Welcome to Willow!
Trip to Dover Castle
On Friday 10th May Willow Class were excited to travel all the way to Dover to visit the Castle and learn about its history.
We had our own classroom for the day so started by looking at maps and planning our route around the grounds. We then split into smaller groups and made our way to our first checkpoint.
Miss Earles’ group walked to their first checkpoint- the Roman Lighthouse and Saxon church. Our topic is the Roman’s so it was great for us to see a real Roman building.
We then explored the castle itself and climbed up the many flights of stairs in the great tower. We learned about the different people in different periods of time who lived in or visited the castle. Once at the top of the tower we had a clear view of the sea below, it was beautiful in the sun!
After lunch, we ventured into the dark and eerie medieval tunnels. At one point we thought we’d never find our way out!
Next we walked to the World War one look out and saw the old canons that may have been used against the enemy. Finally, we visited a museum and learned lots about the battles that have taken place in history.
The day involved a lot of exploring so we were all very tired when we got back to the mini-buses. It was a brilliant day!
Trip to Living Land
On Thursday 2nd May Willow Class made the early morning journey to Detling Hill Showground for a day at the ‘Living Land’ show.
We began the day by looking and learning about different types of machinery that is used in farming, both old and new. We were shocked at how much money some of the new tractors and harvesters cost, sometimes more than a house!
Next, we made our way over to the animal barn. I’m sure for lots of us this was our favourite part! There were sheep dog puppies, lambs, goats, piglets and much more! We were lucky enough to be filmed by ITV and starred on the news.
Before lunch, we watched a ‘Sheep Show.’ This was very informative but also extremely funny. The farmer made the sheep dance!
After lunch we watched a bird of prey show. Some children from other schools took part and the bird flew over their heads, it was a great sight to see.
We finished our day by trying some local foods, such as sausages, butter and apples. They were really fresh and delicious.
All in all we had a fantastic day, who knows how many of us may turn out to be farmers ourselves!
You may have heard announcements about the Multiplication Tables Check coming in for year 4 children. Here’s what you need to know:
We love maths. It’s an awesome subject to learn and to teach.
Maths is a big subject and we appreciate there’s more to it than times tables and there’s more to times tables than learning them off by heart. However, a lot of the rich, interesting maths is all about the multiplicative relationships and these are hard to fully grasp without fluent recall of the tables. For that reason, learning the tables is fundamental – they are a key facilitator to the maths that sits on top. We’ve always believed that.
We’re in favour of the checks because it’s always good to sharpen practice across the education sector and this is a useful lever to get schools to do that. We’re already in a good place with learning the tables and the expectations are in line with the National Curriculum so it’s business as usual for us.
The checks will not be compulsory until 2020 so current year 3s will be the first cohort to do them when they’re in year 4.
They will be done at some point during the year, most likely within a three-week-long window towards the end of the year.
The results of the test are not published publicly, they’re not going to end up on a league table and they’re not to worry about. There’s no pass or fail, there’s just a score out of 25 marks (or 20). They’re not to be used to compare children, they’re for us to reflect on so that we make the most of our provision. We’re actually looking forward to seeing how well we do.
The checks consist of 25 questions (possibly only 20, depending on government trials later this year). The questions will only be multiplication and they will go up to 12×12. There’s nothing novel about the questions and they don’t require problem solving so there’s nothing to trip them up.
The checks are all about remembering the multiplication facts. That doesn’t mean we’ll forget all about the concepts, patterns, structures and relationships in multiplication. We’re going to be learning those too, partly because they go hand in hand with excellent recall.
There are concerns shared in the public domain that this is “yet another test”. The government has been careful to call it a “check” and that’s important. It signals their intention to keep it low-stakes and we should remember that the data could prove useful to us.
Given that the questions are relatively simple, age appropriate and the length of the check, which is carried out on a computer, is under 5 minutes, we don’t think the checks are onerous.
You may notice us taking even more initiative when it comes to learning the tables with more options for home learning. If you are practising with your child, remember you’re practising for the benefit of their wider maths education, not for them to get a high score on the tests. So please enjoy the opportunity to work with your child and remember to hold back on comments about the checks.
If you have a question or want to offer your thoughts on any of the above, please bring them to your child’s teacher.
Alice Earles- Willow Class Teacher