Election time!

Whilst the adults are voting in the General Election today, the children in Year 2 also took part in an election on Monday. Our election involved voting for the next representative on the School Council for when the children move into Year 3 in September. After a mammoth initial round of voting, we had a shortlist of 6 candidates from the 31 who put themselves forward. We even had official voting forms and voted individually, with Mrs W as the returning officer and Mrs L as the person who verified the count. The results will be revealed next week… 

  

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Terrific Twinlakes!

Today Year 2 braved the wind and showers for a trip to Twinlakes Park at Melton Mowbray. A fabulous time was had by all and there were smiles all round as boundaries were pushed, comfort zones were stepped out of and we supported each other, as well as having fun together. Some of us are not quite tall enough for some of the rides without an adult, so special thanks go to the staff who also stepped out of their comfort zones and ignored their own dislikes at times to accompany children. The Pirate Ship proved to be very popular, as did the Icarus ride where the participants lie face down and are then spun around in the air. The bouncing pillow was very bouncy, with the added bonus of being able to watch the caterpillar roller lasted as you bounce!
We then headed down to the train and had a ride around the park before returning to the log flume. Again, some of us needed an adult to accompany us – thank you! You will note that there appears to be a big splash in one of the photographs… Believe it or not Mrs W and two children are hidden somewhere in that splash! Most of us rode the log flume at least once, whilst a few watched from the viewing platform and got wet that way instead!
Lunch was the next port of call, although we had all been snacking – some of us had even eaten some of our lunch on the train…! Sandwiches (and some crusts) consumed, we then had a play on the enormous indoor play area (good timing as it turned out, as it was raining outside) and ran off some of the calories that we had just taken on board. The play area is so large that it can be quite challenging finding everyone to depart to the next area… Mrs W resorted to taking off her shoes and heading in to find the last 2 elusive children who were happily oblivious to our calls whilst having great fun in a ball pit at the very back!
The toboggan run involved dragging a large rubber ring up a tall ramp before flying down a huge slide on the ring – great fun and exhausting enough that one go each was sufficient! The bouncy cars were very popular and the adults were relieved that none of them were required to accompany children on there so soon after lunch! The buffalo roller coaster is bigger than the caterpillar version and lots of children went on over and over again, so it must have been good!
The fairytale castle climbing frame was also great fun and we moved on from there to the fort. Next to the fort we also had the choice of a jousting horse ride and we were impressed by some of the children who rode the plastic horses with straight backs and great techniques – those horse riding lessons are obviously paying off! The spinning tea cups were very fast and, again, some children returned to the queue over and over again.
The gift shop was the final port of call. What better way to end a trip than to wander round and round a shop for 20 minutes deciding how to spend your money? Everyone was pleased with their purchases and some bargains were found. The lady in the shop said that we were the best school group she had had in for a while. She complimented the children on their behaviour (she sometimes radios for back up!) and said that their manners were fabulous – well done children!
We then headed back up the hill to the minibuses and were driven back to Oundle. Thank you, Year 2, for a wonderful day. We all had fun and the staff were immensely impressed by your conduct throughout the day – we were proud to take you out. I think it’s safe to say that we will all sleep well tonight…  

 

                    

Year Two’s Big Print

In Year Two we love a ‘Big Write’: we rearrange the tables in the classroom into a horseshoe shape, put some calming (LED) candles on a table in the middle, add in some soothing background music and write. Today we applied the ‘Big’ principle to another area of the curriculum – art. Today was ‘Big Print’ day although the children spent a few moments guessing what sort of ‘big’ activity lay ahead! Big Write, Big Clay Painting, Big Exam and Big Dream were put forward as suggestions… 

After writing our names on the paper (an important but easily forgotten task!) we chose which colour paint to use for our own string prints. We made the blocks by gluing string on top of the seaside-themed pictures that we drew onto squares of cardboard. We carefully dabbed the paint onto the string before turning the block over and pressing it down onto the paper, whilst not smudging the image. We were really pleased with our work. We talked about how art is creative so it doesn’t always looke exactly like you think it’s going to but that’s ok!

Can you tell what our pictures are? 

             

13 artistic techniques a child should know – LJS on show at the Yarrow Gallery, Oundle

On Friday 28th April Laxton Junior School’s very first art exhibition was unveiled at the Yarrow Gallery in Oundle. The work on show is the culmination of lots of hard work by every child at LJS; some of the work was completed at out whole school Art Day in February; other pieces were created during the course of the year in class or at clubs. Every child has at least one individual piece on show, as well as having contributed to collaborative work. The result is quite spectacular! It is the first time in the 44 history of LJS that we have been given the wonderful opportunity to display our work in the Yarrow Gallery.

Yesterday Year 2 visited the gallery to admire their own work as well as that of everyone else. Many of the children and adults had already visited one or more times with their families but for some it was their first sight of the exhibition. Everyone was really excited to see their work displayed in such a professional way. It was fabulous to see the progression throughout the 13 artistic techniques a child should know. We could see how our work compared to other year groups who have used the same techniques. A series of seven drawings of shoes shows one drawing from each year group, demonstrating perfectly the progression in observational drawing from the age of 4 up to 11.

We loved peering through the Reception children’s Kandinsky installation, admiring the Year 6 totem representing a murmuration and Year 3’s birds in the sky, as well as the clay sculptures from Reception, Year 4 and Year 6. We even tried to recreate the faces we pulled for our photographic portraits!

The Year 2 work on display comprises:

an installation; a collaborative piece of work which was created by weaving a plethora of textures and colours of wool, ribbon and fabric onto CDs;

photographic portraits, taken by the children of their friends using iPads and then edited by the budding photographers;

photographs of natural collages, inspired by the artist Andy Goldsworthy;

a cloud of watercolour bubbles showing three watercolour techniques taught to us by Mrs Anna Sanderson on Art Day;

a collaborative textile piece which includes a square of fabric by every Infant pupil; Year 2 worked with Mrs Clayton on Art Day to produce tie-dyed squares to frame the work completed in Reception and Year 1;

pastel observational drawings of daffodils on mini canvases;

Kenyan inspired tie-dye t-shirts;

Kenyan and Oundle silhouette pictures with colour-washed sunset backgrounds;

a pointillism Masaai shield, recreated using every Year 2 child’s fingerprints in paint.

The exhibition is on daily but if you haven’t yet been, you’ll have to be quick – it closes at 5pm on Saturday 13th May for the final time! It is open to the public, free of charge from 10.30 to 1.00pm and 2.30 to 5pm daily.

LJS Art Day Part 3 – Watercolour Bubbles

After lunch we had another visitor to Year 2. Anna normally runs a Watercolours club after school for Years 5 and 6 so we were very excited to find that she had come to work with us in Year 2! Anna showed us that we would be painting 1 large circle and 2 smaller ones. We could choose from 3 colours but needed to use a different colour for each circle. We painted the largest one and then pressed a piece of bubble wrap on top to make a pattern. In the first small circle we used wax to draw a picture or wrote our names which then showed up as if by magic when we painted with watercolour! We then scrunched up some white tissue paper, falttened it back out and glued it on to the third circle before painting it with one or more colours. The effect was fabulous and really enjoyed the session. 

                               

LJS Art Day Part 2 – Weaving on CDs

Our second activity is in full flow! We are using left over wool, ribbon and scraps of fabric to weave on old CDs – recycling at it’s best to.  

  

  

  

  

  

 They will be hung in the Yarrow Gallery as a piece of collaborative artwork. They are labour intensive but looking amazing! We are using a wide variety of textures, thicknesses and colours – the effect is spectacular. More updates as we do more…

Art Day Part 1 – Tie Dye Teamwork

Art Day is underway at LJS and we are throwing ourselves into our first activity of the day. During the day, we are working on installations and individual pieces of art work which will be displayed at the Yarrow Gallery in Oundle in April and May. The displays in the gallery will showcase the ’13 Techniques a Child Should Know’ theme and has been organised by our Head of Art, Mrs Ashby.

 Mrs Clayton is our Teaching Assistant for Art and Design and we are excited to have her working with the a infants today. She showed Year 2 how to fold, scrunch and tie pieces of material to make different patterns and designs; we have even used marbles and beads to add extra interest. We worked in pairs to tie the knits as it is quite tricky. Some of us didn’t think we could tie knots but we’ve found we can all do it, especially when we help each other! Teamwork is definitely the key!

Mrs Clayton is going to use coloured dye to transform our pieces of fabric. We can’t wait to see the patterns we have created with our folds and knots. The dye will not be able to reach the material where it is folded and tied; that’s how the patterns will be made. 

         

New Year, New Term

Happy New Year to you all! We are delighted to be back at LJS after a restful Christmas break. We had great excitement in Tuesday morning when we arrived in our classrooms to find that the old grey carpets have been replaced with new blue ones and that we have brand new tables and chairs too! The tables tops are a light grey colour and the chairs are a smart purple colour – we love them! We think that the new chairs are much more comfortable and we all like the shapes of the tables too – rectangles and semi-circles.  We asked if Father Christmas had delivered them on Christmas Eve but Mrs W explained that he would have been far too busy so they had been delivered the week before!


Our new topic is Kenya. We will be making comparisons between Kenya and England as we learn. On Tuesday we received a takeaway menu full of ‘Unhomework’ ideas. We were very excited to see all of the different tasks. We can complete each one in any way we wish. Mrs W and Mrs H told us that last year’s Unhomework included video clips, audio recordings, collages, booklets, posters, Prezi presentations, cooking, pictures, fact cards and even Minecraft! Our teachers can’t wait to see our Unhomework start to come in. 

On Thursday we were a bit confused when we retuned from morning break and were given boarding passes! 2W had been transformed into an aeroplane with the classroom chairs being set out like an aircraft cabin. We sat down quietly and fastened our imaginary seat belts before watching a flight safety brief. We then took off from Heathrow and landed only minutes later in Nairobi, Kenya! The eight hour flight seemed to go by in a flash… Once ‘there’ we found out some information about the location of Kenya and the continent of Africa. We also discovered a little bit about the food and schools. The school room that we saw looked very different to our bright, colourful classroom. We noticed that Heathrow looked very different to Nairobi airport. There were lots of small aeroplanes at Nairobi airport and some were even on the grass – they were much bigger at Heathrow! Once we had found out some information we ‘flew’ back to Oundle in time for lunch! 

 

   
 On Friday morning, it happened! ‘It’ being SNOW! There was a definite air of excitement around the school and we have never put our coats on more quickly than when we were told that we could go outside in it! It’s a good job we went out before 9am – just as the weather forecasters had predicted, it had all gone by 10am!

   
 

Lovely Links!

Today we showed the children a walk through game which is available online, courtesy of the Geffrye Museum in London. It takes them through a Victorian house in 1870 and allows them to find out a little more about living in Victorian times. Lots of the children loved it and were keen to have a go. I promised them I would blog the link, so here it is!

If you’re heading to London during the half term break, there are a couple of places that are worth visiting in relation to our Victorian topic and also relating to the Great Fire of London.

The Great Fire Monument is free to look at and, for a small fee, you can climb the steps to the top and admire the view. Be warned though – it’s a long way to the top, although you do get a certificate if you manage it! You can find information by clicking here.

The Museum of London has a special exhibition running at the moment until April 2017, commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. I’m told that it’s well worth a visit. Click here for more information.  There is a small charge for entry to the exhibition but the museum itself is free to visit.

After half term we will be exploring the life and work of Florence Nightingale. There is a wonderful museum dedicated to her life which is a treasure trove and contains many original artefacts and lots of her own belongings. It is located in St Thomas’ Hospital, close to Westminister Bridge. You can find out more by clicking here. If you’re travelling by train you can download a voucher here for 2 for 1 entry to the museum too!

These are not compulsory visits or activities but we just wanted to share some ideas with you!

A Very Victorian Visit

On Thursday 6th October we stepped back in time and arrived at school dressed in Victorian-style clothing rather than our usual uniforms. We were all very excited to be heading to Wisbech Castle for the day and boarded the minibuses quickly.

On arrival we discovered that it is not a castle at all but actually a Regency villa, named Wisbech Castle by the Victorians as it is on the site of a long gone castle. Richard from CEES met us and took us in through the front door before explaining the day ahead. We were to go into the back garden and knock politely on the back door where we would be met by the butler, Mr Grafton.

Mr Grafton lined us up in the downstairs hallway and explained that he was delighted to see that we were applying for the posts of scullery maid (in the case of the girls) and boot boy. He then set us to task. We had four tasks to complete, two of them marked by the senior servants (aka our teachers) out of 20. The applicants with the highest score out of 40 would be offered the jobs!

We loved making a pie crust using real pastry and decorated them with great care. Setting the table for a ‘light four course lunch’ was a bit more challenging as there were so many items of cutlery and crockery to put int the right places and facing the right way – not only that but there were different sizes! The most challenging part of the table setting was the napkin folding. Some of us managed to end up with something that looked like the crown that Mr Grafton had demonstrated but others ended up with a heap of white linen napkin!

We also got to use a posser, dolly and washboard to wash some rags. The highlight of this was the dangerous task of using the mangle. No fingers were squashed because we had listened carefully and were very careful!

After we had eaten our packed lunches, we got the opportunity to play in the garden with some Victorian toys. The stilts proved to be very popular, as did the hoops and sticks which took some concentration and perseverance. We also had a go at skipping with a long rope. Millie held the record of the highest number of skips; she jumped for so long that we lost count!

Our final task was to try to work out what different objects in the parlour were used for. There was a very old looking pump-action vacuum cleaner as well as an object that lots of us recognised from an Oxford Reading Tree book called ‘The Whatsit’ – it was a real-life ‘whatsit’ which was actually a wool winder!

We had a fabulous day and Mr Grafton chose Anna to be the scullery maid and Harrison was to be the boot boy. Both were slightly concerned at the thought of returning on Monday morning at 5.30am to start work. The wages of £13 per year for the scullery maid and £9 per year for the boot boy didn’t sound very generous for such hard work and the hours of 5.30am to 10.30pm daily sounded tiring. Luckily Mr Grafton changed back to being Richard and he told us that we were back in 2016 so there was no need to come back on Monday!

We had a fabulous day and didn’t even fall asleep on the way home because we were still so excited! We were sad to learn that Wisbech Castle is being sold by the county council and that it’s future for education purposes is uncertain. We were the last booked school group and did LJS proud by behaving beautifully throughout.