Thursday, 26 April 2012

chick, chick, chick, chick, chicken

With a nod to our unit of inquiry on life cycles we had a go at drawing and then painting patterned chickens in yesterday’s art lesson. 

Following a last-minute dash round the school collecting black indelible markers, we were ready to start.

We began by drawing the outline of the bird; a round shape for the head (with its beak, comb and eye!)


and a curvy half-moon body.  Oh, and a feathery tail and a couple (that’s just two!) of spindly legs.

Next, the body was filled with a pattern of either circles or triangles (or even a combination of the two).

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Time, now…..


for the next step.  Which involves watercolour paints.

Beaks and combs…..


and pretty tummies…..

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get the treatment.  Until it’s all “Chick, chick, chick, chick…..

year 1 blog1


year 1 blog

Lay a little egg for me!”

dave and betty

(PS  These particularly fine eggs were laid by Betty and Dave)

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

a puzzle at the pond

Back in the classroom, I mused aloud about some of the things we had seen on our walk.  We had seen at first hand one part of the life cycle of a living thing.  What living thing was it?

‘We saw tadpoles,’ Emily told us.  ‘It was the life cycle of a frog.’

‘The tadpoles had tails,’ Melchior reminded us.

‘They were black,’ added Tanisha.

‘There were lots of tadpoles,’ noted Itaru.

‘They were wriggling,’ mentioned Luna.

‘They felt quite tickly,’ said Anusha, one of the brave amongst us who had dipped a cupped hand into the water.

There was also a puzzle at the pond.



a plank of wood, attached at one end by a wire to the edge of the pond, the other end dipped in the water.  What on earth could it be for?

Alexis was the first one to share his thinking.  ‘It’s where the frogs lay their eggs,’ he offered.

Yanis had a different idea.  ‘The people made it for the frogs to play with.’

Emily thought it might be a life saving aid for humans, ‘in case a child or a grown up falls in.’

Nico thought that it was maybe to, ‘help the frogs get into the water,’ whereas Ella suggested that ‘the big frogs that are fully grown can jump on it in case they don’t want to swim.’

What about you?  What do you think it is for?

a black dot

a black dot

a jelly tot…..

frogspawn 2

a water-wriggler

a tail-jiggler…..


The poem (which incidentally is by Libby Houston) goes on like this:

a cool kicker

a sitting slicker

a panting puffer

a fly-snuffer

a high-hopper…..


a catalogue to make me - FROG

Did you notice - the poem takes us through the life cycle of a frog; starting out with the eggs (those black dots) that are laid in a kind of jelly.  Then, as we have found out, the tadpole hatches; to start with it eats the ‘jelly’ of its egg…..


and its fat black body begins to change.

At first it has feathery gills on its head (these, as we have learnt, let the tadpole breathe the oxygen from the water).  Later the gills will disappear and instead, lungs will grow inside the body.


In the picture you can see tadpoles feeding on algae and water weeds – but also a newt lurking in the background.  Tadpoles are a newt’s food; a tadpole has lots of predators like the one in the photo.

Those tadpoles that survive all the dangers of growing up will go on to grow hopping legs and they will eventually lose their jiggly tails too.  These tadpoles have not yet reached that stage.  But you can bet we will be keeping a close eye on them over the next few weeks……


at the pond down the road.


sketching speedy snails

In spite of what anyone else might tell you, snails (at least our snails) are not slow.  Far from it.  Which ought to make observing and sketching them something of a challenge.  Not, though, for us.

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For as you can see…..

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from the splendid efforts here…..

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however fast a snail might zip along…..

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our pencils…..

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are equal to the challenge.

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Don’t you think?

at the snail gym

On Monday, Nicholas arrived in the classroom clutching a container positively crammed with snails; he had had his own snail hunt – and he had come up trumps!  The best thing was that it meant we could all have a closer look; there were enough for two snails to each table (I expect that, fast as a flash, Yanis will be able to tell you how many snails that means Nicholas had found altogether). 

Anyway, as everyone knows, snails are s-l-o-w animals; time a-plenty for observing closely and then sketching what we see.

At least you would have thought so.

But Nicholas’ snails were rather active snails.

Put one of them in a special Perspex viewing box and pretty soon he has slithered up the side…..


over the top…..


and is away across the desk…..


to see what you are up to.


Put one on the desk…..


and quick as a blink, he has slid his way up and over the side of a pencil pot…..

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and is inside investigating the pencils.

We had curious snails all over the place; up and over…..

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and along…..


as well as taking a good look about when they had got to where they were going.


In fact, I am not quite sure who…..


was observing…..