Friendship

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Forgive.

Respect each other.

Include others.

Ears- be a good listener!

Need anything? Think how you can help a friend out.

Different- We embrace our differences.

Share.

How are you? Take an interest in others.

In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

Patient.

 

This week it is Anti-Bullying Week, coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance. I am always keen to get the children thinking about the positives of friendship and so found this to be a nice activity to get the children to think about what friendship means.

What would your words be? Please share in the comments below!

30 Days Wild- Days 1-12

Hello! How are you on this lovely Sunday evening? I have been sharing my #30DaysWild adventures on Instagram and Twitter (take a look here and here) but thought I would do a little round up on my blog.

I am absolutely loving #30DaysWild this year and have really enjoyed all the social media sharing that has been happening, especially on Twitter and Instagram! The first week of June was half term and so I was ‘wilding’ it all on my own. However Monday we went back to school and boy did I make the most of it with my class (armed with my super duper teacher pack!)

 

I devoted nearly the whole day to a nature themed lessons, in Literacy we made nature journals and then carried out an A to Z of nature in our school. Maths was a lesson on measurement which was actually taken from the Wildlife Trust resources. On Tuesday I took my class to Hunstanton and we had great fun sharing #30DaysWild on the beach as well as exploring nature by the seaside.

The children are really enjoying our experiences and next week I am going to be heading out into the KS1 and KS2 playgrounds to do some activities at lunchtime with the children. I can’t wait and will definitely share here some of the things we got up to!

 

30 Days Wild 2016

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It’s nearly June, it’s nearly June! And that means it is finally 30 Days Wild Time!

I blogged last year about the background behind 30 Days Wild (I will wait patiently whilst you go and check out the link here which includes a squirrel with a light sabre! Back? Good, I will carry on) and I am so pleased to be taking part again. I will be blogging here and sharing some of the #30DaysWild activities I get up to with my class. Excitingly we will also be blogging on my school blog as well:)

I love these words from the Wildlife Trust,

Feel happier, healthier and more connected to nature by doing something wild every day for thirty days this June.

No matter where you live – from an urban jungle to a windswept mountain – wildlife and wild places are all around, waiting to be discovered by you.”

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Are you ready to discover the wild around you this June? Head on over to the Wildlife Trust to find out more!

 

 

Professor Astro Cat’s Atomic Adventure

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A lot of my book purchases start the same, I am browsing my lovely local bookshop (hello Heffers Children’s!) and something grabs my attention. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but sometimes a cover just makes you grab a book and run to the till. That is what happened with Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space. It was also handy for a space mini topic we were doing at school a month or so later. All I can say is my class loved it and it became my most borrowed book for weeks after. So imagine my joy when I was emailed by the lovely Emma of Flying Eye Books to tell me about a new Astro Cat book, Professor Astro Cat’s Atomic Adventure. Astro Cat is back to tell us all about the wonderful world of physics! The series is written by Dominic Walliman and illustrated by Ben Newman.

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I am now going to hand over to my lovely class who are going to share some of their thoughts and later we even get to interview Dominic and Ben!

Year 4- Our Thoughts

WM- It is interesting because you get to know more.

BM- It is simple to understand and it is teaching me things. I also really like the colours and illustrations.

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EP- I like it because if I didn’t know what magnets are the book could teach me so I could know more.

ES- I would like more pages!

DA- It is fascinating and just the right length.

 

The Interview

We were then lucky enough to get the chance to email some questions to Ben and Dominic and receive replies!

Year 4- How did you think of so many facts?

 BEN: I just ask Dominic. Hey Dom, how do you think of all those facts?

DOM: I read a lot of books which filled my head up with facts, also, I learned a lot of physics which meant I could make up some of my own.

 Year 4- How long did it take to make the book?

BEN: It took about one year and 8 months. Dominic and I live in different countries now so it is a bit more difficult for us to talk. We use the internet to discuss ideas and share drawings. It would be really, really difficult for us to do Professor Astro Cat books without it.

DOM: Yes it took many drafts, which meant that we made something then talked about how to make it better, and then did that over and over again until we got something that we were really happy with.

 Year 4-Why do you like Science?

BEN: I know Dominic from school and he was always fascinated by science. I love science but I was more interested in art and English when I was at school.

DOM: Have you ever lay in bed at night and wondered why were are here? Or what we are made of? Or where the Universe comes from? Or what time is made of? I like science because it tries to answer questions like this and is so far the best way we have of finding out the answers. I find it endlessly fascinating!

Year 4- Why did you choose a cat for the main character?

BEN: When I was 7, my sister and I would make cartoons of our Grandma’s neighbour’s cat called Fluffy. Everyone in my family, except me, have a cat and I’ve been drawing cats since I was little and love drawing them now. I actually have a dog but sssssh! don’t tell anyone.

DOM: Cats are great! Ben came up with the idea of having the main character called Professor Astro Cat, and when he told me, I thought it was the best idea ever.

 Year 4- What is the title of your next book?

BEN: Its all about bogies. not really! I cant tell you what its about yet but we are working on it right now.

DOM: Professor Astro Cat is in his lab tinkering on his next invention and he can’t wait to unveil it. Not quite yet though… 🙂

 Thank you to Flying Eye Books for a copy of the book, Ben and Dominic for answering our questions and to my lovely class for their thoughts and comments!

Twilight at the Museums- The Volunteer Experience

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This Daylight Explorer adores museums. So imagine my excitement when I saw a tweet from the University of Cambridge Museums asking for volunteers for their annual Twilight at the Museums event. I sent off an email, including a form containing my expression of interest, and got invited to a briefing at the Fitzwilliam along with all the other lovely volunteers. The turnout was great and we were given a brief talk by Susan Miller the Events Administrator for the University of Cambridge Museums. Here Susan gave us a bit of background to the event as well as some information that would be useful for the night. It was also lovely to get the opportunity to talk to other volunteers about how they heard about the event and their backgrounds. At the end of the briefing we were asked to indicate the preferred areas we would like to be placed. As I spend a lot of time at the Fitzwilliam, the MAA and the Botanical Gardens they were my top choices and I was delighted to receive an email a few days later asking me to volunteer at the Botanical Gardens! At all stages of the process the communication was superb and very clear.

In the week preceding the event I got an email from Sally Lee, the Education Officer for the Cambridge University Botanical Gardens, containing all the need to know information for the evening. Armed with a schedule and some handy background notes I counted down the days until the big event! The big day dawned and the evening arrived with…rain! At this point I was really pleased to be inside the glasshouses! Sally and the team at the Botanical Gardens had made the glasshouses look absolutely spectacular and I felt thrilled to be part of the evening. All the staff and volunteers were so friendly and the teacher in me was thrilled to receive a glow in the dark name badge! Yes it is the simple things! Here I have to also pause to say how wonderful the staff (and the volunteers who dressed up) looked as Victorian plant hunters. They made a superb effort and it really added to the atmosphere. I now have a hankering for copying the look myself…

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Visitors had been given a lovely card illustrated with a glasshouse to use to collect stamps as they hunted for different plants around the glasshouses.

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My first station was in the Oceanic Glasshouse to help guide the intrepid plant hunters find the Aeonium plant. I enjoyed sharing the facts I knew about the plant (e.g. it was from the Canary Islands) and lots of people were really interested in the rosette of overlapping leaves that really made it a striking plant to look at. After my shift of a few hours (including a quick break of coffee and biscuits, thanks Sally!) I bid farewell to the Aeonium and went off to my next post in the Arid Lands glasshouse and the Agave Salmiana. I actually ended up with a clipboard, chatting to people and taking email addresses so the Gardens could get feedback from people in the future. It was absolutely wonderful talking to people and I had so many interesting conversations. Everyone had had a wonderful evening and I felt very proud to have played a small part.

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So my experience as a volunteer is over but I have two things to end with.

  1. If you haven’t been to Twilight at the Museums as a visitor please go! All the different museums have so much to offer and it really is wonderful to see them with a different perspective!
  2. If you had been thinking of volunteering and weren’t sure, go for it! The team made the whole process so smooth from beginning to end and it will be something that stays with me for a long time. I will definitely be putting my name forward again next year!

I believe wholeheartedly in museums and what they can offer the young and old alike. Seeing people of all ages and from all backgrounds engaging with the museums as they did on Wednesday was wonderful to see and events like this help inspire the younger generation to visit these wonderful places on our doorstep.

Looking Back at 2015- Journaling with Children

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A small selection of my journals

I have kept a journal since I was at school and over my teaching career I have tried hard to share the wonderful gift it can be. I love rifling through old journals and having the past brought back to life. Memories and experiences are there on the page for me to savour, cringe at or cause me to have a giggle- ‘I wrote what?!’ I think it is so important to get kids making their own reflections and using it as a chance to celebrate all they have achieved, thinking back to special memories and remembering their friends.

Over the years I have also used my journal as a place to reflect and I think this is a great thing for both kids and adults to do. The end of the year feels like a natural opportunity to look back and also to think about the year to come.

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You and the kids can make the prompts as simple or as complicated as you like and there are lots of prompts online. There are also lots of templates as well but I am a big believer in letting the children create the journal page themselves or you could create the page together? It would be a lovely family project!

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In my example I have kept to quite broad categories but some children might need quite specific prompts to help them focus in.

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In the future:

  • use the same prompts every year! That way you and the children can see how life changes over time!
  • add pictures and doodles to illustrate the year.
  • do a family journal with each member of the family answering the prompt.

I would love to hear about any of your journaling experiences! Please leave me a comment, let me know on Instagram or Twitter or drop me an email. I always love to talk journaling!

p.s. I have written this with the view of journaling with children but I think this is an exercise that many adults would benefit from carrying out as well!