Class 2 put on a wonderful music assembly on Friday.
We hope you can take some time to enjoy their amazing performance.
With isolation from unnecessary social interactions a pivotal step in our behaviour at the moment, we want to ensure that there are ways that friends can safely stay in touch.
Google Hangouts is part of the Google Suite applications we have access to, and I have turned it on for members of class 3 to see if it a welcome method for communication. I will discuss it in a little way down this post….
One aspect of my job that has been forefront in my mind over the last few days of planning, is that of cybersafety. As there will be an increased reliance on technology, it is imperative that there is a continuation of keeping children safe. As this is now almost entirely at home, there are some steps you can take to ensure this is maintained:
- talk to your children about their use of technology: get to know the apps they use, why they use them and learn about the positive aspects of each (there are some great TikToks out there!)
- discuss privacy settings and go through them together to see what are the most appropriate ones to turn and why
- make sure that any video chats are done in a public room
- if they do have access to text chatting, remind them about being kind. We have the rule of, “if you wouldn’t say it in front of a grandparent, then don’t say it online,” as a way of quickly self-determining if something is appropriate.
We have plenty of resources/links available in our E-safety section, could be an ideal time to go through them or seek out further guidance on such matters. It can a very difficult part of the parent/child relationship to discuss, and maybe control access to, specific technologies, but when done together it can foster trust and responsibility.
Right then – Google Hangouts…
The app uses their school accounts to chat through the Google servers, and this has some benefits:
- it is integrated into our existing infrastructure, so no additional sign-ups are needed
- it is securely ringfenced, it can only be used to chat to other Grindleford children for who the service has been activated – NO EXTERNAL CHATS CAN OCCUR IN OR OUT
- it is fully logged
It can be reached via any browser, in the same way the Classroom app can, using this URL:
And there are dedicated apps in the relevant app stores for iOS and Android if your children use such devices.
You can then enter the name of a friend to start a connection, or create groups of commonly-used friends to have a group chat.
It is ideal for discussing the associated work being set (I would say that!) or indeed probably a lot more for social time.
We did a class test of Hangout video chat on Friday, but I am hesitant to deploy such technology due to safety concerns at this moment in time: I see this text-based chat app as being an important factor in determining whether to turn that on in the future.
There are a myriad of ways in which children will be communicating during this period, this one offers a safe, secure and controlled option.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions over the app.
Well, it seems this blog will taking on a slightly altered role for a while.
As part of the situation we find ourselves in, this may well play an important part in communicating to you about things related to home learning. So to kick us off, here are some of the things that have been sent out via email over the last few days, and some additional pointers.
We have been asked a lot about workbooks recently, and there is indeed a wealth of choices out there, many of which we have encountered over the years. Some of the best we can say will do a good job are the offerings from Collins and Schofield & Sims. The Collins range has been recently revised and offer subject and year group specific activities in various English and Maths topics.
They provide a super structure to the learning, giving you a path through the topics so you can support the children with the activities in an appropriate order.
The Schofield and Sims offerings are great for little-and-often activities in key skills. The maths, times tables and English skills ones are so well-structured and appeal to all levels of ability. I love these and they are nicely priced too.
I expect there’ll be high demand for such resources, so if you are intending to get some of these then I would do it sooner rather than later.
Regular exercise is so important being healthy, and home PE lessons can take on all sort of forms. There are some web-based places to get some inspiration from or to follow.
YouTuber Joe Wicks is streaming live PE lessons online for kids every day at 9am next week. An option for anyone that wants to stick to a timetable and keep kids active that don’t do much sport already?
We have used the times tables ones, but there’s loads of different ones and not all are based on maths! They are split into KS1/2 and then into subjects.
Online Subject Resources
The educational resource specialists Twinkl have provided a wealth of free resources for home learning. Their provision has evolved so far in recent years, and have developed some very well-designed packs to introduce topics and develop knowledge and skills in all sort of areas. Totally worth checking out.
BBC Bitesize has been around for years, and has been updated in the past few years to support more curriculum areas and topics. Video-rich and of a very high quality, it is easy to navigate, use and of course free!
Derbyshire library service will allow you to use your library card to log on for free ebooks or audio books.
World e-Book are providing lots of free e-books on a range of topics.
Audible are a market leader in Audiobooks, and the Amazon-owned company are offering free audiobooks for children during the pandemic.
This week’s guide for parents from National Online Safety is a great one. We are so good in this country about talking about physical health and asking how people are, but only just getting a little better about mental health. It a subject we care greatly about as people, and not just as teachers, here at Grindleford, so am hoping this one can help in any way at some point.
To quote the NOS themselves:
This year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is all about ‘finding your brave’, whether that be sharing worries, asking for help or just building confidence, self-esteem and looking after yourself. But talking about mental health doesn’t always come effortlessly and sometimes we need a helping hand.
Created by mental health and wellbeing expert, Anna Bateman, this guide aims to give parents a starting point to help encourage discussions around children’s mental health. Covering a range of points, the guide looks to give parents simple ways to help make children feel more comfortable in sharing their own worries and concerns and providing the support they may need. Click the image below to access your free guide now..
Today, we had a whole day dedicated to the Chinese New Year celebrations. Everyone came to school in red or a bright colour for luck for the year and we did lots of learning about this very special festival. Each class took part in different themed activities as well as a dragon making competition which will be judged tomorrow. They look fabulous. After lunch, every child launched an orange into the trees. They were filled with all of their wishes for the coming year, written on to a tiny scroll, and then carefully inserted into the middle. The belief is that if your orange manages to stay in the tree then your wish might just come true. We had twelve lucky wishmakers this time. At the end of the day, we shared out fortune cookies and chopsticks. Here are some action shots of the orange launching (it was so much fun):
Thank you so much to Ibbotsons of Chesterfield who kindly donated all of the oranges, and to Mrs Boulton for all that orange threading, it’s an enormous task, and very sticky.
Well, we all are, but things have changed in recent years, particularly for children.
Now being an influencer is a full-time profession that can earn you millions and allow you to reach countless followers all over the world. As lines between personal opinions and corporate strategies can be blurred, understanding this concept of influencers is a new one for many parents in relation to how they could impact on their children’s development and wellbeing.
The awesome people at National Online Safety have a great guide that is well worth a look at for the uninitiated (that includes me). Click on the image above to download a PDF version.
The popularity of TikTok has rocketed over the past months, and so those wonderful people at National Online Safety have produced a fantastic guide to TikTok for parents.
It is well worth a read if your child uses the app, or has been asking about it. Click the image below to download a PDF version.
Today was Christmas Party Day in school – and there were games played, songs sung, crackers pulled, jokes told, presents unwrapped, turkey scoffed down and sprouts scoffed at.
A huge thank you to Emma in the kitchen, and also to Elf Ibbotson and Elf Boulton for the hours of preparation: without them this day would never be what it is – a wonderful and fun time for all.
The traditional dinner was fantastic, although some did prefer some modern, non-traditional offering such as this sausage and tomato crisp and jam sandwich. Looked pretty good to be honest!
I enjoyed seeing everyone in their party clothes, the place was buzzing today, and the classes enjoyed a range of party games once the ice cream had gone down.
Stars of the Week:
For good letter formation; going the extra mile with his multiplication practice and great focus in his maths and working hard to understand problems he finds challenging – Fantastic!
Writer of the Week:
For fantastic effort and creativity in his big write – Excellent!
Right Choice Winners:
For being leaftastic; fantastic teamwork and tidying up without being asked – Thank you!
Certificates from Home
Brownies – Charity Sleepover – Raising over £100 – Well Done!
House Point Trophy Winners:
Congratulations to all the members of Howden who managed to get the most house points this week. The Captain and Vice-Captain of Howden will present the certificates in next week’s assembly.
We were asked by The Friends of Grindleford Station to help in decorating the station platform for Christmas. As part of their Forest School sessions, Class Two created some lovely natural Christmas decorations. Just look at their gorgeous handiwork, a nice bit of colour has been added to Grindleford Station at this special time. It’s so great to be able to be part of community projects such as this.