An Aveley Primary Blog

1S transformed into a whole host of different characters this week, as we joined lots of other schools around the country in celebrating World Book Day.

Have a look at us in our costumes. How many characters can you recognise?!

  
    
   

  

Not only did we take on our favourite characters for the day, and share some our favourite stories, but we also had a very special visit from 5H!

Coming over from KS2 was just the first part of 5H’s journey.. When they arrived, we took them on a reading adventure and together we transported ourselves to the sunny Kalahari.

The Kalahari desert? Sound familiar?.. That’s right – we told 5H the story of ‘Meerkat Mail’, sharing with them Sunny the meerkat’s adventure.

Once we had told the Year 5s the story, we thought about Sunny’s home. As I’m sure you remember, Sunny decides that ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ and ‘there’s no place like home’. Thinking about this message, led us to discuss the setting of the story.

Looking at lots of African landscapes helped us to think about how we could work with our partner to create a painting of Sunny’s home. Take a look at us working together:

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

I’m sure you’re all excited to hear about the learning underpinning our interesting display table involving a globe alongside some colourful calendars of Africa… Don’t worry, we won’t make you wait any longer! Here is an insight into our learning challenge that has been driving our topic work…

Our learning challenge question is: ‘Why Can’t Meerkats Live in the North Pole?’



This might seem a rather odd – maybe even slightly random – thing for us to be asking, here at Aveley (where we don’t have any meerkats around us and are based many many miles away from the North Pole!!).

But don’t you worry, despite what it might initially seem, this question is extremely relevant to our learning!

This is because, our new fiction focus is Emily Gravett’s ‘Meerkat Mail’. This gripping story follows the journey of ‘Sunny’ the meerkat, who leaves his home in the Kalahari Desert to discover whether the grass is greener on the other side, by packing his suitcase and exploring a number of other places.

But (spoiler alert!) Sunny realises that there’s no place like home: His home in the Kalahari Desert is the place that suits him best..

This challenge question was therefore something that we are all extremely curious to explore, so that we can discover more about the hot environment that Sunny comes from – and why it is “perfect” for him – but also the contrasting environment of the North Pole and why Sunny might not be able to live there..


In our literacy work, as well as producing some fantastic writing based on the story (which we will share with you later!), we used actions to create a whole-class recall of the story (we didn’t have to look at the book to remind us what happens once!).. While Joanne made a very confident, adventurous Sunny, we all narrated the story together and took turns being different characters that Sunny comes across.

Here we are recalling the story:

  
    
    
    

We also did some hot-seating to help us explore character thoughts and feelings.. Here are some of us being Sunny:

  
    
 While our literacy has been closely following this fictional story, out topic has enabled us to explore some of the FACTS.

We know that Sunny lives in the “Kalahari Desert”, so we began by finding out where this is. Have a guess – where do you think the Kalahari Desert is located? Do you think it is a hot or cold environment?

We discovered that the Kalahari is in South Africa. We even now know that this is a CONTINENT (land which is made up of many different COUNTRIES).

Discovering that this is a HOT environment (even hotter than our summer holidays here!), we have explored this climate as geographers, scientists and artists, by looking at:

1. What clothes we wear in hot environments.

 

2. What animals can be found in hot environments (helped by several sing-alongs to “The Lion King”‘s ‘Circle of Life’!)

3. What colours create a “hot mood”.

We thought about textures and shapes while we made our own ‘hot Africas’ by colouring, painting and collaging:

                                    


 

4. The difference between an African hut and our own homes in England.

5. Where in the world hot places are located.
This has led us to think about what happens as we move away from the EQUATOR and the temperature starts to drop..

Now we know lots about where meerkats do live.. Time to start exploring the North Pole and why they can’t live there…