Can you do Cat’s Cradle YET?

Our final assembly of the half term had us all thinking about the power of the word ‘YET’.

In Monday assembly we had the official launch of the Burley Woodhead Cat’s Cradle Challenge. A group of children came to the front in assembly to demonstrate that they could NOT do the Cat’s Cradle YET.

You can guess what happened next. Having studied the videos in the YET pages and gathered up the necessary pieces of string, the children spent the week turning themselves into Cat’s Cradle experts. From being complete novices who could not do it YET on Monday, groups of children could be seen collaborating with one another throughout the school. Experts were popping up all over the place! Some children even taught themselves how to do solo Cat’s Cradle!!!!

Growth Mindset – Week 6 – Yet from Burley and Woodhead CE Primary on Vimeo.


Clearly, the word YET is a very powerful one. With dedication, commitment, determination, feedback and collaboration you can learn anything!

Feedback, Honeybees and Dragonflies


This week we have been thinking all about feedback and how it is important if we are going to learn and improve. In assembly we watched Austin’s Butterfly, before Chloe and Louis sketched a Honey Bee ‘live’ infront of the entire school. They were then given feedback by the audience, linked to the shape, size and pattern of their sketches.

Over the course of the week, the children have been using their feedback skills to help one another improve their sketching.

Here are a couple of examples:

Obviously, feedback can be sought and given for all sorts of things that go on in school. Hopefully the children have learned that by giving feedback and being able to receive it, they can become better learners and make improvements to everything they do.

Growth Mindset – Week 5 – Feedback from Burley and Woodhead CE Primary on Vimeo.

Marvellous Mistakes

This week our Growth Mindset journey has taken us into the realm of making mistakes. Mistakes are crucial to learning anything new. The mistakes that we make and the way in which we learn from them is what drives our learning forward. If learning is too easy, we do not stretch ourselves; this means that we are not grappling with new ideas and developing our understanding. Mistakes should be an inevitable part of new learning.

In assembly we talked about the learning pit and what the journey towards learning anything actually looks like.

Learning Pit


We then read The Most Magnificent Thing before discussing what being in the learning pit feels like.


Learning Pit 2

By the end of the week, classes across school had come up with songs, poems raps and mottoes all about making marvellous mistakes.

Check out some of them below.

Growth Mindset – Week 4 – Mistakes from Burley and Woodhead CE Primary on Vimeo.



The Burley and Woodhead Hula Hooping Challenge

This week we our Growth Mindset journey has been all about setting targets and challenging ourselves. To improve at anything you have to have the motivation to succeed. To help with this process, setting goals and having a target to aim for is incredibly important. If you challenge yourself, you may not be completely successful, but in trying to reach your goal you will have made improvements in your learning. You will also begin to learn that the road to success is all about hard work, and determination and effort. If you challenge yourself and try your best, you can be happy with the outcome, whether you reached your target or not.

Our assembly on Monday we read the story of Mirette on the High Wire.

Image result for mirette on the high wire


The main attraction however,  featured the amazing and inspirational hula hooping tricks of our very own Mr Tillotson. He put on an incredible hula hooping show to inspire and amaze us. He has been practicing his hula hooping for five years, and at the peak of his learning he was practising for 1 hour each day. He had a coach and mentor to give him advice and feedback on how he was doing and help him learn new tricks. Not only did hula hooping keep him fit, it gave him a challenge and a series of stepping stones to keep on improving.


During the assembly, staff volunteered to take the hula hooping challenge and see how they could improve over the course of the week. Of course, the children were inspired by Mr Tillotson; the hula hoops came out for each playtime and all over the playground, children could be found swinging the hoops around their bodies, arms, legs, necks and hands.

Friday assembly provided the children with an opportunity to share what skills they had developed over the course of the week and discuss the challenges they had set for themselves.

This type of challenge is not exclusive to hula hooping. In our spelling work across school, the children are taking a blond test at the start of the week and challenging themselves to get an improved score by the end of the week. This progress score tells the children a lot about how focussed effort can lead to progress. It also encourages the children to set themselves targets with their learning.

Here is a super video of Y6’s Growth Mindset journey

Growth Mindset – Week 3 – Challenge and the Learning Pit from Burley and Woodhead CE Primary on Vimeo.

Brain Hats, Myelin, Neural Pathways and Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

In our second week of whole school assemblies, we have been  getting to grips to what happens to your brain when you learn new things.

In assembly we watched two videos from the Brainology pages before two willing volunteers took part in a memory game. With a little bit of brain training and a super duper brain hat, they were able to improve their scores in remembering a list of random items from 3 or 4 out of 10 to 10 out of 10! Quite impressive.

Back in classrooms the children have been making brain hats and neurons and reflecting upon the neural pathways that they have cultivated so far in their lives. They have also spent time discussing how to build and strengthen neural pathways to embed their  learning.

Growth Mindset – Week 2 – Brainology from Burley and Woodhead CE Primary on Vimeo.




What makes a Great Learner?

Y3 Learning BehavioursAcross school this week the children have been discussing what makes a great learner.

We are constantly referring to the learning behaviours that we are looking for inside our classrooms. Our reward systems and the way in which we feedback to children are based on these learning habits.

Take a look at the ideas from children in Year 1, 2 and Year 3.




Assembly 1: The Snorgh, The Sailor and getting into your ‘Stretch Zone’

Growth Mindset Assembly Learning Leaves Assembly 1 stretch zone

Ice Skating

Have you ever been ice skating? It can be scary, intimidating and make you fearful. It can also be exciting and exhilarating and above all fun! Amazing things can happen when you let go of the the side of the ice rink or penguin you have been using for support and take your first wobbly steps onto the ice. Very soon you learn how to hold and balance your weight and move yourself forward. Before long, your confidence is growing and you are skating independently.

Stretch Zone

Learning can be a lot like this. It takes courage and determination to get out of your comfort zone and into your stretch or learning zone. As learners we need to be courageous and willing to get into our stretch zones. As teachers, we need to ensure that we are planning tasks that take the children into their stretch zones while making sure that they feel safe and do not end up in their panic zones!

In our assembly this week we talked all about our stretch or learning zones. We played a game where the teachers were asked to put themselves on the ‘Matrix of Confidence’ for a whole range of different tasks. It is always interesting how different things take people into their stretch zone. While presenting an episode of Blue Peter would be a stretch for most people, Mrs Whitaker was truly in her comfort zone with the thought of this experience. The children loved watching their teachers thinking about different tasks and how they can take you out of your comfort zone.

After this we listened to a story called the Snorgh and the Sailor. In the story, a grumpy Snorgh who spends his whole life at home in his comfort zone has a chance meeting with an excitable sailor. As a result of the meeting, the Snorgh ends up really getting out of his comfort zone and taking an incredible adventure.

Snorgh and the Sailor

Across school the children have been reflecting on their learning and talking about when they have been in their stretch zones and how it has made them feel.

Several classes have already put together stretch zone presentations and displays to remind the children that learning new things is a stretch and a challenge.

 Here is what Year 1 are going to be using to track how their learning makes them feel on ‘Stretch Zone Street.’


This video from Y6 charts their journey into their stretch zone this week.

Y6 Growth Mindset – Week 1 – Stretch Zone from Burley and Woodhead CE Primary on Vimeo.

Stretch zone displays in Y2 and Y3



Our song for encouraging one another to get into our stretch zone is Try Everything  by Shakira from the Disney movie Zootopia.



Building a Growth Mindset Through Whole School Assemblies

Growth Mindset Assembly Learning Leaves whole

During the Autumn term, we shall be exploring what it means to approach your learning with a Growth Mindset.

Each week, related to our Christian theme of perseverance, we shall be doing a whole school assembly linked to each of the statements on the leaves above. Keep an eye on the Growth Mindset blog for pictures and images from the assemblies and across the school as this important work filters into the children’s classrooms.

Ash Randall, football freestyle and 10,000 hours of practice

A popular theory suggests that practising any skill for 10,000 hours is enough to make you an expert. While researchers argue over the exact number of hours, it is true that purposeful practice helps you improve your skills at anything you have a go at.

Today, we met Ash Randall, a football freestyler who has spent many hours practising and developing his skills. He told us how he practised for an average of five hours a day for ten years in order to become one of the world’s most accomplished football freestyler.

In morning assembly, he put on a fabulous freestyle demonstration of tricks and flicks. Then, over the course of the day, each class took part in an all action football freestyle workshop in the hall. In this session, Ash introduced them to a range of tricks and gave them tips on how to practice and improve.

Take a look at the photographs of the whole school getting to grips with freetsyle football tricks.

If you want to learn more, click here to see a playlist of skills tutorials that builds on what Ash showed the children in the workshop.

What skill or activity do you want to master? Leave a comment with your stories of how you have had to practice and persevere to improve your ability in your chosen skill.

The Testing Camera – Growth Mindset and SATS – a message to people who do not like tests

Watch this video.

A SAT does not reflect who you are, what you are worth or even how much you have learned. It provides a snapshot of what you are capable of understanding on a particular given day. It gives you a standardised score and is one way of indicating where you are in your learning compared to age related expectations.

But this is not all it provides. It also presents you with  opportunities: opportunities to challenge yourself, work intensely and independently for an extended period of time, puzzle things out for yourself, struggle, make mistakes, succeed, reflect on things you know how to do, identify things that you do not know how to do YET, celebrate your successes and mull over your failures to name but a few.

Taking tests is part of school life. Y6 provides the first real testing opportunity for many of you with the SAT tests in May. These tests are the first in a raft of many tests that you will take as you go through your school lives. So, how should you approach them?

Here’s a list of comments made by Y6 children about sitting tests:

  • Do not be scared or afraid of the test.
  • Read each question carefully
  • Think carefully and puzzle things out
  • Use trial and improvement if it is appropriate
  • Work quickly and carefully
  • Ask to have a question read to you if you don’t understand it
  • Pace yourself through the test – take notice of how much time you have
  • If you are stuck on a question or it takes a long time, move on and come back to it
  • Have confidence in yourself as a learner and do the best you can

A test, while focussing your attention upon a particular area such as maths, is about much more than just that. Whether you are happy with your final score or not, remember to think about the learning that came out of simply taking the test itself. One day, you’ll take a driving test, go for a job interview, do a GCSE, A- level or degree exam, take a ballet or music exam, complete a swimming assessment, go for a sports trial, be observed by OFSTED…the list is endless.

Your SATS are a great place to begin developing a healthy growth mindset towards tests and being tested. Try and use it as a learning opportunity.