Yet again this year we are incredibly lucky to have lots of wildlife active around the school and the children are able to witness what the animals are doing through carefully placed cameras. As the children enter the school everyday they will be able to see a bird box and a bee box on the side of the school that we can see inside. By visiting http://www.seenature.org.uk/school-zone/school-streams/ the children can select our school and look inside LIVE to see what is happening.
You will need to watch very carefully over the summer term to see how busy the bees are. We started last year with 6 eggs, but this year Environmental Club counted over 70 had been laid. They put most of them back in the bee box but we have moved others around the school grounds to encourage more colonies of bees. These are red mason bees that are vital pollinators of plants and are becoming increasingly endangered in the UK. Because these bees do not protect a hive they are not aggressive and it is incredibly rare for them to sting at all.
As the summer moves on you will see them lay eggs in little chambers that they make from mud. They will fill a channel and then start on another channel. From outside you will see completed channels sealed up so birds don't feed on the eggs. The female bees are aware if an egg is a boy or girl and the female eggs are always laid at the back of a channel with the male ones in front.
For the third year in a row we have a pair of Blue Tits using our bird box. This year we have counted 13 eggs in the nest but it is rare for all the chicks to survive but we can hope. As you watch you will see the chicks slowly develop feathers and they will grow quite quickly. From the eggs hatching it only takes about 15 days before they will fledge and leave the nest. We are expecting this to be around the week commencing 13th May.
Key Stage 2 were very lucky to receive a visit from Roots to Food to learn about cooking and nutrition. They started the morning by looking at the different food groups in the Eatwell Guide (pictured below) and discussing the importance of a nutritious breakfast. They learnt about portion sizes and the type of foods which come under each food group. They explored the idea that not everyone eats the same things and understood the terms vegetarian, pescatarian and vegan.
Then came the Ready, Steady, Cook challenge! There was an orange team and a green team each consisting of four little chefs and one head chef. Each team had ingredients they had to make a healthy, balanced meal from and discussed a variety of cooking techniques. As a key stage they put the ingredients together to make a delicious dish for each team to cook in just 15 minutes! The recipes for these two dishes are below. Well done to the orange team for their win!
Here is what some of the children said:
“I had never had the tomato pasta sauce before but I really did like it, especially with the spring onions. I was surprised that the onions came from Spain!”
“I loved tasting the food, I love salmon and I have it in my sandwiches. I found out that it is good for your brain!”
“I learnt about all the different cooking techniques you can use.”
“I learnt that you should try a food before saying you don’t like it as when you try it, you might love it!”
“I now know a lot more about all the food groups and what makes a healthy meal.”
“I loved the cooking challenge and I am going to help my mum and dad make the recipes at home!”
Dartford Visual Arts Challenge
Groups of children across Key Stage 2 have had the opportunity to participate in The Dartford Visual Arts Challenge run by the Icon Theatre, where they have been using the recycling theme to design ‘wraps’ for the bin lorries in Dartford. The children have worked alongside a visiting professional artist and used gelli printing, drawing and junk modelling to transform discarded rubbish into beautiful pieces of art!
Years 3, 4 and 5 have had the opportunity to take part in a classical Indian dance workshop, where they have been extending their understanding of the Indian and Hindu culture through dance. They experimented with the use of ‘mudras’ (Indian hand symbols) that represent elements of nature to inspire their dance and tell a story.
Years one to six enjoyed an interactive workshop where actors used boxes, colours and masks to vividly portray what bullying is; what can be done about it, and how every child has the power of one, the power to report and deal with bullying when they see it.
The workshop also explained the different roles in bullying: Bully, Target, and Bystander and showed examples of different types of bullying: Physical, Verbal, Exclusion, and Cyber bullying. Through circle time and Jigsaw lessons children will be exploring what bullying is and ways to solve conflict.
Last week some students from year 5 and year 6 were lucky enough to take part in the first annual Scratch cup –a programming competition for primary school students to showcase what they can create using the scratch programming language.
They attended a meeting at Dartford Grammar school where they were given one week to create an original game. After one week the games were submitted for judging.
On Wednesday 13th July they returned to Dartford Grammar school for the results. First the students got to play the games the other schools had created and the children voted for the game they liked the best.
Then they went to the lecture theatre for the prize giving where they received the following results;
Year 5 individual-Bronze
Year 5 pair-Bronze
Year 6 individual-Silver
Year 6 individual-Bronze
Year 6 pair-Bronze
Overall school prize-Gold
Online Safety Day
To celebrate Online Safety Day, the children in each class designed their own online safety character and then vote on which character they would like to be their class online mascot. The winners from each class had the opportunity to present their character to our Computing Governor and explain the special qualities their character has.
Well done to all the children that entered.
The Magical Christmas Jigsaw
For our Christmas performance this year the children performed the Magical Christmas Jigsaw. The children have performed a selection of songs for you to listen to.
Junior Road Safety Officers
Our Junior Road Safety Officers joined other Kent schools and enjoyed a day at the Council Chambers in Maidstone. They took part in a Road Safety conference to decide on the key road safety topics they would be promoting in school throughout the next year.
Pupils listened to 5 persuasive and informative talk about the key principles of road safety, all of our pupils felt as though that these talks extended their learning and knowledge about road safety issues. They then voted on the 3 topics that they felt were the most important.
The 3 chosen topics for this year are:
Term 1 - Be Seen, Hi-Viz
Term 2- Using Seatbelts
Term 3 – Wearing cycle helmets
The students have also designed their own road safety mascot - ‘Safety Shelly’ the slow moving tortoise - who wears a Hi-Viz jacket and promotes road signs and a Zebra Crossing on her shell. The chosen mascot was voted for by Eagles and will be used as part of their road safety promotion.
Roots To Food
Ready? Steady? Cook! Those were the words echoing around our school hall as Roots To Food visited The Gateway to give us a cookery lesson with a difference.
It was Team Guildford (the green team) versus Team Smith (the orange team) in a challenge to create a delicious, healthy, balanced meal within 15 minutes. We also learned about the different food groups, how to eat healthily and how to get your recommended 5 a day.
Both teams were given a different variety of ingredients, including chicken, salmon, basil, peppers, pasta and onions. After some discussion, Team Guildford decided to cook a salmon fishcake, with a vegetable chop suey and a timbale of lemon flavoured rice. Team Smith plumped for a pan fried chicken breast with a tomato and basil ragu, pasta and wilted greens.
All the children on the team were responsible for the cooking of the food which involved using a steamer, frying pan, blender and many other bits of kitchen equipment. With only 15 minutes the pressure was on!
After tasting the meals and getting feedback from the judges, the closely fought contest was won by the orange team – Team Smith.
This little light of mine (Dartford Choral Project)
The Dartford Choral Project has been running for 7 years bringing together the voices and talents of hundreds of children from Dartford's primary schools. Our school takes part every year singing at The Orchard Theatre, and this year was very exciting because we also had some amazing lighting effects! A particularly memorable aspect of the show featured a former Gateway Pupil singing and dancing the role of Billy Elliot in the song Electricity, which was truly electric! We learnt so many songs which have a story of light behind them. We enjoyed learning the lyrics to the songs and our favourite song was Reach for the stars because we interacted with the audience through actions and dance moves!
Alice in Wonderland book week
In June, the children took part in our Alice in Wonderland book week. The teachers prepared a variety of learning tasks on the theme which involved reading, art, number and problem solving activities.
A drama workshop was led by the Polka Theatre Company, in which each class from Year 2 – Year 6 had a chance to talk about the author and further explore the plot and the characters from the book.
There was a writing competition for KS2, where the children were invited to write their own short story starting with a passage from the book.
On Friday, the children and staff dressed as characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. There were some amazing costumes and parents had obviously gone to a great deal of trouble to find or make a costume. The children buzzed with excitement and during the afternoon each class shared some of the work that they had done during the week, at a whole school celebration assembly. The winners of the writing competition were announced and each won a copy of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. Small prizes were awarded to the runners up in each class. The winners were:
Y3 – Neriah
Y4 – Kanishq
The assembly was followed by a ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ on the school field, where jam tarts and cold drinks were enjoyed by all!
Thank you to all the parents and staff for their support in making this a special week for the children.
At the start of the year, Year 5 and 6 were extremely lucky to be invited to attend a workshop run by BLOODHOUND SSC. The day took them on an engineering adventure hoping to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
The day started with a presentation by the Bloodhound Education team. Bloodhound SSC is a UK-led, global project that are aiming to construct a supersonic car that will not only beat the current land speed world record, but smash the 1000mph barrier.
The children got the opportunity to take part in three different workshops. One workshop saw them explore a life size model of the land speed car and take part in experiments to see if their reactions were as quick as a pilot. Some of them were even lucky enough to try their hand at driving the car using a simulator.
In the second workshop they got to see 3D printing in action and construct a replica Bloodhound car powered by a balloon.
In the third workshop the challenge was to work in groups to construct a car out of KNEX and to see which group could engineer the fastest vehicle. The completed cars were fired using a high powered air pump and timed. To the engineers’ surprise, a group of Year 6 girls managed to build a car that went faster than any other group that had taken part all over the country. Amazingly, they broke the 1000 mph barrier! The engineers were very impressed and, as a result of their fantastic achievement, all the girls’ names will appear on the actual car when it attempts to break the record.