Elm read King of Shadows this term, a historical novel set in Elizabethan England. The book follows the story of Nat Field, a young actor in The Company of Boys, an American theatre troupe chosen to perform at The Globe Theatre in London. Nat finds himself transported back in time and performing with William Shakespeare and a host of other real historical figures working with Shakespeare at the new Globe Theatre of the 16th century.
While the book touches on the themes of grief and loss (Nat has lost both his parents), it provides an introduction to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Nat performs his role as the mischievous sprite Puck.
Elm researched the actors featured in the book and presented them in character and after studying the text and ‘translating’ the unfamiliar Elizabethan vocabulary, they learned by heart the dialogue between Puck and the Fairy in Act 2 Scene 1 of the play.
The class also wrote ‘first hand’ accounts of important events in history, combining factual research with creative imagination. Beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the class covered an eclectic range of experiences, from the attack on Pearl Harbour to the Battle of the Somme, the destruction of Pompei by the eruption of Vesuvius and the Greek Trojan Horse entering the city of Troy.
During this unit, we worked on finding percentages of amounts and fractions of numbers. We revised rounding whole numbers and decimals and converted percentages, fractions and decimals. We practised finding the equivalent fractions by multiplying/dividing the numerator and denominator by the same number and then converted mixed numbers and improper fractions. We also worked on solving various problems with percentage increase and decrease. Being able to calculate percentages is very important these days and Elms practised solving various problems with interest rate, VAT and tax. The skills acquired will be very useful later this year during our ” Young Entrepreneurs” business project.
Both classes examined the theme of Sustainability in Geography this term, Elm with a particular emphasis on sustainable cities and the problems faced by densely populated and growing urban centres, and Oak on the issues relating to the depletion of natural resources as well as the need to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. In their research they came across the Wonderbag no-fuel slow cooker that has such a positive impact in the developing world. They discovered that this simple product allows families to reduce cooking fuel consumption by up to 70%, reducing carbon emissions and deforestation. Importantly, it reduces the need to cook for long periods of time over open fires, a practice that exposes populations, but mostly women and children, to harmful particles released from burning biomass such as wood and dung. It also frees the same women and girls from hours of unpaid labour.
Inspired by the simple concept, Oak and Elm decided to make their own thermal cooker using a cardboard box, polystyrene and some bubble wrap – and an old blanket to throw on top. They were ready for the Wonder cooker challenge, the Wonderbox versus the Wonderbag (lent by a member of staff). Two pots of rice, two cookers, two excellent results.
The History theme this term was ‘Respect’ and it took the class on a journey that began with a reflection on what Respect is and the different ways it is demonstrated around the world. The class then used their understanding of the term to examine the various reasons why people left Britain and Europe in the 16th century to start new lives in the New World. They then examined why, after a couple of centuries, the settlers revolted against the British Crown’s tight grip and increasingly unreasonable demands.
The ELM class had “All About Me” as a theme this term or “Todo sobre mi”. They learnt to sing the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” in Spanish and the vocabulary for more parts of the body. Through questioning, they practised how to present and talk about themselves. They also learnt how to use the verb ‘to have’ in the positive and negative forms. We played BINGO to learn the alphabet and vowels. The class talked about the foods they like and don’t like. They studied the use of definite articles and how to identify if a word is masculine or feminine. The end-of-term project was on the Day of the Dead Celebration in Latin American countries and the children made flowers and drew skulls and candles for the altar.
Mad about Science!
This term Elm Class have been building on their knowledge and understanding of plants and the different varieties/categories that these plants are found. First, we took an in-depth study of the reproductive part of a plant and discussed their importance. From this, we explored and discussed the reasons why plants have adapted to suit their environment. Taking our understanding further we researched plant cells and made comparisons to human cells. Appling our new knowledge and understanding of this to conduct an in-depth study of a leaf.
Applied Scientific enquiry skills
We took our learning outside the classroom and explored the local environment we used this to apply and our understanding of classification plants that are common to woodland. We were about to successfully find a range of different varieties along with some new ones we hadn’t learnt about.
Taking it further
We decided as a group to conduct an experiment using moss collected from the forest floor. As we had learnt that moss doesn’t have roots but thrives from moisture we decided to place the moss in different coloured water to see what would happen. The results were impressive!
ELM learners compared calculating machines from the past to modern general-purpose computers. They also discovered how all computing systems, regardless of form or capability, make use of the same components: a processor, memory, storage, input and output devices, and communication components.
The class looked at how the hardware components used in computing systems work together in order to execute programs. They defined the term ‘artificial intelligence’ and learned how to train Google Teachable Machine to classify images.
OAK and ELM visit YAMASHITA’S FARM in the Yvelines.
Asafumi Yamashita – The Haute Couture Vegetable Grover.
Linked to our learning in Science based on ‘Plants and flowers’, we visited an inspirational gardener who shared some of the tricks of the trade with us. The children eagerly shared their knowledge of the subject, asked questions and attentively listened to his remarkable story. Self-taught, Asafumi Yamashita grows vegetables with a secret he calls ‘the Yamashita method’. He produces about 50 Japanese varieties a year on 3,000 square metres (a third of this surface being converted into greenhouses). His vegetable garden is modest in size compared to an average farm, but for Asafumi Yamashita what matters is quality not quantity. Some say that he whispers to his vegetables and listens to the voice of his land. The way Mr. Yamashita puts it is that he writes a poem while growing his vegetables and top chefs in Paris write music that goes with his poem. Lucky customers who enjoy those delicious dishes sing the song that was composed for them with love. We were lucky enough to taste his delicious vegetables and even brought some home to share with our families.
Trip to the Louvre
Forest Challenges and Tabata
Since the beginning of the year, Oak and Elm classes have been engaged in our weekly Forest Challenge and very intense daily 7-minute work-out ”TABATA”. The main purpose of these challenges is to practise team building skills and to develop resilience as it is often tough to accomplish a challenge at the first attempt. We learnt that it is important to stay focused until the last moment and clearly recognise that the last push could make a difference to the team. In our next challenges we will concentrate on fair play and communication which will improve our personal, partner and team working skills.