This term, we are learning about the Saxons. So far, we have learnt about Saxon kingdoms, settlements and invasions. We have been 'Historical Detectives' and archaeologists, exploring the Sutton Hoo burial site where many treasures were discovered.
Over the course of this term, we will be learning much more about the Saxon way of life, their beliefs and the impact of these factors on modern life.
Bridge Building Challenge
In Owls, our focus for the Key Stage 2 performance will be on 'Matilda' by Roald Dahl, with some Revolting Rhymes also included.
Published in 1988, the story of young genius, Matilda Wormwood and her horrible parents, ogrish headmistress and kindly class teacher, has been delighting audiences ever since.
How much do you know about everyone's favourite child prodigy and reading enthusiast? We think you might be surprised by a few of these facts...
1. Matilda Wormwood started out as a "wicked" child
Roald Dahl wrote at least one draft of Matilda that was very, very different to the one we now know. In that early version, Matilda was a wicked child who plagued her poor, kind parents and caused havoc at school, ultimately redeeming herself through helping her teacher - an early version of Miss Honey - get out of financial difficulty by fixing a horse race...
2. Upon finishing his first Matilda draft, Roald Dahl thought he "got it wrong"
In a rare interview, recorded in 1988 - the year Matilda was published - Roald Dahl talked about how, in creating this "wicked" child, he knew he'd got the story "wrong," saying:
I hadn't bothered to go back and rewrite [that] for several chapters...
After finishing the draft and reflecting on it, Roald went back and rewrote a great deal of the story, creating the villainous Wormwoods and turning Matilda into the thoughtful child we now know.
In Storyteller, Roald Dahl's biographer Donald Sturrock tells us that Matilda's father, the devious Mr Wormwood, was based on a man called Ginger Henderson. Ginger owned the filling station in Roald's hometown of Great Missenden and was thus also the inspiration for a character called Gordon Hawes, who appears in some of Roald's short stories.
Actor Bertie Carvel originated the character of Miss Trunchbull onstage in the RSC's multi-award winning Matilda The Musical - first in Stratford-upon-Avon, then in London, and later on Broadway.
Although he wrote several shorter stories and poems in the last few years of his life - including Rhyme Stew, Esio Trot and The Minpins - Matilda was the last long children's story Roald Dahl wrote before his death in November 1990. It was also one of the few of his stories to win an award in the UK within his lifetime, scooping the Federation of Children's Book Groups Award when it was published in 1988.
Useful website for Year 5 and 6:
Saxon Shield Art
Just four days before Christmas 1900, three lighthouse keepers seemingly vanished into thin air on the remote Flannan Isles. Not a single shred of evidence was ever found to point to what might have happened.
We have been making our own inferences about what happened to the men, ensuring that these related to the evidence that actually existed, for example, the fact that they had no boat. We have also been reading and undertaking work on the Ballad of Flannan Isle by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson - see below if you would like to read it!
HOUGH three men dwell on Flannan Isle
To keep the lamp alight,
As we steer'd under the lee, we caught
No glimmer through the night!
A passing ship at dawn had brought
The news; and quickly we set sail,
To find out what strange thing might all
The keepers of the deep-sea light.
The winter day broke blue and bright,
With glancing sun and glancing spray,
As o'er the swell our boat made way,
As gallant as a gull in flight.
But, as we near'd the lonely Isle;
And look'd up at the height;
And saw the lighthouse towering white,
With blinded lantern, that all night
Had never shot a spark
Of comfort through the dark,
So ghastly in the cold sunlight
It seem'd, that we were struck the while
With wonder all too dread for words.
And, as into the tiny creek
We stole beneath the hanging crag,
We saw three blackbirds--
Too big, by far, in my belief,
Upon a half-tide reef:
But, as we near'd, they plunged from sight,
Without a sound, or spurt of white.
And still too mazed to speak,
We landed; and made fast the boat;
And climb'd the track in single file,
Each wishing he was safe afloat,
On any sea, however far,
So it be far from Flannan Isle:
And still we seem'd to climb, and climb,
As though we'd lost all count of time,
And so must climb for evermore.
Yet, all too soon, we reached the door--
The black, sun-blister'd lighthouse door,
That gaped for us ajar.
As, on the threshold, for a spell,
We paused, we seem'd to breathe the smell
Of limewash and of tar,
Familiar as our daily breath,
As though 'twere some strange scent of death:
And so, yet wondering, side by side,
We stood a moment, still tongue-tied:
And each with black foreboding eyed
The door, ere we should fling it wide,
To leave the sunlight for the gloom:
Till, plucking courage up, at last,
Hard on each other's heels we pass'd
Into the living-room.
Yet, as we crowded through the door,
We only saw a table, spread
For dinner, meat and cheese and bread;
But all untouch'd; and no one there:
As though, when they sat down to eat,
Ere they could even taste,
Alarm had come; and they in haste
Had risen and left the bread and meat:
For on the table-head a chair
Lay tumbled on the floor.
We listen'd; but we only heard
The feeble cheeping of a bird
That starved upon its perch:
And, listening still, without a word,
We set about our hopeless search.
We hunted high, we hunted low,
And soon ransack'd the empty house;
Then o'er the Island, to and fro,
We ranged, to listen and to look
In every cranny, cleft or nook
That might have hid a bird or mouse:
But, though we searched from shore to shore,
We found no sign in any place:
And soon again stood face to face
Before the gaping door:
And stole into the room once more
As frighten'd children steal.
Aye: though we hunted high and low,
And hunted everywhere,
Of the three men's fate we found no trace
Of any kind in any place,
But a door ajar, and an untouch'd meal,
And an overtoppled chair.
And, as we listen'd in the gloom
Of that forsaken living-room--
O chill clutch on our breath--
We thought how ill-chance came to all
Who kept the Flannan Light:
And how the rock had been the death
Of many a likely lad:
How six had come to a sudden end
And three had gone stark mad:
And one whom we'd all known as friend
Had leapt from the lantern one still night,
And fallen dead by the lighthouse wall:
And long we thought
On the three we sought,
And of what might yet befall.
Like curs a glance has brought to heel,
We listen'd, flinching there:
And look'd, and look'd, on the untouch'd meal
And the overtoppled chair.
We seem'd to stand for an endless while,
Though still no word was said,
Three men alive on Flannan Isle,
Who thought on three men dead.
Railway Theme Week
Year 5 Artists painting in watercolour
'A view from a Railway Carriage'
This week, whilst Year 6 are on their Residential, Year 5 will be at school undertaking a Railway themed topic week.
The first railways in Britain were simple systems operated in mining towns. The expansion of the railway network was delayed by different problems and there were several objections to the construction of the railways. We will be exploring these factors in detail. Our topic will also incorporate an exploration of popular railway themed literature, including 'The Railway Children' by E. Nesbit, and 'From a Railway Carriage' by Robert Louis Stevenson.
We will also be finding out about railway engineers. Here are some interesting facts about two particularly famous engineers:
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
The Railway Children
By E Nesbit
This is a story of three children, Roberta, Phyllis, and Peter, who live in a respectable suburban villa with a wonderful mother and father and a cook and servants, until one day great disgrace and poverty befalls them. Father is taken away to prison (but they do not know this at first), and they have to move to a poor cottage in the country near a railway line. Mother writes stories to earn what little they live on and they get used to being poor and have to learn not to steal coal from the railway station, even if they have so little to keep warm by. Sometimes they argue and have crises, as one does, but in time they make many new friends, and amusing adventures aplenty happen near the railway and the canal. They develop the habit of waving to the train as it goes past and sometimes the people in the coaches wave back. Their friendly habits makes them one special friend in particular, who although he mostly just goes by in the train, eventually gets to know them, and helps them out in various ways. And somehow all the good things that they do add up together and end up coming back to them, and there is happy ending to it all.
Our Art Exhibition