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Holtsmere End Junior School Blogs

Holtsmere End Junior School Blogs.

Did anyone else see this?

I just watched David Attenborough's Life Story program and saw this.  I know about animals doing things to attract a mate - peacocks with their great big, colourful tails, etc.  but this tiny puffer fish is just incredible!

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Mr Phil Marland
Did you watch the clip Pranav?
Friday, 21 November 2014 08:27
Mr Phil Marland
The last MyMaths homework set was percentage change. Last week we were looking at averages. There are no tasks available on MyMa... Read More
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 22:45
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Recommended Reading.

Sorry, this is a really long post!


As an update to my previous post, we have this week bought 22 new books for Year 6.  These books are by authors that I have enjoyed, including (obviously) Garth Nix, P. B. Kerr and Tom Becker.


I'll give you a brief synopsis of these.


First of all, Garth Nix.  We already have Mr Monday, the first of the 'Keys to the Kingdom' series.  We now have Grim Tuesday and Superior Saturday (I'm on the look out for Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, Lady Friday and Lord Sunday and will get them when I can find them at a reasonable price.)


The books basically chronicle the adventures of Arthur, a 12-year-old asthmatic boy who is chosen to be the heir of The House: the centre of the universe.  The trustees of the house, the Morrow Days (Mr Monday, Grim Tuesday, etc.) are basically criminals and all want to take control of the House.  Each represents one of the seven sins (Mr Monday - Sloth; Grim Tuesday - Greed; Drowned Wednesday - Gluttony; Sir Thursday - Wrath; Lady Friday - Lust; Superior Saturday - Envy; Lord Sunday - Pride).   


The Keys to the Kingdom are objects of power given to the trustees which gives them each control of their part of the House.  As the rightful heir, chosen by the Architect, Arthur must take control of all of the keys.  I won't say any more than that.


The books by P. B. Kerr are the Children of the Lamp series.  In these, we follow twins John and Pippa, who have a particularly gifted mother, a very kind father and two dogs, an they live a life of luxury in New York.


In the first book, 'The Akhenaten Adventure', their wisdom teeth appear simultaneously and they have an operation to get them removed, during which they both share the same dream.  In the dream, their uncle, Nimrod, asks them to come to London.  He tells them they are djinn (genies), descended from Akhenaten who, as you may have found out when you studied Ancient Egypt, was the husband of Nefertiti and father of Tutankamen, and they must undergo training to use their newly discovered powers.


As they struggle to balance the powers of good luck and bad luck in the world, they must battle the evil Ifrit tribe and its leader Iblis.  


There are 6 books in the series.  As with most series' of books, it is not essential that they are read in order, but sometimes reference is made to events which happened in earlier books.


My one criticism of the first book is that the characters are not particularly well-drawn (Typically a writer of adult fiction, P. B. Kerr had to learn that there are different rules when writing what is essentially teenage fiction, such as character development and the pace of the story).  But it is an enjoyable book and I believe that in the latter books, he is more successful in bringing the characters to life.


Tom Becker's Darkside sequence is about a boy, 14-year-old Jonathan Starling, who discovers a world hidden in London.  A horrific version of Victorian London, the Darkside is a world run by Jack the Ripper's family.  The worst of the worst live here; it is a society of murderers theives and of course a werewolf and a vampire.


Becker creates an incredible sense of play in the first novel and there are lots of twists and turns in the plot.  If you have read and enjoyed Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (which I'm sure that's on our boockase), you'll love this book!


Lifeblood is the second book in the series; Night Trap is the third, the fourth is Time Curse and Black Jack is the final book in the series.


I also bought two Jinx books, which I read the first chapters of while in the shop (warehouse actually: the books were bought from 66 Books, Wood Lane End, Hemel Hempstead).  They read quite well.


Anyway, if you're in Year 6, I would really appreciate it if you would have a go at reading all of the new books and letting us know what you think.  As with the previous post, it is always useful to comment on books that you have read and enjoyed.


You are welcome to take the books home to read, provided that they are looked after and returned (please try not to fold corners over to keep your page: make a bookmark or use a paper clip or post-it note).

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Recent Comments
Mr Phil Marland
I think you'll really like The Subtle Knife or Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman: We've at least one copy of The Subtle Knife at... Read More
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 21:27
Mr Phil Marland
How are you finding Lirael Pranav? How far in are you? What's happened so far? What are the characters like? We do have a co... Read More
Friday, 14 November 2014 20:32
Mr Phil Marland
Did Lirael not make sense before? Why does it make sense now? How far into the story are you? I found a copy of the Northern Li... Read More
Monday, 17 November 2014 18:52
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Favourite books and authors.

This week we have been looking at The Ragwitch, a book by Garth Nix.  The Ragwitch was the first book that Garth Nix ever published and this is clear by the inconsistency in the quality of the writing.  Elements of the book are exceptional; the description of the settings are second to none  However the characters are not very well-drawn.  If you ever read the book, you will find that it is difficult to empathise with the central characters: Paul does nothing but complain and feel sorry for himself throughout.  Nontheless, it is a good book if you can ignore its shortcomings.


Othe books by Garth Nix are the Keys to the Kingdom series, the first book of which is Mr Monday and these are a really good series of books - a real improvement.  He has also written a trilogy, The Old Kingdom.  These are also great books, although are intended for an older audience.


My favourite author is Terry Pratchett.  I can highly recommend the books that he has written for children: The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents and the Tiffany Aching books (The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight).


Who are your favourite authors?  Is there a book or a series of books that you have really enjoyed?


Let us know and maybe we can add any recommendations to our library! 

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Recent Comments
Mr Phil Marland
Can you recommend a book by Joseph Delaney and tell us briefly what it's about? Has he written a series of books which should be ... Read More
Saturday, 18 October 2014 14:16
Mr Phil Marland
I'm sure that I've seen Spooks Apprentice on our class bookcase.
Saturday, 25 October 2014 09:16
Mr Phil Marland
Don't apologise Pranav. The best (and the cheapest) way to find authors that we like is to listen to what other people think abo... Read More
Saturday, 25 October 2014 09:19
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Endangered animal podcasts.

In Literacy we worked collaboratively to carry out research on endangered animals.  We used this information to create a podcasts about the plight of our chosen animal.  The brief was to use powerful, emotive language.  

We also took inspiration from work that we completed on powerful speeches earlier in the year and tried to incorporate the elements of effective speeches that we looked at and tried to incorporate them into our own delivery.  

Use the players below to have a listen and see what you think.  Mr Marland and Mrs Ledgerwood think they're amazing!


Bailey, Jack and Kayla  

Artist Name - Bailey-Jack-and-Kayla.mp3

Beverley, Luke and Libby  

Artist Name - Bev-Luke-and-Libby.mp3

Esmae, Ben and Ben  

Artist Name - Esmae-Ben-and-Ben.mp3

Harvey, Anna and Dennis  

Artist Name - Harvey-Anna-and-Dennis.mp3

James, Ella and Jack  

Artist Name - James-Ella--Jack-M.mp3

Josh, Josh and Tia  

Artist Name - Josh-Josh-and-Tia.mp3

Lois, Krystle and Morgan  

Artist Name - Lois-Krystle-and-Morgan.mp3

Lucy, Dominyk and John  

Artist Name - Lucy-Dominyk-and-John.mp3

Sophie and Akshay  

Artist Name - Sophie-and-Akshay.mp3

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  1 Comment

Can people who have never taught in schools make changes to education?

Michael Gove (the Education Secretary), has made lots of changes to education. Should MPs and other people who comment on education be made to spend a term teaching a class of children?   Can people outside of education really have an informed opinion on what makes good teaching and learning?

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Holtsmere End Junior School
Shenley Road,
Woodhall Farm,
Hemel Hempstead,
01442 253189
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