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Weekly learn at home blog

Week 10: Getting outside

Week 10: Getting Outside

This article has been written by parent blogger Emma Bradley.

Do you remember being at school on really warm sunny days and the teacher would suggest going out onto the field or school playground for afternoon lessons? Well, that has been me over the past few days as we created an outside learning place in the shade of our garden and it has been blissful!

We started the mornings off at the dining table doing Maths and the Bitesize lessons as normal. We spent some time on improper fractions and times tables this week. Learning times tables is essential and being able to recall the tables quickly provides the foundation for most other Maths applications. We have used a range of resources to practise times tables over the past ten weeks and have done them every single day since lockdown and Erin’s speed and accuracy has really improved which has also directly improved her 11+ preparation.

Did you know that children in Year 4 are now assessed on their times tables? This demonstrates just how important they are. We use the Collins Workbooks to practise them and there is a also a times tables test simulator on the Collins site, this is great for testing and practising at speed. Many schools also use Times Tables Rockstars and have class battles and contests which Erin enjoys as she is competitive with her friends. There has also been lots of research on how children who struggle with times tables in primary school often fall behind in Maths at secondary school too. Therefore ten/fifteen minutes practise a day will really help your primary school child.

The afternoons saw us setting up an outside classroom and one of the things we spent time doing was decorating kindness rocks, this is one of the activities in the My Awesome Year of Being 10 book, which is filled with ideas of things that you can do in the garden this summer. This book has been a life saver for coming up with fun activities that we can do after we have finished the more structured academic work.

In our English sessions we have looked at haiku’s which are a type of poem. Children often think that poems need to rhyme, and I wanted to show that they didn’t! A haiku is a Japanese poem and it is traditionally written in three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. I showed Erin a couple of examples that we read together, and we counted the syllables to ensure she knew what they were.  Next we sat in the garden and listed the sounds we could hear which included birds, trees and children in the background chattering. Then we had a go at writing a haiku using those sounds and words associated with the garden. It was a really great activity for developing vocabulary including using onomatopoeia. We then went on to look at other poems and read some from one of her books.

Connecting with nature has been a theme for many whilst we have been off school and I hope that it is something children continue to do once we are back at school and in our busier lives. Before self-isolation and lockdown many of us had replaced walks in the countryside and our local areas with trips to coffee shops and shopping parks. This time has seen us using outdoor spaces much more and it is really good for our emotional and physical health, so I hope it continues. I can’t believe that another half term has rolled around and that we have been home learning for so many weeks. I think we all deserve a big pat on the back for getting through the challenging half term.


Missed Emma's previous learn at home blogs? Read the previous installments today: 

Week 1: Introducing your weekly learn at home blog 

Week 2: The new normal 

Week 3: Keeping emotional health in mind 

Week 4: Little and often 

Week 5: Keeping busy

Week 6: Settling into a routine

Week 7: Taking a practical approach

Week 8: Looking ahead

Week 9: Getting creative

About Emma

Emma Bradley, a qualified secondary teacher and current primary school governor with many years experience of working in different childcare and education settings. She has three children, the eldest is Chloe a second year university student, a son Dylan who is 16 and just found out his GCSEs are not going ahead and Erin who is 10 and still at primary school.