WordS on Wednesday
Autumn 2022 - caring for ourselves
December is advent the month where we get ready for christmas
Can It Be True?
This week we are thinking of the message of peace that comes with Christmas. Susan Hill uses animals to help us think of coming together despite our differences: the fox with the hens, the dog and the cat, the whale and the whaler. It's a beautiful poem.
Christmas is not all about presents. Gifts are nice and can be fun but when you ask most people what they love about Christmas it's often the things you can't buy that they think of first. What are you hoping for this Christmas that isn't a present?
much to remember in the month of November
Advent - a last word for November and the first for December
In the Christian calendar, advent is the season up to Christmas Day. With the advent of winter I expect a lot of us are hopeful of some proper snow.
For Christians and Muslims alike, Jesus and Mary are very special; they are very holy people and are revered. You can read about Jesus and Mary in the Bible, the New Testament which is the part of the bible which is special for Christians. But you can also read about them in the Koran which is the Muslims' holy book. Christians believe that Jesus was the son of the Virgin Mary and was the son of God, God come down to Earth, the King of Heaven, to live among us. Muslims believe Jesus was the son of the Virgin Mary and a great prophet (a prophet is a special person believed to be in direct contact with God). Muslims don't believe Jesus was God's son or God on Earth.
The word advent also has a secular (secular means not religious) meaning. It means the arrival of a special person or notable thing.
The advent of the internet changed all our lives; before the internet we had our real life and our imagination. Now we have a real life, our imagination and a virtual space.
With the advent of winter Ms S is massively hopeful that we'll get some wonderful snow. Here's a poem about the winter.
Country Carol by Sue Cowling
Walked on the crusted grass in the frosty air.
Blackbird saw me, gave me a gold rimmed stare.
Walked in the winter woods where the snow lay deep.
Hedgehog heard m, smiled at me in his sleep.
Walked by the frozen pond where the ice shone pale.
Wind sang softly, moon dipped its silver sail.
Walked on midnight hills till the star filled dawn.
No one told me, I knew a king was born.
Here's a question for older wordsmiths. From what you've learned today, and reading the last line - do you think the poet is writing as a Christian or a Muslim? Why?
A word to take us from anti bullying week into the Christmas story
From forgiveness, reconciliation and peace to a word with a similar but different meaning: Redemption. Christians believe that Jesus came to redeem humans but the word has an interesting and important meaning for everybody.
Redemption (to be redeemed) can mean being saved from wrongdoing we've done or a mistake we've made. It can also mean to pay a debt, repay what we owe.
Forgiveness is something others give to us. Reconciliation is two sides coming together, putting aside their differences.
Redemption is different; it is something we achieve through our own actions. It is when we try to put right a wrong we've done. To want to redeem oneself means having courage. We are brave enough to admit that we have done wrong or made a mistake and then take action to make up for it. When we make amends, to make right harm we do to others we can earn their forgiveness, reconcile with them and enjoy a happy, peaceful relationship.
We all make mistakes. We can all hurt another person's feelings, often unintentionally. Next time you make a mistake or hurt someone's feelings perhaps, instead of feeling miserable, crying or blaming the other person, think 'I've messed up. Now what can I do to redeem myself?'
Words for Anti Bullying Week 2020 - Reach Out and make the world a better place
To reach out to everyone, unlimited we are inviting everyone to think about three important words:
We care for ourselves and other people when we forgive, reconcile and enjoy a peaceful life.
What does it mean to forgive? The dictionary tells us the word forgive is a verb; it is something we do. When we have forgiven it means we no longer feel angry or resentful towards someone who has made a mistake, perhaps hurt or upset us. To forgive means we no longer wish to punish or for someone to suffer for a mistake. Forgiveness means to let go of thoughts of revenge or getting back at someone. There is an old saying 'Forgive and forget.' Perhaps here, 'forget' is not about not remembering but more about letting go of resentments and the idea of revenge.
Reconciliation, if you choose it, comes after forgiveness. It goes further than no longer wanting revenge. When we reconcile with someone we begin or restore friendly relations with them. Reconciliation is when two people or groups of people come together in friendship after a disagreement. It's not always easy but the rewards can be huge. And when we reconcile with others we can be more confident in achieving what we've been thinking about over Remembrance day this year:
Peace. Peace is freedom from argument, freedom from disturbance, freedom from aggression.
Last week we thought about Northern Ireland and how by talking, listening to each other and reconciling, a long period of peace was achieved after the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998. In South Africa, Nelson Mandella talked about 'peace and reconciliation.' This meant that people had the chance to tell others their stories, what had made them angry, fearful and hurt. They then needed to forgive, to let go of wishing for revenge or punishment and to reconcile differences and move forward together in a spirit of friendship.
In school there are times when children use actions and words that can be called bullying. Bullying is when unkindness happens in a particular way:
An intent to harm. When someone chooses to deliberately target another for unkind treatment. This might be for a difference or because they don't like something about them. It can be OK not to like things about other people. It's never OK to target them for unkindness.
An imbalance of power. When one person (or group) who is stronger, older, more powerful uses their power to hurt another.
Persistent. When someone is just narky with you it is often not bullying; they're having a bad day. You know it's bullying because it's persistent. They target the same person and repeat the unkindness.
However, we don't have any 'bullies' in school. To call someone a 'bully' is to label their character and children's characters are not formed (it's mid to late twenties for character to form and stick). However, we do know that we all become what we practice. This is why we don't tolerate or accept people intending to harm, targeting others for unkindness or using their power to make someone else feel bad. We have no bullies and we do not accept anyone practicing unkind behaviour that if an adult did it would make them a bully.
But do we need to do more than not practice bullying ourselves? To be really useful and really kind should we be anti bullying and take action when we notice it? By noticing and using kind words and useful actions to intervene, we can all do our bit to, in the words of Diana Ross, reach out and, make the world a better place.
Our display that remembers and notices peacemakers, here in school and in the wider world, is filling up. Thank you for your
Some of you have noticed people who use kind words to make a positive contribution to ending arguments and conflict. Others have noticed people who are cheerful and make people happy. Happy people are unlikely to want to argue or fight. Some have noticed people who choose not to retaliate. Some have noticed the people who include and make time others - people who are included and who join in are less likely to get into conflict with others.
Thank you everyone who makes a contribution to our school being a peaceful place where we can work and learn happily. Tomorrow, in assemblies, we will think about how peace is always a work in progress.
To remember means to think about something from our past, something we know about. It can be something in a lesson an hour ago to something years ago. We can learn and remember from experience, from listening to others, from our own reading and noticing. Remembering is key to all learning. It makes us cleverer.
We all remember different things depending on what we are taught, read about and what interests us. The more we read, listen and learn, the more we remember, know and understand.
Humans are, so far as we know, the only animal who can remember things from before they were born, by learning about them. There are some things that are remembered together, often these are marked by special events and here in the UK, there are two in November.
Remember Remember the 5th of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot.
Bonfire Night is when people in England remember a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament with the government and the King inside. The plot was discovered just in time and the government and King were saved.
People right across the world remember the end of War, it's on 11th November because at 11am on 11th November in 1918 the guns stopped firing in World War 1 and the Armistice (peace) was signed.
This week we are thinking about the passing of time. There is a good word to describe what we do when we leave something for another day, putting things off - procrastination. We will be thinking about this in assemblies this month. It's worth remembering (when we are tempted to leave something for another day, to put something off, that time does not go on forever. There's an old expression
The days are long but the years are short
which encourages us to make the most of every day.
When I was a baby, time crawled
When I was a child, time walked
When I became an adult, time ran
When I became old, time flew.
This poem invites us to think about time, our time, here on Earth. What does it say to you? We think of time being regular, ticking along at the same rate. But time feels very different when you're not measuring it. When we are having a great time it can go fast. When we are doing something we find interesting we can lose track of time and think it's much earlier than it is. And when we are bored or waiting for something special (like Christmas Day) it can seem to go slowly.
October is Black History Month
Words for the last week of the first half term - when you are in nature and notice nature you are never alone
Poet Benjamin Zephaniah grew up in the city but lives in the country where he has discovered, perhaps later in life than we have, a real love of nature and his garden. His poem reminds us how nature is good for us and making a garden, even in a pot on a balcony, can be good for us.
At the bottom of my garden
There's a hedgehog and a frog
And a lot of creepy-crawlies
Living underneath a log,
There's a baby daddy long legs
And an easy-going snail
And a family of woodlice,
All are on my nature trail.
There are caterpillars waiting
For their time to come to fly,
There are worms turning the earth over
As ladybirds fly by,
Birds will visit, cats will visit
But they always chose their time
And I've even seen a fox visit
This wild garden of mine.
Squirrels come to nick my nuts
And busy bees come buzzing
And when the night time comes
Sometimes some dragonflies come humming,
My garden mice are very shy
And I've seen bats that growl
And in my garden I have seen
A very wise old owl.
My garden is a lively place
There's always something happening,
There's this constant search for food
And then there's all that flowering,
When you have a garden
You will never be alone
And I believe we all deserve
A garden of our own.
At this time of year the natural world will be starting to take a rest before winter sets in. The cold wet weather can be tough on plants which is why we are giving the field a good rest until next Easter. If we care for the field over winter we will have lovely grass to play on next Summer. On Google classroom today three Sparrows from year 4 are sharing a poem they wrote and performed in our school grounds. It's a poem about something very familiar, something we see every day and may hardly notice. That's the beauty of poetry - we hope the girls' words helps us see something we know so well with new eyes.
Sometimes small. Sometimes Tall.
People trod on me day by day.
In winter a white carpet falls down on me.
In summertime, when children are off, I get a rest.
When it rains I'm squelchy all on my surface.
Benjamin Zephaniah loves nature. His poems help us see ordinary stuff with new eyes.
Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don't frighten me at all
Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn't frighten me at all.
I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won't cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn't frighten me at all.
Tough guys fight
All alone at night
Life doesn't frighten me at all.
Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don't frighten me at all.
That new classroom where
Boys all pull my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don't frighten me at all.
Don't show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I'm afraid at all
It's only in my dreams.
I've got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.
Life doesn't frighten me at all.
Maya Angelou shared many wise words.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Have you ever heard the expression 'Time flies'? This poem takes this old saying and invites us to think about the passing of time.
What are the bird's footprints at the corners of eyes?
The poem talks about wasting time. Perhaps it is inviting us to think of time being precious. We are only young once. You will only have today's lessons today. How can we make the most of our time?
When we are young, we experience lots of things for the first time; this might be why time can seem to go more slowly than it does when we are older. We notice new things, unfamiliar things and perhaps think about them more deeply than we do with stuff that's familiar, things we have experienced before.
This is why time seems to go faster and faster the older we get. Tell a young person 'It's three months till Christmas' and that seems a long time away. But to an adult it's coming up fast. Perhaps that's why cards and decorations for Christmas appear in shops so early.
September began a new school year with us thinking about caring for ourselves
What you gain on the swings you lose on the roundabouts
What does this old saying mean and how does it help us care for ourselves?
It means that things go well and not so well and that is life. This old saying asks us to think more realistically about ourselves, others and our world.
Being a realist, to be realistic, means thinking things as they really are. And this can be very different to how you first feel about them. Have you ever had an especially brilliant birthday? Is it realistic to expect every birthday to be absolutely brilliant? Is it more realistic to think, some are good, others not so much.
Have you every had a lesson you absolutely loved every minute of, so good you didn't want to go out to play? Can every lesson be this way?
Have you every had The Best time with a friend; you laughed and played for hours and never fell out? Can all your times with one person be that good?
Have you enjoyed a beautiful day, perfect weather the sun shining or the ground white with fresh snow? Can every day be a beautiful day?
How does thinking more realistically help us care for ourselves?
Well, people who think "What you gain on the sings you lose on the roundabouts" will not get so downhearted about disappointment. They will think, "Well I've been on the roundabout, now I'm looking forward to the swings!" Realistic people are more sanguine when things don't go their way (older children may remember this word from lockdown learning). Sanguine people are better able to brush of disappointment and are hopeful of happier days ahead. Life will be as full of disappointment as it is full of happiness, so being realistic can help us brush off the bad, crack with enjoying life and notice to the good stuff.
A realist sees good in bad and bad in good. The symbol here shows how people in ancient Asia thought about this idea (and still do today) - there is good in bad and bad in good. It's called Yin Yang. Why is this such a good symbol?
Care - we care for ourselves, other people and our environment
But what does it mean?
Care comes from an old English word, carian or cearian which meant to have interest or concern for something.
The dictionary definition is to:
feel concern or interest; attach importance to something.
feel affection or liking.
like or be willing to do or have something.
look after and provide for the needs of.
So, when we say 'don't care' it means the opposite. To be disinterested, dislike something or think something or someone is not important. It means not to bother looking out for yourself, others or your world.
Karma - because what goes around comes around
Karma is a Sanskrit word from India. It means action, work or deed.
Have you ever seen a boomerang? Boomerang were invented by Australian Aboriginal people (boomerang is an Aboriginal word). A boomerang is a bent stick which, when you throw it, comes back to you. Karma is a bit like a behaviour boomerang.
A deed is something you do, another word for a deed is behaviour. Kind actions are sometimes called 'good deeds.' The idea of Karma is that our actions - the good ones, interesting ones (and yes, the bad stuff too) matter. The idea of Karma says that everything we send out to other people and into the world, will come back to us - just like a boomerang. Kindness and care for yourself, others and the world brings back good karma.
Kind people who let people join in and don't put others down have more friends.
Hard working people get pride from their work and enjoy success.
People who are respectful and listen to others as well as share their own ideas find people want to work with them and be on their team.
That's the good news. But what if you are not useful and kind? What if you don't care for yourself, others or the environment? Karma tells us that while selfish and greedy actions might make you feel more powerful or bring you more in the short term they will bring bad karma back to you.
No one likes to play with or share their stuff with greedy people who are selfish.
Lazy people don't enjoy success and don't get a sense of pride from their work.
Bossy folk will find it harder to find people who want to work with them or be in their team.
Karma is important in Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism; practicing Good Karma will being you a good life.
What good Karma will you be sending out this week?
To sleep, perchance to dream - ay, there's the rub, For in this sleep of death what dreams may come.
William Shakespeare's words about sleep are very famous. We are sharing a poem about sleep today because sleep is such an important part of caring for yourself. For when we sleep and dream we process the learning and activities of our day, sending them off into our memories for use in future lessons, games and activities.
Well rested people are happier people - being tired makes us bad tempered and unable to enjoy what we're doing.
Click to read a poem, Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson
Is this a modern or old poem?
Why? What words and phrases give you clues?
What is the same or different to your bedtime?
In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
in Summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?
Top Tips for caring for yourself at bedtime
Do get enough sleep. If you're between 6 and 12 you need 9-12 hours to be properly rested. So don't argue with your parents when it's bedtime!
Do have a routine - washing and teeth cleaning followed by a book or story is a great one.
Reading a real book for pleasure is a great end to a day and aids a good sleep.
Don't watch TV or use screens before bed - the blue light tricks your mind into thinking it's morning.
Be a word detective and see how many words you can learn.
When you read or listen to someone reading aloud, or in a conversation, take a second to notice new words.
Note it! Write it down or say it out loud and if you decide you do want to know what it means, do the following:
Think about what you do understand and know from the other words, the sentence or phrase - give it your best deduction (a deduction is an intelligent guess, one based on the evidence you have - the police are great at deducing, it's how they catch criminals!).
Ask someone else what it means or use a dictionary (if you haven't one at home, here's a link to an online dictionary)
Think about how close you were. It's remarkable how the rest of a phrase or sentence can help you be a super sleuth with words.
Try to find three times in the same day where you use the word in your writing or talking to someone else - this is the magic bit for learning the word and remembering it.