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A lovely last week of Forest School

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Wow! Well done Cedars and Willows…it’s been a real pleasure to share a term of Forest School with you. And what a shame that for now, it’s come to an end.

Our last two sessions of the year were, as always, full of fun…

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…just laying looking up at the trees. And whyever not!

Working together to rake the paths has become a favourite activity…but lying in the piles of leaves is even better!

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Christmas crafts…

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Self directed activities…

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And the excitement of making a fire and using the Kelly Kettle!

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Damper bread on the fire

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A lovely morning once more for Cedars class. The hazel sticks they had recently selected, cut down and whittled were put to very good use, to cook bread dampers.

First of all, water was added to the bread mix…and the outside of the bag was squished and squashed until a dough formed!

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Next, everyone rolled their ball of dough into a long sausage…then carefully wrapped it round and around their stick

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Next they were heated over the hot embers of our fire. The dampers needed to be turned to make sure they were evenly cooked.

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Last of all…the best bit of the morning…the dampers were drizzled with honey and eaten while they were still warm. The boys were very proud of their efforts. And the comment of the day…”That was more than 10 out of 10!”

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Tools Galore!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Cedars had a very busy morning, using a range of tools and choosing their own activities. We were all really impressed today at how independent and confident the children have become. They work together, look out for one another, cooperate very well, are creative and helpful too. And best of all, they invent great games to play together!

Aside from raking, litter picking, rope swinging, creating an enormous hole in the digging pit, making mud pies and climbing, these are some of the other things Cedars made today…

Knife skills were developed when removing the bark and whittling down the Hazel sticks we cut last week. These will be used as skewers, to cook bread dough next week.

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Conkers were requested last week- so today we enjoyed stringing them together to make various conker creationsimg_0632img_0627img_0620img_0635

The bit and brace drill was used to make a hole in a wood cookie. The children chose what to decorate their wood cookies with…they were either painted or small tacks were hammered in to help create a beautiful woolen tree. img_0641

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Loppers and Knives

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Cedars are really keen to make another fire, and next time they want to cook bread dampers. We decided last week that they should make their own skewers to wrap the bread dough around and toast over the fire. So…today they had to learn how to use some of the tools in Mrs. Smith’s big tool box! Firstly, the loppers,  to cut down a fresh stick that would make a good skewer. We talked about which wood was best for putting food on…the children suggested that it should be clean, and long so they don’t burn their hands. Both great suggestions! They learnt that Hazel is a good tree to use as the bark strips off easily, and it is safe…unlike some sticks which can have a toxic sap. They also learnt that it’s better to use freshly cut sticks that are more moist, than older dry ones, which may easily set alight.

Cedars listened intently to the ‘tool talk’, learning how to safely use the loppers. They then searched for a hazel tree, correctly identifying it by the leaves.

They were able to demonstrate how to hold, pass and cut with the loppers and made sure that they were ‘two arms and a tools width’ away from anyone before starting to cut.

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Once everyone had cut a hazel stick, they listened to another tool talk…this time learning how to use a knife to strip the bark off their stick. All of the children were super sensible, safe and careful, and made a great job of making their skewers.

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And while all this concentration was going on, there were lots of other things happening around the forest site!img_6085img_6086p1140998p1140999p1150002p1150012p1150025p1150028

…all finished off with a great game of ‘123 where are you’. This has to be the best hiding place ever!! p1150044

Fire, popcorn and marshmallows on a cold, but happy day!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

A super exciting morning for Cedars! And a perfect chilly day to warm up around the fire…

After helping to sort the wood into piles, from thin tinder, to kindling then to gradually increasing thicknesses of sticks, Cedars talked about the 3 elements a fire needs-heat, oxygen and fuel. They all took turns to help add the sticks, until we had a lovely warm fire to warm ourselves around.

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p1140922p1140925While we waited for the fire to die down a little, Jamie and Tyrese used the fire striker to independently light the kelly-kettle. We waited for the water to boil, then made some warming hot chocolate…it tasted so much better freshly made!

Once we had some lovely hot embers, we toasted marshmallows until they were sticky and warm, then squashed them between two biscuits…yummy!

p1140926p1140929p1140931p1140943 p1140946p1140947p1140950p1140951 p1140952 Then something new for us-we tried making popcorn…and were surprised and very pleased when the corn started to pop! A perfect end to a really great morning.

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Viking Runes

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Cedars were faced with a new challenge today…to find hidden Viking rune-stones, to work out what letters the rune-symbols represented and then to write their own ‘rune message’.

First task-to find the stones which were hidden throughout the forest school site…

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Next task-to place the rune stones next to the matching wooden symbols…then to turn the wooden symbols over to reveal which letter of the alphabet it was!

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Then the exciting bit…find a way of leaving a Viking message for us to discover at the end of the lesson. Cedars were full of brilliant ideas for this task…look at what they did.

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These two boys decided to make a mud stew! They used the mud to write their Viking names on a wooden board…which they placed into their Viking Longship to show which seat belonged to them. They also made their own clay runes with their initials on.

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There were more signs being made over by the Longship…this time using charcoal from a previous camp-fire. The charcoal was tricky to use, but the boys were determined to keep going and were very proud of their signs…one of which said ‘Viking’ and was placed right at the front near the dragons head.

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In the log circle, clay runes were constructed…one using a leaf stalk to scratch the rune initials into the clay, the other using tiny twigs pressed into the base, to spell out the whole name.

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…and lastly, fabulous large scale runes were made using sticks and feathers. These runes spelled out names, initials and the word ‘Viking’.

Cedars really enjoyed sharing their ideas and work with the rest of their class, and it was lovely to hear them all congratulate and praise one another’s efforts. And after creating such great messages, Cedars were able to work out the message Mrs. Smith left for them-

Next week, would you like to make a _ _ _ _!

…can you see what it is?

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Cedars-I’ve given you all a rune sheet…can you take it home and make a message with someone in your family? Please write back and tell me what word you made…

Sailing away in our Viking Longship…

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Another fun filled and exciting morning for our Vikings in Cedars class! They worked really well together to finish their Longship and by the end of the morning it looked fantastic…and was ready to sail on it’s first adventure!

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The boys made chalk paint and decorated their dragons head with it.

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They also finished their sail. Once it’s dry, we will hang it up on the ship’s mast.

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The seats were added, floor swept, oars found and placed ready and then Cedars set off together on a Viking raid! It was VERY noisy! And lots of fun. The children even made up their own raiding song, warning the Anglo-Saxons that they were on their way…!

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I wonder if real Vikings had hot chocolate and biscuits in their Longships?!

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A Viking Longship takes shape…

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

We had a very small group today as over half of Cedars class were out playing football at Villa…but WOW-how hard these 5 boys worked! And what a lot they accomplished.

Firstly, we cut open the string that had been tied around the stones on our large piece of cloth…we had dyed it with blackberries in the previous session. The patterns were beautiful.

We’d decided last week to use different leaves, flowers and berries to add more colours to the cloth. And had decided that it should be a Viking sail! So today we learnt how to safely use a hammer…and then bashed lots of different colours and patterns into the sail.

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Then we set to work on the Longship…the children had some brilliant ideas. They found a tree that would make a great mast, then worked together to clear a space around it. They carried logs and sticks together and made the shape of their ship.

More and more sticks were added to build up the sides, and a great suggestion was made- to add a dragons head to the prow (front) of the ship. Look at the fire coming out of the dragons mouth! The group decided that the head needed to be orange and red..so next week we will make some special paint to add to their creation.

We can’t wait to show what we did to the rest of Cedars next week…and to continue to use all the children’s brilliant ideas to complete the Longship.

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Cedars- Busy with blackberries!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Last week Cedars foraged like Vikings! They picked and ate blackberries…and as we had some left over, we decided to see what else we could use them for.

Cedars learnt that Vikings used natural dyes to colour the clothes they made…so were set the challenge of finding a way to make their own dye using the blackberries (and anything else they could find from our Forest School site.)

They weren’t given any guidance…just challenged to use their own ideas and to find ways of transferring different colours onto a square of white cotton. There was lots of experimentation going on…

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The children used stones, sticks, their fingers and brushes to create the dye… Some tied stones into their cloth to see what would happen…

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Some children explored the site for different ways of creating colours. They were ingenious! They used tree trunks, rotting logs, mud, acorns, crushed berries, moss and leaves.

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As everyone was enjoying creating colours so much, we decided to get a large sheet of cotton and do some more! We decided it would make a brilliant sail for a Viking Longship! Someone suggested placing an acorn and some leaves inside the cloth and hitting it with a stone…we made some great prints, but the children decided that it was really hard work…and a little bit dangerous for their fingers. They were all very keen to finish the sail, but decided to wait until next week, so Mrs. Smith could bring out some hammers  to bash the leaves instead of using stones.

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“I know…let’s make a massive Longship in the forest” said Thomas. “It’ll take us lots of days to make it” replied Brandon…”We’ll do it as  team” suggested Anthony. “And finish the sail and put it on” said Noman. So-that’s our plan for next time!

Choice time after snack was fabulous! One team worked together to hunt for Viking treasures…and they were delighted when they found GOLD! Elsewhere there was a lot of cooperation and problem solving going on around the climbing tree…which was a little out of reach for someone…who very cleverly found a way to help himself and his friend up! And lastly, a discovery team worked together to find and identify bugs and some strange looking fungi.

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Cedars go foraging like Vikings!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

What a fantastic morning! Cedars were met by the new Viking Chief, who explained that the viking villagers were hungry and thirsty and needed a snack. The village people were relying on their hunting skills…so Cedars were set the task of foraging the grounds for food.

One of our Vikings suggested blackberries, so off we went to find some…

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Viking Chief explained howto identify blackberries and talked about how to keep safe while foraging. We had to be very careful of the prickly stems!p1140347p1140350p1140351p1140353

We also found a few other interesting things along the way…

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These red berries were found on the ground.

p1140356p1140355The Viking hunters knew they weren’t blackberries, but weren’t sure what they could be. Guesses included apples, tomatoes, peppers and holly berries, but Viking Chief led them on a trail to find the tree they came from and helped them to look closely at the tree and leaf shape . The Vikings learnt that they were berries from a Rowan tree.

Once we’d collected enough blackberries, we washed them and had a taste…some children for the very first time. There were thumbs up all round for our juicy blackberries.

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Next, Viking Chief introduced the Kelly Kettle…and explained how making a fire in the bowl and placing the kettle on top, would give us hot water to make a drink of hot chocolate.  The vikings set off to forage for wood, then the fire was lit. Once we could see steam coming out the spout, we knew the water was hot. Hot chocolate has never tasted as good as it did today!

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And as we had blackberries left, we decided to use them as face paint to mark us as true Forest School Vikings!

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LANGLEY IS A SCHOOL WHERE INDIVIDUALS ARE VALUED FOR THEMSELVES
AND WHERE ALL ARE EXPECTED TO GIVE OF THEIR BEST