch brought her crown and Matt brought one of the Beast's feet - it was huge! Two of the dancers from the show taught some Beech children how to do the teapot dance and Beauty came to have a chat too.
Beech Class all rose to the challenge of producing a model vehicle over the half term holiday. They used all sorts of materials and produced a wide variety of vehicles from rockets to police cars, hot air balloons to camper vans. They have proudly shown them off in assembly. What a day to decide to take photos of our fabulous models - we seem to have gone Children in Need mad! It's good to see that we can apply enthusiasm to all sorts of things!
We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 1st October, 3.30-4.30, for our Phonics event. KS1 staff will be discussing how we teach phonics and why it is so useful to your children. Please come along to learn the pure sounds and how to support your child with their reading and writing. Phonics is used throughout your child’s life and is not just limited to KS1 - so bring along a KS2 parent-pal! A crèche will be provided for those that would like to/need to bring a sibling in order to attend the event.
What a great start to the year! We have been delighted to see all the children enthusiastic and excited on their return to school. We are looking forward to a great year of fun, challenge and learning. All of the children are settling well and finding their way around their new classroom.
Do keep an eye on this page as we look forward to sharing news and photos of our time together.
As a reminder - Mrs Pearson works Mon, Tues, Wed and Mrs Hammond works on Thurs, Fri. Both teachers look forward to meeting you again at our "Meet the Teacher" event on Monday 9th September. This year Mrs Kew and Mrs Chadwick will be supporting us in Beech Class.
If you have any questions or concerns please do speak to any member of the Beech staff team and they will be happy to help or share information appropriately.
Despite some dubious weather and a substantial delay to the start of proceedings the children have all enjoyed their experience of Swan Upping. The team were delayed when rowing from Sonning to Mapledurham and so our time with them was somewhat short. However, all the children were thrilled to hear that the delay was caused because of the large number of swans that were lifted from the water during the morning's Swan Upping. As the event's main purpose these days is conservation and protection, it is good to hear that numbers, that had been diminished in the past couple of years, are on the increase!
The children were bursting with enthusiasm to share their knowledge with Mr Barber. They had learnt so much in the past few days about pens, cobs, cygnets, nesting, Swan Upping and the vulnerability of the mute swans to predators and pollution.
We are very grateful Mr Barber and his team who have allowed us to be part of this special and unique event yet again. As a token of our thanks we presented the team with gifts and a book of our swan artwork, containing a stunning picture by each child in the class.
We have learnt lots about Africa and used our knowledge to inspire our Art and DT projects.
We learnt about African patterns and used these to create designs for our tea-light holders. We had to use special pens to put colour onto the glass – normal pens just wiped off. We had to work carefully to produce the details on the glass.
African sunsets on the savannah grasslands are very beautiful. We made sunset and silhouette pictures using tissue paper and black paper. We had to work carefully with the scissors to make sure that the animals were cut out accurately so that their silhouettes were successful. Our pictures were then sealed in the laminator to protect them. The laminator puts plastic around our pictures. Look at our classroom window to see a real gallery of our sunset pictures.
We have made percussion shakers in DT this term. We will be able to use these to play a rhythm to go with our Swahili song. We had to measure and cut the wood. Then we painted it. We painted it red. Red is an important colour for the Masai people. It stands for bravery and strength. We used recycled metal bottle tops for our shakers. We had to punch a hole in them with a nail by using a hammer. It was hard to hammer the nails into the wood and we needed some help.
With a week full of birthdays and Shrove Tuesday Beech class decided to put their literacy work on instruction writing to practical use. The children all made and, of course, ate pancakes. Having enjoyed the story of Mama Panya's Pancakes, a Kenyan story, the children decided to follow in Adika's footsteps and, just as he did, they stretched out the ingredients to make pancakes for friends and, like him, enjoyed a pancake party. With so many pancakes to make the cooking chalet became like a very tasty production line.
After the cooking and eating was over the children worked to write pancake-making instructions using imperative verbs.
It has been delightful to see all the children on their return to school. We are looking forward to a great year of fun and learning. All of the children are settling well and finding their way around their new classroom. They have arrived full of energy and enthusiasm.
Do keep an eye on this page as we look forward to sharing news and photos of our time together.
Mrs Pearson and Mrs Bodeker enjoyed welcoming them on the first morning, along with the fantastic TA team: Mrs Benham and Mrs Kew. As a reminder - Mrs Pearson works Mon, Tues, Wed and Mrs Bodeker works on Thurs, Fri. Both teachers look forward to working with you and your children throughout the coming year and to meeting you again at our forthcoming "Meet the Teacher" event. In the meantime if you have any questions or concerns please do speak to any member of the Beech staff team and they will be happy to help or share information appropriately.
As our school year is coming to an end what better way to enjoy learning together than two exciting class trips. We are all looking forward to a visit to Oxford Castle on Tuesday 10th July (my apologies for the date error on the original letter). Then to round off our year we are privileged to again be participating in the annual Swan Upping ceremony at Mapledurham. We are very grateful to Mr Barber, the Queen's Swan Marker, for once again extending an invitation to Beech Class.
Details of these two trips are in the documents below (also on our Trips page). Please look out for the Parentpay requests for payment and permission.
Beech Class have put their learning about healthy eating into practice this week with tasty results! Jack may not have been able to grow a giant beanstalk from the beans in our recipe but we still managed to conjure up some culinary magic with a mix of five beans. The children enjoyed chopping, grating, measuring, mixing and stirring. We also hope that you enjoyed tasting the delicious Five Bean Salad that they produced. We are thinking of renaming the recipe: Beech and the Bean Salad or possibly Five Magic Bean Salad as it even seems to have made the bowl Mrs Pearson served it in smile!
Beech have produced some beautiful artwork inspired by van Gogh's sunflowers. They worked carefully making pencil sketches. They also produced a modern twist on the paintings using watercolour wash and oil pastels to make lively collage flower vase pictures. Woodcote Ted went on an expedition to visit some of the original paintings on Mrs Pearson's recent trip to Amsterdam. He brought photos back to Beech along with a traditional treat of stroopwafels. Ted also found a 3D modern art version of van Gogh's bedroom by Lichtenstein. He had good fun taking a look around. Can you spot him?
Beech produced cards with a twist this year. Their cards looked great and with a little care and attention dads were treated to watching the grass grow. Each card had cress planted on the front, putting to the test the children's knowledge of growing plants. Inside each card the children wrote some lovely acrostic poems full of love and good wishes including messages to
Always awesome dads
Delicious cook dads
and lots of You are the best dads!
Happy Father's Day to all the Beech dads!
Beech enjoyed a judo demonstration from some experts on Thursday, 24th May. They were then given the opportunity to join in and you can clearly see that it was lots of fun!
As we are drawing our animal project to a close and turning our focus to plants, we wanted to share the fabulous array of habitat boxes that the children produced as their half term projects. Well done to everyone involved! They have contributed to an imaginative and fabulous display in our classroom.
Beech Class had a fantastic afternoon on Thursday 3rd May, as they celebrated and showed off their "Imaginarium" classroom. Thank you to all the parents who came along to share in our enthusiasm and to enjoy the results of the children's hard work.
All of the children have worked hard over the past months across a number of areas of the curriculum to bring together their "Imaginarium" project. In Science the children have developed their knowledge of the animal kingdom, including basic needs and life processes, animal groups and classification, animal habitats across the world, adaptation and food chains. Exploring the world map, continents and oceans, climates and pinpointing areas of Africa in their Geography lessons was exciting and gave some context for some of their Science studies. In English, the children worked with non-fiction texts, exploring the features and uses and then developing their own information text writing. Putting all of these skills together resulted in our fabulous "Imaginarium" full of exciting, imaginatively and skillfully created, creatures.
Beech Class proved this week that Maths is not only fun but can also be tasty! The children used Maoam Stripes to work on their skills in statistics. Working to interpret and construct simple pictograms, tally charts and block diagrams by grouping and counting the different flavours. Then we created simple questions to ask and answer by counting the number of objects in each category and sorting the categories by quantity. We could check out our predictions about which flavour would be the most frequent in our tubs and then when we combined all the tubs together we created a giant pictogram and made some interesting comparisons. The promise of a tasty treat at the end kept us all on track.
As we worked to develop our Science skills we have been looking at animal classification. The children enjoyed working to analyse the characteristics of each animal group using some informative presentations on the laptops.
On Thursday 29th March, the whole school celebrated their achievements in dance this term in a special Sharing Assembly. It was fabulous entertainment with a varied selection of dance styles. Well done to Beech Class who demonstrated their South African gum boot dance.
As a class reward for all their hard work, Beech Class requested an Easter egg hunt. However, they did not bargain on just how tricky Mrs Pearson could be when she fulfilled their wish. On Tuesday the children were delighted when they arrived in class to spot coloured eggs hidden in various locations around the room. When they eagerly got started on their hunt they were a little surprised to find that each egg contained a Maths problem. This did not squash their enthusiasm for long as they got stuck in solving the problems and re-hiding the eggs as they set off to retrieve a different egg.
On Wednesday, it looked like their continued hard work had paid off and again they discovered coloured eggs hidden around the classroom. However, this time working in teams they had to open each egg to collect phonics sounds to build words. It was a tricky task with so many eggs to gather together but all of the puzzles were solved.
The children certainly deserved their Thursday Easter egg hunt as they popped out into the playground between showers to find hidden bags of mini-eggs. They won't have any problem solving what to do with those over the holiday!
Each week Mr John Gant visits Beech Class to hear the children read. They are always excited to see him and there is never a shortage of enthusiastic readers ready to be heard. However, this week John was accompanied by a very special visitor; Humphrey, John's African parrot came along too. The children were able to admire how Humphrey's beak and claws help him to grasp and enjoy his food, reinforcing their recent Science lessons on adaptation. They heard what great company Humphrey is and about some of his adventures, including his great escape a few years ago. Humphrey was not allowed to spread his wings in the classroom and remained safe and sound in his travel-cage. Humphrey appeared to enjoy settling down to hear the children read. John says he can be very talkative but he clearly respected the classroom rules and the children by staying quiet as he enjoyed a variety of stories.
What a wonderful Spring day for Beech Class' visit to Earth Trust at Little Wittenham. The children and staff enjoyed a superb day in the glorious outdoors. Beech Class visited the lambing sheds where they were able to observe the young lambs. Lambs were in the mothering pens getting acquainted with their new world and their ewe mums. Some of them were only 1 or 2 days old and one wobbly, hungry youngster was only a few hours old. Children learnt that ewes give birth to one, two or three lambs. When three lambs are born sometimes one of them needs to be removed from mum in order that all of the lambs can get the nutrition that they need. These lambs are then hand-fed by bottle and being more familiar with human contact were quite happy to be stroked and admired.
After lunch we then explored Wittenham Clumps and used our senses to observe the changing seasons, noting the signs of Spring from buds and new flowers to the sound of birds in the woodland. We had time to explore the Beech Wood area of woodland between Round Hill and Castle Hill - how perfect for us. While there we worked together to build dens and bird nests, explore the trees using our sense of touch and listened carefully to the Spring creeping into the woodland.
Jennifer, who was our guide for the day, was informative and great fun. In turn she was impressed by the good manners and enthusiasm of the children. Well done Beech Class.
Mrs Hunt was a little shocked at what she found when entering Beech Class on Monday afternoon. However, she was just as excited as the children when she realised that they were paddling around the globe, exploring the continents and oceans in their crazy, table-top canoes. Armed with ruler-paddles and a map of the world, the children navigated their way from North to South and then East to West, conquering the mighty Pacific Ocean and ensuring that their feet were safely tucked away from any 'classroom' ocean sharks! Using their maps and telescopes they were able to identify the different continents as they passed, spotting a variety of native animals and varying landscapes. Despite moving from freezing temperatures at the poles to scorching heat as they crossed the equator, they were ready for the drizzle as they arrived back in time for hometime.
Beech Class was taken over by strange creatures on Friday. These creatures with their green heads and blue hands were really quite friendly. After giving the rest of the school and Mrs Hunt quite a surprise in assembly, they performed Edward Lear's poem about their adventures excellently. Everyone enjoyed hearing about their voyage in a sieve to the hills of the Chankly Bore.
Beech Class continue to investigate the jumblies. As they have done so they have discovered some equally magnificent and amazing creatures like the Quangle Wangle Quee and the Dong with the Luminous Nose. It seems their research will have to continue.
Welcome back! We hope that everybody has enjoyed a relaxing and happy Christmas break and that Father Christmas made some exciting deliveries to Woodcote. All the Beech Class team would like to thank you for their lovely gifts - they have enjoyed relaxing in bubbly baths, eating and drinking delicious treats and lots more.
We have lots to do and lots to look forward to this term. Do use this page to keep up to date with our activities and achievements and the calendar pages for information about sports, clubs and forthcoming whole school events.
A first reminder and a bit of a treat for the start of the new term - we will have Show and Tell AND a library visit this Wednesday (10th January). If you have library books from last term this will be your chance to return them. In future we will return to our alternate weeks with our next library visit on the Wednesday, 24th January. Dates and themes are detailed and updated on our Class Information page (link above).
Beech have composed a class poem based on
Ten Things Found in a Wizard's Pocket by Ian McMillan
Ten Things Found in Santa's Bag
A dark snowy night on Christmas Eve
A jar of candy canes that never empties
A snow globe to play with
One helpful elf
A table napkin the size of an ice rink
A receipt for the repair of the sleigh
Magic dust to help the reindeer fly
A large fire extinguisher
A Christmas card from Mrs Claus in case he gets lonely.
The only trouble with KS1's production of Angel Trouble was that they were all far too cute! Everyone enjoyed their fabulous singing, some stand-out acting performances and each and every child sparkled as bright as our Star of Bethlehem. Both performances were really great and were enjoyed by wonderful full audiences. Well done children!
The experience of participating in the show has been a real confidence boost for all the children, allowed them an opportunity to showcase their wonderful talents, to work together as a team, to develop their speaking and listening skills and to have great fun along the way. Drama is so supportive to many areas of our curriculum in school including reading, writing and comprehension.
A huge thank you also to our audiences for their generosity in our collections which raised a fabulous £170. This money will go towards future performance expenses including scripts, stage, sets and backdrops, costumes and performance licences.
As you will be aware the children have started rehearsals and preparation for the forthcoming Christmas play. They are very excited but for many this is accompanied with the nerves and responsibility of learning words and remembering cues and actions. We very much appreciate your support in helping your child to learn their words so that they can enjoy the experience and the pride of participating in what is bound to be a wonderful performance.
In addition we are beginning to collect costumes and props together. Although we have many costumes in school, please take note of the additional items required to complete your child's costume and ensure that these are sent into school by Monday 27th November. If you have any queries regarding casting, costumes or the play please do speak to the class teacher at the end of the day.
We are looking forward to seeing you at our performances on 5th and 6th December. Letters for ticket requests will be sent home in the week beginning 20th November.
Beech Class enjoyed four VIP visitors on Wednesday 8th November as Joey and Ollie and their mums came in to help them learn about how babies grow and change in their first years. The children learnt lots and had a chance to ask questions and compare the different stages of development between the two boys. It was a super opportunity to put classroom learning into real life context and the children wanted to send a big thank you to Mrs Jones and Mrs Westall and the boys for making their learning fun.
Beech Class have enjoyed a wonderful trip to the British Motor Museum. We impressed the staff with our enthusiasm and good manners. The trip brought our study of the history of transport to life. Check out our TRIPS link to see pictures and information, and keep your eyes open for our vlog film of our day.
Beech Class enjoyed their first trip to the library on 4th October. We spent time looking at how the books were organised and where we can find fiction and non-fiction books so that we can enjoy browsing and choosing books that we enjoy. The children shared their knowledge and enthusiasm and came up with some lovely questions for Mrs Green, our expert librarian. We wonder .... do you you know where you would find joke books in a library? Fiction or non-fiction? We found out and now know where to look for a good laugh!