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Mammoth Invasion!

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Mammoth Invasion!

This week in Y3/4 we have had a Mammoth Invasion as our children continue to learn about the stone-age! You can also read about why we believe that 'learning is a change in long-term memory'.

Mammoth invasion!

This week in Year 3/4, we have been reading the book ‘How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth’.  It is a fun instructional book about the steps required to clean a particularly mucky (and tickly) mammoth.  As part of this work, we read a set of instructions about how to make a woolly mammoth from milk cartons and then set about making one.  Thanks to all the families who donated the cartons, we had lots of fun and learned a lot about clear instructions!  Next week we’ll start to write our own instructions based on our experiences.

 

Learning is a change in long-term memory

One of our top priorities in school at the moment is to further develop our curriculum offer. We have been looking especially at how we plan and teach our foundation subjects, such as art and design, history, computing and geography. Our particular focus is on how we can help our children to make better progress in these subjects and build on previous learning from project-to-project and year-on-year. 

Our aim is for our children to become better historians, better artists and better geographers – not just learn the facts – but make stronger connections and focus on key concepts that can be applied across all themes of a subject, and across subjects for that matter.

 

Our key idea that we want to filter through all of our subjects is that learning is a change in long-term memory. We used to believe we could learn something in an hour’s lesson. But, we now understand that you can be taught, exposed and practise a skill, concept or idea but you won’t have learned this until it is committed to long-term memory – and then you would be able pick up and recall this in a week, month or a year later. It is understood that we all forget almost 50% of what we have been taught within 20 minutes of first hearing it and can only recall one-third the next day.

We have always known how important it is to recall key facts and practice key skills but this seems much more important now. So, as the second graph shows, our chance of recalling and committing new ideas to long-term memory is greatly increased if we return to this repeatedly.

 

We have started to explore the idea of Threshold Concepts. These are key concepts or ideas that sum up the main themes within each subject. For example, in history these might be:

  • Investigate and interpret the past
  • Build an overview of world history
  • Understand chronology
  • Communicate historically

By using Threshold Concepts we can keep returning the same ideas and build on each one whenever we are teaching the subject.

This seems more relevant, and urgent to address, in our foundation subjects where we do not teach these subjects every day – unlike mathematics, reading and writing where this usually is the case. Going forward we are excited and determined to find a way to enable our children to shine even brighter in all of our subjects.

Remote Learning Policy

To ensure our children and families are well supported in the event of a confirmed positive result from a Covid-19 test, we have drawn up a Remote Learning policy. Therefore, if an individual child or entire bubble were required to self-isolate for 14 days, there would be appropriate resources for learning to continue.

For Years 1-6 children will have access to the Google Classroom, which is our chosen online platform, to upload resources and share lesson content. Year R children and families will have access to Tapestry for the same purposes.

Our policy will be available for parents and carers to read shortly.

Staff Visibility at drop-off and pick-up

Please note that we will adapt our approach to staff visibility in the mornings. Parents and carers are now used to our staggered times and one-way system so we will be reducing the number of staff who are on the playground. The main reason for this is so that our brilliant LSAs can do what they do best and start supporting the teacher and children’s learning more promptly at the start of the day. We will continue to have a presence and please do contact the school office (via telephone) if you would like to talk to a class teacher.

From Monday we are also going to make a minor change to our one-way system. The Nutshalling Gate will now also serve as an exit. Our observations indicate that this would help parents and carers without causing any issues. However, we ask that parents remain 2 metres apart and apply common sense when using the single-entry access.

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