Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Creating Apps Hackday

Year 10 students got together on Saturday morning to work in teams creating apps using open data available.  A total of 10 students from Townsend took part in the event  run by Silicon Abbey - an informal network of local residents who use digital in their work. 
Students worked together in teams to design and pitch their apps to a team of three dragons represented by a member from Microsoft, local businesses and the founder of Silicon Abbey. 
All students thoroughly enjoyed themselves winning prizes which included some iTunes vouchers amongst other goodies.
Looking forward to the next one!!
Mrs King

Friday, 20 March 2015

Auschwitz visit

Year 12 students Bethany and Caitlin recently took part in a trip to Auschwitz organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust.  Below is their report of their trip, and the interesting things they learnt:

Trip To Auschwitz-Birkenau

At three-thirty a.m. of the 12th of March 2015, we made our way to the airport to go to Poland for our trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The flight went relatively peacefully, considering there was over two hundred seventeen and eighteen year olds on the flight, and once we’d made our way off of the plane and onto the buses, we went to the town of Oświęcim.

The town, were told by informed by the Rabbi accompanying us, had a Jewish population of 8,000 out of the 12,000 inhabitants before the war. The Great Synagogue had stood directly next to the Catholic Church in the town, the two religions getting on in complete harmony. Now there is nothing but mud and a few trees where the Great Synagogue once stood, the land marked with nothing special to show what once stood there. And as for the Jewish population: the last Jewish person in the town died in 2001, after squatting behind the last synagogue - little more than a small room in a small museum - and opening the doors of that synagogue every day for reasons he never told anyone.

After we left the museum, we made the short journey to Auschwitz I. For a camp where hundreds of people died of hunger, cold or disease, it was rather unassuming: red-brick buildings arranged in straight lines with wide pathways between the buildings. But then you go into those red-brick buildings, and you see what happened to the inhabitants, including the room filled with prosthetics, the room with two tonnes of human hair: hair shaved off of the heads of dead victims for the Nazis to use to make blankets, empty tins of cyanide crystals that they used to suffocate and poison thousands - seven or eight tins per 1,500 people, and there were easily over a hundred tins - and a room full of the shoes of the dead. Shoes of women, men and children, all killed by the Nazi party.

But the saddest thing, at least for me, was the suitcases. The suitcases that had people’s names and addresses on…including the suitcase of a five year old or younger girl, born in 1939 and put to death in Auschwitz I. More than that, her case labelled her an orphan. That suitcase, the suitcase of an orphaned Jewish little girl, was arguably the saddest thing that I saw during my trip.

Leaving the camp, we got back onto the coach to travel to Auschwitz II: Birkenau, so named for the birch trees you can still see lining the edge of the camp. We had the opportunity to look out from the top of the guard tower over the camp. In the distance we could see other towns, but what dominated our view were dozens upon dozens of red-brick chimneys that used to be part of the sheds the Nazis packed people into. Many, we learnt to our shock, were not Jews. 75-80% of Jewish people were sent to the crematoriums upon arrival, crematoriums destroyed by the Nazis in an effort to hide evidence of their crimes. We saw the rubble and remains of where so many had died, and like the camp itself:  the scale of it was really shocking. Although we had seen the camp from the guard tower, and seen civilisation outside it, when we were on the ground the camp was all you could see. Wooden buildings and red-brick chimneys stretched as far as the eye could see.

Our guide summed up Auschwitz-Birkenau in a more eloquent way than we could:

Auschwitz-Birkenau was like its own planet. But we can never forget that this ‘planet’ was in the centre of Europe, and we can never forget what happened here.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Comic Relief stories

Last week, students in years 7 and 8 were set the task of writing a funny story for Comic relief, with prizes for the best ones.  The story had to be a paragraph to a page long, and could be a short story or the beginning of a story, but had to include humour as the key element!

A big well done to Year 7 winners:
Emmanuel, Zayn, Chloe, Bethany, Hannah, Isabelle, Peta, Aimee, Ben and Elisia

And to YEar 8 winners:
Sam, Louise, Layah, Esther, Ariane, Jack, Jake, Owen, Chelsea, Nazima

The winning stories will be displayed in the Discovery Centre soon!

Raising money for Comic Relief

Last Friday students across the school took part in activities to raise money for Comic Relief, including non uniform day, a cake sale, , selling Red noses and bracelets, "Townsend Challenges" including how many crackers you can eat in two minutes, and the Townsend Talent show in the hall, where students performed on stage singing, dancing and playing musical instruments.  A big thank you to all of Sixth form for arranging all the activities and collecting the money - we have raised a staggering amount so far, with more money being collected!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Spring Fair tomorrow 11 - 2pm

The Townsend Spring fair is tomorrow starting at 11am.  Do come along and take part in the games and activities provided by the form groups and their teachers!

Author of the Month - March

This month's author of the month is Anthony Horowitz.  He has written a vast number of books across three series - The Diamond Brothers, Alex Rider and The Power of Five.  Do have a look at the display in the Discovery Centre for more information about this great author!

Comic Relief non uniform

Today is Comic Relief, where lots of activities will be taking place across school to raise money for the cause.

It is also a non uniform day for us at Townsend for staff and students, so please remember to bring your £1 payment in!

We are looking forward to seeing all of the quirky costumes that the sixth form students usually provide!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Sixth form Geography Trip to Dartmoor

Last week, sixth form students visited Dartmoor as part of their Geography work for their AS level work.  The students all had a great time and were impeccably well behaved, working into the night on their projects and notes.  We hope you all enjoyed your trip - judging by the photos it looks like it!

Monday, 9 March 2015

World Book Day competition

During World Book Day, the Discovery Centre ran a competition to create a book mark.  The best bookmarks would then win prizes!

Thank you to Miss Griffin for judging the book marks, and well done to Lois with first prize, Shumiri and Nazeema as runners up!!

The bookmarks were all very creative and a lot of fun to make!

World Book Day last Thursday

Throughout this week, updates will be posted about what happened during World Book Day last week.  To start with, here is what Mr Littlejohn did to celebrate:

With his form 10E Mr Littlejohn read during one form time from his favourite book: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.

With Year 7 during their lesson he discussed one of his favourite Batman graphic novels: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore. Some students also brought in and shared their favourite books with the class. They also carried out some of the planned activities across school,  including the reading terms word search and the Harry Potter quiz.
We hope everyone enjoyed World Book day and managed to get their £1 books with their tokens!

Sue Hampton book review

One of Townsend's favourite authors, Sue Hampton, has had her new book reviewed on lovereading4kids.com.  "Thinner Than Water" has been deemed " A thought provoking, fascinating and completely captivating book about the importance of family, self awareness and self belief."

To read the full review visit:


Monday, 2 March 2015

Author Alex Woolf drops in!

To celebrate World book day this week, year 7 and 8 students from Townsend were treated to an author visit last Friday from local author Alex Woolf.  Alex spoke about the process of writing and becoming a published author, as well as the importance of reading, and how he is always reading two or three books at once!
A year 8 student said:
"I really liked what Alex was telling us about reading and books - he writes the first chapter of his book then his publisher checks it before he can write the next one.  The process of becoming an established author was very interesting to hear about, as well as the variety of books that he has written and published."
All of this week we are celebrating with various activities, including an interactive game of guess the teacher behind the book, podcasts from celebrities about reading, making bookmarks at lunchtime, quizzes in form time, teachers reading their to students as well as receiving their £1 book tokens to buy their WBD book.

Gang Show a success

The 36th annual St Albans Scout and Guide Gang Show opened a couple of weeks ago at the Alban Arena, with the Herts Advertiser running an exclusive blog from some of the 100 cast members during the production.  One of our own Sixth Form students, Michael Ferris, was recently featured in the article below - well done Michael!