I’d like to start this week’s blog with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
This quote embodies everything that we have been talking to the children about in Collective Worship this week, the art of persevering. ‘Persevering’ is difficult, particularly if means that you have to fail at something several times, or particularly if it means having to rethink or change your approach towards something.
Oliver from Hardworking Hazels demonstrated this brilliantly on Thursday where he was given the challenge of tackling the Rubik’s Cube in Collective Worship. After several failed attempts he made good progress and almost mastered a complete side of it. The concept of ‘failure’ is always quite a threatening thing to get our heads around – it can be quite a scary prospect and this is sometimes the reason why as humans we become ‘creatures of habit’ because it is easier to stick with the things we know. The most important thing is that ‘failure’ drives us to be tenacious. Barack Obama captures this idea magnificently with the following words:
“Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere”
There have been some great examples of perseverance this week in school. Mikey and Harrison in Outstanding Oaks have made good progress with addition this week, using Numicon to help them. Over the week, their understanding has improved hugely because they kept going. The handwriting in Hardworking Hazels has improved enormously this year also, down to lots of dedication and focus. Sometimes it takes a while for us to achieve our goals and we may not all cross the finish line at the same time. Sometimes it takes time to get there, the most important thing is to enter the race in the first place!
We’ve had another brilliant week in school and lots of positive comments, particularly in relation to our Back to School Week for parents. Reading is a vital skill for life in general, so we can understand instructions and follow rules to keep us safe. Reading is also good for pleasure and relaxation. We have recently invested heavily in lots of new books across the school to help us teach reading more effectively. Every week in school, we involve the children in a lesson called ‘Guided Reading.’ We have been working hard as a staff on what makes a good Guided Reading lesson over recent weeks and many parents will have seen a typical Guided Reading lesson modelled to them as part of the workshops this week. Guided Reading focuses mainly on the understanding of what has been read and whether the children can answer questions and infer from the text. Decoding of unfamiliar words and reading with fluency and expression is the start of what makes a ‘good reader’ but inference, deduction, and engagement in a text to answer questions and show understanding is an integral part also.
As a school, we encourage regular reading at home so that children can develop their fluency, expression and confidence in the decoding of unfamiliar words. This may mean that children read their school reading book or it may mean that they read more widely – newspapers, comics, brochures, recipes etc. Every effort is made to ensure that children are regularly ‘listened to’ with their reading in school and we strive to ensure that they frequently have a change of reading book also. However, staff are careful to make sure that children can talk about what they have read and answer questions to show their understanding before ‘moving a child up’ on our reading scheme or issuing a new book. Some children in our school have a book for pleasure and a school reading book – this is so they can experience lots of different books but they can ‘dig deep’ and develop a secure understanding about the characters, events and themes in another at the same time. Children further up the school are required to critically analyse the language used in books and consider the author’s intentions. We have added another date into the diary for all parents to have the opportunity to come into school, have a look at our new reading resources, and talk to Mrs Smith (our English Leader) about what a Guided Reading session involves. This is planned for Thursday 23rd February at 2:15. We really hope that you will be able to join us.
Our children have been very active this week too. Following on from last week’s athletics competition, Micheala Goodhead’s dance club attended The Primary Dance Platform at Granville School on Wednesday evening. I had amazing reports from Mrs Mailer and Mrs Cresswell about how well our children performed; they gave an amazing account of themselves. I really enjoy watching our dance group because they are so enthusiastic and Michaela is always very complementary about how engaged our children are. I look forward to seeing their performance of ‘Naughty’ from the musical Matilda before the end of the school year.
On Thursday, it was very heart-warming moment, listening to some really positive feedback from our SIAMS inspector, Elizabeth Stanley Wainwright. As many of you will be aware from last week’s blog, we were inspected this week on our Christian character and our school’s ethos. I was immensely proud of all our children, who once again showed what a magical place Coton in the Elms School is with their manners, their insight and their sheer enthusiasm. I look forward to sharing the feedback with you all when the report is officially released but the inspector was really pleased with the amount of opportunities that we are providing for parents to come into our school, the work with do with the local community and also the way that we are embedding our new school vision. She left feeling reassured that we were doing everything that we possibly could to ensure our children get the very best. As I have mentioned before, ‘excellence’ is about striving to be better and never sitting back on your laurels or getting complacent.
Next week it is Staff Well-Being Week, so there will be no after school clubs on for the children. Our staff work very long hours to give their very best for all children and next week is about saying thank you for their hard work and commitment to our P.E.A.C.E agenda in school. Breakfast Club will be on as normal. Also next week, Rev Janet will be in school to do Collective Worship and we have our end of term church service on Friday from 2:30 pm. On this occasion, it will be the turn of the Champion Chestnuts to lead worship. We look forward to welcoming all parents and members of the community.
Today we had a big bake sale, led and organised by the children themselves, to raise money for the RSPCA. A big well done to Rosie, Keona, Matilda, Jasmine Tis, Savannah, Libby, Jasmine Tun, Georgia, Olivia, Grace & Sydnie for their hard work at home with the baking. We raised an incredible £56.77. Yet again it is pleasing to see our children using their initiative and being compassionate in the name of charitable causes. Thanks girls – we’re proud of you!
On a sad note….today we say farewell to Summer in the Wonderful Willows, who will be moving to a new school in Oxfordshire next week. Summer has had a wonderful time being part of our school and we have really enjoyed seeing her learn and grow over the last year or so. We wish Summer and her family all the best in their new surroundings and we hope they will keep in touch with us.
Before I leave you, just a quick update on the challenge that I set you all last week. If you remember, I was hoping for 30 entries in the blog box following last week’s dismal amount. My confidence has been slightly restored this week, as there were 18 entries in the blog box when I checked. However, I will persevere and not give up hope – next week, let’s make it 30!
This week’s blog box question is: Where did the Primary Dance Platform take place this week?
P.E.A.C.E be with you!