Week beginning 14th July 2014
Gosh, the year really is racing to a close now! I know the children thoroughly enjoyed their Jump Up Morning in Year 1 with Mr Day on Friday; they came back to me in the afternoon bursting with all the things they had been doing, and it was great to see them so excited about moving on in September - they are definitely ready for it now!
This coming week we are going to be using our construction skills to build mini-beast homes which will take pride of place in the forest school area when finished. The children will also be having a go at writing an information text about the different mini-beasts we find there. In Maths, we are going to start thinking about odd and even numbers, and how we can work out if a particular number is odd or even... maybe you could ask you child to show you how it's done!
As always, please come and find me in the playground if you have any questions or concerns.
Week beginning 7th July 2014
What a fantastic Arts Week we had in Oak Class last week! This year, the whole school was commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the start of WWI by looking at patterns within WWI, and Reception spent the week looking at the poppy. Over the week the class developed skills in colour, painting, drawing, marbling, as well as using oil pastels.
First, the children were set the challenge of exploring how many different shades of green and red they could make by carefully mixing paints together. They then moved on to working with different media such as watercolours and oil pastels, before producing their final piece using their chosen medium. The children really enjoyed the experience and produced some amazing poppies!
This coming week we are going to be thinking about place value in Numeracy, for example, what the digit '2' stands for in '25'. Is it really a '2' or is it '20'? We will also explore ways to make a mini-beast home to encourage different creatures to live in the forest school area. In addition, Moving Up Morning will take place on Friday, when the children will spend the morning with Mr Day in the Year 1 classroom!
Please come and find me in the playground if you have any questions or concerns.
Week beginning 30th June 2014
We arrived into school on Monday morning to discover that our three chrysalides in the butterfly garden had been replaced by three beautiful butterflies! So, we fed them on fruit and sugar water for a couple of days before releasing them on Wednesday in forest school. It was such a special experience and the children loved it - thank you William again so much for letting us share your butterfly garden with you!
The children have also been busy setting up a science experiment this week to test how light affects the ability of cress seeds to germinate and grow - why don't you ask your child what they think a plant needs to grow? The children have also been focusing on reading and writing numbers to 100 in maths, as well as carrying out a mini-beast investigation in forest school to determine the most popular colour of mini-beast...
Next week is Arts Week throughout The Meadows, during which the focus will be Patterns in WWI. In Key Stage 1 we will be touching on the anniversary of WWI and focusing in particular on poppies and their special significance.
Come and find me in the playground if you need a chat!
Week beginning 23rd June 2014
I can't believe we are nearly half way through this term already, although I know the children are now getting very excited at the prospect of moving up into Year 1 with Mr Day very soon!
On Monday, we arrived at school to discover that our five caterpillars had turned into chrysalides over the weekend, so the children had a go at writing about the life cycle of a butterfly. We have also started to do a 'big write' every Friday morning, during which the children have about half an hour to all sit down together and write about whatever they choose to write about - we have had some wonderful stories written, with the children using language such as 'once upon a time', 'first', 'then', 'after that' and 'finally'. This has been happening every Friday for a few weeks now, and I am so impressed with how well the children can now concentrate for a sustained period of time and help each other to do their best by keeping the chatter to a minimum so as not to distract each other!
In maths, we reviewed 2-D and 3-D shapes and thought about what language we could use to describe them.
Next week we will move on to reading and writing numbers up to 100 in maths, and we will be carrying out an experiment with cress seeds to determine what factors they need to help them grow.
As always, please come and see me in the playground if you have any concerns or questions.
Week beginning 16th June 2014
What a busy week we have had in Oak Class! On Monday we spent the afternoon in forest school, where the children went on a mini beast hunt to explore the different creatures living there. They thoroughly enjoyed using the magnifying glasses and special bug jars to look more closely at mini beasts they had discovered hiding under logs and in the long grass. Many then chose to record what they had found using diagrams and descriptive language, leading to lots of interesting observations!
Our five caterpillars have continued to eat and grow all week, providing us with lots of great writing opportunities - the children even labelled the different parts of a caterpillar, thinking about how it differs from a butterfly. In maths, we have focused on capacity this week, using language such as 'full', 'empty' and 'half full', as well thinking about which containers hold the most - is it always the tallest one??!
Next week we will move on to exploring properties of 2-D and 3-D shapes in maths, and we will be learning about the life cycle of a butterfly - maybe we will find a chrysalis or two waiting for us when we get into school on Monday...
Please come and see me in the playground if you have any concerns or questions, and have a lovely, sunny week!
Week beginning 9th June 2014
Hello and welcome back to term 6! I can't believe that we are nearly through the year - just a few more weeks in Oak Class!
We're continuing with our topic 'Legs, Wings and Things' this term, moving from dinosaurs to exploring mini beasts. William has very kindly offered to share his butterfly garden with the rest of the class, and our 5 caterpillars arrived on Wednesday! The children have been very excited each morning to see how much the caterpillars have grown already, and we are all waiting to find out what happens to them next week...
The first week back was short but great - on Wednesday, the children did some amazing writing about what they got up to over the half term holidays - I am so proud of how well they can all express themselves now through their writing; we have got so many really whizzy writers in Oak Class! In maths, we have been thinking about fair sharing, with the children practically solving problems to share objects such as raisins into equal groups.
Term 6 is always a busy one. Look out for reports, 'jump up' morning when the class go to their new classroom and teacher, end-of-year assessments and (hopefully!) our re-scheduled sports day!
We will also be having some extra chances for children to spend some time in Year 1's classroom and they will be able to free-flow between the two classes in order for them to get to know their new teacher and the environment.
Please come and see me in the playground if you have any concerns or questions.
Week beginning 19th May 2014
We were very lucky in Oak Class to have a visit from a dentist this week, who talked to the children about what types of food are good / bad for our teeth, as well as how to look after our teeth so that they stay strong and healthy. The children thoroughly enjoyed the visit and asked some really thoughtful questions! Thanks to Miss Naylor for organising it all for us!! This led on to some great writing opportunities too, with the children labelling a diagram of a tooth and writing some fun facts about their learning.
In maths the children have continued to practise adding two numbers together by counting on using a number line. We also started to think about how we can use this number line to count back when taking one number away from another number.
In addition, the children took full advantage of the wonderful weather we have been having to explore some of our new equipment in the outdoor learning area this week.
Just a reminder that Friday morning (23rd May) will be Key Stage 1's Sports Day - hope to see as many of you as can make it there! In the meantime, please come and see me with any questions or concerns you may have.
Week beginning 12th May 2014
This term is certainly whizzing by quickly – week 4 already!
Last week was all about being scientists in Oak Class. The children carried out an experiment which involved putting a special dinosaur egg in water and observing what happened over the next couple of days – by Friday the egg had started to hatch, so we will all be very excited to see what has happened in the classroom over the weekend! As scientists, the children wrote up the equipment they needed to carry out the experiment as well as the method they used – we had some fab descriptions of what they saw the next day too.
In maths the children have been practising adding two numbers together by counting on using a number line – have a look at the links below to see the interactive number line we have been using in class. If the frog is on 5 and then jumps on 2, where do you think he will land?
We have also started the next phase of Letters and Sounds in phonics – we are now doing Phase 4, which involves using all of the sounds the children have already learnt to decode longer words, such as ‘lunchbox’ and ‘sandpit’.
Have a good week and please come and see me in the playground if you have any questions or concerns.
Week beginning 5th May 2014
Hope you are enjoying a wonderful (and dry!) bank holiday weekend!
Well, this week has been a very action-packed week indeed. On Tuesday, we were visited by Dinostar, who ran workshops all day for the whole of Key Stage1. In the morning, he showed us different dinosaur skulls, bones and teeth, as well as a HUGE dinosaur footprint. It helped us to imagine quite how big some of the dinosaurs must really have been! In the afternoon, the children had a go at making fossils out of plaster of Paris, and also did some fossil rubbings. It really was a fantastic day, and the children were left buzzing from everything they had learnt about dinosaurs! Have a look at some of the photos below from the day.
On Friday, the school’s art ambassadors from Year 5 very kindly judged our Designosaur competition – each child had designed their own dinosaur last week, which were displayed in a gallery in the school hall. Leighton was awarded first prize and Cosmo got second prize - well done to both of you, and well done to everybody in Oak Class – both of the art ambassadors told me how difficult it had been to only choose two winners!
As well as all this, we also managed to squeeze in some instruction writing; the children discussed how to keep their teeth healthy, and had a go at writing some instructions to help out the patients in our dental surgery (which is in our role-play area at the moment). In maths, we continued to solve problems that involve doubling, and started to think about halving numbers and sharing between two people.
Look forward to seeing you in the playground next week.
Week beginning 28th April 2014
We have been extremely busy bees this week in Oak Class! The week started with the discovery of a huge dinosaur in the hall that was guarding an egg – Mrs Lethbridge challenged the children to think about where the egg had come from, who it belonged to and what was inside. With Years 1 and 2, Reception were then set a designosaur challenge – to design what was inside the egg! We investigated lots of different textures so that the children could then choose their favourite textures for their creature.
In maths, we started to solve some problems involving doubling – ask your child to explain to you what doubling is and how they can work it out!
This term children will be asked to think more carefully about their learning before they begin it. From Week 2 of this term, everyone will have a 'planning book' – in the morning they will be asked to write or draw what they are going to choose to learn that day. This could be a drawing of a Lego model or a description of a painting... or one of many other things! This will hopefully lend itself to more targeted learning and encourage children to do an activity in depth. We will be encouraging a range of tasks so that no-one is continually doing the same thing, whilst still giving children choice over their learning.
Finally, Dinostar is coming in to work with us for the day on Tuesday – watch this space for more details...
As always, please come and find me at the beginning of the day if you have any questions or concerns.
Week beginning 14th April 2014
Welcome to Term 5!
This term our topic is.....Legs, Wings and Things - a Dinosaur and Mini Beast Adventure.
Please have a look at the document below called 'Summer Term in Reception'; it will give you an idea about what we will be getting up to in the next term.
I hope you are all having a wonderful Easter holiday and are not eating tooooo many chocolate eggs!! Just a reminder that class photos will be on Friday 25th April.
Week beginning 31st March 2014
Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to Sandy Cox, Poppy’s granny, who came into school on Wednesday to talk to the children about her fascinating trips to Africa! The children were enthralled by the photographs of some of the people and animals Sandy had come across during her travels, and they really demonstrated their great listening and understanding by asking Sandy some very thoughtful questions. Thank you Sandy!
In addition, I would also like to thank those of you who were able to come along to Oak Class’ first assembly on Thursday – it was fab to see so much support from everyone! I’m sure you will agree that all the children did a wonderful job retelling ‘Handa’s Surprise’, sharing their pictures and singing ‘A Keelie’, a traditional song from Ghana. They really worked hard in the days leading up to the assembly, and I am really proud of them!!
Next week we will be looking at Easter and the new life that is associated with spring; along with the rest of Key Stage 1, we will be making flowers to decorate a big, wooden cross (flowering of the cross). The children will also have the opportunity to present their home learning to the class – I have had a little sneaky peak at a few projects, and am very excited to see what the children have been up to!
See you in the week!
Week beginning 24th March 2014
I can’t believe we are going into Week 5 already… this term is flying by!
Our new writing station is now up and running in Oak Class, and many children are already making full use of it. We are really focusing on writing at the moment, providing the children with daily opportunities to practise writing simple words and sentences. Much of this practice consists of getting the children to listen to the individual sounds in a word (e.g. f – ee - t) and then use their phonics knowledge to have a go at writing that word. Any opportunities you can find at home to practise this would be fantastic, for example writing a shopping list together.
In number work we have been solving some practical subtraction problems, and we are starting to think about how we can record our findings with symbols such as +, – and =. Oleg is still doing the rounds too, having lots of fun at different children’s houses on his sleepovers – so far he’s been to the optician’s, the park, and has even had a go at trampolining! Thank you so much to those of you who have helped to fill in his diary with words and pictures to describe his adventures!
Finally, just a reminder that Oak Class’ assembly will be this Thursday at 2.45pm, and it would be great to see as many of you there as can make it. Please do come and see me in the playground before then though with any questions or concerns you may have.
Week beginning 17th March 2014
I just wanted to start with a big thank you to everyone who has brought in their spare buttons over the last couple of weeks – they will come in very handy with counting and sorting activities, and are very much appreciated! If anybody has any more we are always very grateful….
Well, last week started off with another sunny, warm session in the forest school. We explored the area looking for the first signs of spring, and many children challenged themselves to have a go at making a nest for their egg using any materials they could find, just like a bird might.
In topic the children have continued to learn the story ‘Handa’s Surprise’, joining in with the actions and words as their confidence grows. This has also given us a real focus for our writing, which the children are now practising every day. In other exciting news, our brand new writing station is being set up this week – I am so excited about all of the amazing, independent writing the children will be doing! Watch this space for photos!
Lastly, a reminder that Oak Class’ assembly will be next week (Thursday 27th March) at 2.45pm, and it would be great to see as many of you there as can make it. Please do come and see me in the playground before then though with any questions or concerns you may have.
Have a lovely week!
Week beginning 10th March 2014
Well, we're going into Week 3 already - I can't believe how quickly time has flown since I joined the wonderful Oak Class!
Last week the children had a great time making and eating pancakes with Mrs Pearce. In maths we focused on different aspects of time, from ordering the months of the year to beginning to recognise 'o'clock' on a clock face.
Our topic focus this week will be all about 'Handa's Surpise' and looking at the animals and tropical fruits in the story. Children have already enjoyed trying some of these fruits - pineapple and mango last week, avocado, passion fruit and guava to come this week! We will start learning the story of 'Handa'a Surprise' off by heart, just like the children did last term with 'The Gruffalo's Child' – this is accomplished by the use of actions for key phrases and a ‘story map’, which is a flowchart of events in the story. So please ask your child to tell you part and see what they remember… you may well be surprised! This will also give us a focus for writing tasks.
In other exciting news, 'Baby Oleg' the meerkat is going to start his adventures this week and will be going for sleepovers at some of the children's houses. Each child will get a turn, and the idea is that Baby Oleg has a sleepover at your house for the night. He will come home with a sleepover diary, and it would be great if this could be completed with words or pictures and bought back into school the next day to be shared with the rest of the class.
I hope you are all enjoying some much needed sunshine and warmth, and I look forward to seeing you in the week.
Week beginning 3rd March 2014
I hope you are all well! We have had such a fun first week back in Oak Class – I’m sure you have all heard about the African drumming and mask painting on Tuesday. You can have a look at some of the beautiful masks produced in the photographs below!
Oak Class started the week with a surprisingly sunny session in Forest School. We began by sharing the book ‘Superworm’ by Julia Donaldson – a present to Oak Class from Mrs King – before setting out to explore the forest area for different minibeasts. The children looked under logs and carefully explored the grass, searching for Superworm and his friends.
In our Maths we have been exploring addition by adding two numbers together, using our fingers to help us count on. You could try some of this at home with two coins - if I have a 5p coin and a 2p coin, how much money do I have altogether ?
Our phonics learning continues with the some of the harder sounds – this week we have covered ur (as in hurt), and ow (as in cow). We will carry on taking a slower pace with these as they are trickier to spell and recognise.
We have also begun an exciting project in Oak Class this week called the “Me Box” – this is a box which the children will take turns in taking home. Every Friday a different child will bring the box home – they can then talk to you about a maximum of five things they would like to put in the box and share with the other children in Oak Class. These can be objects that are a particularly special to your child, such as a photograph of family members or a favourite book. The box can be brought back into school any day the following week, as soon as it is ready, and then the special items will be returned home and the box given to the next child. I really appreciate your support with this project, as it provides the children with a wonderful experience to speak about what is important to them!
Finally, next week the children will be making pancakes with Mrs Pearce for Pancake Day and comparing life in Bitton to that in the Masai Mara!
See you during the week - please find me in the playground if you have any questions or concerns.
Week beginning 24th February 2014
As Mrs King begins her maternity leave, I am very excited to be joining Oak Class next week. I feel extremely privileged to have spent so much time getting to know the children over the last few months, as well as having the opportunity to meet most of you at the parents’ evenings recently. Oak Class is a wonderful class, so here’s to a great term 4!
This term's topic is called 'Africa' and we will be basing our learning all around this theme. The first Tuesday back will kick off the topic with our 'big bang' event – the children are going to take part in an African Mask Painting and Drumming Workshop, so watch this space for lots of interesting photos! In addition, our role-play area is going to be a travel agents, where children can explore travel and other countries. Please see the ‘Pick and Mix’ for moreinformation about what we will be doing. As ever, in Oak Class we respond to the interests of the children, so we will retain some flexibility and see how the children learn and follow their ideas.
I'm looking forward to seeing you all again in the playground, so please do ask anything that you need to know!
See you soon,
Week beginning 10th February
I hope all is well you all! I can't believe how quickly term 3 is moving along and that I only have one week left with the lovely Oak Class!
Thank you for attending parents evenings last week, it was great to catch up with you all and to talk about how all the children are getting on. I know Kate Sapoff also enjoyed meeting you and it was a useful experience for her to hear all that you and I had to say about the class.
This final week of term will be taught by Kate and myself as a handover period and Thursday will be my last day with the children... I will really miss them when I am on maternity leave (whilst looking forward to some of the exciting challenges it will hold, of course!).
Oak Class started the week with a fun (but cold) session in Forest School where we made fat balls for the birds. Children enjoyed moulding them into balls and hopefully they have been enjoyed in your gardens by a variety of birds. Forest school is VERY chilly at the moment - can I please remind you to make sure that your child has appropriate thick socks, hats, gloves and warm clothes to wear under waterproofs (school uniform plus an unpadded waterproof jacket is not warm enough).
We found out about the 1969 Moon landings this week and the class found it very interesting to watch the videos and talk about what happened. This sparked a big interest in rockets and children drew, painted and made models of Neil Armstrong's rocket and the Eagle.
On Friday we had an exciting visit from the Science Dome - an inflatable planetarium that set up in the hall. Alex and Alex (!) showed the class pictures of the moon and other amazing things that are in the night sky. They also told us all about the story of Orion and children learned to find it in the night sky, and his hunting dog. They asked the children to have a look at the stars and to find their own pictures and stories by joining up the dots. See if you can have a go, one starry night!
Our phonics learning continues as we learn the harder sounds - we have recently covered ee (as in keep), ai (as in rain), igh (as in sigh), oo (as in moon and book), and oa (as in boat). We are taking a slower pace with these as they are trickier to spell and recognise.
See you during the week - please find Kate or I in the playground if you have any concerns.
Week beginning 20th January
We have had a fun week in Oak Class – lots of great learning and it is great to see the children beginning to apply their learning in their own ways.
A system for learning ‘key words’ is now established and we will be aiming to assess children weekly to see if they need to continue practising their current set or need a new set. Thank you for your support in this – please see me if you have any questions. As always, any practice that you can do at home is really valuable.
Our topic focus has been all about The Gruffalo’s Child and looking at the moon in the story. Children have continued to enjoy experimenting with torches and glow-in-the-dark items in the ‘dark tent’ and have made some interesting observations there. We have taught children the story of The Gruffalo’s Child off by heart – this is accomplished by the use of actions for key phrases and a ‘story map’ which is a flowachart of events in the story. Ask your child to tell you part and see what they remember… you may well be surprised! This has also given us a focus for writing tasks.
In our Maths we have been exploring scales and measuring how heavy things are by comparing them on the scales. You could try some of this at home and weigh some household objects. Can children predict the heaviest object?
Next week we are going to find out more about astronauts on the Moon and the first Moon landing!
Have a great weekend,
Week beginning 13th January 2014
Well, we are already two weeks into term and it is flying by! The 'Moon' topic has really captured the imagination of the children and they have enjoyed this week's learning, themed around the Wallace and Gromit short film, 'A Grand Day Out'.
In our classroom a very exciting new object has appeared: a dark tent! Inside, with the window and door flaps shut, children can investigate torches and what happens to light when it shines through on various materials, prisms and lenses. Not to mention glow-in-the dark things!
We have been doing more guided writing. Up until now, a lot of the children's writing has been either done by the adult (with the child forming the sentence) or with the child copying the adult. However, now our focus shifts so that the children are forming their own sentences and telling the adult what it says. The process goes like this:
1. The child thinks of the sentence.
2. The child says the sentence aloud (to a friend or adult).
3. The child sound out the word they want to write on their fingers - we have been practising this a lot in phonics.
4. The child writes the sounds, hopefully in the right order!
At this stage, children have not learnt all of the sounds and rely heavily on the phonics that they know so a word such as beautiful may be written as 'byooteful'. This is a good sign - it shows a real confidence with the phonics that they have experienced and they will pick up trickier spelling patterns as they move up the school. Similarly, although children are aware of full stops and capital letters, this is not a primary focus for us yet. The aim of the game at this stage is to get them writing, and to enjoy writing!
Mrs Sapoff has continues to get to know the class - sometimes she has been covering me and sometimes popping in whilst I am teaching to get to know the class better. This is a brilliant transition and I know that it will make everything easier after half term, which is when I hope to begin my maternity leave.
Please come and catch me in the playground with any problems. I am looking forward to seeing you at the Way Forward day, when you can look at your children's books and see what they have been up to so far!
Week beginning 6th January 2014
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year. Children have already been informing me what Father Christmas brought them and I look forward to hearing more in the next few days!
This term's topic is called 'Moon' and we will be basing our learning all around this theme. Please see the parent's booklet and the Pick and Mix for more information about what we will be doing. As ever, in Oak Class we respond to the interests of the children so we will retain some flexibility and see how the children learn and follow their ideas.
Please look out for Key Words which will be issued to children this week. These are common, high-frequency words (such as 'the', 'it', 'when') which children need to be able to recognise speedily when they are reading. We will send home a set with every child for you to practise reading with them. Please cut them out, play games with them, stick them around the house or whatever suits you! Every week we assess how confident children are with the set of words that they have been given and move them onto a new set when they are ready.
I'm looking forward to seeing you in the playground, please do ask anything that you need to know.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Well, the final week of term is finally here and we are really busy getting some lovely crafty items made. Look out for them coming home towards the end of the week... This week is also busy with the Christmas meal, a fun experience for all, our Key Stage 1 Christmas party and a special bearded visitor who is coming on Thursday!
Our Christmas party will involve party games, a bit of dancing and some snacks. You do not need to provide any food for your child but we are inviting them to bring in some party clothes - sesnsible shoes please as the hall floor can be slippery.
Our learning has been about the story of Christmas, we also touched on Hannukah last week. Miss Bundy and Miss Stewart have been taking on more of the teaching and we will be saying goodbye to them on Friday. Last week they took the class to bake biscuits in small groups which was really enjoyed by all of the children. They have been great student teachers and we wish them all the best in their careers as they move on!
Many thanks for the home learning books which have been sent in. We have checked book bags but let me know if we missed anything in there. Pick and Mix learning is shared with the class and we have already seen a few pieces! Everyone will have shared by the end of the week if they have not already done so. Next term a new Pick and Mix sheet will be issued so please send in the book even if it is blank, as we can then stick in the new ones.
Thanks for all of your support this term. I hope you all have an enjoyable Christmas holiday!
Week beginning 25th November
Hello there! An exciting week ahead as we put the finishing touches to our play. I am sure that you will enjoy coming to see your little lambs perform their dances! Rehearsals have been hard work for all concerned but we are really pleased with how it has shaped up. See you Tuesday or Wednesday. Be aware that the hall gets very hot!
You may have noticed two new faces in the classroom - Katie Bundy and Vicki Stewart, our student teachers from UWE. Katie and Vicki are starting their PGCE course and are placed with Oak Class until Christmas. They both have experience in nursery settings from their undergraduate courses in Early Childhood Studies. They are both very enthusiastic and have spent the week getting to know the names and personalities of the children. In the weeks to come they will lead some phonics and Maths sessions.
Exciting news! As you may have read in last week's newsletter, a teacher has been appointed to cover my maternity leave, starting February. Miss Sapoff is well known to us as a school as she has done a lot of supply here over the last year. We are really pleased to welcome her to our team and I know that she will have a great time with Oak Class. Miss Sapoff currently is a supply teacher and this means that she can cover my class if I am unable to teach at any point. This will mean that the children (and yourselves) should get to know her gradually over the next few months, providing an ideal transition period. So keep an eye open for her at hometimes and on the playground in the mornings!
See you all soon!
Week beginning 18th November
Because of Pyjama Day, forest school was shifted to Wednesday morning. We had a fun hour and a half out there and were joined by Bitton Pre-School, which greatly pleased those who had siblings. Our activity this week was making clay faces to stick to the trees and logs, then adding hair and features made from natural objects such as grass and twigs. It was lovely! Some children made several - have a look in our photo gallery. Please remember that children need warm socks and a fleece or similar to wear underneath their waterproof, as it is really cold out there now. It they go not have one, they will need to wear their school coat which may end up covered in mud!
This week, children continued to learn about the festival of Diwali, Festival of Light which was recently celebrated in Hindi communities. They looked at some simple facts about Diwali and made some brilliant Diva lamps which are displayed in windows at Diwali, using Fimo. We baked these in the oven and they look fab!
The rest of the week has been taken up with rehearsals. We continue to progress with the phonics and are now starting Phase 3 of Letters and Sounds - sounds j and v were covered this week.
Next week we will be adding the finishing touches to our play 'Hey Ewe!' which will be performed the following week! Please remember to sent in the lamb costumes in a plastic bag, all parts to be clearly named.
See you then!
Week beginning 11th November
No doubt you are already hearing some songs from our Christmas play - this week we have been really practising the songs along with Year 1 and 2. The class are really enjoying the singing and we have a few more weeks to go!
Last week we kicked off with Forest School on Monday - making mud pies! This involved mixing earth and water to the right consistency, then patting it into a mud pie and decorating it with natural objects. Some children could not wait to get stuck in and really enjoyed squeexing the gloop between their hands. Others were understandably more cautious. You may see some muddy waterproofs as a result... but it was worth it! Have a look at the photos.
On Wednesday we were visited by Dr Tom Robson, a learning consultant. He has set up the Gem Project across the school. This is based on neuroscience and research into the brain. Dr Tom talked to Oak Class about developing their 'Diamond Power' by solving problems by themselves. These are problems such as hanging up coats, tidying the toys away properly and generally taking responsibility. Dr Tom explained that every time the children do these tasks unprompted, they are developing good habits which will become automatic. He challenged the class to take responsibility for solving problems by themselves, without getting the adults involved (if an adult solves the problem, then they develop their own 'Diamond Power' and deny the child the chance to develop their own). We are adopting this approach in the classroom and will see what happens! There are other gem powers too which we will be finding out more about in the future. Have a look at Tom's website http://www.tredu.co.uk/the-gem-project/ for more details.
Next week we are welcoming some student teachers to our class for a few weeks and will be finding out more about Diwali.
Week beginning 4th November
Welcome back to term 2!
Wow - I can't believe how quickly the first term has gone. A sixth of the year has already passed!
We are already thinking about Christmas in Key Stage 1 and you may well hear your child singing some of the lyrics to our Christmas play 'Hey, Ewe!'. You will be pleased to hear that the class are going to be lambs - look out for a letter in book bags about costumes. Please be aware that only one of the dates of the play is for younger children to attend, this is to give adults who would rather a 'quieter' viewing a chance.
This term we will start to do a bit more on our topic which is 'Festivals'. We will be finding out about Diwali, fireworks night, Hannukah and Christmas as well as talking about other festivals. Our roleplay area is going to be a stable where children can re-enact parts of the Christmas play.
This first week kicked off with our 'big bang' event - every child made a triangle of bunting which can be used for celebrations at school. It looks very glitzy! To make this day a bit different for the class, we mixed up with year 1 and 2. This is very beneficial for younger children as they learn from watching the example of the older ones.
The rest of the week we have been looking at fireworks - exploring how they look and sound. We have had some lovely pieces of artwork created!
Please keep out an eye for our 'Pick and Mix' home learning. This is a menu of activities linked to out learning in class which you can try with your child at home. We always look forward to seeing what the children produce; please bring in home learning at the end of term (the date is in the middle of the sheet).
Please see me if you would like to find out more!
Week beginning 14th October:
What a fun week! The children are really settling in and starting to jell as a group. I am sure you are hearing bits and bobs from them but just in case, here is what we have been up to!
We had a successful forest session this week. We tend to start with a focused activity and then children have some free time. This week we were learning about acorns - we talked about what they will grow into and looked for them. We have collected a few which we will be planting in pots. After all, we are Oak Class!
We have started doing some writing in books with the children. They are drawing pictures about their weekends (which sound very busy!) and we are writing a sentence which they have dictated. This starts to let children think about forming sentences and means that we can start to relate their thoughts and speech to written content. Some children are using phonics to spell out a few words, others can copy or trace a little depending on whether they are ready for it.
Last week we took a rest from the phonics sheets as we were consolidateing the sounds we have learnt so far (s,a,t,p,i,n,m,d,g,o,c,k). We were learning to read and write them in consonant-vowel-consonant words (such as gap, kit, dad, dot and so on). This involves really thinking about the sound of word and blending the sounds together to read them, or segmenting the sounds in spoken words to write them. This week we are covering these sounds: ck, e, u, r.
Week beginning 7th Oct:
Phew! The first full week is over - and I think all the children are ready for a restful weekend! School is hard work when you are 4.
This week we all explored the forest area. We got to know how to stay safe there and children learned about hazards such as nettles, thorns, sticks, berries and mushrooms. Children had some time to explore the area and we also saw some lovely bark rubbings! Every week we have a good luck for little creatures and invariably spot many woodlice, beetles and slugs (with the occasional centipede, worm and even a newt once last year). Forest time is a favourite activity and I am sure that it will be a highlight of the week for most of them as they get used to the rules there.
Much of the rest of the week has been spent getting to know the other half of the year. It is amazing how quickly new relationships form and I am sure that you will be hearing some new names at home.
Parents meetings are next week. You will need to go to the hall to register and you will be brought to the classroom. Please be aware that there are 10 minutes per child. Have a think if there are any particular queries that you have. You will be given a sheet summarising your child's time at school so far.
Please be aware that my union is taking industrial action next week and that there will be no school for the class on Thursday 17th October.
One of the most popular activities this week has been water play. Children may carefully get water from the outdoor tap and this week they have really decided to go for it! Water has been poured down guttering, through tubes, used to wash the play house and the tyres, make muddy puddles... and many more things. It is such fin and lovely to hear the children discussing 'what might happen if...' and 'can we make it longer?', using scientific and mathematical skills that they didn't even know they had!
A letter went out this week asking for parent volunteers - please do let me know if you are interested (this extends to other family members such as grandparents too). It would be great to have some support in class, hearing readers or doing cooking.
And finally - a big bugbear this week has been the uniforms getting mixed up. Several children have some home in the wrong items and lost their own (named) items. Please make sure that all clothes are clearly labelled. I would really appreciate if you could check the uniform that you have for other children's names - the (unnamed) pieces are with me so let me know if you have the wrong item. They get changed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays so there is plenty of opportunity for items to get mixed up!
Week beginning 30th Sept:
It has been a hectic couple of weeks in Oak Class! We have continued to get the children used to the school and its routines and they are settling in fantastically well. Some important new routines this week and last have been dinner time, P.E. and Forest School.
A reminder: the Forest School kit needs to be complete as it has been rather wet recently and we try to stay out unless the weather is torrential. As the winter comes along it is important that they also have warm clothes to wear underneath the waterproofs - one of our most successful sessions last year was in snow but it was cold on the feet unless they had thick socks! Your child needs:
- Waterproof trousers and coat (or all-in-one suit)
- Leggings/old trousers/jeans (for sunny days or to wear under waterproofs)
- Fleece or other warm top
- Warm socks to wear in wellies on a snowy day!
Grandparents Day last week was a great success and it was lovely to get to know the children's wider families. I was amazed by the energy that some grandparents had for play!
We are working to learn our first few sounds - so far we have done s,a,t,p,i,n,m,d. You can make lots of words out of these with your child! We have been learning to recognise the words is, in, it by sight. One of the things we are focusing on at the moment is how to hold a pencil correctly. Please see the photos of pencil grips below - your child is aiming to have a secure grip between the thumb and index finger, near the point of the pen or pencil.
I have started to pop a few photos in the gallery so do have a look!