More Spectacular Science STEM ideas

By now, especially if you are a keen scientist, you may have had a go at many of the activities suggested on the original 66 STEM ideas sheet sent at the beginning of Lockdown. You might even be running out of ideas. But fear not! There are plenty on this blog for you to try.

If you scroll down through the blog, you will find several STEM Starter sheets. Reading them, you may been be inspired to try someone else’s idea or  you might see a picture in the science club news section and decide you might like a go at one of those activities. There are loads of great ideas to explore. Keep watching this space as I add more weekly.

If you get a chance, don’t forget to email me some photos or comment below and let me know what you have discovered.

Here are a few more to try:

Download (PDF, 709KB)

Year 5 Music May 22nd







Say this new rhyme in the box, as last week, and clap the hearts (the pulse), at the same time.

Now try again and this time, clap the words as you say them. You are now clapping the rhythm. Well done!


The final composer from the Victorian (Romantic) era that we will look at is another Russian called Rimsky-Korsakov. (1844-1908). He spent his early years in the Russian Navy, as well as being a composer. One of his most famous orchestral works is Scheherazade, programme music that is:

The story of a storyteller.


Before printed books and newspapers, storytelling was the way people shared information, traditions, and entertainment. Storytellers travelled from village to village, bringing news and tales. Fairy tales were first told by storytellers and later put into the book forms we know now. The 1001 Arabian Nights were such stories, meant to entertain but also to teach a lesson about good ways to live life and become a good person. One popular story from the Arabian Nights was the tale of Scheherazade. This tale was set to music by the Russian composer, Rimsky-Korsakov.


The Story

The story goes that the Persian King Shahryar would marry a new wife every day, and after the first night, he would have her beheaded. Against her father’s wishes, Scheherazade volunteers to marry the king and spend one night with him. She begins to tell him a story that is so amazing that the king is desperate to hear the end, but Scheherazade tells him that she will tell him the end of the story the next night. The king allows her to live for another day so that he can hear the end of the story. The next night she tells the end of the tale and begins another, not revealing the end, and so this goes on for A Thousand and One Nights, by which time the King falls in love with Scheherazade, spares her life and makes her his queen.


The Music

Ask your grown ups if you can find this music on You Tube.

Look up:

Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade. Gergiev/Vienna Philharmonic. Salzburg Festival 2005. This is a brilliant recording. You could always listen to this in sections if that works for you.

This music comprises of 4 contrasting, though unrelated, movements, influenced by pictures of Persian Miniatures of the time. At the beginning, the two main characters are introduced.

We hear the mesmerising violin taking on the role of Scheherazade (often accompanied by the harp). The heavy brass instruments declaring the arrival of the Sultan, and the stories begin…

The sea is depicted as ‘deep blue E major rolling chords’. Close your eyes ae you listen to it, and imagine…..

The second movement is the Tale of the Kalendar Prince, with a real sense of the Orient, and the third movement is definitely the most romantic of the four.

The last movement depicts a storm at sea and the destruction of a ship, breaking up on the cliffs, and Scheherazade’s theme returns for a final time, showing triumph over the Sultan as he lets her live.


The Art of Scheherazade: Persian Miniatures.  The Persian Miniature is a small, brightly coloured illustration that also tells a story. In the l4th Century poetry and literature became very popular in Persia (Scheherazade’s country) and there were many important painting schools. Each group of artists had their own style in creating their paintings. The beautiful drawings would illustrate poems or stories, making books more enjoyable and easier to understand.

Download (PDF, 368KB)

Year 4 Music May 22nd

Hello everyone.

‘We’re Detectives’

Download (PDF, 477KB)

Here is a song for you to sing about musical opposites. Once you know the tune and the words well, try and play on your instruments, as the verses direct.


V1. Play F, D (high/low)   (or D, D, high/low if you can)


V2 Play F, F, F, F, FGFED    ( or A, A, A, A, AGFED  if you can)


V3 Play D—, D,D,D.     (or A—,A,A,A  if you can )


V4 Play  F—(loud) F,F,F (softly)        ( A—(loud), A,A,A (softly) if you can)


Also, here are some more tunes for you to play on your lovely brass instruments.

Have fun, and don’t forget, any problems, just send me an email.

Download (PDF, 586KB)

It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny!

Dear Reception parents, carers and children

It was wonderful to see so many faces again via Zoom yesterday morning.  Thank you for sharing your favourite books.   What wonderful choices!

The book I shared, ‘It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny’, is a firm favourite of mine with a special meaning.   I have loved this story since a pupil in my very first Year One class, who had been struggling with reading, picked it up and read it to me!  I will never forget the feeling of such joy and pride as he turned the pages and read.   It is a repetitive story with a reassuring message about accepting yourself for who you are.  I can’t wait to read it to the children when we are in school.


It’s been lovely to see all the wonderful learning enjoyed by the children.   What fantastic artists, writers and designers you all are!

Murphy has loved reading all his wonderful letters.  Thank you!

Some lovely bee craft!


Did you know it was ‘World Bee Day’ on Thursday?

Adam’s fantastic knight.


I hope you have been enjoying the warm weather.  Let’s hope it continues.  It allows us to do a few more really fun activities outside.  Someone has been having a great time in a tent!


Like many families at this time, I have been trying to improve my garden.  My garden is small with not much in it so I have quite a job to do!   I have even managed to grow some plants from seed this year and it is very exciting watching them grow week by week.  I was very inspired by the ladybird and bee pebbles painted by Iris.

Can you spot the tiny bee?

I think I will try to paint some myself to brighten up my garden.

Thank you for reading this Blog.  Take care everybody and I hope you have many happy times during the half-term break.

Love Mrs Menzies x

223 days left in 2020

22nd May marks the 142nd day in the Gregorian calendar and today marks the last day of this term. Next week, is officially half term which means you have the week off! Yay!

You have all done amazingly well with all the learning this half term. We have been blown away by the amount you have done and the amazing standard of work you are sending us. Remember, the gallery does get updated everyday with new bits of work. These are some of the stand out bits we had sent to us this week:

Scarlett made a model of a rainforest habitat and described a food chain in it. The grasshopper eats the grass, the birds eat the grasshopper, the snake eats the birds and finally the owls eat the snakes.

One of your fellow classmates made some Anglo Saxon oatcakes. I am sure he will share the recipe if you want to try making them. They do look yummy!

The last piece of work we liked this week came from Ashton and Zachary. They made their own food chains.

I really hope that over half term you manage to relax and forget all about school work for a week. On Tuesday, I did a PE course, from my sofa, and they shared some amazing activities they have put together for everyone to try at home. So, if you fancy something different over half term follow the link below:

Some will require some adult help, some the adults might want to join in with and some you can have a go at on your own. Remember do send us some pictures so everyone else can see what you have been up to!

Final thought before half term:

Have a lovely week off.

Love the entire Year 4 team!

Friday 22nd May

Well done to you all for successfully completing a whole term of home-learning. It’s been a challenge, but I am blown away by all of your efforts, parents included. We sincerely hope that you can enjoy a much-deserved break over this upcoming half-term and let’s hope the sunshine sticks around a while longer. Fingers crossed.

Unlike much of the staff at St John’s, my gardening skills are distinctly lacking. However my partner and I have decided to tackle the front garden. Whilst he endeavours to create a bin shed for our recycling, Isla and I are slowly but surely moving shale from our neighbours’ garden to our own. Don’t worry – we did ask first! They want to get rid of theirs, and rather than buying new, we thought we would instead sieve out the odd loose nail, rotten leaves and tiny snail shells, before moving the remaining shale one sieve-load at a time. You might be thinking that I’ve lost the plot, and Year 3, it’s very possible that I have! However, it is this sort of monotonous, mundane activity that keeps Isla amused and busy, we also get to have a little wave and ‘social-distanced’ chat with neighbours living on our street, so it does tick a lot of boxes!

We are also growing sunflowers on the steps to our front door, they seems to get a lot of sunlight there. I am very excited to report that they are growing well and looking healthy! Long may this continue! I wish in hindsight that we each had our own designated sunflowers to be responsible for, for a little harmless competition. Lawrence and Ruby-Mae, I remember you  mentioned that you were growing plants too? Remember to send through photographs when possible, we would love to see in our Year 3 gallery! Of course, all of you are very welcome to send through any green-fingered photos that you would like to share!

Your work this week, as with every week, has been brilliant Year 3. Some of you have also decided to send us videos, explaining your learning in more detail which has been lovely to watch. Below I attach a small sample of the learning we have received.

Tallulah’s fabulous superhero story and Harley’s excellent column addition practice:

As much as possible, we wish you a happy break in the coming week and ‘see’ you again soon.


All our love,


The Year 3 team.

It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny!

Dear Reception parents, carers and children

Another week has come and gone and, hopefully, we are closer to returning to school.   I must say how wonderful it was to see so many faces and hear voices via Zoom on Thursday morning.  It really made my day!   I am feeling even more excited about meeting you all now.

I have continued to enjoy all the work and emails I have been receiving and I am endeavouring to put the photos into the Learning Gallery.

It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny!

You may be wondering why I called this Blog, ‘It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny!’  When I first introduced myself, I mentioned that I love books.  Well, I have to tell you that I was very excited and pleased this week when a copy of one of my FAVOURITE BOOKS EVER arrived through the post.   Here it is;


I have loved this story since the time when a pupil, who was struggling with reading,  in my very first class, picked it up and read it to me!  I will never forget the feeling of such joy and pride as he turned the pages and read.   It is a repetitive story with a reassuring message about accepting yourself for who you are.  I keep losing my copy of this book as it disappears into various classrooms, so I was very happy to receive a new copy this week.  I can’t wait to read it to the children when we are in school.

Please also read Mrs Grimble’s English Blog which contains some great links for reading books.  It also contains a link to a good picture book about Covid, which you may find useful to share with your child.

Lastly, I would like to leave you with a message from another ‘bunny’ book that I love.  I will let it speak for itself!

Read to Your Bunny

Take care everybody,

Love Mrs Menzies x

“What day is it today?” asked Pooh.

“It’s today!” squeaked Piglet.

“My favourite day,” said Pooh.

What a wonderful positive outlook on life A.A. Milne created in Winnie the Pooh. I would love to have this view, however I can’t help but be relieved and excited when we get to Friday! Friday is the day we celebrate all that we achieved in the days that have passed. It is the day we can pat ourselves on the back and say “Well done!”( Make sure you give yourselves a pat on the back or a high 5 now !). Friday is the start of the weekend when we can relax and enjoy time together and make stories to tell in the week ahead.

We have much to celebrate at the end of this week. We have children making phenomenal progress in their individual times tables scores and you will see how much we have transformed our heatmap as a class : it is far less red now! Congratulations all of you who are working hard in helping to achieve this.

We have this amazing work to celebrate too. Most of it is in the newly revamped gallery.

This is Ben C’s Anglo Saxon village.

Tommy’s Anglo Saxon village.

Felix’s word search he has made for everyone.

Finally this amazing Anglo Saxon village from Josh (there is another picture on the gallery).

I do hope you have managed to read Mrs Grimble’s  English blog about reading. There is so much useful information and a challenge for the children. Please email Mrs Grimble ( with book reviews you have written and she’d love to see photos of you reading in your most unusual or cosy places. Equally, if you have read any new releases we’d love to hear about them. Title your email BOOKS!

A final quote for the week to celebrate the gift, wonder and joy of books and reading :

This is from A.A. Milne’s, Winnie the Pooh again and it is beautifully illustrated by Lauren:

“If there is ever a day when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is even if we are apart, I’ll always be with you.”






Reception May 15th

Hello Everyone,

If I clap my name, I will clap 4 times when I say it.

Mis-sus Han-na

Can you say and clap your name to me…?

“…….my name is  …..….”

Well done!


I know a little bee….

My little bee lives in a bee hive….. (clenched fist)


Here is a bee hive (clenched fist)

But where are all the bees?

Hid-den a-way where no one sees.

Watch and you’ll see them come out of the hive…..

One, two, three. four, and five…,


….and then the bees go bbbuzzzz  (can you run around and buzz like a bee)

Could you be as thin as a pin….   (stand tall, hands by your side)

….be as wide as a gate…..      (stretch your arms out to the side, and feet apart)

…as tall as a house, (on tip toes and stretch arms up high)

….. as small as a mouse   (curl up small on the floor)…..

…and as thin as a pin again.

Ask a grown up to test you on all of these actions, see if you can remember them.


Here is a song about a Bee:

Download (PDF, 468KB)




Let’s finish by singing the Tick Tock song.

Click to download and play: Yr R,1&2 Tick Tock

Shall we sing it Loudly….or Quietly?

Let me see your Tick Tock fingers

….Off we go….

 (Put your index fingers up in the air and move fingers like windscreen wipers, in time with the rhyme)


Tick, tock, tick, tock,  

Time to stop,  Time to stop,

That’s the end of the lesson………..Well Done!