For this week’s blog I urge you to take a close look at the picture below. Look closely – what do you see? Do you see the same thing that I see? What would you read into this?
If truth be told, there would probably be a range of answers that you could come up with and these will depend upon the amount of time taken to focus and keep your eyes set on the picture. Irrespective of your answer, the fact remains – you can never underestimate the power of ‘looking.’
Eye contact is vitally important for us to not only show good manners when somebody is speaking but it is also essential if we are to understand what has been said to us. Often when we listen, particularly when we are busy or pre-occupied, we fail to set our eyes on the speaker and you see – this is where everything goes to pot! If we listen with our eyes and set our eyes on the person who is speaking, we can read so much more into what we are being told or what is being said. We can read emotions and connect better with people, we can retrieve information quicker and above all, we can show common decency and politeness. The art of looking is the theme for this week’s blog and it goes straight to the heart of last week’s message – the small things can make a big difference!
On Tuesday this week, Mrs Dyke and I had a big look at how well you were all concentrating in lessons. It was really interesting to find (and you may not be surprised) that those children who sat still and focused solely on their teacher when being taught were the quickest to grasp what they were being asked to do. Those children who didn’t multi-task and faced the teacher when being taught, made the greatest progress too. I was really impressed with the children in Happy Hedgehogs! What great listening skills and superstar sitting! The children may have only been in school for 2 short weeks, but already they are having great success and following instructions well. Also this week, I notice that Mrs Christie’s Phonics group has really developed their looking skills too. By Friday, all children had their eyes clearly fixed on Mrs Christie and this meant that they were much quicker with their speed sounds. Over the next few weeks, I am going to keeping my eyes out for any children who are looking and concentrating well in lessons – it really does help you with your learning!
On Wednesday morning, the whole school did lots of looking or ‘active listening’ as Mrs Christie puts it, when they sat and listened to our 4 candidates for Prime Minister. Rosie, Owen, Keona and Savannah had all prepared a fantastic speech each and I know (from my powers of observation) that many children were not only taken by what was said in terms of manifesto promises, but also how they were said. It takes a great amount of courage to stand up in front of your peers and deliver a set of promises! All of the speeches were read with sincerity and passion and our visitor Heather Wheeler MP was really taken by how well the children did. I would like to congratulate them all for their hard work and for representing our school with such class! I was one proud Headteacher! Our first School Parliament meeting will take place over the next week.
The lunchtime supervisors have been doing lots of looking this week too. They have been making sure that all the children are tucking their shirts in when walking around at lunchtime – remember the small things really do matter! I have given Mrs Billings permission to give the children a gentle reminder if they are not keeping up with their smart standards. On Tuesday, Miss Wordley came back into school to teach the Hedgehogs and she couldn’t believe how smart the children looked in their new sweatshirts and in their ties. She could really sense that many children had grown up since her last visit.
On Friday this week, I was really pleased with the turn-out for my Cuppa and Cake session for parents. In total, I had 11 parents who attended and we had some great discussion about how the start of the year has gone. We chatted about the new Home-School Learning Logs and the recent welcome meetings. All parents, were positive about the changes that we have made but I was quick to inform them that we won’t be resting on our laurels. As I said in the meeting, we know that there is still much more to do if we are to develop our school further and it was great to get some thoughts on what we needed to do next, so thank you! A number of parents appeared unsure as to what day the Home-Learning Logs are to be handed in. We apologise if we have caused some confusion. I am going to chatting to all the staff about this over the next week, but logs will be collected in on Monday. We will then award 5 Privilege Points to every child who has done their home-learning.
Continuing the ‘looking’ theme, Mrs Smith and Mrs Weston will be having a little nosey of their own over the next week or so. Mrs Weston will be popping into classes to see how the children are getting on with their arithmetic and times tables. This year, every maths lesson across the school starts with ‘5 in 5’! Or ‘3 in 5’ in the younger classes. The children are presented with 5 age-appropriate arithmetic calculations to solve as quickly as they can. This is part of our drive to nurture a new generation of competent and efficient mathematicians, in line with the expectations of the National Curriculum. Mrs Weston will also be looking at those ‘small things’ too – how work is presented and how well the children are responding to teacher feedback during ‘Please and Now time’. Mrs Smith will be having a little look at how Guided Reading is going across the school. I was suitably impressed with the Eager Elms on Friday, they all got down to work super quick after lunch and there was some good reading behaviours observed. I have already picked up that Miss Popple’s Badgers have quickly settled into the Guided Reading routine. Well done Brilliant Badgers!
Aside from individual classes, there are a number of children who never fail to impress me around school at the moment. I was most impressed with Sydnie, Georgia, Natasha and Tristen from the Funky Foxes, for getting on with their work in lessons last week, to Dillan and Fraiser in Badgers and to Kiera for getting her pen license. I was also pleased to take a look at Keona’s beautiful handwriting and presentation! In Squirrels, It was great to see Eve’s wonderful writing on Friday too. Oliver looked very smart on his way into worship on Wednesday, Heather Wheeler MP was most impressed! I love seeing high standards – it all matters! Remember, ‘excellence’ has to start somewhere.
If you are doing lots of looking for yourself at the minute, you will notice that my hair is getting awfully long! It may seem a strange thing for me to mention on here but you know how important I think it is, to look smart at all times – practising what we preach to the children! Just to make you all aware, in 3-4 weeks’ time, I will be starring in a production of Whistle Down the Wind, and I am growing my hair to match the character that I am playing. I will be playing the part of ‘The Man’. Just before half-term, I will also be growing some temporary facial hair for this part. Rest assured, I will endeavour to look as smart as I can over the coming weeks, including on those wet and windy days! I know that I am not the only member of our school who is attempting to grow their hair at present! Maybe we can give each other some moral support Alex!
Don’t forget to get your child’s name down for Breakfast Club if you haven’t already done so. Mrs Billings and Mrs Mailer do an amazing job to ensure that the children kick-start their day in the best way possible. We have a number of children attending each day from across the school and many of these children prefer to get into school from 8am so they are more settled in time for lessons beginning at 9am. A Breakfast Club is useful for those parents who need to get to work early in a morning too. It can be quite a ‘juggle’ first thing in the morning! Please contact Mrs Cresswell in the office if you are interested.
In line with one of our school values, compassion, don’t forget that this Friday we are holding our Macmillan Coffee Morning to raise vital funds for charity. We’d love to see you all there, feel free to bring your friends and relatives between 9 and 10:15. This is a charity that means a great deal to our school population so we really hope you are able to support us.
We have some more special visitors in school this coming week. Rev Bill Moore will be joining us for Collective Worship on Monday and Mrs Sharples (Headteacher, Pingle Academy) will be in school to chat to the Year 5 and 6 children on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, we will also be having another visit from the NSPCC. They will be leading a whole-school assembly on how the children can keep themselves safe.
I’d like to take this time to say a fond farewell to Margarita from Brilliant Badgers, who is leaving us to start a new school on Monday this week. Margarita has been an amazing pupil during her time at Coton; so well-mannered and polite. We will miss her and the family a great deal. We wish them all the best and hope to see them visit us very soon.
I was one very happy Headteacher on Friday, when I saw that 15 children had posted an entry into our blog box. It really made me smile and restored my faith. Remember, I did say in rewards assembly on Friday that If I got 20 entries this week, I would draw out two winners this week. So here’s hoping!
This week’s Blog Box Question: What is the name of the production that Mr. Smith is starring in at half term?
Have a good week and P.E.A.C.E be with you!