This afternoon, Robins were illustrators. We were painting and drawing images inspired by our class reader The Promise. We looked at the illustrations in the book, the colours used, the techniques and style. We noticed how they changed throughout the book, from grey, black and brown to green and much more vibrant.
We planned what we wanted to draw this morning and then this afternoon, used sketching pencils, water colours and wax crayons. We will use the images as the background for our city poems.
In Science, We have been learning all about the classification of living things.
Robins had the Animal Man (Chris) in to show us some different classifications of animals.
Chris told us how we could remember the different classifications of animals by thinking of FARMBI.
A – amphibian (which means two lives, one on land and one in the water – think of a frog!)
R – reptile
M – mammal
I – insects
The first animal we had to look at was a packman frog called Tank. Chris told us he ate mice, rats, small lizards, bugs, insects, worms and flies.
Then we saw Bernie the African Royal Python, Bernie eats rats, mice, birds and lizards. Bernie is a constrictor, so strangles his prey. Chris told us about how he breathes, he uses his nostrils to breathe, and the two holes above his nostrils to sense heat. And uses his tongue to smell, he is smelling to see if he wants to eat you. Luckily for us, he didn’t and is not venomous, so we could touch, hold and even have Bernie around our necks!
Bruce is a Blue Tongued Skink, Bruce is an omnivore, and eats insects, crickets, mealworms, chicks, mice and also loves cat food! Bruce uses his tongue to smell, and this time to check if you want to eat him! If he perceives you as a threat, he will open his mouth and hiss, he can also turn around and wag his tail… then he would start to urinate, this is another defence mechanism in order to deter predators. Luckily for him, Robins had already had their lunch and were not a threat and luckily for us Bruce decided we were safe too! Blue Tongued Skinks are not venomous, so again, we were able to touch and hold him.
Next up was a tenrec, he is a Madagascan hedgehog, although he doesn’t have any spikes just dry fur. The last litter this tenrec had was 24 babies! So coming to see Robins was a breeze! Tenrecs, a little bit like moles can use their front paws and noses to dig, so their noses can get quite dirty, the dirt builds up and so the tenrecs tend to blow snot bubbles to clear their noses. This tenrec was very well behaved and did not blow any bubbles at us.
We also saw Bert, the skunk. Chris assured us that a skunk will only spray if they feel threatened and they will give warning signs before spraying. The first being a growl or a bark and then the second, putting their front paws in the air and then stomping, then they would turn around, put their tail up and spray! Bert was very calm and docile and we were all able to stroke him. Chris told us that he was sprayed by Bert’s dad once and ended up smelling for 10 days and that was with three showers a day! Yuck!
Chris also brought Alan, a white face scops owl. They like to eat mice, rats and berries. Chris said that the only difference between a bird and any other animal are feathers! Owls have large eyes that do not move, they can only see directly forwards, so it can move its head in order to see all around them. Owls have amazing hearing, they can hear up to 14m away. They have strong, powerful wings that are silent when they fly so they can sneak up on their prey.
The final animal was Miss Fluffy, the tarantula. This particular spider was from South America and was a Chilean Rose hair tarantula. They would usually live underground in the rainforest, they are cold blooded, have an exoskeleton and this one only eats one cricket a week! Chris told us that she was venomous… but only after we held/touched her!! We were all VERY brave and had a fantastic afternoon.
Our new class reader for this half term is, The Promise.
Today we questioned the text, made predictions, and read the book together in small groups. We discussed what genre we thought the book would be and whether we thought it would be based on a true story or complete fiction.
Extension: Listen to a read aloud of the book below.
On a mean street in a mean city, a thief tries to snatch an old woman’s bag. But she finds she can’t have it without promising something in return – to “plant them all”. When it turns out the bag is full of acorns, the young thief embarks on a journey that changes her own life and the lives of others for generations to come. Inspired by the belief that a relationship with nature is essential to every human being, and that now, more than ever, we need to renew that relationship, The Promise is the story of a magical discovery that will touch the heart and imagination of every reader, young and old. With poignant simplicity, honesty and lyricism, Nicola Davies evokes a powerful vision of a world where people and nature live in harmony. And Laura Carlin’s delicate illustrations capture a young girl’s journey from a harsh, urban reality to the beauty and vitality of a changed world.