Spring 2021

Memories, reflections, hopes and dreams were the words on yellow strips commemorating a year since the first lockdown in 2020. The installation was biodegradable and we hope some of our words have been woven into birds nests or read by people finding them blowing about in the breeze.

31st March

unfair

Michael Rosen

When we went over the park

Sunday mornings

To play football

we picked up sides.


Lizzie was our striker

because she had the best shot.


When the teachers

chose the school team

Marshy was our striker.


Lizzie wasn't allowed to play,

they said


So she watched us lose, instead...

24th March

all things pass

Spring shows us more than any time of year that much is transitory: nature, like all life is always on the move, things can be brief. Whether you are roaring with laughter, sobbing with despair, stuffed full of joy and at utter peace with the world, fuming with anger or any of the hundreds of emotions that are part of being a person, rest assured - it will pass. So here are two wonderful words on this very thing.

Transitory - does not last, only lasts a short time, temporary, brief

Moment - a short time (instant), the present time (I'll be with you in a moment), a particular time (a moment in the day), a special time (it was her big moment)

Some art hangs in galleries and can be enjoyed and visited time and time again, some musical recordings are decades old and can be listened to over and over again.

But some other art and music is like much that enriches our lives and is just there for a short time. I am so looking forward to when we can all be together, playing live music when no two concerts are every the same. Jacob's tree in the RHS garden is Art in the Moment. It was hung with your hopes for the future, rememrances of special people and reflection of loockdown. As your yellow paper ribbons get blown on the wind, picked up by birds the tree will change. One day there will be no yellow messages hanging on it, just our memories of a special moment, 23rd March 2021, when Some art hangs in galleries for years and years. Other art is transitory, just with us for a short time, like a Live Concert.

Art and Music in the moment is special in a different way - you just have to be there.

What transitory moments have enriched your life today. Before you go to sleep I wonder if you can think of three special moments and take a short time to be thankful for them.

Ms S :-)

17th March

Pink / Blue

I wonder what you thought of when you saw those words? Many people will see those colours and link them to boys and girls? Did you know that only a century ago it was usual to dress little boys in pink? Pink and blue are just colours, some people choose to link one to girls and one to boys.

Below are four words, see if you can picture a person for each word:

strong

gentle

caring

powerful

Did you picture a boy or a girl, a man or a woman? Have a think and a discussion - did other people think like you? What did most people picture?


Here are some other interesting words on the subject to think and talk about:

Male - a scientific, (biological) word for boys and men - male things can be called masculine.

Female - a scientific, (biological) word for girls and women - female things can be called feminine.

Sex - this word is about different bodies; it links to the words male and female. Human beings all belong to the human race and we are much more alike than we are different. But in a few things, a few parts of our bodies, we are different.

Gender - this is a word about things we think about sex - males and females. Colours, toys, books and activities can be linked to boys and girls and this is what the word gender is about.

In French, nouns have a gender - la chat ('the cat') is feminine and le chien (the dog) is masculine. Can you see how the word in French for 'the' is different (la and le)? A female dog, Amy, is still le chien and a male cat, Henri, is still la chat!

These words aren't good and bad but they are interesting. But what about this word - do you think it's a good word, a bad word or an interesting one?

Equality - valuing and treating people fairly, giving people the same chances and choices whether they are men or women, black, white, brown and all the shades in between. Ms S is old enough to remember when women weren't allowed to wear trousers to work! But today we have the Equality Act. This means it is against the law to treat someone differently, to say they cannot do, say or think this or that because of their sex or gender.

One last word -

stereotype - when people expect that just because of someone is male or female they should do certain jobs or be certain ways. How do these pictures challenge and make us think about stereotypes?

10th March

from america

This is a poem from the United States. But how do we know?

Can you find any 'American' words - what words would we use instead?

George Bernard Shaw, an English playwright said "England and America are two countries separated by one language.' Sometimes people who are in many ways alike, as British and American people who all speak English, can still find it tricky to understand each other.

What else does this poem tell you? I wonder if it helps you think about all the different people in your class.

3rd March

Skeletons

Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake - for all our young dinosaur experts!

This poem is rather wonderful; it tells of something that Michael Rosen has never forgotten but this was not a something that happened to him. Reading and listening are windows into other worlds where we can enjoy not only with our own experiences, but those of other people. By listening and reading we can experience events long past, meet people long dead and even visit places that have never existed with people who have never been born. Something to think about for World Book Day!

Ms S :-)

Skeleton.pdf

22nd February

the first step

Sue Westcott

This poem is about a first day in school. Lots of us will have a first day back on 8th March. What can this poem teach us?

The new boy walks into the room.

Suddenly, from noisy chaos

There is silence

As staring pairs of eyes

Focus on him.

He hesitates and wonders,

'Why do they look at me

As if I am an alien?

Have I got two heads, six legs,

Or is my hair blue?'

The new boy inhales deeply

gathering up his courage

And steps into their domain,

He remembers his mum's words,

'Be friendly,'

So he attempts a smile.

Shy and think it slides across

His paper white face.

'Hi,' he softly speaks a whisper.

'My name is Brian.'

And a flashing flood of

Dazzling white greets him!

10th February

on written words

This quote from William Massey asks us to think about writing. It's up in our Library because it is so intriguing.

It is generally thought that History, 'civilisation' begins with writing. Putting down marks on stone or clay, papyrus or paper, to symbolise spoken language and so pass on and remember what was said. People spoke (and made art in caves) for many thousands of years before they wrote anything down. The first language spoken in Europe and across much of the modern world was Indo European and almost all European languages as well as many in the Middle East and Northern India have their roots in this ancient shared language. But because Indo European was only spoken and not written down, we don't know much about it or what it sounded like. The thoughts and wisdom of the Indo Europeans are lost in pre-history.

We have been thinking about the gift of Art this week and how art can care and show kindness to others by being shared. I love William Massey's description of writing as a 'mystic (magic) art' and his notion (idea) of 'painting speech and speaking to the eyes.' It makes you think how very special the act and art of reading and writing is; human beings sharing, gifting their thoughts to others.

For most of our human history people have been unable to read or write and we know very little of what they thought. When we are literate, we can listen to the thoughts of people who lived long ago, people who live very different lives far away, we can even read and write about imagined life on other planets, in other galaxies or in fantasy worlds. Reading and writing really are a 'Wondrous Mystic Art'.

We are lucky to be born at a time where we can learn to write and with our magic lines share our thoughts not only with people who hear our words now but with people who can read them too. And if you write something wonderful, who knows, perhaps someone in the future in a distant land will read them and think about you, connect with you across time and space and learn a little about you!

Write something wonderful this Wednesday! Ms S :-)

3rd February

WEDnesday wishes

Building a better world

Fairy tales, myths and legends are full of wishes being offered, often three. Very often in these tales, wishes go horribly wrong and the wish brings not happiness but misery. Do you remember foolish King Midas who wished everything he touched turned to gold?

Why do wishes go wrong? Why don't they come true? There's an old saying 'Be careful what you wish for.' Here's a poem by Ms Moem about all the superstitious things we do when making a wish.

He blew his birthday candles out.

Her penny hit the well.

They closed their eyes, and dreamed a dream

That they would never tell.

The children pulled the wishbone.

Dandelion seeds disperesed.

Fingers crosses so hopefully;

Rituals well-rehearsed.

But no one ever mentions,

Though successes counted are few,

The wishes made upon a star

That never did come true.

Now you understand a little more about wishes, it's your turn to make three. Before you do read the following short text - Build a Better World. Now think deeply so you make wishes that really will make the world a better place:

1 Self - a wish for yourself

2 Others - think of someone else you'd like to have a better time, make a wish for them.

3 World - what would you wish for the environment?

Now for the important bit - go off and make them happen!


27th January

Be the Light in the Darkness

Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

Be the light in the darkness is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2021. When a person is described as 'a light' it is a metaphor saying they are useful and kind, a good example to others, a role model.

Holocaust Memorial Day reminds us of all the people who have suffered when people choose to take a different path, who choose to hate other people because of their difference. By remembering the sad times in history we can learn from them and make our future better than the past.

Can you think of a mistake you have learned from? Everyone makes mistakes; hopefully we learn from them and don't make the same mistake over and over again. Like we have an individual life, History is the study of the life of humankind. It's an important subject to learn. For one thing it is interesting to learn how people lived and thought in the past. The other reason, and why History is so important to know about and to understand, is so we can learn from humankind's mistakes. Then we will know how to avoid repeating them. This is why Holocaust Memorial Day happens every year in January.

Another use of the word light in language is about to know or think about something something - 'to shine a light' on something is to think about it more deeply, know it and understand it better. By shining a light on our human history, knowing where the path of unkindness and hatred leads, we learn why it is so important to choose the path of kindness. This is why, at Kingsmead Primary, we are useful and kind and ready to learn. It is why we have no outsiders in our school. We are all different and everyone is welcome, every person has a part to play.

  • How are you a light to others?

  • What talents do you bring to make a kinder school, a kinder world?

Our lights are more powerful whenever we work together alongside others. How do you shine your light usefully and kindly with other people: your family, your friends and the adults who help you?

Helen-Aronson-BEM_-easy-read.pdf
A short read for our older readers.

20th January

ENDURANCE

Legend - a narrative poem (it tells a story)

Born in 1915, Judith Wright was an Australian poet, and environmentalist (caring for the environment) and campaigner for social justice (helping other people). When the British landed in Australia and took the country for their empire, they did not treat the Aboriginal people who had lived there for thousands of years very well. Judith Wright campaigned for Aboriginal people to have equal rights with other Australians and was on a march protesting on their behalf shortly before her death in 2000.


Legend by Judith Wright

The blacksmith's boy went out with a rifle

and a black dog running behind.

Cobwebs snatched at his feet,

rivers hindered him,

thorn branches caught at his eyes to make him blind

and the sky turned into an unlucky opal,

but he didn't mind.

I can break branches, I can swim rivers, I can stare out

any spider I meet,

said he to his dog and his rifle.


The blacksmith's boy went over the paddocks

with his old black hat on his head.

Mountains jumped in his way,

rocks rolled down on him,

and the old crow cried, You'll soon be dead.

And the rain came down like mattocks.

But he only said,

I can climb mountains, I can dodge rocks, I can shoot an old crow any day,

and he went on over the paddocks.


When he came to the end of the day, the sun began falling,

Up came the night ready to swallow him,

like the barrel of a gun,

like an old black hat,

like a black dog hungry to follow him.

Then the pigeon, the magpie and the dove began wailing

and the grass lay down to pillow him.

His rifle broke, his hat blew away and his dog was gone and the sun was falling.


But in front of the night, the rainbow stood on the mountain,

just as his heart foretold.

He ran like a hare,

he climbed like a fox;

he caught it in his hands, the colours and the cold -

like a bar of ice, like the column of a fountain,

like a ring of gold.

The pigeon, the magpie and the dove flew up to stare,

and the grass stood up again on the mountain.


The blacksmith's boy hung the rainbow on his shoulder

instead of his broken gun.

Lizards ran out to see, snakes made way for him,

and the rainbow shone as brightly as the sun.

All the world said, Nobody is braver, nobody is bolder,

nobody else has done

anything equal to it. He went home as easy as could be

with the swinging rainbow on his shoulder.


The poem is about endurance, a word we thought about in Monday's assembly. Here are some things to think about:

  • How does the boy feel at the start of the poem?

  • How do things change during the poem?

  • How does the Blacksmith's boy show endurance?

Judith Wright [1915-2000]

13th January

can a person be an island?

Today's poem is awash with words and things to think about - enjoy!

No Man is an Island

John Donne 1624

Like Michael Rosen's These Are the Hands, this is not a poem for children - rather like Michael Rosen's poem and Tove Jansson's Moomins it is one that can be understood differently at different ages.

This poem is a metaphysical poem - metaphysical is where two very different things might be thought about as similar in some way. A metaphysical poem compares these two different things, as if they are alike - a bit like personification or metaphor (you older ones might know about these - can you explain them to your family?). Have a look at the phrases - is there one bit you like more than the rest? Write that bit down and remember it!

No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe

is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as

well as any manner of thy friends or of thine

own were; any man's death diminishes me,

because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.


John Donne was writing back in the 17th Century and spelling was very different then - the first dictionary wasn't published until 1755. So all around Britain, people spelled words pretty much as they said them. So things were spelled differently in different parts of the country, depending where you lived and how you spoke. Some of us might be thinking that was No Bad Thing!

I wonder if a poet would write 'No man...' today? What do you think? Why? How might a modern poet who wants everyone to be included start a poem about humanity?

Below is how John Donne wrote his poem. Can you see any words that are spelled differently? Do you think the old spellings are good, bad or perhaps just interesting? Why? What do you notice in the punctuation?

Olde English Version

No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man

is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;

if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe

is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as

well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine

owne were; any mans death diminishes me,

because I am involved in Mankinde;

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

6th January

These are the hands

Michael Rosen - many of you will remember seeing Michael live at Storyhouse Chester. He is getting on now and has inspired generations of children, teachers and children who are now teachers. Thank you.

Michael Rosen's poem was written in 2008 to celebrate the NHS 60th Birthday. It took on an even more special meaning, with Michael bing in intensive care with Covid for some months, he knows more than ever the value of the doctors, nurses, cleaners and office staff who keep us healthy and well.

I have written a short one - I wonder who it is for?


These are the hands

That spot the dust

Check the fridge

Scour the rust

Fill the soap

Clean the loo

They keep our school

Safe for you


These are the hands

That wipe down doors

Sweep up bits

And mop the floors

Shine the taps and

Polish the wood

These hands work hard

So we can do good


These are the hands

Who go back to their home

Tired but ready

To work some more

For these hands have families

People they love

We must look after them

As well as we should


You can hear Michael perform his poem here.