Here is just a snapshot of some of the things we have been getting up to...
Wed 29 Mar 2023
What is Metacognition?
Metacognition is all about having knowledge of our own cognitive processes. It is a skill that differentiates humans from other types of animals. It is essentially the practice of thinking about thinking.
During the process of metacognition, a person will become aware of their own behaviours and thoughts, and this can help them to control their own thinking process. By practising metacognition, a person can understand what success will look like and identify strategies to reach a specific learning objective.
There are three stages of metacognition:
- Planning (starters)
- Monitoring (main course)
- Evaluating (desert)
In the planning stage of metacognition, children and teachers think about the learning objective that has been set for a specific lesson, how they want to achieve the it and what strategies will be used to help them reach their goal. There are some important questions for learners to think about during the planning stage of metacognition such as:
- What am I being asked to do?
- What strategies will I find useful?
- How have I attempted similar tasks in the past?
- How can I improve it?
The monitoring stage of metacognition is important for learners to put what they have learnt in place as well as helping learners to track their progress, and how close to their goal they are. It is okay to make changes to a plan during the monitoring stage if they are not working.
After reaching a goal, it is just as important to evaluate and reflect upon the whole process. By doing this, learners will be confident in knowing which learning strategies work well for them, and which learning strategies they may want to avoid in the future.
At school, we have been using metacognition as an effective learning tool in the classroom. Initially, we began trialling it on small groups, solving problems with K’Nex and with stop motion animation videos. Following our initial success, we began using it in the wider classroom by asking the children lots of starter, main course and desert questions throughout their lessons and this year, we have adapted our activity days into ‘Metacognition Days’.
Our first Metacognition Day was at Christmas whereby we took a poem called the Magic Box and the children were then tasked with rewriting it to become ‘The Magic Christmas Box’. After this, the children had to decide how they were going to present their new poem and what possible problems there might be along the way. We had some terrific poems, presented as power points, artwork or 3D boxes.
The next Metacogition Day was science based and required the children to solve problems such as how to power a car by balloon, how to drop an egg from a height without it breaking and creating a gravity fed marble run. Needless to say, we had many cracked eggs, but the children were able to describe what went well and how they would do things differently.
Just before Easter, saw day number three. This time, the children were asked to come up with an innovative way to remember the Kings and Queens of England following a now, out dated, song from the BBC’s Horrible Histories team. (well worth a watch by the way, if you are not already familiar with it… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC6okzIKQvg
With The coronation of King Charles fast approaching, it seemed like a great challenge and Mrs Packard was particularly pleased to spend an entire day doing History!
One group rewrote the song to perform to the rest of the school. The next created a game of snakes and ladders, which saw the ‘bad’ monarchs sending you down the snakes and the good ones, up the ladders. A third group created a display timeline for the classroom, whilst the fourth group created a game of Top Trumps.
We are really pleased with the success of these days and are continually looking at ways to improve and develop metacognition throughout the school.
Wed 12 Oct 2022
Chatsworth House Visit
We were blessed with a lovely sunny day on 28th September, when we all set off on a visit to Chatsworth House in the heart of the Derbyshire countryside.
We took part in a number of activities whilst we were there, but we had also wanted to visit during their sculpture exhibition, called Radical Horizons: The Art of Burning Man, which saw 12 monumental sculptures set around the estate. We produced some lovely drawings of the Wings of Glory (a giant flying horse) by Adrian Landon, situated at the entrance to the gardens.
The best way to see the rest of the sculptures, was by a tractor pulled trailer. Our guide, was extremely knowledgeable and regaled us with tales of the sculptures, the history, forestry and famous visitors (including a certain future king, who was, by all accounts, happy to muck in and get his hands dirty!)
The day also saw us heading to the maze in the formal gardens, where the children were challenged to find their way to the centre…and then find their way back out. We definitely arrived back in school with the correct number of children so that challenge, it seems, was a resounding success.
Looking around the kitchen garden, gave us inspiration for the things we might be able to grow in own garden at school.
Following lunch, we were able to spend the rest of our visit in the adventure playground, accessed via the farmyard. The goats seemed to be a particular favourite amongst the children. After an excited hour of climbing, winding, digging, zip-lining, hiding, running and spinning, we headed for the coaches and returned back to school, exhausted but happy.
Sat 30 Jul 2022
Festival of Fun 2022
The activities on offer for this years Festival of fun were: sculpture, bushcraft, sport, first-aid, afternoon tea and stop motion animation. The children were allowed to pick two of the activities to participate in and each one lasted for two days. What we were most impressed with was the children’s ability to build up their resilience and attention over a sustained period of time on the same project. Walking around the school saw bug eating, den making, fire building, slippy sliding, bandages being applied, team games being played, crustless sandwiches being consumed with perfect etiquette, jam making, scone baking and life-sized hare sculptures being constructed. We also enjoyed a picnic up at the rec, whole school bingo and Harris’s (rather) hot disco.
Sat 30 Jul 2022
Cinderella and Rockerfella
On the 7th and 8th July, we were finally able to perform our pantomime; Cinderella and Rockerfella. We seemed to have been rehearsing on and off all year for this as, unfortunately, we had to postpone it last Christmas due to COVID restrictions. The children really stepped up to the occasion, especially given that we had two separate casts…no mean feat I can tell you. All four performances went down a storm as the audience were treated to some very ugly sisters and a truly excellent and talented cast. The supporting choir and dancers were equally impressive and many of our parents commented on how lovely it was to see the children performing as a whole school once again. A massive thank you to all involved, but special thanks go to Mrs Kemp and Miss Burrow for their endless patience in directing and producing the show and to Mr and Mrs Dimbleby, who trained a number of our children to run the sound and the lighting.
Sat 30 Jul 2022
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
In recognition of this, once in a lifetime event, the children took part in a range of activities on our Jubilee Activity Day. We were given a challenge from The Glebe to create portraits of the queen. Mrs Porter guided a watercolour masterclass (not an easy medium to work in) and the results were truly outstanding. A spectacular Jubilee garden was designed and created by the children with a red, white and blue theme. A special thank you to Mrs Joy Watson, our volunteer gardener, who liaised with Hudson’s Garden Centre on our behalf, helped with the planning and who continues to work tirelessly with the children to maintain our garden. We played British sports and created a collage on British Values and all things British, which is part of our PSHE programme.