I Love Museums

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On the 10th June a fantastic campaign called ‘I Love Museums’ was launched, led by the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC). I first discovered it on Twitter (thank you to whoever tweeted about it!) and it is lovely to see the campaign pick up momentum. As a teacher and firm believer in lifelong learning I absolutely love the opportunity to share how amazing museums are! In Cambridge I am spoilt for choice for super museums to visit (hello Fitzwilliam and Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to name but two!) and I love nothing more than popping into London to catch up on new and old exhibits. When Mr Daylight Explorer and I go travelling to a new town or city we like nothing more than finding a new museum to explore.

museum

My love of museums started when I was a child and I have memories of those yearly school trips to museums, large and small. But why do I love museums so much? I have always been someone who loves the stories of people. I also have a passion for learning about new people and places. Whether it is science, history, art…I will find something to transfix me. In my teaching I love to try and pass this on to the children and have led visits to the Science Museum in London, IWM Duxford, the Fitzwilliam and many more! I find it fascinating to take a class to a museum and see them come alive at something you weren’t expecting. For example on a recent trip to the Science Museum some of my children were fascinated by the models of the machine workshops and the fragment of George Stephenson’s hair! Visits like these bring topics to life for the children and so many museums are working incredibly hard on engaging children. I couldn’t imagine not being able to take the children (or just go myself!) to a museum and that’s why I fully back the ‘I Love Museums’ campaign which aims to “show funders and policymakers how much museums matter by celebrating the UK public’s support for our wonderful cultural institutions.”

Check out the #ILoveMuseums hashtag to see what others are saying about why they love museums. What is your favourite museum? I would love it you could share in the comments below! You can also visit the I Love Museums website to show your support for the amazing museums we have in the UK.

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30 Days Wild- The First Week in the Classroom

30DaysWild

The children are responsible for recording on our wall chart.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (and if you read this blog post!) you will know that I have been taking part in the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild challenge. Initially I had signed up with just me in mind but then made the choice to involve my class and my goodness it was the best decision ever! They loved it so much that we have finished our previous topic a bit earlier and launched a new nature topic to take us through until the end of term and we are very excited!

Monday 1st June- I told the children all about the project, showed them the video and our new Nature Table. All the children then made their own nature journals. We kept them very simple as 1) we wanted to get started as soon as possible and 2) we knew we would be taking them outside and so they would soon get the ‘well used’ look! I am a very keen keeper of journals and it is something I really enjoy sharing with the children. Our activity on day 1 was quite simple- feeling the ground underneath our feet! We went outside, took off our shoes and socks and just felt the grass and ground beneath our feet and chatted about what we felt! After every activity we drew or wrote (or both) in our journal. Importantly the children had a free choice and there was no pressure at all on the amount or type of recording. It simply had to provide them with a memory of the activity.

Nature Journal

Tuesday 2nd- Daisy Chains. In the back of my mind was an article I had read/ heard a while ago talking about how many children were not involved in activities like making daisy chains outside. After a quick survey of my class I discovered there was a large number who had never made a daisy chain before! So off we went to the field for a lesson. It was lovely seeing confident children helping those who struggled. We made short chains ourselves and then joined with friends. It was a lovely time outside!

30DaysWild daisy chains

Wednesday 3rd- We went outside to do some sketching. After talking about the kind of things we could draw we went outside and spread across the field, each child having their own ideas of what to sketch. The idea was for them appreciate something from nature.

Thursday 4th- Learning bird songs. I have discovered this is something my class has a hidden talent for!

Friday 5th- Dancing in the breeze….with a a few spatters of rain. It had been forecast to rain and so we decided that this would be the day we would go and dance in the rain. We finished our lesson and it was raining. Perfect! We lined up, went outside and found…it had stopped raining! So instead we danced in the breeze with a few spatters of rain!

The Weekend- All through the week the children were allowed to take their journals home if they wished to do extra things with their family and it was lovely how many did! My only stipulation is they were responsible for bringing them back the next day and incredibly we almost had a 100% success rate! At the weekend I asked all the children to take their journals home. I sent home a note to parents to explain with a few ideas of what they could do but stressed they could come up with their own. You should see the work that came back! I had journals filled with writing, pictures and photographs. A group of boys gathered together to go for a walk, three boys photographed a moth and we used one of our books to try and identify it (rather unsuccessfully so far!) and most importantly children spent time with their families. It was so lovely to hear their excited stories. And so we have started on week 2 of 30 Days Wild and I cannot wait to give you the next update!

pooters

Using the pooters to search for insects- a sneak peek at our new Nature topic!

Have you been taking part in 30 Days Wild? What have you been doing? Please share in the comments below. And remember it is never too late to join in!

Wandlebury- for schools and families

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Wandlebury- beautiful at any time of the day and year!

It is amazing what can be right on your doorstep. Where I live in Cambridge we are lucky enough to have Wandlebury a 5 minute drive down the road. It is free to get in but if you drive you will need £3 for parking but once you walk around you will see that this is a small price to pay. Seeking out these wonderful local places can be fantastic for families and schools for so many reasons.

  • they are close which means they don’t require as much planning!
  • for schools this means cheaper coach costs.
  • being local means repeat visits can be made and so children can get to experience the changing of the seasons and a landscape.
  • repeat visits mean you can really get to know a place. I think every time I go to Wandlebury (and I go a lot!) I see something new or find a new route to follow.

All of the above can apply to anywhere in the country so check out your local country park!

Sitting down and taking in the view after a walk in the woodlands.

Sitting down and taking in the view after a walk in the woodlands.

So what makes Wandlebury so special? As I mentioned above it is only a short drive from Cambridge and has the most wonderful opportunities for walks and enough open spaces to sit down, relax, read a book and take in such a special space. The woodlands and meadows are teeming with wildlife and things to explore. As a bit of a history geek I also love the myths and legends that surround the site. Intrigued? Have a read (but make sure you come back!) Did that whet your appetite? The myths and legends would be a great way in for schools to work on myths and legends in the curriculum and this is something that I am sure families would enjoy investigating as well!

As if exploring the site itself and immersing yourself in its stories wasn’t enough there are so many other things families and schools can do at Wandlebury. The website is updated regularly and even includes events at other properties that may be of interest. Just recently I have seen a fantastic session on bees for children and I am hopefully booked on a session for adults in the coming weeks (fingers crossed there are spaces!)

Wandlebury wildflowers

And for schools? What Wandlebury have on offer is just as fantastic.

  • Nature Trails
  • Pond Investigations
  • Orienteering
  • Art Activities
  • Geography to develop those orientation skills
  • Archery
  • Iron Age experience for KS2- great to help with the new national curriculum!


For full details check out this helpful programme here.

Whether you are a family out for a day exploring or a school looking for somewhere to explore nature and wildlife, Wandlebury is certainly a place to visit. And if you don’t live in Cambridge…well we would love to have you come and visit us!

Where are your favourite local places to visit? Please share in the comments below!

Happy exploring!

p.s Don’t forget that today marks the start of #30DaysWild. Not sure what I am talking about? Check out the post here!