Ice Trap

Over the past half term we have been studying the book Ice Trap in English. This is based on the true story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition in 1914 to cross Antarctica on foot. What started out as an expedition quickly turned into one of the most famous rescue missions of all time.

The children wrote diary entries from the point of view of the crewmen at two points in the story: When they were stuck on the ship Endurance, waiting for the pack ice to free them so they could carry on with their journey and later, camping on Elephant Island under makeshift shelters made from lifeboats, waiting for Shackleton to return with a rescue party.

Here are a few of the diaries the children wrote. We have more on display in the classroom, please come in and take a look.

Leave us a comment telling us what you thought of our diaries.

Diary by Marcia Gill

Dear Diary,

Another day has crawled by like years. We are still struggling for survival with dense snowstorms like icy tears from a giant and blizzards like hell out on the bleak desert of ice and snow. It coats the ground like humungous heaps of peril trapping us. The mood has turned abruptly from optimistic to starved and miserable. I can taste the decaying aftertaste of rotting flesh and I wish I was back home, sitting in a cosy armchair, sipping hot chocolate without a care in the world. Giving little comfort and warmth, the fire crackled feebly lulling me to nightmares and at long last peaceful, dreamless sleep.

Today feels exactly like yesterday, as if the world has stopped moving. Like being put on pause, however we are suffering most from dehydration, lack of food and frostbite and other illnesses. Now we are going on a hunting party and James has invited me along but I held back. I may need exercise, but sleep takes control of me and I rest.

I awoke to the snoring that sounded like a giant pig of Percy Blackbarrow and yell at him to be quiet, but he gives a piggish grunt and snores louder. So I got up and looked in the stores. Luckily, at the very back, hidden behind water jars is half a seal, so I yank it out and set up the iron pot, fill it up with water, put it over the fire, mush up the seal and slide it in. When will we escape this hole of hell?

Diary by Phoebe Steer

Dear Diary,

Another wonderful day, I wonder what this one will be about. The crew are all just cramped under this dark, small boat, that is barely big enough for half of us. My pictures are spectacular but I am slowly just getting lost in bad memories of ice. Everything has changed since I have been on this expedition. It is not so jolly around here anymore, watching Endurance sink sent a shiver down my spine. The gang have tried everything possible to   help the boat, but nothing would work. It is as slippery as an ice rink around here. We are telling each other to keep going and put up with it, but we are losing lots of hopes and thoughts that are drowning us in our sleep. As I sit in desperation, feeling homesick, the sharp jagged rocks dig into my exhausted back. I am as cold as a freezer and I can hear the ice floe crackling into little bits. Ripped and torn my clothes sag down as they leak with salty water.


I do not know what is going to happen next, but nothing sounds good to me. The ice is as hard as rock. Luckily, I have had a lot of turns by the fire, unfortunately we have to keep swapping because of the lack of room. The music sounds like it is hardly there because everyone is worrying about what is going to happen next, when we could be doing other things. Exhausted, we are falling asleep in the day and that’s not good because we have to keep updating people with what is happening and at this rate nothing is getting done on time. Quietly there are people reading, lost in their thoughts of the book.  The smoke is floating up into the air as we speak. I feel like we might need a time table because we have not been   doing jobs and it will keep us on track. If we do the jobs quickly we will have lots of time to rest. Hopefully, when we get back (well if we ever do) I will have the best pictures that you can think of.


My memories are like bugs that just can’t stop when they start. What’s going to happen next? Who’s going to deal with the problems? Shaking in despair the gang are worrying if Shackleton will ever get back, because if he doesn’t we will be left here to die on Elephant Island. When will this nightmare end? Shivering, I sit shaking in the up turned corner of the boat, just touching the warm smoke of the fire as it slowly rises into the cold air. The smell of the penguin and seal stew rise high into the cold bleak air, as you climb out of the cramped upturned boat you get greeted by colossal gushes of billowing icy air. I wonder if my family are sitting at home wondering if I will ever get home, if I get home, I hope my Mum and Dad will be proud of my amazing pictures. My hopes seem to be getting higher day by day. I guess my hopes are higher than most peoples but that is good because I have my brave face on and I believe that these twenty-six men and me will survive. Hopefully, tomorrow the boss will come and we will all be saved and I will be able to see my lovely family. I will never forget them. I couldn’t!

I hope tomorrow brings good thoughts and, I never want see ice again in a year.

We will survive! We have to!

Diary by Kian Shea

20th January 1915

The cold, ear-piercing wind blows against the ship. Below deck Pete is playing his banjo and singing sea shantys having fun. I joined in at one point but I’m not a very good singer. Above deck Frank Worlsey is steering, Hubert helping and Shackleton helping, a wave came up and bashed the ship like a rubber ducky.

It’s been two days on the pack ice. All the men have been trying to break the thick, white ice. not many animals: few penguins coupla seals. We’re all hoping that we break free. Down below deck they’re still playing the banjo that’s bin’ going on all day!

Everyone still has a good attitude. Right now I’m above deck I can see acres of plain ice. It’s just ice, ice and more ice. You get a sore nose when you smell but there’s not a lot to smell.

The ship tilted and turned, a horrendous storm had hit. It broke the pack ice and it heaved up in humungous jumbled piles. The ship creaked and groaned it sounded like some terrible beast in pain. We might have to abandoned ship, hopefully Shackleton does too. Like a chase we were trying to run away from the pack ice.

By Kian Shea

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Work in case of snow February 1st 2019

Please complete the following two tasks.

  1. English: We have been working on diary writing this term. Write a detailed diary entry of your day in the snow, using the skills you have learnt.
  2. Maths: Where can we visit? See attached document: Where Can We Visit

Also remember to have fun in the snow.

Mrs Gill and Mrs White

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New Year Inter-colour Tournament

Welcome back to Birch Class

This week, we started the new year with our Y5 inter-colour tournament. The children spent half of the lesson, on Tuesday, outside playing hockey in colour teams to consolidate learning from last term.

The other half of the lesson was spent in the hall, learning a dance which was then performed in colour teams.

The points from both events will be added to points from all the other year groups and the results announced in assembly on Friday.

Here are some photos of this week’s activities.


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Ancient Egyptian Day

Year 5 had a fantastic day yesterday being transported back to Ancient Egypt for the day.

We did a quiz and learnt lots of new information. We had the opportunity to handle lots of artefacts from Ancient Egypt and discuss what was found in Tutankhamun’s tomb. We did some measuring in cubits, palms and fingers (Ancient Egyptian measurements) and played a board game.

In the afternoon we became embalmers and learnt the process of embalming a dead body. We had a funeral procession around the school.

To finish off we played a game of catching animals on the River Nile.

All the children looked amazing in their costumes and they all had a really good day.

Have a look at some of the pictures taken on the day and leave us a comment telling us what your favourite part of the day was.

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Commando Joe

Welcome to the new Birch class blog. Here you will find information about what we have been getting up to in lesson time recently.

Today, we had our second Commando Joe session of the term. We had to make an assault course to keep us fit. Here is Phoebe Steer’s report about what we did and some pictures. We are always excited to have comments from parents, family and friends about our work so we look forward to hearing your comments.

Phoebe’s report

When we were doing Commando Joe it was super fun because we were making assault courses for other teams to help us get fit. You had to get it really hard or commando Andy and commando Jazz would come and knock it over. One of the groups made you carry a heavy bucket as you weaved in and out of the tricky obstacles. They had bamboo sticks that you had to step over, but whilst walking on a plank. One of the other amazing obstacles was where you had to balance a ball on the end of an oil can but it was not as easy as you would think because people would be throwing red balls at you. Last but not least the third group made you be blindfolded so that you could not see a thing. It was also very hard because you would have to step over things and you had to feel things to make sure you got it right. The group that did that were extremely clever because they managed to make a tunnel out of a tarpaulin and a piece of rope.

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CM Sports Fundraising for Uganda

Nick and the CM Sports team came in yesterday to do a water challenge with us. This was to raise money to buy sports equipment to take to Uganda when Nick and Ash go out with Mr Stanley in the summer.

The challenge was to be the class who managed to transport the most water along the obstacle course in fifteen minutes. Birch class worked really well as a team and did a fantastic job. Here are some pictures of them in action.

There is still time to make a donation if you would like to, bring in the envelope you were given last week (or a labelled one if this isn’t available).

Leave us a comment telling us the best part of the challenge.

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Hooke Court Residential Visit

This week Birch and Pine classes went on their trip to Hooke Court Residential and Study Centre to learn about their topic, The Tudors.  While staying at Hooke Court we took part in lots of fun activities: orienteering, shelter building, Night Search and Rescue, low ropes, and a Tudor Day.  The Tudor Day included cooking Tudor recipes in the Tudor kitchen, Tudor crafts and a feast.  We all dressed up for the feast and afterwards looked at real Tudor costumes.  Year 5 really enjoyed their stay at Hooke Court and will remember the fun activities and learning about who and what the Tudors were really like.

by Sam Viel.

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Basketball tournament

Last half term Year 5 were learning Basketball skills in their lessons with CM Sports. On Monday this week we held the Year 5 Basketball tournament with children competing in their house colour teams in both basketball games and an endurance running activity on the field.

CM Sports came into assembly on Friday to announce the results for the whole school. Red team won the Year 5 competition, with Yellow team in the lead overall for the school at the moment.  They also awarded trophies to the most improved/ consistent sports person for the half term. The Year 5 awards went to Alexander Stemp and Maria Vystavkina.

Take a look at the pictures of our tournament and leave us a comment.

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Pizza making

In DT this term we have been testing, designing and making pizzas.

We taste tested a range of different pizzas, looking at appearance, smell and taste. We then looked at the eatwell plate and decided which food groups were included in a pizza and how we could add ingredients to make our own healthy pizza.

Based on this information, we then designed our own pizzas. Then we were able to make them and cook them in the cob oven.

After eating our pizzas, we evaluated them and decided what we would do differently next time. Here are some of our thoughts:

‘I thought my pizza was balanced out because it had protein and fat (pepperoni). It had vegetables (olives) and a bit of dairy (cheese).’ By Ewan Young.

‘My pizza had a lot of different food groups. The cheese was dairy and the tomato puree was fruit and veg. Also the dough was carbohydrates. For my toppings: the olives were fruit and veg, and the pepperoni was protein.’ By Mia Mavromatis.





We had a great time making and cooking our pizzas, here are some pictures of our finished pizzas. Leave us a comment to let us know what your favourite pizza topping is.

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This half term in English, Birch class have been writing explanation texts. We have been using the Wallace and Grommitt Cracking Contraptions cartoons to write explanations of how the machines work.

First we looked at the features of good explanation texts and decided what we might need to include in ours.

Then we watched the video of the Snowmanotron contraption and made some notes about how it might work.

Now we were ready to write our explanations. Here is some of our finished work.

Leave us a comment to let us know what you think.

Snowmanotron By Evelyne Charlier

Snowmanotron By Emma Boylett

Snowmanotron By Chloe Bryant

Snowmanotron By Amelia Murrell

Snowmanotron By Alex Stemp

Snowmanotron By William Borman

Snowmanotron By Rose Keane

Snowmanotron By Rachel Lapicki

Snowmanotron By Poppy Kelly..

Snowmanotron By Ollie Chads

Snowmanotron By Oliver Harrison

Snowmanotron By Mia Mavromatis

Snowmanotron By Harry Kirby

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