It has been a busy and positive week in Beech Class. We have seen lots of smiles and lots of good learning and the atmosphere in the room has been happy and purposeful. Mr Finch has been popping in each time he passes to check on what has been going on.
Maths has been strong this week as children have been using manipulatives and representations to cement their understanding of part and whole. By this we mean the way that six and four make ten or, to take it quite a step further, six and five make eleven. Most of us don't remember when this sort of understanding clicked into place for us - once it's secure the episodic memory or learning how numbers seem to 'fit together' becomes the semantic memory or understanding of this that, once gained, feels innate. It's quite a privilege to be in the class at that moment when a child puts three and seven together and finds it makes ten - then put seven and three together and finds that makes ten as well.
It has been a great pleasure to look around the school and see art in the various classes - upstairs in Oak Class the children were busily working on spiders inspired by Mr Finch's all time favourite artist, Louise Bourgoise while back in wonderful Beech Class it's the wonderful world of monochrome as the pupils try and get into the visual world of the queen of op-art, Bridget Riley. Oddly some of the works ended up reminding me more of Rothko than Riley. Well done children and thank you Mr Dray for your inspiring teaching.
It was remembrance day on Thursday. This isn't an easy topic to talk about with the very young but it's important we try so that they can make sense, in their own way, of the poppies and the stories on the television and the memories of relatives who, perhaps, know a little more than they would like to of the tragedy of war. We like to spend time with the children to listen and discuss. Sometimes we hear profound truths from our youngest pupils.
In history the children have been thinking about changes in our way of life in the lifetimes of themselves, their parents and grandparents. Mrs Fitzgerald brought in some things that have been in her family for a while - a tin that used to have OXO cubes, a toy train that belonged to her father, a toy she had when she was little. It's funny to think about our parents and grandparents being as young as we were once and to wonder if they liked their toys in the same way that we like ours - especially as their toys seem so strange and old fashioned. Rosa led some great thinking about how different it must have been to use a telephone that was fixed to the wall and couldn't do anything except make calls. Thinking about this makes Mr Finch feel terribly, terribly old. Mrs Fitzgerald has asked the children if they can bring a picture of something that belongs or belonged to a parent/carer or grandparent. If things aren't terribly valuable they could be brought in for a show and tell but a picture is probably fine!
It has been good to have more consistency in the classroom this week. Mrs Fitzgerald taught the class on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and will do the same again next week and for as long as is needed until Miss Coleman is properly recovered and well enough to return to the class. We are lucky to have her. Let's hope that next week sees another brilliant round of learning!