18 February, 2021
Students at Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy have been taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch in an effort to connect with nature and learn more about their local environment.
The Big Garden Birdwatch is a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds initiative that Kirsty Hodgson, physical development lead at the academy, has been taking part in for a number of years. Ms Hodgson thought it would be a great activity for the whole school community to get involved in, especially during lockdown when lots of the students’ usual pastimes have been restricted.
Students who have continued to go into the academy were able to use the school grounds, while students who are learning from home could go onto their balconies and into their gardens and local green spaces to watch and log the birds they saw.
Never wanting to miss out on a learning opportunity, students tallied the birds they saw and completed various numeracy tasks, as well as some more creative ones. A number of students practised their fine motor skills by threading Cheerios onto string to entice birds to their green spaces, and others created homemade fat balls to hang from bird feeders.
For those students who didn’t have access to a nearby green space, Ms Hodgson set up a bird spy camera from her garden. Pupils were able to watch this live stream through the academy’s social media and compare the species they’d spotted with what their friends had managed to find.
Inspired by all the birds they had seen and learnt about, students then went on to do their own artistic representations of the animals, which are now on display in the academy. Alongside this, students are working to create individual handprints or birds’ footprints, which will serve to represent every member of the community at Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy.
The whole academy also came together for an assembly, where students were able to share their results. They had the opportunity to show photos of birds they had witnessed, showcase their bird-themed creations, and take part in a singalong to the Birdy Song.
Helen MacDougall, principal at Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy said:
“It was lovely to have an academy-wide activity which could incorporate so many subjects and skills for those accessing learning both remotely and in the classroom. Taking time in nature is vital for one’s wellbeing, but also a chance to learn more about our surrounding environments.
“Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy has always shown its creative side and the displays made to showcase the students’ talents are simply wonderful.”