There’s no better place than Dunwich Beach to sit and contemplate the passing of time and to write a poem, which is exactly what the children of Fressingfield School did today.
The day started with either a tour around Dunwich with Sister Luke, or a visit to the lovely Dunwich Museum.
Those with – the bare-footed – Sister Luke were treated to an historical tour of what remains of ancient Dunwich. A walk along St James’ Street – once the great thoroughfare into the busy port – lead to a short walk through the woods along the clifftop path to the back of Greyfriars Monastery. We stopped to learn about the plant Alexander, which was imported by the Romans because it tastes a bit like asparagus and the legionnaires were missing their vegetables, and which now grows rampantly throughout the village, and to look at the last remaining grave of All Saints’ Church, which fell into the sea about 100 years ago.
In Greyfriars, we learnt about the merchants, wool-traders, ship-builders and other tradespeople that used to live in Dunwich. We also learnt that the town was a stopping off point for pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. For the walk back to the museum, we marched, like real pilgrims, ringing bells and singing and banging sticks to let people know our purpose.
In the museum, Jane Hamilton, with the help of a fantastic model, told us about the great port of Dunwich and the storm of 1286 that destroyed the harbour and started the long decline of the town’s fortunes. Meanwhile, the children upstairs were able to handle some of the finds that had been found on Dunwich Beach over the years, including spurs, sheep bells, musket balls, keys and even the leg bone of a woolly mammoth. Sarah the Archaeologist was on hand to answer the children’s many questions.
As the weather was glorious, lunch was had on the pebbles of Dunwich Beach and then we split again into groups for the afternoon’s workshops. Some children started with a sketching activity: using viewfinders, they were able to select a view to sketch in the homemade books we had brought with us for the occasion. Others were on a slow, noticing walk along the tide mark to gather small items that had been washed up by the sea which they stuck onto pieces of card to create beautiful collections. At the same time, a third group were writing poems based on their walks along the beach, which will be written up when we get back to school.
All in all, we had a fantastic day. The staff at the museum and all those who came with us were really impressed by the children’s behaviour and the excellent questions they asked.
I would like to thank all those that came with us; we hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.
We have been celebrating Children’s Mental Health week with assemblies, mindfulness activities, poems and a competition, organised by our anti-bullying ambassadors.
This year’s theme is My Voice Matters! We have learned that it’s really important to share our feelings, and let others know how we are.
Here is a selection of some of our work.
Many thanks for all your contributions for Number Day. And thank you so much for getting your children to school looking amazing!
From speaking with children and staff today, it sounds like we had a really great day. Here are some activities which were going on during the day: children in Yangtze class were manipulating some very large numbers to see if they could find different properties; children in Congo class were trying to work out combinations of ice cream flavours. They thought it was easy at first, finding combinations of flavours on double ice cream cones. It was, until I gave them five different flavours – and flake or no flake – to consider; children in Colorado played a version of the beetle drive; children in Danube class designed t-shirts with numbers and patterns on. Throughout the day, we also took part in a Times Tables Rock Stars NSPCC challenge. I don’t think we won the tournament, but we had a lot of fun. The children definitely agreed that it was a good day, and said they fancied another Number Day next year. Well done, all!
As part of our new writing scheme, we plan in Immersive days. These may be practical, sometimes drama-based or may involve watching and discussing some high-quality videos related to their writing. They really bring the topic to life for the children, help them to imagine being somewhere else or someone else and enable them to use the strong language we would like them to use in their writing. When children are sparked and enthusiastic, it is so much more fun to write!
In our recent block based on a book called Whale (by Ethan and Vita Murrow), one of our immersive days involved discovering our main character Lucy’s rucksack. What might be inside? Children took it in turns to take out and look at the contents, which included a map, compass, screwdriver and a mysterious letter. What might Lucy be doing? Where? And why? Everybody was very excited!
Another immersive lesson involved watching some awesome Blue Planet footage on whales at sea. The children loved hearing the expert voices of Sir David Attenborough and Steve Backshall. Quite a few of them came in the following morning with even more whale facts! By now, everyone in the class understood why our character Lucy was so passionate to go out to sea and spot a real-life whale.
Our next immersive day involved a team effort to create a boat from scratch using recycled materials. The challenge? It needed to hold a 200 g weight and stay afloat for 20 seconds. The children werable to empathise with Lucy after her boat was damaged in a terrible storm.
The children are now really excited about writing their own whale-spotting stories. Watch this space!
What a great Advent we have had at Fressingfield. As well as chocolate calendars (yummy) and an awesome Christingle celebration, we have really enjoyed the benefits of our MAF UK calendars – both online and as large posters and stickers. MAF UK is a super charity, which uses pilots to carry out missions all over the world. From delivering dentists to poorer countries to taking off-road wheelchairs to rugged rural areas in Africa, the people at MAF UK do amazing things. Each day, our classes opened a virtual page of their Advent calendar and listened to a story about another MAF UK adventure. We also heard bible stories and quotes which linked in to the MAF UK mission. We felt as if we were being entertained each day, as this was such a great resource. To find out more about this charity, take a look at the MAF UK website below.