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26th May 2023

All the hard work paid off - our battery assembly was brilliant! The Year 5s did so well - knowing just what to do at the right time, speaking clearly and answering audience questions at the end. The Big Battery Hunt PowerPoint began by showing how batteries are made and what happens to them if they are thrown in a general bin and end up in landfill - they take 100 years to break down, leaching dangerous chemicals into the soil and waterways. But if batteries are recycled, all the components can be reused in many ways, including building skyscrapers and making fertiliser and new batteries. Everyone was encouraged to make a habit of recycling their old batteries and for the next month we'll be keeping a tally in each class. A really good suggestion came from a Year 6 Eco Club member during the assembly - use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones!

The Eco Signage Working Party met again and, in a burst of creativity, drew some outstanding signs! We decided that we'll use several different sign designs around the school which will hopefully be noticed more than just one design. And we couldn't possibly choose just one design anyway - they are all so good!

On the last day of term, we managed to finally attach the last of the shapes to our Grateful Tree in the library - it looks beautiful. There is a comfy chair right next to the tree, a perfect place to sit and read all of the lovely messages. Another busy week!

19th May 2023

This week was all about preparing for the Year 5 Big Battery Hunt assembly, so we put our other projects on hold. We had three practise sessions, carrying on with resilience through some tech problems. We feel ready for Monday morning, when we'll deliver the assembly!

For one of the sessions, we were joined by members of the Eco Signage Working Party, who were keen to carry on designing new signs to remind everyone to turn off lights and taps when not in use. First, we discussed what makes a good sign : an eye-catching, colourful and simple design with a very clear message and not too many words. Some really creative designs were produced!

12th May 2023

With the warmer weather, the potatoes are growing quickly, so our first job this week was to add compost to the pots, covering the stems and leaves. We'll do this once more, filling the pots right up to the top, giving lots of room for the potato tubers to grow and keeping them away from sunlight and therefore safe to eat.

Staying in the garden, we then carried out three flower counts. We'll repeat these at the end of No Mow May, to see if the biodiversity of our Year 3/4 lawn has improved. Using a metre-square quadrat frame made of bamboo, we analysed three areas of lawn randomly chosen by throwing a ball of wool over our shoulders! We identified three flower species : daisy and creeping buttercup were easy to name, but Dovesfoot Cranesbill took a bit more observation and discussion.

We also held another planning session for the Big Battery Hunt assembly, which we hope will be ready before half term.

5th May 2023

This week we put up No Mow May signs around the Year 3/4 garden, to let everyone know that we are taking part. We also took the first set of weekly photographs, to track how the lawn is changing. Then we planted Chantenay carrot seeds in a pot - they are a short, stubby variety which should grow quickly.

Our Grateful Tree in the library is now nearly finished, just a few more shapes to add!

Year 5 held a planning session for the Big Battery Hunt assembly. We looked at the Power Point (provided by Duracell, who run the campaign), assigned roles, made class recording sheets and discussed the running order. It will take another few sessions with a run-through in the hall before we are ready for the assembly. In the meantime, please save your batteries for recycling!

28th April 2023

It was lovely this week to meet all together, instead of in smaller groups on different days. In a change from our usual very active sessions, we sat and discussed current projects and exciting future plans.

We will be joining No Mow May, a campaign by the charity Plantlife, leaving the Year 3/4 garden unmowed for the month. This will allow different flowers to bloom, providing nectar and pollen for pollinators. We plan to do a plant species count to see what difference No Mow May has made.

Many of our Year 5 Eco Club members are keen to present an assembly about the Big Battery Hunt, an annual drive to encourage us all to recycle used batteries. More details to follow!

21st April 2023

This week we did some citizen science - we went on worm hunts and then submitted our data to the Soil Association. First we talked about why worms are so important for healthy soil and looked at pictures of the earthworms we might find.

On Thursday, it was sunny and dry - not good worm hunting weather. We did a worm dance, hoping the vibrations would sound like rain and bring worms to the surface. Also, we pre-soaked and covered a patch of grass, again hoping that the worms would react. Neither method worked! Turning over logs and digging in the strawberry bed finally brought us success : one common red and nine blue-grey worms, some quite young.

Friday dawned wet and the rain continued through the morning - perfect worm hunting conditions...or so we thought. We dug in the soil around the edge of the garden and found only one more worm than on Thursday - again just one common red and ten blue-greys. After a bit of observation, we returned the worms to where we'd found them.

A few of us chose to stay dry in the library, attaching more shapes to our Grateful Tree - it is starting to look lovely!


31st March 2023

This week we again dodged the rain to plant potatoes in large pots. These had been 'chitted' (sprouted) for several weeks beforehand to give them a headstart with growing. We planted low in the pots so that as the foliage grows, we can keep adding soil to give them plenty of room to produce tubers (the part of the potato plant that we eat). We also planted two varieties of peas - we are hoping that the tall variety will grow up and around an iron arch linking the two raised beds. The pea seedlings sown a few weeks ago and kept indoors were nearly ready to be planted out and we took a chance - fingers crossed that there won't be any more night frosts!

On a very rainy Friday, we continued work on our whole school project. The wooden tree in the library has, for the last few years, featured very lovely Remembrance poppies and COP 26 promise leaves with messages written by the children. We talked about refreshing it, and decided to make it a 'Grateful Tree.' A letter (using persuasive writing skills) was written and presented - our proposal was accepted! All children and adults (including kitchen, office and cleaning/maintenance staff) in the school were invited to write what they are grateful for on a coloured paper shape. These are now all in and we started to attach them to the tree - some will be stuck directly onto branches and some will be strung together on wool, to move gently like the branches of a willow tree. We will carry on with this after Easter, as we have about 200 shapes to attach!

24th March 2023

This week we took part in the annual 'Great Big School Clean' run by Keep Britain Tidy. Our Monday assembly on litter and the hazards it poses to wildlife revealed that we all know already how bad litter is! The council kindly loaned us litter pickers and high-viz vests which we used in our 10 sessions during the week, at times dodging the raindrops. Nearly all classes took part and we picked clean nearly all of the school grounds. Despite having quite clean grounds, we managed to fill two large bags with litter, due to the eagle-eyed searching of our pickers! Certain areas were litter hotspots, like along the fencelines and in the playground shrubs, due to the wind. Most commonly found were food wrappers - we discussed how easy it is to find a bin or take the wrapper home with you! We finished off our litter picking week by showing the two full bags in our next assembly and applauding our hard work!

17th March 2023

This week we have been making bug hotels using old plastic bottles and carefully choosing materials to suit different creatures:

- hollow plant stems for solitary bees

-sticks and dried leaves for beetles, woodlice, ladybirds and other bugs

- rolled up cardboard for lacewings

We used one material for each hotel - current research suggests this is best for the bugs!

Our Year 1,2 and 3 Eco Representatives joined us for one of the sessions, followed by lunch with the Year 6 children - pictures of this are displayed on our Eco Board in school.

We are continuing with our kindness-spreading project and with keeping our bird feeders stocked up. There has also been a lot of work behind the scenes on a whole school activity - more on that soon!

10th March 2023

This week saw the formation of the Eco Signage Working Party. We completed an audit of all classrooms, with clipboards and iPads, for picture-taking. We'll now refresh all signage and encourage careful recycling. After discussing the results of the audit, we posed the question: is it better to use laminated signs, which last longer but are non-recyclable, or just to use paper signs, which will need frequent replacing but are recyclable?

During our Friday session, we transplanted enough spider plant babies and lemon geranium cuttings to distribute one or 2 two pots to all of the classrooms and offices. This fits in with our School Grounds topic - we have a lot planned for outside, but inside also needs brightening up with plants!

24th February 2023

This week we worked a little on our secret kindness project but spent most of our time outdoors. We planted pansies and admired the bulbs planted in the autumn which are showing lots of green growth. One of the raised beds was very overgrown and we made great headway with weeding, even finding a few worms!



3rd March 2023

This week the Year 6 Eco Councillors met separately to discuss several projects and then split into sub-groups to use their persuasive letter-writing skills. We'll keep you posted on the outcomes...

For several months, a very keen Year 6 Councillor has been preparing an Eco Club assembly. She produced a very impressive Power Point presentation about this year's Eco Club topics and general eco tips. With the help of two other Year 6 Eco Councillors, she delivered the presentation to the entire school in Friday morning's assembly. It was very informative with great graphics and lots of audience participation. Well done!!

Finally, in today's session, we planted seeds, to get a bit of a headstart on the growing season. With school finishing in July, we have to plan carefully so that the vegetables and flowers are ready in time for us to enjoy! Sunflowers, cosmos and peas were all sown in pots which we will keep inside until the weather warms up a bit!

A busy week!