Thursday, 26 January 2012

against grey skies

Look out of your window any time in the next few days and I am sure that you will be greeted by the same dull grey skies as we have seen during the last couple of weeks.  Can’t be helped I suppose; after all it is that time of year.


Look out of our classroom windows, and that grey will be criss-crossed with the browns and blacks (and mauves and russets) of bare wintry branches.


Open the door (wrap up warm first!) and listen carefully.  You might just hear the odd squeak and twitter of a hungry sparrow…..


or chaffinch, or hear the squawk of a greedy crow or magpie.

What we need is a bit of colour to liven up our view!  Some brightly coloured paper, snippety-snipped…..


into one small circle and a slightly larger oval.  Oh and a teeny tiny triangle too.  Next, a fistful of fluffy feathers, and then the finishing touch, a scritch and a scratch from a black marker – and here they come now, flying in from distant climes…..


and dropping down gently, legs outstretched…..


wings all a-flutter…..


and onto…..


our wintry branches…..


to brighten up our view.


Addendum: since taking these photos, there has been something of a deterioration in the weather; a chilly blizzard has speckled the grey with dots and spots of white.  If you wish to come along and see for yourself, don’t forget your mufflers and mittens!

a well-balanced bear

Take a bear.  Or should I say Bear.


Stuff him unceremoniously into the bucket on one side of a set of balance scales.  And see if you can find some things that will balance him.

What shall we use? 

Let’s use our counting fish to start with.  How many counting fish do you think it will take to balance Bear?


We counted.  It took 18!  Ayesha guessed right!  So she got to choose what we should try next.  Dominoes.

Shall we see how many dominoes it will take to make Bear balance?


We counted.  It took 28!

What about pens?  Tim’s choice.  Will it take two pens to balance Bear?


No!  Bear is heavier than 2 pens isn’t he!

Will it take 24 pens to balance Bear?


No!  24 pens are heavier than Bear!  (Or we could say Bear is lighter than 24 pens.)

It actually took 16 pens to balance Bear; Bear weighs the same as 16 pens.


What about your bear? What can you use to make him (or her) balance?

And - is he heavier or lighter than Bear? How could you tell?

(Poor Bear – he felt quite giddy after all that balancing; perhaps he is not such a well-balanced Bear after all.)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

who stole the cookies?

Remember this particular teddy bears' picnic?  And how it was all a bit of a mystery to us?  Well, we got thinking about quite what might have happened on that fateful day.  Together we wrote a story.  And that story goes something like this.

Bear was in the classroom with the other toys.


The children were not there. They were at French.

There were cookies in the cupboard.

Bear sniffed.


The other toys sniffed.  They smelled the cookies.


Bear opened the cupboard.  He found the cookies.


Bear said, “Let’s share the cookies.” 

Luckily there were 22.


The toys ate the cookies.  They had one each.


Suddenly they heard a noise.  The children were coming back!


Quickly the toys jumped back onto the desks so the children would not know.

But oh dear…..


there were cookie crumbs all over the carpet!

an afternoon with a difference

Well, we had fun on Monday afternoon!  We had brought in some of our favourite games and we were going to teach our friends how to play them with us. 

Hiromi brought in a game I know; you probably know it too. 


Or perhaps I should say I know Uno. Uno it too.

This sight…..


and much giggling resulted from the game that Luna brought in.  Something to do with bright yellow bouncy eggs…..


which had to be secreted about your person according to the roll of a dice.

Joseph showed his friends how to play a game that looked to me like a farmyard version of Ludo…..


and Emily brought in this old favourite…..


with a board and counters made from wood…..


and one of these.


We had a French game called Qui est-ce?…..


a rather exciting (Dutch?) game called Klopjacht (courtesy of Tim)…..


in which the highlight was a magnetic police car which was made to race around corners (not to mention up kerbs) -

and a fascinating Japanese game brought in by Itaru…..


which involved dice that were moved across a board by being rolled over forwards, backwards or sideways a certain number of times and then jumped on top of an opponent’s dice.  A tiny bit like draughts I suppose.  And as if that was not enough, the characters on the uppermost face of each dice  were either for scissors, paper or stone.  It looked to be two games in one.  Which can’t be bad!

You won’t be surprised to hear that the afternoon got a Thumbs up from everyone.

bowling hoops

Joseph’s mummy sent me a photograph today.  It was of Joseph at a museum.

‘That’s a place where you can go to see things,’ said Ella.

‘You can go to see things that are old,’ added Bianca.

‘And you can see a skeleton of a dinosaur,’ Nicholas told us……and we were suddenly in danger of being side-tracked by Stegosauri.

Thank heavens that at this point Joseph interrupted.  ‘It was an old school,’ he told us. 

He also told us what the classroom was like (not like ours at all!) and that he had gone outside into the playground.  There he got to have a go at bowling a hoop.  Here he is with his hoop.

boys 230

Tanisha thought that the hoop was probably made from metal.  We noticed that it was attached by a ring to a metal stick.  Joseph told us it was quite heavy.

We thought about the hoops we have at our school.  They are made of plastic and they are light.

We thought about how we play with our hoops.  We throw them, we skip with them and we even hula.

We wondered how people would have played with these metal hoops.  Surely children wouldn’t be able to throw a hoop made from metal.  Surely they wouldn’t be able to skip with them or hula with them.

Joseph told us that he had to run along behind the hoop, using the stick to make it roll – and to stop it running away from him.

That sounded like fun!  So of course we had to go and try it out for ourselves, with our plastic hoops.  We used our hands rather than a stick to try and make the hoop roll.

First we balanced the hoop upright.


Next we pushed it with our hands…..


so it rolled along the floor.  Then we chased after it!


Some of us even managed to make our hoop roll through someone else’s!

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Of course, before we went back to the classroom, we had to have a little go at hula. 

Hiromi, as you can see…..

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is something of an expert!

happy trousers day

Little Bear bounced out of bed one bright sunny morning.


He took off his stripy pyjamas and looked for his trousers.  He looked on the chair where he had left them and he looked on the floor.  But his trousers were nowhere to be seen.  So he went off to speak to Old Bear.  ‘Where are my trousers?’ he asked.  ‘Have you seen them Old Bear?’


Old Bear hadn’t seen them.  But he thought that maybe Camel might have seen them.  So Little Bear trotted off to see Camel.  ‘Where are my trousers?’ he asked. ‘Have you seen them Camel?’

‘Oh dear,’ replied Camel.  ‘I did find them.  I thought they were a pair of hump warmers…..

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but they were no good.  They didn’t fit properly.  So I gave them to Sailor.’

So Little Bear trotted off to see Sailor. ‘Where are my trousers?’ he asked. ‘Have you seen them Sailor?’

‘Oh dear,’ replied Camel. ‘I did find them. I thought they would make good sails for my boat…..


but they were no good.  They looked too much like trousers.  So I gave them to Dog.’

Dog had given them to Rabbit, so Little Bear trotted off to see him. ‘Where are my trousers?’ he asked. ‘Have you seen them Rabbit?’

‘Oh dear,’ replied Rabbit. ‘I did find them. I thought they would make good ear warmers…..

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but they were no good. They let in the cold air.  So I gave them to Zebra.’

Zebra had given them to Duck, so Little Bear trotted off to see him. ‘Where are my trousers?’ he asked. ‘Have you seen them Duck?’

‘Oh dear,’ replied Duck. ‘I did find them. I thought they would make a good flag for my sandcastle…..

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but Bramwell Brown told me they were just what he needed in the kitchen.

So Little Bear trotted off to the kitchen, where Bramwell Brown was making a cake.  He had filled Little Bear’s trousers with pink icing and was using them to decorate a ‘special occasion’ cake; there was pink icing everywhere .


Poor Little Bear…..but don’t worry - the story (the original of which was written by Jane Hissey) had a happy ending (as stories usually do).  Duck washed the trousers, and everyone enjoyed a slice of the beautifully iced ‘special occasion’ cake.  A beautifully iced Trousers Day cake.  Happy Trousers Day!


Oh and just in case you were wondering, Little Bear took precautions to make sure he never again lost his trousers; every night he tucks them underneath his pillow…..


before he goes to sleep.

PS If you had found Little Bear’s trousers, what might you have used them for?