Curious in action: Pop-up museum brings ancient wonders to Brunel

Brunel’s headteacher Suzanne Cooper on how they ignited curiosity in their school community with a pop-up ancient Egypt museum.

 

“The pandemic has made school trips virtually impossible but we know how much our pupils get from the experience of exploring new places and discovering new things. So this year, to build on their in-class learning on Ancient Egypt we invited years 3 and 4 to bring the museum experience to our school, with a pop-up museum of ancient wonders.

We set them a homework task to research tombs and treasures, and create their very own artefact based on what they found out. We provided a box of materials that children could delve through and use to design and make their pieces, and provided support and time for children who were stuck for ideas or didn’t have access to technology or information at home, with topic reference books at break and lunchtimes as well as during independent reading.

There was a real buzz around the project as the artefacts came together, with a strong uptake from all the children and lots of independent discussion in class and outside. The children were curious about what their classmates had chosen to create and super excited as the whole exhibition took shape.

It was an opportunity for pupils to direct their own learning, find out about something that grasped their imagination and then work out how best to share that enthusiasm to encourage curiosity in others.

The final pop-up museum was hosted in our wide, spacious reception area, with pupils as ‘museum guides’, museum worksheets and interpretation just like at a real exhibition. We invited parents, carers and members of the wider school community to come to our museum and I even got to officially ‘open’ the museum by cutting a red ribbon!

The children were so excited to share their work and the artefacts they made, and the museum experience gave them a huge sense of pride in what they had produced. And rightly so.”

 


 

Creative in action: Arctic survival tips from Blisland 

Head of school Matt Avery explains how key stage 2 children at Blisland got creative to create Arctic survival videos…

 

“I was looking at how the children in Nessa class could capture English and Geography learning in a creative way. They were learning about the Arctic biome and climate change at the same time as literacy learning on instruction and information text.

We decided to create a class information book and how-to video, inspired by the Bear Grylls book Survival Camp. After a few weeks of learning, the children were ready to create their videos, with presenters sharing survival tips, from building an igloo to catching fish in icy waters.

The videographers and presenters received their iMovie coaching and guidance on using green screens, then set off to find backdrops and begin filming using iPads. Despite it being a new experience using iPads to create film, the children quickly became experts in how to make a movie using the apps they needed.

The chance to make their own films and find out about this interesting area sparked lots of creative ideas, making links between skills and knowledge, and deepening their use of literacy and geography language. It really showed how creativity in learning can make the whole experience more interactive and meaningful.”

“We could pick which learning to use, use our own language and work together.” BH, Nessa class

“We use could use all of what we had learnt and decide how to show it all by ourselves.” ES, Nessa class

“We used our own knowledge and learning in the way we wanted to help us.” LW, Nessa class

 


 

Excellent in action: Darite’s world-beating spelling and pride in progress

Darite’s headteacher Tom Whipps on how an online spelling programme has brought the whole school together to excel.

 

“The vocabulary gap is a national issue and something Bridge Schools Trust is already working on. At Darite, we were keen to find a spelling programme that would be engaging for the children and would help us effectively move to a ‘stage not age approach’ with our spelling. Spelling Shed is an online game-driven tool, used by other Bridge Schools and we could see the difference it was making, so we decided to give it a go.

With the support and hard work of teaching staff and parents, the children have really taken to the programme, now completing Spelling Shed challenges as part of their daily routine. They love how it allows them to practice in a fun and interesting way.

We’ve been amazed at the impact it’s had, with children really committing to it, willing to continue at home to improve and progress. They want to get the best scores, have learnt that mistakes are steps to success and keep pushing with tasks they may not have been as comfortable with outside of the context of the programme. It’s also been wonderful to see how they are willing to support each other to help get the hang of the software and how proud they are of the progress they’re making, individually and as a school.

Last term we were ranked 32 in the world – which is testament to how hard the whole school has worked. We celebrate successes in assembly and cheer each other on. It’s brought the school together and made the transition to a stage not age approach successful.”

“We want to get better and earn more points, it’s fun to keep trying. By learning to spell words we can write them and use them to improve our writing.”

 


 

Responsible in action: St Cleer shares the power of being kind

St Cleer’s headteacher Michelle Spencer on how anti-bullying week inspired the school to take its values to the next level – one word at a time.

 

 

“Anti-bullying week is such an important initiative and speaks strongly to us, as a Bridge School. We wanted to find a way to mark the week that showed our commitment to anti-bullying but that also lined up with our additional St Cleer school value of ‘be kind’. We came up with the idea of working with the children on a ‘one kind word’ vlog campaign.

Working with our existing year 6 anti-bullying ambassadors – many of whom had previously completed Princess Diana Anti-bullying Ambassador Training during their summer holiday – as well as team captains and student leaders we planned, gathered and filmed ‘one kind word’ vlogs throughout the week. The children were really proud of their work and each class watched the vlogs that they created and shared. They developed their ideas development and content creation skills in the process, as well as learning more about how videos are shared and how to get important messages out to a wide audience.

As a school community we all play our role in taking responsibility for the well-being of ourselves and each other. The one kind word vlog campaign not only showcased how important is to be thinking about being kind every day, but also helped us reinforce that with the help of our ambassadors, St Cleer is tackling bullying head on.”

“These videos show that as a school we value our learning but also how important it is to take responsibility for our actions.” – EG (yr6)

“We actually enjoy being kind – not just because we have to. If you take responsibility for being kind the outcome will always be good because it builds the community of the school even stronger.” – EG and HL (yr 6)

 


 

Determined in action: Children at Looe take on ultimate adventures

Year 6 children at Looe Primary Academy overcame plenty of challenges when they went on their annual 3-day adventure trip. Class teacher Nick Bowden shares their story of determination…

 

“The visit to the Ultimate Adventure Centre in Bideford, Devon, is a trip Year 6 children at Looe have taken for the past few years, with different challenges each day to test their resolve.

We take the children to the centre at Bideford because the activities on offer are extremely engaging and offer challenge for everyone. We also get to incorporate activities at the beach, including surfing. And, while we knew our Year 6 would find the trip exciting, the determination on show each day was what made it truly memorable.

Everyone on the trip had different levels of challenge, depending on the activity. One pupil had a fear of heights, but she was tenacious and wanted to do as much of the high ropes challenge as she could. She was nervous but overcame this to complete the whole course and even stretched herself to attempt the long drop/leap of faith challenge. Another child with physical disabilities overcame their initial uncertainty to take on elements of the high-wire challenge and ultimate assault course.

Resilience and determination were called for as everyone, even the teachers, stepped out of their comfort zones. Not least when it came to the high challenges. Often the more confident children were on hand with top tips and encouragement. There were a lot of proud friends and teachers at the end of the trip, an extra reward for overcoming the toughest of adventure challenges.”

 

 

 

 

 


 

Enthusiastic in action: Duloe Primary Takes on Chess and Wins

Duloe’s headteacher Dave Hannah on how a new chess club at the school has been met with true enthusiasm and seen creativity, focus and perseverance soar.

 

“We were looking for a school club that would stretch and challenge our children in a positive way. One of our teachers used to enjoy chess club when they were at school so they thought it could be a good club to introduce here at Duloe. Chess is a fantastic game, but it takes perseverance, commitment and focus to get the most out of it. We could see it would be a real benefit to pupils if we could encourage them to play, so we set up a free ‘drop-in’ club on lunchtimes for key stage 2 children to come along and see what chess is about and then begin to master the skills.

Some children came with more knowledge than others which we thought might be a problem but we were really impressed by how the children helped each other, supporting those that were just starting out to develop their skills.

Their enthusiasm for the game has come on leaps and bounds and the club is a really popular addition to our extra-curricular activities. The children see playing chess as a real treat, and we have certainly seen an improvement in their creativity, perseverance and logic as a result.

They love to set up in club competitions and see who wins. There’s even talk of entering some inter-school competitions. Perhaps with another Bridge School chess club? Taking on a difficult game like chess and seeing it evolve into a weekly highlight is a testament to how much energy and spirit the children are putting into it. They are fast becoming big chess fans!”

"My friends and I are always excited about playing chess. We like to play each other and see who wins.” FH, year 5.

 


 


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