Day 4 - Thursday
The struggle to all get into breakfast by 8am is getting tough. I am having to go slowly through the 'discipline gears'...lol
No one was awake at 7.30 today, this is despite a 9.45pm bed the night before.
We measured brooks and streams before lunch, using distance, speed and time. This is A level mechanics (part of mathematics). Again they worked hard and with enthusiasm, although it is becoming clear that they are extremely tired.
After the suncream application ritual, we went pond dipping. It was very hot and I could tell they all longed to discard their nets and jump in. They didn't - but 4 boys did venture past the 'no deeper than your ankle rule'. You will know if it was your child when you unpack their bags. Lol.
Dinner was scoffed, then we went to the games room. Last year table football was the fame of passion - this year it was jenga, so so serious...
After a second bash at stargazing we are half asleep. We have all had the most brilliant time. In all my days I have not attended such a brilliant, well delivered residential. All schools should do this.
The children have been amazing. I've seen previously unseen sides to all of them. They are a credit to all concerned.
Forest mathematics tomorrow. My favourite...
See you all at 1.30 to collect your cherbs.
Day 3 - Wednesday
Children needed tipping out of bed this morning - they are exhausted.
Breakfast passed without incident, apart from Matthew having an eureka moment...he saved his sausage. Why you ask? Well he made a sausage sandwich for his lunch which trumped everyone's floppy ham and cheese disasters. He will be copied tomorrow. He wins genius of the day for that alone.
Our first activity was understanding the environment through Dr Suess' book, The Lorax.
We were put into groups and given parts to learn...now the downside of only having 14 students is that myself and Mrs B had to play. I have to say our acting was magnificant and the children demanded a repeat. We refused naturally...always leave the crowd wanting more!
The point was put across effectively. We were amazed that so few children had seen the recent film version of this book...it is a great film.
After break we surveyed for pollenators of various kinds and played a series of games which taught the children about food chains and deforestation and it's effect on nature at various levels.
Lunch was good. The sun appeared properly for the first time and it became hot. The football match was cut short so sun cream could be applied.
The afternoon was our 4.5 mile round trip to Dedham.
We saw a Channel 4 film crew making a documentary about 'favourite dog walks' - why?
Poppy thrashed everyone at pooh sticks, Mrs Buthelezi came second even though she barged people out of the way to get what she thought was the fastest part of the stream.
The children also know that just because a cow pat is crusty on top...it isn't necessarily so all the way through. I was amused. We walked through a giant heard of cows, much to the dismay of a few who were a little wary of these magnification beasts - one in particular was not having it at all!
Are the cows for milk one child asked? No came the reply...coming to a freezer near you soon...lol
Exhaustion had set in by this point. Dinner was wolfed down. The children didn't really like the lemon meringue pie (Except for Matthew, who would bleed lemon curd if he cut himself after the amount he ate) but most tried it they were so hungry.
The stargazing was amazing....telescopes, Google space apps - all great stuff.
A few found Uranus amusing...can't think why?
Tom, who by now has a cult following amongst the Flatford staff such is his knowledge, really revelled in telling us about most of the planets and what they are made of. His general knowledge has been a feature of this trip.
It is now 10.15pm. We've been in our rooms for 10 minutes (we finished at 10!!!!!!)
I'm off now to watch a few episode's of something or other. I think Father Ted is on somewhere....
More tomorrow...it's river day. Now I wonder who will be the first to get wet?
DAY 2 - TUESDAY
Children were rudely awoken by my good self at 7am...those that chose to chat until 2.20pm were a little puffed out!
A few looked like the perverbial startled rabbit and we're a little freaked out to see me standing over them bellowing 'wakey wakey' and their roomies giggling.
Breakfast was great - cereal, toast and full English. The breakfast came with beans...it was easy to identify those that had 2 helpings by mid-afternoon...lol
Our first lesson was going back to our animal traps. Asheigh caught a bank vole, and Ty and Billy snared a wood mouse...neither would've made a decent sandwich!
The children examined these creatures close up and we're made aware of their ears in particular. They were released and scampered back to their homes. Cat food was used as the bait...interesting
After break, the children were taught about 4 and 6 figure map references as well as how to corretly read a compass and take bearings. They all seemed to get it and were able to apply their new skills to a range of challenges. The acid test was a 3 km orienteering challenge with 20 questions that relied on their new found compass and map reading skills.
The Compass Heros (Ronnie, Ella, Matthew and Rosa) ran out convincing winners, taking a mere 50 minutes to complete the challenge.
The teamwork from all groups was outstanding. I was proud.
After their 'homemade sandwiches'...hilarious - they were starving afterwards. Mrs Buthelezi put an over ripe banana in her bag and her sandwich smelt bad...but she still ate it.
The afternoon saw an array of mapwork - drawing, using, interpreting etc etc.
Dinner was shepherds pie - my favourite. But there was little left after the gannets on my table had been served and I had al denti broccoli ( it was raw..)
After dinner we tried forest art. The articulation from the children was something I'd never heard to that level before. Wonderful stuff.
Gantry (Dylan, Hizir and Tom) are a point clear in the tidy room challenge - I will win the teacher''s competition, especially after my room was sabotaged by Mrs B last year...I can still smell curry pot noodle powder I'm sure!
The children right now are playing Uno. Love that game.
The kettle is on again...more work.
As off yet no one has woken up early...no one is shower dodging and all children changed their clothes from Monday. Unbelievable
A 5 mile walk awaits tomorrow...it is a surprise of course.
Mr Sandford and Mr Buthelezi
We left in high spirits, not anticipating the bus journey...the driver taking the scenic route by a cool 25 minutes. Still, it was pleasant enough and soon passed.
After an hilarious half mile walk with full kit (none of them are army material. ..lol) we checked in. Room allocations were a resounding success and the children were faced with the daunting task of making their beds. It is clear that 6 of them had practised and practised hard - the rest...well.
1 or 2 girls thought the idea of a duvet cover is to simply stuff the duvet in. Clearly they were prepared to sleep under a ball!
Lunch passed, as did the fire drill and the 'sticky elbow' routine.
Afternoon lessons were based around mammals and their habitats and was very interesting. Our tutors, Steven and Rosie have been excellent and the children are lucky to meet people with their passion and infectious enthusiasm. We set traps just before dinner and await the results...
Dinner was pizza, chips and salad followed by chocolate pudding and cream. A definite winner. I have never seen 14 clean plates for BOTH courses
The evening walk was brilliant. Using our senses - the blind walk was amazing - was so much fun. The tutors taught us all how to heighten them (smell something smelly with your eyes shut, then repeat, but wet your nose first - incredible)
Tom left the tutors speechless with his flawless rendition of how an eye works. To say they were flabbergasted would be an understatement - Steven wanted to know when A level Biology became a primary school requirement.
We finished around 8.30pm. I am currently brewing the tea for Mrs Buthelezi - apparently she has no kettle...bah.
The children are happily playing and I have not yet had to talk to anyone...long may it continue.
Mr Sandford and Mrs Buthelezi