Little Reddings show their steel
Little Reddings (Bushey) have successfully bid for a 15 player, Jumbie Class Pack of steel pan drums and playing guides by world-music specialist, Andy Gleadhill.
As Carly Rissen, Headteacher, explained:
"Using the same approach that has so successfully helped hundreds of generalist teachers to introduce African Drumming, Indonesian Gamelan, Brazilian Samba and other World Music styles in classrooms all over the UK, Andy Gleadhill’s Caribbean Steel Pan Book will show our teachers basic techniques and warm-up exercises which cover all the elements of music.
The session guidance within will help us progress rapidly through 10 weekly lessons, to the point that the class can perform a range of Steel Pan pieces confidently.
The Percussion Buddies book will show us how to develop percussion accompaniments for almost any piece, whether drumming, choral, ukulele or any other ensemble.”
Carly also strengthened her bid by explaining the wide range of learners who will benefit:
Children within Music lessons, Children's University clubs and our school orchestra will learn a different instrument. Our BME children will feel a sense of pride and inclusion within our curriculum. Music lessons will be fun and ensure depth of learning that will create real musicians. Children and young people at the other two schools within our Trust will have access to these resources too.
Leverstock Green dash to secure ten robots.
We were very pleased to award Leverstock Green (Hemel Hempstead) an IT award to buy five Dash and Dot robots, specifically designed for both KS1 and KS2 primary education.
As Sophie Azzopard, School Business Manager, explained:
"Dash is a ready assembled robot that has many features - it can drive around, move its head, detect objects, identify which direction a sound is coming from, record and playback sounds and communicate with Dot robots as programmed by the children.
Dot is Dash's companion. While Dot doesn't have wheels to move, it has lots of sensors and can interact with Dash as well as being used as a standalone device. Dot can hear sound, light up any colour you like, know when and how it is being moved and communicate with Dash.
Children will use challenge cards to learn the fundamentals of coding - sequences, loops, events, conditionals, functions and variables.”
The robots will benefit all classes as well as the school’s lunchtime coding club where pupil premium children will be specifically targeted. Also, the mixed age, after-school club will also have access to the robots.
Sophie strengthened her application further by pointing out:
“Although the resources are specifically focused on teaching coding, the activities using Dot & Dash will also have a positive benefit on pupils' ability to solve problems, apply logic and develop critical thinking. In turn, we anticipate this will benefit their learning in other areas of the curriculum…” and in the after-school club… “children will have the opportunity to develop their skills in multi-age groups, thus also improving communication skills”
St. Margaret Clitherow knew their double science and technology bid wood work!
St Margaret Clitherow have made a successful, two-pronged STEM bid for a new science scheme from Engaging Science and Woodworking benches and equipment.
The Engaging Science scheme has been developed in conjunction with several primary schools and has some exciting founding principles:
- Science is best taught through practical sessions and investigation
- Pupils should be encouraged to think both scientifically and creatively
- Curiosity, wonder, humour and even disgust are emotions that build engagement in science
- Science should take advantage of the many opportunities the outdoor environment offers to learn science in context
- The teaching of science should be rigorous and ensure that pupils of all abilities make progress
- Assessment in science should be based on what pupils demonstrate they can do in lessons rather than on tests.
We very rarely fund the replacement or buying of core equipment for subjects, but we are keen to help develop and extend the teaching and learning of our focus subjects in school. Thus, we were delighted to also fund two new woodwork benches and attendant tools to facilitate the development and extension of this aspect of STEM in the school.
As headteacher, Carmela Puccio explained:
Pupils will be part of hands on experience for their science lessons and therefore should be more likely to enjoy and understand the learning. The new scheme also plans for outdoor learning which is an important area of school life at St. Margaret Clitherow. The EYFS woodwork skills will enable our youngest pupils to develop a new skill set. Our aim would be to promote this across the school in time.
We were very pleased to award St. Margaret Clitherow school a second award to take their academic year total to the maximum £1,000. This time, they applied for an art/design and a design/technology scheme from Kapow Primary. They also received a Wellbeing programme for free as they bought two schemes in one go.
Kapow specialise in whole-school schemes of work and associated resources for the non-core curriculum, helping primary teachers improve their knowledge and skills in the wide range of subjects they are expected to teach. For example, in the Art/Design package they have:
- Over 100 videos to develop your subject knowledge and confidence
- 70 + pupil videos, demonstrating skills and techniques
- The formal elements of art (line, shape, tone, texture, pattern and colour) and skills are taught discretely in each year group, with the techniques being further developed and applied within the other topics
- A broad range of inspiring arts and craftspeople featured
- Overview of the progression of skills across KS1 & 2 included
As Carmela Puccio, Headteacher, summarised in her bid:
"Children from Year 1 - 6 would have access to the Kapow scheme which enables them to learn the key skills for art and design. It has a hands-on approach and the programme supports teachers also as each lesson includes a video of a trained artist taking through the skills and processes.”
Brookman’s Park rocket to success
We are very excited to award Brookman’s Park Primary (Hatfield) a grant for a Space Day run by a company called Stargazer. The company explain:
“We normally start off with a whole school assembly first thing, which is space / rocketry themed. There’s lots of dramatic AV footage and a great narrative, which is exciting and often amusing. This presentation lasts for about 20 minutes and is suitable for Reception, all the way up to Year 6.
We’d then usually follow assembly with 4 x 1 hour sessions of our Rocket Factory Workshop for Key Stage 2;
Rocket Factory 1 – Rocket building workshop
Ideal for all ages and key stages the Starchaser Rocket Factory 1 enables students to experiment with Newton’s Laws of motion by building and flying their own compressed air powered model rockets. Safe, clean, educational and fun, Rocket Factory 1 is supervised by a Starchaser Educator and includes enough materials and rocket launchers for upwards of 40 pupils per session.
For Key Stage 1 pupils we usually provide our ‘It Came From Outer Space’ topic box of space artefacts (meteorite, space food, rocket fuel etc.) to move from class to class for KS 1 teachers to investigate with their pupils (teacher’s notes can be forwarded in advance).
Provided you had the outdoor space, we would conclude the day with the launch of a couple of half metre length model rockets, powered by real rocket fuel which fly hundreds of feet into the air before returning safely via parachute. This demonstration would be carried out on the school field and is suitable for the whole school. If done just before home time it’s a great spectacle for parents too.”
Also included in the day is a discounted centrepiece attraction of a nine metre rocket arriving for display and setting to near-launch position.
This full day session will certainly give a taste of “awe and wonder” to all the children who will also be developing their teamwork and school-leader skills by working in mixed-age houses to launch the rocket.
Another argument that strengthened this exciting bid is the fact that the project is just part of Brookman’s Park’s push to develop STEM across the school, including investing in staff INSET. This means the benefits of the rocket day project will continue to ripple through the rest of the school year and beyond.
St Meryl get a dozen dandy robots.
St Meryl (Watford) have successfully applied for 12 Sphero Sprk+ Programmer Robots which are tennis-ball-sized robots which can be programmed and controlled from your smartphone or tablet. They can be driven around obstacles or apps used to learn programming and coding for robotics. As Caron Plein explained in her application:
"It is a hands-on tool that introduces pupils to robotics and coding, plus a lot of other STEAM activities. There are 3 programming levels available, enabling pupils across the school to use it, and to continue to build skill levels over time. It can be controlled from a tablet, and is waterproof, shock proof and scratch-resistant making it a product which will serve the pupils well over many years."
We particularly liked the fact that, with 12 robots, a whole class can be involved simultaneously, working in groups to develop, test and improve their programming. Caron strengthened her bid by explaining that they already had ipads in school ready to run the apps and that all children will get maximum benefit from the robots because:
“We will build these sessions both into schemes of work as well as our extra-curricular timetable offerings to ensure maximum use and benefit is obtained.
We will use an after school staff meeting (these take place once a week) to give training to all the teachers on using the robots in their lessons. This training will be carried out in house and will add no additional costs to the project.”
Icknield scientists solve a crime!
We are very pleased to award Icknield Infant/Nursery (Letchworth) a grant for a forensic science workshop delivered by the Education Group. The whole school (Foundation Stage and KS1) will take part in class groups to give them all a “WOW” start to Science Week.
As Fiona Gascoigne, Office Manager, explained in her bid:
Having the workshop will allow the children to experience hands on activities that they would not otherwise have access to and experience different ways of learning. We particularly hope the workshop will help close the gap for disadvantaged children.
We are always keen when any subject/topic is delivered in a different way to help promote effective learning and heighten children’s enthusiasm. The workshop shows how science is used in the real world by using a hands-on approach:
Our young investigators must tape off the area in order to protect any evidence. Clues and evidence must be identified, collected, interpreted and analysed. These include fingerprints, impressions, hairs and fibres and 'blood', bones and DNA.
Can you solve the mystery?
Forensic Science workshop
The children had a great time during the Forensic Science workshop. It was a brilliant way to ‘hook’ the children into Science Week and left them with a sense of wonder and many questions to answer. The workshop was also great because it put Science into a real life context and showed the children different ways that Science is used in everyday life. The workshop covered many working scientifically skills that the children were able to practice such as; asking questions, observing closely, identifying, classifying, and gathering and recording data to help in answering questions. It was lovely to observer all of the children engaged and having a great time.
Feedback from other teachers:
I thought the workshop was excellent. Well prepared, exciting and different. My whole class were engaged throughout and enjoyed the forensic investigation. We felt that the timings were perfect, enough time during input and the investigating. The gentlemen who led it was great with the children as well! – Mr Jacob
Most children were very engaged in this and would not stop talking about it! The resources that he used were fantastic and the children were so excited when they found any piece of evidence! Even when it had finished the children wouldn't stop going on about the lady who took the sandwiches! – Reception teachers