All posts by James

Arsenal vs leeds – tom’s match report

We met Gunnersaurus before the match.

We got to meet Gunnersaurus before the game outside of the Armoury. We also said hello to, Arsenal legend, Bob Wilson in the car park before the match. Finally, before going in, we got to see the Rugby League World Cup trophy. The Emirates will be hosted some of the matches later in the year.

Me and my dad with the Rugby League World Cup trophies

The Line-Up

Today Partey and Tierney will probably miss the end of the season with the long term injuries and I will be glad to see them again next season. I did not expect Martinelli to start over Smith Rowe, I thought Marinelli would come on for Emile Smith Rowe in the second half. Also Ben White is out with an injury, but hopefully he is back next week.

Ramsdale

Soares Holding Gabriel Tomiyasu

Ødegaard Elneny Xhaka

Saka  Nketiah  Martinelli

First Half

Before kick-off the Arsenal fans got to sing our new anthem, ‘The Angel’ by Louis Dunford. It was really good and should happen at every match. This is what is sounded like from where we were.

Within the first two minutes, Arsenal got a free kick from Saka being fouled. Odegaard whipped the ball in across the penalty area slightly missing one or two diving heads. Three minutes later, Arsenal super striker Nketiah pounced on a heavy touch by Illian Meslier, the young Leeds goalkeeper from France, and Eddie knocked the ball into the back of the net.

Ten minutes gone and Nketiah could not wait for more as Martinelli crossed the ball in and Eddie scored, slotting the ball into the bottom right corner.

Half an hour in and Luke Ayling, the Leeds United right back, got sent off for a ferocious tackle on Gabriel Martinelli, who had been only just able to actually keep the ball in play. The ref gave a yellow to begin with, but VAR made him check it. It did take some time, including a yellow card for Raphinha for protesting about the initial foul being a yellow card instead, but eventually he gave the red.

Arsenal did have some other fabulous chances to score, including two corners. Just before half time, Arsenal had another free kick, Meslier got a hand to the ball as Marcos Llorente bicycle kicked off the line, towards the corner flag.

At Half Time

At half time, the Arsenal 1971 double winning team came out. Players like Charlie George, George Graham, Frank McLintock and Bob Wilson all came out to applause from the crowd. My Grandad was jealous.

The legends of ’71 came out at half time

Second Half

In the 2nd half, Arsenal still had most of the ball but the Leeds fans were really helping to support their team. Leeds could have been able to catch Arsenal on the counter attack. During the first ten to twenty minutes of the second half Arsenal had six corners, four consecutive, two afterwards.

Sixty-six minutes in, Leeds had their 1st corner, whipped into the back post. Llorente slides downward tucks the ball under Aaron Ramsdale to score. Completely against the run of play. Arsenal were a bit nervy at times after that with Leeds on the attack. Ramsdale had to make some amazing saves to keep Arsenal ahead. Arsenal did have some more attempts though.

Player Ratings

My Man of the Match was Eddie Nketiah because of his cheekiness to sneak up on Meslier to score his first goal and class to score his second.

Ramsdale – 7

Soares 5 Holding – 7 Gabriel – 7 Tomiyasu – 8

Ødegaard – 8 Elneny – 8 Xhaka – 7

Saka – 8  Nketiah – 9  Martinelli – 8

Arsenal are now four points ahead of fifth placed Spurs, with the North London derby on Thursday. We’re also a point behind third place Chelsea, so Arsenal might snatch third place!

Read my other match reports and review here.

Arsenal v Brighton – Tom’s Match Report

The Line-Up

Tomiyasu, Partey and Tierney are now all out with long term injuries so Arteta played Granit Xhaka at left-back and Sambi Lokonga in midfield with Martin Ødegaard and Emile Smith Rowe. Having Xhaka at left-back meant the midfield had neither Xhaka or Partey and everyone in the ground agreed that was a bad thing.

Ramsdale

Soares White Gabriel Xhaka

Ødegaard Lokonga Smith Rowe

Saka  Lacazette  Martinelli

First Half

Arsenal were basically rubbish for the first 20 minutes but had a couple good chances to go in front, including a header from Gabriel Magalhaes from a free kick, swung in by Bukayo Saka. In the 28th minute, Leandro Trossard scored, easily slotting the ball in the top corner past Aaron Ramsdale, after a cross whipped in by Enock Mwepu, who got the assist.

Just before halftime, Martinelli equalised from a corner, again swung in by Saka, scoring a header from another header knocked on by Gabriel. Unfortunately, it was finally ruled out for offside by VAR after what felt like a few hours. I’ve watched it back loads of times and still don’t know if it really was offside. The point is, VAR is rubbish.

Second Half

Midway through the 2nd half, Mwepu scored Brighton’s second. It was a bullet strike, firing into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box following a great team move with an assist from Caicedo.

Arsenal finally improved and started to play well for the last 10 minutes. Ødegaard hit the bar from a freekick, then Nketiah hit the bar again from the rebound. Eventually Arsenal scored, in the 89th minute, through a deflected wonder strike produced by Martin Ødegaard from about 35 yards out. But it was too little, too late and the match ended 2-1 to the away side.

Arsenal are in a frustrating place right now, fifth in the table and on a bad run of form. Hopefully they can turn it around against Southampton next week.

Player Ratings

My Man of the Match was Martin Ødegaard because he used great technique to score his goal. The only really good thing about the game.

Ramsdale – 6

Soares – 6 White – 6 Gabriel – 5 Xhaka – 6

Ødegaard – 7 Lokonga – 5 Smith Rowe – 6

Saka – 6  Lacazette – 5  Martinelli – 6

Pinocchio

PINOCCHIO – December 2021

Who? Chichester Festival Youth Theatre

What? Pinocchio

Where? Chichester Festival Theatre

When? 18th December 2021 – 1st January 2022

What’s the show about? It’s the story of a wooden puppet called Pinocchio and the toymaker who made him. Pinocchio just wants to become a real boy but he can’t because he’s made out of wood. It’s not easy for him because people want to steal from him and he doesn’t always listen or make good choices. Every time he tells a lie his nose grows longer. He gets lost along the way but in the end he finds his way home with Geppetto who is his toymaker and father.

What’s really good about it? I really liked all of it but my little sister, who is 6, found some of it a little bit scary. The singing and harmonies were really interesting to listen to. The set was clever because it moved around and it was a shop, a school, a café and even a sea monster. All of the acting was great even though they were all children. The ones who were pretending to be puppets were very funny and clever. I really like maths and there was a good bit in it when Pinocchio does some really quick mental maths and I thought it was surprising and impressive.

What could be better? If there was an interval we could have had an ice cream, that would have been good. My sister thinks the sea monster was scary, so if that wasn’t there it would have been better.

What my dad thinks? “The ensemble singing was particularly impressive this year and overall I think it’s the best CFYT production I’ve seen.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤

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StickMan

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STICKMAN – December 2021

Who? Freckle Productions

What? Stickman

Where? Minerva Theatre – Chichester

When? 10th – 24th December 2021

What’s the show about? Stickman is a Julia Donaldson book about a stick who living in a family tree with his wife and 3 children. One day he goes for a jog and gets bitten by a dog. Then a girl spotted him and used him for a Pooh Stick race. After that a swan catches him in her beak and uses him to make her nest. Lots of other things happen to him and he gets further away from the family tree. In the end he was lucky to get rescued by Santa and taken home.

What’s really good about it? It’s a really funny show. I liked how only 3 people performed all of the roles. It must be such hard work. I loved how the tree stump was used in every scene and made into different places including the sea, the snow, a sandcastle, a swan’s nest and a fireplace as well as being the family tree. Stickman was my favourite character because it must have been really hard for him to go through all of those challenges and persevere like that. The mince pies I had before the show were really good and so was lunch at The Bell Inn afterwards.

What could be better? I think it could have been a bit longer but it was for little children so that was ok. I liked the music so it would have been good if there were more songs. We didn’t have an ice cream again – hopefully next time.

What my dad thinks? “The kids loved it and there were more than a few laughs for the adults as well. I chuckled more than I probably should at the fish saying ‘bubbly’. Also, the live music was a good touch and shows the versatility and skill of the cast.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤

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Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World

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FANTASTICALLY GREAT WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD – January 2022

Who? Kenny Wax Family Entertainment & MAST Mayflower Studios co-production

What? Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World

Where? Chichester Festival Theatre

When? 12th – 16th January 2022

What’s the show about? It was all about a girl called Jade who is in a museum on a school trip. She leaves her group and goes to a closed area where she learns all about some fantastic women who changed the world when she meets them and they tell her about what their lives have been like. Jade wants to go on an adventure like they have been and they help her decide what she might want to do. In the end she is inspired to go on her own journey and be herself.

What’s really good about it? All of the songs were really fun. I especially liked Deeds Not Words and You Will Be Fantastically Great. I really liked that we learnt a lot as well as it being a good show. In other shows I have known the story before, but I didn’t know about all of these people and they were really interesting to hear about.

What could be better? No interval means no ice cream. Again. Other than that, it was really good.

What my dad thinks? “This one is ideal for children aged 6-12 years of age. Some of the songs were great and the empowering and uplifting message was wonderful for both of my children to hear. It was kind of a cross between Disney Descendants and Horrible Histories (but without the horrible bits). Parking was nightmare, but I won’t hold that against the show, and they did hold the curtain for 10 minutes, so fair play.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤❤

The Hug at the Minerva Theatre

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THE HUG – February 2022

Who? A Long Nose Puppet Show

What? The Hug

Where? Minerva Theatre – Chichester

When? 25th – 27th February 2022

What’s the show about? This is a show based on a book by Eoin McLaughlin. Two animals, a hedgehog and a tortoise, are both wanting hugs but getting neglected because the tortoise is a hard animal and the hedgehog is a spiky animal. At the end the Wise Old Owl gives some good advice and introduces the hedgehog and tortoise to each other and they finally both get a hug.

What’s really good about it? At the end the magpie from the show was handing out little books, I thought that is quite clever as he wanted money. I also liked how much music there was in the show, the friendship theme was good as well. My favourite character was the Wise Old Owl because of his helpfulness and advice.

Before the show, we went to a Creation Station, we made frogs, bears and were aloud to make anything we wanted to out of clay. I decided to make a baby bunny tucked into a ball.

What could be better? I think the show could have been better if I did not get pins and needles, it was uncomfortable sitting on the floor but the floor had huge beanbags so it was OK. There were a couple of funny things near the start of the show but not many, so it could have been funnier. Lastly, there was no interval again, so no ice cream again – but it was OK as I had a cookie this time at the Creation Station.

What my dad thinks? “I didn’t know that a peanut isn’t a nut – they are considered legumes like soybeans, lentils and chickpeas. Also, cashew nuts aren’t nut, they are fruit. Well actually they are drupe seeds pulled from soft fruit packages. So, you know, I learnt something new.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤

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Creation Station and a very good cookie!

Singing Assemblies

We really missed our Singing Assemblies while they were restricted by COVID-19, but now they are back and it’s glorious. Some schools like to go down the traditional route of songs that I have been sung for decades in British schools. Personally, I prefer to pick modern songs that the have a positive message and might be more familiar to our children. The children respond by absolutely singing their hearts out.

I’ve compiled this massive Google sheet of some of the tried and tested songs with video links to original videos, karaoke versions and lyric videos that can all be used in singing assemblies. If you have any recommendations that I should add to the list, please put them in the comments.

Many of the songs included on the list come from recommendations from other teachers on Twitter. As we’re not a church school I’ve not included any of the many songs suggested to me with religious meaning. I hope the songs included can be used by schools whether they are faith schools or not. It’s just a list of songs that children love to sing.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom during lockdown, we kept going with Virtual Singing Assemblies for people to join in with whether they were at home or in school. You can find them here in all their random glory.

I use this PowerPoint as part of our Cultural Assemblies every week. It’s a great way of sharing high quality recording artists from all over the world with the children. The music is from different time periods and genres and is played while the children are arriving, I then give them a little history about the artists.

Arsenal v Leicester – Tom’s Match Report

Before the game I was lucky to meet Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires, two of Arsenal’s legendary ‘Invincibles’.

The Line-Up`

Smith Rowe had been out with Covid last week and was back on the bench, so Martinelli kept his place on the left. Tomiyasu still isn’t fit so Cedric Soares started at right back.

Ramsdale

Soares White Gabriel Tierney

Ødegaard Thomas Xhaka

Saka Lacazette Martinelli

First Half

Arsenal started very brightly, Martinelli looking lively down the left wing and Cedric Soares putting crosses in the box from the right hand side of the pitch. Arsenal had some penalty shouts turned down by the referee and some great chances to score a goal. After Arsenal won a corner from a deflected Tierney cross, Thomas Partey scored a bullet header from a brilliant Martinelli corner. Partey had another chance to score but the ball hit the post.

Leicester built pressure over the rest of the first half but Arsenal stayed on top helped by Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey all playing a part. Aaron Ramsdale also made incredible saves in the Arsenal goal.

Second Half

In the second half, Arsenal continued to be the better team having a few more chances to score a goal. Arsenal then had a brilliant chance to score from a swung in Ødegaard freekick with Ben White heading the ball onto the grass and Partey then using his head to direct the ball onto the goal line. During the freekick, the ball hit Söyüncü’s hand in the penalty area. After a five minute VAR check, referee Anthony Taylor was called to the monitor to check if it was a penalty. Eventually, he gave it and Alexandre Lacazette scored. Lacazette scores the penalty to make it 2 – 0. Arsenal controlled the rest of the match well and Arteta used all of the three substitutes bringing on Smith Rowe, Nketiah and Pepe.

Arsenal are now in fourth place in the Premier League table on fifty-one points with three games in hand over fifth placed Manchester United, on fifty points. Hopefully, Arsenal get to play in the Champions League next season!

Player Ratings

My Man of the Match was Thomas Partey because he was all over the pitch and scored a great goal. Odegaard, Saka and Martinelli were all really good as well.

Ramsdale – 7

Soares – 7 White – 7 Gabriel – 7 Tierney – 7

Ødegaard – 8 Thomas – 9 Xhaka – 8

Saka – 8 Lacazette – 7 Martinelli – 8

Right at the end I got to meet Alan Smith. He is a Sky Sports commentator and used to play for Arsenal.

Brilliant Books By Jenny Pearson

Jenny Pearson books are properly funny but also manage to tackle some serious issues in a child-friendly and relatable way. Issues like bereavement, depression and Alzheimer’s (amongst others) all crop up and are handled with compassion and just the right balance of good humour. It’s almost like Jenny Pearson is a primary school teacher or something. Her books are a great way to introduce discussions around these serious subjects with children, or you can completely ignore them and just have a good laugh at the brilliant stories.

The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates – Jenny Pearson

This book has more twists and turns than a Super G event. It came highly recommended and it did not disappoint one bit. Jenny Pearson’s writing is very funny, that much is clear, but I also loved the fact that serious issues were covered in a very relatable and empathetic way. Although the main character in the book (Freddie) is dealing with loss and trying to understand it, it’s never dark or particularly sad, it’s more comically poignant.

The story centres around the journey Freddie and his two best friends make at the start of their Summer holiday. It takes them along the south coast of Wales. As they meet an interesting range of diverse Welsh characters, it gives those of use who enjoy ‘doing the voices’ while reading aloud, the perfect opportunity to experiment with a glorious range of hearty Welsh accents.

The Miraculous Journey that the boys go on is absolutely brilliant. It gets better and better with many a jaw-dropping laugh along the way. I can’t recommend this book enough and it will doubtlessly a birthday or Christmas present for years to come.

An added bonus is that the illustrator is, lockdown hero, Rob Biddulph. If you’ve not yet spent time with your children, at home or in school, following a #DrawWithRob video, then you really must.

If you and your children enjoy the books of Jo Simmons, then this one should be next on your list.

Tom, age 7, says: “I really like it because it’s really funny and you can learn facts from it as well. My favourite fact was that pigs can’t look up, so they’ve probably never seen the stars.”

The Incredible Record Smashers – Jenny Pearson

Having enjoyed Jenny Pearson’s first book (Freddie Yates – see below) so much, we’ve had The Incredible Record Smashers on pre-order for months. In both books Pearson manages to take the central character on epic adventures with hilarious consequences while also addressing some very sensitive issues in a child appropriate way. In Record Smashers, the main character (Lucy) has a mother who suffers with depression and the child’s perspective of this is handled brilliantly.

The central premise is that Lucy desperately wants to make her mum happy again and she believes that she can do this by reconnecting her with an old friend. Along the way she attempts a range of world records, with varying degrees of success, gets embroiled with a criminal family, befriends a watermelon and learns an awful lot about herself.

Record Smashers is a heart-warming story of friendship and family and would make an excellent class read across KS2. It’s capable of making you laugh and cry and may even inspire you to break a world record of your own.

Tom, age 8, says: “It was really funny, especially when Lucy made Sandesh wear the gold costume. I really enjoyed the bit where Sandesh played the piano with all of his body parts, it was really fun. My favourite character was Lucy because she kept persevering when she was trying to make her mum happy.”

Grandpa Frank’s Great Big Bucket List – Jenny Pearson

Frank Davenport’s son, Frank, finds out that he has a Grandpa (Frank) that he knew nothing about, as well as a sizable inheritance that he is meant to use to look after him. Grandpa Frank isn’t keen on his Grandson’s ideas about looking after him to begin with, but they end up having a wonderful time filled with remarkable experiences.

Frank Junior’s parents aren’t so keen on the adventures, though, and don’t think he should be the one who is entrusted with the money at all. They rather need the money for themselves to help solve their own problems.

The lovely thing about enjoying Jenny Pearson books with my son is that we both chuckle along throughout. There are many laugh out loud moments and some ridiculous situations they find themselves in. Ridiculous, but not beyond the realms of possibility – and it’s this plausibility that helps to keep the story relatable.

As with her other stories, Grandpa Frank’s Great Big Bucket List touches upon some serious themes amongst all the hilarity. Pearson sensitively opens the door for conversations with children who maybe experiencing these things in their own lives. Grandpa Frank’s memory is declining and he has a tricky relationship with his son. Children experiencing these things at home will relate to the story but it’s also great for developing empathy in others.

Davenport men might not cry, but I’m not ashamed to admit there was a tear in my eye as we read the last couple of pages. It was poignant and written with real care. I do so love Jenny Pearson books and heartily recommend them to you.

Tom, age 8, says: “It’s really fun to hear about all of the adventures that they go on to spend all of the money. It was really funny when they went swimming with ‘dolphins’. If I had loads of money I’d like to take my Grandad to see Arsenal play because we both love them. My favourite character is Frank (the boy) because he really wants his Grandad to have a good time and he always tries to do the right thing, even when his parents try to stop him.”

Cultural Assemblies

As part of our commitment to increase the cultural capital we offer to the children at our school we hold weekly cultural assemblies. These assemblies follow the same format where I share interesting and inspiring people from all walks of life and we also look at significant events from history that happened in that week.

As the children come in they listen to music by the Musician of the Week. Different songs from the artist are played at the beginning and end of assemblies during the week.

We also look at art work from a great range of Artist from all over the world. The work is from a mixture of modern and classic artists. It’s great for starting discussions about art and the slides we use come from c_liddiard on tes. We’ve made a couple of tweaks, but it’s basically these slides.

With the weekly Sports Legend we look at sporting personalities from a range of different sports. Some are extremely well known, others are less familiar but interesting nonetheless and all are greats in their chosen sports.

We also share stories of Awesome Children using some brilliant slides that I saw on Twitter. Unfortunately I can’t find the source at the moment, but I’ll add a link when I do. The common thread with all of these children is that, although they are young they were able to make a difference in their communities and the wider world. This is a great message for our children to hear every week.

Finally, we share key events from history that happened during any given week. I use two websites to find out the information. This one and this one.

The assemblies themselves are a whistle stop tour of all of the above, but different classes do a more in-depth look at the different areas over the week so the children get a better understanding of the inspiring people and historical events.

In addition to our Cultural Assemblies, we also develop our children’s cultural capital through The Sidlesham 101. It’s a list of 101 things a child should experience before they leave primary school put together by children, parents and staff from our school.