Week of June 20th.

I’ve just uploaded the sports day photos on Vimeo. Check out the Twitter link to view.

The children had a lovely sports week. Thanks for your support! 

Congratulations to the red team who won the Early Years sports day.

We finished the week with a few team games.


Can I just say how proud I am of Tiggywinkles class. They’ve managed really well with different adults whilst I’ve been doing home visits. I’m out again for part of next next week then it’s back to normal.

Miss Boby and I are so proud of the children’s progress we’re planning a water party for end of term so let us know if you could loan us paddling pools etc. Details to follow…  Hope this great weather holds! 
Mrs. Quinn.

Week of May 15th in Reception

What a lovely week. We had Science Week and National Outdoor Learning Day on Thursday.

We kicked off science week asking the children what they thought science was all about. They blew us away. We introduced a song that covered gravity, hibernation, migration, metamorphosis, evaporation. Many of which the children have / are experiencing through their everyday play. Here is the link to the song on You Tube from The Learning Station.

  1. Joshua knows all about gravity.

  2. Most children could explain evaporation, they just didn’t know the proper scientific term.

  3. Most children knew about hibernation. Migration was a new term to many.

  4. Metamorphosis – We are learning about this ‘in the moment’ with our class caterpillars.

Science Week photos:

Gloop: The children were exploring two type of gloop, making it,  then observing how it changed and what it felt like using their senses. They explored transporting it, putting it through funnels and sieves, trying to pick it up with their hands or utensils and trying to form it into shapes, just to see what would happen.  We heard some lovely language, describing how it felt, looked and behaved in their hands.

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Bubbles: Talking about how bubbles are made of trapped air, the colours the children can see, their shape, size and chasing them to try and pop them are all valuable learning opportunities. I sent a recipe home that we used for science week, it’s well worth it! Would love some pics if you are successful making even bigger bubbles.

STEM Challenge: The children (and many of the parents!) loved the STEM challenge. The children used toothpicks and sweets to build 3D shapes. We are taking a closer look at 3D shapes next week. Could you make a better one at home?

Child led learning at its best: How much water is needed to be added to make the perfect sandcastle? What is happening to the water when it is poured on the sand?

Jump Rope: What goes up must come down!!!

George P was amazing, gold medalist in the making. Think we’ll try double dutch next week…

Sorry, but my photos really don’t do the children justice, didn’t manage to capture many mid flight.

Imaginative Play:  Mrs. Kimber and I managed to salvage some car seats and bumbers from the Car Body Repair Shop in Breakspeare Rd (Thanks Issy!). They were so popular with the children, lots of lovely language and imaginative play. At risk of turning the garden into a salvage yard we love open ended resources like these. We’d love a steering wheel or three!

  More construction:

 

Next Week: We are looking at 3D shapes. Take a look at your environment, can the children spot any 3D structures, cone, cube, sphere etc.

We are collecting interesting shaped boxes. There are some hexagonal chocolate boxes if you fancy treating yourself (just in the interests of your child’s 3D education of course!).

  1. What shape is the football?

  2. What shape is a toblerone?

  3. What shape is a Swiss Roll cake?

  4. What shape is a Battenburg cake?

On Wednesday  Miss Boby and I are out of class for part fo the day each  as we have an internal moderation which is a statutory requirement, but we are on site.

Mrs. Quinn.

Week of May 1st in Reception

Our caterpillars continue to hold the children’s interest, which they have demonstrated  through their art work, creativity and their daily interest in observing change, which has also led to measuring them. Most have been given a name too, lovely writing.

 

Growing plants:

Last week we made observational drawings of plants and planted beans and sunflower seeds. We have been watching a bean germinate and it’s been lovely hearing the children use this new vocabulary as they talk about the changes they have observed.

Pirates!

We have observed some pirate play this week and will be developing this next week. I bought some lovely swash buckling swords in Tiger (what did teachers ever do before Tiger hit the high street?) and the children had already made swords for St. George’s Day play. We’d love some plastic bottles for messages in a bottle….

 

2D Shapes

We have been reviewing 2D shapes this week. The children were encouraged to guess the shape from its description, number of sides, curved or straight and number of corners. They also went outside to look for the shapes in their environment and used shapes to create a picture.

A few more:

 

Next Week: 

We have been working on the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. We are working on describing  the giant using wow words and the oral retelling of the story. We hope to see the caterpillars begin to change into chrysalides.

Do you have any (clean) plastic bottles or pirate that you could donate?

Save the date: Sports Day June 20th.

Week of April 18th in Reception

I was genuinely looking forward to seeing the children again this week, and they didn’t disappoint! Only a short week, but they packed a lot in.  The new trampoline was a big hit out in the garden, as was the new pizza role play. We need to blag some Domino pizza boxes, different sizes. Please also send in any photos of the children eating pizza. We heard lots of language of size, cost, time to cook and delivery times. The children then began making their own collage pizzas and pizza play dough, one white batch for the dough a second batch for the red tomato base which led to discussion about what they like to put on their own pizzas. Then the children wanted to make a real pizza together in class. The children are going to  order the ingredients online next week ‘like mummy does, …and a man delivers it.’

Getting a bit of maths into the trampoline work out:

We began reading the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and will also look at different versions or adaptations over the term. The children enjoyed exploring the magic beans, which led to some lovely sorting and counting then looking at capacity.

We observed the children trying to write their own stories.  This term we are encouraging the children to write in sentences, so please support this at home with the phonic sounds that they are learning in class.

 

In PE his week we practised team work and ball skills. Great fun, roll on Sports Day!

Save the date: June 20th Reception and Nursery are doing Sport day together.

Next Week:

We will be learning about St. George, and the Queen’s birthday.

  • We are collecting kitchen roll cardboard centres for castle turrets in junk modelling to go with St. George’s Day.
  • We are always collecting milk bottle tops.

We will be planting ‘magic’ beans to go with Jack’s beanstalk

We will be ordering food online and following the delivery process to then make pizza. Then eating it!

Take a photo of your child eating pizza and send it in.

 

Housekeeping:

We do enjoy getting email observations of home learning, keep them coming.

Keep encouraging reading and writing at home. More children are starting their second Teddy word book.

Please ensure all uniform is labelled with YOUR child’s name on it and that all children have  a PE kit and outdoor trainers.

 

Mrs. Quinn

 

 

 

 

A Few Holiday Challenges

In Wake and Shake, which we do every morning, we incorporate moves that help with coordination and involves crossing the midline and bi-lateral coordination. There is a lovely, easy to read explanation of both on OT-Mom, which I often refer to. Basically, we need children to coordinate their movements, using both sides of the  brain. SO, here are a few skills we have been practising that you may like to practise at home. I’m sure you’ve seen them before, but they are brilliant exercises for young children.

Week of 27th March in Reception

I’m hoping that you didn’t wake up to terrible pranks this morning. I spoke to the children about April Fools Day and they really ‘got it.’  They thought of some great jokes to play on you – I won’t give them all away. Some said they’d talk backwards, walk backwards, have a bath with their clothes on, say goodbye instead of hello….  I await the success stories upon their return.

 

We set up a STEM challenge (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) this week which was really popular and led to a discussion of 3D shapes. I was blown away with how this held the children’s interest and observed them revisit this again and again, working together. It was just a few cocktail sticks and a bit of play dough. I could have used mini marshmallows/Jelly Tots –  but didn’t think they’d last the week… and that’s just the adults! This will become a regular challenge in class using different resources. If you’d like to try it at home take a look on Pinterest for ideas, but be sure to take a photo for us!

It has been a full week. We have been discussing Easter and incorporated this into our maths and literacy. The children went on an Easter egg hunt, finding two halves then ordering the eggs and looking at one less.

We have also provided resources to decorate eggs and introduced Easter traditions. Thanks for all the hard boiled eggs, the children really enjoyed colouring them.

The best bit was the egg races on Friday. We went into the hall to firstly count our loose change. My competitive streak came out and Tiggy’s challenged Cottontails to see who had the most money collected. I was feeling confident until Mrs. Davis brought out a huge box of loose change…. well done Cottontails! Then we had egg races – a little pre-Sports Day practise.

Out in the garden we explored other uses for the eggs.

Here are a few more…

After Easter we are listening to the story of Jack and The Beanstalk, maybe you could read it at home to familiarise your child with this lovely tale. It’s a nice lead into a discussion about planting and growing things.

 

 

 

 

Reception Week of March 20th

NB: Apologies for the formatting of this post. Having problems getting images and text to go where I want it to go for some reason this week.

We started Well Being week off with some yoga, which the children said they enjoyed, and finished the week discussing and sorting foods into healthy and unhealthy. Miss Boby and I were impressed with the children’s awareness of foods containing too much sugar and which foods were good for them.

 

Sorting healthy/unhealthy foods

We have been seeing lots of lovely imaginative play this week. Role play, creating representations of our world, and even boys drawing pictures and painting!

 

William wrote a lablel for his models.

Outside we also observed the children taking their learning and problem solving skills into their own hands. The boys used magnifying glasses to observe the bugs and worms they found and want to make a wormery next week. Others used various resources to explore roads, ramps and tunnels or build using large blocks.

 

 

Brilliant large scale construction.

A few more: 

 

Next Week: We are looking at the Easter story and Easter traditions. We have a video of traditional egg rolling and would like to offer the children the opportunity to dye eggs and build their own ‘road’ to see how far they can get it to travel, based on observations this week of road building. The children can also design and decorate their own eggs using water colours, various materials. The role play area will be ‘An Easter party.’
In maths we are working on subtraction.

NOTE: Could children please bring in a HARD boiled egg. Please ensure it is hard boiled as one child has an allergy to raw egg.
If you have any Easter themed books we could share with the children please send them in (Put child’s name on inside cover please). We have the traditional Easter story and I have just purchased The Cow That Laid an Egg, BY Andy Cutbill, but I’m a bit thin on the ground for fun Spring/Easter themed stories.

ALSO: I’m still trying to build up a stock of guttering, down pipes, planks of wood for building outdoors (ideally scaffolding type planks) and any off cuts of soft woods for the woodwork area.

Gruffalo Nursery go to College Lake

Today Gruffalo Nursery had an amazing day at College Lake with their teddy bears. When we arrived at College Lake we listened to a story about some bears who live in the woods at College Lake and we met Edward Bear .

We went on a special walk around Edwards’s garden. We had to follow the trail of footprints he had left for us. In Edward’s garden there were herbs that smelt nice and some that didn’t smell so nice! Claire who works at College Lake told us that once she had fallen asleep in Edward’s garden and woke up to see a beautiful rainbow in the sky. Claire gave us pieces of a broken rainbow that we took around the garden to see if we could match the colours to what we saw in the garden.

Hunting for colours in Edward’s garden was hard work so we sat down and listened carefully to the birds.
Then it was time for out teddy bear’s picnic!!After lunch we made shelters for our teddy bears using materials from the woods. We made some fantastic teddy bear homes.

We dressed up as bears and trees to play teddy bear games. We learnt that we must look after trees because they are homes for lots of animals. At the end of the day we listened to Going on a bear hunt. 

Week of March 13th in Reception.

What a lovely week. As the weather was a bit better we saw more children outdoors. We have been looking at the Season of Spring and this led to creating our own garden of flowers. The children looked at books on flowers/gardens then tried to create their favourite flowers. We had lots of sunflowers, snowdrops, tulips and even a Venus Fly Trap. The children used tissue paper, water colours and scissor skills to create their flowers. They also took a closer look at Spring flowers using the magnifying glasses outside.  This is what the children knew about Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little outside investigation:How to send a message to Nursery, across the great divide… One child could see little sis in Nursery and decided to find a way to send her a message. The Postman wasn’t available, so she devised her own method. We then had fun seeing what else we could send, exploring the trajectory of various objects.

 

 

 

 

 

We have been coming to a close with our wedding play, so there was just one thing left to do, the wedding cake. The children selected 3 sized cake tins to create a tiered cake. They worked together, following the recipe instructions then later decorated the cake.  Then we ate it!

This Week in Reception, W/C March 6th.

After visiting the baby ducklings in Nursery the children painted pictures.  We will be observing and recording their growth and changes.

I was really impressed with how the children managed to complete a game involving money. We started just using pennies but very quickly extended this to other denominations.


In PE we were throwing and catching.  Jamie is a future gold medalist! Many children can catch with one hand too… Roll on Sports Day.


We completed some maths assessments, which can be discussed in Parent Consultations, but the children are making great progress generally. Keep them counting and adding groups.
W/C13th March:

Parent consultations will be in cottontails. Learning Journeys and children’s stories, as well as learning portfolios will be available to look at in Tiggys.

I am collecting kitchen roll centres, or that type of cardboard cylinder, the stronger the better.

I’m also collecting screw drivers for the woodwork area and any off cuts of soft woods.

Our literacy focus this week is writing speech bubbles for the characters in The  Three Little Pigs. Perhaps you have a copy to read at home this week.
Mrs. Quinn.

This Week in Reception.

No iPad this week, it’s off for repairs so limited photos I’m afraid. 

We read The Doorbell Rang by Jan Francis as an introduction to sharing. The children were heard confidently using vocabulary such as sharing, equal, same, fair. We started off sharing between two, discussing what is half, but quickly moved to exploring sharing between 3,4,5 or more people. The breakthrough moment came when we were sharing between 4, with two biscuits left over… should we just eat them I asked? No, said Kai, and explained he could snap them and give a bit to everyone. Kindness and logic in one lesson! 

We have carried on the celebrations theme by writing party lists and invites. 

World Book Day was fun. I didn’t get many book reviews in so please send them in next week. 


We are still supporting the children to recognise teen numbers. 

Mrs. Quinn. 

Play Dough

The properties of play dough and other malleable materials make it fun for investigation and exploration as well as secretly building up strength in all the tiny hand muscles and tendons, making them ready for pencil and scissor control later on.

Squeeze and squish it
Roll it into small balls
Rolling pins to flatten it
Manipulating to create a representation of our world.

 

 

Poking in objects and pulling them out of play dough strengthens hand muscles and eye co-ordination. Tactile play
encourages children to e squash, squeeze, roll, flatten, chop, cut, score it, poke it! Each one of these different actions aids fine motor development in a different way, not to mention hand-eye co-ordination and general concentration.

Imagination and Creativity:

Adding open ended play items to add to the mix, play dough develops imaginative play and children can represent their world/ A jar of candles and cupcakes cases leads naturally to birthday party role-play, counting out candles and singing! Children  can make chocolates and sweets in a sweet shop, cakes and bread in a bakery, faces, creatures, animals. The list is as endless as a child’s imagination!

Calming and soothing:

As any adult who has played with dough can tell you, the effects of all that squeezing and pummeling are great for stress relief and can feel extremely therapeutic! Little children can struggle to express their emotions and using dough while talking and singing can really help that process.

Science and Discovery:

The actual act of making the play dough can lead to lots of questioning and prediction skills. Here we have some solid materials (flour, salt etc) to which we are going to add some liquids (oil, water.) What do you think will happen? What can we make? The child gets to explore and observe the changing state of materials in a hands-on way, and be filled with wonder as the bowl of unrelated ingredients comes together to form a sticky then smooth and squishy ball of dough! We often take these things for granted, but in the eyes and hands of a child that’s quite some transformation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maths and Literacy Opportunities:

In more focused play, play dough can be used as a fantastic way to practise letter and number work. Children can  spell out their own name, make numbers, form shapes, compare lengths/ thicknesses/ weights, count out rolled balls to match numeral cards, match and sort by colour and SO many more ideas too!

Following a recipe and instructions, counting out cups, measuring out ingredients, measuring time in the microwave, portioning out the dough amongst friends, are all meaningful and important experiences too!

 

 

 

Week of February 20th in Reception

It’s been a fun week and lovely to see the children back, ready to learn. The Birthday theme was fun – did you get to hear our new Insey Wincey Spider song or The Button Factory Song?

We have been developing a role play bakery, based n children’s interests and an outside wedding role play. We have been modelling how to use the new play dough and baking area, with a view to encouraging independent baking.

I’m still trying to develop the outdoor role-play area and would love some wedding magazines for the children to look at. My mind is racing with what direction this learning could take us. Apart from the usual make a wedding invitation, making a list of people to invite, all of which is lovely, I though about discussing with the children British customs, such as something old, new, borrowed and blue. SO, we may be asking the children to bring something in. I’m also collecting (washed) tin cans to put on the rear of the brides carriage! and our baking/junk modelling could develop into making the tallest tiered wedding cake ever – which of course the children would need to design, draw and label first!

Please send in any wedding photos, especially old ones of older family members, in black and white, so the children can appreciate how times have changed or from different cultures, or exotic locations.

We had a successful week baking, which will continue next week with small groups of children if your child didn’t get to cook this week. We are still accepting donations of cake decorations

Here are a few from this week:

 

Next Week: Book Week – Dress up Friday!

As always, I need to see reading records signed and unnamed uniform continues to be an issue. Please label everything!

Mrs. Quinn.

 

 

 

Wedding Fever

We’re looking for pics of parents weddings, or key family members to adorn our wedding role play area.  Have any of the children been flower girls etc? 

Any old wedding stationary you could donate. 

We are still accepting cake decorating donations. 

Mrs. Quinn

Play Dough and Baking

We are looking forward to observing how the children use the revamped Playdough and baking area. There is a bit of a birthday theme next week as Miss Boby and I both had birthdays over half term. We are using this to introduce independent baking. 

Lots of opportunity for maths, measuring and weighing, measuring time, introducing units of measure whilst developing fine motor skills, language and observing change. Oh, and practising tidying up! 

We are looking for donations of cake tins, birthday candles and cake decorations to help resource this area. Please get in touch if you can help.

Rolling Along

We had fun in PE this week, then tried log rolling. It  is great for your child’s body and  brain for lots of reasons:

  • To assist in balance
  • Midline Development – To assist in coordinated movement and thinking
  • Sensory Development
  • Gross Motor Development -to build strength and coordination
  • Proprioception – to develop a tactile understanding of space

This is why rolling is one of my favorite movement activities for little ones. So get rolling!

Mrs. Quinn.

Gruffalo Star bakers! – Nursery

As most of you are aware, the Gruffalo children have been extremely busy refining our baking skills over the last couple of weeks, making cakes, bread and even playdough to use in class. All thanks to our new oven in the classroom which Mrs Kimber very kindly collected from the shops! 

Since we have children from a large and wonderfully varying range of cultural backgrounds, we are requesting that any traditional family recipes (that you would be willing to share) relating to the cultural background of your child, or else maybe something they ate on holiday, be brought in for us to try and bake in Nursery! It would be nice to show the children that there are different recipes with different names from all over the world. 

If anyone would be kind enough to share some new exciting recipes with us to trial, you would be contributing to a great deal of learning about the wider world (plus some lovely new treats, some healthy some not, to go home after half term!) 

Catch us at the door if you could help. 

See you tomorrow, 

Gruffalo Team  

Week of 31st January in Reception.

Many thanks to all the donations for the Syrian appeal, and to Madison’s mummy for taking all the items to UNICEF  this weekend. We did really well and the children got an insight to the world around them.

Whilst we don’t always do ‘themes’ of work as it never  holds the  attention of every child, and we like to be very child led in their learning, we do endeavour to cover Seasons and cultural celebrations, especially those that are relevant to the children in our care. Chinese NY has been really popular  over the last two weeks. It was great to see so many visited the CNY celebrations in London last weekend. Per Henry “I went to China with mummy and daddy and I saw dragons.” Priceless! The children have been representing their new found knowledge painting willow pattern plates, making their own red envelopes, making lanterns and painting dragons.

 

Elsewhere this week we continue to be amazed at the  children’s reading progress. We are introducing ‘tricky red words’ to many children for reading and writing so if your child can read the red words in their Teddy Word book, can hey spell and write them? Have a go.

Reading: Please sign reading record books every time you read their school reading booking with them. Please keep them in the school bag.

Maths: We forgot to send out the no. 12 worksheet, so this will go out on Monday.

To support your child at home, can they recognise all four basic 2D shapes. Square, rectangle, triangle, circle by name and can they tell you why they know it is that shape? Can they talk about a rectangle having long and short side, but a square’s sides are all the same. Can they explain a triangle always has 3 sides and a circle has one curved side. If not, try to point out these shapes in your environment – Can they recognise the door is a rectangle? We will continue to support this in class too. But don’t stop there – can they recognise a pentagon, hexagon, octagon?

A few more from this week:

Lots of interest about clocks this week so we have begun to talk about different times of the day and where the hands will be.

And also – Helicopter Stories

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.

— Albert Einstein

I invited Make Believe Arts to visit us for some staff training for nursery and reception this week to develop story telling in class.

Helicopter Stories is based on the Storytelling and Story Acting curriculum of Vivian Gussin Paley. At its most basic, children make up stories, adults scribe them, and then the class acts them out.

You may find your child has been asking you to write their stories. Please encourage this at home and send in their stories. Children can’t write it if they can’t think it. From past experience I have taught some exceptionally bright children, who when asked, are crippled with anxiety about ‘getting it wrong’ and find it difficult to put their ideas down on paper. We want children to allow their imagination to flourish and be able to put these ideas into words verbally, then develop into writing them. We put no pressure on the children to write at this stage. We scribe for them as thinking and writing at the same time is a challenge at 4, and I don’t want a child to thin of a great story but not tell it because of anxiety due to writing aspect.

Class rule: Each child can write a story which the adult scribes, but its maximum length is A5. Half a full page.

This form of holistic approach to education enables children to discover the world around them in their own, very personal way and explore vocabulary. We can quickly assess which children understand how stories are structures with characters, setting, a beginning, middle and an end.

Stages of Story Telling:

Children will internalise and imitate stories and you may well spot familiar plots creeping into their own story telling. Common characters and settings, good over evil. This is to be encouraged. Some of our children are at this stage.

Innovate: Children may follow a recognisable story pattern but characters and setting are changed. There is a boy and he goes into the house of three ninja’s and eats their food, tries out their swords and sleep in their beds…. Some of our children are at this stage.

Invention – They create their own new story.

The Benefits: Taken from Make Believe Arts homepage.

  • An inclusive, whole-class approach which values every child’s contribution;
  • Facilitates high levels of engagement;
  • Creates confidence and self-assurance;
  • Supports the development of speaking skills as children express and share their ideas;
  • Helps to develop accurate, active listening skills and understanding;
  • Supports co-operative and collaborative and creative learning;
  • Develops positive relationships within a shared storytelling experience;
  • Allows children to explore the power of words as they see their stories come to life, and develop their ability to use and adapt language to communicate;
  • Offers children a bridge into the world of story writing as they begin to see the links between the oral stories they compose and the words on a page.
  • Acting out our stories…

Week of 23rd Jan 2017

Sorry for the delay in photo post – iPad didn’t want to upload the pictures! Last week was wonderfully imaginative, the children from both morning and afternoon are becoming so much better at having their own ideas and creating narratives for stories in play. Lots of the children are also getting curious about writing and are keen to write words that are significant to them or as an extension of the play they are engrossed in. We have had our sand shed turned into an Argos toy shop, excavated treasure as archaeologists, baked our first batch of bread (which we used for our first toast time) and watched Mr Billing fly a drone over the field! What busy bees we are. 

Week of January 23rd in Reception.

We have been learning all about Chinese New Year this week. I hope some of the children got the opportunity to venture into London to see the lovely Chinese celebrations this weekend. We explored Chinese culture, made our own drums, dragons and even had a go at Chinese writing. We also tried to solve Chinese Tangram puzzles and built the Great Wall of China outside.

Next week we will continue to explore Chinese culture, making our own lanterns, Willow pattern plates and panda’s. We will also make lucky red money envelopes and try to make ice-cream, which originated in China.

If you have any spare chop-sticks/woks we are collecting please.

 

Please be sure to check out the post on our Syrian appeal, which I am coordinating with Madison’s mummy.

 

Out this week: Most children are continuing to learn new speed sounds in phonics and sheets will go home weekly. If you were given a zip wallet of pictures and words to assist word blending then please try to do this daily, but do keep them in your child’s bag. so we can work on them in school too. The aim is for your child to identify the picture from the word, blended orally, then quickly progress to reading the words at speed.

Are you practising Teddy Words at home? Well done to Holly Shaw, who can read all 100 Teddy words and is onto the next 100 words.

We also sent home a worksheet for the number 11. We are really working hard on number recognition of teen numbers and understanding that it is ten, plus one. These sheets are for you to help your child at home. They are not compulusory and do not need to be returned to us in school, unless your child particularly wants to show us what they can do.

 

 

A few more from this week.