Music with Mrs Joliffe
Mrs Joliffe has been with us for Music since Easter, and we have learned some WW1 and WW2 songs and compared them. We've also been looking at and learning about pitching and notation. Mrs Joliffe has remarked on the impressive singing by the class.
On Friday, we also had the chance to begin learning notes on the ukelele.
D-Day non-fiction text
Following on from the Y6 trip to Normandy last week, Barn Owls are reading and using a book on D-Day for English writing. The book uses testimony from a range of service people and civilians who were involved in D-Day in some way.
Having each studied the story of one of the protagonists, Barn Owls took the hot seat and answered questions from others in the class on their characters' roles in the conflict, and motivations for taking part.
We looked at the way the text is written, using first person extensively, and the text layout. This will then lead to Barn Owls themselves writing on the theme of the conflict.
A mile a week
Snowies and Barn Owls are running around a mile a week in the build up to the Okehampton half marathon. By running one mile each week over 12 weeks, it gives children the opportunity to enter to run their final mile on the day of the event (details sent separately).
There are varying levels of enthusiasm for running one quarter of a mile each day, but it's very enjoyable to get out in the sun, especially now the grass is dry.
Singing with Mr Arnold
Mr Arnold has been a regular visitor into school since before Christmas, using his expertise and experience to encourage and lift our singing. We are very grateful to him for giving his time so willingly.
We have started to learn songs for the end of term Leavers' service, and will soon start learning songs for our end of term production.
For our final meal on French soil, we had poulet-frites at a large restaurant that could accommodate all of us (but had totally insufficient toilets for our numbers!). From there, we travelled to the ferry port at Caen and boarded the ferry, but not until Mr Parker had dropped 21 systematically ordered passports and boarding cards.
Once on the ferry, we slept in the same lounge area as we had on our outward journey. Despite the fitful rest, you can see that the A-Team were always alert and ready to bring 44 children back to the UK.
Passport control in Portsmouth was a lovely welcome back to the country, and still not the final establishment we visited where staff and members of the public complimented our (your) children on their manners, behaviour and patience.
Soon after, we stopped at a McDonald's and had orange juice, a hash brown and a bacon roll for breakfast. Despite the brilliance and good-humour of the coach drivers, we had to have one hitch, which was becoming stuck in the car park near McD's. Teamwork got it sorted and, after some time, we were back on the road again. Then it was just the long journey back across Dorset and Devon to Okehampton.
Every child (and some of the adults) on the trip had obstacles and difficulties that they had to overcome, whether it was homesickness, feeling poorly, finding some activities difficult, not liking some of the food, or even feeling bored at times, they all managed to overcome these. As their teacher, I was extremely impressed with how Bridestowe (and other schools) children managed their worries, anxieties and moods, and kept on reasonably even keels. They achieved this through independent reasoning and the support of friends, new friends they made, and the fantastic staff who were unrelenting in their effort and kindness.
In every place we visited (including McDonald's in Portsmouth), staff and members of the public went out of their way to approach our staff to compliment the children on their exemplary demeanour and manners. We were all extremely proud of all of the 150 children on the trip, and hope that they had worthwhile and very memorable visit to Normandy.
Normandy - Day Four: Sainte Mere Eglise Church and Market, the Airborne Museum and Bayeux Cemetery.
On Thursday, Mr Hill went for an early morning run, getting a PB for his 1/2, 1 & 2 mile, and 1km. Meanwhile, Mrs Reid went at a similar pace, waking lots of peacefully sleeping children from their dreamy slumber. After being roused, children made swift work of dressing and packing their final belongings for the journey home.
We had our final French breakfast, and made packed lunches for the full day ahead. While waiting for the coaches to collect us, we joined Miss Spooncer for some energetic Wake and Shake in the Chateau grounds.
After boarding the coaches, we travelled to Sainte-Mere-Eglise, a small town with a very significant history. From the photo, you'll see that the church in the centre by the market has a parachutist (model) dangling from it. This commemorates the actual D-Day event when John Steele, a US Paratrooper, was caught on the church spire as he descended as part of the invasion force (the incident is captured in the film "The Longest Day"). He remained undetected for some hours, but was taken prisoner by the Germans, from whom he escaped. He rejoined his division and fought the Germans, helping to regain land that had been occupied.
The church also features remarkable stained glass windows that are a memorial to those who fought in the War and liberated occupied France.
The market was a great chance to spend the additional euros the children were given, and an opportunity to speak French with purpose. Many gifts were bought for family members and friends, as well as some crepes for instant consumption.
After lunch, we visited the US Airborne Museum, also in the centre of town. This was a varied and comprehensive set of exhibitions and WWII artefacts.
We then left the town, taking the coaches to Bayeux Cemetery. There, Mrs Underwood led us in laying a wreath. She also reflected on the whole visit to Normandy with us, finding it to have been a wholeheartedly positive event.
On Wednesday, we woke early, boarding the bus and travelling to Mont St Michel, having fruit and a croissant for breakfast when we arrived there.
We then crammed onto shuttle buses, which took us all the way onto the island. Unfortunately, the buses couldn't climb the steps for us, but the nearly 200 members of our group made light work of that (living on or near Dartmoor saw to that).
Once at the summit, we learned more about the history of Mont St Michel from Mrs Underwood (who is extremely knowledgeable about Normandy). She told us how the church at the top was constructed, and that William the Conqueror was responsible for it. We just missed a church service where the monks who live on the island sing, but had time to look around the structure as we began our descent. The similarities with St Michael's Mount in Marazion were obvious and (Wikipedia tells me) the Cornish version was modelled on Mont St Michel. The French version seems much more affluent and developed than the cousin in Cornwall.
As we reached the narrow shopping streets nearly back at ground level, there were lots of comments on how similar it is to how Diagon Alley is envisaged.
We ate some custard creams on the beach, waiting for shuttle buses, and were lucky to avoid seagull dive bombs. A-Team staff were ready for any defence needed.
Returning to the coaches we spent the predictable 30 or so minutes getting everyone through the toilet system, and then had lunch, making sure sun cream was topped up.
Splitting in to groups, we headed towards the coast to draw Mont St Michel. Mrs Underwood was on hand to share her tips on scaling the picture, and the drawings children produced were very impressive.
When it was our turn, we headed to the Biscuit Factory, where each child was given 5 euros to spend on gifts to take home. After that, we were picked up by the coaches and returned to the Chateau for the final dinner, evening activities and night of sound sleeping before leaving the following day.
Second Day in Normandy: Arromanches-les-Bains, Mulberry Harbour, the British Normandy Memorial, visiting a French School, and Gold beach
Tuesday was another packed day. After a typical French breakfast and room tidying, we travelled to Arromanches. Here, the Allies had set up Mulberry Harbour, an installation they constructed quickly during and immediately following the D Day landings to enable the import of heavy materials, further troops and weaponry to support and aid the initial invasion forces. The concrete foundations they established are still evident in the sea today.
The 360 Cinema at Arromanches was extremely impactful, and gave moving testimony of those who witnessed the events of D Day, many of whom, of course, are no longer alive today.
We then travelled to the British Normandy Memorial, an expansive and powerfully commemorative focal point for paying respects to thousands of the British military who gave their lives in the D Day invasion.
After laying a wreath and saying the French version of the commemorative poem at the site, we boarded the coaches to Creully. Here, we ate lunch in the gardens of a chateau, along with children from a local French school. We then walked to the school and took part in activities with them.
We played a tag game of 'Poulet, Vipre, Renard' out in their field, drew around our hands and coloured them to make Friendship posters, and asked and answered questions (in English and French) as part of a Bingo game.
The French children continued to dazzle us with their command of English when they performed four plays for us of mostly familiar stories, such as "The Gingerbread Man" and "Jack and the Beanstalk". The hospitality was further extended with a French food tasting buffet of pear and apple juice, various apple-based cakes and puddings, and cinnamon rice pudding (Mrs Reid loved that!).
Having made some great friends during the afternoon and had a good feed, we headed away to the coast again, visiting Gold Beach, one of the sites that British forces landed on on June 6th, 1944. We heard the troubling story of a young soldier who could not swim and had to jump into the sea, wearing his weighty uniform, and bring a heavy bicycle to the shore with him. Starting to drown in the deep water, his life was saved by another soldier who held him up and, miraculously, he survived to carry out his duties. Sadly, so many others were not as lucky, 9,000 servicemen dying on the first day of the invasion across the Normandy coastline.
Later, we returned to dinner and then bed for 180 exhausted children and adults at the Chateau, knowing that the next day was an earlier wake-up.
So much was packed into our trip to Normandy that it's hard to fit in everything we did.
We had a fairly lengthy journey to Portsmouth through some impressive Dorset countryside (which Miss Spooncer knew like the back of her hand), with a short stop to stretch legs en route. Passport control at the ferry dock took a while, but the children were very patient.
We were arranged on 3 coaches, with around 150 children and 30 adults onboard. Bridestowe Y6s were on Coach A, Coach A teachers being the A Team, of course, along with Highhampton, Milton Abbot, Northlew and the Y7s from Okehampton College (including Felix J and Ben from last year).
The overnight ferry journey was a little like camping, ie find somewhere as comfortable as possible to sleep and get your head down. The children managed to sleep very well.
Early in the morning, we arrived in Caen, and then travelled to Pegasus Bridge, seeing where the first gliders from Britain that were part of the D Day landings arrived. It was sobering to see how brave those first men to fly in were, landing at great speed in enemy territory in fairly flimsy aircraft. These gliders were hugely important in bringing over up to 30 people in each, as well as large and heavy equipment, such as vehicles.
We had breakfast overlooking Pegasus Bridge, and looked around the informative museum, later travelling to Bayeux.
In Bayeux, we visited the impressive Bayeux Cathedral, meeting some French school children, and had lunch in a very French restaurant, with a typical Normandy pudding of tarte aux pommes. After that, we saw the Bayeux Tapestry, telling the story of William the Conqueror's invasion of Britain. There were all sorts of less overtly noticeable features on the tapestry to spot as we went along, some more appropriate than others.
We had a good drenching in Bayeux, so it was lovely to arrive at the Chateau at which we were staying with the sun out and a chance to relax on the grass before finding our rooms and getting settled.
Cricket in unseasonal weather
Barn Owls played a fast-paced and very enjoyable game of cricket under some stunning cloud formations with Mr Pugh.
On Wednesday, the school had a visit from RNLI lifeguards. The children listened very carefully and explored how to be 'water smart'. The children learnt that to stay safe near water they need to take the following steps:
1. Stop and think
2. Stay together
4. Call 999 or 112.
Each child was given an information leaflet which explain the steps in detail. Please take time to read the information with your child - it could save a life.
Barn Owls happily avoided the rain to get outside, working on ball skills and devising small-sided games. Children also made observations about how they gave each other feedback.
To The Sound of Trumpets
The whole school sang “To The Sound of Trumpets” for the new King, all dressed in red, white and blue! The sun decided to shine, so we took the opportunity to end the day by singing the song on our way out to our parents. Some children waved Union Flags and others wore crowns as they paraded around the playground. We have also made a recording of the song which can be found here:
Letters to King Charles III
The children have had a busy morning learning about the life of King Charles III ahead of his Coronation this weekend. They then had the opportunity to write letters to the King, which are going to be posted later today. The pupils also made silhouette portraits which we hope the King enjoys looking at when he receives his letters!
Just before Easter, Barn Owls worked with Mrs McKee to devise and create solar toys. This followed on from our work on sustainability in Science and Geography.
Using a solar panel and motor, Barn Owls used waste materials that would otherwise have been recycled, such as milk bottles, cardboard boxes and packaging items. They were able to create a toy or model that had a moving part, powered by the sun.
Barn Owls worked on ball control this week in PE. Lots of care and accuracy was shown in catching and throwing, leading to a fast-paced game.
Chagford Cross Country
Bridestowe Y3-6 joined with friends from Lydford Primary to take part in the Cross Country event at Chagford Cricket Club in the second (previously postponed) inter-schools event run by OCRA.
This was a tough course, going up on to the moor above the village, and was extremely competitive. All of our runners completed the course very impressively, Rosa even coming in running strongly having fallen partway around.
Thanks to OCRA for organising the event, and to Mrs Neild and Mrs Floyd-Walker for helping and accompanying us. Also, thankyou to the parents who attended for their support, with a special mention for Mr Lane who brought up the rear in both races, wearing his chainsawing trousers.
Bodmin Moor Outward Bound Day
Barn Owls joined with Lydford Primary School to take part in two outward bound days on Dartmoor, and then here, on Bodmin Moor.
We travelled to Twelve Men's Moor, a lesser-known area of Bodmin Moor, and then, once hard hats were in place, traversed the tops of the tors. Pupils had to make decisions (under close and careful guidance) about how to stay safe and when to challenge themselves more. The weather became worse as the day went on, giving pupils a chance to try some of their survival skills learned on their previous adventure on Dartmoor.
Year 6 had the chance to learn more details about our mid-May trip to France at a Teams assembly led by Mrs Underwood and Mme Jordan.
On a stunningly wet and rainy day, a very happy Sophie visited us to talk to us about water dos and don'ts. In a very enjoyable workshop, we recapped the Water Cycle, found out in more detail how water is cleaned, and learned excellent tips for saving water and looking after the water supply. We also learned about how conventional cotton production is excessively water-wasteful, and how companies like Shein are unsustainable in their clothing production.
Pupils should have returned home able to pass their tips on. Regarding wet-wipes, we learned that, even when labelled as such, they are NEVER 'flushable', and should be avoided as much as possible. (We did neglect to ask her what we could do to bring water bills down in the south-west.)
Tennis in Barn Owls
Barn Owls played matches in PE last week, incorporating learned and practised skills of serving, striking and moving around the court to reach the ball. They have shown a good improvement in ability over the half-term, and the games were very enjoyable to watch.
It was great to welcome Mrs McKee back to Barn Owls class this week for a Solar Workshop. With the Year 6s having visited the Solar Farm at Roadford last year, and with our current Science and Geography learning about energy and sustainability, we could build on what we already knew with a workshop on solar-powered toys.
After recapping current knowledge about how electricity is generated from the sun, we tried out a range of toys and decorations in a useful gap in the inclement weather.
Pupils then had the chance to design and build their own solar-powered toy using components supplied by Mrs McKee (more photos to follow upon completion).
World Autism Acceptance Week
This week, children from across the school took part in an assembly and follow up activities to mark World Autism Acceptance Week. The key message was that everyone is different. We learnt that people with autism are not ill but instead see the world in a unique way. We explored ways in which we can be a good classmate to people with autism - we discussed a number of scenarios and how we could support and help one another in these situations.
For tips on how to talk about autism at home with younger children visit: www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/joinin/pablo-talking-to-your-child-about-autism
For more information on autism visit: www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/what-is-autism
Sports for Champions Visit
We were treated to a visit from a medal-winning athlete this week, as Maddi Tarrant, Team GB Double Mini Trampoline gymnast arrived at Bridestowe.
In an inspirational assembly, Maddi told us about her journey from starting gymnastics lessons at an early age (in an attempt to outdo her brother) to becoming a European champion in her sport. Maddi showed us videos of her training and successes, as well as some occasions when her jumps and twirls had not gone to plan. Sadly, Maddi could not give a live demonstration as she is nursing a back injury, which she is hoping to recover from in time for her next competitions in May.
All of the children took part in some challenging activities which Maddi led and demonstrated. Many congratulations to the children at Bridestowe for their impressive athletic work, and thankyou for the wonderful fund-raising by so many of you.
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