Shark Class News

Shark Class Term 6 2021-2022

 

I can hardly believe that the year is over already! The Shark class term have continued to be extremely busy in this final term and have especially enjoyed being able to do so many activities involving their families after the limitations of the past few years.

With our topic being ‘Full Steam Ahead’ this term Shark Class have been learning about a wide range of different transport and have demonstrated interest in a wide range of texts linked to this. The Little Red Train series of books have given us lots of opportunities to think about journeys and the different things that can happen on them. The children have also enjoyed the humour and rhyming language in Jez Alborough’s Duck in the Truck and Captain Duck books and have been matching rhyming words and pictures as well as creating their own rhymes. The transport theme has also been present in Maths activities with children completing multiplication tasks using wheels, making transport pictures using 2d shapes and measuring the size and weight of different vehicles.

There has been a lot of creativity demonstrated in our Art lessons with collages of boats being made and children exploring different patterns and tracks in paint using the wheels of vehicles. The creative spark has also been shown in music where children have been creating their own rhythms using both real instruments and computer programmes to sound like different forms of transport.

In PE the focus of the term has been on practising teamwork and turn taking, with the class joining in with a wide range of traditional sports-day games. The hurdles, the egg and spoon race, the sack race, bean-bag balancing and the three-legged race have all been tried, with some very impressive performances alongside a high degree of fun and laughter. Aside of this, Shark Class have also continued to use the new outdoor trampoline regularly and are finding this to be an invaluable resource which helps them with their self-regulation as well as their fitness.

The girls in Shark class had a great opportunity to partake in swimming lessons last term and all of the Shark Class boys have been having swimming lessons at Cricklade Pool every Thursday throughout this term. The boys have really enjoyed the experience, with all practising floating on their front and back, two making superb progress in removing their arm-bands after a couple of lessons in order to swim independently, and others learning to swim in the deep end confidently. Over the last few terms all the Shark class pupils have benefitted hugely from this experience, not just in terms of learning to swim, but also in terms of developing their life skills, understanding more about travel, locations in the local area and personal hygiene too. They have also demonstrated just how impeccably our Chalet school pupils behave when off site and all of the accompanying adults have been really proud of them all.

At the end of June, we had Sports Day. It was a fantastic afternoon, the sun shone, and children, parents and siblings all enjoyed being out in the sunshine enjoying a range of different activities. The parachute games were a big hit, as was the water run (helped by Shannon, who kept all of Shark Class running). The small trampette session saw some of the Shark children jump almost continuously, impressing us greatly with their stamina! It’s fair to say that by the time that the ice-poles were distributed all of the children were ready for some well-earned refreshments.

The Teddy Bears Picnic was another brilliant opportunity for parents and families of our children to join with us for another event, this time at a sunny Coate Water. Our children enjoyed playing football and frisbee, watching the ducks and the black swan and choosing their own ice-creams at the kiosk. The highlight of the day was definitely the trip on the miniature railway, with children and staff making lots of noise tooting as we rode under and over bridges and through the tunnels.

In the fifth week of term thoughts moved to transitions and the next school year as all children found out which classes they would be moving to in September. The transition afternoon was a chance for all of the Shark year 4 and 5 children and their parents to meet their new teacher and TA team, visit their new classroom and learn about our new classroom names and school layout for the upcoming year. While all of our children expressed sadness about leaving Shark Class they all returned from their transition visits with lots to talk about and a sense of excitement about what is to come.

The Year 6 children in Shark class have been extremely busy making the most of their last term here at the Chalet School. They all thoroughly enjoyed the Year 6 Willow Boat Trust trip in June, drifting along the Gloucester – Sharpness canal accompanied by staff and some of their parents. In addition to this, all four of our year 6 children have been busy with transition visits to their new schools this term, participating in a range of activities including cooking, gym, playtime and a treasure hunt. We are extremely sad to be saying goodbye to these children as they head off to pastures new, but we are also extremely proud of how much they have grown and progressed and we are sure they are going to enjoy the new opportunities which Secondary School will have to offer them. Good Luck to all of you.

Finally, I would just like to take the opportunity to thank all of the Shark class children, their parents and the shark class staff for helping to make this another exciting and fun-packed school year. Well done to each and every one of you. I hope you all have an amazing summer break!

Shark Class Term 5 2021-2022

 

Although term 5 has been short, it has been extremely busy for Shark Class! The children have been involved in lots of different activities and have worked hard on communicating with their peers and learning to queue and wait their turn.

Measures Week in Week 4 saw all of the children engaging in a variety of play opportunities and structured learning tasks, further developing their understanding of measuring size, weight, capacity, time and money. During our garden session Shark Class joined with Jellyfish class, comparing the weight of groups of children and adults on the outdoor see-saw and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In PE we saw a very competitive side to some of the children who used stopwatches to time themselves completing an equipment circuit and then became eager (our Chalet school value of the term) to better their own times so went on to complete the circuit several more times. Cooking was the perfect chance for the class to learn more about another type of measuring, so the children worked hard using weighing scales, teaspoons and tablespoons to make some very delicious blueberry muffins. We also had groups of students from across year 4, 5 and 6, including some of our Shark children, assisting in the measuring of the playgrounds using feet which all of the Chalet school classes had been busy painting and creating throughout the week. This was good fun but also required the children to communicate and interact with each other successfully in order to complete such a large measuring challenge. Overall, it was a week full of activities that enabled the children to explore, practice and learn the language of measuring and I was extremely proud of how well all of the Shark Class pupils joined in throughout the whole week.

With Total Communication at the heart of our curriculum we have also been busy focusing on practising our existing use of Signalong and learning new signs too. The Shark children did especially well to learn eight new signs to support the whole school in their use of Signalong during Measures Week and made a video of each new sign for the school website – please do take a look if you haven’t done so already!

‘Down at the bottom of the garden’ has been our topic for this term and we have been busy learning about plants and minibeasts. The class have enjoyed stories including Superworm, Diary of a Fly and Aah! Spider! and have completed some fantastic writing linked to these. Final paragraphs for Superworm, additional diary entries for a fly and sentences about minibeasts and their habitats have all been worked hard on. The children have also enjoyed making choices about the minbeasts which they wanted to make 3d models of and we have had some great caterpillars and ladybirds made out of clay and acrylic paint. A scavenger hunt to find minibeasts in their natural habitat also inspired some of our children, with the school garden proving to be full of all sorts of creepy crawly creatures for them to record and draw. Finally, the children made their own cress heads and were amazed to see just how quickly they grew when provided with the correct environment, sun and water.

The introduction of the large new outside trampoline towards the end of this term was a source of great excitement to every single one of our children and they are just starting to have the opportunity to get out on it and bounce off some of their energy. It has also come with a necessity to learn to wait our turn, watch and compliment others too which has been one of our priority targets for this term, not just on the trampoline but in other aspects of school life too. I’m very pleased to report that Shark children are all making progress in this area – not just when using the trampoline, but also when using the PE and climbing equipment too. Well done Sharks!

A great source of delight for Shark class this term has also been the water fights that they participated in with Octopus and Jellyfish class. The children thoroughly enjoyed soaking themselves, each other and their teachers in equal measure! We were especially pleased at how well the children listened and responded to the rules that they were given in order for this to happen and the way in which they all shared resources and took turns with the different types of water toys.

As always, I would just like to finish by thanking all of the Shark staff and children for another great term, packed full of lots of smiles and great learning. I wish you all a wonderful, restful break and look forward to seeing you all back at school in June.

Shark Term 4 2021-2022

 

Once again Shark Class children have been extremely busy this term and have had lots and lots of fun! Autism Acceptance week gave us a fantastic opportunity to celebrate all of our differences, special interests and the things that make us special and unique. Shark children and staff particularly enjoyed the brightness, excitement and messiness of the colour run and were very pleased that the sun shone for us. 

In addition to Autism Acceptance Week, we have also celebrated the work of many different people across our community through our topic ‘People who help us’ and enjoyed activities including painting and creating rainbows, building hospitals and police stations using junk modelling materials, and playing in the doctors surgery created in our role play area. In line with our ‘People who help us’ topic, all of the children  shared their ideas about what they would like to thank their own Mum for on Mother’s Day and created some lovely cards for them in which they wrote their own thank you messages. They also participated in helping to make a thank you card for our student teacher, Ira, who the children and staff were sad to say goodbye to at the end of March.

At the beginning of the term we were also delighted to be able to invite parents into school again to join their children in celebrating World Book Day. The children had a fantastic week, joining in with a wide variety of book related activities including bookmark making, a scavenger hunt and plenty of reading and listening to stories. Hot chocolate and a story in the hall with Helena proved to be an especially popular activity during the week, as did the chance to come to school in their pyjamas. As staff we have been thrilled to see the way in which all of the children in Shark class have taken on board the reading for pleasure experience and World Book Day just highlighted this further. 

Red Nose Day was also celebrated by our children, who came to school looking fabulous in their many and varied shades of red. They all learned about why we were raising money and had the opportunity to put their donations in Helena’s hat as she toured the classrooms.

 One of the best things about this term for the Shark children has definitely been the emergence of some much brighter and warmer weather, giving them the chance to get outside even more. All of them have thrived in being able to do lots more of their learning in the outside areas and have loved the opportunity for more water and sand play with their friends. Their time in the garden has also been very much enjoyed, with the chance to learn about outdoor fire safety and make craft items including wands and clay funny faces. With a focus on conversational skills running through all of the Shark children’s learning and play this term there has been a lot of practise in listening to each other, sharing their ideas and getting involved in more turn-taking games and activities. 

In our reading sessions Shark class have enjoyed our topic texts, with particular enthusiasm shown for Zog and the Flying Doctors. Some children followed this up by writing their own version of the story, creating new patients and new medical problems to treat. Children have also been keen to investigate our ‘Look inside the hospital’ and ‘Look inside jobs’ books during busy time. All Shark children have also worked hard with their spelling and handwriting this term with many improving their letter formation. 

All of the Shark children have also continued to work hard on their maths, with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division all being learned through the motivating topics of our children, including hoovers, cats, penguins, humpback whales, Minecraft figures, Super Mario and Peppa Pig to mention just a few. In addition, our children have been practising copying and creating patterns, giving and/or following directions using a combination of positional and directional language, and recognising fractions of an object and number. 

So as we approach the Easter break I would just like to thank all of the Shark children for their ongoing enthusiasm and hard work. Well done for all that you have achieved over the last six weeks. I hope that you have a great rest with your family and friends and don’t eat too many Easter eggs! We shall really look forward to welcoming you all back in two weeks for the start of term 5 when there will be lots more fun to be had.

Shark Term 3 2021-2022

 

Wow – I can hardly believe we are half-way through the school year already! Shark Class have continued to impress me with their hard work and efforts this term. They have also adapted well to having Ira our trainee teacher with us and have made her feel very welcome.

Internet Safety week was an important event on our school calendar this term and all of Shark class started by thinking about the different devices which they have in their houses which enable them to access the internet. Some of the children also spent some time learning about what information is safe and not safe to share online and discussed why this was so important.

With our Superheroes topic being at the centre of all our work this term our children have been involved in work linked to three texts - Supertato, Super Daisy and Captain Underpants. Some impressive work has been completed, including wanted posters for Evil Pea, cartoon strips about superheroes created by the pupils themselves and sentences about lots of different food with peas! All the children have been progressing with their letter formation, sentence structure and punctuation.

The characteristics of different superheroes have also been at the root of Sharks’ science lessons this term. One of the best ones, according to the children, was making lots of messy, green sticky slime after learning about the skills of Elastigirl. We have also enjoyed investigating floating and sinking through water play, explored different items to see which were magnetic, tried various methods for melting ice and looked at how a product can be changed from a solid to a liquid form and vice versa.

In maths the Sharks children have been concentrating on measurement and shape, with some going on to learn about fractions of objects and numbers. They have also worked hard on continuing to progress with their number work, focusing on addition, subtraction and multiplication calculations.

Gymnastics has been our focus in PE and the children have worked on practising different balances and rolls in addition to using the apparatus. They have also been improving their teamwork, creating balance and roll routines with a partner and performing them to their peers with support. It has been wonderful to see their self-belief grow throughout the term and the children have been encouraged to reflect on and talk about what they themselves think they have done well at.

Sharks have particularly enjoyed working with Nick in the garden and have been especially interested in learning about lighting outdoor fires, boiling water and cooking dough twists on sticks. All the children have been developing their confidence in these skills and have thought carefully about the safety aspects involved in being near the fire. They have also been keen to try out the new garden swings and have taken turns on them nicely to ensure that they have all had a chance to test them out.

For many of the Shark Class children, computing has proven to be a particularly exciting part of the curriculum this term too. They have worked on simple coding activities and in addition to making superheroes fly, they have been able to create moving vehicles, ghosts and footballs among other objects. The Shark staff have been particularly impressed with the way in which the children have assisted each other and shared their work with each other.

Shark Term 2 2021-2022

As we approach the end of another busy term all of the Shark Class team would like to start by thanking our children for all of their enthusiasm and efforts over the last seven weeks. They have been truly fantastic as always!

Undoubtedly the highlight of the term was finally being allowed to welcome our parents back onto site and giving our children the opportunity to show their parents around the Shark Class environment, show them their books and the photos of the play and work they have been involved in since September, and have some light-hearted festive fun with their family members. The children loved creating ice-cream cone Christmas trees, using glitter to make sparkly tree decorations and decorating the shortbread biscuits they had made earlier in the day.

The last few weeks have been full of lots of different activities linked to the celebration of Christmas. Shark class have enjoyed Christmas dinner, they have participated in making Christmas cards for their family and for members of the local community, have practised making and shaping salt dough for tree decorations, have focused on improving their fine motor skills by colouring, cutting and sticking paper chains for our classroom, and have laughed a lot whilst playing stick the red nose on the reindeer.

Out in the school garden Shark class children have also been thinking about Christmas and have been excited to have a chance to use hand tools with adult support in order to create their own wooden tree decorations, firstly by using a saw to cut circles and then a hand-drill to make a hole in order to tie ribbons through them. Now that these are finished they are making our Shark Class tree look very sparkly and will soon be doing the same on the children’s trees at home.

All of these festive activities have fitted perfectly into our topic of ‘Special times’ this term, with our children also having learned about Bonfire night, harvest festival, Remembrance day, Diwali and Hannukah. Our classroom currently displays wonderful pieces of artwork including handprint menorahs, fingerprint poppy pictures and Diwali lanterns which the children created, working on their skills of following instructions and developing independence as well as exploring different sensory experiences.

Alongside their topic work, all of our Shark Class children have been working hard on their reading and writing skills this term. Our topic books have included Peppa’s Diwali, Dipal’s Diwali, Where the poppies blow, The Christmas Story, The Grinch who stole Christmas, The Night before Christmas and Father Christmas needs a wee. Children have been continuing to develop their phonics skills, practising sounding and blending to read texts at their own level. They have also been practising sequencing of stories and recall of details from the stories. During writing sessions they have enjoyed activities including describing pictures linked to special occasions, writing their own Christmas lists and letters to Santa. They have been focusing on the core skills of letter formation, punctuation and sentence structure.

Maths, as always, has also been a significant part of the Shark Class timetable and our children have been learning and practising methods for carrying out addition, subtraction. Some have also been learning to use arrays and other formal methods for calculating multiplication and division. During our supplementary sessions we have had an emphasis on measurement using both standard and non-standard measures, vocabulary linked to time and positioning and patterns and sequencing. For some children we have also been role-playing shops to help them to gain some understanding of using money and calculating change.

Children have also thoroughly enjoyed PE this term. With a focus on transitions and gross motor skills, Shark Class have been practising ball skills and climbing skills using a variety of apparatus in the hall. Many of our children were particularly excited about walking around using our first-play stilts and really grew in confidence when using them.

The Shark classroom has had some really welcome additions this term, with a new role-play corner with a toy kitchen, kettle, tea set, doctors and barber’s cases, pushchair and doll and a doll’s house. These have all proven very popular with our children and it has been wonderful to see them using their imagination and playing alongside or with their peers in this area. Other resources that have been well received by Sharks this term was a wooden marble run and a ‘bits and bobs set’ which has given the children a chance to use plastic spanners, screw drivers and bolts to build different robots and vehicles.

I would just like to finish this termly update by wishing all of our Shark Class children and their families a very Merry Christmas, a happy new year and a relaxed break. We look forward to welcoming you back in 2022 for more exciting opportunities and lots of learning and fun with friends.

Shark Term 1 2021-2022

 I can hardly believe that we are already at the end of term 1! Shark Class have made such a brilliant start to the year and have been really helpful in showing me all the really great things about life at the Chalet School. We have all spent a lot of time getting to know each other and getting used to being in our new class. Nikki, Tina, Shannon, Courtney, Mandy, Jo and I have all been extremely impressed by how quickly the pupils have adapted to their new setting and settled in. 

Our topic ‘I am special’ has seen us completing some writing about ourselves and the things that we like and don’t like, as well as sharing our baby photos and looking at how much we have changed as we have grown up. Shark Class also really enjoyed laughing at the baby photos of the adults in our class! Our art lessons for our topic also led to everybody creating some wonderfully elaborate self-portraits with beautifully decorated frames that are now adorning our classroom wall.

In core maths all of Shark class have been working hard on number and place value, addition and subtraction, with a few pupils also focusing on their multiplication too. Supplementary maths has primarily focused on time and shape, with children building some very imaginative creations using 3d shape wooden blocks and KNex. Our knowledge of time has been enhanced by our update of the class calendar together every morning.

The focus of PE for the term has been developing throwing and catching skills as well as practising playing ball games. The children have been developing their listening and communication skills in order to play throwing and catching games together effectively.

Rainbow challenges this term have given the pupils a huge variety of different opportunities. Favourite ones have included our Shark Hunt, building jungles for Elmer, designing and making face masks, learning to Hula Hoop, dressing up as animals, playing tunes with jars of water and following instructions to make pinwheels and cup and ball games. The children have been very excited to complete all of their challenges each week, especially with the lure of a prize on a Friday afternoon.

The school garden has proven to be a firm favourite with Shark class already and they enjoy completing the activities which Nick sets for them in our garden session, as well as their reading time sat among the trees and the opportunity to play. They especially enjoy trying to balance using the logs and wood and are developing excellent team work skills trying to get the whole class balancing together.

Drumming sessions with DJ on a Friday afternoon have also been extremely successfully and the class have liked performing short sounds and rhythms for each other and then playing follow my leader with the sound.

One of the big tests for many of Shark Class this term has been food tasting and we have been very pleased to see all of the children smelling and tasting new fruits and dairy products among other foods.

I wish you all a wonderful break now and look forward to welcoming you all back next term, ready and raring to go!