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This term we have taken a trip back in time and have been learning all about amazing people who have shaped our world and brought about change. The children learned about local hero Jacob van Artevelde, whose statue stands proud over the Vrijdagsmaarkt in the city centre. They delved into his intriguing life and rewrote his story, bringing it to life with beautiful illustrations. Taking a leap back in time, the children were encouraged to imagine what Medieval Gent would have looked like in the time of Jacob van Artevelde. During a trip to the city centre they drew the facades of the buildings on the Graslei, back at school, they continued to work on these beautiful drawings and decided to try to recreate the Graslei as it might have looked in the Middle Ages. Looking at paintings and drawings of Medieval Gent and Flanders they unearthed and reconstructed the scene. Having drawn the scene, it was now time to write about it. The children were encouraged to imagine not only what they might have seen but also what they might have smelled and heard when wandering through the Graslei in the 13th century. Their wonderful descriptions were full of of wooden boats floating, horses clip-clopping, rats scurrying, feral cats chasing, bread baking, sewage stinking… the perfect depiction of Medieval Gent!
The children continued their research into the life of their famous person. They made timelines; using books, ipads and prior knowledge they worked in pairs to pick out pivotal events. Armed with this information, they carefully measured a line and then marked on the decades. The children drew detailed pictures and wrote captions to depict these key episodes and then arranged them in order to give an overview of their lives. Continuing this research, they delved further into influential people’s lives and wrote detailed fact files. This was a prolonged project that spanned a number of weeks. First, the children thought carefully about non-fiction texts and the features they use and how they differ from fiction. They committed a fact file about Dr Suess to memory- memorising the structure as well as the words. They then planned a fact file thinking carefully about using subheadings, bullet points and finding inspirational quotes. Once they had arranged and collated all this information they wrote their own fact file about their amazing individual, detailing their achievements, misfortunes and triumphs!
The topic ended with a trip to Historium in Bruges where the children were transported back in time to thriving Medieval city. The children loved exploring the Medieval times and experiencing first-hand the unusual smells! A unique VR experience allowed the children to fly across the rooftops.
Every Friday we continue to go out to the woods where the children are busy constructing shelters from branches and leaves. They continue to wonder at the nature that surrounds us and pay attention to the changing seasons. This is a great time for the children to revel in the great outdoors and learn about nature as well as developing communication and cooperation skills as they work, construct and play together.