Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Bare heads and beanstalks

What does a beanstalk and a pair of spectacles have in common?

Well, the answer is little Sunnyside learners of course, but how on earth pray tell?

The new topic in the Reception Class at Sunnyside School is 'growing', so the Team has magically transformed the home corner into a garden centre complete with real shrubs and cut flowers. 

This overabundance of vegetation in the classroom has dramatically affected the humidity levels sending them sky high so creating the ambiance of a tropical rainforest! Just to add to this jungle experience, a few weeks ago the little Sunnysiders planted their own Runner Bean seeds. Every day since then they have dutifully and enthusiastically nurtured their bean shoots to the point where the tendrils of this quintessentially British vegetable plant are now nudging the light fittings!

In addition to a variety of non-fiction books on growing plants, the little learners have also enjoyed reading a selection of story books with tenuous links to flora and fauna. Like the very traditional 'Jack and the Beanstalk' for instance, and the not so traditional, yet hilariously funny, 'Jim and the Beanstalk' by Raymond Briggs.

In Briggs' version of small boy climbs ridiculously tall beanstalk and meets grumpy giant, Jim, just like his famous predecessor, also encounters a none too cheery towering ogre, only this one is extremely short-sighted, toothless, and rather follically challenged. In order to help the poor chap feel better about himself, Jim spends a great deal time shinning up and down the ridiculously tall beanstalk supplying the giant with false teeth, wigs and, yes, spectacles in return for gold coins.

This wonderful story has really appealed to the little Sunnysiders' sense of humour, so much so it sparked an entire afternoon of crafting spectacles from pipe cleaners no less! In no time at all the classroom was filled with bespectacled little learners stomping about the setting yelling "Fee-fi-fo-fum!" at the top of their voices.

As Mrs Caring was busy fitting glasses to little learners and attempting to reform all the squashed and misshapen ones, a little learner interrupted her endeavours with a "Do you know?" announcement. 
"Do you know?" said she, peering through a pair of fluorescent green chenille spectacles, "The other day I went to the big hospital for my eye competition!" 
"Your eye competition?" questioned Mrs Caring, thinking she must have misheard the little learner due to all the "Fee-fi-fo-ing!" going on around her.
"Yes!" confirmed the little learner shoving her homespun specs further up her nose. "And.....I hadded to wear wooden glasses!"

The little learner went on to describe in great detail the tasks she was required to perform during her "eye competition", and she was adamant that she was made to do it all wearing glasses made of solid wood. When the little expert on eye examinations had finished sharing her knowledge with Mrs Caring, she went to share with Miss Kind, and then again with Mrs Crayon.

While thirty pairs of little learner eyes furnished with a myriad of brightly coloured tufty specs was a truly inspirational sight today, Mrs Crayon was completely captivated by the notion of eye wear carved from the wood of a large tree that bears acorns.

She then began to ponder how the admen of this world might try to persuade the masses that wooden glasses are the next must-have. And as she pondered, Mrs Crayon penned the following.  

Ode to wooden specs

Come and view our range of spectacles both standard and bespoke,
They'll last you all your life because they're made of solid oak.
Hand carved and finely finished they're ideal for anyone,
There's just one teensy drawback, it's a shame they weigh a ton!

You'll look and feel the business from your head down to your toes,
It just takes some getting used to all that weight upon your nose!
As sturdy as a sideboard they won't bend nor will they flex,
You'll have everybody asking you where did you get those specs?

Simply squirt a little polish and then buff them till they gleam,
You could finish with some Briwax tho' that is a bit extreme.
If you're set on buying wooden specs, then please don't hesitate,
Mind'll need a neck of iron just to hold your head up straight!!

"They're alright till you need yer hands!"

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Short legs and fairy teeth

"Do you know...?"

This is the phrase the Sunnyside Team hear most frequently from the Reception little learners in their class. 

Whenever a Team member is approached by a little learner announcing "Do you know?", they 'll automatically grab the nearest post-it note and pen in readiness to note down the little gem of information that inevitably follows.

As far as the Team is concerned, do you know moments are special because these random, spontaneous little learner utterances invariably have nothing to do with anything, they are purely a piece of information that a little learner feels compelled to share at that particular moment. And without exception each do you know declaration brings an extra ray of sunshine to the school day. 

Past little learner do you knows have revealed some remarkable facts, like for instance: A Spanish Dachshund is blue, the tooth fairy turns your teeth into dentures for dogs, and hamsters repeat everything you say!

It's been a while since the Team has shared any do you know moments, so they feel absolutely duty bound to do so now. In addition to latest do you knows courtesy of the current little Reception learners, Mrs Crayon has penned a verse celebrating the do you know of a very disappointed little learner from a couple of years ago, who shared some information regarding the gender of his newly acquired pet rabbit.

What's happened to me rabbit?

What's happened to me rabbit? 
Something isn't right,
Something odd has happened
To me rabbit overnight.

When he ventured from his hutch,
This morning bright and early,
I noted instantly,
That he'd turned into a girlie!

I'm not one to point the finger,
But the pet shop is to blame,
For me rabbit's change of sex,
And me rabbit's change of name.

I'm left feeling rather miffed,
And I'm not sure what to think,
About the fact that I am lumbered,
With a pet that favours pink!

"I always knew I was a girl called Polly!"

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Grumpy ducks and paint pots

Picture the scene if you will.  

It is the end of the school day. An exhausted Mrs Crayon is staring vacantly at the contents of the sink in the classroom. The sink is brimful of dirty paint brushes and paint pots. As she turns on the taps and begins to fill the sink with water, Mrs Crayon is suddenly transported back to the time when she was standing at a very similar classroom sink back in November 2012, preparing to do battle with a dozen paint brushes that were firmly welded together in a pot of hardened PVA glue. As she innocently turned the taps full on and squirted washing up liquid into the sink, a little learner appeared alongside her and told her in no uncertain terms that if she let the taps run 'the ducks wouldn't have any water.'

Unsure whether the little learner was referring to the ducks of Whippy Cove or just ducks in general, a somewhat conscience-stricken Mrs Crayon found herself heeding the little learner's solemn warning by turning off the taps and leaving the gluey paint brushes to soak in the detergent. In no way did she want to be the one responsible for draining the Whippy Cove duck pond leaving the poor Whippy Cove ducks high and dry! 

As her thoughts returned to dealing with the present day painty mess in the sink, Mrs Crayon felt totally inspired by all this reminiscing about ducks and decided at the next convenient moment to write a duck poem. So after washing up at home that evening (with just a minuscule amount of water in her washing up bowl) Mrs Crayon penned the following. 

Oh, spare a thought for all the ducks

 Oh, spare a thought for all the ducks 
That live near you and me,
For when you're running water
The ducks don't get any.

A duck bereft of water 
Is not a happy chap,
He'd boldly go in search of more
If he could read a map!

Oh, spare a thought for ducks near you,
And all the ducks beyond, 
For when you're running water
You're emptying their pond!

"Oh, for heaven's sake....who left the taps on?"

Friday, 29 May 2015

Twirly leaves and wonky trees

There's nothing quite like going off on a tangent!

It happens frequently in the Reception Class at Sunnyside School. Whilst the little Sunnyside learners enjoy participating in an exciting array of activities linked to the their various themes and topics, there is always room for going off on a tangent.

The tangent is almost always inspired either by little learner ideas, interests and fascinations, a comment they've made, or indeed (as in today's case).......the weather!

Whilst it was gloriously sunny in Whippy Cove today, it was also extremely windy. 

As the little learners prepared for lunch by way of their usual toileting and hand washing routine, a certain little learner poked his head over the toilet cubicle and announced to the patient (yet somewhat fidgety) waiting line, "Mum says when the trees wobble, that's when you can make kites!" Following this proclamation, everyone in the toilet line seemed to forget they needed the toilet and headed straight for the creative table hoping to rustle up some home-made kites before the dinner ladies were due to take them all to lunch! 

When it became obvious that it wasn't possible to make a kite in thirty seconds, The Team promised the little learners that if the trees were still wobbling after lunch they could make and create as many kites as they liked.

By the time the afternoon session began, the once wobbly trees were now almost bending double as they see-sawed back and forth in the strengthening wind. So the race was on to build a kite and start flying it before the weather had the chance to change.  Amongst the reels of sellotape, the sticks of glue, the bits of paper and yards of string, a variety of home-made kites began to emerge ready for testing!

As it turned out, it wasn't so much the kites that were being tested, as the little learners' resolve. Within seconds of launching their prized possessions into the air, they were instantly robbed of them, as sudden gusts of wind indiscriminately snatched kites from little fingers, sending them off into the stratosphere never to be seen again. (The kites that is, not the fingers.)

Undeterred by this unfortunate occurrence, the little learners shot straight back in the classroom and were cobbling together their mark two versions before any tears of sorrow could be shed. However, no sooner had they stepped outside to set their kites free for a second time, they were back in again clutching the only piece of evidence to suggest there ever was a kite-their piece of string.

And so it went on all afternoon: make kite, launch kite, loose kite, make kite again, until every scrap of sellotape had been ripped from it's reel, and the clock in the classroom had struck three.

As Miss Kind and Mrs Crayon bade farewell to the last little learner at the end of the day, they were informed by his Mummy that it was due to be very windy for the rest of the week.

Best top up with more sellotape and string ladies!


When trees are wobbling left and right,
Its time to fly your home-made kite,
But don't forget to hold on tight, 
To your piece of string!

When leaves are swirling everywhere,
And wind makes tangles in your hair,
You won't mind you only care,
About your piece of string!

When wind is gusting all around,
And you can here a woooing sound,
Don't be sad when you have found,
You're left with just your string!

So stick things down with all your might,
Before you fly your home made-kite.
Then everything will be all right,
With your piece of string!

"Seems it's too wobbly for kites today!"

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Jungle Nymphs and power drills

Question. What has two ears, four legs, whiskers and a wagging tail?

The answer to this question will be revealed a little later.

The little learners of Sunnyside School (that's the little school that sits proudly in the heart of the seaside town of Whippy Cove, which in turn is situated on the South Eastern shore in the Isle of Wight) are currently enjoying their topic on animals. 

Already this week the little Sunnysiders have met and learned all about a Tenrec, a Bearded Dragon, a Jungle Nymph and a Tawny Owl when they welcomed an animal keeper from Whippy Cove Zoo into the classroom. In addition they also met Bracken, a nine year old Springer Spaniel brought into school by her owner, a veterinary nurse from Whippy Cove's very own Veterinary Surgery. Bracken's sweet and extremely laid-back nature allowed the little learners some quality time to get to know her. As they combed her hair, wrapped bandages around feet and listened to her heartbeat, they also learned all about the role of a veterinary nurse, as well as all that's involved in owning and caring for a pet. 

Consequently since encountering these animals, the little Reception learners have been keen to share information about some of their own pets. Once such little learner approached Miss Very Jolly this afternoon and blurted out that her cat Rosie had had her kittens in her mummy's bed. "Oh how exciting!" shrilled Mrs Very Jolly at a pitch that only small dogs and bats can hear. "How many kittens did Rosie have?" she asked. "Five!" said the little learner thrusting five fingers in Mrs Very Jolly's face. "But they're a bit bitey and scratchy!" Mrs Very Jolly sympathised with the little learner then asked her what she was going to do with five kittens. "I'm gonna train 'em!" exclaimed the little learner with utter conviction. "You really can train kittens you know!" she went on reassuringly. 

Stealthy reaching for a post-it note and pen (for she felt sure a little learner gem was imminent,) Mrs Very Jolly asked the next obvious question which was of course, "What are you going to train the kittens to do?" As quick as the quickest flash, the deadly serious little learner replied, "Well first I'm gonna train 'em to do art and to bake, and then I'm gonna train 'em to fly!" 

Needless to say, Mrs Very Jolly couldn't wait to pass her post-it note to her colleague Mrs Crayon, for she knew the words scribed across it would be all the information Mrs Crayon would need to inspire her next doodle and rhyme.

Oh! And finally, in answer to the question, what has two ears, four legs, whiskers and a wagging tail?.......It's a whale, apparently. This is according to one particular little learner who took part in a 'guess the animal' quiz this afternoon.

Whilst a whale with four legs, two ears, whiskers and a wagging tail would make a delightful doodle, Mrs Crayon has opted to go with the kittens on this occasion!

Training Kittens

If you're smitten with your kitten,
But you're getting scratched and bitten,
And your furnishings are hanging by a thread,
Make your kittens well behaved, 
Then your curtains will be saved,
Yes, training kittens is the only way ahead.

It may take a little while,
But kittens can be versatile,
If you train them to one inch of their nine lives,
You can teach them how to sew,
Paint a landscape and make dough,
Use a power drill and sharpen all your knives.

Show them how to ride a scooter,
Teach them skills on the computer,
Do the ironing, mow the lawn and even fly,
Show them how to trampoline, 
How to scrub your dishes clean,
Play the flute and hang the laundry out to dry.

They can handle all the plumbing,
Ice a cake when someone's coming,
Tile the bathroom and compose a symphony,
Teach them how to roller skate,
Fix the hinges on the gate,
Drive a bus and make the perfect cup of tea.

So should you want to be a teacher

To this little furry creature,
Keep the kitten training up the whole week through, 
Though it may seem tedious,
Your pet will be a genius,
Yes, he'll wind up far more cleverer than you!

"Come on now....there's just time for some guitar practice before your driving lesson!"

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Jolly jaunts and raisins

Did you know that the ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London, popularly known as Beefeaters, not only eat beef, they eat chicken as well? Did you also know that the current British Monarch is actually called 'Queen Vic-Livia' and not Queen Elizabeth at all? Are you aware that Queen 'Vic-Livia' sits quietly in her bedroom each day because she is forbidden to speak to anyone.......ever? 

These pearls of royal wisdom were revealed by the Reception learners of Sunnyside School today. 

Yes, Sunnyside School has gone all royal by launching headlong into an exciting 'Kings and Queens' topic as part of a whole school learning experience. So to get things started, small groups of Reception learners participated in a brainstorming activity about the current British Royal family. It was during said brainstorming activity that the little learners delivered a whole range of fascinating if not quirky royal insights.

As well as conveying the favourite nosh of a Beefeater, the Reception learners also divulged details of the Queen's own rather specialised dietary preferences, the truth about her favourite mode of transport, the arrangements regarding the storage of her jewels, what her crown is made of, who it is that guards her castle, and the official name of her faithful and fearless husband.

The Sunnyside Team are therefore delighted to share with you these hitherto unknown royal facts via the rhyming couplets of Sunnyside team member, Mrs Crayon. amazed, be very amazed!

About the Queen...

She's married to Prince Charming,
Her crown is made of ice,
She's not allowed to speak a word,
Which can't be very nice.

Her jewels sit in a cupboard
Under lock and key,
She eats raisins for her breakfast
And bananas for her tea.

Prince Charming guards the castle
Armed with his trustee 'spike',
Whilst Her Royal Highness
Tours round London on her bike!

"One could pedal twice round London after a bowl of one's raisins!"

Monday, 16 February 2015

Chicken wings and camel pants

Pants, pants, pants, pants, pants! 

It doesn't matter how many times you say it or how often, little learners everywhere will laugh out loud the moment they hear the word pants! 

For some reason little learners find pants funny. They like to talk about pants and they especially love to read stories all about pants. They even like to show you their pants when they're especially proud of them! So it goes without saying that when Mrs Very Jolly told the little Sunnyside learners that 'Aliens love underpants' was story of the week this week, they responded with their usual outburst of raucous laughter as well as cries of "Ooh! Mrs Very Jolly said pants!"

This fascination with all things pants subsequently lead to the reading of other stories about pants this week, (yes are there are quite a few) and it was while Mrs Very Jolly was sharing the book 'Pantsby Giles Andreae with the group, that the focus suddenly switched from pants to........camels!

One of the many hilarious pictures by Nick Sharratt features a camel sporting a pair of pants on his humps. As the little learners rolled around in hysterics at this delightful vision, Mrs Very Jolly posed the question to them all of what a camel might store inside his humps. After she did so, the classroom fell uncharacteristically silent for what seemed an age as the now fully recovered little learners considered their answers. It was a huge relief to Mrs Very Jolly when eventually a lone hand tentatively rose skyward.

"Ooh! do you know poppet what a camel might store in his humps?" an excited Mrs Very Jolly asked the plucky little learner in question. Mrs Very Jolly felt sure the answer she was going to hear to this camel conundrum was going to be water (a common misconception among little learners,) so she was rather baffled to say the least when this particular little learner said........'acorns'! 

As she tried unsuccessfully to stifle a fit of her own giggles upon hearing this completely original and slightly out there suggestion, Mrs Very Jolly was then treated to a barrage of other suggestions from the rest of the group which included, Jaffa Cakes, chicken wings, apple crumble, bananas, popcorn, spaghetti hoops, ice cream and fish fingers. 

Whilst Mrs Very Jolly felt truly enlightened (if not a little hungry) by these camel revelations, Mrs Crayon on the other hand felt truly inspired and could instantly feel a camel poem coming on!  

Let's celebrate the camel

Let's celebrate the camel and his two amazing humps,
In one he keeps his acorns, in the other sugar lumps.
There's room inside for chicken wings, for popcorn, and for cake,
If you're going on a picnic it's a camel you should take. 

When you're longing of an ice cream, the camel will provide,
He's got so many flavours, you will struggle to decide.
If you ever fancy sausages with gravy and some mash,
The camel's got it all, and he won't even want your cash.

So when next you see a camel and his two amazing humps,
You'll know those things upon his back are more than just two bumps.
You may think they're holding water, but there're hiding so much more,
Which makes the clever camel.....Mother Nature's superstore! 

"Mum says do you do prawn balls?"