Friday 20 May 2011

Boat Building - Day 4 - The Launch!

Following a morning of last minute alterations and additions, the boats took to the water today. All boats were successful in the way that they made their way to the end of the school pond without sinking or succumbing to mechanical difficulties. It was great to see everyone encouraging and helping one another as our project reached its climax.

It has been a thoroughly enjoyable week, how time flies!

African Adventure Day 5

Last night, we gathered around the camp fire, just outside the village to celebrate the work we had done. The campfire chiefs chose games and songs to sing and we all toasted marshmallows in the embers as the fire died down.

Following a night spent in the village itself, we tackled the remaining problems. Firstly, we foraged for food in the woodland, supplementing the giraffes and antelope caught earlier in the week, with bananas, avocados and sweet potatoes. The final problem involved cleaning the water that supplied the village. This required the children to make their own water filter using a range of different sized stones, some hosepipe, a funnel, tins, buckets and some handkerchiefs.

The results were a huge improvement on the filthy water that we started with, but still not drinkable, so we returned to the village to see a slow sand water filter in action. This used the same principles as the children's filters, but on a much finer scale. The resulting water tasted clean and looked as clear as anything you would get from a tap.

Before saying their final goodbyes, the children learnt that thanks to their hard work, a water filter, costing just £40, had been built for a real African village in Sudan, providing clean, safe water for the villagers. They were challenged to think of ways of raising money to provide more of these filters and go some way to redressing the balance for the 2/3 of people in the world who still live with dirty water.

For the last time (until next year), this is Dikolo, signing off.

Thursday 19 May 2011

African Adventure Day 4

Last night's talent show was a great success. We saw a real range of different talents, from headstands to singing, playing the piano to impressions of lions, and even a stand up comedy routine with a dubious Scottish accent.

After a great deal of laughter and a Winnie the Pooh story, the children went up to bed for their last night in the Hall. Tomorrow, we will be moving out to the village to spend the night in the huts.

The children have solved many of the problems faced by the villagers, but one key issue remains - that of transporting clean water to the village. We began today by hearing the story of Wecelina, who had to travel 3 miles every day to reach a well, from which she could collect water. After a return journey, carrying buckets of water, she was then able to provide her children with water to drink and wash with. However, the water was unfiltered and not very clean, which caused disease to be rife.

To experience the hardship of a 3 mile walk, the children set off along the beach towards Thorpeness. We walked just 1.5 miles, before stopping for a beach-combing activity. The total journey, including the return to Sizewell was only half the distance that Wecelina travelled daily, and without heavy buckets of water to carry. Yet, the children were quite tired by the time they reached the grounds of the Hall.

On our return, the children competed to fill a container with water, by carrying the buckets on their head across the field. They then learnt about how to siphon water and why water flows.

After lunch, the children set off to the village to help return the water supply. They worked in teams, using the knowledge they had gained about water flow to erect a pipeline into the village through which the water could travel.

Finally, their teamwork and communication skills were tested with a Massai Herding game, in which the children were blindfolded, and guided around an obstacle course by their chosen leader, who could only use prearranged sounds, but no words.

Tonight, we will gather around the campfire for stories, songs and games before spending the night in the African Huts.

We have nearly completed our mission here. Our last task tomorrow is to solve the problem of cleaning the water that supplies the village. Until then, farewell.


Boat Building - Day 3

This morning started with ensuring that all hulls were 'watertight' and that the motor was securely attached. Then, the process of decoration began with the children deciding on various designs. After this, the creation of the 'super structure' commenced as both a finishing touch and also as protection from water entering the hull.
In the afternoon, we welcomed Mr Nick Hayward who gave a fantastic presentation on the building of his own boat, which went on the water for the first time yesterday. Mr Hayward shared a wealth of knowledge with the children and had a number of items of interest with him including a propeller, an anchor, various different types of wood, compasses and a map of the sea off our coastline.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

African Adventure Day 3

As yesterday evening drew to a close, the children learnt what it was like to be unable to see and have to rely on their other senses. They were led blindfolded around an obstacle course and had to pass on instructions to the person behind them to warn them what was coming up.

This was followed by a game of Duplomacy in which the children worked in teams to create a tower of Duplo bricks and had to describe their creations to the communicators, whose job it was to pass on the information to the rest of the team in another room. They then attempted to build the tower from the instructions they received.

Another Winnie the Pooh story ended the day and a group of very tired children headed up to bed.

This morning, the groups set off to different areas of the site to tackle the low ropes course, win their cutlery for dinner in archery (Mr Mansell also bagged a giraffe), and build a temporary shelter to protect them from the elements.

We then headed to the beach for an extended session while the sun was out and did a bit more burying in the stones.

This evening's dinner was a bit different - rather than eating at tables we were seated on the floor around an array of different African flags. Each flag represented a different country and the mealtime customs they have. It was an interesting meal, during which we discovered that eating peas with your hands can be quite tricky!

We are now looking forward to an evening of entertainment in the form of a talent show. I will report back on the success of this tomorrow. 


Gymnastics Competition - Suffolk Finals

Earlier today, two teams from Earl Soham took part in the Suffolk Finals' of the Small School Gymnastics Competition. The setting for this was the fantastic Piper's Vale Gymnastics Club in Ipswich.
We were delighted that our Year 2 team (pictured below) finished a very creditable 10th place and should be very proud of the way that they overcame their nerves and performed so well.
However, this was then eclipsed by our Year 3 & 4 team who ended up on the podium with a wonderful 3rd place.

Both teams should be delighted with their efforts as so much hard work had been put into preparing for the event. Thanks also to all of the parents and staff who supported us throughout and enabled us to ultimately take part. The final 'thank you' must go to Ms Piper and Mrs Barker who put in so much 'extra' time to get the children to this position - we know they are over the moon!

Boat Building - Day 2

Having cut out the required shapes/sizes of wood and assembled motors yesterday, today saw the children piecing together the hull, mounting the motor, making the paddles and sealing the structure.
As the pictures below show, a high level of concentration and patience was required for everybody to end the day with their model ready for adding the 'super structure' and artwork tomorrow.
A really lovely day!

Tuesday 17 May 2011

African Adventure Day 2

Following our wonderful dinner last night, we all took part in the Big Africa Quiz. Even the staff took part, but despite winning almost every round we seemed to end up in last place. Some very questionable scoring going on there!

We finished the day with a bedtime story and settled down for a good night's sleep.

This morning, due to some contaminated water, the teachers all fell "ill" with Cholera, Typhoid, and Amoebic Dyssentery! The children were set the task of saving the lives of the long-suffering staff by finding the correct medicine.

With this in mind, the groups took part in a trio of activities: cycling to Thorpeness, defusing land mines and building a bridge over crocodile infested waters.

The cycle ride taught us about the hardships of some rural African villagers, whose only mode of transport is often a bicycle: something that we take for granted and usually use purely for exercise. We learnt that in some places a bicycle could be used as an ambulance to enable ill people to get to a doctor more quickly.

The minefield beside the village was cleared to make it safe for the villagers to return.

And the key to the medicine chest, which was thought lost when it fell into the lake, was rescued by some ingenious bridge building.

The teachers' condition worsened shortly before dinner, but thanks to the children's hard work, they were soon restored to full health by some tablets that not only cured the illness, but also left a minty fresh taste in the mouth!

A wonderful dinner followed. We will be setting off for our evening activity soon, so for now this is Dikolo saying "Kwaheri".

Boat Building - Day 1

Following on from the Year 4 & 5 trip to the yacht builders, today the children set about making their own.
Using templates, they marked out the pieces on balsa wood and then used craft knives and safety rulers to cut them out.
As well as this, the children wired up their motors and switches ready for fitting tomorrow.

Monday 16 May 2011

African Adventure Day 1

After arriving at Sizewell Hall at 10am, and unloading our bags, we headed over to the Camp Kitchen, which would be our base for the day's activities. From there the children learnt that they had a special mission to complete and a mystery to solve as an emergency relief team for the U.N.

They began with a series of team building activities to get to know one another and begin to work collaboratively in their groups.

After this, they completed an orienteering activity to get to grips with the layout of the site and develop their understanding of maps. 

This was followed by an exploration of the rest of the site, where the children discovered the African village, which seemed mysteriously deserted. Rifle shells littered the floor and the adjacent woodland was roped off with a sign warning of a minefield.

Not far from the village, a graveyard was discovered. The children also found a locked chest with a U.N. Logo on it.

On their return to the Camp Kitchen, they were set the task of mapping the site, using natural materials. The resulting maps can be seen below.

The chest was then unlocked and the DVD contained within it was viewed in one of the huts. The children heard an impassioned plea for help from a former resident of the village, asking them to restore access to the village for his family and friends.

After a short break at the beach, during which time the urge to bury one another in the stones proved irresistible, the children set off on a further orienteering activity to help them  get more familiar with the terrain.

This was followed by a well deserved and delicious dinner in the Hall, before the children were shown to their rooms.

Our evening activities now await and I will update you on them in tomorrow's post.

For now, this is Dikolo (which means "school" in Sesotho), signing off.

Year 4 & 5 Activity Week Begins

Whilst the Year 6 children enjoy the delights of 'African Adventure' for a week, Year 4 & 5 children are undertaking a boat-building project. The week started with a trip to 'Landamores' yacht builders in Wroxham, Norfolk. Their staff had kindly given up their lunch break to show the children around and explain how their fantastic 'bespoke' yachts are made to customers specifications.
Seeing the work of extremely talented people at first hand was an eye-opening experience for everyone. The sheer magnitude of the production is highlighted by the fact that, on average, 16,000 hours are spend fitting out each yacht.Hopefully, the children have got a 'buzz' for yacht building as for the rest of the week they'll be planning and building their own versions!
We are really appreciative to all at Landamores for giving up their time and making us feel so welcome.

Ipswich Midnight Walk Saturday 14th May

10.45 pm - Portman Road - under the stand keeping out of the rain, we attempted the warm up which was being conducted 'Bollywood' style, but Jennie was the only one tall enough to see over the crowds what was going on! - off we go - following the long crocodile of flashing bunny ears and fairy wings! Here we are back at Portman Road - very weary but happy to have completed the 8 miles in 3 hours, all in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice. Our sponsor form will be open for a few more days if anyone would like to contribute to this most worthy cause.

Friday 13 May 2011

Small Schools' Rugby Tournament

Earl Soham travelled to Hartismere High School to take part in the annual 'Touch' Rugby Tournament. In weather more suitable for cricket, 9 small schools battled it out during a rather hot and humid morning.It took Earl Soham a while to get into the swing of playing this rather complex sport but, improving every time they took to the field, they ended up a very creditable 5th place. Yet again it was nice to see sport being played competitively yet respectfully and with smiles on faces.

Monday 9 May 2011

Year 1 FUNdamentals

Year 1 children spent this afternoon at Debenham High School undertaking a range of physical challenges. The emphasis was on participation and enjoyment for all the children in the Debenham High School pyramid.
The sun was out, the sky was blue, and with a slight breeze present the children had a great time learning new skills and challenging themselves. Many thanks to the School Sports Partnership for organising such a lovely afternoon.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Growth and Change Presentation Afternoon

This afternoon, parents were invited to come and share in some of the excellent work that the children in Blue Class have done over the past term in their Growth and Change project. There was an excellent turn-out and the children thoroughly enjoyed talking to parents and explaining what they had learnt. The highlight of the afternoon was the performance of the class dance: The Life Cycle of a Plant (a copy of which is available to view on the school's blog if you missed it).

Well done to all of Blue Class, who have put in a huge amount of work and produced some stunning results.