Learning at Home
We continue to follow advice from Public Health England regarding COVID-19 and we thank you for reading our regular updates.
To support learning from home, we have put various measures in place; we are aiming to make it as easy as possible for pupils (and for parents supporting them) to continue their education.
We have surveyed pupils to ensure they have access to the internet at home as this is the easiest way for us to set work and monitor pupils’ progress from a distance. For those who do not have internet access, we will provide paper-based activities.
To quickly jump to a section, please click on the links below:
- Weekly Challenges
- Google Classroom FAQs
- Establishing Structured Routines
- Resources: School360 and Google Classroom
- Resources: Other Online Platforms & Expected Daily Activities
- French Activities
- NEW! Book Recommendations
- Get Creative! (Art, Food Tech, Music, and PE activities)
- Paper Learning
- Google Classroom Entry Codes
- Any Queries
During this time, the teachers at HMS want to encourage our pupils to try something new! These activities have to be done safely at home – we want them to be engaging, challenging and something that the whole family can get involved with. Try to collaborate with people at home and enjoy these activities as a group challenge, if you can. We would love it if you could share photographs or videos of your challenges on our Facebook posts or via email so we can all keep in touch. Let’s all stay positive, share good news and give these challenges a go! Good luck!
Please note this might take longer than one week to do!
Tomorrow’s Engineers: The Bright Ideas Challenge
Our Year 7 pupils took part in the Tomorrow’s Engineers Energy Quest day before school closed. As part of the workshop, pupils might have started an entry to The Bright Ideas Challenge, Shell’s STEM competition for 11–14 year olds.
The Shell Schools Team is excited to share a digital resource pack to help students now enter from home. On top of that, there’s now up to double the prize money compared to previous years and all winning pupils will receive a STEM goodie bag. There is also a Tomorrow’s Engineers prize category, giving pupils even more chances to win!
The digital pack includes:
- A how-to video from our head judge, guiding students through entering the competition from home
- Additional resources with handy tips for students
- The entry form and cover sheet to be completed
- A set of hands-on STEM activities – perfect to use at home as mini-challenges or independent learning
- A quick-start guide for parents/carers on using this pack
Ready to enter? Download the pack by clicking below:
The deadline for entries has been extended to Friday 19 June 2020.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day this year, Mr Freeman-Myers has compiled a list of VE Day-related fun facts and challenges!
The historian Dan Snow is also holding a VE Day Challenge: how would you tell the story of VE Day today? You could be in with a chance of being featured on the official government website! For more information, see Dan Snow’s VE Day Challenge (external URL).
Miss Kwella has also provided a traditional WW2 receipe: a condensed milk cake that is easy to make and tastes delicious!
The ‘Family Art Challenge’!
The Family Art Challenge, inspired by The Museum of Modern Art, is to recreate/reenact your favourite artwork.
This involves dressing-up/finding costumes and getting into the right pose for the image! It can be a portrait of one person or it can be a family ‘groupie’. You can play with lighting/backdrop/props etc…
Some examples are below!
- ‘Madonna and child’ Duccio di Buoninsegna
- ‘Yawning’ Joseph Ducreux
- ‘Early harp player’ 2700-2300 BC
Please photograph your reenactment and send it to us along with the artist and artwork you have recreated!
Calling all scientists and engineers of HMS!
I am really missing our lessons and science club during lockdown and I have found a way to keep you and your family engaged in science.
See the link below for some science and engineering challenges that you can do with things you have lying around your house. Can you make an egg fit inside a bottle? Or skewer a balloon without popping it?
Have a go! I’m excited to see what you get up to!
Me and my daughter have just had a go at the floating ball challenge – what will you try first?
Google Classroom FAQs & Contact Details
We wanted to write some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ which may help you as you get organised with home learning. These are unprecedented times so we thank you for your support. Take your time, allow yourselves to establish a manageable routine and get your head around the many resources and detailed information we have shared with you all.
Remember, we are always at the end of an email or phone during this period of school closure. There are many ways you can contact us:
- Home learning questions:
- General school questions:
- Safeguarding concerns:
Google Classroom Tutorials
Our very own Mrs Tanner has been very busy creating four amazing video tutorials for using Google Classroom – see the links below. They are informative, clear and allow you to listen and watch exactly what Mrs Tanner is doing. Thank you so much, Mrs Tanner! We hope you find these useful as you explore Google Classroom over the coming weeks.
Google Classroom: Log on & join a class
Google Classroom: Completing work set
Google Classroom: Features
Google Classroom: Adding/creating work
Frequently asked questions regarding Google Classroom
- Log into School360 using your username (first.last) followed by your password.
- Follow the link to ‘Classroom’ – this should you log you in immediately.
- Click the + and enter your class codes – these were sent on School Comms and paper last week.
- Find the class and the assignments you need.
- PDFs cannot be typed into – we have asked your teachers to avoid these where possible.
- Open the assignment; open the worksheet or resource.
- Click ‘Open in Google Docs’ where you should be able to edit your work.
- This will save automatically. You can then ‘Turn it in’.
- If you cannot do this, try typing your answers into a new Google Doc and submitting them.
- Or, type up your answers and email them directly to your teacher using their 360 email address.
- We have asked your teachers to make sure that assignments have an editable copy for each pupil and that all tasks are unlocked for editing. We are learning this, too, so we appreciate your patience.
- There is no expectation that work will be completed to a deadline.
- Especially during these first few days, get used to using the resources.
- You can work on paper and keep a record of your work if all else fails.
- We just want to ensure you are engaging with work in some way – don’t stress about it.
- Refer to my guidance on my letter – all of this guidance is available on the website too.
- Try to combine your home learning with exercise at home and learning new skills with your family.
- Make sure you read the instructions your teacher has included in the assignment before you comment or email.
- If you are still unsure, leave a message and keep checking back for the reply.
- Email Mr Watters or the school’s admin address and someone will reply to you as quickly as possible.
- Please do not panic. You just need to get your head around this. This is new for everyone. Please just try your best. As long as you know you are engaging with learning of any form, that is great.
- Remember – keep reading and accessing sites such as Maths Whizz daily as a minimum.
We hope you find this information useful.
Please be assured that this is new for all of us including your teachers. Be patient and resilient – keep in contact with us and we will work out the issues you face. During this very challenging period, please also look out for one another; support each other with online support, guidance and tips.
If anyone requires any additional support with anything at all during this period of time, whether that be school work related or not, please get in touch with us and we will aim to support in any way we possibly can. We all must stick together!
Establishing Structured Routines
We really would appreciate your support in keeping learning progressing at home. We are suggesting that you establish a daily routine or timetable to be followed. In addition to undertaking key daily activities, including reading, learning spellings and times table recall, pupils should adopt a school-like schedule to their work, overseen by you as much as possible.
The following is offered as guidance for the kinds of activities your child should ideally be undertaking.
A week should ideally include:
- 1 hour of English per day
- 1 hour of Maths per day
- Daily reading and times table practice
- 1 hour per day using online resources
- 2 hours of Explore per week
- 3 hours of Science per week
A week should ideally include:
- 1 hour of English per day
- 1 hour of Maths per day
- 3 hours of Science per week
- 2 hours of History per week
- 2 hours of Geography per week
- 2 hours of French per week
- 1 hour using online resources per day
You should also build in opportunities for exploring the creative projects available below. In addition, supervised time in the garden or outside to exercise, experience nature and get fresh air is highly encouraged.
Resources to Support Learning at Home
School 360/Google Classroom
All pupils have access to the online learning platform School 360 (External URL); they have all been reminded of their log in details (in their planners). School 360 is a platform which pupils are familiar with.
Once logged in, pupils can access Google Classroom. Google Classroom is a website where teachers can add lessons and activities for pupils to complete at home.
To join classes, pupils should follow the below steps:
- Find www.school360.co.uk
- Log in using their username and password
- Click the link to ‘Classroom’
- This will re-direct them to ‘Google Classroom’
- Click the + in the top right corner and click ‘Join Class’.
- Enter the code for the classes provided (see codes below).
Once pupils have joined their classes (all class details are provided below), they can access their lessons set by their teacher. Daily work will be added for pupils and this should become part of your child’s routine. This work will also be marked using online feedback so that support can be provided.
On the School 360 site, pupils can also access a whole range of activities which have been set by their teachers. Quizzes have been set for all year groups for English, maths and science and pupils should aim to spend at least 30 minutes per day on these activities (free choice). These can be accessed through the School 360 platform via the ‘Frog Play’ and ‘J2e’ apps – pupils are again familiar with accessing this resource.
At present, lessons are being added to your child’s Google Classroom account for the following subjects: English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, French and Computing.
We may add further subjects in time. Additional longer term projects for practical subjects such as technology, art, music and PE will be posted here for pupils to work on over time.
Other Online Platforms & Expected Daily Activities
Pupils also have access to several other online platforms which they can use to progress their learning. Tasks have been set for the following sites. These are free choice activities but pupils should aim to spend at least 30 minutes per day accessing such sites.
- School 360 (all pupils) (External URL)
- My Maths (all pupils) (External URL)
- Spag.com (Year 5 and 6) (External URL)
- Times Table Rockstars (KS2) (External URL)
- Reading Plus (target pupils) (External URL)
- Maths Whizz (all pupils) (External URL)
As part of your child’s daily routine, please build in time for the above sites to enable them to have regular practice. They will also enjoy these sites as they are engaging and used regularly in school.
Miss Prince has been collecting book recommendations for pupils, starting with her favourite book as a child: The Secret Garden.
Miss Prince's Book Recommendations: The Secret Garden
Miss Prince has a book recommendation for HMS pupils: The Secret Garden, one of her favourite books while she was growing up. Watch the video below to find out why she thinks it's such an important book for these times!The links that Miss Prince mentions in her video are:Audiobook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKBbUrr9oQ0&t=946s 2020 Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHNOXDiD9VkPosted by Hexham Middle School on Tuesday, 5 May 2020
More book recommendations, including some from HMS pupils, are:
The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan
‘A guy used to be a Greek God but he woke up in a dumpster in a New York alley as a 16 year old boy. He has to complete harrowing trials to become a God again. It is very exciting and quite funny.’
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
‘I enjoyed reading Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. As a fan of the movies I thought I would enjoy the book, and I did. There was lots of suspense, action, good characters and most importantly, a large amount of dinosaurs, which is ultimately expected. I enjoyed it more than the film as well. I would recommend it to people who like dinosaurs and books.’
My Royal Story series by various authors
‘In Year 7 recently I have been reading the My Story books. I am really enjoying these books because they are like taking a dive into the past. There is a series of books and each one about a different era in the past.
These books are very good for anyone who looks for a mystery in their imagination or if you are looking for something different.
I love reading these because I like to imagine I’m in the past and what it would be like.
As well as these being a great series to read they are very educational in learning about history.
I would really recommend this series to children or adults from age 9 as there may be a few gruesome parts.’
Daily Activities include:
- To begin a drawing journal to record your experiences at home.
- Draw your breakfast, lunch and dinner in as much detail as you can (for a whole week!) make your drawings all the same size. What if you created these drawings for 2-weeks or even a month! You could create a flip-book from your drawings. Imagine where all of this food has come from. See if you can do some research about the production of your food and trace its journey on a map.
- Draw 5 objects in your house, draw them in different ways. Close up, from far away. On their own, in a pile, draw only the colour, draw only the texture. You could put the objects into a strong light source and draw the shadow. See if you can draw your 5 objects in 10 different ways.
- Create an imaginative creature from the objects that you have collected. Take small sections of each object and create a monster-creature or a Jabberwocky.
- Take the 5 object drawings you have made. Could you cut them in half and bring 2 of them together to invent a new product or service? Redraw the parts added together in new and unique ways. Test out your ideas on your family/carers do they think you have a good idea? You may have invented something wonderful that we all need!
- If you have a drink carton at home, peel off the skin of the packaging. If you are careful you can peel of a whole juice box. Once you have revealed the cardboard service beneath, use what you have to decorate it. You may use pattern, illustration, cartoons. Could you create a new drink idea?
- To create an Easter Egg entry to a competition for the most imaginative Easter Egg. The theme for the competition is ‘hope!’
- You may wish to put a pin hole in the top and bottom of an egg and blow the egg out to leave only the (complete) shell. You may decorate this in any way you chose, paints, felts tips, add attachments etc. You may use more than one egg but remember to ask your parents/carers to cook the eggs you have blown. Don’t waste any food!
- To create an Omamori (lucky charm in Japanese) using found materials at home design and make your own lucky charm or amulet for people in your family. If you can make one why not try to make another, and more to include everybody.
- If you have access to outside space go for a walk and see if you can collect interesting natural forms. Look out for mosses. Collect a little. Bring it home and see if you can create the colours that you see in the lichens and mosses. Can you make 10 drawings from a tiny piece of moss? You will need to look at the minute patterns and look very closely indeed!
- Draw every pair of shoes you have at home. Draw your trainers, sports shoes, sandals, boots can you design your own unique pair of shoes now? Add labels to explain your design decisions.
- Do the same with your clothes. Draw 20 garments that you own. Draw them carefully. See if you can design better. Include the things you like about your clothes and change the details that you don’t.
- If you have an old piece of clothing at home and an un-picker. Unpick the garment. Lay the pieces out on the floor. If you or somebody at home knows how to sew, see if you can sew the pieces back together in new and unusual ways. Could a pair of trousers become a waist coat? Could a t-shirt become something completely different?
- Patchwork. Have you got lots of old clothes at home (that your family say you can use). Cut them into small pieces and attach different squares together using a running or back stitch. See how big you can make your patchwork! See if you can get your family involved in the making.
- Embroidery. Does someone at home know how to do embroidery. See some of the textiles they have made. See if you can learn some of their skills. Practice them. I will look forward to seeing the results in class.
Apple has published 30 fun, constructive and creative activities to do with the built-in features of an iPhone/iPad – see below for the full list!
- Food Technology Activities Booklet (PDF): this includes a variety of activities for KS2 and KS3 pupils.
Food Preparation and Nutrition: Home Learning Projects
These home learning projects are to be completed weekly. These are projects/tasks that will use researched information, as well as information you have studied in class. You can use ICT to generate them, use PowerPoint or if you do not have computer facilities, you can create each homework by hand – remember to present them neatly using coloured pencils and fill your pages with detail.
You will be required to spend at least 45 minutes per homework task. Use books, the internet and magazines etc. to help you research.
Week 1: With current affairs, this is a good opportunity for us as a nation to think resourcefully and practically when it comes to the supply of food; create a meal using the maximum of 5 ingredients. The ingredients could be from using only the ingredients you already have at home. Look at tins, staple foods such as flour, rice, pasta, potatoes etc and produce a meal that can feed your family. This is a good way for you to think resourcefully and to create a meal using basic ingredients that are cost effective, using foods we can store for a length of time and to store in the freezer. TAKE A PHOTO FOR EVIDENCE!
Week 2: Create a poster exploring seasonal foods from the UK only. For each of the FOUR seasons, suggest a well-balanced main meal that could be made using the ingredients discussed. You can design your page like a pie chart/ a table or however you would like to lay your work out – but it must be visual & interesting!
Week 3: Research and make a food product using the staple ingredient flour (gluten free flour or alternatives for dietary requirements if needed). This could be a loaf of bread, savoury scones, fresh pasta, biscuits, muffins, pizza etc. Take a photograph for evidence.
Week 4: Create a leaflet or informative poster identifying three special diets (e.g. some options to choose from are… vegan, vegetarian, coeliac, diabetic, babies, pregnant women, elderly, religious, pescatarian…) that people may follow and explain why, with examples of foods that can and cannot be eaten in these diets. Include pictures, drawings, labels and plenty of information.
Mr Holdsworth has now set all pupils up with access to music resources on Google Classrooms (codes sent home on Wednesday 22nd April). Should you struggle to access these resources, they are provided here. Enjoy your music learning!
- Year 5 Music Study & Research: Music Notation Book 1 (PDF)
- Year 6 Music Study & Research: Great Composers Research Project (PDF)
- Year 7 Music Study & Research: 20th Century Classical Composers (PDF)
- Year 8 Music Study & Research 1: Popular Music (PDF)
- Year 8 Music Study & Research 2: 1970s Glam Rock (PDF)
Mr Barry’s Daily Tasks!
Resources from the Rugby Football League
The Rugby Football League have put together some virtual learning resources for pupils to complete whilst they are unable to play Rugby League, and now in many cases attend school.
The #SkillToPlay online initiative showcases some of the game’s finest players and helps children and young people to emulate the skills of their heroes whilst also remaining active.
The resources are freely available via rugby-league.com and Our League and will be refreshed weekly.
There are great prizes on offer for the best and funniest videos submitted using the #SkillToPlay hashtag.
PE Project Ideas
- Year 8 – Athletes dietary plan for the Winter Olympics/Olympics/Euro Championships
- As a budding athlete, you must create a training plan to show how you would prepare for a major sporting event
- You must show the plans for the 6 weeks leading up to the event
- Use the internet to research any existing plans that you could draw inspiration from.
- Year 7 – Home fitness plan
- Using your knowledge from the methods of training unit of work design a home workout you could do on your own or with your family
- Draw out your circuit/ training plan to illustrate how you are staying fit during your time away from school
- Make it as creative as possible using things around the house to help with the activities e.g- unopened bags of sugar as weights
- Year 6 – Design a new sport and sporting event
- In Year 6, we have studied a wide range of different sports during our TGFU (Teaching games for understanding unit of work)
- Your game must be creative and like nothing seen before.
- Your job is to create a game that includes all of the key elements of a game we looked at with our ‘Buzzword Pizza’
- Decision making
- Year 5 – Athlete study
- In Year 5, we have looked at the TREDS values and what makes a great sports role model (Teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship)
- Your task is to create a poster/ display all about your favourite athlete
- Include: accomplishments, what makes them special, anything they do for their team/ sport/ community but most importantly how they meet the TREDS criteria
Duration spent training
As mentioned, we have surveyed all pupils and those without internet access will be provided with paper-based activities which should be completed to a similar schedule to the online learning suggested above.
Google Classroom Entry Codes
Please check the (updated) letter that was sent via Schoolcomms on Wednesday 18 March 2020 – this contains all the class codes required for Google Classroom.
Thank you for reading this information – we appreciate that there is a lot to take in – and thank you in advance for supporting your child so that their learning can continue at home. The staff are working exceptionally hard to make sure that all of our pupils can continue to learn in any circumstances but this is all new to us too so please be patient as we get resources set up.
If you or your child have any questions or struggle to gain access to the above sites, please get in touch with us.