GCHQ Visitors

Last week, we welcomed two GCHQ employees who taught us about the history of coding (from the Roman times, to more recently, World War II) and how coding has significantly shaped British history.

We were taught about steganography (the practice of hiding secret messages in plain sight). We learnt that people, through history, have used steganography. One way this was done was by shaving someone’s head and writing a secret message before waiting for their hair to grow back! Once their hair had grown enough, they would send the message to the recipient and have their hair shaved off again so the message could be read! More recently, we were told, coders have hid messages within pixelated pictures.

We also learnt about transposition. We were tasked with wrapping a slip of paper around wooden sticks (with different-sized diameters). We then wrote a secret message before passing this onto another group who had a different-sized stick. The code didn’t work! We were told that the recipient of the message would need the same ‘key’. We were shown Caesar’s Ciphers (a coding tool) and encrypted messages before passing them to another group who needed to decode the code.

After this, we learnt more about coding during World War II. We learnt about the various coding machines used, including: Enigma, Lorenz and the MK2. We also learnt how the team at Bletchley Park used the Bombe machine and Colossus computer to crack German encrypted messages.

Finally, we were given the opportunity to explore various WWII artefacts.

 

Pearl Class Make Do & Mend

For the past two weeks, Pearl Class have been learning about the World War II campaign, Make Do and Mend. This campaign encouraged people to get as much wear as possibly out of the clothes they already had. This could be done through making new items of clothing from pieces of garments they already had or by mending their clothes. Toys were also in short supply during the war so often mothers would make their children teddy bears from scraps of material they had.

Miss Davis set us a challenge of designing and making a teddy bear using odd pieces of materials. However, before we could do this, we needed to learn how to sew.

In our first week of sewing lessons, we were taught how to: create a running stitch, back stitch and over stitch, end a line of stitches and sew 2-hole and 4-hole buttons to material. We displayed excellent resilience and independence during these lessons, making Miss Davis very proud indeed!

      

During the second week, we learnt how to: pin a paper pattern to material, cut fabric carefully, sew two pieces of fabric together with a stitch of our choosing, stuff the teddy bears (with leftover materials) and finish them off with an overstitch to keep the stuffing inside. Some children even added ‘extras’ to their bears such as suitcases, clothes & charms!

         

We are incredibly proud of our teddy bears! Thank you to all of the parents who came in to assist us with our sewing project.

            

 

Year 6 learn about Henry Moore

This week, Year 6 have been learning about the official World War II wartime artist, Henry Moore.

We began our REAL Curriculum lessons by visiting the Henry Moore Museum in school. The children read interesting facts about his life and observed the various sculptures and drawings he had created during his life. Once back in class, we created an information page all about him.

    

   

In the following lesson, we learnt about the colours Moore used in his shelter drawings. We then experimented, using various mediums of art including: ink pens, watercolour pencils, oil pastels and charcoal, to create colours similar to his work.

    

In the next session, we observed the figures in Moore’s ‘Shelter Drawings’. We noticed how the figures, whilst sheltering in the London Underground, were usually sitting or lying down. We then practised drawing figures.

  

During our final lesson, we learnt about perspective and the vanishing point. We then recreated one of Moore’s famous wartime sketches which showed the people sheltering underground within the tunnels. The children were super proud of their artwork and their work looks fantastic!

   

   

 

Year 6 Dance Workshop

On Friday, Year 6 welcomed more visitors into the school. We were fortunate to attend a  dance workshop run by H&T Creative (an arts organisation) which taught us all about plastic pollution through the medium of dance.

 

The first task was to sort the everyday plastic items, that we frequently use, into how many years we thought they would take to decompose. We were quite shocked by how long some plastics took to break down completely!

After that, we discussed how plastics are made and we worked in small groups to create a dance based on factories producing plastics.

Here are some of our photos from the workshop:

PC Curtis visits Year 6

This week, on Thursday, PC Curtis visited Pearl Class to teach them about the role of police in the community. We learnt about the different teams that make up the police, how they retrieve evidence from crime scenes and most importantly, how they keep us safe.

During our lesson, we role played a crime scene and assisted PC Curtis in finding a stolen ring from a jewellery shop. It led to the children finding the ring and Miss Davis being taken to the police station for questioning! Luckily, it was all a bit of a misunderstanding as she had picked it up off the floor whilst on a run. The children made sure to check her story checked out and she was acquitted before they found the true criminal- Billy Burglar!

The children had a great time with PC Curtis & were very well behaved, listening to his stories with great interest. We look forward to welcoming him back later this month!

Year 6 are artists

This week, during our art sessions, the children have been learning about developing tone & texture in their work. At the beginning of the week, they learnt how different sketching pencils produce different tones and they also learnt techniques such as hatching, contour hatching, stippling and blending which would  build tone in their sketches.

As the week progressed, they learnt step-by-step how to draw realistic eyes, noses, eyebrows and lips before producing their own portraits using their new skills.

We can’t wait to see how their World War II leader portraits turn out next week!

 

Year 6 are artists

This week, during our art sessions, the children have been learning about developing tone & texture in their work. At the beginning of the week, they learnt how different sketching pencils produce different tones and they also learnt techniques such as hatching, contour hatching, stippling and blending which would  build tone in their sketches.

As the week progressed, they learnt step-by-step how to draw realistic eyes, noses, eyebrows and lips before producing their own portraits using their new skills.

We can’t wait to see how their World War II leader portraits turn out next week!

Year 6 Dig for Victory!

Last week, we began learning about rationing and how the British government restricted certain foods during World War II.

On Monday, we learnt how the British public were encouraged to ‘dig for victory’ and plant vegetables in their gardens and in public spaces such as parks, tennis courts and even the Tower of London! We then visited our school’s allotments where we picked runner beans and tomatoes and dug up potatoes and carrots. Afterwards, we had to wash the food so that it could  used later in the week for our wartime cooking sessions.

From Wednesday to Friday, we made a different dish each day. Wednesday we made homemade bread, Thursday we cooked corned beef hash and on Friday we baked apple fruit cake. 

Oaker Wood- Thursday

This morning, the children woke up feeling energised and ready to go! After a hearty breakfast, most groups headed out of the camp to begin their day. However, two groups stayed on camp and made their very own pizzas in the outdoor pizza ovens (the other three groups made pizzas after lunch). The pizzas were very popular in camp and some even managed to eat them before their lunch and still find space to have lunch too – impressive!

Activities today included:

  • Outdoor pizza making
  • The leap of faith
  • Den building (this included hot chocolate & marshmallows around an open fire)
  • Low ropes

And for two groups they had their paintballing session. Mr James & Mr Blakey joined in and had a great time with the children!

For dinner the children enjoyed burgers and chips from the local chip shop which they all loved!

This evening the children have also:

  • Been to the shop to spend their money on Oakerwood merchandise
  • Eaten plenty of marshmallows
  • Made S’mores
  • Taken part in our first Oakerwood annual Olympics

The winner of these games was Miss Davis’ team- well done to them for their excellent shoe wanging skills,  running speedily with an egg and spoon and spinning around a pole 5 times before running!

Oaker Wood Residential- Wednesday

Another fabulous day at Oaker Wood! Today, we have enjoyed a range of activities, including: zip wire, quick jump (free fall jumping for one and a half metres before being ‘caught’ by the line), climbing the trees, target shooting and   low ropes.

This evening, we have all felt a little exhausted from our adrenaline-filled day so we relaxed with a camp fire, toasting marshmallows on the fire, singing songs and playing a few games!