Linking the Learning with Mr Shanks

We have been linking and applying different types of learning to new situations recently, some very different situations!

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In literacy, we have been looking for meaning in texts – the things characters were saying in our class novel, Fantastic Mr Fox, and also what the illustrations were telling us. We noticed that the author and illustrator always gave us lots of clues and the clues helped us to understand what might happen next in a story. So, being a story detective looking for clues has been very important to us.

In outdoor education, we also look for clues – clues of what lives around us. We have had a few visits to the Helix and taken lots of photos of the things that live there – sometimes a photo of a bird, sometimes a photo of a plant, but also photos of things we weren’t sure of – things which were like clues… We spent two sessions looking for clues as to what animals were making unusual tracks through the reed beds, very narrow tracks with hoof prints. We also walked around one of the ponds and explored the trees, noticing that the bark was peeled from the lower part of the younger trees and that the buds from the lower branches had also been taken – or eaten! Wherever we found hoof prints, we also found that there were tracks through the reed beds, bark missing and plants nibbled. We very quietly, almost silently, followed the tracks two weeks ago and came across fresh animal droppings, which we photographed and researched. All of these clues came together to tell us that there are deer living at the Helix, in the middle of a very busy park! The last week, having learned how to track and spot clues, one of our young people led the expedition and managed to find the exact point that the deer entered the reed beds by looking at the direction of the prints. We also discovered that there are adult deer and younger deer, the size of hoof prints in the mud gave us that information. We also know that there are birds of prey living by the big pond because we managed to find a large, fresh bird pellet, complete with digested feathers and small bird bones.

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So, looking for clues is a skill which we use everywhere in life, whether checking the fruit or bread to see if it is still fresh, or inspecting trees and mud for signs or animal visitors, or even reading more deeply into a book to see if the author is hinting at what is about to come in our stories.

We are life detectives!

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