‘Our Planet’ by Joe Prout Year 2

Welcome to our planet,

can you feel the breeze,

because it’s so cold,

you might even freeze.

I can feel the power when I pick up the flower,

it runs down my spine,

when I sing this rhyme.

As the tree is tall as me,

it reaches high up in the sky,

branches arms,

roots like feet,

this lovely tree I’m glad to meet.

By Joe Prout

 

 

 

 

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Tree identification with Year 3

Year 3 Poplar class had an ‘outdoor learning’ session with Miss Mogridge. We began by discussing the difference between trees, shrubs and other plants. We then talked about why it might be useful to be able to identify trees. Then, using a leaf dial to help us, we walked around our outside area in small groups having a go at identifying different trees. We have a lot of species in our school grounds!

Mrs Prout helped us identify some too!  The children had a brilliant time and were very sensible as well as respectful of the nature they encountered – including a little black toad!

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Fruits and Shoots

The work to bring the pond area back to us continues. This Sunday, it was the turn of our two apples trees to have some (tough) love and care. We are lucky enough to have an experienced volunteer come and work with these trees. He has been managing an old orchard on Dartmoor for many years, so knows a bit more that we do!

When working with nature, we trust its ability to recover, and sometimes things can look a loot worse before we see the benefits. In this case you will most likely agree that the trees actually look a lot better despite their slightly over due prune.

The first job was to remove the ivy. It is a great environment for all sorts of life like gold crests, as ivy hides lots of creatures these birds like to eat. However it is these very slugs and woodlice that can also cause damage to the trees as they nibble at the bark and soft parts. This could could cause disease, and later in time, the ivy can even pull a tree down as it dies off.

Now, step back with a cuppa and really ‘look’ at the tree.

Where are branches crossing? Is the bark damaged or diseased? Is there any dead wood?

Next, imagine the tree as an open bowl or goblet shape. This shape allows air and light to reach all of the branches, flowers, leaves and later, fruits. When pruning a fruit tree this is what you need to aim for.

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Our trees have been unloved for so long that they are very twisted and damaged. This tree still needs more work, but for now it will have to wait as the tree puts on its spring growth.

Pruning a tree in the winter, will mean you need to keep an eye on it as the summer arrives, the tree will grow loads of new thin branches as the sap rises in the coming months.

Pruning a tree in the summer, whilst you have to say goodbye to all those lovely fruits, it does mean that the tree focuses on growing the remaining fruits and not growing branches.

The ‘brash’ or bits of branch and twigs have been put to one side to ‘season’ or dry out. Next year they will make ideal kindling.

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The trees are now more ‘open’ and the ivy has been removed. We will keep an eye on them and in the summer months have another look to see what we can do next.

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For now, the trees can be left to get on with growing.

Have a peep over the fence at break time and watch the trees flourish!

With the fire, into the frying pan!

For our final Forest Craft Club we decided, as we had enjoyed fires so much last week, we would continue to learn about the purpose of fire as a tool.

Using a recycled cooking pan for safety, we all helped to build a small fire using dry kindling.

As we are a healthy school, rather than traditional toasting marshmallows, which can be hot and are full of sugar, we prefer to make damper bread. This is a traditional bushcraft method using an instant bread mix from a local supermarket.

We then used some fresh hazel sticks to wrap bread dough in a twirl. We used our skills from previous art lessons to form a ball from the dough and then a sausage shape.

Finally, it was time to cook our delicious damper bread spirals. By this point, the fire had become a bed of hot embers just right to toast our bread.

A good camper never leaves a trace of their fire, so we listened as Mrs Twiggs explained the science behind putting out a fire, involving the changing state of water from liquid to gas and the possible dangers of doing this too quickly.

We have had a lot of fun and we have learnt so much at Forest Craft Club.

Bright sparks at Forest Craft Club

‘Steel yourselves’ for this week’s Forest Craft club, because our group had a lot of fun learning how to light fires with Swedish Fire steels. The group found that our school’s Christian value of perseverance certainly did pay off as they worked hard to create sparks using their magnesium rods and light a cotton wool pad. We practised safe sitting and moving around campfires too. It was a brilliant session! Well done all!

‘Tweety’ clean!

Today at Forest Craft Club we had an important job to do, wash out the bird feeders with warm water. Garden bird feeders need to be cleaned regularly to prevent the transfer of any nasty bird virus’, a bit like us humans washing our plates and cups! The children were brilliant at the job and we returned the feeders to the trees ready for the wonderful Mrs Prout to fill up with seeds soon.

After all that hard work it was time for a game. Working in pairs, we led our blindfolded partner to a tree and asked them to feel the bark and branches. Then we led them away and asked them ‘which tree was it?’ It was trickier than it sounds as lots of trees feel very similar.

We also had a peak at the fantastic sensory area which Mrs Prout has made. Isn’t it brilliant? It’s a perfect space for children to enjoy while surrounded by nature. We are very lucky at St Michael’s with our lovely outside space.

 

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