Thank you once again for everything that you are doing to manage the situation we are in and to support your family.
We continue to talk to families and once again, as I keep finding myself saying during this incredibly difficult time, you all continue to do whatever you can for the best.
As you will be aware there is growing speculation about the potential relaxation in lockdown rules and the potential phased re-opening of schools. As it currently stands we have no idea what this may look like and when this will happen.
As I have stressed many times, whenever there is an announcement (which the media have suggested could happen on Sunday) we hear this news at the same time that you do. So in advance of this please be patient with us; we will need time to make the necessary plans to ensure that we can safely potentially re-open the school. As soon as we have this information ready we will communicate this with you; thank you for your understanding in advance with this.
VE Day Anniversary Commemorations
Some of our students in school this week have been learning about VE Day and completing activities as part of the commemoration on Friday.
Please find below some links that may be of interest to families specifically focusing on Plymouth or DHSB. I mentioned in my letter to parents today that we received a first hand account in the post this week about the evacuation of DHSB to Penzance during the second world war and once I get permission we will share this more wider through the archives. It really is a fascinating read.
Finally, linked to VE Day, our students in school had a fantastic surprise today when Dan Snow (The History Guy from TV @thehistoryguy) called them this afternoon on Skype to talk to them about VE Day.
The students showcased some of their work and also had the opportunity to ask Dan some questions; the students loved the experience.
VE Day (Plymouth)
Here below are links to several short video clips relating to Plymouth (courtesy of The Box)
VE Day (DHSB)
NESTA Longitude Explorer Finals
It was a busy and exciting week for our team of Digital Leaders as they started work on their project submission for the NESTA Longitude Explorer prize with four webinars put on around marketing, brand awareness, business planning and app development. Each one was lead by a leading company in that field and focused on industry skills that our team would need to progress. It was great fun and the team learned a lot of skills that they will need to make their product viable.
NESTA also sent out five Raspberry PI kits to our team to help with their design work, which will keep them all busy in the next few weeks when they will be developing their app 'Put it Down'. Next week the team will share their progress.
Information about Admissions
A reminder that the 11+ registration form for admission to DHSB in September 2021 is now live at this link.
Please share this with your family and friends who may have a son in Year 5.
Parents and carers can also sign-up at this link to receive updates about any 11+ familiarisation session or materials which we are hoping to provide.
Also, Ms Nally, our Fair Access Coordinator, is asking for families of Year 5 boys who are currently preparing for the 11+ tests independently (without a tutor) to get in touch with her. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms Moreton has reminded me that the activities set last Friday were to last for two weeks.
One that is the same for all year groups is the fitness challenge.
Other tasks were supporting transition for Year 7, Money and budgets for Year 8, Money through your life for Year 9, and a new careers site, e-Clips for Year 10 and Year 11.
In addition to these topics Ms Moreton has added links for each year group to another new resource, a STEPS workbook. The workbooks have three main aims:-
To develop yourself through careers, employability and enterprise education
To learn about careers and the world of work
To plan for the future (using career management, employability and enterprise skills)
Ms Moreton says these are virtual workbooks and can be completed over a period of time, or just dipped into for different activities.
Our examples of Excellent Work this week all come from the English Department and are pieces of work related to Animal Farm.
Mrs Downes said, “This piece by Jamie Blank is an example of a research task which Year 9 students completed as background knowledge on Animal Farm”.
Jamie’s research grid shows effective research skills and also his understanding of how the contextual elements aid our reading of the novel.
Mrs Downes has also shared excellent work from Ayush Kunwar.
She said, “Ayush has tried to get into the mind of the character of Snowball and demonstrates that he understands the novel and its power struggles. I really enjoyed reading his work so I thought I should share it”.
Mrs Delve has sent me a copy of Daniel Atkin's work which is also in response to a task related to Animal Farm where students were asked to create a brochure on behalf of Napoleon.
Are you worried about the amount of time you and your family are spending online? As we come into our seventh week of lockdown I have found that I have started to relax the rules that I had for my own family around screen time and in particular the amount of time spent gaming writes Ms Buckler, but this has not come easy to me as a parent and so this week I wanted to share some positive research and tips for rethinking your relationship with screen time for both yourselves and your family.
Staying in touch with friends is important at the best of times, during these uncertain times it is vital. Video games are a way to have meaningful interactions, be that with our close friends or new ones we meet online. Social interaction is one of the main reasons people play online games. There is a huge community of gamers either in game or via public streaming and social media channels.
Research shows us that for the majority of children playing online games with friends does not pose health issues, but it is wise to ensure that you and your family take time to find games that are age appropriate and we should always be mindful that a small percentage of players do engage in gaming in an unhealthy fashion, after all, everything in moderation - it is perhaps worth monitoring mood and happiness when playing and remember video games are great fun, you can try playing with your family, taking the opportunity to learn about their digital world.
Here are some great games for new gamers!
One further concern may be the lack of physical activity if learning, play and socialising is online, however there are ways that you can incorporate digital games to get moving. The World Health Organisation have listed active video games as one of the ways that you can stay active and whilst the wii and its wii fit board are very retro they have made a comeback, along with its more expensive option the Nintendo Fit Ring. Other options include ShapeUp, Just Dance and my favourite Beat Saber.
Other interesting and engaging uses for technology whilst we weather a pandemic are:
Netflix Party Mode - synchronising video playback and adding group chat to your favorite Netflix shows.
Running a virtual quiz night with Kahoot.it this online quiz format engages players of all ages and works great on most mobile devices.
Co-Watching, a new addition to Instagram, is available to users who are video-chatting in the app. It lets users see the same screen and look through a fellow video-caller's liked photos and bookmarked and suggested posts, which is meant to mimic the experience of scrolling through the app together in person.
And finally, whether it's a digital tour of a US national park like Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, or a cultural excursion to the Louvre, there are tons of ways to virtually explore landmarks around the world without leaving home. You could even set up a Zoom, share your screen and explore with friends.