Read Our Stories of Learning at the Alice Smith School
Primary Weekly Highlight: Poet Sara Hirsch visits Alice Smith
We had the great pleasure of welcoming poet Sara Hirsch to our school last week. Sara is a British-born poet, director and educator and international Poetry Slam champion. She travelled all the way from her home in New Zealand to come and meet our students.
Year 5 and 6 were treated to poetry writing workshops with Sara. After starting off with a poetry performance, Sara then..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: Amazing Art in Year 2
Our Year 2 students have been thoroughly enjoying learning within their Art curriculum this year. Our team of Year 2 teachers and teaching assistants have been really impressed with the skills and creativity demonstrated by the students too.
The students learning this term has centred around textiles and collage, challenging them to learn and apply skills and techniques whilst..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: Our Eco Team
We are talking about all things eco! It is an exciting time at our JB campus as we set out to focus upon all things eco! Our school’s enthusiastic Eco-Warriors have started working hard to create positive, sustainable changes to our campus and make our school a much more environmentally friendly place to be.
Our JB goal this year is to become a Bronze awarded eco school...
Primary Weekly Highlight: Learning about ‘Animals including Humans’
Learning here at the Primary Campus is in full swing as our students dig deep into a whole range of learning across the school. Recently I have been inspired by so many Year 4 students visiting my office to share with me their learning about Animals including Humans.
This unit seems to have raised student interest and enthusiasm for learning to very high levels. The..
Primary Weekly Highlight: Year 5 Drama
Good morrow thou sugared, softly-sprighted wafer-cake!
This term Year 5 have been exploring the Shakespearean comedy Twelfth Night. Alongside their reading lessons, the play has been brought to life through a series of drama workshops.
In our first session, students considered how to create a dramatic opening to a play. No one writes a better Act One than Shakespeare, and..
Primary Weekly Highlight: Year 6 Challenge New Skill Presentations
From trampolining to Chinese calligraphy, ice-skating to cooking with eggs, self-defence to coding, the skills demonstrated by our Year 6 Challenge students in their recent New Skill presentations were many and varied.
The Year 6 Challenge is often compared to a junior version of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. It is a demanding yet enjoyable series of..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: Year 6 Challenge Award
Yet again our Year 6 students have demonstrated their amazing spirit and kindness within our Year 6 Challenge Award.
This week I was incredibly impressed reading the poster displays they have made to showcase their community projects. Some students dedicated time to a community project of their choice whilst other students chose to raise awareness of a local charity or..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: Amazing Term of Music
We have had the most amazing term of Music Moments culminating today with incredible performances from our Year 1 children. Students have had the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience of their fellow performers, children from across their year group as well as their parents.
For some of our students, this has been the first time they have ever..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: Learning Displays
The Reggio Emilia approach suggests there are three teachers involved in the child’s learning; the teacher, their parents and the learning environment. Often the learning environment is referred to as the third teacher. The work of Helen Street also emphasises the importance of the physical and social environment in supporting wellbeing. Here at JB we are very intentional..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: The Boy at the Back of the Class
One of the major highlights recently within our reading curriculum has been a core text with a very relatable theme. Our Year 4 students and teachers have been reading the novel ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class’.
The Boy at the Back of the Class is the story of a group of classmates who, through their empathy and bravery, make a massive impact on Ahmet, a boy who has come to..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: We are Scientists!
In Year 3, the students have been working hard as scientists this term. The children started the year learning about rocks and more recently have moved on to a biology focus studying animals including humans. The first lesson taught the children that humans are not plants because we cannot make our own food! The children were then fascinated to learn that humans are animals..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: The Beauty of Poetry in Year 4
Learning about poetry has so many benefits. Firstly it widens children’s reading horizons. It also gives them an opportunity to explore vocabulary and language, encourages them to create and can inspire them to write. The creativity gives our students space to experiment with words and performing poetry allows them to learn about voice, pitch and volume.
Recently our Year 4..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: Learning About Food and Nutrition
This term in Years 5 and 6, students have been learning about food and nutrition and have really enjoyed it! They have been exploring nutrition as well as foods and diets from different cultures. They have learned new culinary skills and techniques and whilst applying them have been evaluating, modifying and improving their work.
Year 5 students are currently in the midst of..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: Deepavali Celebration Day
We had a wonderful final day of half term at JB today as we celebrated Deepavali. Children and staff brought so much vibrancy and colour to our day by wearing their traditional Deepavali outfits.
In class children learned about the history behind Deepavali and were introduced to some Deepavali traditions. Children explored the symbolism of the spiritual victory of light over..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: ECAs and Sports in Full Flow
Amongst the many joyous happenings at JB, this term has been the return of a full and comprehensive ECA and Sports programme. Not only have we re-established a fantastic programme but we have actually enhanced it to levels beyond where it was pre-pandemic.
Our students are thriving in a wealth of opportunities across a wide range of activities throughout our campus before and..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: Year 6 Student Leaders
“Having spent 7 years at Alice Smith (JB,) I would like to contribute back to the school community and being a House Leader is one good way to do so.” Nate, Year 6.
We believe that our students need to experience responsibility in order to help them play an active role as good citizens. This term, our Year 6 students had the opportunity to apply for a student leadership..read more
Primary Weekly Highlight: Outdoor Learning
There are seven areas of learning within the Early Years, three of which are called Prime Areas. These are communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development. Here at JB, our commitment to learning through play is very much influenced by how important these prime areas are and the vital role that play has in developing them in each..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Our Multilingual Learners
Diversity is a major strength of our school community and can be seen in so many different ways. One of these is the range of languages spoken by parents, students and staff. At JB we feel fortunate to have so many multilingual members of our community and in particular our aim is to nurture our multilingual students.
Hamish Chalmers, a leading researcher in the field of..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Amazing Start to the New School Year
We could not have wished for a better start to the new school year. The JB Campus has had the most wonderful atmosphere all week as we welcomed back our staff, parents and students. New families and staff have settled in very well and our students have been incredibly happy.
I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting classrooms this week speaking to students about their..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Thank you!
Appreciation and Gratitude at the End of the School Year
Our final weeks at JB for this school year have been so memorable. The students have had a range of exciting events including sports days, house events, day trips, a biathlon, Founders Day and various trips to EP.
This week we had our first in person assemblies for a very long time. Our Year 6 Leavers Assembly involved..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Reconnecting Our Community Through PE and Sport
We have just completed the most amazing week of PE and Sport activities at our JB campus. This began last Saturday with our Primary School Biathlon. Around 175 students from Years 2-6 competed in a swim/run event with three different distances to choose from. The effort, resilience and sheer determination on show from the children was so impressive. Our parents attended in..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Primary Art
It has certainly been a busy year in the KLASS Primary Art Room! You need only walk along the JB Campus where the Diamond Jubilee Art Celebration is currently being exhibited to see the wide range of artistic skills that our talented JB artists have on display.
The students have enjoyed learning a variety of print-making techniques – ranging from monoprints in Year 3 to..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Reading Developments at JB
Here at JB we are committed to being an evidence informed school. This means that we examine the best available research and evidence, we consider our context including our students and setting and we reflect using our own experience and expertise when making decisions around learning.
We have spent the last 18 months reviewing our curriculum with a view to becoming more..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: How strong is a piece of spaghetti?
Our Year 6 students have just completed a brilliant Design and Technology unit focused on structures. The aim of this unit was for students to know that;
- Structures can be supported with guy lines and flying buttresses
- The shorter the piece of spaghetti, the stronger it will be
They would be able to:
- Construct a flying buttress to support a tower
- Use appropriate lengths of..
Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations at JB
We always encourage our students to learn about important events in history and this week we have dedicated time and focus to the incredible reign of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom.
Several events have taken place across the week and today this historic occasion. These have included the most brilliant timeline display dating back to the date of her..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Learning through play in Year 1
Play is an extremely important part of every child’s early development. When children play, they learn. Here at JB, we consider our Year 1 to be an extension of our Early Years. In this week's blog Alexis Farrell, our Year 1 Leader tells us more about how this happens in practice.
Play is an extremely important part of every child’s early development. When children play, they..read more
Retrieval Practice - Making Learning Stick at Alice Smith
In this week's Primary blog post our Year 5 Leader, Marym Elagha, talks to us about the work she has been doing this year with the Key Stage 2 (Years 3 to 6) teachers on applying retrieval practice into their classrooms.
"Over the past 12-months, I have worked with the KS2 teachers at our primary campus on applying retrieval practice into their classrooms. This..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Parents and Play Times Return to JB
What an amazing week this has been! For the first time in over two and a half years our students enjoyed playtimes at the JB campus and our parents were permitted to walk onto campus to bring their child to school.
The noise of play times has restored the one major social element of school that has been missing for so long. Children have been engaging in a wide range of play..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: World Book Day 2022
Friday 22nd April saw great excitement engulf the JB campus, as we prepared to celebrate the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day. After so many months of distance learning and various other restrictions, it was truly a joy to come together and celebrate this fabulous event as a school.
The corridors and classrooms were a riot of colour as children and staff showed off their..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: A Term Full of Learning
Term 2 ended today with two wonderful assemblies in which we reflected on the achievements and learning of everyone during these past few months. As an entire community we faced numerous covid related challenges but through incredible perseverance and teamwork we not only overcame them but we achieved and in many ways flourished. Sharing the story of learning highlights with..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Competition Time at JB!🚩🙌
EDUCATION PERFECT WORLD/FOBISIA CHAMPIONSHIPSFrom the 8th March until the 15th March, our Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 students eagerly competed in the Education Perfect World Championships. With the help of KS3 students, they answered 671,940 language questions (the equivalent of 1,016 hours spent competing!) in Mandarin, French, Bahasa, but also Spanish, German, Japanese and other..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Learning in MFL at JB
At Alice Smith, students develop their intercultural understanding as they learn to value their own cultures, languages and beliefs, and those of others. In our MFL lessons, we ensure that students engage with diverse cultures, creating connections and cultivating mutual respect. We believe that understanding each other’s cultures is an essential part of living with others in..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: PE & Swimming at JB ⛹🏻♀️🏊🏼♂️
Physical Education at JB
What a week of learning we have had in PE; kicking off with a brand new unit of work for our Key Stage 2 students using the game of spikeball. This game will challenge the students to deepen their understanding of some key physical education skills, concepts and strategies. Students will be learning transferable movement skills including sending and..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Post Covid - Impact on Learning 📆
This week we began our series of parent workshops. Parents joined us in the session both online and face to face. To have parents back onsite was amazing!The focus of this first session was sharing our observations on trends and patterns we are identifying within our students. Has Covid, lockdown and numerous school closures and disruptions had an impact?
Our general findings
Primary Weekly Highlights: Learning through Poetry 📖🎙
Our students get numerous opportunities to participate in academic events throughout the school year. Here at JB, our teachers often see this as more than a competition or event and will look to plan a unit of learning around the event theme or topic.
Over the last few weeks, our Year 4 and 5 students have been learning about Poetry in connection with an upcoming COBIS Poetry..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Final Week of Term🥳
Final Week of Term
We have had a week full of joy and cheer this week at JB. Our students have been excitedly coming to the end of various units of learning but also engaging in a range of Christmas activities.
JB Virtual Christmas Performance
On Wednesday evening our JB Music Virtual Christmas Performance took place. There were performances involving students from Early..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Music Moments 🎶
Music Moments has been a much loved staple in the JB Music calendar for a number of years. The event provides an exciting and high profile, yet low stakes performance opportunity, allowing students of all ages and skill levels to experience the joy of performing and share their learning and their progress with their peers and the school community. Performance is vital in the..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: The Highwayman
Over the last three weeks, our Year 6 students have been exploring Alfred Noyes’ classic narrative poem The Highwayman. The poem is about a highwayman - a robber, who steals from travellers and his lover, Bess. The poem focuses on the lives of these two main characters, their love for one another and their deaths. From this work, the children have learned the language features..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Learning through Block Play
Play is an important feature of learning here at JB. From Preschool to Year 2, our students' learning is supported by providing opportunities to play. We consider Preschool, Reception and Year 1 to be our kindergarten years and we adopt a very play-based approach to learning.
A significant focus for us in these years is on the personal and physical development of children..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Planning by Backward Design
Here at the Primary Campus, we use a curriculum planning approach called understanding by design or backward design. This was a concept developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. A ‘traditional’ approach to lesson design involves content being identified, along with a sequence of lessons and finally an assessment. In a backward design approach, what students should know and..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Launch of New and Exciting Units of Learning 📖
Recently the students have begun some new learning units at JB. This is always an exciting time for students as they discover what they will learn about through the steps of learning within their unit and the end goal.
Year 5 teachers have launched a brilliant unit focused on learning all about the Aztec Civilisation. The students had to develop their teamwork skills on..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Drawing and Early Representation ✏️〰🖼
Drawing is a crucial activity during kindergarten years. It is a way for a child to express their understanding of the world around them. Drawing allows children to make meaning and freely express their ideas, thoughts and feelings. Children usually have a natural urge to draw and here at JB, we ensure our learning environments support this.
Across our kindergarten years,..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Our Teachers
World Teacher Day was celebrated this week and I would like to thank all parents and students for showing their appreciation to their teachers in different ways. This day has made me reflect on how outstanding our teachers are here at JB.Our teachers are some of the most caring and committed people I have ever worked with. I was reminded of this recently, when we came together..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Student Leadership
As part of our citizenship programme, we encourage the development of student leadership throughout the Primary campus. There are many positions that any child, dependent on age, can aspire to. When in school, at class and year group level, we offer a range of roles from Environmental Officers and Buddies to Break/Lunch Monitors. Each class from Year 2 – 6 also vote termly,..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Our Students Return!
Yesterday was a special day. Our students across the kindergarten years returned and brought our campus back to life. Classrooms were full of happy and joyful children who embraced being back at school and brought smiles to everyone at JB.
I was so impressed with how instantly comfortable and settled our children were as they separated from their parents and strolled into..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: International Dot Day
ART ROOM BLOG
This week in the virtual Art Room, we have been celebrating International DOT Day! Dot Day is based on the book, The Dot, by Peter Reynolds which tells the story of a child called Vashti who resists creating art until her teacher empowers her to discover what a talented artist she really is! It is also a story of how even the youngest of us can ‘Make their Mark’..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Our Students
As I reflect upon the first two weeks of this school year, it is our students who are foremost in my mind. Our students have yet again demonstrated incredible levels of resilience and strength in the face of some major challenges.
They have had to cope with a change of year group including new teachers and classmates while continuing to learn virtually. Speaking with our..
Primary Weekly Highlights: Learning has begun at JB!
Students have made an amazing start to their year in this first week at JB. Our students in Preschool have shown such enthusiasm for their learning and adapted brilliantly to online learning with their teachers. Across Year 1 and Reception, children have engaged in a range of activities getting to know each other, their teachers and sharing information about themselves.
Primary Weekly Highlights: Our Students
Our students have been extraordinary this school year. Faced with so much change and challenge, they have continued to amaze me with their resilience and fortitude.
As Principal, I have been shared into countless examples of our students showing kindness and humility throughout the school year. Students have engaged in service to others through awareness raising, charity..read more
Primary Weekly Highlights: Community
As we approach the end of a very challenging school year, I have been reflecting on my experiences as Primary Principal at Alice Smith. One aspect of our school has continually demonstrated its strength and importance; our community. I believe it is our community that has played a significant role in supporting us all through this testing year.
Here at JB we have strived to..read more