Art inspired by the scenes from the Miners’ Strike

As our Unit on local history and mining draws to a close, we have been looking at photographs of the scenes that took place during the ’84 Miners’ Strike.

In literacy, we were trying to imagine what those men would have been thinking about or saying in those photos.  We have decided to try and capture those feelings with a piece of artwork.  It will take several stages for us to get to the finished piece.

Step 1-

Mr Swallow brought in lots of photographs of people who are angry!  Some of them were actors, pretending to be angry and some of them were real photos of how people behaved in riots or strikes.  We were looking at the poses that showed their feelings and the posture in which they were holding their body.  A lot of them were remarkably similar!

Step 2-

Next, we chose a partner and Mr. Swallow gave us a huge piece of art paper.  We could either trace the person from the photograph and then edit the tracing to look like the character we wanted, or just use the pose of the person in the photo to inspire and inform our own drawing.  We scribbled on the back of the tracing paper so that we could then print our tracing onto the huge art paper.  Together, we built up a selection of scenes showing the angry protests of the miners on our big paper.

Step 3-

The final step was to frame the scenes.  We chose charcoal because of the obvious tonal links to coal and the miners.  Framing the scenes in a black, dusty cloud gave the pictures a foreboding sense of anger and darkness.  The charcoal even reminded us of the clouds of smoke we saw in the riot pictures or ‘clouds of anger’ as Tilly eloquently put it!  We want our pictures to represent the scary, upsetting and even dangerous situation that those miners found themselves caught up in in the dark days of 1984.

Reading VIPERS challenge

This week, we are looking at the Summarise VIPER.  Our first Summary activity is a game of charades!  The children were brilliant and WE COULD TELL WHAT EVERY SINGLE SCENE from the book was, when they acted it out!  Year 4 are true drama queens!!!

Circuits Challenge

As you know, we did not get the chance to work practically when we learned about circuits at the end of Year 3.  So, we took the opportunity this afternoon to refresh our know about circuit diagrams, insulators and conductors as well as get our hands on the lovely circuits equipment that Mr Swallow bought.


Nora Batty and Compo Yorkshire Pudding Recipes

Well!  I asked for it!  I did!

I asked my pupils to pretend to be Nora Batty or Compo and write a recipe for making Yorkshire puddings ‘in character.’  AND…they did!

We had some creative suggestions from our Compos!  Such as “spitting in the pan” if you have no oil or “nicking the eggs from under a chicken!”

As for the Nora Battys, they were constantly recommending “Whacking Compo with their broom” and keeping an eye out for him trying to “snog” you!!!

They were great fun and (as well as staying in character) did actually manage to write a recipe that used the features they had identified.

Well done Year 4, that was a VERY independent piece of writing.

Yorkshire Pudding Recipe Challenge

We have written plenty of recipes with Mr Swallow before (Egyptian Saboob bread, Spaghetti Carbonara and our amazing Regional pizzas!)  So, Mr Swallow decided that we were ready for a recipe writing challenge!  He gave us this Yorkshire Pudding Recipe:

  • Get 2 eggs, 80g of flour & 100ml of milk
  • Mix it together

Cook it in the oven for around 20 mins

That was it!  It was a rubbish recipe!  He didn’t use time order words, bossy words, adjectives or adverbs!  Terrible.  He gave us just 1 lesson where he reminded us what features a recipe should have and then told us we would be writing our own with no help.

We know what you’re thinking, that is tricky but not that hard.  Well, that’s not all!  Meet Compo and Nora Batty…

Long-awaited memorial to Last of the Summer Wine star Compo could be just  weeks away - YorkshireLive

They are the stars of an old Yorkshire TV show and Mr Swallow let us see them in action.  He then challenged us to become either Compo or Nora and, write the recipe AS IF WE ARE THEM!

The Nora Battys would have to make sure that the house was kept clean whilst they worked and also to keep an eye out for Compo sneaking in to pinch ingredients or even a kiss!!!!

The Compos had to be a little creative in the ingredients they used and were, obviously, not too bothered about hygiene standards!

Yorkshire Pudding making

We have followed a VERY SIMPLE Yorkshire pudding recipe and, of course, we weighed our own ingredients and followed the recipe with our team.  We just needed Mr Swallow and Miss Housley to use the oven and handle the hot trays.

As you can see, the results were amazing!  They tasted fantastic too!


We have been looking at the art of Sheffield-born artist, Pete McKee

We love his pictures so we wanted to analyse his style.  That means we want to figure out what makes a typical McKee painting, a McKee painting.

We spotted that he uses:

  • Bold, cartooney colours.  The colours have shadow details too.
  • Simple style, don’t use too much detail
  • You hardly ever see peoples eyes or mouths

We soon realised that there was much more to a McKee than the type of drawing though…we noticed quite a bit about the subjects he paints:

  • They are typical Yorkshire people doing things we all like to do…visiting the coast, watching footy, eating chips
  • They wear typical Yorkshire clothing, like flat caps and football shirts (unfortunately of Sheffield teams rather than Barnsley!)
  • There are often typical Yorkshire landmarks or scenery in the background (we spotted the rainy weather in the cafe scene Mr McKee!)

We decided to use all these elements to create our own Pete McKee-style artwork.  So, Mr. Swallow sketched out a few ideas about things that mattered to him (his brother helping him on his house, his father-in-law blowing on his cup of tea and even a Yorkshire pudding!)

We then looked at how to import the sketches into the computer and reformat them so that we had a digital copy of the sketch.  We then used the program, Paint, to colour in the pictures digitally…re-creating that distinctive, Pete McKee look.  Here is our progress so far…


Place Value challenge:

We had to use the Base 10 equipment to create some models…but there was a twist:

Can you make a model of a robot in Base 10, that is symmetrical?

What is the total value of your model?  Does the fact that it is symmetrical influence its value?

Can you design an animal that has an odd value?

What will determine if the number is odd or even?  Which is the most crucial type of Base 10 block in the model?  Why?

Can you create a house, using Base 10, that has a total value as close to 500 as possible?

What happens when Mr. Swallow comes along and pinches some of your equipment?  Is it more important to get to 500 or to make it look like a house?

Birdwell Explorers

We took our overhead maps of Birdwell and set off on foot to see what we could add.  There are so many businesses and special locations in our village that it’s quite surprising when you note them all down!

We also had some areas of our map that were incomplete so we had to ‘fill in the blanks.’

A Monday morning treat!

Elise, from Barnsley Music Services, came to see us this morning.  She demonstrated some of the instruments that she teaches children how to play and told us about how they work.  SHE WAS AMAZING!!!!

If you would like to sign up for lessons, let us know.

It’s Arcade Time!!!!

Our machines are built, we’ve wired up the buttons, the paint is dry (almost)…it#s time to open the arcade to the public.

Work in progress…

Check out how our arcade machines are coming together…

Welcome To Year 4!!!

Welcome back to school everyone!  Mr. Mathieson and I are very excited to be your teachers for this year.  We have lots of fun in store and know that you guys are going to work really hard for us.  Our first 2 days back are our transition days (these are normally the days you spend getting used to a new teacher and a new classroom).  However, because you already know Mr. Mathieson and me so well and know what we expect of you then we thought it would be a good opportunity instead to finish those arcade game projects we started at the end of Year 3!


Our bubble closures at the end of the school year meant that we have already designed and coded our own scratch games, as well as planned you our arcade machines could look.  Basically, we have completed a full topic, EXCEPT FOR THE BEST PART!!!!  Let’s put that right…our 2-day challenge is to have completed arcade machines READY to use, by TOMORROW AFTERNOON!!!!!

Here is one I did with Syd, in the holiday as a test run…

The end of the strangest term ever!!!!!

Well kids, it’s here at last…the end of what has been a really difficult time for all of you and hopefully the last day you have not been allowed to attend school.

I just want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all of you and all of your wonderful parents and carers for your hard work.  You have made the best of a bad situation and you have often been the best bit of my lockdown experience because of the way you have shared your work and your adventures at home.  I only actually got to be your teacher for a little over 8 weeks but I will miss you all very much.  Mr Bennett is very lucky to be getting you all back in September and I know he will get you all working hard and making progress really quickly.

I’ve made lots of mistakes as I’ve learned how to set up distance learning (like forgetting to put the time of meetings, having Zooms that turn off halfway through, accidentally videoing my kitchen instead of the quiz!!!!!!)  However, you have helped me through and made it all worthwhile!  So one more big thanks and enjoy your summer.


If you would still like to create content for our blog and work on our topic then I have posted some ideas for other activities and units related to our topic that you may wish to have a go at.  I’ve tried ti make sure I have covered a range of subjects from sport to music.  I also recommend using the Oak Academy resources.


I have been using them at home with my own children and I’ve found them to be pitched at the right level of difficulty and also organized to plan activities in a very similar way to what I would do.

All the best for Year 5.

Mr Swallow

Everyday Heroes 1: What makes a hero?

Task 1: Art skill focus

Choose a superhero.  We are going to trace a picture of them into the middle of your sheet of paper BUT  you cannot use black or pencil, you have to trace in the colour you can see.  So if your hero’s hair is blonde, trace their hair in yellow.  If their cape is red, trace their cape in red…of course, if you trace something black, use your black pencil!  Once you are done, shade in the colours.

Now, label the features and powers your superhero possesses.

Task 2:

Repeat the activity for someone in real life who you consider a hero.  It could be a family member, someone in the community, an emergency worker or even someone you see in the newspaper!

Label their heroic qualities, such as hard work or kindness onto the sheet.

Online art lesson

Zoom meeting ID:  93671558710
Password: art

We are going to have a go at adapting a nice piece of artwork I’ve seen online to our People who changed the World topic.

You will need:



thin and thick black pens (black biro, handwriting pens, felt tips and even black paint all work fine)


It would also help if you have a picture of Dr Martin Luther King Jr Available to draw from.


The FINAL quiz

Please join us on zoom for our last Beat The Teachers quiz.  Remember to add your current year group infront of your name on zoom so I can sort you into groups easily please.  However, feel free to come up with a crazy nickname on Kahoot!

Zoom Meeting ID: 946 5718 5074

Password: quiz