Year 1 Blog
Welcome to the blog for our Year 1 classes. The year group blogs are a great communication tool. Teachers will be posting news, photographs, details of homework, examples of work, and anything they wish to share with their pupils and parents. Please speak to your class teacher if you have any question, feedback or concerns.
Green Class Teacher
Mrs De Vynck
Purple Class Teacher
The children have been busy finishing their decorations, Christmas cards and practising the songs for the Christmas play – today they needed to perfect verses 2 and 3 of “Away in the Manger” which they did very well. All the costumes are ready – thank you for sending them in, labelled and on hangers – and rehearsals have gone well. We have enjoyed sharing the lovely Christmas and winter books the children have brought in. If your child has a favourite seasonal book we would love to read it together. The post-box is now in the hall and any children can bring in cards for their friends at school and post them. They are then all sorted and distributed by our efficient year 2 post boys and girls. The Salvation Army collected the presents on Monday and they were very pleased with all the gifts which would be distributed.
The children have started writing their own versions of the Christmas story and we will complete it in instalments, round the play and other end-of-year events. It’s fantastic to see the children use skills and techniques which have been taught and developed over the last year or so. Some children use time connectives independently; others use the “red words” on the window so they can spell tricky words like “said” or “are” correctly; they nearly all use capital letters, finger-spaces and full-stops nearly all the time; and adjectives feature regularly in writing. This is a great foundation to be moving on from in the spring term.
Thank you for your support practising spelling days of the weeks at home.We will be continuing with these in the New Year, after we see which days the children can spell independently. A year-end objective for year one is to write all days of the week independently and some children will need regular practice, over time, to perfect this.
In Maths we have moved on from exploring teen numbers to adding 2 singe-digit numbers together. The strategy learnt was not counting on, but making ten first and then adding on the remaining ones to find the answer, which was a number from 11 to 19. So if the problem was 8 + 5, then the children would show the two amounts on a place-value chart and move 2 cubes from the 5 to the 8 to make 10. They then used these 10 cubes to make one tower of 10, added on the remaining ones and so found out the total. The children used the resources brilliantly. I will try to download or photograph some of the resources from the Maths Mastery programme of study which we use to show you the resources and recording. In Maths Meeting I have written equations on the board with the operation missing, for the children to say whether + or – should go in the gap. When the children can correctly identify the missing operation and, importantly, explain why that’s the only which which would work, it shows that they can reason about numbers and calculation. For example, you could say that the missing operation in 9 ____ 4 = 5 is – because when the answer is lesser than the amount you start off with, you must be subtracting – or when the group gets smaller, you must be subtracting. I have been very impressed by the fact that children routinely use the words “decreasing” and “increasing” when talking about the relative sizes of groups and numbers. Also during Maths Meeting, we have had less opportunities to use the “frosty” picture and instead have discussed the differences between “overcast” and “cloudy” and whether or not it is sunny.
I’m sorry that I have not posted many photos recently. I have had a few technical problems, but will try again next week to see if I can have more success. Wishing you all a good weekend and looking forward to next week, with our performances, finishing with the carol concert at St Luke’s Church which parents may attend (with tickets).
The children have been learning about teen numbers. This is different from learning to count to 20 because the children need to understand the concept behind “teen” numbers – what makes then a teen number. The children need to know – and say, clearly, using the correct Mathematical language – that a teen number is made up of one ten and some ones. I try and make it clearer by explaining that sometime in history the work “ten” became teen and the some of the words for the ones changed too – eg three became thir, five became fif. The English language has a rich background, influenced by several other languages; and this is reflected in the lack of logic or clarity in some of the words we have (and their spellings!) Crucial to year 1 – in fact, all primary school – learning is using manipulatives, or real, touchable, objects to show what is being meant. This is not just for simple concepts. Over time, the children will be able to use objects and pictures to show more complex learning (such as fractions). Moving on from this, next week we will be looking at addition and subtraction to 20. The children will use what we have learnt this week – that a teen numbers contains ones – to apply their knowledge of bonds within and to 10 to add and subtract up to 20.
Now the children have practised and show number bonds within and up to 10 on several occassions, they can practise them lots to really embed that knowledge, for all addition and subtraction to the greatest of numbers. We shall send home activities to do this, from time to time. It is something you can practise at home whenever you like. Eg I have 5p, How many more will I need to make (p? (or 6, or 10, or 8). It’s absolutely OK to use real objects to practise this lots. Over time the facts should be recalled mentally.
We have read an excellent story called “The Dragon Machine” this week and used this as stimulus to think about verbs, which are doing words. To help your child’s understanding, you could ask which word in a sentence is a verb and ask if he or she can think of another verb which has a similar meaning. We also used adjectives, or describing words, to make descriptions more precise and interesting.
Green Class is practising hard for the Christmas play and we sent home the words of a few songs. If you have a chance to help your child learn the words that would be very helpful.
The children completed some sparkly, lovely Christmas decorations with Mrs Reed, who is very skilled at combining curricular learning with creative, enjoyable activities. Four of the decorations are on the tree and I will put the rest of them round the class next week. They will be sent home just before the end of term. The lights on the tree were officially lit on Thursday afternoon. It is a particularly stunning tree and looks wonderful with all the presents underneath it. The Salvation Army will come on Monday morning to collect all the presents, so your child can still bring one in on Monday morning.
Many children are completing sewings of leaves, thanks to our parent helpers who reliably come into class. I absolutely understand that many parents cannot come in, due to family or work commitments – I cannot help in my son’s class so I do understand! – but the commitment to put the endless “to do” list to one side and help children at school, voluntarily, is really appreciated and enhances the children’s learning.
There have been several Festivals of Light for the children to find out about this half-term – Diwali, Hannukah and now Christmas (specifically, Advent just now). If your children have any artefacts, books, clothes, etc to do with the family religion, they are very welcome bring them. Similarly, if you or another family member would like to come in and talk about your faith, then please do so. The children love hearing from other families and it brings the learning to life for them.
This varied, wintery weather is excellent for saying sentences to describe different types of weather. The children, as a class, are improving at understanding the difference between season and weather.
If your child can’t stop bobbing along at home, it’s a sign that we have been practicing for our end of year performance, when Purple Class will be singing and dancing as red robins. Thank you to all of you who have already brought the costumes in. If you haven’t done so, please remember to bring dark trousers/tights/leggings and red tops by Monday the 5th December. A note was sent home this week with more details. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.
Yesterday was a special day, as we hang the decorations the children made on the tree and Eva helped Mrs Cooper to switch the tree lights on. All the presents that the children have kindly being donating to the Salvation Army have also been placed under the tree and they will be collected on Monday. Thank you for the lovely presents you have been bringing in.
This week in Maths we have been representing teen numbers using manipulatives, especially dienes. The children have been introduced to the concept of place value through learning to group ten in a group of objects and counting on to 20. We have also compared two or more numbers using greater, greatest, less, smallest.
If you heard anything about dragons and want to know more about what we have been up to, you can read the book The Dragon Machine by Helen Ward. We read the book and the children re-wrote one session of it using their own ideas. I am very proud of how far they have come already with their writing.
A plea for volunteers: we do welcome parent/grandparent helpers and Purple Class would love to have some of you coming in on a regular basis to spend some time teaching the children some skills that require more support such as cooking, sewing, gardening, playing a game with a group of children, etc. If you think you could commit some of your spare time to help with our learning, please come and discuss with me. We do appreciate that most parents work and/or have younger children and we are also very thankful for the occasional help with school trips and visits as well.
Wishing you a happy weekend.
Mrs De Vynck
Another exhausting week in Year 2!
Lots of play practise this week and we will continue next week. It would be greatly appreciated if you could help your child to learn the words of the songs as the letter which has been sent home today as their home learning this week.
In writing this week we have written a character description. We encouraged the children to include expanded noun phrases (2 adjectives and a noun) and start sentences in different ways.
We continued with division this week. The children are good at understanding that the numbers / counters need to be shared out equally. We will deepen their understanding by using division to solve word problems and number puzzles and relating it to multiplication facts. You might like to ask your children if they can come up with any rules for division: for example – an even number can only be divided by an even number, and prove it!
We enjoyed our visit to the local Islamic centre. This really helped the children to see how a different religion is followed.
Silver class have had the wonderful opportunity of looking closely at some Roman artefacts. They then sketched them and carried out another activity where they had to talk together and decide what use the artefact was to the Romans.
Enjoy your weekend, happy singing!
Mrs Fernandes and Miss Spencer.
In Maths we have looked at greater than and less than signs and doubling and halving numbers. We have sent an activity home to practise doubling and halving numbers. If your child needs to use resources to help solve the puzzles please use them. They need to understand the halving concept before we move on to division next week. It is better for the children to split them into groups of rather than sharing.
In science we have continued looking at materials and their properties, in particular transparent, translucent and opaque.
This week in writing we concentrated on using different adverbs of time: eventually, meanwhile, suddenly, a while later and so on. The children described how the old man from The Tin Forest spent a day sifting and sorting other people’s rubbish. We are also encouraging all the children to now write with joined up cursive letters. They included some wonderful adjectives and are thinking more about which conjunctions to use to join ideas together to write compound sentences. We have added an activity to Purple Mash for the children to have fun adding adjectives to nouns. We have also sent an activity home to complete to practise adverbs.
We followed up our visit from Mrs Ali by completing some writing or posters about the colours in the book she read to us and signs and symbols of Islam. The children are looking forward to visiting the local Islamic centre next week. If there are any parents free to join us on Wednesday afternoon we would really appreciate the help in walking. Please see Miss Spencer if you would like to join us.
We have been practising the play! If your child has lines please help them to read it aloud clearly and loudly. Song words will start coming home next week. Thank you for your support with the costumes. We look forward to receiving them back next week on labelled hangers.
Off to have a dance at the disco…
Have a lovely weekend.
Mrs Fernandes and Miss Spencer.
Purple and Green Classes went to the Old Signal Box today, Purple in the morning and Green in the afternoon. The sessions were very interesting, giving the children a fantastic flavour of an aspect of life in the past. Unusually for museums, the children were told they could touch and move things as much as they liked. The venue has a wide selection of genuine artefacts for children to try out. For example there are lots of the signalling bells used in signal boxes, of all different shapes and sizes. The children pulled the levers in the south signal box and sent messages using clicks and rings using the signalling boxes. The stood on the massive luggage scales and pulled the levers on signals outside, so they could actually see the signals moving, which they really enjoyed. There were lots of references to Harpenden and Sandridge in the north and London in the south.
The venue is beautifully set out, with a garden and miniature railway where Percy was looping round. It was exciting, just climbing up and down the steep staircase to the signal box itself. Once in there, we got a completely different perspective on the area, looking down on the railway tracks. The group has collected lots of photos of the train station from the past, as well as St Pancras Station. We saw photos of the original station entrance, which is where the little car park near Ridgemont Road is now. The current main entrance was originally a goods entrance. So the children learnt about how places can change over time.
All the fresh air and walking day was very tiring so your children should have slept well tonight – and the adults too, I suspect. A big thank you to the parents who came and helped. We couldn’t do days like these without your help. We also need to say a big thank you to Mrs De Vynck who did so much preparation for the day, including walking the route at 7.30 am to check that it was safe to walk and was very disappointed when she could not attend, due to family illness. These are some of the things Green Class children said when they were asked what they had learnt or enjoyed about the day…
Ana – “I learnt how you pull the levers.”
Natalie – “I learnt how to ring the bell.”
Jonny “I didn’t know there was a toy train there.”
Sanaa – “I didn’t know that signals controlled the trains.”
Farheen – “… that by pulling the levers you can control the trains.”
We have been continuing the themes of friendship and anti-bullying this week. The school councillors have made some posters promoting friendship and we have been thinking about the similarities and differences between us and our friends.
We have been practising directional language and the children are getting better at not only remembering left and right, but also knowing ways to help them if they can’t remember – eg hold up both your hands in front of you. The left hand makes an L when the thumb is spread out. The children have also been learning that equals means the same as balance, as well as the same as. They put two Numicon tiles on one side of the bucket scales and found two different tiles to make the scales balance. When they had a pair of equatlons they set them out as “equivalent equations”, eg 3 + 4 = 5 + 2.
Thank you for the photos of steam trains and information about family members who were involved in trains. It’s amazing how many families have a member who worked on the railways and shows what a major industry it was. The children have watched some video footage (including British Railway information films from the past) showing different types of trains and the old-fashioned – “semaphore” – signals and modern light signals as preparation for our walk to the old signal box tomorrow.
Part of the weekly timetable are “Book Club” sessions which is another name for Guided Reading. These are 20 minute sessions when a group of 6 children read the same short book and discuss the content and language. These sessions will be written up, probably in green ink, in the reading diaries. They form an other opportunity for children to practise and develop their reading skills, in particular their powers of comprehension.
Some children have been talking about Friday night’s disco; and they are clearly looking forward to it. Another exciting event is the junior school fair on Saturday and we hope to see some of you there.
I will blog on Friday with some details of the rest of the week, and photos from tomorrow’s visit.
We are looking forward to our walk to the old signal box tomorrow. The weather is forecast to be similar to today’s, so cloudy and chilly, but no rain is predicted. Please send your child to school with:
usual school shoes, or boots.
If the weather turns much worse, ie much colder or very wet, then we will not be able to go. Hopefully, all will be well.
Many thanks for the parent helpers who will be coming with us.
If you have any of the following items that you are happy to donate to reception, please hand them to either Red or Blue class to enhance our learning outdoors.
- Old CDs or DVDs (with or without the case)
- Empty plastic bottles with lids
- Doll accessories such as cots, car seats and baths.
- Large washing up bowls.
- Logs in a variety of shapes and sizes.
If anyone knows of a tree surgeon who may be happy to donate logs or similar please let us know.
Mrs Barwin and Miss Lewis
However, do not try to ask the children to do the repeated addition themselves just yet. This week in Maths we have focused on shapes and directions. We also talked briefly about algorithms as a sequence of detailed instructions and gave instructions to each other using only left – right – backwards and forwards (and number of steps). We will go back to this during Computing in the future, so if you can practise left and right with your children there are a lot of rhymes to help with.
We did the second observational drawing of our trees outside and the children discussed the many changes that happened in only one month since their first drawing.
Can you see the changes too?
On Thursday, as you might have seen in other class’s blogs, we had our Islamic Workshop. Mrs Claire Ali spent all day in school and after a whole school meeting, when she told the children the purpose of this visit, each class had a 40 minutes workshop. She used the book: Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, by Hena Khan to talk about the Islam through the different objects described in the book. The children joined in beautifully and they all enjoyed learning more about each other’s beliefs.
Following up from the workshop, we used the same book for our writing on Friday. We asked the children to think about some object that was important/special for them and describe it using adjectives, especially colour, shape, etc. Many children mentioned their baby blankets, other described religious artefacts, or even toys that are special for them. One child in Purple Class drew and described his mum’s necklace and said it was important to him because she was given the necklace when he was born.
The children are becoming more and more confident logging on the laptops by themselves and most of them can log on Purple Mash independently. We are making celebration cards. The children are creating their own Christmas Cards but those who don’t celebrate this festival can choose a different celebration, in line with his/hers own family traditions.
We have started practising our song for the Christmas concert. Letters will soon come home about costumes and – not wanting to spoil the surprise on the big day – if you hear some songs about snowflakes or red robins, it has to do with our performances.
Tchoo tchoo… Next week it will be all about trains. We will talk about how and when the first trains arrived in St Albans and on Thursday we will visit the St Albans old signal box. We are all looking forward to it. Purple Class will leave the school shortly after Read Write Inc, so if you are helping please arrive at school for a 10am briefing before we start walking. We will return at 12 and the children will have lunch at school. Green Class will have lunch at school and leave at 12:30, returning at 2pm. We are all really looking forward to this visit and fingers crossed the weather will be adequate for the walk.
Keep warm and we hope to see you all on Monday.