Monday, 29 April 2013

Orangutans and school life

One thing I really enjoy about life in Bradbury School is the huge variety of events that take place each and every week. There is always something going on! I try to get to as much as I can, as I love seeing our children participate in life outside the classroom.

Last week, for example, we started our week with our Earth Day walk. Each year group walked along Bowen Rd, dressed in Earth colours, to show our support for caring for our planet. By doing this, we hope to raise our students' awareness of the importance of the world around them.

At the same time, Year 2 were raising money within their classes for the Masarang HK Society for the rehabilitation of orangutans. They were doing this after the founder, Dr Willie Smits came to talk to them about his work on this project. I had heard Dr Smits talk at another conference I had attended and could not believe that we were lucky enough to have him come and speak at Bradbury. I found him to be absolutely inspirational! I was so moved that I tried to persuade my daughter in law, who is a wildlife vet, to go and work for him!

We also had the HK Athletics meet, which... we won! Very exciting as the competition was tough. This gives us a good measure how how robust our PE programme is in Bradbury School and how our level of performance compares to other schools.

As part of our PE programme, Year 4 had a rugby tournament in Happy Valley. It was great to watch the development of a high level of skills, accessible to all children, not just the 'sporty ones'. Not being a person who fits into this category, this is important to me to see!

We had another great class assembly, presented by 2W and 2M, on Forces. It was wonderful to see such young children presenting such a sophisticated scientific concept with understanding.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Cake Sale!

Cake sale morning teas are always very exciting for our students, they love having this treat now and then. It is also a great way to have parents in the school; it is a good option for working parents who cannot commit to coming in on a regular basis, but still would like to be a part of what is going on.

As you would know, I am on gate duty each morning and it is always fun to see such delectable treats being brought up the stairs so carefully! So much effort goes into making these look mouthwatering and delicious.

The money that is raised goes to support the Year Group whose sale it is. Traditionally, for little extras like games for wet lunches. It is each Year Group's decision what they spend the money on, so it is all in a good cause.

Some parents have told us that they disapprove of us selling cakes to students. As a school, we have discussed their concerns, but do always come back to the cake sale. The popularity and support of these sales shows us that, in the main, the majority of our parents approve of them. Ultimately, I guess it is each family's decision, as participation is optional.

I have noticed that sometimes, a 'healthy' option, like bags of plain popcorn, are sent in, which is a really good idea. In fact today, a bag of popcorn was one of the first items sold!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Planning together

I really like the way that dedicated time for teachers to get together for planning is built into our timetable. It means that a high level of communication is in place, teachers can work on units together and share ideas, as well as having time for the practical planning of trips and visits.

This year, instead of going in to each classroom for a formal observation of teaching, I have dedicated a month to spend with each year group, to work with them in a way that they think would be helpful. An example of this has been to spend some time asking students questions about their perceptions of their learning, then feeding this back to teachers. The teachers then can examine their teaching practices to see if they need to make modifications based on their students' feedback.

The pictures below are from my time with the Year 1 team, after I spent some time asking students about their perceptions of 'success'.

I think it is great that teachers want to give value to student voice and to hear what our students think and feel about this huge thing called 'learning' that they are so heavily involved in each day!