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Using Wildlife to Learn

Our first potatoes of the season go in!

This week, the Green Teams got to plant our first potatoes of the season. We take part in a scheme called ‘Grow your own potatoes’ and we are provided with two different types. For several weeks, we had been ‘chitting’ our potatoes. That means we sit them in little boxes, allowing the shoots to start to develop.

Once the shoots are well developed, we can plant them. We plant them so the shoots are just under the surface. As they start to grow, we cover them in soil. We keep doing this and it encourages the potatoes to grow faster and set down good roots, on which the new potatoes will grow.

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We also cleared some of the spinach that has amazingly lasted all winter! It has gone a bit tough now, although the rabbits have enjoyed it!

IMG_0727IMG_0726We even found some beetroot hidden under there!

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A new Poly Tunnel for our Grow Zone!

We are very excited to have a poly tunnel for school! One of our parents has donated it to us after she did not use it in her allotment. We are thrilled, of course!!

We thought a lot about where best to put it. We decided that a corner by Mrs Lawrence’s class would be the perfect place as it gets the morning sun and is nice and close to our Grow Zone beds.

The Green Team measured the area to make sure it would fit in the space. We then put up the metal frame so we could double check it would fit properly. It was fine!

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The area is covered in ivy and it took a while to clear it all. We decided we would have a path up the middle, so WildlifeKate has cleared to area and put buttons on each side. There is a large bush that needs to be dug out before we can finish the path.

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We are then going to make some benches out of pallets that we have in school. We will then be able to plant some seeds and give them a head start before we plant them in our Grow Zone beds. Watch this space!!!

 

 

We head to the world’s biggest Dog Show… Crufts 2017!

As a reward for working so hard looking after all our school animals, the Animal Care Mentors were invited to go on a day trip to Crufts; an enormous dog show at the NEC where dogs from all over the world come to compete. Some of the Green Teams also got to go and accompanying them were WildlifeKate, Mr Chadwick and Mrs Pearson, who met us there!

This video shows some of the things you can see at Crufts…

Primarily, the show is all about the very best examples of each different type of dog, but there is much more going on there too. There is one section called ‘Discover Dogs’ and that has examples of every different type of breed . There were hundreds of them!!! We were able to go and speak to the owners and stroke their dogs… we loved it!

 

There are also displays of all sorts of other things. We watched some of the heel work to music… where people actually dance with their dogs! This is the winning performance!

We also got to see some of the agility competitions. WildlifeKate is going to train Wren how to do agility. It was amazing! Here is the final…

We also got to watch gun dogs at work and meet some army working dogs!

We even got to take part in the Eukanuba cooking demonstration, showing all the ingredients that go into their dog food! It was great fun!

We also met some very big dogs!!!

By the end of the day we were all pretty tired. We had walked for miles and seen SO many different dogs. We had also collected lots of stickers and rosettes from lots of different stands and learnt lots of things all about training for and caring for dogs.

What a fantastic day!

 

Our lucky hens get a posh new house!

Our school animals are well looked after by the Animal Care Mentors, but it is a tough job in the winter as the runs get muddy and wet. The hen house has always been quite hard to keep clean as it was made of wood.

Our hens have now upgrading to a very special new house after it was donated to school by one of WildlifeKate’s clients! Davide and DJ from the Yew View site, that WildlifeKate works at, bought a new larger house for their hens and said that we could have their old one.

It is a very posh one, made of plastic and it sits up off of the ground on a special stand. It has trays that slide out for cleaning and is much more spacious that the old one we had.

We are all really pleased with it and the Animal Care mentors all wrote letters to thanks David and DJ for their generous donation!

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Green team start some work in the Grow Zone!

We are looking forward to our third season in our Grow Zone. and just need the weather to start warming up and we can get planting again.

We have been growing strawberries in our pallet wall bed, but the top ones got very dry and did not do very well. The Monday Green team decided to try and sort that out by emptying the top beds and lining the beds with some plastic. We hope that that will retain the water a little so that the strawberries will grow better.

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We also planted up some of the runners that we coming off of the strawberries at the bottom. New strawberry plants grow off of the old one from a long runner. It looks a bit like a root that stretches out and a new little plant grows and roots into the soil.

We were pleased with our efforts and hope to be eating yummy strawberries by the summer!

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The Outdoor Explorers & Green Team get challenged!

With the weather picking up, the Outdoor Explorers Club and Green Team headed to the Hayes for a spot of fresh air, some exercise and to set themselves some outdoor challenges!

There are lots of natural challenges within the woodlands to test your strength, balance, fitness and skills. The first was to see who could balance along a long tree, laying on the ground. We had to try to get all the way across without falling off. Most of us thought it would be really easy, but it was harder than we first thought. Only a few of us made it the whole way without falling off.

IMG_0511Next we tried balancing along a tree that had fallen and wedged itself at an angle. We found it easy to balance on the first bit, but as it got higher, we found it harder. Everyone held on to WildlifeKate’s hand as they got to the top bit which was about 2m off of the ground. We then learnt how to jump off properly, bending our legs as we landed.

Our next challenge was further into the woods. We found a really steep set of mini hills. We had to move down the first hill at a pace that we felt was safe. Safe meant that we would be able to stop. If you run too fast down a slope, then you can’t stop and it is dangerous. We also tried to get back up the hill as fast as we could!

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We found some puddles to jump in on the way back… always good fun!!

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Wren really enjoyed the session too and we took it in turn to hold her lead on the way home again!

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We had a great session and we certainly looked like we had been exploring in the outdoors by the time we headed back to school!!

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Lots of new ornithologists in school for Big Schools’ Birdwatch!

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We have had a fantastic couple pf days out and about in the school grounds, looking for birds as part of our Big Schools’ Birdwatch! Over 200 pupils took part from all year groups to help us build up a pictures of the species we have in school. This information will be sent to the RSPB.

The species we saw were: Buzzard, Jackdaw, Crow, Blackbird, Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit Long tailed tit, Robin, Pied wagtail, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Wood pigeon, Black-headed gull, Starling, House sparrow, Magpie.

You can see all our photographs on our Flickr album at : https://flic.kr/s/aHskTCCRMP

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The pupils have been SO enthusiastic and interested in the wildlife that is around…. keep encouraging this interest at home by  maybe feeding the birds in your garden and trying to identify them all!

Big School Birdwatch COMPETITION!!!

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As part of our Big School Birdwatch next week in school, there is a competition for all pupils! There are lots of prizes up for grabs, including nest boxes, bird feeders and bird books! The pupils will be coming home with a Bird Quiz sheet and part of the competition is also to do a drawing of any BRITISH bird. This can be on the back of the quiz, or on a separate sheet.

We know we have some budding artists out there, so take this opportunity to shine and create the best bit of British Bird artwork you can! You can use pencil, pen , paint or even do a collage!!

Make sure your name and class are clearly on your entry!

CLOSING DATE IS FRI 17TH FEB

The best entries will be displayed in school and on our blog , WildlifeKate’s blog and on the school website!

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You can download the quiz from the link below if you lose your sheet.

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Good Luck!!

Big Schools’ BirdWatch Posters

The pupils have been working hard this week, preparing for our Big School Birdwatch. We have lots of feeders around school and next week and the week after, pupils will be moving around the school grounds, recording the birds that are visiting.

To advertise it, they have been designing some posters to go up and around school. Using images of the species that we have visiting, they set to drawing and designing some eye-catching posters that will go up around school.

WildlifeKate has done a display in the entrance hall with posters, books and magazines all about birds and a video showing lots of common garden birds.

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As you can see, we have some very talented artists at Michael Drayton!!

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