What do you do with forty small, energetic Cubs on a dark Friday night when the DHH is unavailable? You make scary faces from loo rolls and stuff them with glow sticks, of course. ...then shake them about....
The Headmaster, seated and surrounded by pyjamma clad children, said it so well. It was a magical evening and we all took away images of the shining faces of adorable children and shared in their excitement.
Anyone viewing the staff sing-song will have realised how important the rehearsals must have been… long and arduous, with skills honed, teamwork tuned; all in the melée of classes, sports and school life!
The Top Brass opened and set the scene as we seamlessly began the evening with the orchestra’s ‘Prelude for Christmas’ which was thrilling.
You had to laugh at Clare Rowntree’s fresh faced and charming Year 6s singing, 'All I want for Christmas is you'. It was saucy and delightful followed by a gleaming change with “Diamond Bright', from the Senior Vocals.
Mrs Miller' s Jazz group caught the spirit with 'Holiday Jam' highlighting some of the extraordinary musical talents.
Our own Miss Brownie is a very special member of the team and the teasing Song book titles said it all as she and Mrs Cowper cheerily rollicked along with Choir Impresario Mr Rowntree, Mrs Rowntree, Miss Carniel while Emily and the children danced and wafted across the stage with the ribbon sticks.
The elusive melodies of 'Winter Wonderland' and 'Let it Snow' from the Stradivarius Strings was simply lyrical. Can you do better with shining children? or be more joyous than all of Year Eight in, 'Sit Down, You’re rocking the Boat!" (A glimmer of what is to come with the Year production of Guys and Dolls in March!)? The Senior Choir in 'I wish you Christmas' and the 'Salvation Carol' from Top Brass filed the hall with beautiful music and the children's talents couldn't fail to impress.
You have to admire the spectral talents of Rob Harvey all of which came together with the Year Seven Orchestra and the Year Six Players bringing to life Dracula. Where did Toby get that jacket and that smile? Will was pretty terrifying with those teeth! We couldn't do without the The Rock Group… 'Spinning Around'. Wow Mr. Harvey!
The Gap students, who are about to return to their native New Zealand, sang their swan songs with the Tinsel Twinklers and Despicable Me.
Now before you judge the “Star Performers” who were good (Oh Mr. Hartley swoon…), and the following astonishing staff presence in ‘A Typical School Day’, may I reveal that it was first time we were all on stage at the same time and that the best bit is that Mr Peak and Miss Brown can actually sing!
Didn’t you feel it was grand perfect evening as you sang along to “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” and an important part of the FOSM Night Family.
What a treat! I just don’t know how they do it but many thanks to Mrs Miller, the Rowntrees, Mr Harvey. You and your amazing team just set me up for the best of the festive season with a song in my heart and fond memories of happy children at Christmas. The FOSM Committee worked tirelessly to transform what was a sports hall into an elegant music venue, serve dinner and then the aftemath. We are grateful for the huge contribution made to the school by our hard woking parents. See some pictures here.
The end of the Christmas Term in Pre-Prep is an especially busy and hectic time and so Christingle is a welcome oasis of calm. The children bring with them the Christingles which they have made and together we sit in the light of the glowing fire and the Christmas tree and focus on the tiny flames of our little candles. We listen to the Christmas story, sing a carol, say a small prayer and prepare ourselves for the festivities to come. It is a very special time and each and every child makes it so. See a few pictures here.
On Monday we had, what has become, our annual visit from Sir Teachalot which is exactly what he does. Yet again, he left our children buzzing about what they had learnt and eager to know more. The focus was on how fighting and the development of weapons, armour and castles had changed over time. The best way to sum up what the children thought of the day is what they themselves said:
Rosie- I came into the DHH and it looked like everyone was having fun. The people that were dressed up in armour were so funny.
Harry-Sir Teachalot was very kind and funny, but he did teach me a lot of new things that I did not know. He taught us all about the different armours. The making of the castle was fun but the jousting was brilliant. Making and breaking the castle was great but I think breaking it slightly had the edge.
Freddie- I personally really liked Sir Teachalot’s visit to FSM because he let us help and was very eccentric, which I liked. I think the best bit was the trebuchet because it was amazing to see how far such a small thing could fire bean bags with as little weight as 400 grams!
Benedict- The weapons were different. They had pointy swords and axes that were as sharp as a best man on his wedding day and as pointy as the top of a mountain, so they could kill a man in about three blows, so they are very dangerous
Max- I was a bit scared when he pretended to chop a volunteers head off with a real axe.
Fortunately no child has ever been wounded on one of Sir Teachalot’s visits and everyone said they wish that he could come back again.
Year 3 enjoyed visit by Sir Teachalot who brought their history topic alive with his costume and props. We particularly enjoyed dressing up in helmets and mail and were amazed at how large and heavy a sword was! We learnt our Saxon battle drill and proved to be fearsome warriors. The riddles had us a bit puzzled but we had fun trying to work out what they meant. It was a fun, informative afternoon and enhanced our understanding of who the Saxons were.
Between the 8th and 14th December, the annual Hour of Code week will be held. This started as a US initiative, but as with so many internet based schemes it has become a worldwide phoenomenon with schools in 180 countries taking part.
Never wanting to be left out, FSM have signed up to this and have already begun to run Hour of Code sessions with Year 6. I appreciate that while typing this on the 3rd December, we are still a few days off the official start, but with end of term fast approaching, if we don't start early we won't be part of it!
Year 4,6,7 and 8 have been coding during the Autumn Term in one shape or another. We have used Scratch, Python, HTML and the Codecademy website to learn a little about coding, structuring of programs and debugging them. Year 4 have made a simple chase game in Scratch and Year 7 have been creating a clone of the infamous "Flappy Bird" game. Year 6 and 8 have been coding by typing in ilnes of code and hoping their full stops and brackets all appear in the correct order using Python and HTML respectively.
Over the past few weeks, we have decided that coding on computers is not for everyone, but the discipline of thinking through explicit instructions and getting them in the right order, is an essential life skill. We have also debated at length the theory that if you are using electronic devices, you should have at least a basic understanding of how they are programmed to work.
6GM were the first group to use some of the exercises on the code.org website on Wednesday morning and the hour's lesson was approved by everyone. In fact Alice even went as far as to say the CodeMonkey challenges were the best thing she had ever done. I am going to imagine that she meant "ever" rather than just "ever in an IT lesson", which was probably nearer the mark.
Louis thought the Flappy Bird examples were reasonably straightforward and quckly finished them to move onto a game where you control Trolls with the Python language.
We barely have time to complete more than one of the superb examples and games that Hour of Code have created, but if there is a rainy day over the holday and you have an hour or two at home with time to spare, we would encourage the children to have a go at some of the code.org examples. There are many suitable from Reception upwards, so whether you are a fan of Disney's Frozen or you think you can slay Trolls with some fancy Python, there is something for everyone. I would also delight in seeing anything the children create, especially if they get the Android and Apple App Creation examples to work.
I have listed a few of the sites and examples we use in classes below. Some will require logins to be created, do be wary of sharing personal information and passwords online. Many examples on the code.org site can be run without logins.
Finally, at the bottom are our friends at the Raspberry Pi Foundation who have developed some of their own examples to go with the amazing pocket sized computer. Members of the Raspberry Pi Club at FSM can have a go at interfacing their switches and electronic components to bring some physical computing to their Hour of Code.
Have fun and be creators, not just consumers!