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St Gabriel’s

St Gabriel’s

News from the Junior School Classrooms

Extracts from our weekly newsletters from the Junior School classrooms before the transition to remote learning.

Author visit

Reception really enjoyed their first World Book Day, which began with a very exciting parade around the dining room where they had great fun spotting the characters that their older friends had chosen to dress up as. Back in the classroom, the children had a workshop with local author, Tim Furr, who read two of his books: The Boy Who Blew Off and The Girl Who Caught the Sun. He also taught the children how to draw using letters, enabling them to draw the amazing pictures of cats that are now displayed in the Reception classroom.

More photos are available in the World Book Day Gallery.


coat of arms history

Year 1G thoroughly enjoyed their history topic of kings, queens and castles with a focus on our local area. So far the children have learnt what a monarch is and during a PSHE lesson considered the responsibility of passing different laws. They thought about what rules they would choose as King or Queen.  The children have begun focusing on our local area, looking at Newbury's coat of arms, examining the different symbols and considering what they might represent. They learnt that a coat of arms represents a place or person, using symbols which are special to them. Miss Bloomfield and Mrs Martin demonstrated with some of their own and the children then shared ideas of what was special to them.


In Science, Year 1S have been learning how push and pull forces can move objects and change their direction. They found especially fascinating the force of wind, which you cannot see but you can feel. With this in mind our young scientists had great fun making their own bespoke kites and flying them on the field!

In Year 2, the children have been busy learning their tables, to help speed up their mental maths. They have had great fun trying out a host of applications on their class iPads to aid in their learning. These include: Doodle Tables, Maths Rocks, Maths Bingo and Squeeble Tables. One of their favourite ways of learning is with BBC Supermovers, which features mascots from the Premier League singing along to the tables. The children learn their tables first in order, before singing aloud the patterns. Then they 'rewind' and recall them backwards. All whilst doing some very funky dance moves! It certainly is a great workout and gets them ready for learning.

Popart Year 3 have been learning about Pop Art and the iconic pop art artist, Andy Warhol. The children found the popular art of the 50s and 60s really appealing because it is bright, fun and easy on the eye. They produced some beautiful Pop Art collages but enjoyed the ceramics project most of all, where they made Pop Art food of their choice. The fabulous selection included chicken nuggets, bacon and egg, biscuits, cakes, doughnuts, pizza, a mouthwatering ramen and a lobster, which is both realistic and true to size. 
Science Book Sound and hearing has been this half term's topic in Science for Year 3S. After spending a little time discussing what sound might be and how hearing can be different for different people, and even for animals, the class then began trying to figure out what sound actually is with a selection of practical activities. They had to explore: beads on a drum, a ukulele string and some balloons (one filled with a 1p coin and the other with a hexagonal nut). The children used their iPads to record the activities in slow motion, which allowed them to 'see' the sound. The class then came back together to discuss their findings and they accurately deduced that sound is a vibration! They will be exploring this further with some more hands-on learning. 

Year 4 have identified many of the different types of energy, including obvious ones like heat and light, but also more complex ones such as potential (stored) energy.  To show practical examples of these complex theoretical ideas, they looked at a stretched elastic band: as it stretches, it stores more and more energy... until you let it fly off, at which point that potential energy becomes "kinetic" (movement) energy. Making paper helicopters was another way to see potential energy at work. When these were held up they had potential energy; then they flew down really impressively (just like sycamore seeds said one acute observer).  

As the picture shows, the children saw how one object can transfer energy to another.  If you drop a small ball sitting on a large ball at the same time, when they hit the ground some of the kinetic energy in the large ball transfers to the small ball, with interesting results.

Gold medal Olympian

Olympic Rowing Gold medallist, Katherine Copeland, visited us on Sport Relief Day and talked to Junior School pupils about her journey to London 2012 and Rio 2016. What an inspiration to all our children – and what a treat to see and touch an Olympic gold medal!

More photographs from the day are in our Sport Relief Gallery.

Junior Music Concert Thank you to all 20 budding young musicians who treated us to another wonderful lunchtime concert.