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Claires Court

Claires Court Maidenhead

from Nursery to Sixth Form

Mr Richards' Words Autumn 5

Constructing good ‘open ended’ questions to seek understanding and develop reasoning are one of a teachers' many challenges. Encouraging the boys to think of asking well crafted questions in response is also essential. When this continuous cycle works in harmony, lessons and activities certainly race by.

So is the idea, ‘Time flies by when you are having fun’ true? Since September I would certainly say so. Excitement, interest, discovery and learning have occurred at the most unexpected moments and just about continuously. My first month has been a wonderful journey and I am absolutely thrilled to have had my original opinions turned into judgements. Junior Boys really does have a happy cohort of very active pupils who are guided by an energetic and charismatic crew willing to devote time and effort to their students. The boys’ reaction is certainly not unrequited and so this pattern or relationship develops a momentum of its own.

So, ‘Why does time move faster when you’re having fun or slower depending if you’re not?’ Is it just because we are occupied happily that we perceive time differently? Or is it a bit more complex? Do we need a pursuit that is focused on achieving a goal that makes time fly by? Without wanting to get really deep I thought I would ask colleagues who create the learning environment and sustain our ethos to highlight their stand out moments. The following are times when the bell has rung and pupils have looked up with surprise and disappointment when their flair, determination and inspiration has had to be curtailed …

Year 1 had a wonderful day celebrating Roald Dahl Day. We took some inspiration from the BFG and decided to make some 'Dream Jars'. The boys wished and dreamed of what they want to achieve this year in Year 1 and trapped the dreams inside our own colourful, glittery jars. We learnt from the BFG that if the dreams had been caught that they would glow. To our surprise, after playtime, we found all of our jars glowing and now we know we can achieve whatever we dream!  

Bread making was another highlight. Previously we had read The Little Red Hen and talked about sharing, helping and being kind to each other. This culminated in our bread making this week where the boys enjoyed mixing and sharing their masterpieces. Mr Richards and Mr Spanswick enjoyed eating it!  

Year 2 have been taking advantage of the weather this half term and eagerly taken their learning outside. Whether it be Science, Geography, Maths or Art the boys have enjoyed being at one with nature, being creative, exploring and learning in the great outdoors.  The highlight of the half term so far has been our trip to Woolley Firs where the boys learned about invertebrates and their habitats.  After some highly successful pond dipping where the boys all caught a vast array of pond life, they turned their attention to the flower meadow where they skilfully used their nets to catch a wide selection of insects. We have since searched our school grounds and the thicket for other habitats and plan to make our very own ‘minibeast hotel’ shortly.

There has been a huge amount of enjoyment and focus as Year 3 have been introduced to the "Masters of Multiplication". Mr Barber and Mrs Carter have been overwhelmed by pupils who want to complete another tables set in their quest to earn a coloured belt certificate in assembly. They have also shown great maturity as they have got to grips with their new, very busy, timetable by moving around school and organising themselves. It's a big jump for them and they have had a lot to remember and they are all helping each other out.

Year 4 have made a great start to the year learning about the digestive system in Science, replicating each stage during a jam sandwich investigation that proved a little too tempting for some boys! A great deal of practical learning has occurred and digging up the vegetable patch to reap the rewards of their labour last year was very popular. With energy levels restored they have impressed us with their first foray into competitive rugby representing Claires Court well in their matches both home and away.

Year 5 impressed us with their ability to reflect on the experience they had at Marchants Hill. In English they developed their letter writing skills, writing a personal letter to each member of Year 4 telling them about their experience and offering some useful tips and advice. Geography classes have been similarly busy continuing their independent research of the Americas, discovering and presenting facts such as the Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, who had the Americas named after him.

Year 6 have been exploring the link between Maths and Music discovering what happens when you lay a three beat pattern on top of a four beat pattern in music? We need 12 bars to find out (a multiple of 3 and 4!) check these links! : and  They have also been working on their autobiographies focussing on writing in an entertaining style. Mr Butterfield was very impressed with their reaction to the rugby coaching given by Heather Fisher. The session was really fun and they learnt some interesting skills such as scanning what is happening in front of them when passing the ball. They also played lots of small sided games that encouraged them to work together and communicate with each other.

As stated before they are all immensely proud of their school and some recent Open Day tours of the school lasted nearly two hours!

Busy boys indeed and well done also to the artists whose work was judged so successfully and displayed at the ISA competition this week. Perhaps a bit of R&R is required for us all this weekend? The boys are well prepared for this showing great enthusiasm for their reading since their return to school. Books are flying off the shelves with great demand for Minecraft, Dogman and Tom Gates books! Library Club at lunchtime has been very busy particularly with Year 2 boys, excited about the opportunity to actually borrow books and discover the treasures within.

See you on all on Monday after your weekend has hopefully flown by.

Dean Richards

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Ridgeway, The Thicket, Maidenhead, SL6 3QE

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