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Using Wildlife to Learn

Natural Clay Creatures

The Year 6 pupils who had not gone on the residential trip spent a lovely afternoon with WildlifeKate, undertaking some wild art. We collected lots of different materials that we thought would be good to create some natural art sculptures and artwork. We walked around the Hayes, finding different leaves, moss, sticks and seeds that would all be useful.

Taking some clay, we used our materials to start to design and make some interesting bugs. The pine needles were brilliant of rate spines of tiny hedgehogs, glossy green leaves were great for wing cases and long thin twigs made perfect antennae…

Some pupils also used their materials to make some lovely 2D art work…

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Very well done to everyone… some superb pieces of art work and what a lovely afternoon!

We get the ‘Food For Life’ Bronze Award!

We have been working hard at school towards our Bronze Award in the ‘Food for Life’ scheme. This scheme is about ‘making good food the easy choice for everyone – making healthy, tasty and sustainable meals the norm for all to enjoy, reconnecting people with where their food comes from, teaching them how it’s grown and cooked, and championing the importance of well-sourced ingredients.

The work in our Grow Zone, along with all the fantastic cooking we do in school with Mrs Cochrane, along with out healthy school dinners, all contributed to us achieving this award, of which we are very proud.

WildlifeKate and Mrs Cochrane took some hard working year 6 pupils to the Award Ceremony which was held at Ryton Organic Gardens. We had to go up to collect our certificate…

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After being awarded our Award, we had the chance to have lunch in the lovely gardens and to look around.

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We also had the chance to take part in a range of activities. We ran one activity making dragonflies and little clay bees full of seeds. We also planted some seeds of our own.

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We had a super day and really enjoyed the experience. We were proud to bring our award back to school to be hung in the entrance hall. We will now be working toward our Silver Award.

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Eco-Crew visit Southfields Farm, Coleshill

As part of outwork in school learning about healthy eating and growing food, the eco-committee visited Southfields Farm in Coleshill. The day was part of our bid for the Bronze Award of the Food for Life Award that would celebrate all that we do at Michael Drayton to encourage a positive attitude and a healthy outlook on food and its growing and production.

We started the day looking at some of the crops that are grown on the farm….wheat, oats, oil seed rape and we then had the chance to grind some of our own wheat to make flour…

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Before long, we were all on a trailer , pulled by the tractor and we were off for a ride to look at the fields and some of the crops!

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We visited the farm pond and did a spot of pond dipping and we also searched for bugs under the logs and rocks.We were then shown the farmer’s crop of wheat and we learnt about how it is cared for and how much is needed to make a loaf of bread! It is a lot of work growing these crops!

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We learnt all about how a farm can be managed both for profit and for wildlife. Strips of wild flowers can be planted alongside crops to encourage pollinators. At this farm, whole fields are put aside for a wild flower meadow. It was beautiful and the whole area was full of insects. We collected a selection of wild flowers and also swept the area with nets to see what insects we could find.IMG_2178IMG_2181IMG_2183IMG_2187IMG_2188

We visited the oil seed rape crop and learnt about how the tiny seeds are turned into an oil that we use in our cooking. We also saw maize crops and we learnt about how this is used to make animal feed for the winter.

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It is not only crops that are grown here. Sheep are bred for meat production. We went into the field to meet the sheep, some of which were really friendly! They are all well looked after and the farmer knows a lot of them by name as they are ewes he has had for many years!

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Other animals are kept for what they produce…. eggs! There are lots of hens and we loved getting close to them, feeding and holding them.

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There were some other animals that are just kept for fun, including some goats, alpacas, donkeys and some lambs that had been hand reared after their mothers rejected them. We spent a lot of time with these animals and we loved it!

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We learnt so much about how a farm runs, how animals can be reared with compassion and care, for meat and how wildlife can be incorporated successfully into a farm environment.

We had a fantastic day and would like to thank everyone at the farm for all their help in making this such a fantastic day!

Growing in the Grow Zone!

After a week of Half term, with the Holiday Club watering everything in the poly tunnel, we had lots of plants ready to plant into the Grow Zone!

We had peas, runner beans, French beans, courgettes, pumpkins and broad beans all ready to plant outside. The weather was not ideal… pretty windy and wet, but we battled on and we planted as much as we could. This wet weather will help all the plants settle into our beds and grow well.

The downside is that we have lots of weeds…. as fast as we clear the weeds, they seem to grow back even faster! It’s a lot of work keeping out Grow Zone looking good.

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Hunting for trolls…..

As part of the Year 3 ‘Fractured Fairytales’ topic, they have been learning all about the different parts of a fairytale and about some of the characters that are in fairytales.

All the classes had a chance to visit Hartshill Hayes to see some of the interesting evidence that WildlifeKate had found and to see if they could see anything that could suggest there might be a troll living there!

They all needed very good observation skills as everyone crept carefully all around an area that had been pointed out by WildlifeKate.

Their great skills found several pieces of evidence….

1: A den

2.  Interesting grey hair snagged on branches and holly leaves

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3. Claw scrapes on a tree

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4. A freshly dug holeIMG_0037

5. Some old tatty clothes

The pupils went back to the classrooms armed with lots of evidence for their writing…….

We look forward to seeing how this has informed and improved their writing!!

Grow Zone planting….

We are now motoring with all our planting for the GrowZone  and the poly tunnel has been great as it has meant we have been able to get lots of seeds planted and growing on. Different groups of pupils and different classes have been planting all sorts of different seeds including:

  • Courgettes
  • Runner beans
  • Broad beans
  • French beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers
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    We are looking forward to finally getting a lot of these plants out in the Grow Zone bed, when we are sure there are not going to be any more frosts!

One keen pupil took on the weeding of one of the pallet beds… her is his ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot!

4MS all chose some seeds to plant as well.. they will be tending these and planting them out after half term. Today they planted french beans, courgette and broad beans..

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Planting up the school entrance school pots

The  school Spring pots in the entrance hall were looking a bit sad as all the bulbs had died. The outdoor explorers set to work on them, emptying the old plants out and then choosing which new plants they would like to put in.

They had to think about how big the plants would grow and what combinations would look good together.

They were soon looking so much better! All that was left was to give them a really good water!

Our Chicks in school!

We have really been enjoying the chicks in school! They are growing SO quickly! When they hatched at the end of the Easter holidays, they were just tiny balls of fluff!…

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We all fell in love with them, of course!

The chicks visited all the classes so everyone could experience them first-hand….

There are lots more photos on our Facebook page!

The Photography Club even did a photoshoot with them, setting up little studios. The chicks were more difficult to photograph  than we thought, as they moved around so much!

Class 4PH are weighing the chicks every day and it will be interesting to see how much weight they put on over the coming weeks and months!

They now have proper wing feathers and are beginning to practise flying!! They are very funny to watch!

We will be keeping some of the female chicks and WildlifeKate and Mrs Watt are going to have the others, so they will all have good homes.

 

 

The ‘Hour Space’ Team visit Dobbies!

This week, the ‘Hour Space’ group had a trip to Dobbies to kick start our Grow Zone season by looking at what fruits and vegetables we could grow both from seeds and from seedlings.

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We started in the seed section. WildlifeKate showed us how to read the information on the back of the packet to find out how many seeds were in the packet, how much they were and also to use the little diagram to see what time of the year they should be planted. We looked at lots of different seeds and found this information.

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We then went and looked at all the seedling fruit and veg plants. We found out about all the different things we could grow in school and we chose some to buy…

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We took them to the checkout to pay for them, then it was back on the minibus to school!

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We will be planting these up in pots in our poly-tunnel and looking after them in there until the weather gets a bit warmer and then they can go outside into our Grow Zone!

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