Reconnecting in Secondary

We’ve been very happy to see the majority of our secondary pupils returning over the last couple of weeks. Pupils have enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with staff in school and see some of their friends again. Staff have been delighted to welcome pupils back and to return to some semblance of our normal routine. We do hope this will continue after the holiday, but as detailed in the letter from our Chief Education Officer, we have to await further guidance on next steps.

We’ve been very busy in the time that we’ve been back in school. Here is a selection of what we’ve been doing:

Learning Outdoors

We’ve been making the most of the good weather and enjoying learning in the fresh air. Some of us have enjoyed local walks and outdoor play.

Others have been busy in the grounds with gardening and litter picking. Room 14 particularly enjoyed the litter pick.

Health and Wellbeing

It has been great to see so many of our young people observing the safety rules around school. We’ve all become increasingly independent in maintaining good hand hygiene. Target work has continued and we have also been working on our ASDAN units. We’ve also had lots of fun!

Working Hard

We’ve been delighted with how well our pupils have settled back into their routines. Lots of learning is taking place, with good use being made of games and technology.

Who could fail to be happy to return when learning is so much fun?

If you’d like to engage in some messy activities at home our advice is:

Take it outside OR get your child involved in the tidying! It’s never too early to work on independent living skills.

Qualifications in the Senior Phase

Our senior phase pupils have continued working towards their ASDAN and SQA qualifications and we thank everyone that has supported in this during our period of remote learning. Room 19 have been successfully working on SQA Science: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. They’ve created some beautiful instruments.

Happy Holidays!

While some pupils have just returned to school, others have been supported throughout the lockdown period. We’ve had lots of learning going on remotely and thank all parents, carers and staff for supporting our pupils with this. In speaking with families, I know that there have been differing levels of engagement for a host of reasons, and we would like to thank all of you for the support you’ve given during this challenging time. Google Classrooms will remain ‘open’ should you wish to make use of activities during the holidays, but please do take a break if you can, relax, enjoy time outdoors, and focus on well-being.

Outdoor Education Activities

Given the current weather situation, here are a few snow and ice activities for you to try at home!

Ice Sun Catcher:

Snow Games:

This website has some great activities and games for you to enjoy playing in the snow

Active for Life – Games To Play In The Snow

Winter Scavenger Hunt:

Science Experiments:

CBeebies – Ice Cool Skates

BBC Bitesize – Ice Sculptures

BBC Bitesize – Snow, Ice and Water

Science Sparks – Ice Decorations

Snow Volcano Experiment

Ice Luminaries:

 

Mark Making:

Another great website which gives you different ideas on mark making activities in the snow.  

Mark Making

Storytime:

10 Sparkly Snowflakes written by Tiger Tales

Snow Penguin written by Tony Mitten

Snow Penguin written by Tony Mitten

Singing Hands: Winter Clothes

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch (29th-31st January)

Today sees the start of the 42nd annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, which sees birdwatchers across the country join in the UK’s largest garden wildlife citizen science project and we would love for pupils and staff at Orchard Brae to get involved.

Taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch is really easy. Simply watch the birds for one hour at some point over the three days. This can be done in your garden, your local park or even sitting looking out your window!

Last year, over 500,000 birds were counted by Big Garden Birdwatchers in Scotland giving real insight into how our birds are doing.

Have a look at the RSPB website where you will find lots of fun activities and resources to help you participate in the Big Gard Birdwatch but here are a few to get you started.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/

Lucky Duck Story:

Make A Bird Feeder:

Make Paper Plate Birds:

Tally Sheets:

Here are some simple tally sheets that you can use to keep track of the birds you see.

Don’t forget to let us know how you got on with the Big Garden Birdwatch survey and activities so please feel free to share any photos or videos via your child’s teacher, through Google Classroom, or email Amy Dunnett (Principal Teacher Primary) adunnett@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Orienteering In Room 2

With Scott, room 2 have been learning the skills involved in Orienteering.

We all enjoy learning outside; following the route; looking for the orienteering flags in the playground; being first to find the flag; selecting the flag numbers (and correct colour) and matching them to the appropriate number on the orienteering board.

Room 2’s class team are very proud of all the pupils and how quickly they have learnt the skills involved.

Signs of Autumn

Some of us have been looking for signs of Autumn when we’ve been out and about. We’ve noticed the weather changing a little – while we’ve had some sunny days, there’s also a chill in the air. The autumn colours are starting to appear and we notice the trees changing colour, both in our playground and in the community. Lots of beautiful orange, red and yellow. Some of us have made autumn pictures using the leaves we’ve collected.

We have also enjoyed some relaxing music:

What Have Room 10 Been Making?

Outdoor Learning: We took a walk around the school grounds and collected items as the children saw them.  We came back to class to make ‘Natural Things’ panels, which you can see us making in the photographs.  We will use these panels to decorate our outdoor area.

Making instruments in Science and Music: We are making our own xylophones, one of which can go outside as it has been made from drainpipes.  We have rolled and used Sellotape, we have tapped to hear the different sounds we could make with our rolls.  We have used string to make knots. We are going to use some of our own instruments in class music and see what difference size and volume can make to notes and pitch.#

Back to Nursery

Our morning and afternoon nursery children at Howes Road have been very busy since starting Nursery this term. Many have been showing an interest in vehicles and we have been listening to stories and songs about cars, buses and other things that help us to move around. A favourite song is ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ and great fun has been had playing the desk bells which sound like the bell on the bus. Some children have been using vehicles in the paint and looking at their tyre tracks. Others have been exploring the paint with their fingers. The garage and toy cars have proven very popular as the cars go up and down ramps whilst some children have been exploring cause and effect steering wheel toys or completing puzzles.

We also made lots of playdough as part of a group and have been using transport cutters to make shapes of planes, cars, trains and motorbikes. Some have been rolling the playdough in their hands and squeezing it as it is lovely and soft. 

We have had fun in the nursery garden, watering the flowers when it has been sunny and jumping in the puddles when it has been raining. 

Return to nursery

All the returning children from Orchard Brae at Ashgrove have settled well since starting back in August. We have been able to welcome new children to our Nursery and it has been great to see how quickly they have adapted to their new setting. They all appear to be enjoying and becoming familiar within the Nursery environment.

We have been doing lots of sensory activities with painting, gloop and shaving foam. We have also been making vegetable and fruit printing pictures. We have been planting our spring bulbs and enjoying what remains of the “summer weather.”

As the trees are now beginning to change colour we have been exploring this concept as we go for walks in the local community. Some of the children have shown great interest in our apple and plum trees which grow in our outdoor play area and have been collecting them. We have used some of the plums for our snack. Next week we are planning to use the apples to make apple pie.

The staff team at Ashgrove are all looking forward to working with the children and supporting them throughout their time with us. 

Our Sensory Garden

We were overwhelmed by the response we had to our sensory garden appeal. The donations of resources, time and money have helped to make a unique and already well loved area for our pupils to enjoy and explore.

A huge extra special Orchard Brae thanks to:

  • The Little City Garden – design and landscaping
  • Gerbera Designs – landscaping
  • James Gettka – landscaping
  • Morrison Construction – access path
  • Mike Bruce – path
  • James Millerby – boulders
  • Jenna Killoh – pallets
  • Dobbies Aberdeen – compost
  • Trees Are Us – logs
  • GI Cladding and Joinery – posts
  • Clan Miller Construction – slabs and posts
  • Bissett and Ross – tarpaulin
  • Alpha Fencing – new gate and fence
  • MB Landscapes – boulders
  • Karen Underwood – fruit tree
  • Karen Robertson – fairy house
  • James Polson Garden Creations – woodwork sculptures
  • BFLABDN – art work
  • Round Table Aberdeen – sponsorship for artwork
  • Linda Lovie – tactile sensory display
  • Dulex Paint Aberdeen – paint
  • Khyber Pass Association – donation
  • Unison Union – donation
  • Mrs Ann Thain – donation
  • Betty Craig – donation
  • Evelyn Drennan – donation
  • And last but not least our amazing fundraising families, the Simons and the Cruikshanks.

Outdoor Education Update

As the weather gets cooler, classes have been making a bug hotel in the new sensory garden.  We have been exploring different plants and textures to make a place where insects can keep warm over the winter.  We have used grasses, thistle down and a variety of plants to create a cosy environment for our tiny guests to stay in over the colder months.

We have also been setting up tasks for pupils to help keep our playground tidy, like raking the sandpit.  These jobs are great experience and provide a fantastic opportunity to be involved in real work.

We have also been establishing bird feeders outside class and in the new sensory garden.