Author Archives: Steph Brewster

Manic Arts Launch “One Voice” Collaborative Project with Y4 and Y5

Last week, Year 4 and 5 got together to form new Kagan teams ready to start their One Voice spoken word project.  To get started with this, we shared our thoughts on some key ideas; privacy, choice, family, freedom, respect. We also looked at images of other children in different situations and used empathy to wonder what they would say and think if they had a voice to speak out.  We also linked our ideas to our Rights – so many connections!

This week, we welcomed Charlotte, Frankie and Claire from Manic Arts to teach us all about performance skills. We had lots of fun and can’t wait to start writing our own performance pieces next time!

Fire Service Visit to Year 4

This week, Year 4 welcomed some members of the Bournbrook Fire Service Crew to talk about safety around the home and out and about. It was a great afternoon and we learned lots. About 10 members of Year 4 decided they’d quite like to work in the fire service when they grow up!

Year 4 Go Exploring and Adventuring Up the Waseley Hills

Year 4 have been learning about exploring and adventuring all term as part of their IPC topic, so today it was their chance to get out in the wild for real.   After a short coach ride, they arrived at the Waseley Hills and the adventure began…

Our best exploring poses…

Challenge one – Negotiating the stile!

Then the adventurers set off up the hill with their nature scavenger hunts in hand – ” Ooh, look – a rabbit hole!”   When they got to the top they could see the University clock tower and couldn’t believe how tiny it looked!

What goes up must come down…trekking down to the first woodland.  It was a bit chilly and windy but all the explorers were dressed warmly for the weather.

The first real challenge was den building – the explorers could use what they had learned from their survival guide research, anything from their explorer kit and anything they could find in the woodland to create a shelter that would keep the rain off.  Great team work was needed and the results were excellent!

Next, it was Star Orienteering.  The teams had to use a map to locate clues that had been hidden around the top of the hill.  Tricky but fun. By the time all the clues had been found, they were definitely ready for a picnic lunch among the fallen logs of the Waseley Woods.

After lunch, we had a matchbox scavenger hunt challenge – how many different objects can you fit in a tiny matchbox?  The record was set at 25 different objects – wow!    It was then time to walk through the budding bluebells of Sedgebourne Coppice and back down to meet the coach.

“I think I spotted a woodpecker!”

A great day was had by all and every one of the explorers made in back in one piece.  Many were asking when the next trip to the hills would be! Intrepid explorers one and all!

British Science Week 2019 – Journeys

Did you know that this week is British Science Week ? And the theme for 2019 is Journeys.

In Year 4, Miss Beardsmore helped us link our science learning with our Explorers and Adventurers topic to come up with the contents of a rucksack that would help us to survive on the journey of our choice – Tricky stuff and lots of hard work needed to make sure we didn’t miss out on the essentials!

World Book Day 2019 – KS2 storyteller

This morning, KS2 had a brilliant time with a story teller.  The story was The Story Thief, which is an Anansi story from West Africa.  

We knew it wasn’t going to be just any story when we all had to get up and pretend to be different animals from the story! Can you tell what we are pretending to be (despite our World Book Day costumes)?

The story began and we helped out with actions and sound effects. It was really engaging and there was lots of laughter. 

As the story drew to a close, the fun didn’t end as we finished off the whole performance with an animal dance. Can you spot the teachers joining in too?

What a fabulous start to World Book Day 2019!

Poetry Week – Why I Play

First, we explored two poems – Block City by Robert Louis Stevenson and Gymnastics by Michael Rosen.  We looked at the language features and content.

Next, we went out to experience two types of play – physical (hopscotch) and imaginative (use the paper to get to the ‘island’) When we came back in, we reflected on how each type made us feel.

We then wrote a collaborative free-verse poem inspired by Gymnastics. 

Our next challenge was to write a poem which featured rhyming couplets like Block City.  We decided this was our preferred style so we then started to plan out our final poem and performance!



Poetry Slam! Haiku-style

Year 4 have been studying Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo this half term. We decided to try and write some poetry inspired by the descriptions we had seen in the book so far.  We gathered descriptive language to get us started.

Next, we learned about the traditional Japanese poetry form of Haiku (3 lines, with a syllable form of 5,7,5 – theme focused on nature)

To finish off, we had a poetry slam, where each team could come and share their poems! They were brilliant!!

No Outsiders – Learning that language is no barrier to friendship

Today, Year 4 were considering how we communicate with others when we might not speak the same language.

We read the story The Way Back Home, by Oliver Jeffers.

Image result for the way back home oliver jeffers

We then explored several problem-solving exercises but using no words at all, just our body language.  First, we had to get into height order….easy-peasy!

Then, it suddenly got trickier, we had to arrange ourselves in order of our birthdays – day and month! Just look at all the hand-gestures we tried.   We almost managed it though!

The final challenge was directly inspired by the book – without any words, we had to draw diagrams to explain to our alien friend just what we needed to do to fix our airplane! It was tricky but using the combined brain-power of our Kagan teams we managed it.

Our final reflection was on the power of body language and the impact that a smile or frown can have on someone that you meet.  We used the Kagan structure Simultaneous Round Table to make sure everyone could share their views.  A very thought-provoking afternoon.


Safer Internet Day 2019

Today was Safer Internet Day and Year 4 were thinking hard about the idea of permission and our privacy rights on the internet.

We worked in Kagan teams to create solutions to real-life scenarios. It was tough but we have really started to learn a lot about how to make the internet a safer place for all of us.

UNICEF – Wants vs Needs – Year 4 Steering Group Super Lesson!

This afternoon, Miss Brewster got a rest from being the main teacher for a short while and had the fantastic experience of being taught by members of the Y4 and Y6 UNICEF  Steering Group.

They taught a brilliant lesson which made us really think about what were our wants and what we actually needed.

We then finished up with a brilliant discussion about article 11 – Governments must do everything they can to stop children from being taken out of their comuntry illegally or being prevented from returning.  We will continue this work in our studies on the topic of Forced to Flee.


Well done Steering Group!


Wow! Explorers and Adventurers!

The first day back started with a challenge! Year 4 had to complete a Star Orienteering course around the school grounds in order to find 8 clues to what our new topic would be.  Lots of team work and running needed!

Once the clues were collected, the teams had to put them together to work out the connection.  It turned out to be Explorers and Adventurers!

We then had another challenge to complete. Each one of our Kagan tables is named after a key explorer, so our next task was to use books and the internet to find out what they were famous for. Finally, we had to present and teach the rest of the class about them. A busy busy morning!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Year 4!

After taking the lead in last week’s Christmas celebrations, Year 4 were very much in the festive mood this week.

We have created our Christmas cards by using thumbprint reindeers (complete with Rudolf red noses) and had to use our Maths skills to plan out the rectangles for the design.  We also had our first attempt at using pinking shears. Tricky, but very effective.

Our calendars this year are all ready to go too. This time we’ve gone for a desk calendar -just perfect for Christmas gifts for our families.  We hope they like them!

Year 3 & 4 Inspire Workshop -Writing Skills

This morning, Year 3 and 4 welcomed some of their parents to take part in a series of activities to develop writing skills.

They had opportunity to practice:

Kinesthetic Spelling – practicing the Year 3 and 4 exception words.

Turning speech bubbles into direct speech.

Vocabulary – playing a card game to orally build interesting sentences.

Show not tell – learning how to describe how a character is feeling without saying the feeling word itself.

Great fun was had by all.  Thank you so much to the parents who joined us.

DT in Action – Battery Operated Lamps

This term’s design and technology project was to design and make a working battery operated lamp.

We had to decide who our lamp was for and then explored circuits and switches in order to finalise our designs.

Making was harder than we thought, but most of us managed to achieve something that looked like our design.  Next, we will evaluate our designs!

Year 4 Visit the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Year 4 walked to the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park today to kick-off their new topic Saving the World.
Their task was to go on a Photo Scavenger Hunt, following the clues to discover (and have our picture taken with) different endangered animals around the park.  We did lots of learning about their habitats and why they are struggling for survival in the wild. Despite the rain, we had lots of fun!

Lila’s Climb – A poem of perseverance

This term, Year 4 have been reading and enjoying The Firework Maker’s Daughter by Philip Pullman.  We are reaching the end of the book now just as our heroine, Lila, is reaching the climax of her journey.  But first she must face the towering task of climbing Mount Merapi – an active volcano!

We discussed shape, repeated refrains, alliteration and rhyme and then gathered exciting vocabulary from the text (and our own imaginations) to create our poems.  What do you think?

Dogs Trust Maths

This afternoon, Year 4 met Anthea from the charity Dog’s Trust. She came to talk to use about how much it actually costs to look after a dog properly.

First, we had to write a shopping list for all the things that we thought a dog would need for its first year with us. We then found out the true cost was much greater than we thought!


The afternoon finished with a whole assembly in which we were taught how to communicate with the dogs and their owners in order to stay safe.

Year 4 Visit Lapworth Museum

Today, Year 4 visited one of our favourite places – the Lapworth Museum! We met up with Anna, who we first met last year when we went for our Dinosaur visit.

This time,  we went to consolidate our learning and find out some interesting new things about Volcanoes and Earthquakes.

We impressed our teachers with our volcano knowledge!

Then we explored earthquakes and the effect that they have on buildings. We attempted to build “houses” using wooden blocks and the tested them on the wobbly board. We then tried to repeat the experiment with Lego. We learned lots about how houses can be made more stable in an earthquake zone.

A fantastic visit all round!

DT skills – The result? Tasty Leek and Potato Mash for Tea!

Despite a very dry growing season, Year 4 still managed to dig up a bumper crop of produce from the school growing beds this week.  They worked hard to uproot and unearth all these tasty leeks and potatoes, ready for creating a delicious dish.

They took the whole process through from harvesting to preparing and cooking the final dish – ably assisted by Mrs Edwards!

Preparing the freshly harvested produce by washing thoroughly.

Learning how to chop safely.

After Mrs Edwards took charge of the boiling, a lot of hard mashing was required – use those muscles everyone!

Once the mashing was done, it was time to learn how to use the hob safely to brown-off and soften the leeks.  Stand well back and make sure the area is clear.

Finally, it was time to add the lovely leeks to the soft mash then it was just a pinch of salt and pepper needed before the finishing touch, a smidge of grated cheese!

The dish smelled absolutely delicious as it cooked in the staff room oven – we hope you all enjoyed your homemade, nutritious treat!

A massive “Thank you!” to Mrs Edwards for teaching us how to be brilliant and safe chefs who can now prepare, chop, fry, mash and grate like experts!  What will our next recipe be!?

Maths Competition Fun

This afternoon, four extremely talented and enthusiastic mathematicians from Year 4 took part in the Borcherd’s Shield Maths Challenge at King Edwards School.  They were brilliant ambassadors for Tiverton Academy and we are so proud of them!

Place Value up to 4 digits!

Today, Year 4 were doing some pretty tricky maths, but we were working with our Kagan team so we knew we would succeed! We were showing our understanding of the value of each digit by representing one number in 3 different ways. A part-whole diagram, using base ten equipment and using our brand new place value counters.

Next, we proved what we had learned by working with our partner on a Rally Coach task where we had individual challenges to attempt. We did well, with our coach ready to lend a hand if needed and importantly, to praise us when we got it right.

Entry Point – Earthquake at Tiverton?!

Year 4 got their new IPC off to an exciting start! We were imagining that Selly Oak had experienced a minor earth tremor, but experts had predicted that a more devastating earthquake was on its way.

Tiverton had been chosen as the safest place to house the disaster relief centre, so the Kagan teams had to assess the needs of the survivors, decide what to provide and work out how they were going to spread the word.

The teams decided to produce a news report to get the word out.  We then recorded them including interviews and even the intro music.

A great start to our topic!  We can’t wait to learn more.



Let’s Go Fly a Kite – DT project fun

We began our exciting new project by gathering our knowledge about kites.  We then learned about all the different features such as keel, sail, tail and spars.

We then got to grips with simple paper-only kite making. Just look at them fly.

We then tested out different materials for our sail and kite shapes, before designing our own kites.  We learned to use hack saws and cutting blocks safely in order to create our kites.

Fingers crossed for wind tomorrow when we test them!

Update: Success!!!

Eagle Clay Tiles

Over the last two weeks, we have created observational pastel sketches of eagles to get a more thorough understanding of the features of the birds.

We then zoomed in on specific aspects: the talons, the beak, the feathers, the eye, and carefully used line only to record the details.  These drawings formed the base of our clay tile work.

We learned to roll out the clay evenly, and then we explored using gouging tools to recreate the shapes and textures form our sketches.

A few days later, the clay was dry and we were able to use a range of paints to colour our tiles.

We are very proud of the results. What do you think?

Special Visitors

This term, Year 3 and 4 have been reading a new text Fly, Eagle Fly!

As part of this, we wanted to experience how amazing birds of prey actually are. The only was to do this was to invite some into our school hall for an educational talk and flying demonstration!  We met owls, a hawk, a baby falcon, a kestrel and finally the star attraction – Orn, the bald eagle all from The Falconry Centre in Hadley.

We were speechless from start to finish. What an experience!

  Gliding too fast to capture!

Magnificent Magnets

Last week we started our new Science topic by exploring contact and non-contact forces.  We discovered that magnets are objects which create a non-contact force. We had great fun exploring the concepts of repel and attract.

This week, we narrowed our exploration down to a single  question to investigate. We also practised planning our investigation, identifying variables and things that would could keep the same to make it fair test!

Barbara Hepworth 3D forms

We chose one of our observational sketches to inspire our abstract natural forms.  We learned a new skill of paper mache: 2 layers of newspaper and then cardboard additions to recreate features of the seed heads.  Finally we added a layer of tissue paper to even out the surface.

Once dry, we chose natural and metallic coloured paints which were chosen to represent Barbara Hepworth’s use of stone and bronze in her sculpture.

Geometry Round Robin Challenges

After a couple of weeks of intensive learning about shapes and lines, we decided to challenge our team mates using two versions of Round Robin.  In this Kagan strategy, we each think, draw or write our response before sharing in turn.  Our teams gave us immediate feedback and it felt great!


Using Write Round Robin to describe properties of shapes. (Above)

Using Draw Round Robin to draw 2D shapes described by our captain and shapes that fit criteria such as “a pair of parallel lines”.

Seed Science – Germination and Growth

As part of our Science topic about plants, Year 3 set up an investigation to test what plants need in order to germinate and then to grow successfully.

We planted some cress in cotton wool, sand and soil, watered them and waited.

After two days, this is how they looked. All had started to germinate.

After a week, the results were quite different.  We used these results to work out what they needed.


Tales from the Silk Road – Super Storyteller

Today, Year 3 had a surprise visitor – a storyteller, The Spirit of the Silk Road.

They told us all about the wondrous journey that silk takes from worm to the luxurious fabric.

Before we found out the truth, we had opportunity to imagine the creature that could have created such a beautiful thing. We used our imaginations!

After our wonderfully creative session, we were told a magical story which actually came from the Silk Road – the route the Silk took from its origins in China all the way West to Persia. We had an amazing time and learned a lot.

Artist of the term – Barbara Hepworth

This term, our artist Barbara Hepworth has proved to be very inspirational for Year 3.

So far we have researched who she was,  what media she worked in and what she was inspired by.  We put this into a fact file in our sketchbooks.

This week, we have been getting ready to move onto some sculpture of our own. To do this we have been creating tonal drawings using charcoal.  Just like Barbara Hepworth, we were using natural forms as our subject -seed heads (and it just so happens our Science topic is all about plants!)


Watch this space as we begin our 3D form work next week!