Teachers across Lawnswood Campus participated in a very exciting session that marks our journey into the future. Our e-learning group tested out the very latest virtual reality gadgets to hit classrooms. They explored augmented reality science lessons and walked along a virtual Wall of China. They tested out the latest Lego Education WeDo kit and explored a variety of ways to engage students through technology. The e-learning group are very excited for future developments across the campus.
Don’t forget that you can now follow us on Twitter @orchardctr where you can find regular updates and a wide variety of shared resources.
This week has been much drier than last and having had the rain literally put a damper on some of our sessions last week it’s been great for the students to be able to have a chance to practice fire starting and management again.
Sitting around a fire, sharing food and talking or telling stories is an age old form of socialisation and one we still enjoy today. As well as practising the practical skills they’ve been learning, the sessions this week have given our students a chance to interact and build relationships with the peers and staff that have accompanied them to the woodland.
For many of our students the lack of academic expectations during our outdoor sessions really helps to reduce competition and increase the feeling of equality amongst the group. We’ve had a new student join the centre this week and a couple of changes in groups so it’s been a great opportunity for students to get to know each other and settle in. Building positive relationships with, and empathy for, others will hopefully go on to support our students in social situations during their time at Orchard centre and beyond.
A message from Mr Hupfield…
I have been taking our KS3 students (+ a couple of KS4) to the woodland on site over the Autumn term and wanted to share with you all how well they’ve been doing in their outdoor learning sessions. As they’ve gotten more comfortable and familiar on the site we’ve introduced the use of fire and tools to the sessions. I’ve been really impressed with how safely and how competently they’ve handled both. I’ve attached a few photos of some of them for you.
However… while they’ve been really good at stepping up to challenge and responsibility in the sessions what they’re not so good at is coming to school with appropriate outdoor clothing.
I’m trying to build up a bank of outdoor clothing to keep in school for them to borrow. We’ve got quite a few sets of waterproof jackets and trousers at the moment but could really do with building on that.
If those of you that have children or young relatives and there’s anything they’ve grown out of (coats / hoodies / boots / wellies / tracksuits ) that you would be happy to donate, it would be very gratefully received.
We were greeted by weather warnings for high wind on our return from the Christmas break. High winds and thunder storms are typically the only two weather conditions that would warrant cancelling. The woodland on site is mixed but all relatively young though so by moving our base for the sessions to the edge of the woodland, where the smallest and youngest trees are, we were able to safely go ahead. Whilst the temperature wasn’t too low the wind had a real bite and was so high that by the end of the day it had started to tear the tarpaulin we put up as a wind break.
We’ve had a mix of single and double sessions this week. All students have been learning how to safely use fixed blade knives and we’ve been really impressed with how safely and how competently they have handled them. Students used knives to strip the bark from and sharpen sticks. Students with double sessions had the time to build a small fire and used their sticks to toast marshmallows. The other students will have the opportunity next week. Again, we were really impressed with how much students had remembered about safety issues around fire and how responsible they were.
We were planning to start introducing fire to our sessions in the Spring term but the snow this week was the perfect excuse to bring that forward. This week students have been learning how to safely use a Kelly Kettle to boil water.
A Kelly Kettle is a great way to introduce fire use as it’s contained and relatively safer than an open fire. If all you are after is a hot drink it’s much quicker than building a fire. Hot drinks have certainly helped keep the cold at bay during our sessions this week.
Here are The Orchard Centre we were very lucky to be treated to a lunch time of entertainment by our own ‘School of Rock’! Well done to all students who took part to show off their amazing musical talents.
Parents’ Evening will be going ahead at The Orchard Centre on Thursday 14th December 2017 (3.15pm – 5.30pm). No appointments are necessary.
We will be open tomorrow as usual. Please take care on the roads and pavements.