Using Wildlife to Learn

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!



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


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



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!!


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


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 :


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!!!


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!


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


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


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.


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

Making MDJS Base Camp …

We have been working a lot in Hartshill Hayes and we are very lucky to have this wonderful space right on the school’s doorstep, within walking distance. We decided to build our own Base Camp in the woods. It would be a place to sit, talk, meet and get together. We would have to work as a team to create Base Camp and make it a great place to be.

This week, we started by clearing an area of all the leaves and debris on the floor. Some lovely big holly trees and bushes would help hide our base camp and shel;term it. We then started to make a barrier all around our camp; a bit like a natural branch and twig barrier.

We collected lots of fallen branches and pulled them into position, building them up to create mini walls. Sometimes the branches were quite big and we had to get two or even three of us to work together to move it. We worked hard for nearly an hour and were really pleased with our results.


The Ranger at The Hayes is going to help too, by getting us some logs to sit on and to clear any stuff too large for us. We all really enjoyed our time in the woods and look forward to continuing with the project this year!


Our film all about Bird feeding!

How did you get on with Big Garden Birdwatch at the weekend? WildlifeKate filmed a bit with BBC Midlands Today all about her garden birds and she recorded 16 different species in her garden in Lichfield! Here is her on the news on Friday….

The Green Team took on the challenge of making a film about the bird feeding we do here at school. There are some budding presenters in this group, as there was no script and very little practise to get it right!

We are very proud of what we have produced!

Getting ready for RSPB Big School Birdwatch…

We are gearing up for the RSPB  Big School Birdwatch by ‘upping ‘the bird feeding we do at school. We have 2 feeding stations that we run all year, down at our Wild Learning Area and also outside our school hall. We have also now got some set up outside the Year 6 classrooms as well.

The pupils have also been busy making some feeders as well. Both Green teams and Outdoor Explorers made their own feeders out of plastic bottles. Some were hung up in school and others taken home for their gardens.


Over the next few weeks, pupils will be learning all about birds and we will do our counts at the beginning of February to submit to the RSPB.


Icy fun!

When Outdoors Explorers headed down to the Wild Learning Area to check on the Hedgehog homes, we became somewhat distracted by the amount of ice on our ponds. The pupils were fascinated in it and how it had formed, how thick it was and how easy it would be to break.

Of course, we talked about the dangers of ice on waterways and how we should never attempt to walk across as the ice could break suddenly, plunging us into freezing water. Our pond is small enough for us to touch the edges and we all wanted to break off ice, hold it and feel it melting in our hands!

We loved the way that some leaves and foliage had become frozen inside the ice. It was great exploring it …. and getting out hands very cold and dirty!


More winter food for our Michael Drayton birds

A second Green Team took on the challenge to make some log bird feeders. This group of Year 5 boys loved using the drill to create the holes in the logs and screwed two screws in the top to create a hanging cord.

The group then mixed up the seed and mealworms into lard and packed it into the holes in the log. This group also added a pine cone and covered that in the mix as well… a perfect snack for hungry birds.


The group then took them down to the Wild Learning area feeding station and we hung some of them up there. We are sure they will soon attract some visitors!


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