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Years 3 and 4

What have we been learning?

Today (27/5/16) was our final Forest School session for this academic year. Today we stayed within our local area and walked up to Bluebell Woods (named by the children last year), sadly the bluebells have long since gone over due to our erratic seasonal weather. However a group did see a dear, sadly their delight sent the deer quickly into hiding!  We made our way up to Clifton Heath, enjoying a snack of squash and a biscuit before returning to school.

Year 3 and 4 will be back to Forest School in term 1 of the next academic year.

Today (13/5/16) was our last session at Pine Woods.  Next week we visit the Wood Centre and our final Forest School will be local.  Our learning today involved lots of bug hunting.  We were able to find lots of creatures at the site and even had a short amount of time to co-ordinating jumping together and test our swings before returning to school.

Today (6.5.16) was our final week of group work (don't worry we have lots of exciting things planned to do - but this will be as a full group).  It is amazing the difference a week makes and the site is looking very green due to the warmth of the sun.  We excavated, made hot chocolate using the Kelly kettle (for those hat found the temperature too hot, squash was offered) and we were very creative with natural items.  We even have a woven hurdle!

A 360 degree view of our site

Still image for this video
Today (29/4/16) we rotated groups.  Each group took part in one of three activities (Ready, Steady Make!  Kelly Kettle or excavation).  We had a fun session making and digging and were glad of our hot chocolate to warm us up!  Well done to Joe who made our fire after just one strike of the fire steel!

Today (22/4/16) at Forest School we returned to our group work.  Group 1 worked with Miss Haines and spent some time excavating!  Measuring out an area the dig began. The site is still very wet, however the children found a number of worms and were very interested in the wildlife.  Group 2 completed ‘Ready, Steady, Make’ using a selection of joining materials they were able to make items using natural resources.  Group 3 used the Kelly Kettle - even though it was wet they were still able light a small fire to heat water for hot chocolate.

Today (15/4/16) was our first Forest School session.  Although the weather was rather damp we didn’t let this deter us.  Working in small groups we took part in a spring themed scavenger hunt. We enjoyed time exploring the site and using the swings which we put up last term before making our way back to school.

What have we been learning?

Today (18/3/16) was our final session this term.  On route to the site we watched the Earth Trust staff who were busy clearing a huge pile of wood/brash that had been cleared in term 2.  Pine Woods looked very different from last week - all the water had drained away!  Having rotated groups for our last session Mrs Campbell and her group repositioned our seating area to a dryer location (which will be less likely to become boggy should we have heavy rain)! They also provided much needed drinks and snacks.  Miss Haines and her group were busy with ‘We’re going on a Bear hunt’ and Mrs Field’s group were very productive making 2 more swings. 


Next week during ‘early morning work’ the children will complete their evaluations of Forest School.  This important feedback allows the children to consider their learning at Forest School for the term, learning which they have found a challenge and possible opportunities for future learning.  Allowing the children to complete the evaluation gives an important insight into their views.  It also allows the children to have ownership over the Forest School sessions by planning activities and learning that are relevant to them.

Today (11/3/16) we rotated groups.  Miss Haines groups were hunting a badger (their alternative to We're going on a Bear hunt), Mrs Field's group made swings and Mrs Campbell's group provided much needed snacks and had a little time to explore!  The site was a little wet after the heavy rain mid-week, but this did not deter from our enthusiasm and time in the woods.

Today was our second trip to our new Forest School site - Pine Woods.  On the way to our site we pass ‘Neptune Woods’ (taking the road from Long Wittenham to Little Wittenham).  A fairly new plantation, but still a fantastic place to explore if you are looking for woods close by.  A small car park and a very short stroll offering several willow structures to explore and a young woods make for a great afternoon and an alternative to Wittenham Clumps.


At the site today we continued to explore, but this time working in one of three groups.  Group 1 worked with Miss Haines - using the woods they acted out a well loved story and practised many prepositions.  Group 2 worked with Mrs Field building swings.  The team work which took place was absolutely fantastic as this was a tricky task.  KS1/FS will be very excited to now have a swing on site.  Group 3 worked with Mrs Campbell exploring the site and providing a snack and drink for the whole group.  Next week we will rotate groups. 

Today (26/2/16) our Forest School learning took us to our new Forest School site – Pine Woods.  After a short bus ride, we made the final part of journey on foot to our new site.  We were very excited on arriving and were able to explore the boundary line of our site (marked with a blue rope).  The children are able to move freely around the space, but are taught not to go outside the boundary line.  The site is a little boggy still in places (following the December rain).  Working as a team, we moved a number of logs to within our boundary line, we will be able to use these for seating, den building and many more things I am sure! Before returning to the bus, we enjoyed hot chocolate and a biscuit.  We can't wait for next week!

Today (16/1015) was our final Forest School session for this term - which was a very full session.  Today we made fire; first we reminded ourselves of the 3 ingredients needed to produce fire (fuel, oxygen and heat) and we talked about the different types of fuel we could use and what we could use to produce heat (matches, lighter, flint and steel, glass) to ignite the fire. Next we collected fuel (sticks which were no longer than our forearm, but about the diameter of our finger).  Once we decided we had collected enough fuel, we then drew our fire circle on the playground and placed our fire pits in the middle. We reminded ourselves on how to keep ourselves around the fire.  We used our fire to make smores (yummy!). 


We also used our knot skills to thread and knot a lace through our tree cookies (these will be kept in the classroom until the end of term).  We finished our clay leaves by painting them, remembering carefully the detail of our leaf. 


Finally, we completed our evaluation for this term (we will report on these later).  Year 3 and 4 will return to Forest School in term 4.

During Forest School today (09/10/15) we had our final focus on tree identification for this term.  Selecting an intact leaf, we used clay we to make a replica of our leaf.  We looked carefully at the shape, indentations and vines of our chosen leaf.  The clay leaves now need to dry out before we bring them home. 


Next week is our last Forest School of term 1.  Year 3 and 4 will return to Forest School in term 4.

During Forest School today (2/10/15) we have continued with our tree identification.  We made tree cookies by transferring an image of an identified tree leaf to a disc of wood.  We also practised tying a granny knot and a reef knot (we needed to use our value of perseverance as this proved tricky for many of us).  The following link is an excellent website which shows different knots, their uses and step -by-step videos showing how to tie them: http://www.animatedknots.com/reef/ 


If your child is new to knots practise tying a granny knot and a reef knot (also know as a square knot) before moving onto other knots.

During Friday’s Forest School (25/9/15) we focused on leaf/tree identification.  We used charts and books to identify a number of leaves and seeds found on Culham Airfield.  We were able to observe the changing colours of many leaves from last week’s visit.  A dead rabbit caused much discussion about how it might have died and why it was still there and not in a predator’s stomach! 

Today (19/9/15) was our first Forest School session of the term.  Using Culham Airfield we worked in pairs or groups to produce portraits using natural resources; Mrs Campbell and Miss Haines were both replicated along with Clifton Hampden School.  We were able to observe the beginning touches of Autumn; berries, golden hues to leaves and lots of acorns this year. Have a look at our pictures to see if you can decide what/who each one is.

Click the following link to find out why Forest School is important, the skills we develop and how we learn: http://www.clifton-hampden.oxon.sch.uk/forest-school/