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!
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.
Yesterday we had great fun with timelines in Year 2. To kick-start our Victorian topic, we had a look at a timeline representing Queen Victoria’s 63 years, 7 months and 2 days on the throne. In our groups (the Wonderful Ones, the Terrific Twos, the Thrilling Threes, the Fabulous Fours and the Fantastic Fives – because we are all amazing!), we worked as teams to sort the cards into date order. It was quite challenging and we thought the change from the 19th century to the 20th centre was particularly confusing! We had to listen to each other as well as discuss our thoughts and ideas. We enjoyed reading about the events and were horrified by some of the facts! Especially concerning was the thought that a factory act passed in 1847 meant that it became illegal for children to work for more than 63 hours per week in a factory! We worked out that before 1847 children could have worked for more than double the time we spend in school each week! Not only that but they would have had chores to do at home before and after work. We were also unimpressed at the thought that lunch would probably have consisted of no more than dry bread and some water.
We learned that school became available for children aged 5 to 12 in 1870 but that free schooling for all children was not available until 1880. We all decided that we were very lucky to be able to go to school 7 hours or so per day with breaks and a hot lunch…
We’ll keep you updated with more facts as we learn more about the Victorians and Queen Victoria.
Don’t forget to come dressed in Victorian-style clothing on Tuesday and Thursday next week, Year Two!
On Friday afternoon, Year Two have a fabulous timetable consisting of a triple Art and Humanities lesson. This week we followed instructions to create origami boats which will be used in our Great Fire of London display to depict those used to escape the fire.
Our first job was to colour one side of the paper in bright waxed crayon. Next up was the tricky folding part but the teachers and teaching assistants helped us out with this step!
It was quite complicated folding the paper this way but we all persevered and are really pleased with our boats.We can’t wait to see them on the display!
If you’d like to have a go at making origami boats, take a look at this link for more information.