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Week beginning 17th June
Oak Class have been making the most of the nice weather this week, lots of lovely play in the outdoor area and PE and forest time in the forest area. We were collecting a plate of food for our magical friend 'Sage' this week (I hope it likes buttercups!) and climbing into trees - a very popular activity.

We have been having a focus on money this week and learning to recognise coins to 20p. Please encourage your child to handle some real money at home and practise counting amounts, comparing coins and paying for some items in shops. We have a cash register in our roleplay area which is very fun to use!

We are also planting up  our vegetable and flower bed and, of course, getting muddy and watering the beds has been great fun! We planted some cress seeds which prompted lots of discussion about where seeds grow best and what they need to have. Children pulled up some weeds and looked at their roots closely.

I am home-visiting next year's intake this week and the class are covered by supply teachers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. These are teachers already known to the class. I can't believe it was a year ago that I was meeting this class for the first time - it has gone so quickly!

Week beginning 11th June

Gosh - we have been up to lots as usual.

The class were very disappointed that Sport's Day was cancelled but we will try to run some of the races informally in PE lessons. Our PE this term is 'outdoor and adventurous' sessions in the forest area - we will be balancing on logs, doing obstacle courses and scavenger hunts there!

We have themed our outdoor area as a 'cafe' with tables and chairs. The kitchen is inside so children are learning how to be waiters and waitresses, customers and cooks. We have been practising writing menus which is great fun! One of the important things to learn was to how to speak politely when taking and giving orders in a cafe.

Our phonics this term is re-capping some of the sounds that we have learned in the last few words and putting them into sentences. Please see the sheets for details about which ones we are learning. Some children are learning with another group.

Next week we will be learning about paying with money in the cafe!

Week beginning 3rd June
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!

Ths term our topic is 'Let's Eat'. We will go on to grow some edible plants and find out where our food comes from. Our roleplay area is a Chinese cafe so we will be having a kitchen which will be serving food to tables outside.We may even have a go with chopsticks!

The first week back was great - on Tuesday the children learned to make their own lunch. This meant making sandwiches, a fruit salad and hummus. Of course this involved learning lots of new skills and using tools carefully. The results tasted delicious and, being a sunny day, children were able to sit out on the field and eat the fruits of their labours together. Have a look at the photos!

The rest of the week has involved finding out about the food minibeasts eat. We found some interesting minibeasts (and a baby newt) in the Forest School and looked carefully at them, then drew them and wrote sentences about what they like to eat. We have also looked at information books about minibeasts. It has been very interesting!

Term 6 is always a busy one. Look out for reports, 'jump up' days when the class go to their new classroom and teacher, end-of-year assessments and our long-awaited 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.

See you next week!

Week beginning 13th May

This week has been all about Sleeping Beauty! Children have been busy learning to tell the story orally using actions and 'story-maps' (a flow-chart using simple pictures) to help them remember the story. This is called story-making and is a brilliant way for children to learn the structure of stories in order to enable them to write them some day soon!

On Monday we found sticks in the Forest Area and turned them into magic wands and bows. This involved sanding and painting the wands, and tying knots in sting for the bows. It was tricky but fun.

In Maths we have been learning to double and halve amounts using our fingers and toys to help us.

This week Mrs Pearce and I are on courses so the class will be having supply teachers for 3 days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). We are trying to make sure that this is the same person (and hopefully someone familiar).

On Thursday pupils are invited to bring a fancy-dress costume to school for a 'banquet'. Friday is Sports Day - please see the letter sent out a couple of weeks ago. So a busy week ahead!


Letters and Sounds


We are now in Phase 4 of Letters and Sounds. From here it gets more complex as we learn to blend sounds in longer words such as 'lunchbox' or 'carpark'. Please see the weekly sheet to find out our current pattern. Key words continues as usual - you should have received a keyring with 100 high-frequency words on it. This is to help your child to learn the words that they have already covered and to keep practising them.

Week beginning 6th May
What an action-packed week we have had!

On Wednesday, we were visited by Ross from the recycling team, who spoke to the children about the importance of recycling and how bad landfill is for the environment. The class found out about which materials go in which container and had a go at sorting some out for themselves.



On Thursday we had our much-anticipated visit to Cardiff Castle. Children were very enthused by it! We started off in the Steward's Room, and Elizabeth showed us lots of armour and weaponry. Children had a chance to try some on and find out about some vicour weapons such as crossbows, poleaxes and spears. Off course, they were delighted by the bloodthirsty nature of this and all had lots of interesting comments to make! It was lovely to see what amazing knowledge they have about castles and to hear some people linking their understanding across to old topics - for example, talking about how axes can be used in emergencies. Here is Elizabeth demonstrating how a catapult works - unfortunately managing to hit Mrs Perry with a ball...

 



We then had lunch in an underground vault usually reserved for weddings and parties. It costs £400 an hour to hire but the castle generously let us use it for free!

On our tour we were shown the decorated rooms in the castle. These were amazing: ceilings painted in gold leaf, elaborate paintings and a big banquetting hall. Again, children linked their knowledge to old topics: "It looks like Aladdin" commented Aimee - the guide agreed and told her the room was decorated in an Arabic style.

 



We finished off by looking at the crumbling Norman keep, crossing the moat to do so. As you can see the weather deteriorated at this point:



Throughout the day we had been one question asked over and over again... "When are going to the shop?" We ended up with children buying their own souvenirs and handling the transactions themselves.



What a fun day!
Week beginning 22nd April

We have been busy bees again this week!

Miss Mitchell came back in for a further two days of her placement. She spent some time looking at 2d shapes with the pupils and naming them correctly. All children are fairly confident with shapes such as triangles, squares and circles but some can talk about semi-circles, haxagons and pentagons! Though we did have to carefully explain that a 'poxagon' is not a shape.

Once again, the class have been doing plenty of writing - this week it was based on 'George and the Dragon', a story about a dragon who is scared of mice. We watched a DVD of the story, explored the book and then did some roleplay based on it. We had our first independent story from Amy who cut out some pictures and carefully wrote 'Once upon a time...' introducing the characters.

Our phonics sound was CCVC words like 'flag'. Please check your child's book bag for some examples of the words we have been looking at. Mrs Parker is continuing to work on key words every week and all of the children are making progress in this. Any practice reading them at home is really valuable so please continue with them. If you are unsure about how to do it please contact Karen Parker on 07794 558991 who is willing to coach you through the system and offer tips.

We also visited St Mary's Church in Bitton this week. We had a great time exploring the different parts of the church and received a warm welcome from Barbara. Children looked at special objects in the church such as the font and the altar. We talked about what happens in churches and special occasions that happen there.

Our trip to Cardiff Castle is coming up! Please return the form if you have not yet done so.

Week beginning 8th April

Hello to all children and parents and welcome back to another jam-packed term! I hope you all had an excellent break despite the chilly weather.

Last term we said goodbye to Miss Mitchell... although she will be popping back this term to stay in touch. She had a great manner with the children and lots of new ideas -  they clearly made good progress during her placement and I am really grateful for all that she did!

Our new topic is 'Castles' and it started with a bang when children spent the first two days creating big castles from cardboard boxes, painting castle walls (on display in the KS1 corridor's windows) and designing shields. We have been looking at different castles and created a role-play area themed as a castle. Watch this space for more... and look out for a letter about our trip to Cardiff Castle next month.

We had some visitors this week: Jenson and Lewis, Harry's pet tortoises. The class were very interested in them and asked lots of questions about what they eat and how they live. They were very amused to see the tortoises do a poo, then have a bit of a scrap and push each other out of the way. Thank you to Harry's mum for giving up her time to bring them in and answer lots of questions!

We are having a big focus on guided writing this term, when pupils work in a small group with an adult to write. This follows a visit I made to Longwell Green Primary School, where the teachers showed me some of their excellent writing strategies. Guided writing will happen several times a week this term.

The steps for writing a sentence in Oak Class are:
1. Think what to write (children are given a few minutes thinking space with no chat).
2. Say what you're going to write (this gives pupils a chance to verbalise the sentence and check it makes sense).
3. Use your phonic fingers to sound the word out (raise a finger for each sound, therefore big is sounded out as b-i-g on three fingers).
4. Write the letter for each sound (remembering finger spaces between words, full stops and capital letters). Children are familiar with this sequence but it is obviously harder for them to consistently put it into practise. So in small groups we reinforce the message and give lots of praise and encouragement when they are making a good effort. We have already seen good results from this focus at the end of last term. Of course when they are not with a group children are busy doing all of the other creative activities in the classroom.

This term children will also be asked to think more carefully about their learning before they begin it. Everyone now has a 'planning book' and 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 targetted 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.

Another change this term is our Celebration Time. We are now joining the rest of the school in mixing up on Friday afternoons following Celebration Assembly. Children will be doing different activities such as bingo, drawing or watching a film with the older classes if they have behaved well all week. They get a choice over which activity they do. This precious time is lost if children go on the amber or red light.

Anyway, please do see me with any questions that you have.

Yours, Louise King

Hello from Miss Mitchell!

I am a student from the University of the West of England studying Primary Teaching (BA Hons) and I am completing my final placement in Reception class.  I will be leading much of the teaching responsibilities alongside Mrs. King during this practice, finishing on March 22nd.  

I am looking forward to working with your children and I have some exciting ideas for their learning! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to approach me either in the playground in the mornings or in the classroom after school.   

 

Our Learning

 

Oak class have had an eventful end to this ‘Oceans’ term! The children have been forming number bonds to ten, moving like under-water creatures, and upon receiving the final clue from the pesky Pirates the children followed the clues through the Woods to find our lost treasure! Well done everyone, the trophies have been returned to their rightful owner! We have also begun learning Makaton, singing lots of songs. The children are really engaging with Makaton sign-language and are enjoying learning a new way of communicating.

Mrs King and Miss Mitchell were very pleased to see all the home learning Oak have been busy creating! We have seen some beautiful fish tanks, submarines and lots of wonderful writing. Well done everyone!

Next term our topic is ‘Emergency’ and we have lots of surprises in store. We look forward to seeing everyone after half term – have a lovely holiday

Dear Parents,

I look forward to meeting you,

Sam Mitchell

 

 

 

Welcome back and a happy new year!


Our Learning 

 

This term our topic is Emergency – our first week back has been a very busy introduction! The children have been involved in many activities, including taking prints of their own finger prints in the style of Police Officers; searching the school for signs relating to Emergencies, including learning where the fire exits are; we have even practiced acting upon a fire alarm! The children were excellent at silently and quickly leaving the classroom and lining up in the designated area, well done everyone! 
We have also begun learning an ‘Emergency Rap’ in preparation for our class assembly – if you would like to practice this at home with your children, click on the following link:http://www.schoolbeat.org/en/pupils/age/5-7/People-Who-Help-Us/rapRhymeLink/

We would like to say a huge thank you to Mr Pitts, a fire-fighter, who came into school on Friday to talk to the children about his job and show them lots of equipment used during fire emergencies! Photos of this are in the gallery, please take a peek!
Next week we will continue rehearsing our class assembly, begin looking at time, and continue exploring different emergencies and people who help us!
 
This week Oak have been very busy exploring challenging but exciting topics, including acrostic poetry, 2D and 3D shapes and treasure maps! Unfortunately the weather has been undesirable this week, however we embraced the rain on Monday and enjoyed hot chocolate in the Forest School area – the poor weather conditions had resulted in a fallen tree which the children loved exploring! We could not decide if a lightning storm or perhaps strong winds had caused this unusual incident.
 
On Thursday we were very lucky to be joined by an ex-submariner of the Royal Navy! We would like to say a huge thank you to Mr. Medley who came into school and talked to Reception, Years 1 and 2 about life in a submarine – the children thoroughly enjoyed the talk, asking lots of thoughtful questions... They were particularly interested in the sleeping and sanitary conditions! The children of Oak class were fascinated by the concept of living under-water and many paintings and constructions of submarines followed.
 
Finally, the children were visited by some parents Friday morning to practice their writing skills. The children really enjoyed showing off their school work to Mums and Dads, and developing their literacy skills together. We hope you enjoyed it too!
 
Next week we will finally discover where the Pirates have hidden our trophies! Oak class will also be looking at Number Bonds to 10, creating desert island maps with keys, and the children will have the opportunity to present their home learning to the class – Mrs King and Miss Mitchell are very excited to see what the children have been up to! 
 
Have a lovely weekend!
 
Mrs King and Miss Mitchell


Our learning

 

Oak class have had a busy week exploring the Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch and our term topic ‘Ocean Quest’. The children have enjoyed describing some of the characters of the story; re-creating Mrs Grinling’s kitchen and writing shopping lists for Mr Grinling’s scrumptious lunches; and making edible fish tanks! The children have been working very hard at creating a whole-class factual book of various ocean creatures. Miss Mitchell is going to put it together over the weekend, so Oak should have their masterpiece complete and ready to view very soon!
We also embraced the snowy weather, drinking hot chocolate in the Forest School area. The children took photographs of the snow, some of which are now in the gallery – please have a peek!
Next week we will be continuing to look at capacity and measures; 2D and 3D shapes; drawing treasure maps; building sandcastles and writing acrostic poems about different sea creatures. It will be another exciting and busy week! 
Have a lovely weekend,
Mrs King and Miss Mitchell

This term, our topic is 'Ocean Quest'. We will be trying to find out what some pesky pirates have done with the school's trophies, which have been take hostage over the holidays. The topic will go on to look at lighthouses, fish and desert islands. We teachers are very excited about the activities we have planned and can't wait to share them with the pupils!

Monday and Tuesday wer 'big bang' days and children worked with Year 1 and 2 to make boats with Mr Hamlen and sand sculptures with Mr Petrucco, our new Year 1 teacher. In my classroom they were painting with a wet fish, an activity that was surprisingly popular! Children were interested in touch the fish and talking about its body parts. We got some excellent relief prints from it.

This week we have started learning the story of The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch and doing story-making with it. Storymaking is when a class learn a story off by heart, with actions and diagrams or 'story-maps'. It is a powerful way to learn to write as it means that children have memorised the plot and the story models a range of vocabulary. We will go on to focus on it next week.

Please have a peek at the photos in the gallery!

Louise King

This term, our topic is 'Ocean Quest'. We will be trying to find out what some pesky pirates have done with the school's trophies, which have been take hostage over the holidays. The topic will go on to look at lighthouses, fish and desert islands. We teachers are very excited about the activities we have planned and can't wait to share them with the pupils!

Monday and Tuesday wer 'big bang' days and children worked with Year 1 and 2 to make boats with Mr Hamlen and sand sculptures with Mr Petrucco, our new Year 1 teacher. In my classroom they were painting with a wet fish, an activity that was surprisingly popular! Children were interested in touch the fish and talking about its body parts. We got some excellent relief prints from it.

This week we have started learning the story of The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch and doing story-making with it. Storymaking is when a class learn a story off by heart, with actions and diagrams or 'story-maps'. It is a powerful way to learn to write as it means that children have memorised the plot and the story models a range of vocabulary. We will go on to focus on it next week.

Please have a peek at the photos in the gallery!

Louise King
Welcome to Miss Mitchell
You may have noticed a new adult has been working with the class last week. Miss Mitchell is on her final placement of her teaching degree and has worked in other early years settings throughout her three years at UWE. When she returns to us in January she will assume some teaching responsibilities with the class so look out for her on the playground.

Aladdin Trip
We had a fantastic afternoon at the Hippodrome watching the pantomime 'Aladdin'. The children really enjoyed the dancing and songs. They all had lots of funny parts to share afterwards. I was really impressed with the sensible behaviour of Oak Class - they remembered to visit the toilet in the interval and all watched the performance really nicely! Many thanks to the parent volunteers who joined us on the day.

Our learning
This week was filled with Christmas activities! We were busily colouring tags, making decorations, calendars for 2013 and, of course, some lovely Christmas cards. You should find the fruit of your child's labour safely in their book bag. Some children even chose to wrap up their calendars nicely.

On Wednesday we met Father Christmas in assembly - accompanied by a funny elf! Please see the photos below. Father Christmas brought Oak Class a gift of a castle playset. Oak Class were very pleased to see Santa; their little faces really lit up! Our party on Thursday went well; we had some party games, a light buffet and some dancing. During 'pass the parcel' some children did some funny forfeits like singing a song to Year 3, asking Mr Wichard for a cup of tea and jumping up and down.

Finally, a huge thank-you for your kind cards and presents. It was so lovely to get them and I really appreciate your thoughfulness. I know that Miss Maggs, Mrs Robinson and Mrs Horswell feel the same!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and that Santa is kind to everyone... Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Louise King


Week beginning 10th Dec
Last week kicked off with our trip to Aladdin which was an enormous success. The rest of the week was spent thinking about Christmas - we have created some lovely bits and pieces using our craft skills which will be arriving home soon!

We spent some time looking at 'Stick Man' by Julia Donaldson. At the end of the story peace is restored by Father Christmas and we wrote letters to him explaining requests for presents. The results should be in book bags (I hope he has enough room on his sleigh for horses and puppies though!) This was an excellent opportunity to practise writing and I enjoyed seeing lots of children use their sounds to write.

Our phonics has been looking at more unusual sounds recently - j, w, z, zz, qu and x. We have also learned to write some words that are tricky: 'the' and 'to' for example (these are not spelt phonetically so children just have to learn them).

We are looking forward to a busy week ahead with the Christmas party and Christmas dinner!
Week begining 10th December

What a busy week! I hope that you all enjoyed the nativity play, as always it was a very memorable affair! I am sure that you will agree that the singing was delightful, the actors did a great job and of course Oak Class's star dances stole the show. The children all really enjoyed showing you the results of all of their rehearsing and I really feel that it was worth all of the effort (despite all of the tired little faces). Thank you for providing the costumes and also for all of the support that teaching assistants have given us, some of them even helping out on afternoons on which they do not work!

In our learning this week we have had a look at one of the 'Jolly Postman' books and written some letters to fairytale characters. Children even weighed parcels and worked out how to balance the scales. Next week we will be looking at the Christmas edition of the book.

We had an exciting new resource called Numicon delivered this week. This is a Maths activity which uses shapes to support understanding of numbers, counting and calculating. It has great possibilities  and we are looking forward to further exploring it in the weeks to come.

Have a great weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing you soon!

Louise King

Week beginning 26th November

This week has been all about rehearsing for the Christmas play. You may have been hearsing some of the songs at home. We have noticed how tiring some of the children find this but it is starting to really come together. On Friday all of the children rehearsed in costumes and it looked very cute! The children are really looking forward to showing it to you all next week. On Monday we will perform it to Key Stage 2 so there will be no forest school.

On Monday we went to the forest area and Sage, a magical creature who lives in the woods, came to meet the class. He had been getting a little wet in all this rain so the children worked in teams to build him a house. Some even made him furniture from stones! Please go have a peek at the photos of him.

The rest of the week we grabbed opportunities to get creative and focused on painting skills. Everyone did at least one painting and some children did several! We painted in different ways: printing with sponges, using different brushes, onto black and white paper and rolling toy cars through paint and making tyre tracks on the paper. Washing up the toy trucks afterwards was surprisingly popular.

On Thursday and Friday some of the children found chunks of ice in the outdoor area. They were very interested in it and we found out what happens if you leave ice by a radiator, put it into water, or drop it on the floor. Some fo the pieces had beautiful patterns on them and some children painted and wrote about this.

Next week will be a really big week for Oak Class and I am so looking forward to seeing them all doing their star dances. Have a super weekend and see you all then.

Week beginning 19th November

We have had a great week in Oak Class! On Monday we were busy in the forest area doing a number of activities: painting with mud, making bark rubbings and riding the trikes. It was a very windy day but some children found a tarp and decided to make a den. It was really cosy inside and they even made places to sit and an entrance and exit (although adults could only use on of the doors!)

We have been practising hard for the play this week and our star dances are coming along well. The children have been very good at listening in rehearsals and singing up nice and loudly. I am sure you will hear some of the songs being worked on at home too! It is a lot of hard work for both staff and pupils but I am sure the end result will be worth it.

Children have started to get to know the classroom much better now and are starting to select their own resources and activities more. The great hit recently has been the 'writing area' and many children have had a go at letters and messages for friends and family. We have also been practising our junk modelling skills this week and making models that have more shape and purpose to them. In the outdoor area children have been drawing on the floor in chalks. Another fun discovery has been the large wooden bricks; which have made a tower, a road and a bed this week (all created in teams of course!)

Of course, today was Pyjama Day in aid of the school in Gaza. It was fun to see various PJs, dressing gowns, onesies and slippers being paraded around. Best of all, we raised a large amount of money for The Lighthouse School in Gaza (over £50 just in our class) which a cause very close to my heart, as I visited there last year. So many thanks to everyone for taking part!

I hope that you all have a good weekend and that the rain and floods don't disrupt you too much.

Louise King

Week beginning 12th November

This week has been all about little animals! On Monday we spent the afternoon hunting for minibeasts in our forest area. We used magnifying glasses and bug-catchers to examine them. We had the usual haul of slugs, snails, woodlice and ants but then two sharp-eyed little girls  found a newt lurking in a grassy hole! It was very exciting; we all had a look at her. She was a female common newt and we came back to the classroom and did some amazing newt drawings.

We spent two days this week looking at the Julia Donaldson book 'Superworm'. This is a story about a kind-hearted worm that helps out his friends, who then rescue him from the clutches of an evil crow. Children responded to the story by drawing and moulding the worm in different ways. Some children chose to do some guided writing with me and some wonderful sentences were recorded.

On Friday we looked at money and recognised some coins. We counted some 1p coins out and children played shops with them. Lots of children chose to do some writing on a writing table and many beautiful cards were written for family members.

We were lucky to have some parent volunteers hearing readers and many children are starting to use their sounds when they read their books. It is very exciting! Our phonics this week were: ss, ff, ll and children have been learning that these are usually at the end of words. There were no Jolly Phonics sheets for these but we wrote them in other ways.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Louise King

Week beginning 7th November

It has been great to catch up with the children again after half term. We have been hearing lots about their holiday and all of the children have drawn us a picture about what they did and dictated some writing to an adult about it. It was great to hear about exciting adventures, from surfing to caravan holidays!

Our phonics learning continues to progress well. Children have learned h, b, f, and l this week. They are able to read and write an increasing number of words using these sounds now - see if they can show you some at home. We have written them in a variety of ways this week - chalk, magnets, on big paper and we continue to fill in the Jolly Phonics sheets. Please reinforce this as much as you feel able to at home - see the front of their Letters and Sounds book for ideas.

Another great writing development is to see some children try to write longer pieces. It is often hard for us to read these as what they want to write is beyond their phonics knowledge; but we greatly value this emergent writing as it shows developing language skills and that they understand writing conveys meaning. When a child shows us such a piece we ask them what it says and record their comments alongside.

Our new Pick and Mix sheet has been sent home this week so please check book bags (I have saved a copy below). I enjoyed reading their books from last term and seeing such a huge range of fun activities! I realise that these tasks take a lot of effort from parents, but it is extremely worthwhile for them to realise that learning is not just something that happens at school. So a huge thank-you for all of your efforts last term.

Today we met up with our Year 4 'buddies' for a shared reading session. Children share a book with their buddy in this time, sometimes the older child will read to the younger one and sometimes the younger child will have a go. This is shown to have a great impact on reading ability (for both children involved) as it increases enjoyment of reading. We will continue to have buddy reading sessions on Fridays.

A reminder: children should have two reading books, one is a 'free choice' and one is from the book scheme. Some children have been choosing from the wrong book band, please let me know if they have the wrong colour. For the time being everyone is on red or green spots and I will record it in their reading diary if they change levels.
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