The children at Lark Rise Academy have excelled themselves again this year in their support of Godanga Colony Primary School, Chaknara Primary School, Marsal Duar Girls’ Hostel, Khristyia Seva Niketan Hospital and the wider community in rural Sarenga, West Bengal, India.
In support of these groups, the children at Lark Rise have learned about two important values… ‘Going for Goals’ and ‘Relationships’.
Prior to her visit, Mrs Berry set the children goals:
Goal 1… Children were invited to make a friendship bracelet to be given to a child in India. The goal was for each child in both schools and the girls’ hostel to be given a friendship bracelet (ügoal achieved).
Goal 2… The friendship bracelet was to be presented in a picture card so that each child received a card from a friend in England depicting something that the children at Lark Rise enjoyed participating in. Words were not necessary, although some children challenged themselves by ‘googling’ some phrases in Bengali/Hindi… which was very impressive (ü goal achieved).
Goals 3 and 4 were to be as a result of raising money through a mufti-day in January.
Goal 3… The children were able to give each child in the Indian schools a piece of fresh fruit with the money they collected. The fruit was bought locally to support the villagers and their economy. A fresh, large, juicy orange was given to each child which many promptly peeled and devoured with great relish whilst others chose to keep and take home to share with their family (ü goal achieved).
Goal 4… The money also enabled each Indian child to be presented with a Lark Rise teddy bear. They were excited to feel the teddy’s soft fur on their faces and the teddies were soon popped into shirt pockets, peeping out at the world beyond! For many tribal children, this would have been their first toy teddy (ügoal achieved).
Goal 5… Saw lots of prescription glasses being brought into school. Donations varied in size, colour, shape and prescription. These were donated to Khristyia Seva Niketan Hospital and through their Optometrist Department given to the needy in the community. Lives were changed as people who walked into the consultation room with little or limited sight, left with beaming faces and sight. Many left with tears of joy rolling down their faces at being able to see the world around them again… all the vibrant colours and contours of shapes. They were certainly very, very appreciative. The glasses will change the world for many poorer villagers who would not otherwise have been able to afford glasses (ü goal achieved).
Goal 6… a piece of joint artwork which was started at Lark Rise and completed in India. Children, staff and governors from Lark Rise all added their fingerprints in various shades of green to the outline of a tree. The tree was then given buds/blossoms in pink by all the children and staff attending the Indian schools. The finished piece of artwork, a tree in full bloom, will be displayed at school; a great piece of teamwork (ü goal achieved).
Whilst Mrs Berry was in India, she was able to share and introduce some classroom activities that some of the children had enjoyed at Lark Rise during after school science club. A piece of string was tied to the iron bars in the window spaces of the classroom and rocket balloons were launched on straw carriers so that the children could cheer for their favourite colour balloon to win the race. The children got really excited and clapped and cheered as they counted down to the launch and release of each balloon. The children also had great fun outside just patting the balloons up off the floor in their outdoor spaces. They were also very excited as gradually they began to ‘pop’ as they hit the ground.
After spending the mufti-day money on fruit, teddies and science resources there was still enough money to purchase some fluorescent lighting to go in the newly decorated Baby Room that the visiting group had worked together on to improve the environment at the hospital for the very young patients. The children at Lark Rise have certainly helped to give this room and its many visitors a much more pleasant experience and a much ‘brighter’ future! The staff were really appreciative too as it made their working ward a more pleasant place to be… so another achievement ticked off.
The children at both schools really look forward to sharing experiences from England, so much so that this year, one of the schools had a small collection and donated some pens and a teddy to Lark Rise Academy as a sign of appreciation. A competition will be held for the pens to be given as prizes in a competition inspired by the Indian assembly and the ‘Tangy Twist’ sweets given to each child… another chance for house points and for all pupils to participate as they think about using their art skills (painting, drawing or collage) or English skills (poetry or a descriptive paragraph – to use their up-levelling strategies) to enter the competition.
Lark Rise Academy, you have done yourselves proud. Thank you for all your support; you have made many children and adults smile.
Mrs Berry J
Oompa-Loompas start a book craze!
On Thursday 2nd March 2017, Lark Rise children and staff all celebrated World Book Day by dressing up in Roald Dahl costumes; they ranged from brightly-coloured orange-faced Oompa Loompas to unkempt Mr and Mrs Twit.
During our whole school assembly, children participated in a quiz to guess an extract from a famous book. Lots of children won prizes for their house by correctly naming books, such as: Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Supertato. Correctly named Roald Dahl books earnt double the amount of prizes (five gold coins – wow!). It happened to be someone in Green house who won the gold coins. Max said “I am very happy and proud of Antony for winning the coins for my house.”
After assembly, children in Key Stage 2 designed their own sweets or chocolate in their English lesson. You could also design your own character that might appear in any of the Roald Dahl books. In Maths, the children completed a Roald Dahl investigation that was fun and challenging at the same time. All the word problems were about Dahl books and characters.
We all loved World Book Day; it was great fun and everyone could celebrate the 20th Anniversary. We are all looking forward to next year's World Book Day laready!
By Sadie and Gracie
A Peach of a Day!
On Thursday 2nd March 2017, children at Lark Rise enjoyed dressing up and taking part in activities based on Roald Dahl, for World Book Day. Everyone dressed up in costumes related to the Roald Dahl books and characters, even the teachers joined in.
In the morning assembly, all of the children listened to extracts from a variety of books and had to guess the famous children’s book and the author. Winners were rewarded with gold coins and applause from the other children. There was also an opportunity for everyone to show off their costumes to the rest of the school.
The excited and enthusiastic children completed different activities in their classroom, based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Twits. In Upper Key Stage 2, children designed a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory character in English. In Maths, there were lots of opportunities for problem solving!
Al of the children had an opportunity to have their photograph taken in small groups with their friends. A great picture to look back on in years to come!
By Jude, Ben and James
Lark Rise recently participated in 'The Big Pedal' project with 1690 schools across the UK. The Big Pedal, is the UK’s largest inter-school cycling and scooting challenge that inspires pupils, staff and parents to choose two wheels for their journey to school. Powered by Sustrans, the 2017 challenge ran from 20th to 31st March; Lark Rise took part for the 5 days, from 20th March to 25th March 2017. As always, we have been supported by Derek Smulders (Sutrans), who started the week with a 'Biker Breakfast' and introduction assembly. This was very well attended and the children enjoyed using the Smoothie Bike to make a refreshing and healthy breakfast drink! There were lots of other goodies on offer as well!
On each day of the challenge, schools compete to see who can record the greatest percentage of pupils, staff and parents cycling or scooting to school. The school’s best five days will determine their final position. All schools who took part were entered into daily prize draws and rewarded with: bike and scooter equipment, teddy bears, badges and slap bands. Last year, on average, 25.3% of our pupils travelled by bike or scooter for the week. We managed to beat that figure this year, with an average of 30.58% and have therefore met the target set by Derek in assembly! Figures show that over 700,000 pupils have been involved across the UK daily.
During the week, some children were lucky enough to find a 'Golden Lock' ticket hanging on their scooter or bike after school. Once they had taken this to the office, they were rewarded with a prize. Well done to all of the children who participated during the week and to those who won a prize. Once all the school data is collected by Sustrans, we will know if we have finished in the top 5 schools in Dunstable. If we achieve this, we will again get a visit from the 'Mountain Bike Stunt Team,' which the children have really enjoyed over the last 3 years.
Thanks to everyone who participated in Big Pedal Week and also to those staff and adults who supported the children with encouragement and organisation. A special thanks to Mrs Gransby for organising and helping with the breakfast!
From the 13th to the 17th March, we celebrated British Science Week. The national theme for the week was ‘Change’ and our learning centred around transforming an area of the school grounds into a useable school garden to support and extend our Science learning.
At the start of the week, Jane from ‘Wassledine’ visited us and linked English and Science by guiding children through stories related to nature. Our Early Years classes went on an outdoor story adventure with Jane and mapped out characters and plots using natural materials found around the school grounds.
The nursery children were also busy planting a number of strawberry plants, herbs and flowers for our garden. We look forward to seeing them grow!
Lower Key Stage 2 really enjoyed creating three luxurious bug hotels from numerous pallets and recycled materials, let's hope our first guests arrive soon!
On Friday, Bedfordshire Wildlife Trust took Key Stage One on a bug bio-blitz, so that they could track what life we already have in our garden. Later on, they made comparisons after the garden was more established. They then made a range of items to attract more wildlife to the garden (including bird feeders) and constructed a viewing screen (to hide behind to watch the wildlife) from natural materials.
Each key stage completed an art project based on Science stimulus; including ladybirds, fungi and wildflowers. The art projects are all to be installed in the garden. These included large logs tiled with wildflower mosaics, to create seating in the outdoor classroom.
Children in Upper Key Stage Two also took part in the online ‘I’m a Scientist,’ event where they spoke to a range of Scientists who work in the Space industry. They really enjoyed this and came up with some excellent questions to pose to the Scientist. The children enjoyed voting for their favourite scientist.
Over the week a number of areas of the garden were developed including:
The Science Ambassadors did a fantastic job of creating a beautiful butterfly shaped flower border with the kind support and direction of Sheila Meekums of Bedfordshire Gardens Trust.
The children also worked really hard at home creating bird boxes, bug houses and butterfly homes for our science week competition. The standard of entries was amazing and I can’t wait to see what they look like when added to the garden. Our wildlife are going to be spoilt for choice!
The achievements of this week would not have been possible without the amazing support of our parents and carers – from those who made very generous donations, to those who worked very hard in the garden. Thank you all, your valued support is truly appreciated!
Thank you also to the members of the wider community who donated time and resources including Poplars garden centre, Dobbies garden centre, The Community Tree Trust, Topps Tiles, Eaton Bray Nurseries, Orchards for Schools, B&M, Sahira at Incredible Edible, Sheila Meekums of Bedfordshire Garden’s Trust, Dunstable Lock and Safe Shop, The Woodland Trust, Paul Hughes, Goodwin Garden Services, Alison Findlay of the Royal Horticultural Society to name just a few!
If you would like to donate any time or resources to the continued development of our garden, please contact the school office.
On Tuesday 20th February, children in Upper Key Stage Two made a visit to a neighbouring school, Queensbury Academy, who hosted a cross country tournament. The event was organised by Queensbury School and the course was all set up ready to go, with many of Lark Rise’s ex-students acting as marshals along the route.
The morning began with a warm up exercise where the children were lead around the course, stopping at different points along the way to stretch. The races then began; with separate races for both girls and boys. The children worked incredibly hard to run two laps of the ‘figure of eight’ course, and we were super impressed within everybody for their efforts. There were definitely some sore legs after they had finished.
Congratulations to Lily Maguire-Jeffs for winning the girls race for her house and to Joseph Aloluwaloba for winning the boys.
A special thank you needs to be said to Mr Gurney from Queensbury and his Year 7 marshals for all their help and support in making the morning possible. We had an amazing time and are looking forward to working with you again soon.
On Monday 12th December 2016, the children, parents, carers, staff and governors of Lark Rise enjoyed a fantastic Christmas service at the Methodist Church in Dunstable. Members of the Church warmly welcomed the whole school and the service began, with the true meaning of Christmas being the focus. Children and adults alike listened intently to the Christmas Story and the key events in the story were highlighted by the children when they sang related Christmas carols and hymns.
The singing was beautiful and was helped along by the very talented Mr Turner, who played the organ to accompany the children. The audience also enjoyed performances from the Academy’s choir and recorder group, who were amazing too! The service concluded with a blessing from Mr Poxon, a lay worker who is also a member of the Church.
This fantastic event certainly helped everybody to feel very festive and there was real sentiment for the true meaning of Christmas – a meaning that should never be forgotten at this special time of year!
The children in Falcons Class have been busy this December collecting Christmas items for those less fortunate than themselves.
In Falcons Class, the children have been thinking about the message of Christmas, about giving as well as receiving, and they have been collecting up old books, toys, blankets and much more to give to charity.
The children have been superstars and they have really got behind this idea. Well done to all of Falcons Class for their contributions – they will definitely make a difference to somebody less fortunate than themselves this Christmas!
On Sunday 27th November 2016, a group of our Year 5 and 6 children attended this year’s Junior Just Dance Competition at MK Dons Arena, Milton Keynes. The event is held annually in aid of different charities; this year’s being Willen Hospice, and this was the second time that we have entered the competition.
The children had been rehearsing since early September for the event and had to learn two dances; the Foxtrot and the Cha Cha. For all of the children, it was their first experience of Latin and Ballroom dancing, and they were given choreography to learn by Accursio Romeo (organiser of the event and ex-choreographer for Strictly Come Dancing). The children worked extremely hard to prepare these two dances for the competition day.
On the day we were one of nine schools competing to be crowned Junior Just Dance Champions 2016. Our children looked fantastic with their full sequin dresses, matching Latin dance shoes and smart shirts and ties. They were dressed to impress and they certainly did just that!
The children performed their two dances wonderfully! And despite some harsh comments from some of the panel (to which a well-received boo was given in response), they were given lovely comments and marks from the judges. They were finalists in their category and were given fabulous gold medals to take home.
I would like to thank all the staff and children at Lark Rise who came to support us on the day. It was really appreciated by me and the children; they absolutely loved having the Lark Rise fan club cheering them on in the audience. A special thank you also goes to Mrs Galligan and Mrs Baker for helping us by doing hair and make-up, sorting the costumes and food and genrally being very smiley and motivational (when we needed it the most). I would also like to thank all those parents who came along to support us! It would not have been such a success without your support! We would also like to thank Accursio Romeo and Shareen Lewis for their hard work in organising the event, and especially to Accursio who visited the children in school to help them with their rehearsal.
Most importantly I would like to thank the children for working so hard, supporting each other brilliantly and being amazing dancers! You were incredible! Bring on next year!
On Friday 11th November 2016, some of our Year 4 athletes attended a Sportshall Athletics Tournament at Dunstable Leisure Centre. The event was really well organised and there were ten teams taking part overall. The children absolutely excelled themselves and all enjoyed their mornings. They took part in a variety of events including: an up and under relay, speed bounce, long jump, javelin and many more.
The children competed brilliantly in the field sports although excelled in the track races and relays, resulting in them finishing in second place in most of them. The children’s behaviour was also exemplary; they cheered each other on and gave it their all!
I would like to say a huge well done to all the children for taking part in the tournament and we will continue to practice for next year’s Year 5 and 6 tournament.
As part of our theme, ‘Home and Away,’ we have been taking the children out in the afternoons to have a look around our local area in class groups; Penguins, Parrots and Hummingbirds to spend time thinking about what is around the school and the facilities that are available. We have also used our understanding of human and physical features to identify these on our walk. We all walked the same route; from the school to Bennetts Recreation Ground. When we arrived we needed to make observations of the facilities available there, as well as what might be needed to improve the area. The children in all of the classes were able to make some great suggestions.
Once we had returned to our classroom, we made comparisons between our local area and a small village in another country (India). It was great to listen to what the children could recognise as similarities and differences when making their comparisons. We feel that physically taking the children out of the school grounds helps them to make their observations, rather than simply using photographs.
We were also able to look at maps of the route we had followed and highlight the road names that we recognised.
On Wednesday 9th November 2016, some of our Year 6 children took part in a county championship at the Bunyan Centre in Bedford. Having won our local tournament (schools from Dunstable and Houghton Regis), the boys had the opportunity to play against other schools from across Bedfordshire.
We met our match! Having been placed in a strong group from the beginning, we knew that we had a challenge on our hands to make it through to the playoffs. Though the boys continued right up to the end (ducking, diving and dodging), they found it difficult against some of the other schools and in particular a team from Luton, but they persevered throughout and showed great team spirit. We didn't make it through to the playoffs, however, the boys were very mature in discussing new tactics they had learnt during the afternoon and are now very keen to organise a house competition in the near future.
I would like to say a big well done to all of the boys for making it so far and representing our school at county level and also thank you to Mrs Knott for supporting the boys and also taking some great action shots, whilst I umpired the games!
Well done to everyone!
On Tuesday 8th November 2016, some of our Year 6 boys and girls attended a Table Tennis tournament at All Saints Academy. For some of the children it was the first time that they had played competitive table tennis, or played the sport at all, so it was a challenge that they thoroughly enjoyed and persevered at!
The children competed brilliantly in each of the games and we ended the tournament coming second and third place (missing out on first place by one game). All of the games were extremely close and the children played competitively against peers from other local schools.
I would like to say a huge well done to our teams for coming second and third place in this event and thank you to Miss Warren for her support.
On Tuesday 1st November 2016, Gillian Overitt, a children’s author, visited us at Lark Rise. Gillian shared her latest book, ‘Max’s Magical Dream’, with the children in assembly, carried out a question and answer session and also signed some copies of her book for the children.
We were all very excited to meet a real author and responded to her enthusiastic nature by asking a variety of well-thought out questions on: how to get a book published, how to get ideas for stories and who ways in which to illustrate it.
We all enjoyed listening to chapter one of Gillian's latest book about the adventures of a friendly dragon with everyone wishing she would finish the story with us! Later in the day. This experience gave all of us at Lark Rise an insight into the life of a writer and encouraged both adults and children to embrace their creativity by writing. This was the perfect way to introduce our Book Fare which has proved to be a very successful way to promote the advantages and benefits of reading.
Thank you again to Gillian for visiting us and spending time with the children.
From the 10th to 14th October, we all celebrated National Biology Week. The theme of the week was Marine Biology and the children were very excited to expand their knowledge of this topic, despite our inland location!
We linked Science to English by kicking off the week with a marine biology introductory assembly based on the story ‘Commotion in the Ocean,’ which explained the importance of oceans, what we may find in the ocean and what marine biology is. This cross-curricular theme continued throughout the week with children deepening their knowledge of marine biology through P.E., Music, Art and English.
Our Nursery children were delighted to have a rock pool to explore in their classroom all week and enjoyed several creative activities, including making jelly fish, crabs and fish for a display. Children in Reception focused their learning on Octopi, learning facts and creating their own pictures and 3D models of an octopus. They also made cross curricular English and Maths links to the theme, such as recognising the initial phoneme of the sea creatures and counting the number of teeth in a shark’s mouth before writing the numeral correctly.
Key Stage One focused their learning on rock pool habitats. They also took part in a special online lesson via CBeebies, which linked story writing with the story setting of a rock pool.
Children in Key Stage Two took part in virtual lessons with the largest aquarium in the United Kingdom (the National Marine Aquarium based in Plymouth) through the ‘Community Seagrass Initiative’. The children learned all about sea grass habitats (likened to an underwater rainforest) which are home to many species including sea horses and cuttlefish. They also learned about food chains and webs. Children also used cellophane fish to observe the movement of these fish when placed on different parts of the body, before making scientific observations as to what the reasons for any differences might be.
On Friday, we received a visit from Kirsten Hinter, a member of the SeaWatch Foundation and author of ‘The Magic Dolphin’. She told us all about the threats to ocean life and in particular dolphins and whales before we had a ‘live’ link up with Newquay in Wales to question scientists there about their work with dolphins. The children were delighted to learn that as a school, we had adopted a dolphin named Bond.
Over the course of the week, children took part in a scavenger hunt and collected facts from various displays scattered around the school. Children, from Nursery through to to Year 6, also participated in the Marine Biology Sculpture competition. The standard of entries was amazing and the fact files that accompanied them were well thought out and extremely informative. The children’s motivation to extend their learning at home was very impressive!
On Friday 14th October 2016, some of our Year 5 and 6 athletes attended a Sportshall Athletics Tournament at Dunstable Leisure Centre. The event was really well organised and there were ten teams taking part overall. The children absolutely excelled themselves and all enjoyed their mornings.
The children competed brilliantly in the field sports although excelled in the track races, coming first or second place in most. The children’s behaviour was also phenomenal: courteous, supportive and polite.
I would like to say a huge well done to all the children for coming sixth place in this event and thank you to Mrs Marshall for her support.
On Thursday 6th October 2016 , some of our Year 6 children attended a dodgeball competition at All Saints Academy. The boys played against four other local schools and worked really well as a team in each game. Having had a positive start and managing to win their first game, we showed great team spirit and determination to go on a winning streak, eventually managing to defeat all of the other teams.
I can't remember seeing such a high level of dodgeball from a group of our children and the whole squad should be very proud of their success. We are waiting to hear if we have made it through to the County championship, where we could potentially compete against other schools in Bedfordshire. Fingers crossed!
I would like to congratulate all of the boys who took part and also thank Mrs Berry for supporting the children at the tournament.
On Monday 19th September 2016, PC Sharn Basra from Bedfordshire Police visited us to talk about safety, behaviour and being part of a community. The children were delighted to meet a 'real policeman' and inundated PC Basra with a variety of questions, including "How long did you have to train for?" and "Is the food nice in jail?"
Prior to his visit, PC Basra asked the children to draw a picture to show what they thought a policeman/woman did. He was very impressed with the pictures drawn by all of the children and has selected a few to enter into a competition. We will keep our fingers crossed!